The Anonymous Widower

UK Company Introduces Robotic Ecosystem For Offshore Wind Farm Inspections

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

This is the sub-heading.

Marshall Futureworx, the venture building and advanced technologies arm of Marshall of Cambridge, has unveiled plans to provide offshore wind farm inspection services using a resident robotic ecosystem.

These two paragraphs outline the system.

Lilypad is an ecosystem of multiple autonomous BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) which utilise artificial intelligence and navigational sensors to provide dynamic and on-demand offshore inspection services, Marshall Futureworx said.

The UAVs are deployed from dedicated offshore charging stations and monitored by a single remote pilot stationed in an onshore command and control centre. Inspection data and reports are then transmitted back to the wind farm operators, which is said to enable faster, more frequent, reliable, and predictive maintenance scheduling and more effective utilisation of assets.

I can think of lots of uses for a system like this.

March 10, 2023 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birth Of A Station

Thanet Parkway station is under construction and should be opened in May next year.

Work is progressing as this Google Map shows.


  1. The A299 goes across the top of the map.
  2. The Ashford – Canterbury – Ramsgate Line runs diagonally from South-West to North-East across the map.
  3. Ashford and Canterbury are to the South-West.
  4. Ramsgate is to the North-East.

The new Thanet Parkway station appears to be being built on the triangular site between the A299 and the railway.

  • There appear to be two entrances/exits to the station from the A299.
  • The pedestrian bridge over the railway is under construction.
  • The roads and walkways around the station are being laid.

This video gives more details of the station.

Parking At Thanet Parkway

According to the video, there are nearly three hundred parking spaces, with a number of disabled spaces and spaces with charging for electric cars.

Is that going to be enough spaces?

But at least, there may be fields around the station, that could be used to provide additional parking.

Richborough Energy Park

This Google Map shows the area around the station and to the South towards Richborough.


  1. The under-construction Thanet Parkway station is in the North-East corner of this map to the West of the village of Cliffsend.
  2. The dual-carriageway of the A256 runs North-South down the map to a roundabout.
  3. To the West of the roundabout is Richborough Energy Park.

This Google Map shows the are round the energy park and the roundabout in more detail.


  1. The Richborough substation in the South-West corner of the map.
  2. The Richborough Energy Park sits to the East of the substation.
  3. The solar panels to the North of the roundabout are the 4.9 MW Ebbsfleet Solar Farm, which is part of Richborough Energy Park.

Richborough Energy Park is an ongoing project.

The national grid interconnector from the original power station is still in place, and is now the grid link for the 300 MW offshore Thanet Wind Farm.

It is the terminal for the NemoLink interconnector to Belgium.

Wikipedia says this about future plans.

The current owner of the site, BFL Management Ltd, plan to bring the site back into use as a £750 million green energy park. There are additional plans to create additional recycling and green energy facilities on site, including an anaerobic digester, a waste processing plant, a biomass combined heat and power generator, a pyrolysis plant and a peak demand 30MW diesel generator. When fully operational, the park could provide up to 1,400MW of power, employing 100 full-time equivalent, with up to 500 jobs in the construction phase.

I am surprised, that there is no mention of batteries or energy storage.



This press release from Network Rail is entitled Charge While You Travel With New Electric Vehicle Charging Points At Network Rail Stations.

This the body of the press release

Rail passengers with electric vehicles will be able to charge while they travel thanks to the introduction of 450 new electric vehicle charging points at Network Rail-managed car parks at railway stations.

The charging points, powered by guaranteed renewable energy, provide enough power to fully charge a vehicle in as little as 3-4 hours.

In this phase, Network Rail has powered: 160 charging points in Reading, 111 in Manchester, 84 in Edinburgh, 56 at Leeds and 41 in Welwyn Garden City.

Electric vehicle charging points will be installed across 10% of car parking spaces (approximately 779 spaces) at car parks managed by Network Rail by March 2024.

Rail is already the leading form of green public transport and this marks another milestone in Network Rail’s commitment to a low-emission railway – making sure rail is environmentally-friendly, resilient to climate change and able to provide an excellent service for years to come.

The new Compleo charging points are marked with green parking bays and passengers can pay for what they need quickly and easily via the APCOA Connect app.

Note, that there is no mention, if these are Vehicle-to Grid (V2G) chargers.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I stated my belief that car parks, with hundreds or even thousands of vehicles could be turned into giant grid batteries.

  • All electric vehicles, when they are parked would be plugged in to V2G chargers.
  • The vehicle and the grid, would know your expected return time and how much power you would need. Probably from a parking app, assisted by AI!
  • If the grid borrowed your electricity, whilst you were away, you wouldn’t know, until you received the payment for the loan.
  • If your car runs on hydrogen, the parking could also handle the battery, that all hydrogen-powered vehicles have.

Thanet Parkway station would be an ideal station for such a parking system for electric vehicles.


July 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amp Wins Consent For 800MW Scots Battery Complex

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Canadian storage player Amp Energy has revealed that its 800MW battery portfolio in Scotland has secured planning consent.

The portfolio is due to be operational in April 2024 and will comprise two 400MW battery facilities, each providing 800 megawatt-hours of energy storage capacity.

Some other points from the article.

  • The two facilities will be located at Hunterston and Kincardine.
  • They will be the two  largest grid-connected battery storage facilities in Europe.
  • The two batteries will be optimised by Amp Energy‘s proprietary software.

This Google Map shows the Hunterston area.


  1. The Hunterston A and Hunterston B nuclear power stations, which are both being decommissioned.
  2. Hunterston B only shut down on the 7th of January, this year.
  3. There is also a large brownfield site in the North-East corner of the map.

This second Google Map shows the South-East corner of the nuclear power station site.

It’s certainly got a good grid connection.

But then it had to support.

  • The Hunterston A nuclear power station rated at 360 MW.
  • The Hunterston B nuclear power station rated at 1.2 GW.
  • The Western HVDC Link, which is an interconnector to Connah’s Quay in North Wales, that is rated at 2.2 GW.

I’m sure that National Grid has a suitable socket for a 400 MW battery.

This Google Map shows the Kincardine area.


  1. The Clackmannanshire Bridge down the Western side of the map.
  2. The Kincardine Substation to the East of the bridge close to the shore of the River Forth.
  3. The 760 MW Kincardine power station used to be by the substation, but was demolished by 2001.

As at Hunterston, I’m sure that National Grid could find a suitable socket for a 400 MW battery.

Amp Energy’s Philosophy

As a trained Control Engineer I like it.

  • Find a well-connected site, that can handle upwards of 400 MW in and out.
  • Put in a 800 MWh battery, that can handle 400 MW in and out.
  • Optimise the battery, so that it stores and supplies electricity as appropriate.
  • Throw in a bit of artificial intelligence.

Old power station sites would seem an ideal place to site a battery. Especially, as many demolished coal, gas and nuclear stations are around 400-600 MW.

It should be noted that Highview Power are building a 50 MW/400 MWh CRYOBattery on an old coal-fired power station site in Vermont.

The Western HVDC Link

I mentioned earlier that the Northern end of the Western HVDC Link, is at Hunterston.

The Wikipedia entry for the Western HVDC Link, says this about the link.

The Western HVDC Link is a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) undersea electrical link in the United Kingdom, between Hunterston in Western Scotland and Flintshire Bridge (Connah’s Quay) in North Wales, routed to the west of the Isle of Man.[2] It has a transmission capacity of 2,250 MW and became fully operational in 2019.

The link is 262 miles long.

This Google Map shows the Connah’s Quay area in North Wales.


  1. The red arrow indicates the Flintshire Bridge HVDC converter station, which is the Southern end of the Western HVDC Link.
  2. The Borderlands Line between Liverpool and Chester, runs North-South to the East of the convertor station.
  3. To the East of the railway are two solar farms. The Northern one is Shotwick Solar Park, which at 72 MW is the largest solar farm in the UK.
  4. To the West of the converter station, just to the East of the A 548 road, is the 498 MW Deeside power station.
  5. Follow the A548 road to the West and over the River Dee, the road passes South of the 1420 MW Connah’s Quay Power station.
  6. The two power stations burn gas from Liverpool Bay.
  7. There are a lot of wind turbines along the North Wales Coast and Liverpool Bay.

The map also shows a lot of high electricity users like Tata Steel.

I can certainly see why the Western HVDC Link was built to connect Scotland and North Wales.

  • There is a lot of renewable energy generation at both ends.
  • There are heavy electricity users at both ends.
  • The Scottish Central Belt is at the North.
  • Greater Merseyside is at the South.

The Western HVDC Link is an electricity by-pass, that must have avoided expensive and controversial construction on land.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 400 MW/800 MWh battery at the Southern end.


The Canadians seem to have bagged two of the best battery sites in Europe.

  • Both sites would appear to be able to handle 400 MW, based on past capabilities.
  • There is lots of space and extra and/or bigger batteries can probably be connected.
  • Scotland is developing several GW of wind power.

I can see Amp Energy building a series of these 400 MW sites in the UK and around Europe.

This is the big news of the day!


January 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Foot Crossing Obstacle Detection Using AI

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Seibu Railway is to start testing a newly-developed AI-assisted warning system for detecting obstacles on foot crossings at two stations on the Ikebukuro Line in the suburbs of Tokyo.

The article is a detailed description of how the Japanese are using technology to make foot crossing a lot safer.

I can see applications for this technology not just on the rail system, but in other situations as well.



January 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Inner Eye AI Identifies Tumours To Speed Up Treatment Of Cancer

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A hospital in Cambridge is the first to use artificial intelligence technology developed by Microsoft to treat cancer patients faster, helping to cut the treatment backlog and save lives.

There is only one NHS hospital in Cambridge and that is Addenbrooke’s, who probably saved my life, by diagnosing me as coeliac in 1997.

This paragraph explains the development of the software and how it will be deployed across the NHS.

Inner Eye is the result of an eight-year project with Microsoft and Addenbrooke’s and is being introduced in other NHS trusts. It is easy to access and free to use. When the AI tool is in place, hospitals will be able to use their own data to improve accuracy.

This paragraph sums up the usefulness of the system.

Pat Price, a professor at Imperial College London and chairwoman of Action Radiotherapy, a charity, said: “This is just one brilliant example of the quiet but amazing technological revolution that has unfolded in radiotherapy in recent years and could dramatically improve cancer survival rates.”

It really is amazing how since my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, treatment of cancer has improved.

I can envisage a time, when a rare cancer like that, which killed her in three months, will be survivable!

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leaves On The line? AI Signals End To Commuters’ Train Pain

The title of this article is the same as that of an article, that was on the front page of yesterday’s copy of The Times.

It talks about a system being developed by Hack Partners, that uses a camera to record lineside trees and then a computer using AI directs tree cutting gangs to the right places.

This is one of several systems that are to be funded by the Government. This paragraph summarised the grants.

The DfT and Innovate UK, the government’s technology agency, will announce today that up to £7.8 million is being invested in 24 trials of projects to boost performance on the railway. Each will receive between £250,000 and £350,000.

I particularly like a system from a Dutch company called 4Silence, which is designed to cut the noise of trains, which is described like this.

other schemes being funded include a noise barrier only 1m high topped by a steel grid, developed by the Dutch company 4Silence, which can deflect the sound of passing trains, improving the quality of life for residents near by.

I wonder what percentage of these trials will be winners.

I hope those who judge the success of these schemes, except that not all innovation succeeds.

June 14, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Phone Call Cuts Hospital Readmissions

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on page 18 of today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

A single phone call to an older patient who has been discharged from hospital can almost halve the odds of readmission, research suggests.

I have mined health-care data in the past several times and often something simple drops out from a simple analysis.

Some analyses produce the obvious like you gets lots of leg injuries on Saturday afternoons, due to football being played.

I also believe that analysis of health data in an area could pick up more sinister links.

This could be picked up by artificial intelligence scanning the various databases, but until such systems are fully developed, a lot can be picked up by analysts using simple tools. Even Excel can find a lot of problems, if used properly.


June 14, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Open Banking

Open Banking – Not for me.

But as a retired world-class programmer, I can envisage an AI-based computer system, that you can run on your laptop to guide your financial decisions!

In my lifetime, I have come across various pieces of financial advice, that proved to be totally crap.

For a start, I’ve met at least four people, who used the strength of the Icelandic banking system to lose all their savings.

Every financial expert told me not to touch Zopa. But it has paid me five percent before tax on my savings for ten years.

There’s an old City joke.

The best way to make a small fortune is to give a large one to a financial adviser.

Many a true word was spoken in jest.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Computing, Finance, World | , | 2 Comments