The Anonymous Widower

SGN And INEOS Hydrogen Fuel Network Trial Launches In Scotland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

These are some points from the article.

  • The project appears to be based at Grangemouth.
  • It will help determine how existing gas networks can be repurposed.
  • SGN has partnered with INEOS on a hydrogen fuel network trial designed to help bring the UK a step closer to widespread H2 distribution networks.
  • The trial is being funded by the Energy Regulator as well as gas distribution companies.
  • It will involve using INEOS-supplied H2 along a 29-kilometer section of decommissioned pipeline that runs from the Grangemouth site.

It is a good idea to do thorough research to identify any problems early.

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

Royal Mail Rolling Back The Years To Put More Post On Trains

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Daily Telegraph.

This is the sub-title.

Post transported by train will treble under plan to ditch planes and lorries.

These are some points from the article.

  • They are in discussion with Network Rail.
  • Roughly 4pc to 5pc of Britain’s mail is transported on the railways.
  • Keith Williams is executive Chairman of Royal Mail and also was the independent chair of the recent Government-supported Rail Review.
  • One of the aims of the strategy is to rescue the share price.
  • Royal Mail are building some fully-automated parcel-hubs, with the first two at Warrington and Northampton.

I have some further thoughts.

The Warrington Parcel Hub

This appears to be at the Omega Business Park on the closed RAF Burtonwood airfield.

This Google Map shows Warrington.

Note.

  1. The M62 running across the map in an East-West direction.
  2. The two junctions on the M62 are 8 and 9, with junction 8 to the West and junction 9 to the East.
  3. The Omega Business Park is on both sides of the M62 to the West of Junction 8.
  4. Royal Mail appear to have three sheds to the South of the motorway.
  5. Amazon, Asda, Hermes, The Hut Group and others have sheds in the Omega Business Park.
  6. The red arrow indicates the location of Royal Mail’s Warrington Rail Terminal, where mail services between London and Scotland call.

This second Google Map shows Royal Mail’s Warrington Rail Terminal in more detail.

Note.

  1. The West Coast Main Line runs North-South to the West of the terminal.
  2. It looks to be a cramped site.
  3. I doubt that Royal Mail would want to transfer parcels between the rail terminal and the parcel hub, because of the number of trucks involved and the carbon they will generate.
  4. They could use Hydrogen or battery trucks, but that would be a considerable expense.

Perhaps the best thing to do, would be to bore a tunnel.

  • It’s about six kilometres.
  • Electric shuttles would be zero-carbon.
  • Everything could be highly-automated.
  • No drivers would be needed.

It would probably cost less to run.

Royal Mail At Northampton

Where the Northampton Loop Line meets the West Coast Main Line between Rugby and Northampton, there is a massive logistics park, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. There are at least three Royal Mail sites here.
  2. One at the top of the map is labelled Royal Mail NDC NEW SITE.
  3. One at the bottom of the map is labelled Royal Mail National Distribution Centre.
  4. There is a rail connection.

This must be a very large investment for Royal Mail.

Further Parcel Hubs

No further hubs are mentioned in the article. But I’m sure, that the systems at Warrington and Northampton could be replicated.

The East Coast, Great Western And Midland Main Lines

I suspect, when these lines are fully electrified, they could be brought into the system.

A Hub At Calais

Why not?

Conclusion

It looks a good plan and one that can be realised.

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are The Office Of Rail And Road (Or Their Lawyers) Too Risk Averse?

An article in the April 2022 Edition of Modern Railways is entitled Uckfield Third Rail Is NR Priority.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Electrification of the line between Hurst Green and Uckfield in East Sussex and the remodelling of East Croydon are the top Network Rail investment priorities south of the river, according to Southern Region Managing Director John Halsall. He told Modern Railways that third rail is now the preferred option for the Uckfield Line, as it would allow the route to use the pool of third-rail EMUs in the area. This is in preference to the plan involving overhead electrification and use of dual-voltage units put forward by then-Network Rail director Chris Gibb in his 2017 report (p66, September 2017 issue).

NR has put forward options for mitigating the safety risk involved with the third-rail system, including switching off the power in station areas when no trains are present and section isolation systems to protect track workers. ‘The Office of Rail and Road hasn’t yet confirmed third rail would be acceptable, but we are working out ways in which it could be’ Mr Halsall told Modern Railways. He added that bi-mode trains with batteries were not a feasible option on this line, as the 10-car trains in use on the route would not be able to draw sufficient charge between London and Hurst Green to power the train over the 25 miles on to Uckfield.

As an Electrical Engineer, who’s first real job in industry at fifteen was installing safety guards on guillotines nearly sixty years ago, I don’t believe that an acceptable solution can’t be devised.

But as at Kirkby on Merseyside, the Office Of Rail And Road, do seem to be stubbornly against any further third-rail installations in the UK.

I wonder what, the Office Of Rail And Road would say, if Transport for London wanted to extend an Underground Line for a few miles to serve a new housing development? On previous experience, I suspect Nanny would say no!

But is it more than just third-rail, where the Office Of Rail And Road is refusing to allow some technologies on the railway?

Battery-Electric Trains

I first rode in a viable battery-electric train in February 2015, but we still haven’t seen any other battery-electric trains in service on UK railways running under battery power.

Does the Office Of Rail And Road, believe that battery-electric trains are unsafe, with the lithium-ion batteries likely to catch fire at any time?

Hydrogen-Powered Trains

The hydrogen-powered Alstom Coradia iLint has been in service in Germany since September 2018.

But progress towards a viable hydrogen train has been very slow in the UK, with the only exception being demonstrations at COP26.

Are The Office Of Rail And Road still frightened of the Hindenburg?

Although hydrogen-powered buses have been allowed.

A Tale From Lockheed

When Metier Management Systems were sold to Lockheed, I worked for the American company for a couple of years.

I met some of their directors and they told some good American lawyer jokes, such was their disgust for the more money-grabbing of the American legal profession.

At the time, Flight International published details of an innovative landing aid for aircraft, that had been developed by Lockheed. It was a suitcase-sized landing light, that could be quickly setup up on a rough landing strip, so that aircraft, like a Hercules, with an outstanding rough field performance could land safely.

I read somewhere that a Flying Doctor service or similar had acquired some of these landing aids, so they could provide a better service to their clients.

But Lockheed’s lawyers were horrified, that they would get sued, if someone was seriously injured or even died, whilst the aid was being used.

Apparently, in the end, the aids were marked Not For Use In The USA.

Conclusion

I do wonder, if third-rail electrification, battery-electric trains and hydrogen-powered trains have come up against a wall created by over-cautious lawyers.

 

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Study Suggests Solar Energy Can Be Cleanly’ Converted Into Storable Hydrogen Fuel

The title of this post, is the same as that, as this news item from Strathclyde University.

This section entitled Green Hydrogen, describes the research.

Most hydrogen is still made from natural gas, producing greenhouse gasses, and green hydrogen production is urgently needed. Green hydrogen is produced from water using a photocatalyst – a material which drives the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight.

The study, ‘Photocatalytic overall water splitting under visible light enabled by a particulate conjugated polymer loaded with iridium’ is published in Angewandte Chemie, a journal of the German Chemical Society. It suggests that using a photocatalyst under simulated sun light facilitates the decomposition of water when loaded with an appropriate metal catalyst – in this case iridium.

When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen does not emit any greenhouse gasses at the point of use and can help decarbonise sectors such as shipping and transportation, where it can be used as a fuel, as well as in manufacturing industries.

Using this photocatalyst may not be the final solution, but I do believe from my mathematical modelling of catalysts in an unrelated application in the 1970s, that this research could lead to an affordable way to create green hydrogen.

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment