The Anonymous Widower

RWE Looking for Innovators To Boost UK’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain

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

RWE appear to be looking for innovators in three areas.

  • Autonomous solutions and the best way to integrate them into wind farm site investigations, construction, and operations and maintenance (O&M) is the first challenge for which RWE is looking for responses.
  • The second challenge is about solutions to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of offshore wind farm construction and operations on birds.
  • The last challenge focuses on ideas and innovations in cable monitoring and protection, aiming to secure a reduction in offshore wind farm cable failures.

As sums of around £25,000 are talked about in the article, it could be worth applying, if you have a relevant idea.

Is it slightly flattering to the UK’s skills, that a German company is backing British innovation?

But then I was involved in a British invention, which was also backed by the Germans and made me a reasonable amount of money.

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Birds And Offshore Renewable Energy

I have worried about this for some time, as die-hard wind farm opponents use birds being scythed to pieces in wind farms as an emotional reason for not building wind farms.

I searched the Internet and found this academic report from the University of Rhode Island, which is entitled How Are Birds Affected by the Block Island Wind Farm and How Do They Interact With the Wind Turbines?.

Note.

  1. Block Island Wind Farm is a mildly controversial 30 MW wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.
  2. Block Island wind farm is the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States.

The report gives three ways about how birds interact with wind farms.

Birds Fly Out Of The Way

First, many birds do not experience any interaction with the turbines at all as they fly either at a higher altitude or closer to the shore than the turbines’ locations.

Wind Farms Become A Food Source

The second interaction between birds and offshore wind turbines is a positive one that has been documented throughout Europe; but, with only the Block Island Wind Farm, it is too early to document in the United States. Researchers have found that the base of a wind turbine can create artificial reefs that act as an attractive site to both fish and shellfish. These artificial reefs provide a feeding ground for certain species of birds as the turbines essentially become a central habitat for many bird species’ prey.

Displacement Of The Birds

The final interaction that birds have with offshore wind turbines is displacement. This primary negative effect is experienced when wind turbines are constructed in areas that birds would naturally like to be; but, due to the structures, no longer have access to. To put it simply, he says, “if you put the turbines where the birds want to be, you take away these areas from the birds”.

Conclusion

It appears to me, that if you are putting up wind farms, whether they are offshore or onshore, that it is essential you do your research.

As in this case, experts from the local university are often a good resource to call upon.

 

April 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , | 3 Comments

Crossrail-Spoil Wetland Provides Haven For Wildlife

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

A £70m project to create a wetland twice the size of the City of London is nearly finished with wildlife thriving in new lagoons, marsh and fields.

New wetland on Wallasea Island, off the Essex coast, was created from tunnel spoil from London’s Crossrail project.

Wallasea Island shows that large construction projects don’t have to be all about steel and concrete.

September 23, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

House Sparrows In Aberdeen Bus Station

I took this picture of a few house sparrows in Aberdeen bus station.

You rarely see them in London these days.

August 14, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Kestrel Hunts For Lunch Using A Train

I was travelling between South Tottenham and Blackhorse Road stations on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, where the line runs along the side of Walthamstow Wetlands.

I noticed a bird come and join us and it flew about ten metres away, straight and level and at the same speed as the train, which wasn’t going that fast.

I’d seen this behaviour before from a bird, when driving a truck through Suffolk lanes and realised that it was a kestrel waiting for the train to disturb a tasty vole.

The kestrel was unlucky!

August 6, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A First Visit To Walthamstow Wetlands

Walthamstow Wetlands opened today, so I went to take a look.

It was well worth a visit.

I shall return!

October 20, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Just Add Trains

I took these pictures of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, as it passes past the Engine House on the Walthamstow Wetlands site.

This section, which is probably one of the easiest bits to electrify, looks to be ready for the trains.

Note that the pictures looking down on the line were taken from the fire escape on the side of the Engine House, shown in the last picture.

This Google Map shows the Gospel Oak To Barking Line crossing the area.

Note.

  • The Engine House has a green label saying Walthamstow Wetlands.
  • The bus stops by the Ferry Boat Inn have buses to and from Tottenham Hale and Blackhorse Road stations.
  • The Engine House is about a hundred metres from the bus stops and
  • The Engine House has a step-free entrance and a lift inside.

The Engine House is certainly worth the walk.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , | 2 Comments

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

Flying rats or pigeons to the RSPB, are a problem in Liverpool Street station.

So BT has got tough!

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

BT Gets Tough With Flying Rats

It would probably help, if everybody dropping littler got sentence to sit on top of the phone-box for an hour.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Up And Down The Crouch Valley Line

The Crouch Valley Line runs from Wickford station on the Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria Line and Southminster in deepest Essex via the sailing town of Burnham-on-Crouch.

This Google Map shows the route of the line.

The Crouch Valley Line

The Crouch Valley Line

Stations on the line are at Wickford, Battlesbridge, South Woodham Ferrers, North Fambridge, Althorne, Burnham-on-Crouch and Southminster.

I took these pictures as I went from Wickford station to Southminster station on the Crouch Valley Line. On the way back, I stopped off at Burnham-on-Crouch station and found an excellent snack lunch at Cafe-Dairy in the town.

It certainly isn’t your average rural railway line.

  • The six stations on the line are in pretty good condition.
  • All except North Fambridge station are single platform stations, so are effectively step-free.
  • The line goes through marshes and country with a lot of birds. Very Snow Goose!
  • Most of the stations, seem to have adequate car parking.
  • The electrification doesn’t appear to be in the best of health, but then that could be said for much of East Anglia’s railways.

If it has one major problem, it is that trains seem to run every forty minutes.

Growth In Passenger Numbers

Two factors will see the number of passengers using this line grow in the future.

Someone in Burnham told me, that they were building a lot of new housing along the line, which surely will generate traffic.

Also, the RSPB’s flagship reserve at Wallasea, that has been built with tunnel spoil from Crossrail, is just across the river at Burnham-on-Crouch.

This Google Map shows the area.

Burnham-on-Crouch, the River Crouch And Wallasea Island

Burnham-on-Crouch, the River Crouch And Wallasea Island

The Crouch Valley Railway goes across the top of the map and stops at Burnham-on-Crouch station.

I walked down to the River, going past the cinema.

Will a proper route from the station to Wallasea Island on the other side of the River Crouch be created using a bus and a ferry?

There is also a very low possibility of a new nuclear power station at Bradwell, which could increase traffic to Southminster.

A Two Trains Per Hour Service

The current schedule meant I had a forty minute wait for a train after my lunch. I made a mistake calculating when the train would leave and I arrived back at the station a few minutes after the train had left.

Forty minutes is a long time to wait for a train in a station with few facilities on a sunny day.

If traffic does grow on the line, as I indicated in the previous section, two trains an hour will be a necessity.

The reason for the current weird interval is that if you look at the time-table, trains take thirty-one minutes to do the Journey.

If you add in the turn-round time, when train staff do what they have to do and that to run the service, the two trains must pass at the only passing loop at North Fambridge station, it becomes obvious, that the fastest sensible time for the journey adding in all the extras is forty minutes.

So it would seem that in order to get two trains per hour, you would need to get the time for the journey down to thirty minutes.

It would seem that it might be possible by using four trains to get a three trains per hour service, but this would probably need extra passing loops or full redoubling of the track with extra platforms in places.

So because of cost this will probably not be an option.

In other words, the only way to get two trains per hour on the branch, would be to speed up the time each journey takes.

New Trains On The Line

New trains on the line could be the key to achieving a thirty minute total journey time.

If something like a new Aventra train replaced the current Class 321 train, there would be certain features that would save time.

  • The higher speed and better performance of the modern train would save some time.
  • Modern trains are designed to stop, unload and pick up passengers and get back to line speed in a shorter time.
  • Level access to platforms could be arranged to cut out loading delays of buggies, wheelchairs and bicycles.
  • Helpful automation for the driver in the turn-round at each end of the line could save a few precious minutes.
  • The precision driving needed would be easier in a modern train.

It might even be possible to do a faster speed in a Class 360 train.

Improving The track

I do wonder, if Network Rail have ideas to improve the line speed, which would mean more minutes saved.

I suspect Network Rail engineers wish that the conversion of this line to single-track in the 1960s shouldn’t have been carried out.

Conclusion

I think that within a couple of years, we’ll see new trains on this line providing a two trains per hour service.

 

 

 

July 18, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

Alpine Swifts

At night and in the morning, the air over Dubrovnik is full of alpine swifts.

This picture, which is the best of a bad lot, shows a few ducking and diving by the sea and the city walls.

DSCN8072

There were several photographers trying to get the ultimate picture.

May 9, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment