The Anonymous Widower

All Aboard The Bamford Hydrogen Bus Revolution

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Air Quality News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Air Quality News editor Jamie Hailstone talks to JCB heir and hydrogen advocate, Jo Bamford, about why it is the fuel of the future for buses.

It is a good read, as Jo Bamford details his vision to change public transport with thousands of hydrogen-powered buses.

He talks in a common-sense manner, about the economics and practicalities of zero emission buses, of which this paragraph is typical.

‘I have a bus manufacturing business,’ he adds. ‘We make a diesel bus, a battery double-decker and a hydrogen double-decker. A battery double-decker will do 60% of the distance of a diesel bus and take 4.5 hours to charge. A hydrogen bus will do the same distance as a diesel bus and take seven minutes to fill up. If you are running a bus for 22 hours a day, you can’t afford to charge them up for 4.5 hours a day.

Jo Bamford finishes with.

I think hydrogen is a sexy, cool thing to be looking at.

I agree with him and we should get started on lots of hydrogen buses and their hydrogen supply network.

As I wrote in Daimler Trucks Presents Technology Strategy For Electrification – World Premiere Of Mercedes-Benz Fuel-Cell Concept Truck, Mercedes are going the hydrogen route with big trucks and these trucks will need a hydrogen supply network to be built in the UK.

So surely, we should look at decarbonisation of buses and heavy trucks in an holistic way, by creating that hydrogen supply network in the UK.

Ryse have now obtained planning permission for their first big electrolyser at Herne Bay and it now has its own web site, which includes this video, explaining Ryse Hydrogen’s philosophy.

Let’s hope that this first electrolyser, grows into the network the country needs.

 

October 3, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Social Distancing In An Empty Train

On Sunday morning, I went to Croydon to look at Windmill Bridge, in Croydon, which I wrote about in Croydon Area Remodelling Scheme – Lower Addiscombe Road / Windmill Bridge.

On the way, I found myself in a more or less empty carriage, as these pictures show.

It all got me thinking.

  • Generally, the rule in most of the world, is that you should keep a given number of metres apart.
  • But supposing, that each public space were to be given a figure for the maximum number of people, who can occupy the space.
  • I think, this has already happened in London, where thirty passengers seems to be the maximum number allowed on a double-deck bus.
  • Buses and train carriages are public spaces.

But supposing each space was to be assigned a figure for the number of people present, below which the wearing of masks would be optional.

On a bus or train, the customer announcements would change appropriately.

Some might argue, it would be confusing, but it might nudge passenger behaviour in the right way.

  • More might travel.
  • More might travel at less busy times.
  • I suspect that many on a long commute, take their masks off, as they get near home, as te train empties out anyway!
  • It should be born in mind, that many modern trains, trams and buses, may know how many passengers are on board, as they can count passengers.

September 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

A Design Crime – Pedestrian Chaos At London Bridge

To get home from London Bridge station, I usually get the 141 bus in the station, or if I’m walking along the riverside, I get a 21 or 141 bus from the stop at the Southern side of the bridge.

There is now, no stop on the bridge, so it meant walking nearly to Bank station to get a bus. Not everybody of my age could manage that!

I hope the pea-brained idiot, who designed the current scheme at London Bridge, with no bus stops in either direction has been given his marching orders.

I know that for COVID-19 and wannabe terrorists something must be done, but surely one of the bus-stops in each direction should be working.

I suspect, it was designed by the same idiot, who decided to close the important Waterloo and City Line.

The Mayor won’t care, as he’s a South Londoner.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Solving The Problem With Electric Bus Design

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

The article opens with this paragraph.

A number of European cities have committed to securing only zero-emission buses by 2025. However, to achieve this objective, manufacturers must make bold design choices, radically changing bus componentry, systems, and bodywork. Here, it looks at the debate for greater electric bus design standardization.

Standardisation is one thing, but the article doesn’t talk about the major problem with electric bus design – For many countries like the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany, where there are lots of double-decker or articulated high-capacity buses, battery electric buses are just not big enough.

Battery-electric buses are also generally not big enough to compete with the latest designs of tram and metro systems.

These pictures show the Chinese double-deck electric double-deck buses, that ran in London.

Half of the downstairs was take up by batteries.

Where are they now?

The Belgian firm; Van Hool have a product called Exquicity. This video shows them working in Pau in France.

But these buses are powered by hydrogen.

Similar buses running in Belfast are diesel-electric.

In both the Pau and Belfast applications, I wonderwhy they didn’t use trolley-bus versions of the WxquiCity or conventional trams.

Conclusion

Until we get more efficient battery storage, electric buses will have difficulty competing economically in the high-capacity bus sector.

August 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 8 Comments

Diesel Buses To Be Phased Out Within 15 Years To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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

Hallelujah!

Should be heavy trucks, next!

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Route Selected For Cambridge Metro Link Between New A1307 Travel Hub And Biomedical Campus

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

This Google Map shows the Fourwentways intersection between the A1307 and A11 roads, where the travel hub will be created.

The travel hub will be South-West of the roundabout, which I know well, as it was only a few miles from where I lived.

It will improve the bus connection between Haverhill and the Biomedical Campus and the City of Cambridge.

It would appear that the Stour Valley Railway, is being recreated by extending the Cambridgeshire Busway.

The closure of the Stour Valley Railway in 1967, was one of the most ill-judged of the Beeching closures, that were solidly backed by the government of Harold Wilson, who believed that everyone should have their own car and that railways wouldn’t be needed. They also believed that all goods should go by truck. Is that what you get, when your Transport Secretary is an ex-lorry driver and a former boss of the lorry-drivers trade union?

We now have a Government backing these two projects.

  • The rebuilding of the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge, which Beeching recommended for retention, but Wilson still closed.
  • The extension of the Cambridgeshire Busway to Haverhill.

As with so many projects around the country, all these totally unjustified cuts are being reversed.

But these railways should never been closed in the first place.

 

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Greater Manchester Illegal Raves: Man Dies, Woman Raped And Three Stabbed

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A 20-year-old man has died, a woman has been raped and three people have been stabbed during two illegal “quarantine raves” that attracted 6,000 people.

What the hell was going on?

There have been some exuberant parties in Hackney Marshes, but they didn’t appear to be the on the scale of the Mancunian troubles.

Last night on Stephen Nolan’s program, there was some very heated debate on what went on in Manchester. Some, who had been present, should have been arrested, if what they alleged they’d done was true.

If you look at total COVID-19 cases in London and the North West on June 15th, they are as follows.

  • London 27, 330 – 306.8
  • North-West 26,759 – 367

The second figure is a rate per 100,000 of the population. Although the Government data doesn’t give the legend on the chart! Poor presentation again from the Government statisticians!

I have been on public transport a lot in London and the behaviour of passengers seems to follow the rules. Especially, on the Overground, which seems to be busier than the buses and the Underground. Today on a trip out, everybody I saw on public transport was masked!

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Surplus Electricity From Wind Farms To Make Hydrogen For Cars And Buses

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Surplus power from wind farms will be used to run a network of giant electrolysers to make hydrogen for vehicles, under plans drawn up by a green energy company.

The following are points from the article.

  • The electrolysers will be installed by Ryse.
  • Ryse have submitted plans to build the UK’s largest electrolyser at Herne Bay in Kent.
  • It will produce ten tonnes of hydrogen a day.
  • The hydrogen will be sent by road to London to power buses.
  • More electrolysers could be built in Aberdeen, Northern Ireland, Runcorn, South Wales and other places.
  • It looks like the electrolysers will be built by ITM Power in the world’s largest electrolyser factory in Rotherham.
  • Keele University is replacing 20% of the natural gas in its gas network with hydrogen to heat buildings. I wrote about this in HyDeploy.

Note.

  1. The owner of Ryse is Jo Bamford, who also owns Wrightbus. I wrote about his plans in JCB Heir And Wrightbus Owner Jo Bamford: ‘We Can Sell Our Hydrogen Bus Around The World’.
  2. Jo Bamford also has a plan for Ireland, which I wrote about in Wrightbus Boss Eyes All-Island Green Transport Plan. He could build the Northern Ireland electrolyser conveniently for the border.
  3. Jo Bamford is the son of Lord Bamford; the chairman of JCB.
  4. According to Wikipedia, JCB made a £4.9m strategic investment in ITM Power in 2015. The early bird catches the worm?
  5. ITM Power recently had an order for an 8MW electrolyser, which I wrote about in Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser.

It all seems to fit together like a large zero-carbon jigsaw.

I do have some questions.

How Much Electricity Is Needed To Produce Ten Tonnes Of Hydrogen?

I found an answer to this question on this page of the Clean Energy Partnership web site.

To produce hydrogen by electrolysis directly at the filling station, the CEP currently requires about 55 kWh/kg H2 of electricity at an assumed rate of efficiency of > 60 percent.

To produce 1 kg of hydrogen, nine times the amount of water is necessary, i.e. nine litres.

Scaling up means that to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen will require 550 MWh and ninety tonnes of water. For comparison an Olympic swimming pool holds 2,500 tonnes of water, based on the fact that a cubic metre of water weighs a tonne and contains a thousand litres.

Is It Safe To Move Hydrogen In Trucks Around The UK?

I used to work as an instrument engineer in ICI’s hydrogen factory at Runcorn around 1970.

That plant electrolysed brine using the Castner-Kellner process to produce sodium hydroxide, chlorine and hydrogen. The first two products were used as feedstock to make various chemical products and the hydrogen was taken away by Air Products and BOC, in specially-designed trucks.

It can be said, that we have been moving hydrogen safely on the roads of the UK for at least fifty years and probably longer.

As an aside, I think, ICI found the hydrogen a bit of a problem, as in those days it didn’t have that many uses.

Are Ryse Building A Network Of Electrolysers To Serve The Whole Of The UK?

The five electrolysers named in The Times article, are in Ireland, North-West England, Scotland, South-East England and South Wales.

  • All electrolysers would be sited near to large offshore wind farms, except for Northern Ireland, where the wind power is onshore.
  • All areas of the British Isles would be close to an electrolyser for hydrogen delivery, except the South West and the North East of England and the Midlands.
  • The Midlands is to be served by a planned ITM Power electrolyser at Tyldesley.
  • The North East of England has a hydrogen supply from INEOS on Teesside.
  • The South West of England could probably support another electrolyser. But there is not the same amount of nearby wind power.

Ryse with a little help from their friends, could make sure that every bus depot in the UK has a reliable source of green hydrogen.

The Electrolyser At Herne Bay

This Google Map shows the Herne Bay and the surrounding area on the North Kent coast.

What is not shown is all the wind farms to the North of the town in the Thames Estuary. These include.

That is a total of 1241 MW, so working for twenty-four hours with a capacity factor of 30% would create almost 9 GWh of electricity.

  • A small fraction of this 9 GWh of renewable electricity would provide enough to run the electrolyser at full power.
  • The smallest wind farm; Kentish Flats will produce 139 x 24 x 0.3 = 1000 MWh on an average day.
  • Just 23 MWh of electricity per hour is needed to create the ten tonnes of hydrogen.

Where are these wind farms connected to the National Grid?

  • If just one connection is close to Herne Bay, then co-location must be desirable.
  • If there is no connection, only 23 MW would be needed from the National Grid.

Reading the Wikipedia entry for Herne Bay, it appears to be an improving town.

  • It has both a fast rail and a High Speed One connection to and from London.
  • There is a dual-carriageway road connection to the motorway network.
  • The town would probably welcome the jobs, that the development would create.

Herne Bay seems to be a good place to build the first electrolyser.

The Electrolyser At Aberdeen

I don’t know the Aberdeen area well, although the oil industry in the area has been good for my financial well-being.

There must be a good reason for building an electrolyser in the area.

  • Aberdeen have experience of hydrogen buses.
  • There are some large wind farms; both onshore and offshore close by.
  • Is there a convenient site, that once had a coal-fired power station, but still has good electrical connections?

According to the Wikipedia entry for Wind Power In Scotland, the country had 8423 MW of installed wind power in December 2018 and has the aim of using only renewable energy by 2020.

Searching the Internet, I found the Peterhead power station.

The power station is gas-fired.

The power station has changed technology over the years.

There was a plan to fuel the power station with hydrogen produced from methane, where the carbon dioxide would have been captured and stored in the Miller field.

This Google Map shows the power station, to the South of Peterhead.

Note, that the power station is close to the A90 road, which forms the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, that goes past Aberdeen to the South of Scotland.

Could this power station be the site of the Aberdeen electrolyser?

  • It looks to have good road connections.
  • It obviously has good electrical connections.
  • Peterhead would probably welcome the employment.

As you can see from the map, the power station is owned by SSE plc, who generate about a third  of their energy from renewables.

And then there is Hywind Scotland, which is the world’s first commercial floating wind farm.

  • This is a 30 MW wind farm.
  • It comprises five 6MW floating wind turbines.
  • It is situated eighteen miles off Peterhead.
  • In the first two years of operation it had a capacity factor of 50 %, according to Wikipedia.

On an average day, Hywind Scotland will generate 360 MWh. This is 65 % of the 550 MWh of energy needed to produce ten tonnes of hydrogen.

Are there undisclosed plans to create a fleet of floating wind turbines, out to sea from Peterhead, which would be ideal for both Scotland’s electricity and hydrogen supplies?

It should also be noted, that in the UK and I suspect other developed countries, if someone needs a large amount of electricity for a commercial purpose, like an aluminium smelter or a steelworks, electricity companies, whether state or privately-owned, have always been keen to oblige.

I suspect that everything could be coming together in Peterhead.

The Electrolyser In Northern Ireland

The Wrightbus factory, owned by Jo Bamford builds its buses at Ballymena.

  • Ballymena is 28 miles North of Belfast.
  • Dublin is 130 miles to the South.

I can see the mother of all arguments happening, as to whether the electrolyser is North or South of the border.

If you look at the Wikipedia entry entitled Electricity Sector In Ireland, this is the opening paragraph.

The electricity sectors of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are integrated and supply 2.5 million customers from a combination of coal, peat, natural gas, wind and hydropower.

The grid runs as a synchronous electrical grid and in terms of interconnections has undersea DC-only connection to the UK National Grid, alongside plans in the advanced stage for a higher power, planned Celtic Interconnector to France.

It looks like Jo Bamford will only have to deal with one entity, no matter, which side of the border, the electrolyser is situated.

This would surely make it easier for his All-Ireland Green transport plan, which  I wrote about in Wrightbus Boss Eyes All-Island Green Transport Plan.

My feeling is that he’ll get less grief, if the electrolyser was just on the North side of the border with a good road connection to the South. As there is a dual carriage-way road, all the way between Belfast and Dublin, this could probably be arranged.

This Google Map shows where the main dual-carriageway crosses the border.

Note.

  1. The border is shown as a white line to the North of the Centrepoint Business Park.
  2. The railway line between Dublin and Belfast can be seen to the West of the main cross-border road.

I certainly think, that a solution can be found to fuel all those Irish hydrogen buses, that Jo Bamford has proposed.

The Electrolyser At Runcorn

If Runcorn already has a good source of hydrogen at the former ICI factory, that is now owned by INEOS, why build an electrolyser at Runcorn?

There are several reasons.

  • Runcorn is involved in the hydrogen plans for North-West England, that I wrote about in A Hydrogen Mobility Roadmap For North-West England.
  • Runcorn can connect into the North West’s proposed hydrogen network.
  • Runcorn is close to the zero-carbon wind energy of Liverpool Bay.
  • INEOS can pool their zero-carbon hydrogen into that produced by Ryse.
  • Will INEOS with all their hydrogen experience in the area, host the electrolyser?
  • Runcorn is convenient for the large cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Runcorn has good access to the motorway network for the Midland of England and North Wales.
  • There must be the possibility of building a rail terminal to deliver hydrogen.

Runcorn would also connect the interests of Jim Ratcliffe and the Bamfords.

The Electrolyser In South Wales

South Wales has an extensive public transport network.

  • The South Wales Main Line runs between the Severn Tunnel and Swansea and the West via Newport and Cardiff.
  • The Cardiff Valley Lines are being transformed into a modern South Wales Metro, which will make use of electric and battery technology.
  • There are a lot of buses, running around in South Wales.

The buses and possibly some of the trains must be candidates for hydrogen power.

Transport for Wales Rail Services have ordered 77 Class 197 diesel trains from CAF, who have a factory at Newport.

Given CAF’s record on innovation and the Welsh Government’s stance on the environment, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that these trains could be converted to zero-carbon trains. I’m sure Ryse would be pleased to provide green hydrogen for Welsh trains.

I think there are two possible sites for a large electrolyser in South Wales.

The first is the site of the former Aberthaw power stations, which are shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. Aberthaw power stations were South of Gileston.
  2. The complex stopped generating power at the end of March this year.
  3. The site has rail access.
  4. Road access would need to be improved.
  5. The power station must have had a good very connection to the National Grid.
  6. The site is near to Cardiff Airport, who might want to go zero-carbon for all their ground vehicles.

The second possible site, is on the site of the former Llanwern steel works, which is shown in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. It is a very large site, which probably has a very good connection to the National Grid.
  2. The CAF rolling stock factory is marked by a red arrow.
  3. CAF could start building and/or selling hydrogen-powered trains in the UK, at some date in the future.
  4. The site has rail and road access.
  5. The site is fifteen miles to the East of Cardiff.
  6. The site is thirty miles to the West of Bristol.

If it was my decision, I’d put the electrolyser on the Llanwern site.

Will The Electrolysers Need A Battery To Cover On Days Without Wind?

I can envisage a system, where several trailer-tankers are filled at once in a continuous process. Once filled, they would be disconnected and replaced by an empty one. It would act like a automatic bottling plant for beer, but with much bigger bottles.

The filled trailer-tankers would be energy stores, whilst they awaited being taken to the customers.

What Infrastructure Will Be Needed At Bus Depots?

The infrastructure is minimal and would be a tank and the means of filling the buses.

I also wonder, if trucks with a proven design of hydrogen trailer-tanker were to be used, these could be filled up at the electrolyser and the trailer-tankers would then be taken to the bus depots, where they would be plugged into the hydrogen delivery system for the buses.

  • Each delivery would be a drop-off and connection of a full trailer-tanker of hydrogen and a return with the empty trailer-tanker to the electrolyser.
  • The trailer-tankers could be fitted with a hydrogen vehicle-filling connection, so that bus operators could trial a small fleet of hydrogen buses or other vehicles, without putting in any infrastructure, other than safe parking for the trailer-tankers. But then most bus depots have lots of secure parking for large buses.
  • This would surely be faster and more efficient, as the delivery driver wouldn’t have to wait, whilst the hydrogen is transferred.
  • Deliveries could be arranged during the night.

I would also use a fleet of quiet, emission-free zero-carbon hydrogen-powered trucks. Do what I say and do what I do!

Why Not Generate The Hydrogen At The Depot?

At Pau, ITM Power have installed a hydrogen generator for the hydrogen-powered buses.

So why not do this all over the UK?

  • A large bus depot could need a very large amount of electricity in a congested part of a city, where the electricity supply may be dodgy.
  • It could also be safer, as venting the oxygen produced as a by-product of electrolysis, in an uncontrolled environment can be dangerous. But generated in a large electrolyser, it could be captured and used for another purpose or safely vented to the atmosphere. This section in Wikipedia, gives a brief outline of the applications of oxygen.
  • I truck-based delivery system, is ideal for trials of hydrogen-powered buses, taxis, delivery vans, trucks and local authority vehicles, as no infrastructure is needed.

I suspect that, it might be more affordable and convenient to use centralised production of the hydrogen.

Conclusion

Jo Bamford has developed a well-thought out plan.

May 17, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Equipmake Opens New Electric Bus Factory In Snetterton

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Equipmake.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Expert electrification company, Equipmake, has opened a brand-new factory in Snetterton, Norfolk, which will design and manufacture its fully-integrated electric bus chassis for an increasingly international customer base.

This paragraph sums up their marketing philosophy for their bus chassis.

Equipmake’s innovative electric bus chassis allows any bus coachbuilder to become a full electric bus manufacturer almost overnight. Such is the demand from bus makers wishing to go zero emissions that Equipmake has forged partnerships with companies in Brazil, Argentina and India and grown its UK staff from 15 employees to 52 in a little over two years.

Equipmake certainly seem to be doing something right.

  • They make their own electric motors.
  • They claim to make the world’s most power dense electric motors.

Perhaps, it’s all down to good design?

This paragraph from the press release gives more details of the bus chassis.

Thanks to efficient management of its onboard heating and cooling system, the bus – a 12m single deck model capable of carrying 70 passengers – will have enough electric range for one day’s running without the need for charging. To charge the vehicle, the operator simply needs access to a standard three-phase supply, which will fully charge it in around five hours.

That seems impressive to me!

 

May 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wrightbus Boss Eyes All-Island Green Transport Plan

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

THE new owner of manufacturer Wrightbus says 12,000 buses on the island of Ireland as well as trains could be replaced with hydrogen engines to usher in a new era of environmentally friendly transport.

These points are made in the article.

  • Jo Bamford, who is the owner of Wrightbus, plans to decarbonise all buses and trains on the island.
  • A hydrogen infrastructure would need to be setup.
  • The Enterprise train between Belfast and Dublin would be run by hydrogen.
  • Jo Bamford has yet to talk to the Irish Government.
  • Wrightbus is seeking a £500m subsidy from the UK Government to built 3,000 hydrogen-powered buses by 2024.
  • This would bring 1,500 jobs to Ballymena.
  • The ydrogen-powered buses, will be the same price as diesel.
  • New Whightbus hydrogen buses will be on the streets of London and Aberdeen later this year.

This is one of the last paragraphs of the article.

He (Jo Bamford) said that the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the environment, with a clearer sky and cleaner air resulting from the fall in traffic, could be an inspiration for greener transport.

It may be an ambitious plan, but then you would expect ambition to be flowing in large quantifies in the veins of someone from the family, that gave us JCB.

Will Hydrogen Double-Deck Buses Become Commonplace?

There are now three different designs of hydrogen-powered double-deck bus in design, if not production.

There is also the hydrogen-powered version of the Van Hool ExquiCity tram-bus, that I wrote about in Ballard-Powered Fuel-Cell Tram-Buses From Van Hool Now In Revenue Service In France.

There are some big players making large investments in hydrogen-powered buses. I suspect at least three and possibly all four will succeed.

Designing A Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle

Two hydrogen-powered vehicle designs have impressed me this week.

Both designs use the existing electric transmission and seem to have been relatively straightforward for experienced engineers who are working in the field.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see other suitable vehicles redesigned for hydrogen power.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment