The Anonymous Widower

Multi-Turbine Windcatcher Secures More Funding

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

This is the sub-heading.

Norway’s Wind Catching Systems AS, the developer of the Windcatcher floating offshore wind technology, has secured a pre-project grant of NOK 9.3 million (USD 0.9 Million) from ENOVA.

The Windcatcher certainly looks impressive on the home page of the Wind Catching Systems AS web site.

This image is of the over-station development at Moorgate station.

If this structure is strong enough to hold up an eight floor building, surely a system can be designed to hold up a number of small wind turbines.

But will it work well in practice or is it just something that looks good in a visualisation?

Note that aerodynamics and fluid flow are difficult subjects to model on a computer, as I say from experience of getting nowhere, when I tried to mathematically model a plastic extruder at ICI in the early 1970s.

But I did successfully invest in two guys, who went on to develop the Respimat inhaler for Boehringer Ingelheim.

So I have had mixed success in dealing with these tricky subjects.

When I look at the Windcatcher, I think there’s a fifty-percent chance, that it will be a success and a lot depends on the investors.

I do wish the company well and I feel it in my bones, that a couple of weird turbine designs will be runaway successes.

February 8, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skegness Station To Benefit From A £3.3m Improvement Package

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

I took these pictures of Skegness station, on a visit to the town in July last year, which I wrote about in A Trip To Skegness.

I feel that Skegness station would welcome some improvement.

The Rail Technology Magazine article says this about the project.

Upon completion of the project, customers will be able to utilise a number of enhanced facilities, including an improved accessible toilet with changing spaces, two new start-up offices, a community café and retail provisions. Upgrades will continue through improved access into the station for pedestrians and vehicles, offering integration with the surrounding community.

Work is hoped to start this year.

A Modern Zero-Carbon Train Service

If £3.3 million is going to be spent on Skegness station, would it not be a good idea to have better trains serving the station.

In A Trip To Skegness, I talked about updating the hourly Nottingham and Skegness service using Class 170 trains with Rolls-Royce MTU Hybrid PowerPacks.

I wonder if this route could be improved by fitting the Class 170 trains with Rolls-Royce MTU Hybrid PowerPacks?

  • The hybrid technology would have a lower fuel consumption and allow electric operation in stations.
  • The prototype hybrid is already working on Chiltern Railways in a Class 168 train.
  • The Class 168 train is an earlier version of the Class 170 train and they are members of the Turbostar family.
  • Rolls-Royce are developing versions of these hybrid transmissions, that will work with sustainable fuels.
  • As we have a total of 207 Turbostar trainsets, these could be a convenient way of cutting carbon emissions on long rural lines.
  • As Rolls-Royce MTU are also developing the technology, so their diesel engines can run on hydrogen, it is not outrageous to believe that they could be on a route to complete decarbonisation of this type of train.

I believe that we could see hydrogen-hybrid Class 170 trains, with a Rolls-Royce badge on the side.

But would it be possible to go the whole way using one of Stadler’s battery-electric trains?

Consider the service between Nottingham and Skegness.

  • It is hourly.
  • The route is run by 100 mph Class 170 trains.
  • Nottingham and Grantham are 22.7 miles apart.
  • Grantham and Skegness are 58.2 miles apart.
  • Trains take four minutes to reverse at Grantham.
  • Trains wait 20 minutes before returning at the two end stations.
  • Trains reverse at Nottingham in a bay platform, which is numbered 2.
  • Grantham is electrified.
  • Nottingham station will be electrified in the next few years.
  • Skegness station is next to the bus station in the middle of the town, so hopefully the electricity supply is robust enough to charge buses and trains.

Stadler make a train called an Akku.

This leads me to the conclusion that with charging systems at Nottingham and Skegness and taking a four-minute top-up at Grantham if needed, a FLIRT Akku could handle this route with ease.


Skegness is a town that needs leveling-up. A refurbished station and 100 mph electric trains to Grantham and London would be a good start.





February 8, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Battery Train Pilot Project On Challenging’ Westerwald Routes

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

It is only a small order for three Mireo Plus B battery-electric multiple-units from Siemens Mobility, but I feel, it is significant that  engineers and managers are confident that a battery-electric multiple unit can handle a challenging route.

February 8, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Researchers Use Sea Water To Produce Green Hydrogen At Almost 100% Efficiency

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

This paragraph gives more details.

“We have split natural seawater into oxygen and hydrogen with nearly 100 percent efficiency, to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis, using a non-precious and cheap catalyst in a commercial electrolyser,” explained Professor Shi-Zhang Qiao, project leader at the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide.

They use what is called a Lewis acid catalyst.

In the late 1960s, I worked for ICI in Runcorn.

Most of the hydrogen they needed was produced from brine by the large Castner-Kellner process, which may have been green, but was filthy, as it used a lot of mercury.

ICI also had an older and cruder process, which produced hydrogen and oxygen, by electrolysing brine, in a simple cell.

  • These cells had a metal tub, with a concrete lid.
  • Two electrodes passed through the lid.
  • The lids quickly degraded and cells were rebuild regularly.
  • But it did produce medical grade sodium hydroxide.

Legend also had it, that the salt that collected around the lid was pure enough to use in the canteen.

In Torvex Energy, I describe a company in Stockton which is also going the sea water electrolysis route.

Having seen, its Victorian ancestor in operation, I believe that sea water electrolysis has possibilities to make hydrogen efficiently.


February 8, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment