The Anonymous Widower

Hexicon Wins UK’s First Ever CfD Auction For Floating Offshore Wind

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

This is the first paragraph.

Today (7th of July) the UK Government confirmed that Hexicon AB’s TwinHub project in the Celtic Sea was successful in the latest Contracts for Difference (CfD) Allocation Round (AR4). It has been awarded a CfD for its 32MW floating wind project at a strike price of £87.30/MWh (2012 real prices) taking the project a significant step closer to completion.

This image shows one otheir TwinWind turbine installation being towed into place.

The Twinhub home page has a title of The First Floating Offshore Wind Project in The Celtic Sea.

This is the description on the page.

The TwinHub offshore wind demonstration project intends to prove how Hexicon’s innovative design with two turbines on one floating foundation can further reduce the Levelized Cost of Energy (also referred to as LCoE) before large scale commercialisation. The TwinHub project is a stepping stone to help kick-start floating wind in the Celtic Sea, an area identified as a hotspot for floating wind by the UK Government. It will pave the path for larger and larger projects to help support The Crown Estates’ ambitious target of 4GW of floating wind in the Celtic Sea.

Scroll the page down and there is a short video of a pair of wind turbines in operation.

  • It appears that when there is no wind, it automatically goes into a safe parked mode.
  • As the wind rises, one turbine starts up.
  • The second turbine starts up and the float turns so they face the wind.

It appears to be a classic example of disruptive innovation.

I did the calculations for floating and reusable oil and gas platforms in the 1970s, that were designed by two Cambridge University professors, which would have been launched horizontally and upturned when in position. This experience leads me to believe that the Swedish designers of this type of platform have been able to verify that this is a workable design.

This document from the Department of Business, Industry and Industrial Strategy indicates that the demonstration is for 32 MW.

Does that indicate, that this installation is twin 16 MW wind turbines?

16 MW seems to be the size of the largest wind turbines in the world.

There is a lot to like about this Swedish design.

  • As the video shows, it appears to balance itself with the wind.
  • I suspect from the calculations I did in Cambridge, that the twin design with its higher weight is more stable than a floating single turbine design.
  • The float and its two turbines can be assembled alongside a dock with a large stable onshore dockside crane.
  • Servicing would also be done in a dock.
  • Working onshore is much safer and easier, than working offshore.
  • The twin design allows more power to be generated in a given area of sea.

This is a brilliant concept and it will give Putin, the Sheikhs and the other oil dictators, the most terrible of nightmares.

The initial site chosen for this design in the UK, will be in the sea at Hayle in Cornwall.

This map shows the location.

Hayle is in the North-East corner of the map, by the sandy beach.

A 32 MW turbine could probably provide enough electricity for 15,000 houses.

July 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two Celtic Sea Floating Wind Projects Could Be Delivered By 2028

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

This is the first paragraph.

Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy have said that they are looking at early delivery of their two floating wind projects in the Celtic Sea, called Llywelyn and Petroc, which have grid connections secured and almost a year’s worth of bird surveys already completed.

These would add two extra 300 MW wind farms to the Celtic Sea.

In Enter The Dragon, I indicated the potential of renewable energy around Wales based on this article on the Engineer is entitled Unlocking The Renewables Potential Of The Celtic Sea. This sentence from the article talks about the possibilities of offshore wind in the Celtic Sea.

The Celtic Sea – which extends south off Wales and Ireland down past Cornwall and Brittany to the edge of the continental shelf – is estimated to have around 50GW of wind generating capacity alone.

The article also talks about Blue Gem Wind and their Erebus and Valorous wind farm projects in the Celtic Sea, that I wrote about in Blue Gem Wind.

There now appears to be four floating wind farms under development in the Celtic Sea between the South-West corner of Wales and the Devon and Cornwall Peninsular.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore

But they do create a starter for a GW.

Both consortia seem to have similar objectives.

  • To use a stepping-stone approach, gradually building in size.
  • To involve the local community in creating a supply chain.
  • Create long-term benefits for the region.

If these and other consortia fill the Celtic Sea with 50 GW of floating wind turbines, then we’ll all benefit.

 

April 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plane Surveying Cornwall For Minerals

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A low-flying 1940s plane doing survey work will be a common sight over mid and west Cornwall during the next two to three weeks.

The geological mapping plane is hoping to identify where lithium and other minerals may be located underground.

But the most interesting thing about the project is the aircraft that does the surveying, which is a 1943 Douglas DC3.

It is being flown by Bell Geospace and the aircraft has been upgraded into a Basler BT-67, with turboprop engines, an improved airframe and modern avionics.

Having flown aircraft at the sort of height mentioned by the BBC, I’d love to get a lift on one of their survey flights.

December 19, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Eden Project: Geothermal Heat Project ‘Promising’

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

This is the first paragraph.

A three mile-deep (4.8km) borehole has shown “promising” prospects for a geothermal heat plant in Cornwall.

Eden estimates the borehole can produce enough heat for 35,000 homes.

Geothermal energy is only at the beginning in the UK, but just because we don’t have any active volcanoes, we shouldn’t discount it.

On the other hand, we do have a lot of water-filled abandoned coal mines, which in former mining areas of the UK can and will provide a substantial amount of district heating, as I wrote in Exciting Renewable Energy Project for Spennymoor.

And then there’s one-off project’s like Bunhill 2 in Islington, which I wrote about in ‘World-First’ As Bunhill 2 Launches Using Tube Heat To Warm 1,350 Homes.

Conclusion

The UK may not be an Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Philippines or the USA, but according to Wikipedia we have a good potential.

  • Deep geothermal resources could provide 9.5GW of baseload renewable electricity.
  • Deep geothermal resources could provide over 100GW of heat.

I think my most significant post on geothermal energy is Schlumberger New Energy And Thermal Energy Partners Form Geothermal Development Company STEP Energy.

Schlumberger and the other oilfield services companies have a very serious problem.

With countries abandoning oil and gas, they have lots of engineers, geologists and other staff, who will not be needed by the oil and gas industry.

But their expertise and skills can be transferred to the geothermal heat and power industry. This will benefit the staff, the companies and the world!

The other place there expertise can be used is in the storage of captured carbon dioxide.

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reinstating The Line Between Tavistock And Bere Alston And Providing New Services To And From Plymouth

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reinstating.

This project finally seems to be getting going.

The complete reinstatement between Exeter and Plymouth seems to be developing into a three-phase project.

  • Phase 1 – Exeter and Okehampton – This is now complete and trains are test running, with services due to start on the 20th November.
  • Phase 2 – Tavistock And Bere Alston – This section is being planned and if approved could be the next section to be opened.
  • Phase 3 – Tavistock and Okehampton – This would complete the reinstatement of the route between Exeter and Plymouth.

These are my thoughts.

The Completion Of Phase 1

Trains are now test running to between Exeter and Okehampton.

The full service starts on the 20th November.

  • On that day, there will be eight trains per day (tpd) in both directions.
  • Trains will leave Exeter at 06:32, 08:41, 10:36, 12:37, 14:38, 16:36, 18:48 and 21:00.
  • Trains will leave Okehampton at 07:39, 09:45, 11:39, 13:39, 15:39, 17:46, 19:51 and 22:34.
  • Trains are times to take around forty minutes for each trip.
  • The service is pathed as a Class 150/153/155/156 DMU
  • The service is planned for a maximum speed of 75 mph.

Note.

  1. This is approximately one train per two hours (tp2h).
  2. It looks like the service could be worked by a single train shuttling all day.

The Wikipedia entry for Okehampton station says this.

The service will increase to hourly towards the end of 2022.

It has been a very smooth restoration of service.

Okehampton Parkway Station

Okehampton Parkway station is to be built to the East of Okehampton at Stockley Hamlet.

It looks like it could be a very useful Park-and-Ride station for Exeter and Okehampton.

Could The Okehampton Stations Be Used To By-Pass Dawlish?

In 2014, the sea breached the sea wall and the railway at Dawlish, on the Great Western Main Line between Exeter and Plymouth. Trains couldn’t run past Exeter.

I very much feel that with global warming and seemingly increasingly bad weather that we can’t say that a breach won’t happen again.

Could it be possible to use the one of the Okehampton stations, as a terminal for a Rail Replacement service that connected to Plymouth and Cornwall?

The Gap Between Okehampton And Bere Alston

This Google Map shows the gap between Okehampton and Bere Alston stations.

Note.

  1. Okehampton is at the top of the map between the three green rectangles which mark the main roads.
  2. Bere Alston is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. Tavistock is North of Bere Alston.
  4. The three places are connected by the A 386 road.

Is there a bus between Okehampton and Bere Alston, that serves Tavistock and the major villages?

Phase 2 – Tavistock And Bere Alston

This Google Map shows between Tavistock and Beer Alston station.

Note.

  1. Tavistock is in the North-East corner of the map.
  2. Bere Alston  is in the South-West corner of the map.
  3. I estimate that about six miles of new track will have to be laid.

This Google Map shows Bere Alston station, which is to the North-West of the village.

Note.

  1. Bere Alston station is on the Tamar Valley Line.
  2. The Tamar Valley Line is all single-track.
  3. Trains to and from Gunnislake station use the Northbound track at the junction to the West of the station.
  4. Trains to and from Plymouth use the Southbound track at the junction to the West of the station.
  5. Trains between Gunnislake and Plymouth reverse at Bere Alston station.

It would appear that the route to Tavistock continued to the East.

This Google Map clearly shows the route of the disused railway as it runs North-East from Bere Alston station.

Note.

Bere Alston station is the South-West corner of the map.

The dark green line of the railway runs to the North-East corner of the map.

As all the railways in the area seem to have been single-track, I would suspect that any rebuilt railway on this route will be single track.

I have followed the dark green line through to Tavistock which is shown in this Google Map.

As the Department of Transport are prepared to finance a study for reinstatement of the route, I would suspect that there is a feasible route between Bere Alston and Tavistock.

  • There would appear to be no bridges or viaducts between Bere Alston and the outskirts of Tavistock.
  • Before closure, there no stations between Bere Alston and Tavistock North stations.
  • Bere Alston station would need to be rebuilt.

The Wikipedia entry for Tavistock North station, says this about the condition of the line.

The station building has been restored and converted into three self-catering cottages. The stationmaster’s house is being restored as a private dwelling, while the goods yard, now known as Kilworthy Park, houses the offices of West Devon Borough Council. The track bed for about one mile (1.6 km) south of Tavistock North station is open to the public as a footpath and nature reserve, and it is possible to walk across the viaducts that overlook the town.

The rest of the track bed south of Tavistock is almost intact to Bere Alston, where it joins the present-day Tamar Valley Line. There has been discussion regarding the re-opening of a rail link for a number of years. Engineering assessment has shown that the track bed, and structures such as bridges and tunnels, are in sound condition.

I can foresee some problems, in what might not be one of the most challenging of projects.

  • Claiming back the railway from the walkers and cyclists.
  • The ownership of the stationmaster’s house.

Unlike Scotland, England didn’t make sure that rail routes could be converted back to railways if needed.

My project management knowledge leads me to agree with what appears to be a decision to do this part of the route next.

Phase 3 – Okehampton And Tavistock

The title of this project as given in the Railway Gazette article is as follows.

Reinstating The Line Between Tavistock And Bere Alston And Providing New Services To And From Plymouth

If you read this literally, it doesn’t mention anything about connecting to Okehampton and Exeter.

  • Looking at maps and reading up on the line, it does appear that the route may be more challenging.
  • The route also contains the Meldon Viaduct, which is a scheduled monument.

Until a viable plan is developed, it might be better and more affordable to run zero-carbon buses between Tavistock and Okehampton.

 

October 30, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Record Levels Of Lithium In Geothermal Water At United Downs Project

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

This paragraph explains it all.

Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL), the company behind the UK’s first deep geothermal electricity power plant, is today announcing record levels of lithium in its geothermal waters. Recent, third party tests have revealed that there are more than 250 milligrams per litre (‘mg/L’) in the fluid which is the highest concentration ever discovered in geothermal fluids anywhere in the world.

The article also says.

  • The magnesium levels are low, which eases processing.
  • Up to four thousand tonnes of lithium could be produced per year locally.

The article is certainly worth a read.

August 14, 2021 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Faraday Battery Challenge Funded Project “Li4UK” Announces The First Domestic Production Of Lithium Carbonate From UK Sources

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Li4UK.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Li4UK (Securing a Domestic Lithium Supply Chain for the UK), the Faraday Battery Challenge-funded project under the patronage of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), is pleased to announce that the project Consortium, comprising Wardell Armstrong International Limited (WAI), The Natural History Museum (NHM) and Cornish Lithium Ltd (CLL), has successfully produced lithium carbonate from two UK sources – one from Cornish Lithium’s Trelavour project site in Cornwall and another from Scotland. High purity lithium carbonate is a raw material for lithium-ion battery cells, such as those used in electric vehicles.

When I first heard of this project, I wrote How To Go Mining In A Museum and felt that this project deserved to succeed, given the diligence of the founder.

You never know what you will find in the dusty vaults of a museum.

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Energy Storage, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ecotricity Seals 10-year Agreement To Take Geothermal Power From Cornish Plant

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Live News.

This is the first two paragraphs

British utility Ecotricity has sealed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy geothermal electricity from Geothermal Engineering Limited.

The ten-year PPA will see a minimum of 3MWh of baseload electricity produced by the United Downs demonstration project in Cornwall being distributed to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes every year.

The article also says that this is the first time geothermal electricity has been produced and sold in the UK.

The remarkable thing, is that the same site will be used by Cornish Lithium for a pilot plant to extract lithium.

It does look like the Cornish will both have their cake and eat it!

As rum is also going to be matured using more of the energy, as I wrote about in And Now Geothermal Rum From Cornwall!, they’ll also be able to drink it as well!

January 7, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Charging The Batteries On An Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train

There are several ways the batteries on an Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Train could be charged.

  • On an electrified main line like the Great Western or East Coast Main Lines, the electrification can be used in normal electrified running.
  • A short length of electrification at the terminal or through stations can be used.
  • The diesel engines could be used, at stations, where this is acceptable.

Alternatively, a custom design of charger can be used like Vivarail’s  Fast Charge system.

In Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains, I said this.

Vivarail Now Has Permission To Charge Any Train

Mr. Shooter said this about Vivarail’s Fast Charge system.

The system has now been given preliminary approval to be installed as the UK’s standard charging system for any make of train.

I may have got the word’s slightly wrong, but I believe the overall message is correct.

In the November 2020 Edition of Modern Railways, there is a transcript of what Mr. Shooter said.

‘Network Rail has granted interim approval for the fast charge system and wants it to be the UK’s standard battery charging system’ says Mr. Shooter. ‘We believe it could have worldwide implications.’

I hope Mr. Shooter knows some affordable lawyers, as in my experience, those working in IPR are not cheap.

I think it’s very likely, that Vivarail’s Fast Charge system could be installed at terminals to charge Hitachi’s Intercity Tri-Mode Battery Trains.

    • The Fast Charge systems can be powered by renewable energy.
    • The trains would need to be fitted with third rail shoes modified to accept the high currents involved.
    • They can also be installed at intermediate stations on unelectrified lines.

Vivarail is likely to install a Fast Charge system at a UK station in the next few months.

These are my thoughts about charging trains at various stations.

Penzance station

This Google Map shows Penzance station.

Penzance would be an ideal station to fully charge the trains, before they ran East.

  • The station has four long platforms.
  • There appears to be plenty of space just to the East of the station.
  • Penzance TMD is nearby.

This picture shows Platform 4, which is on the seaward side of the station. The train in the platform is one of GWR’s Castles.

It is partly outside the main station, so might be very suitable to charge a train.

If trials were being performed to Penzance, it appears that the station would be a superb choice to charge trains.

My only worry, is would the location have enough power to charge the trains?

Plymouth Station

This Google Map shows Plymouth station.

It is another spacious station with six platforms.

Chargers could be installed as needed for both expresses and local trains.

A Zero-Carbon Devon and Cornwall

If the battery trains perform as expected, I can see the Devon and Cornwall area becoming a low if not zero carbon railway by the end of this decade.

  • The Castles would be retired.
  • They would be replaced by battery electric trains.
  • Charging would be available on all platforms at Penzance, Plymouth and possible some other intermediate stations and those on some branch lines.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt tourism.

 

December 28, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beeching Reversal – Mid-Cornwall Metro

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

This is a strange project, as I can’t find a detailed description of what it entails.

All I can think, is that it is a general project to run all the local lines in Cornwall as a unified whole.

Great Western Railway runs these services in Cornwall.

  • Cornish Main Line – London Paddington and Penzance – One train per two hours (tp2h) – Calling at Plymouth, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne and St Erth
  • Cornish Main Line – Exeter St. Davids and Penzance – One train per hour (tph) – Calling at Newton Abbot, Totnes, Ivybridge, Plymouth, Devonport, Dockyard, Keyham, St Budeaux Ferry Road, Saltash, St Germans, Menheniot, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Par, St Austell, Truro, Redruth, Camborne, Hayle and St Erth
  • Looe Valley Line – Liskeard and Looe – One tph – Calling at Coombe Junction Halt, St Keyne Wishing, Well Halt, Causeland and Sandplace.
  • Atlantic Coast Line – Par and Newquay – One tp2h – Calling at Luxulyan, Bugle, Roche, St Columb Road and Quintrell Downs
  • Maritime Line – Truro and Falmouth Docks – Two tph – Calling at Perranwell (1tph), Penryn, Penmere and Falmouth Town
  • St. Ives Bay Line – St. Erth and St. Ives – Two tph – Calling at Lelant Saltings, Lelant and Carbis Bay

Could frequencies and connectivities be improved?

Other Beeching Reversal projects are also aiming to improve the railways in Cornwall.

Transforming the Newquay Line
Reinstatement of Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway and associated works
Increased service provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway

I think the first might increase frequencies on the Newquay to one tph or even two tph and the Bodmin General station improvements should create a useful new platform.

Wikipedia mentions this project.

Reopening The Lostwithiel And Fowey Railway To Passengers

Are there any other lines, stations or platforms, that could be reopened, given a passenger service or or an increase in frequency?

Conclusion

Someone must have a plan somewhere! So can they please disclose it?

 

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment