The Anonymous Widower

I Don’t Wrap Christmas Presents Traditionally!

I don’t give many presents, as I only have three relatives, who I’m in contact with.

These are the presents all lined up on Christmas Day, before taking them to Christmas lunch!

The drawstring bags are bought on-line from The Clever Baggers.

The larger pink ones are just £0.72, which is probably cheaper than traditional wrapping paper.

Putting the presents into a bag and pulling the string is probably a lot easier, especially if you have a gammy hand, as I sometimes do!

They would also be ideal in a family with lots of children, as each could have their own colour.

As I nearly ran out of bags this Christmas, I have just placed an order to replenish my stock.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Palm Oil Giant Wilmar International To Combat Deforestation Using Satellite Monitoring Of Suppliers

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

This is the first three paragraphs.

The world’s largest trader in palm oil has unveiled plans to use satellite monitoring to prevent further destruction of rainforests.

Wilmar International is backing a project by sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment to draw up a comprehensive mapping database of suppliers in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

It has pledged to immediately suspend groups involved in deforestation or development on peatland, while also working with them to improve their operations.

Both the Independent and The Times, quote Kiki Taufik of Greenpeace, as the announcement being a potential breakthrough.

The Times also says, that Mondelez, who own Cadbury, have backed Wilmar’s palm oil plan.

 

 

 

December 15, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On A Battery/Electric Replacement For A Class 66 Locomotive

Many of the long freight routes from Felixstowe and Southampton are hauled by diesel locomotives like the environmentally-unfriendly Class 66 locomotive.

Electric haulage can’t be used because of significant gaps in the 25 KVAC overhead electrification. Gaps and a typical transit time of a Class 66-hauled heavy freight train include.

  • Didcot and Birmingham – Around two-and-a-half hours
  • Didcot and Coventry – Just under two hours
  • Felixstowe and Ipswich – Around an hour
  • Haughley Junction and Peterborough – Around two hours
  • Southampton and Reading – Around one-and-a-half hours
  • Werrington Junction and Doncaster via Lincoln – Around two hours
  • Werrington Junction and Nuneaton – Just under two hours

Would it be possible to design a battery/electric hravy locomotive, that could bridge these gaps?

Consider the following.

  • A Class 66 locomotive has a power output of around 2500 kW.
  • To run for two hours on battery would require a battery of 5000 kWh.
  • A 5000 kWh battery would weigh around fifty tonnes.
  • A Class 70 locomotive is a heavy freight diesel Co-Co locomotive with a weight of 134 tonnes with a full tank of diesel.
  • A Class 88 locomotive is an electro-diesel locomotive, that without the diesel engine weighs about 80 tonnes.
  • A Class 88 locomotive has a power output of 4,000 kW on 25 KVAC  overhead electrification

Putting this information together and I think it would be possible to design a battery/electric locomotive with the following specification.

  • 4000 kW on 25 KVAC  overhead electrification
  • Ability to use 750 VDC third-rail electrification
  • A 5000 kWh battery.
  • Ability to use a rapid charging system.
  • Two hour range with 2500 kW on battery power.
  • Regenerative braking to the battery.
  • Co-Co configuration
  • Dimensions, weight and axle loading similar to a Class 70 locomotive.

These are a few other thoughts.

Last Mile Applications

Ports and Container Terminals are often without electrification.

The proposed locomotive would be able to work in these environments.

A couple of yeas ago, I had a long talk with a crane operator at the Port of Felixstowe, who I met on a train going to football. He was of the opinion, that Health and Safety is paramount and he would not like 25 KVAC overhead electrification all over the place.

So if freight locomotives used battery power inside the port, most would be pleased.

The only cost for ports and freight terminals would be installing some form of charging.

Maximum Power On Batteries

I suspect that the maximum power on battery would also be the same as the 4,000 kW using 25 KVAC overhead electrification, as the locomotive may have applications, where very heavy trains are moved on partially electrified lines.

Diesel-Free Operation

The proposed lovomotive will not use any diesel and will essentially be an electric locomotive, with the ability to use stored onboard power.

Environmentally-Friendly Operation

Freight routes often pass through areas, where heavy diesel locomotives are not appreciated.

  • The proposed locomotive will not be emitting any exhaust or noxious gases.
  • Noise would be similar to an electric locomotive.
  • They would be quieter using battery-power on lines without overhead electrification, as there would be no pantograph noise.

I think on balance, those living by freight routes will welcome the proposed locomotive.

Would Services Be Faster?

This would depend on the route, but consider a heavy freight train going from Felixstowe to Leeds.

  • On the electrified East Coast Main Line, the proposed battery-electric locomotive would have a power of 4,000 kW, as opposed to the 2,500 kW of the Class 66 locomotive.
  • On sections without electrification, the locomotive would have more power if required, although it would probably be used sparingly.
  • The locomotive would have a Driver Assistance System to optimise power use to the train weight and other conditions.

I feel on balance, that services could be faster, as more power could be applied without lots of pollution and noise.

Creeping With Very Heavy Loads

I suspect they would be able to creep with very heavy loads, as does the Class 59 locomotive.

Class 59 Locomotive Replacement

The proposed locomotive may well be able to replace Class 59 locomotives in some applications.

Any Extra Electrification Will Be Greatly Appreciated

Some gaps in electrification are quite long.

For example, Didcot and Birmingham takes about two and a half hours.

  • Didcot is on the electrified Great Western Main Line.
  • Birmingham has a lot of electrified lines.

So perhaps there could be some extra electrification at both ends of busy freight routes.

Electrification between Didcot and Wolvercote Junction would be a possibility.

  • It would be about twelve miles
  • It is very busy with heavy freight trains.
  • The natives complain about the railway.
  • It would allow Great Western Railway to run electric trains to and from London.
  • If Chiltern Railways were to run battery-electric trains to Oxford, it would provide electrification for charging at Oxford.
  • Electrification could be extended to Oxford Parkway station to make sure battery-electric trains would get a good send-off to Cambridge

This simple example shows, why bi-mode and battery/electric trains don’t mean the end of electrification.

All vehicles; rail or road and especially electric ones, need to take on fuel!

I also think, that there is scope to electrify some passing loops, so that locomotives can top-up en route.

Conclusion

It would be a heavyweight locomotive with a performance to match.

I believe that such a locomotive would be a very useful addition to the UK’s fleet of freight locomotives.

 

December 8, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 4 Comments

2022 Opening For £80m Eden Project North Which Would Attract Up To 8,000 People A Day To Morecambe

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Lancaster Guardian.

This is the first paragraph.

The Eden Project North would open in autumn 2022 at a cost of £80m and attract up to 8,000 people a day to Morecambe – if planning and funding can be agreed.

Given the undoubted success of the Eden Project in Cornwall, I would be very surprised if this project doesn’t go ahead.

December 8, 2018 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments

Arup Called In To Help New Zealand Run Ports And Trains On Hydrogen

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Construction Review.

This is the first paragraph.

UK consulting engineer Arup has been brought in to help design and deliver a hydrogen factory for New Zealand’s second largest port. Ports of Auckland said it plans to build a production facility to make the gas from tap water, which it will use to fuel ships, trucks, buses, cars and trains.

It is all part of the aim of making the port of Auckland, zero-carbon by 2040.

I think we’ll see other large self-contained sites like ports, airports, rail container terminals and large industrial complexes using hydrogen, as it may offer advantages over batteries in terms of range, lifting capacity and vehicle size and weight.

There is also no problem with the regular replacement of batteries in equipment like mobile cranes, which in New Zealand’s case will mean importing new ones.

I suspect, hydrogen may be more affordable to run than batteries for Auckland.

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmentally-Friendly Dry Cleaning

In the late-1960s, when I worked for ICI, the company was very worried about the effect of dry-cleaning chemicals on the health of workers and was constantly looking for better chemicals.

I suspect as that was fifty years ago, that the dry-cleaning process itself is very much more envionmentally friendly.

But look at these trousers, that I have just brought back from the dry cleaners.

There are two things wrong with the packaging.

The awful wire coat hangers, which are a nuisance to deal with and go straight in the bin.

The plastic wrapping over the top, which I assume is not recyclable.

Years ago in Suffolk, we had a man who collected and returned our bed linen from the laundry, once a week. I can’t remember the company, but I hope they’re still going, as they did an excellent service.

They then started doing dry cleaning and they gave you the choice of having it on hangers or neatly folded in tissue paper.

I remember we chose the latter, as it was so much more convenient.

C would then put things that needed a hanger on proper wooden ones.

With the worries around plastic getting into the oceans, surely we should stop this needless wrapping of dry cleaning with plastic and fold things neatly in tissue paper!

I look forward to seeing a dry-cleaners, that says that we don’t use plastic!

November 25, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

19MW Storage Capacity To Participate In Three UK Flexible Markets

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

in Batteries On The Boil As Fund Attracts Investors, I talked about energy storage funds, which are a way of investing in energy storage to add capabilities to electricity grids.

This article talks about how the Gore Street Energy Fund is investing in two energy storage facilities at the Port of Tilbury and Lower Road in Essex

I have also found this article on Solar Power Portal, which is entitled Gore Street Fund Makes New Battery Acquisitions With New 19MW Pair From Origami Energy.

The second article has a picture of a 4 MW/4.8 MWh Tesla battery at Cenin Renewables.

The link to Tesla gives a well-presented page of applications of these batteries.

One example given is Renewable Integration, where this is said.

Smooth and firm the output of a renewable power generation source such as wind or solar.

This will be a large application for these types of large batteries, as although we don’t have masses of sun, we do have a lot of wind.

Big financial institutions like Pension Funds and Insurance Companies need secure long term investment to place their money and these energy storage devices, would appear to offer a sensible return, that enables them to pay their investors, like anybody who has a pension. Traditionally,these financial institutions have invested in property and government bonds for example.

Lately, they have been investing in railway rolling stock, which have a life of up to forty years. These energy storage systems should offer a reasonable life, if well-maintained and updated.

As there will large numbers of energy  storage systems installed in the UK in the next decades, I think they could be a big area for investment.

At an individual level, we will also see houses built or refurbished with solar panels and batteries.

We are at the start of an exciting revolution!

 

November 24, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Morecambe’s Eden Project North To Feature Giant ‘Mussel’ Pavilions

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

This is the first three paragraphs.

A new Eden Project will feature five giant mussel-shaped domes inspired by local marine life, plans have revealed.

Morecambe’s Eden Project North will include “performance spaces, immersive experiences and observatories”, the charity behind plans for it has said.

The Eden Project, which runs the Cornish attraction of the same name, said the new site would also feature “re-imagined lidos” and gardens.

It appears that the next stage is to obtain the funding.

I must admit, that I was sceptical about the Eden Project in Cornwall, when it was announced in the late 1990s. But it is now a popular visitor attraction, which attracted over a million visitors iin 2017.

 

 

 

 

November 23, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Large Hydropower Dams ‘Not Sustainable’ In The Developing World

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

This is the first four paragraphs.

A new study says that many large scale hydropower projects in Europe and the US have been disastrous for the environment.

Dozens of these dams are being removed every year, with many considered dangerous and uneconomic.

But the authors fear that the unsustainable nature of these projects has not been recognised in the developing world.

Thousands of new dams are now being planned for rivers in Africa and Asia.

I think the report has a sound basis and we should think much deeper before we build a large dam.

Storing energy and preventing of floods are probably good reasons, whereas others are not, considering, that solar and wind power are becoming more affordable.

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

Fish Fingers Surprisingly Sustainable, Say Conservationists

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

When I first saw this headline, I was surprised and cynically felt that this was some put up job paid for by the producers of fish fingers or the Fish Fingers Appreciation Society.

But it appears that the research was done by the Marine Conservation Society.

This is the first paragraph of their Wikipedia entry.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK’s leading marine environment, not-for-profit organisation. It works for the increased protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, via the creation of well managed marine protected areas. It works with fishermen and industry to find more sustainable ways of fishing and with retailers and consumers to buy and choose more sustainable seafood. It involves volunteers to carry out hundreds of beach cleans and surveys annually whilst also working with water companies and local communities to ensure UK bathing waters are of an excellent standard

I think that and other facts in the entry, prove that we can take the BBC report at face value.

Incidentally of their list of the top fifteen fish fingers rated for sustainability, at least two were gluten-free.

Usually, coeliacs and others who are gluten-free are left out of the results.

My last thought, is that why if we can make fish fingers surprisingly sustainable, can’t we do that for other foods?

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment