The Anonymous Widower

Highview Power To Build Europe’s Largest Battery Storage System

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on The Chemical Engineer.

This is the first two paragraphs.

HighView Power, the designer and developer of the CRYOBattery, is to build what it claims will be Europe’s largest battery storage system, in the North of England. The project will also be the UK’s first commercial cryogenic energy storage facility at large scale.

The 50 MW/250 MWh clean energy storage facility could help the UK to achieve its goal of decarbonising industry, heat, power, and transport, as CRYOBattery emits zero emissions and could dramatically contribute to emissions savings compared to fossil fuel plants.

I spent long hours in my past modelling chemical plants and processes for ICI and my experience tells me, that this could be the Holy Grail of energy storage.

Consider.

  • All of the technology needed is proven and much would have been understood, by Victorian collossi like Brunel, Kelvin and Reynolds.
  • There are no expensive rare earths, chemicals or explosive gases.
  • The system is scalable.
  • There is no combustion and no emissions.
  • The system can be built on any suitable site, thus opening up the possibility of distributed energy storage.
  • Once the technology is working, this type of system, will be an ideal investment for a Pension Fund or Insurance Company, to get a good long-term return

I can see systems able to store a GWh of electricity being built, that can supply 200 MW of power for five hours.

I also feel non-battery storage like this and mechanical will make chemical batteries redundant for mass energy storage for grid applications.

After all, there’s only so much lithium and other important chemicals and that will be needed for energy storage in transport, like buses, trains and planes.

The Amount Of Energy Storage Needed In The UK

This is also a paragraph from the article.

According to early findings of the Storage and Flexibility Model (SFM) launched by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels by 2050 the UK would need nearly 1,400 GWh of electric and thermal storage volume.

1,400 GWh of electricity storage is a very large amount. It would probably need a large proportion of all the lithium in the world, if conventional batteries were used. Highview will need none.

When you consider that the largest energy storage facility in the UK is Electric Mountain, which can only handle 9.1 GWh, building the 1,400 GWh of energy storage will be a massive undertaking.

But building perhaps a hundred or two of larger versions of this type of system and distributing them all over the UK might be a very practical way of providing the energy storage.

Provided the UK economy is good with a healthy City of London, these systems should be easy to fund, as they are the sort of investment, that provides an adequate long-term return, that is ideal to fund pensions and insurance.

 

 

 

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment

Nightjet Plans Mini-Capsules For Private Travellers

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

I think they look rather good and they will surely appeal to Japanese tourists.

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Opinion: Why Aviation Needs to Go Green, and How

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Aeronautics Online.

Read the article and especially what it says about the Wright Electric Jet.

This is a paragraph from Wikipedia, talking about co-operation between Wright Electric and easyJet.

In September 2017, UK budget carrier EasyJet announced it was developing an electric 180-seater for 2027 with Wright Electric. Wright Electric built a two-seat proof-of-concept with 272kg (600lb) of batteries, and believes that batteries can be scaled up with substantially lighter new battery chemistries: a 291 nautical mile (540km) range would suffice for 20% of Easyjet passengers. Wright Electric plans to develop a 10-seater and eventually an at least 120 passengers single-aisle, short-haul airliner and targets 50% lower noise and 10% lower costs.

I would assume, that the plane also emits a lot less CO2 and other pollutants.

I would assume that the plane will be built by using the best of these technologies.

  • Aerodynamics
  • Lightweight structures
  • Electric Motors
  • Batteries
  • Electronics and avionics.

But I also believe that designing an electric aircraft could be a very different process to a conventional one.

There Is No Fuel

Consider.

  • Fuel is a high proportion of the weight of an airliner on take-off.
  • There are a lot of complicated systems to pump fuel to the engines and also from tank to tank to trim or balance the aircraft
  • When a conventional airliner takes off, it is much heavier than when it lands, as fuel has been burned.
  • Fuel is dangerous in a heavy landing or crash.

On the other hand, I’m fairly certain, that empty batteries and full ones weigh the same.

This would mean, that the plane aerodynamics and structure,  would be designed to be optimal in the various phases of flight.

  • Taxiing out to the runway.
  • Taking off.
  • The climb to the cruising altitude.
  • The cruise
  • The descent to the destination airport.
  • The landing
  • Taxiing in to the terminal or stand.

In the climb, cruise and descent  phases power would be set and the trim adjusted, by the autopilot to attain the right speed and rate of climb or descent.

Aerodynamics

As the weight of the aircraft would be the same in all three phases and would need more or less the same lift, with clever aerodynamics, I think we will see a very simple wing. In fact, probably more like that of a sailplane than an airliner.

Wikipedia says this about the design.

The aircraft is to run on batteries and handle flights of under 300 miles. It will feature high aspect-ratio wings for energy efficient flight, distributed electric propulsion and swappable battery packs with advanced cell chemistry.

Note that sailplanes have high aspect ratio wings.

Compared to say a small jet airliner like an Airbus A318, I suspect that the wings will be longer, but possibly simpler.

The Wright Electric Jet will probably have various aerodynamic aids, like flaps and winglets. In fact the picture on Wikipedia shows the latter, which reduce drag.

A Simple Flight Profile

The fastest way to fly between A and B is probably to take off and climb as fast as possible to the optimum cruising altitude, where an optimum cruise is maintained, until the time comes to descend into the destination airport. Much of the descent would be straight in to the runway.

I have flown in an easyJet Airbus 320 from Schipol to Southend in much this manner and the plane arrived ahead of schedule.

I suspect that easyJet like to fly like this, as it saves fuel, but Air Traffic Control probably doesn’t allow it that often.

But simple efficient profiles like this would be ideal for electric aircraft.

If as I suspect their aerodynamics would allow a better glide ratio than a jet powered airliner. So to get a longer range, an electric aircraft might do a long approach.

A Low Noise Aircraft

As I said earlier, Wright are talking about fifty percent less noise.

This could be a game-changer for a smaller airport like Luton or Southend, where the approach can be over residential areas.

Especially for Southend, where planes from the East could do a long descent over the sea and come straight in on Runway 23.

Could Southend become London’s short-haul airport for electric aircraft?

  • easyJet and Ryanair are already there.
  • There’s plenty of wind power in the area
  • It has a good rail connection to London and could be served by Crossrail.

Essex is a county that likes to be different.

Airbus

The original article also mentions Airbus.

Airbus has the skills to design the required light and strong airframe, the aerodynamic knowledge.and a large support network.

They also have a lot to lose, if someone else takes away, the smaller part of their masrket.

Ignore Airbus at your peril.

Conclusion

The more I think about it, the more that I think a 120 passenger electric airliner with a range of 540 km, could be a very handy plane.

 

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rail Operator Avanti West Coast To Offer Three Classes Of Travel

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

This is the first two introductory paragraphs.

Three travel classes will be available on a domestic UK railway line for the first time in more than 60 years.

Avanti West Coast, which has replaced Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line, will offer premium economy as well as standard and first-class seats.

I always use the middle-class on Eurostar and regularly use a Weekend First upgrade, so it could be that this middle-class ticket will be useful for me.

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | | 2 Comments

Crossrail And Stratford Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the tangle of lines at Stratford station.

Note Maryland station in the North-East corner of the map.

  • The black lines and platforms are the fast lines
  • The blue lines and platforms are the slow lines used by Crossrail.

The Crossrail lines then curve round through Stratford calling in the following platforms.

  • Platform 5 for London-bound services.
  • Platform 8 for Essex-bound services.

Each Crossrail track is paired with a Central Line track, which are shown in red, in the same direction on an island platform.

These pictures show coming and going on the London-bound island.

Unfortunately, there were only old Class 315 trains running, when I took the pictures.

The layout used at Stratford is rarely used elewhere. Especially, as the layout  dates from probably the 1940s.

 

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Walk Along Shaftesbury Avenue

These are some pictures I took as I walked up Shaftesbury Avenue at around lunchtime.

This is a summary of what I saw and my views.

  • I only saw one electric vehicle; a black taxi.
  • It was a horrendous collection of diesel trucks and vans. And an ambulance!
  • As someone, who suffers in polluted air, I say two words – Stop It!
  • All deliveries should be done at night!
  • No vehicle should be allowed through unless it is zero carbon.

Note the lack of private cars and I only saw a couple of buses, both of which were New Routemasters.

Conclusion

Shaftesbury Avenue is the heart of London’s Theatreland. And a downright disgrace!

I am lucky, in that if I want to go, I walk round the corner from my house and get a 38 bus direct to the Avenue.

But look at any map and you’ll see there is no Underground station in the area and you have to walk from Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road stations.

Crossrail 2 has a plan to build a station in the area, but as it would involve demolishing the Curzon Cinema, all the usual suspects are against that plan. They were also against the demolition of a theatre at the site of the expanded Tottenham Court Road station. Crossrail are doing the obvious and building a new bigger one!

Surely, the same thing would work for Crossrail 2!

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail And Ealing Broadway Station

This map from carto.metro.free.fr shows the track layout at Ealing Broadway station.

These are lines from North to South through the station.

  • The lines shown in green are the District Line, which terminates in platforms 9, 8 and 7.
  • The lines shown in red are the Central Line, which terminates in platforms 6 and 5.
  • The lines shown in dark blue are the slow lines through platforms 4 and 3, which carry Crossrail and other slow services. Platform 4 is the London-bound platform.
  • The lines shown in black are the fast lines through platforms 2 and 1, which carry all fast services. Platform 2 is the London-bound platform.

These are my thoughts on the layout.

Eastbound Crossrail Trains

Passengers travelling East on Crossrail, will be able to walk across from Platform 4 to any of the terminal platforms numbered 5 to 9, for the Central and District Lines.

This picture taken from a London-bound train in Platform 4 shows a Central Line train in Platform 5.

They are only a short walk apart and passengers who are changing trains will probably position themselves in the rear of the Crossrail train.

Passengers entering the station will just walk across to Platform 4 to use Crossrail to Central London and beyond.

I doubt there will be many passengers arriving on the Central and District Lines, who will want to go back on themselves to Central London. If say they lived near a station between West Acton and Marble Arch, and wanted to go East on Crossrail, they’d probably change between the Central Line and Crossrail at Bond Street station.

Westbound Crossrail Trains

Passengers needing to access the Westbound Crossrail trains in Platform 3, will have to use the bridge over the slow lines carrying Crossrail.

Because of the multiple interchanges between the Central Line and Crossrail, depending on where you join the Central Line, you will probably change to Westbound Crossrail trains at different points.

  • Start a journey between West Acton and Marble Arch and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Ealing Broadway.
  • Start a journey at Oxford Circus and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Bond Street.
  • Start a journey between Bank and Holborn and you’ll probably change to the Westbound Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road.
  • East of Bank, there are two interchanges at Liverpool Street and Stratford.

It is very much a ducker and diver’s paradise.

Escalators And Lifts Could Be Needed At Ealing Broadway Station

There could be quite a number of passengers needing to cross to and from Platform 3, who will mainly be in two categories.

  • Westbound passengers leaving the station.
  • Westbound passengers arriving on the Central and District Lines wanting to continue West on Crossrail.

In addition, there will be a large number of passengers entering the station, wanting to catch trains to Central London.

To cater for these passenger flows, there must be a full set of up-and-down escalators and lifts for the following.

  • Platforms 4 to 9 in the main station.
  • Platform 3 on the Westbound slow line for Crossrail and other slow services.

Wikipedia says four lifts will be added.

It should be noted, that Dlston Junction station handles similar numbers of passengers to Ealing Broadway with one lift and one wide double staircase.

Escalators would future proof the station for more services.

Will District Line Services Be Replaced By Piccadilly Line Services?

There are rumours, that the District Line services at Ealing Broadway station will be replaced by Piccadilly Line services.

Reportedly, this will do the following.

  • Allow frequency increases on the District Line to Richmond and Wimbledon.
  • Allow a frequency increase on the core section of the Piccadilly Line.

Consider

  • Whatever service uses Ealing Broadway will have little effect on the operation of the station.
  • Acton Town, Hammersmith, Barons Court, Earl’s Court, Gloucester Road and South Kensington stations are all served by both the District and Piccadilly Lines.
  • The Piccadilly Line could be an alternative to Crossrail 2 between Green Park and Kings Cross.
  • The Piccadilly Line will have new high-capacity trains in a few years.

Will the change, which means the Piccadilly Line has a capacity increase, allow Crossrail 2 to be delayed by a couple of years?

  • This would ease, Transport for London’s cash flow.
  • It might also allow a better plan for building Crossrail 2

It will be interesting to see the full details of the swapping of lines.

December 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Cuckoo In The Nest

Look at these pictures of the passenger doors on Hitachi Class 802 trains, InterCity 125 trains and Mark 3 coaches.

All are single end doors at the two ends of the car.

But look at this pair of doors on one of Greater Anglia’s new Class 745 trains.

The doors are in the middle of the car.

  • Each car is only twenty metres long, as opposed to the twenty-six metres of a Class 802 train.
  • The pictures don’t show if the trains are fully walk-through.
  • They are also step-free between train and platform, which can’t be said for many trains.

I can’t wait to have a ride, which will hopefully be in a few weeks.

This is the comparison between a twelve-car Class 745 train and a nine-car Class 802 trains.

  • The Class 745 train is 237 metres long, and the Class 802 train is 225 metres long.
  • The Class 745 train has 757 seats and the Class 802 train has 647 seats.
  • The Class 745 train has 3.2 seats per metre and the Class 803 train has 2.9 seats per metre.
  • The pair of double doors on a Class 745 train will have to unload 64 passengers, when a full train arrives in Liverpool Street
  • The Class 745 train is step-free between train and platform, so buggies, baggage and wheel-chairs can be wheeled out.
  • The pair of single doors at each end of the car on a Class 802 train will have to handle 75 passengers, when a full train arrives at the destination.
  • The Class 902 train is not step-free between train and platform, so buggies, baggage and wheel-chairs will have to be lifted out!
  • The Class 745 trains running between Liverpool Street and Norwich via Ipswich will have a buffet.

Will the Stadler trains load and unload quicker than the various Hitachi trains?

 

December 8, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

New Trains For West Coast Will Be Built By Hitachi

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

With the new Franchise; Avanti West Coast, starting services in a few days, more detail is starting to be added to their plans.

New Trains

This is said about the new trains to be added to the fleet.

Hitachi is to build 23 new trains for the West Coast Partnership, with the aim of having them in service by 2022.

The fleet will consist of 10 seven-car electric units and 13 five-car bi-mode units, and will be based on Hitachi’s existing Intercity Express models.

These are my thoughts about the trains.

Routes

According to Wikipedia, the bi-mode trains will be used from Euston to Chester, Gobowen, Holyhead, Llandudno and Shrewsbury and the electric trains will be used from Euston to Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool.

In Service Date

The Railnews article and a very similar one in Rail Magazine say that the trains will enter service by or around 2022.

This probably means that they will be built after the Class 804 trains for East Midlands Railway.

Comparison With Class 804 Trains

It has been stated that the Class 804 trains will have the following. characteristics.

  • Twenty-four metre long cars, as opposed to twenty-six metres of a Class 802 train.
  • Four diesel engines in a five-car train, instead of three in a Class 802 train.
  • They will have a reprofiled nose.

They can be considered to be the Mark 2 version of Hitachi’s Intercity Express.

The car length for the Avanti West Coast trains has been specified at twenty-six metres, which is two metres longer than that of the current Class 390 trains on the West Coast Main Line,

So will Avanti West Coast’s trains be based on the Mark 2 version?. It’s logical, that they will.

Performance

The trains for Avanti West Coast will need to keep up with the Class 390 trains, which have the advantage of tilt.

The Railnews article says this about performance.

Although the new trains will not have tilt equipment, their superior acceleration should compensate for slightly slower speeds on some sections of line.

I think that the removal of tilt equipment could be a good thing.

  • Removal could reduce the weight of the train, which would result in increased acceleration.
  • Does tilting reduce the ride quality?
  • Of all the express trains on the UK network, the Class 390 trains, are the ones I avoid because the trains are cramped and so many seats have a bad view.. Is this caused by incorporating tilting or by crap design?

I also wonder if the reprofiled nose will improve the aerodynamics of the new trains for both the East Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast.

Better aerodynamics would help during a high-speed cruise.

Train Length

Class 390 trains have two car lengths.

  • An intermediate car is 23.9 metres
  • A driving car is 25.1 metres

This means the following.

  • A nine-car Class 390/0 train is 217.5 metres long.
  • An eleven-car Class 390/1 train is 265.3 metres long.

If the Hitachi trains have seven twenty-six metre cars, then they are 182 metres long or 35.5 metres shorter.

I find that surprising, but it does mean they fit shorter platforms. Is this needed for new destinations like Walsall?

Seating Capacity

The Railnews says this about seating.

There will more seats, because a seven-car train will have 453 and five-car sets will have 301. First said the seven-car version will have about the same number of seats as a nine-car Pendolino, because each IET vehicle is longer, at 26m

Seating on current trains is as follows.

  • A nine-car Class 390 train seats 463 passengers.
  • A five-car Class 221 train seats 250 passengers.

It would appear that the bi-mode trains seat another fifty-one passengers, than the trains they are replacing, which must be good for the routes to Chester, Shrewsbury and North Wales.

As the seven car trains are not replacing any other trains, Aventi West Coast will have n increase in capacity.

Adding up the numbers, it appears that the Avanti West Coast fleet will have three more trains and 3443 more seats.

If they should need more cars or trains, Avanti West Coast should be able to buy them easily.

Out of curiosity, how many passengers could be seated in an Hitachi train, that is the same length as an eleven-car Class 390/1 train.

As this train is 265 metres, a ten-car Hitachi train would be almost the same length.

Assuming the same passenger density as the seven-car trains, a ten-car train would have 647 seats. The current Class 390/1 train has 589 seats, so there would be an increase of sixty seats.

Train Finance

The trains are financed by Rock Rail West Coast; a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments.

If your pension is with Aberdeen Standard, you may ultimately own a seat or a door handle on these trains, as pension funds find trains a good way of turning pension contributions into the long-term pension, we’ll hopefully all need.

Nationalisation of the trains themselves would probably blow a hole in a lot of pension pots.

Food Offering

The Railnews article says this about food.

The details of catering on board have yet to be finalised, but Railnews has learned that there will be a buffet counter as well as trolley services, and that one of the main food suppliers will be Marks and Spencer.

Over the last couple of years, a food war seems to have developed between Virgin and LNER and as a coeliac, I’ve noticed an improvement in gluten-free food.

Marks and Spencer have done a deal with British Airways, so surely a deal with a train company must fit that model.

  • M & S already deliver to shops in most of Avanti West Coast’s destinations.
  • M & S are one of the best on getting allergies correct.
  • M & S are one of the UK’s most trusted brands.

FirstGroup, who are a seventy percent sharewholder in Avanti West Coast, might like to roll this food model out in their other rail franchises; Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and the future East Coast Trains.

Hull

Hull station is an interesting case, although it has nothing to do with Avanti West Coast.

  • It is a major terminus for Hull Trains and TransPennine Express.
  • Hull Trains market themselves as a quality local train service to and from London.
  • Hull station does not have a M & S Simply Food.
  • M & S are closing their main store in Hull.
  • There are reportedly spare units in the large Hull station.

A well-designed M & S food hub in Hull station could be of great benefit to both FirstGroup and M & S.

Conclusion

Hitachi seem to be able to manipulate the train length to give customers the capacity they want.

But that is good design.

 

 

 

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Massive Increase In Train Capacity In Ten Years

The Class 378 trains, were introduced as three-car trains on the North London Line in July 2009.

The original service was three trains per hour (tph) between Stratford and both Clapham Junction and Richmond stations.

This meant there were six tph between Stratford and Willesden Junction stations.

Or a capacity of eighteen carriages per hour!

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled UK Railway News Round-Up.

This is an extract.

From December 15 services between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction, and between Willesden Junction and Richmond, will increase from four to five trains/h, giving a 10 trains/h service between Willesden Junction and Stratford.

As the trains are now five-cars, that is a capacity of fifty carriages per hour.

That is an increase of a hundred and eighty percent over ten years.

I suspect, they’ll still be full in the Peak!

December 6, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment