The Anonymous Widower

The Queen’s First Computer System For Her Horses

In The Queen Was Well-Briefed, I mentioned a lunch with a Hewlett-Packard engineer and that he had done some work in Buckingham Palace.

This article on NBC is entitled When Did Queen Elizabeth II Last Visit San Francisco And The Bay Area?, where this is the first paragraph.

Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Bay Area included a serenade by Tony Bennett, a meal at Trader Vics in Emeryville and a dinner at the De Young Museum with President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady.

The visit was in 1983 and these two paragraphs describes her visit to Silicon Valley.

On March 3, 1983, the Queen visited Stanford University and the Hewlett Packard factory, the technology company based in Palo Alto.

At Stanford Queen Elizabeth dined at the Hoover House with university president Donald Kennedy.

Hewlett-Packard presented the Queen a HP 3000 computer on which to plan and organise the breeding of her race horses, to mark her visit to the company.

I should say, that the engineer, who I’ll call Bob, was well-known to me, as he’d been the engineer, who’d serviced my HP 21MX computer, when I was programming Artemis in the 1970s. He was very good at his job, but hadn’t expected his job to take this direction.

Hewlett-Packard had behaved very professionally and had obtained a licence for suitable software from the Aga Khan.

The installation of the computer in the basement of Buckingham Palace had gone well, with the user terminal being placed in the Queen’s apartment.

When everything was working, the Queen’s equerry, with whom he was dealing, announced they would be going to France to get the software from the Aga Khan’s stud at a chateau to the West of Paris.

The equerry arranged with the engineer to meet him at the VIP suite in the Queen’s Building at Heathrow in a few days time. He was also told he’d be staying one night in France.

So at the appointed time, he gingerly opened the door to the VIP suite and walked in. Almost immediately he bumped into Mrs. Thatcher, who was leaving. Luckily, he was spotted by the equerry, who beckoned him over.

He asked the equerry about the flight and was told that they would be flying in a Dominie of the Queen’s Flight to Beauvais.

I can remember him saying that that was the way to fly.

They were met by a limousine on arrival in France and taken to the chateau.

He was then shown to his room, which he described as an extravagant tart’s boudoir.

After a period of time, the equerry knocked on his door and announced the plan for the visit.

They would have dinner in half-an-hour with the Aga Khan and then in the morning his software guy would show you about the software and hand over a copy.

The engineer did admit to being a bit out of his depth, but the equerry just told him to copy him and he’d be alright.

Thirty minutes later the equerry collected the engineer and they were shown into a room, where the meeting would take place.

There was a curtain across the room, and as it drew back, all the flunkies prostrated themselves on the ground. The engineer was watching the equerry, who just stood there. So he copied him.

When the curtain finally revealed the Aga Khan, the engineer felt it best to just stand there.

However, the Aga Khan approached him and said. “Hello! You must be Bob!”

The rest of the visit went without incident and the software was duly collected.

 

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Sport, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Queen Was Well-Briefed

Lord Lloyd-Webber has just said this on the BBC. But he has not been the first, in the last few days.

Some years ago, I had lunch with a Hewlett-Packard engineer, who had done some work in Buckingham Palace.

It was probably in the mid-1980s, as the lunch was just after the Queen and Prince Philip had visited San Francisco in 1983, which is reported in this article on NBC.

He told a fascinating tale about how the Queen was well-briefed.

In those days, there was a detailed card index of everybody she had ever met.

So say, she was going to meet the Mayor of Norwich, her staff might brief her with the knowledge that they had met in 1975, when his father had been the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

The purpose, was so that the Queen could start a conversation, with an appropriate topic.

 

September 10, 2022 Posted by | Computing, World | , | 5 Comments

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

Equilibrium In Systems

As a Control Engineer, I believe that most systems eventually end up in a state of equilibrium.

How many football batches have you watched between two evenly-matched teams that have ended, where the statistics are even and the match has ended in a nil-nil draw or a win by one goal.

Now suppose one manager makes an inspired substitution, one important player gets injured or one player gets sent off.

One team will have an advantage, the statistics will no longer be even and one team will probably win.

The equilibrium point will have been shifted.

Zopa’s Stable Peer-to-Peer Lending System

I used Zopa’s peer-to-peer lending system for several years and found it a very stable system, that over the years paid a steady return of between four and five percent before tax.

I even developed a method to maximise my savings income, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Hybrid Banking.

It was a sad day for me, when Zopa closed its ground-breaking peer-to-peer lending system.

As a Control Engineer, I believe that Zopa’s strength was a well-written computerised algorithm, that matched lenders and borrowers and spread the risk.

  • There was no bias in the system, introduced by personal prejudices.
  • The algorithm was agnostic and judged all borrowers on their profiles and credit ratings alone.
  • Money was allocated under fair rules for borrowers.
  • I never borrowed from Zopa, but from my experience of owning half of a finance company, their terms were the most customer-friendly I’ve ever seen.

Someone will go back to the basics of peer-to-peer lending and it can’t be soon enough for both savers and borrowers.

Zopa In Troubled Times

Over the years that I invested in Zopa, my returns stayed very much the same, as the algorithm seemed to be able to maintain sufficient difference between lenders’ returns and borrowers’ rates. I also suspect the dynamics of savvy lenders and borrowers helped to stabilise both the system and the difference between rates.

It even worked through the Banking Crisis of 2008 and other mini-hiccups along the way.

My Conclusion About Zopa

As someone, who knows computing well, I would rate Zopa, one of the best computer systems, I’ve ever seen.

But it showed how a large transactional system can work well.

One of the keys to its success and smooth operation was that the computer was totally in control and it took all transaction decisions without direct human intervention.

The Energy Market

The energy market is a network of energy providers and users.

It is controlled by complicated rules and it has settled into an equilibrium, which involves.

  • Importation of energy, which I suspect is not at a low price
  • Some high priced energy generators, based on gas, which has a high-price, due to Putin’s war.
  • Waste of wind energy due to lack of energy storage.
  • The intermittency of renewable sources.
  • A  lack of gas storage, means that we probably get the wrong end of fluctuations in the gas price.

This results in a high price to consumers.

Can We Move The Equilibrium Point Of The Energy Market?

And we also need to move it quickly to a more favourable place, which benefits everybody!

As a Control Engineer, I believe that there are five ways to move the equilibrium point.

  • Stop Putin’s war.
  • Increase gas storage.
  • Generate more low-cost electricity.
  • Increase electricity storage.
  • Improve the control algorithm.

I will now look at each in more detail.

Stopping Putin’s War

Giving in to Putin’s ambitions, would be an easy way to solve our energy crisis. But at what cost?

My parents generation, watched as Nazi Germany took over Austria and Czechoslovakia, whilst the world did nothing.

  • We mustn’t repeat that mistake.
  • We must not flinch in our support of the Ukraine.
  • We must be ready to support Moldova, Finland and the Baltic States if Putin expands his ambitions.

I do wonder, if Boris will turn up with Churchillian-style anti-Putin rhetoric all over Eastern Europe.

Increasing Gas Storage

The major gas storage facility is Rough, which is handily close to the Easington gas terminal.

The facility needs maintenance and this paragraph from the Wikipedia entry gives the current status.

In May 2022, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, began talks with the site’s owners with a view to reopening the site to help ease the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in the United Kingdom. In June 2022, owners Centrica submitted an application to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the licencing authority for the UK Government, to reopen the facility. Approval was granted in July. Subsequently, Centrica indicated that they are working hard to restore storage operations at Rough which would depend on securing subsidies from the British government. Centrica was aiming to have some capacity available for the winter of 2022/23 against an overall plan to increase storage capacity gradually over time.

Note.

  1. Rough can store around 2832 million cubic metres of gas.
  2. This article on Energy Live News is entitled Reopening Of Rough Storage Gets The All-Clear.

Less well-known is SSE and Equinor’s Aldborough Gas Storage.

These three paragraphs from SSE web site, describe the gas storage.

The Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, in East Yorkshire, officially opened in June 2011. The last of the nine caverns entered commercial operation in November 2012.

The facility, which is a joint venture between SSE Thermal (66%) and Equinor, has the capacity to store around 330 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

SSE Thermal and Equinor have consent to increase the storage capacity at the Aldbrough site (Aldbrough Phase 2) and during the last couple of years have been working to involve the local community where appropriate to refine aspects of this project, which has not been progressed to date due to market conditions.

Future plans for the facility, may include converting it to one of the world’s largest hydrogen stores.

In the grand scheme of things, Rough and Aldborough, when you consider that the UK uses 211 million cubic metres of gas every day, will only keep us going for a few days.

But it should be noted, that the Easington gas terminal is connected to the Norwegian gas fields, by the Langeled pipeline.

So Yorkshire and Humberside will be alright.

Generating More Low-Cost Electricity

The only low-cost electricity of any size to come on stream will be wind-power.

This article on Renewables Now is entitled UK Hits 25.5 GW Of Wind Power Capacity.

These wind farms seem to be coming on stream soon or have been commissioned recently.

  • Dogger Bank A – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Dogger Bank B – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Dogger Bank C – 1200 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Hornsea Two – 1386 MW – Commissioned 2022
  • Moray East – 950 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected
  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW – Commissioning 2024 expected
  • Seagreen – 1075 MW – Commissioning 2023 expected
  • Triton Knoll – 857 MW – Commissioning 2022 expected

That is expected to be over 5 GW of offshore wind by the end of 2023.

In case there is some double counting, I’ll only say that wind power capacity could be near to 30 GW by December 2023, with perhaps another 3 GW by December 2024.

Other large wind farms in the future include.

  • Berwick Bank – 4100 MW – Commissioning 2028 expected
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Inch Cape Phase 1 – 1080 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Hornsea Three – 2800 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Moray West – 294 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Morgan and Mona – 3000 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Morven – 2900 MW – Commissioning for 2028 expected
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2027 expected
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1400 MW – Construction start planned for 2023
  • Sofia – 1400 MW – Commissioning 2026 expected

That is over 14 GW of wind power.

I should also take note of solar and onshore wind power detailed in this document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy that lists all the Contracts for Difference Allocation Round 4 results for the supply of zero-carbon electricity.

It gives these figures and dates.

  • Solar – 251 MW – Commissioning 2023/24 expected
  • Solar – 1958 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected
  • Onshore Wind – 888 MW – Commissioning 2024/25 expected

I can now build a yearly table of renewables likely to be commissioned in each year.

  • 2022 – 3193 MW
  • 2023 – 2275 MW
  • 2024 – 701 MW
  • 2025 – 5246 MW
  • 2026 – 2300 MW
  • 2027 – 6974 MW
  • 2028 – 11400 MW

Note.

  1. Where a double date has been given, I’m taking the latter date.
  2. I have assumed that Norfolk Vanguard will be commissioned in 2028.
  3. I have ignored Hinckley Point C, which should add 3.26 GW in mid-2027.
  4. I have only taken into account one of the Scotwind wind farms in Scotland, some of which could be commissioned by 2028.
  5. I have assumed that BP’s Mona, Morgan and Morven will all be commissioned by 2028.

This is a total of 32 GW or an average of nearly 5 GW per year.

Increasing Electricity Storage

Big schemes like the 1.5 GW/ 30 GWh Coire Glas and 600 MW Cruachan 2 will help, but with 32 GW of renewable energy to be installed before 2028 and energy prices rocketing, we need substantial energy storage in the next couple of years.

One feasible plan that has been put forward is that of Highview Power’s CEO; Rupert Pearce,, that I wrote about in Highview Power’s Plan To Add Energy Storage To The UK Power Network.

The plan is to build twenty of Highview Power’s CRYOBatteries around the country.

  • Each CRYOBattery will be able to store 30 GWh.
  • Each CRYOBattery will be one of the largest batteries in the world.
  • They will have three times the storage of the pumped storage hydroelectric power station at Dinorwig.
  • They will be able to supply 2.5 GW for twelve hours, which is more output than Sizewell B nuclear power station.

Note.

  1. The first 30 GWh CRYOBattery is planned to be operational by late 2024.
  2. 600 GWh distributed around the country would probably be sufficient.

I believe that as these batteries are made from standard proven components, they could be built fairly quickly.

Paying For The Energy Storage

This press release from Highview Power is entitled New Analysis Reveals Extent Of UK Renewable Energy Waste, which makes these three bullet points.

  • Enough renewable energy to power 500,000 homes a day wasted since the energy crisis began.
  • 8 out of 10 Britons want more investment in boosting Britain’s energy resilience.
  • UK spent £390 million turning off wind farms and using gas since September 2021.

Note.

  1. As the press release was published in July 2022, was the £390 million for ten months.
  2. Will this level of spend continue, as we’re not creating any electricity storage or building any factories that will start in a year or so, that will need large amounts of electricity?
  3. The Germans are at least building the NeuConnect interconnector between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven.
  4. As we’re adding up to 5 GW per year to our renewable energy systems, this problem will surely get worse and we’ll spend more money switching off wind turbines.

We have the money to build a very large amount of energy storage.

Improving The Control Algorithm

A better control algorithm would always help and politicians should only be allowed to set objectives.

Conclusion

There is a chance we’ll have an oversupply of electricity, but this will have effects in the UK.

  • Gas-fired power-stations will be retired from front-line service to produce electricity.
  • Some will question the need for nuclear power.
  • Gas may even be used selectively to provide carbon dioxide for agricultural, scientific and industrial processes.
  • Industries that need a lot of electricity may build factories in the UK.
  • We will have a large supply of green hydrogen.

But it should bring the price of electricity down.

 

September 5, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

New Proton Ceramic Reactor Stack For Highly Efficient Hydrogen Production And Carbon Capture In A Single Step

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Green Car Congress.

This is the opening paragraph.

A team of researchers from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences and SINTEF in Norway, and Universitat Politècnica de València in Spain, has demonstrated a 36-cell well-balanced proton ceramic reactor stack enabled by a new interconnect that achieves complete conversion of methane with more than 99% recovery to pressurized hydrogen, leaving a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide. The team has also demonstrated that the process can be scaled up for commercial application.

A paper has been published in the journal; Science.

I find this concept interesting for a number of reasons.

  • I’ve believed for some time, that applications, that need a good supply of pure carbon dioxide will be developed. One obvious use is feeding it to plants in large greenhouses, so we can have our CO2 and eat it!
  • 99 % is a very high efficiency.
  • Ammonia, natural gas or biogas can be used as a feedstock.

Coors were an Artemis user for project management and I had an enjoyable few days Golden, Colorado and at the Coors brewery, sometime in the 1980s.

  • It was then that I first heard of CoorsTek, who used to make ceramics for the US defence industry.
  • In those days, the beer was made to German brewing rules and was unpasteurised.
  • The beer had to be delivered to customers within a certain time, so long distance deliveries used trains.
  • Coors Brewing Company has since merged with Molson, but CoorsTek appears to be still owned by the Coors family.
  • I had taken a few small bottles of Adnams Broadside with me and one of their managers analysed one before drinking the rest of the bottle. He informed me that it was a felony to be in possession of such a strong beer in Colorado.

Coors were and probably still are in some ways not your average brewing company.

Coors News Item On Proton Ceramic Membranes For Hydrogen Production

This page on the CoorsTek web site, which is entitled Proton Ceramic Membranes For Hydrogen Production Published In ‘Science’, gives more details.

Conclusion

This technology could be massive.

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Food, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Have Good Contacts At Network Rail?

In the 1980s, I did some business with British Rail, as it then was.

I provided my Daisy software and they used it to analyse signal failures.

It led to a guy called J S Firth, writing a paper called Failure Recording And Analysis On British Rail.

He had the courtesy to send me a copy of the paper, which mentions SigTech, which appears to have been a business unit of the British Railways Board.

All my dealings with Firth and his colleagues were in person at an office block in front of Marylebone station, which is now a posh hotel.

And then, a few months ago, someone contacted me from Network Rail.

Apparently, his father had worked on the signal failure project with me and he was now working in Milton Keynes for Network Rail on a similar project.

He asked if I had a copy of the paper.

At the time, I didn’t, but today I had a small sort out and found a copy.

Unfortunately, I have now lost the piece of paper on which I wrote the guy’s details.

Does anybody have any ideas, how I can find the guy, who contacted me?

June 12, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Difficulty Looking At Pictures On The Blog

One reader of this blog, has informed me, that he’s started having difficulty looking at the pictures.

I haven’t changed anything in the production of this blog, but I do feel WordPress have done a recent upgrade.

If anybody has any problems, please tell me.

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Computing | , | 1 Comment

It’s Time We Used Cyber Dark Arts To Foil Putin

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times, which was written by Edward Lucas.

This is the first paragraph.

Breaking the Kremlin’s grip on the Russian people is the greatest national security priority of our lives. We cannot (or rather, will not) fight the Russian invaders in Ukraine. But we can fight inside Russia, using disruption and subversion to disable the war machine, ideally to the point that the country becomes ungovernable.

He suggests the following.

  • Russian speakers could sow doubt about the regime’s lies and brutalities.
  • Use the Russian diaspora to contact friends and relatives back home.
  • Build and unleash a psychological warfare arsenal against Putin’s cocktail of crimes, lies and secrecy.
  • Send condolences to family members for their losses in the war.
  • Prepare Nuremberg for war crimes trials.
  • Highlight the friendly treatment that Ukrainians give Russian deserters.
  • Use wit as a weapon.

Edward Lucas then talks about the antics of Sefton Delmer in World War II. Wikipeda says this about him.

During the war, he led a black propaganda campaign against Hitler by radio from England. It was so successful that Delmer was named in the Nazis’ Black Book for immediate arrest after their planned invasion of Britain.

I suspect he was very good at his job. Two of his weapons were.

Aspidistra, which was a 500 kW radio station.

A daily “grey” German-language newspaper titled Nachrichten für die Truppe (“News for the Troops”). These leaflets were delivered by the USAF.

Edward Lucas says that we should all read Delmer’s autobiography, which is called Black Boomerang, which is now out of print and difficult to find.

Wikipedia gives this explanation of Black Boomerang.

When fighting entered Germany itself, black propaganda was used to create an impression of an anti-Nazi resistance movement.

At the end of the war in Europe, Delmer advised his colleagues not to publicise the work they had been involved in, lest unrepentant Nazis claim (as had been the case after the First World War), that they had been defeated by unconscionable methods, rather than on the battlefield. Consequently, former Nazis were able to claim, without contradiction, that they had assisted the fictitious resistance movement; Delmer described this unintended consequence as a “black boomerang”

Edward Lucas suggests reprinting Black Boomerang.

If someone has a good clear copy, I could possibly arrange it.

Demoralising The Russians

Edward Lucas believes, we can use similar techniques to Delmer to attack the Russians.

But instead of using a massive radio, he proposes using the Internet and its various messaging apps.

I suspect with a bit of arm-twisting Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft et al, could produce a very good list of Russian Internet users.

It might be against the law, but who cares? It’s a war out there, we’re not using the information to physically hurt anybody or steal anything of value.

News For The Troops

I believe we can go one better than Sefton Delmer.

We are dealing with Russians invading and occupying Ukrainian territory, where many of the inhabitants can certainly read Russian.

So could we develop a truthful leaflet, that is delivered across Ukraine to both Russian Troops and the Ukrainian population?

Delivery would be primarily by the Internet, but why not deliver it by drone?

Delivery from say 5000 feet would distribute the leaflets over a wide area.

Could We Go Candy Bombing?

Gail Halvorsen, who died recently was known as the Candy Bomber.

This is the introduction to his Wikipedia entry.

Gail Seymour Halvorsen (October 10, 1920 – February 16, 2022) was a senior officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the “Berlin Candy Bomber” or “Uncle Wiggly Wings” and gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949.

I think, his actions could be copied in Ukraine.

Consider.

  • The Ukrainian people are starving in the occupied territories.
  • The Russian soldiers aren’t doing much better.
  • These days, we can supply nutrition bars instead of sweets.
  • Automated drones could deliver them safely from 5000 feet.
  • They could be flown on behalf of the Red Cross from over the border in Hungary, Moldova, Poland and Slovakia.

Organised properly, the Russians would have a problem.

  • If they let the drones through, the siege will be broken in a small way.
  • If they shoot them down, their soldiers won’t get the smallest snack and the Russians will be attacking the Red Cross.

We might lose a lot of drones, but eventually we’ll get the nutrition through, each wrapped in a large dollop of propaganda.

 

 

March 14, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Could Norfolk And Suffolk Be Powered By Offshore Wind?

This week this article on the BBC was published, which had a title of Government Pledges £100m For Sizewell Nuclear Site.

These are the first three paragraphs.

The government is putting up £100m to support the planned Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced.

The investment marks the latest stage in efforts to build the £20bn reactor on the east coast of England.

However, it does not commit the government to approving the project, which is still subject to negotiations.

My view of the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant is that of an engineer, who used to live within thirty minutes of the Sizewell site.

  • Hinckley Point C power station, which is currently being constructed, will have a nameplate capacity of 3.26 GW.
  • Sizewell C would probably be to a similar design and capacity to Hinckley Point C.
  • Sizewell C would likely be completed between 2033-2036.
  • Sizewell B is a 1250 MW station, which has a current closing date of 2035, that could be extended to 2055.
  • East Anglia and particularly the mega Freeport East, that will develop to the South at the Ports of Felixstowe and Harwich will need more electricity.
  • One of the needs of Freeport East will be a large supply of electricity to create hydrogen for the trains, trucks, ships and cargo handling equipment.
  • Sizewell is a large site, with an excellent connection to the National Grid, that marches as a giant pair of overhead cables across the Suffolk countryside to Ipswich.

But.

  • We still haven’t developed a comprehensive strategy for the management of nuclear waste in the UK. Like paying for the care of the elderly and road pricing, it is one of those problems, that successive governments have kept kicking down the road, as it is a big vote loser.
  • I was involved writing project management software for forty years and the building of large nuclear power plants is littered with time and cost overruns.
  • There wasn’t a labour problem with the building of Sizewell B, as engineers and workers were readily available. But with the development of Freeport East, I would be very surprised if Suffolk could provide enough labour for two mega-projects after Brexit.
  • Nuclear power plants use a lot of steel and concrete. The production of these currently create a lot of carbon dioxide.
  • There is also a large number of those objecting to the building of Sizewell C. It saddened me twenty-five years ago, that most of the most strident objectors, that I met, were second home owners, with no other connection to Suffolk.

The older I get, the more my experience says, that large nuclear power plants aren’t always a good idea.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

In Is Sizewell The Ideal Site For A Fleet Of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors?, I looked at building a fleet of small modular nuclear reactors at Sizewell, instead of Sizewell C.

I believe eight units would be needed in the fleet to produce the proposed 3.26 GW and advantages would include.

  • Less land use.
  • Less cost.
  • Less need for scarce labour.
  • Easier to finance.
  • Manufacturing modules in a factory should improve quality.
  • Electricity from the time of completion of unit 1.

But it would still be nuclear.

Wind In The Pipeline

Currently, these offshore wind farms around the East Anglian Coast are under construction, proposed or are in an exploratory phase.

  • East Anglia One – 714 MW – 2021 – Finishing Construction
  • East Anglia One North 800 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Two – 900 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • East Anglia Three – 1400 MW – 2026 – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Vanguard – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Norfolk Boreas – 1800 MW – Exploratory
  • Sheringham Shoal/Dudgeon Extension – 719 MW – Exploratory

Note.

  1. The date is the possible final commissioning date.
  2. I have no commissioning dates for the last three wind farms.
  3. The East Anglia wind farms are all part of the East Anglia Array.

These total up to 8.13 GW, which is in excess of the combined capacity of Sizewell B and the proposed Sizewell C, which is only 4.51 GW.

As it is likely, that by 2033, which is the earliest date, that Sizewell C will be completed, that the East Anglia Array will be substantially completed, I suspect that East Anglia will not run out of electricity.

But I do feel that to be sure, EdF should try hard to get the twenty year extension to Sizewell B.

The East Anglia Hub

ScottishPower Renewables are developing the East Anglia Array and this page on their web site, describes the East Anglia Hub.

This is the opening paragraph.

ScottishPower Renewables is proposing to construct its future offshore windfarms, East Anglia THREE, East Anglia TWO and East Anglia ONE North, as a new ‘East Anglia Hub’.

Note.

  1. These three wind farms will have a total capacity of 3.1 GW.
  2. East Anglia ONE is already in operation.
  3. Power is brought ashore at Bawdsey between Felixstowe and Sizewell.

I would assume that East Anglia Hub and East Anglia ONE will use the same connection.

Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard

These two wind farms will be to the East of Great Yarmouth.

This map from Vattenfall web site, shows the position of the two wind farms.

Note.

  1. Norfolk Boreas is outlined in blue.
  2. Norfolk Vanguard is outlined in orange.
  3. I assume the grey areas are where the cables will be laid.
  4. I estimate that the two farms are about fifty miles offshore.

This second map shows the landfall between Eccles-on-Sea and Happisburgh.

Note the underground cable goes half-way across Norfolk to Necton.

Electricity And Norfolk And Suffolk

This Google Map shows Norfolk and Suffolk.

Note.

  1. The red arrow in the North-West corner marks the Bicker Fen substation that connects to the Viking Link to Denmark.
  2. The East Anglia Array  connects to the grid at Bawdsey in the South-East corner of the map.
  3. Sizewell is South of Aldeburgh in the South-East corner of the map.
  4. The only ports are Lowestoft and Yarmouth in the East and Kings Lynn in the North-West.

There are few large towns or cities and little heavy industry.

  • Electricity usage could be lower than the UK average.
  • There are three small onshore wind farms in Norfolk and none in Suffolk.
  • There is virtually no high ground suitable for pumped storage.
  • There are lots of areas, where there are very few buildings to the square mile.

As I write this at around midday on a Saturday at the end of January, 49 % of electricity in Eastern England comes from wind, 20 % from nuclear and 8 % from solar. That last figure surprised me.

I believe that the wind developments I listed earlier could provide Norfolk and Suffolk with all the electricity they need.

The Use Of Batteries

Earlier, I talked of a maximum of over 7 GW of offshore wind around the cost of Norfolk and Suffolk, but there is still clear water in the sea to be filled between the existing and planned wind farms.

Batteries will become inevitable to smooth the gaps between the electricity produced and the electricity used.

Here are a few numbers.

  • East Anglian Offshore Wind Capacity – 8 GW
  • Off-Peak Hours – Midnight to 0700.
  • Typical Capacity Factor Of A Windfarm – 20 % but improving.
  • Overnight Electricity Produced at 20 % Capacity Factor – 11.2 GWh
  • Sizewell B Output – 1.25 GW
  • Proposed Sizewell C  Output – 3.26 GW
  • Largest Electrolyser – 24 MW
  • World’s Largest Lithium-Ion Battery at Moss Landing – 3 GWh
  • Storage at Electric Mountain – 9.1 GWh
  • Storage at Cruachan Power Station – 7.1 GWh

Just putting these large numbers in a table tells me that some serious mathematical modelling will need to be performed to size the batteries that will probably be needed in East Anglia.

In the 1970s, I was involved in three calculations of a similar nature.

  • In one, I sized the vessels for a proposed polypropylene plant for ICI.
  • In another for ICI, I sized an effluent treatment system for a chemical plant, using an analogue computer.
  • I also helped program an analysis of water resources in the South of England. So if you have a water shortage in your area caused by a wrong-sized reservoir, it could be my fault.

My rough estimate is that the East Anglian battery would need to be at least a few GWh and capable of supplying up to the output of Sizewell B.

It also doesn’t have to be a single battery. One solution would probably be to calculate what size battery is needed in the various towns and cities of East Anglia, to give everyone a stable and reliable power supply.

I could see a large battery built at Sizewell and smaller batteries all over Norfolk and Suffolk.

But why stop there? We probably need appropriately-sized batteries all over the UK, with very sophisticated control systems using artificial intelligent working out, where the electricity is best stored.

Note that in this post, by batteries, I’m using that in the loosest possible way. So the smaller ones could be lithium-ion and largest ones could be based on some of the more promising technologies that are under development.

  • Highview Power have an order for a 50 MW/500 MWh battery for Chile, that I wrote about in The Power Of Solar With A Large Battery.
  • East Anglia is an area, where digging deep holes is easy and some of Gravitricity’s ideas might suit.
  • I also think that eventually someone will come up with a method of storing energy using sea cliffs.

All these developments don’t require large amounts of land.

East Anglia Needs More Heavy Consumers Of Electricity

I am certainly coming to this conclusion.

Probably, the biggest use of electricity in East Anglia is the Port of Felixstowe, which will be expanding as it becomes Freeport East in partnership with the Port of Harwich.

One other obvious use could be in large data centres.

But East Anglia has never been known for industries that use a lot of electricity, like aluminium smelting.

Conversion To Hydrogen

Although the largest current electrolyser is only 24 MW, the UK’s major electrolyser builder; ITM Power, is talking of a manufacturing capacity of 5 GW per year, so don’t rule out conversion of excess electricity into hydrogen.

Conclusion

Who needs Sizewell C?

Perhaps as a replacement for Sizewell B, but it would appear there is no pressing urgency.

 

 

January 29, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Novac Djokovic Is Screwed, Glued And Tattooed By The BBC

This article on the BBC is entitled Novak Djokovic: Doubts Over Timing Of Covid Test.

This is the introductory paragraph.

BBC research has cast doubt on the timing of the positive Covid test Novak Djokovic used to enter Australia to try to compete in the Australian Open.

The BBC have done some impeccable research on the tests and their dates.

Read it, as nothing they did was difficult, once they had details of all the tests.

As my old company accountant would say.

Novac Djokovic Is Screwed, Glued And Tattooed.

But then the accountant had ways of making money and numbers talk and perform!

In my life, I’ve had three accountants as friends and all have shown me simple ways to detect fraud.

One even showed me how to dress up a spreadsheet, so that a banker would believe it. As he had been Chief Accountant of one the most famous names in British industry, I always wrote my software to his rules.

January 28, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Sport | , , , , | 8 Comments

Rolls-Royce Provide mtu Trigeneration Plant For Largest Data Centre In Romania

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on the Rolls Royce web site.

  • mtu Series 4000 gas generator sets to provide electricity, heat and cooling for ClusterPower’s Technology Campus in Craiova
    The completed campus will feature five data centers and provide a significant boost to the region’s global IT infrastructure competitiveness
  • Rolls-Royce, along with its distributor partner Knopf & Wallisch (K&W), has supplied three mtu customized and containerized combined cooling, heat and power plant (CCHP) trigeneration units to Romanian cloud service provider ClusterPower. They will be used for the efficient and sustainable energy supply at its new technology campus near the southern Romanian city of Craiova, where the IT company will open the largest data center in Romania.

The press release also says that trigeneration plants are hydrogen-ready.

The engines are gas engines, that can be converted to running on a mix of 25 % hydrogen and natural gas or eventually to pure hydrogen.

Conclusion

This would appear to be a neat way to sell the end customer an engine that can handle natural gas now and convert it over time to hydrogen.

January 14, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment