The Anonymous Widower

‘Castle’ HSTs To Be Withdrawn By Great Western Railway

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

This quote from a  GWR spokesman, sums up the action that will be taken.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

These are my thoughts.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Carbon-Neutral Engines?

This would be an alternative way to solve the decarbonisation problem.

It would also mean that other applications of the Class 43 power cars, like ScotRail’s Inter7City trains, Cross Country’s HSTs and Network Rail’s New Measurement Train would have a decarbonisation route,

In Rolls-Royce Releases mtu Rail Engines For Sustainable Fuels, Rolls-Royce mtu outline their route to decarbonise rail engines using sustainable fuels.

This was the first paragraph of my conclusion in the linked article.

Rolls-Royce and Cummins seem to be doing a thoroughly professional job in decarbonising the diesel engines they have made in recent years.

The Class 43 power cars have Rolls-Royce mtu Series 4000 engines, which will soon be available to run on sustainable fuel.

I think as a possible fall-back, one Class 43 power car should be converted to carbon neutral.

Could The Engines In The Power Cars Be Replaced With Modern Hydrogen Engines?

I looked at this in Will We See Class 43 Power Cars Converted To Hydrogen?.

I came to the conclusion, that this might be possible and said this.

It would be the ultimate Roller.

But then Rolls-Royce know about winning battles with large internal combustion engines.

The Option Of New Trains

This quote from a  GWR spokesman was fairly definite about new trains, when they said.

The Castles were always designed to be a temporary measure on the Cardiff to Penzance route. We expect to replace the Castle Class trains on a phased basis over the next couple of years, bringing customers the benefit of more modern trains that will reduce both cost and carbon emissions across the route.

What trains could replace the Castles?

  • The Cardiff and Penzance route is just short of 250 miles or roughly 400 kilometres.
  • Only about 30 miles at the Cardiff end is electrified.
  • Trains would need to be able to handle 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • 125 mph trains will be needed at the Cardiff end.
  • Four or five passenger cars will be needed.
  • Currently, there are twelve Castles, so I will assume twelve new trains.

As these trains will be lasting up to forty years, they must be zero-carbon, which must mean battery-electric or hydrogen.

Charging Battery-Electric Trains

Consider

  • Bristol Temple Meads, Exeter St. Davis and Plymouth are large stations with several platforms. I suspect that a number of Furrer + Frey’s charging stations can be installed along the route.
  • The timetable would be adjusted to allow trains to be charged as they stopped to set down and pick up passengers.
  • Trains would dwell in the station and then use their 125 mph performance to regain the time.
  • I’ve also found a Penzance to Cardiff service, that stopped at Plymouth for fourteen minutes, which is more than enough to charge the batteries.
  • Regenerative braking to the batteries would further eke out the range.
  • There might also be some extra electrification around Bristol or Exeter.
  • Some form of charging would be needed at Penzance.

Note.

  1. Putting up electrification may mean that it will delay the new trains for a few years.
  2. Charging stations along the route could probably be installed to a tight timetable.

I believe that with some top-class work, by battery and charger manufacturers, that a battery-electric train could be developed that could run between Cardiff and Penzance.

Thoughts On Hydrogen

Consider.

  • The Alstom Coradia iLint train has a range of about 1,000 km. on hydrogen.
  • Companies like Airbus, Boeing and a host of rocket makers will improve the storage and safety of hydrogen.
  • A range of a 1,000 km. would allow refuelling at one end of the route.
  • Trains could be multiple units or a hydrogen-electric locomotive pulling a rake of coaches with a driving van trailer.

I feel that hydrogen would be very feasible as a power source.

Alstom Could Offer A Hydrogen Aventra

Consider.

  • Alstom are developing a hydrogen-powered Aventra.
  • Bombardier were offering a 125 mph Aventra.
  • A typical Aventra like a Class 720 train seats a hundred passengers a car.

A hydrogen Aventra would be feasible.

Hitachi Could Offer A Battery-Electric Or Hybrid AT-300

In 2021, in Hitachi And Eversholt Rail To Develop GWR Intercity Battery Hybrid Train – Offering Fuel Savings Of More Than 20%, I wrote about the announcement of the Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train, which is shown in this Hitachi infographic.

Note.

  1. Batteries replacing an engine to cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions.
  2. First time a modern UK intercity train, in passenger service, will use alternative fuel.
  3. These Hitachi trains use mtu engines, so I suspect they will be switched to sustainable fuel like HVO.
  4. The trains are 125 mph and 140 mph with the latest digital signalling.
  5. Great Western Railway already have 58 five-car Class 800/802 trains and 35 nine-car 800/802 trains.
  6. They would not need any changing stations or other infrastructure changes.
  7. Staff retraining would be minimal.

Testing of the prototype of these trains must be getting very close or even underway.

Stadler Could Offer A Battery-Electric Flirt Akku

Consider

  • Stadler have run a Flirt Akku on batteries for 243 km.
  • Flirt Akkus will go into service soon.
  • Flirts have been designed for 125 mph running.

With charging at Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, I believe a Flirt Akku could handle the route.

Are Hitachi Home And Hosed?

I have a feeling that the announcement has been made about retiring the Castles as the prototype Hitachi Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Hybrid Train is under test and is performing well.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see an order for twelve more Class 802 trains soon.

 

 

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

New Nanomaterial Offers Efficient Hydrogen Production – Just Add Light

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A new nanomaterial catalyst needs only light to convert ammonia into hydrogen, its developers have said.

Made of inexpensive raw materials, the catalyst was developed by a team from Rice University in Texas, Syzygy Plasmonics Inc., and Princeton University in New Jersey.

I am not surprised, as I am a great believer in the power of catalysts.

In Hydrogen Fuel Cells Could Get A Lot Cheaper With Newly Developed Iron Catalyst, I wrote.

In the early 1970s, I worked with one of ICI’s catalyst experts and he said, that improvements in this area will be large in the future.

Increasingly, I see his prediction being proved right, in the varied fields, where catalysts are used.

It may be over fifty years ago, but then scientific truths don’t fade away and die. They just sit there quietly waiting to be rediscovered.

It is worth looking at the Syzygy Plasmonics web site.

Under a heading of Deep Decarbonisation For Chemical Manufacturing, this is their mission statement.

Syzygy is commercializing a deep-decarbonization platform dedicated to cleaning up the emissions-heavy chemical industry. We use breakthrough technology pioneered in the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University to harness energy from LED light to power chemical reactions. This new technology has the potential to partially or fully electrify the chemical industry, shifting it to renewable electricity, and cost-effectively reducing its carbon footprint.

The energy transition is here. The time to act is now.

That is some mission statement! But possibly one to expect from Houston.

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Highview Power In The Daily Express

This article in the Daily Express is entitled The Storage Sites Around The UK That Could Provide Cheap Power To Millions Of Homes.

Highview Power gets a large mention for its plan for twenty storage sites around the UK.

This is said about their planned sites at Carrington and on Humberside.

It is hoped that the first plant, a £250million Manchester station, will come online as early as 2024. It will have a 30megawatts capacity, able to store 300megawatt hours of electricity, enough to supply 600,000 homes with clean power for an hour.

The next plants will be even larger in scale, with four a five planned for Humberside with a 200megawatt/2.5gigwatt hour capacity. The CRYOBattery site would be able to store excess energy generated by the Dogger Bank, Hornsea and Sofia wind farms.

There is also a comprehensive map, with sites indicated at places like Aberdeen, Anglesey, Inverness, Liverpool, Montrose, Norfolk and Sizewell.

The sites seem to be following the wind, which is where excess power needs to be stored and released, when the wind is on strike.

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bananas And Me

According to my mother, I didn’t see or taste a banana until I was seven.

That would have been 1954, which is when rationing ended.

The Wikipedia entry entitled Rationing In The UK is a valuable resource.

Bananas had been available since 1945, although they had not been imported during the war.

I had been born in 1947, with my sister born in 1950. As my paternal grandmother lived with us, we were a family of five.

So I suspect, that although they were available my mother didn’t buy them for some reason.

The Wikipedia entry has a section called Political Reaction, which talked about reaction to rationing after the war. This is said.

In the late 1940s, the Conservative Party utilised and encouraged growing public anger at rationing, scarcity, controls, austerity and government bureaucracy to rally middle-class supporters and build a political comeback that won the 1951 general election. Their appeal was especially effective to housewives, who faced more difficult shopping conditions after the war than during it.

My father had been politically active before World War II, but he was much more politically agnostic after the war, judging by some things he said to me. I can’t ever remember my mother saying anything political, although I can remember her saying something, which agreed with the last sentence of the Wikipedia extract.

I suspect she was under pressure from my grandmother, so perhaps she kept the shopping light because of rationing.

Anyway, I can remember her telling my wife that my face had been a picture when I saw and ate my first banana.

I’ve not stopped eating them since.

  • I generally eat between one and three every day.
  • I have problems with fruit that needs to be cut up because of my gammy left hand, so for pineapple, melon and mango, I usually buy them ready-cut in pots from Marks and Spencer.
  • I also eat a lot of berries, when they are in season.

But, I never eat oranges, apples or pears, except in a processed form.

Bananas And My Family

As far, as I can check, I’m the only one of my family, who likes bananas and eats them regularly.

I have checked on two sons and my granddaughter and none seem to like them.

Could it be my mother’s denial of the fruit to me until rationing ended, gave me a love of the fruit?

Bananas And Coeliacs

This page on the Harvard University School of Public Health gives the nutrition facts about bananas.

This is the second paragraph.

The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant. The mild-tasting and disease-resistant Cavendish type is the main variety sold in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some negative attention, bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first “superfood,” endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease.

Now there’s a thing.

This page on the Gluten-Free Watchdog is entitled Early Dietary Treatment for Celiac Disease: The Banana Diet.

I’d never heard of this diet until yesterday.

Interestingly, a large banana contains 50 mg of vitamin B6 according to Dr. Google.

I take a B6 supplement and I wrote about the advice I received from a doctor at a respected medical university in Amsterdam in Vitamin B Complex for Coeliacs.

I

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 7 Comments