The Anonymous Widower

How Good Is ‘Freezing Air’ The Solution For Electricity?

The title of this post is the same as that for this article on Energy News 24.

The article discusses Highview Power’s proposed 400 MWh installation in Vermont, where they are installing lots of renewable power sources and need a way to store the energy, which is partly wasted.

Read the article and especially the last sentence.

Vice President Jason Burwen Energy Storage Association said the capacity of the plant would be “on par with today’s largest grid energy storage projects under construction.” He said it would be the equivalent electricity needed “to power maybe 50,000 homes for eight hours.”

Are the British coming?

The Highview Power system to me is a blindingly obvious simple idea, based on proven technology, that has been used for many decades. Add in clever computing technology to control it and blend it with renewable energy and every wind or solar farm, tidal power station and sizeable town or city should have one, where there is a site the size of a football pitch.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Modern Energy Systems Have A Secondary Role?

Close to where I live is a small heat and power system, that I wrote about in The Bunhill Energy Centre.

I first went over the centre during Open House.

Several of these modern systems are very good demonstrations of the principles of maths, physics and engineering.

So do these innovative energy systems do their bit in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers?

Some of the modern systems, that are in development like Highview Power’s energy storage using liquid air would be ideal for a secondary education role!

Most too, are very safe, as there are no dangerous processes or substances.

And in the next few years, there will be more systems all over the country and many in the hearts of towns and cities. Some schools, colleges and especially universities, will have their own innovative energy sources.

Liverpool University already has a system, which is described here.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Engineers Want Tunnel Of Love Under Irish Sea To Unite UK

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The UK really could become a United Kingdom, according to top engineers who propose linking Britain and Northern Ireland with a high-speed rail tunnel under the Irish Sea.

The possibility of such a tunnel, is all down to improvements in tunnelling techniques.

  • Tunnelling speeds have increased by three times in the last thirty years and could double in the next ten.
  • Future tunnel boring machine would line the tunnel using cement mixed with the rock debris.
  • It should also be remembered, that once built, tunnels don’t suffer from the weather.

Behind the plan are the Institution of Civil Engineers and the British Tunnelling Society.

The report is also suggesting these tunnels.

  • To the Isle of Wight
  • Weston-super-Mare to Cardiff
  • Under the Humber

As to the Irish tunnel, the article discuses these routes.

Anglesey and Dublin

It would be fifty miles and an engineering possibility. But would it be too sensitive politically, so soon after Brexit.

Stranraer and Larne

Possible, but there are reportedly a million tonnes of World War Two bombs dumped in the area and a lot of connecting railways would need to be built.

North of Liverpool And South Of Belfast via The Isle Of Man

This sounds crazy and would involve nearly a hundred miles of twin tunnels.

  • But it is the preferred route!
  • Could the tunnelling conditions be excellent?
  • It appears the North of the Isle of Man is flat farming country.
  • The article gives tunnelling costs at £80million per mile, so it would be an £8billion pound project.
  • It could be easily linked to the West Coast Main Line and High Speed Two at several places.
  • It could carry freight as well!

It is going to be very interesting to read the report.

Conclusion

Have the engineers been watching The Great Escape too often?

Possibly, but engineering is the science of the possible and politics is dreams of the impossible.

 

January 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Are Replacement Buses Being Used To Syon Lane Station On July 20-21?

If you look at the on-line rail time timetable from Waterloo to Syon Lane station for Saturday, the 20th and Sunday, the 21st of July, there are no trains and a bus replacement service operates.

I have checked as far as I can in the future and there are no other weekend closures on the route.

In Nothing Seems To Be Happening At Syon Lane Station, I speculated that either the project to erect a step-free bridge at the station, was to be delayed or something very different will be happening.

The two day weekend closure leads me to think that Network Rail are going to install a bridge in two days.

In Winner Announced In The Network Rail Footbridge Design Ideas Competition, I wrote how the competition was won by this bridge.

I believe that if the components were brought in by train, that this sort of bridge could be erected in two days.

This is real engineering, which is not normally seen except in war or times of great emergency like earthquake, fire or floods.

Conclusion

My speculation must be all wrong!

What sane company would attempt to build a footbridge in two days, without the assistance of Anneka Rice or that guy from DIY SOS?

June 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

Better Storage Might Give Hydrogen The Edge As Renewable Car Fuel

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on an Australian blog called Create.

This paragraph summarises the article.

Professor David Antonelli from Lancaster University has recently discovered a material that he says could allow existing tank sizes to fuel four times their current range.

Take the time to read the article in full!

If this is developed successfully, then coupled to improved battery technology, that will surely increase the practical range of hybrid hydrogen-battery cars, trucks, buses and trains.

Whilst politicians vanish up their backsides discussing the irrelevant Brexit, engineers and scientists will get on developing ideas, that will make everybody’s lives better.

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 1 Comment

£100m Train Test Complex Plans For Neath Valley Backed

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

This much-needed project, which some wag has called Project Hornby, seems to be moving on..

This brief description is from the article.

The complex would allow trains to be tested on special tracks – laid out on 4.5 mile (7.3km) and two mile (3.1km) ovals – at speeds of up to 100mph (160kph).

It will certainly test their ability to go round corners.

Hopefully, the test track will shorten the time, it takes new and updated trains into service.

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

The Mayflower At South Tottenham Station

The steam engine called Mayflower came through South Tottenham station this morning.

It was the first steam special along the Gospel Oak to Barking Line since the recent electrification.

Intriguingly, the locomotive is younger than I am and it has probably had better TLC than I have had in the last seventy years.

The crowd at the station wasn’t that large, but I don’t think there was that much publicity, outside of enthusiasts and the Barking – Gospel Oak Rail Users Group.

As an engineer, I think that the enlightened policy of allowing heritage steam and diesel locomotives to use the main line, is a good one. If it encourages bright students to become engineers, all the investment will be repaid in the long term.

March 23, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

SWR And Porterbrook Trial New Emission-Slashing Rail Technology

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the first three paragraphs of the article.

Groundbreaking emission-reducing technology is to be fitted to South Western Railway (SWR) train units as part of a new trial aiming to cut down harmful emissions from diesel trains by 80%.

Porterbrook is working in partnership with exhaust manufacturer Eminox to carry out the trial, with the DfT supporting the rolling stock company’s investment.

This will see South Western Railway’s Class 159 diesel units fitted with a first-of-its-kind emissions control device, with plans to roll out the technology to hundreds of diesel trains across the UK’s rail network.

I have looked up Eminox on their web site.

This is the mission statement on the front page.

Eminox designs and manufactures exhaust after-treatment systems, reducing emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and equipment.

Our products are supplied as original equipment to meet the latest emissions standards. We also produce complete emissions systems for retrofit to meet the ever-changing demands of local air quality programmes such as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and Clean Air Zones across the country.

Our Eminox Custom team specialises in exhaust conversions and bespoke systems.

While politicians dither and fiddle, engineers engineer, with a little bot of help from Porterbrook and the DfT.

If this technology proves to be successful, I can see its application to large numbers of diesel trains around the world.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Woodsmith Potash Mine: Showcasing The Future Of Underground Technology

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

These are some points from the article.

  • Yorkshire is the world’s only source of mined polyhalite.
  • £3.2billion has been invested.
  • A 32 km. tunnel is being dug to bring the plyhalite to Wilton on Teesside.
  • At 1.5 km deep, it will be the deepest mine in Europe.
  • Sirius are saying it will reduce the UK’s trade deficit by 7%

It is a fascinating read, which lays out the financing and engineering of one the biggest projects in the UK.

 

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | Leave a comment