The Anonymous Widower

Should There Be Limits To The Type Of Vehicles Allowed In The Blackwall And Silvertown Tunnels?

When the Silvertown Tunnel opens in 2025, the tunnel and the nearby Blackwall Tunnel will be tolled.

But will there be any restrictions on the vehicles that can use the tunnels, other than those that apply to the Blackwall Tunnel at the present time, which are detailed in Wikipedia.

The tunnels are no longer open to pedestrians, cyclists or other non-motorised traffic, and the northbound tunnel has a 4.0-metre (13.1 ft) height limit.

Note.

  1. I suspect that pedestrians, cyclists or other non-motorised traffic will also be banned from the Silverton Tunnel.
  2. But the height limit will be relaxed for the Silverton Tunnel to allow large trucks and double-deck buses to use the tunnel.

According to this web page, which is entitled the Silvertown Tunnel Bus Network Proposals, the planned buses through the tunnel include.

  • 108 – As now, with a minor route change.
  • 129 – As now, but extended from North Greenwich station to Great Eastern Quay.
  • X329 – An express bus from Grove Park station to Canary Wharf, which runs non-stop through the Silvertown Tunnel.

Note.

  1. The 108 goes through Blackwall and is a single decker bus.
  2. The 129 and the X329 will go through Silvertown and could be double decker buses.
  3. There appears to be no mention of any provision for cycles.
  4. I would assume wheelchairs, buggies and cases will be accommodated as they are on current London buses.

I also think, that the buses must be zero-carbon, which would mean battery-electric or hydrogen.

In Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles And Trains In Tunnels, I looked at the feasibility of running hydrogen buses through the tunnel and came to this conclusion.

I am confident, that we will achieve a safety regime, that allows hydrogen-powered vehicles and trains to be certified to pass through tunnels.

The great advantage of hydrogen buses on the three routes would be that they would probably only need to be filled up once a day, but electric buses might need constant charging.

Provision For Cycles

I think it is essential to have provision for cycles across the river.

  • Folded cycles can be taken almost anywhere on London’s transport system.
  • Non-folding cycles can be taken most places on London’s transport system, but the hours are restricted.
  • There’s always the Woolwich Ferry.
  • Given that the 108 bus seems to weave its way through the East End, I suspect that this bus couldn’t be longer to carry cycles.

I have seen double-deck buses, with provision for cycles at the back of the lower deck in Europe.

  • Perhaps buses like these, could be used on the 129 and X329 routes.
  • A search of the Internet found some buses in East Yorkshire with  provision for two standard cycles.
  • The 129 bus could ferry bikes between North Greenwich station and a convenient stop on the North side of the river.
  • The X329 bus could ferry bikes over the non-stop section of the route between the Sun in the Sands and Leamouth roundabouts.

There could be shorter routes adding extra capacity between the stops, where bikes are loaded and unloaded.

Large Trucks Through The Tunnel

If buses become zero-carbon through the Blackwall and Silverton Tunnels, then why shouldn’t large trucks be zero-carbon?

I think this could be the carrot combined with free passage for zero-carbon vehicles that could clean up Central London’s polluted air.

Smaller Vehicles

Why not gradually reduce the size of vehicles going through the tunnels that must be zero-carbon?

Conclusion

The Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels can be used as the drivers to clean up Central London’s air.

 

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles And Trains In Tunnels

In writing about the Silvertown Tunnel, I started to wonder, if hydrogen vehicles will be allowed in the tunnel.

 

Consider.

  • I don’t think diesel-powered trains are allowed in the Channel Tunnel and the tunnels of the link to London.
  • Some tunnels don’t seem to allow hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • In a few years, hydrogen-powered buses, cars, locomotives, trains, trucks and vans will be more common, than they are today.

But help is at hand, with a co-operation between UK and EU agencies called HyTunnel-CS.

It is over fifty years now, since I worked as an instrument engineer in an ICI hydrogen factory at Runcorn. Truckloads of hydrogen were filled and despatched all over the UK. I may be wrong, but in all those intervening years, I can’t remember a hydrogen emergency on the UK’s roads.

I am confident, that we will achieve a safety regime, that allows hydrogen-powered vehicles and trains to be certified to pass through tunnels.

January 8, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Green Shift: Zero Emission Buses Could Lure Millions Onto Public Transport

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Go-Ahead Group.

These are the bullet points of the press release.

  • A majority (55%) of people are likely to travel by bus more often if buses are powered by zero-emission electric or hydrogen batteries.
  • Only a quarter of the public think bus travel in general is ‘green’. But eight out of ten view zero emission buses as ‘green’.
  • Younger people are particularly likely to be swayed in their travel habits by a switch towards low emission technology
  • Independent research carried out for Go-Ahead Group’s new Zero Emission Centre of Excellence.

This paragraph was their conclusion.

Buses powered by electric or hydrogen batteries could lure millions of additional passengers onto public transport according to new research into public attitudes towards travel.

The research was performed by independent research company; Savanta ComRes, who are described like this in Wikipedia.

Savanta ComRes is a market research consultancy based in London, England. Established in 2003 as Communicate Research Ltd, ComRes was a founding member of the British Polling Council in 2004, and is one of the UK’s best known polling companies.

To my mind this is the sort of market research, that can often shoot yourself in the foot, so because the result has been published by the company and would be unlikely to be rejected by customers, who would be unlikely to say no to a nice new bus, I think we’re seeing the truth here.

I would ask, whether the conclusions would apply to other forms of public transport like trains, planes and ships.

These figures show the percentage increase in passenger numbers at intermediate Gospel Oak and Barking Line stations between 2017-18 and 2021-22.

  • Upper Holloway – 53 %
  • Crouch Hill – 42 %
  • Harringay Green Lanes – 42 %
  • South Tottenham – 41 %
  • Blackhorse Road – 23 %
  • Walthamstow Queen’s Road – 38 %
  • Leyton Midland Road – 39 %
  • Leytonstone High Road – 40 %
  • Wanstead Park – 55 %
  • Woodgrange Park – 42 %

Note.

  1. 2017-18 is pre-electrification and Covid-19
  2. 2021-22 is after-electrification and Covid-19
  3. Pre-electrification, the trains were modern Class 172 diesel trains, with 124 seats.
  4. After electrification, the trains were modern Class 710 electric trains, with 189 seats.
  5. There were only small infrastructure changes on the route between 2017 and 2021, other than the electrification and some lifts.

The average increase in passenger numbers was 41.5 %.

I can also look at the figures for London Overground stations on the Lea Valley Lines, where forty-year-old Class 315 trains were replaced with modern Class 710 trains in 2020.

  • Chingford – -35 %
  • Highams Park – -27 %
  • Wood Street – -10 %
  • Walthamstow Central – -33 %
  • St, James Street – -13 %
  • Clapton – -18 %
  • Hackney Downs – -40 %
  • London Fields – -29 %
  • Cambridge Heath – -22 %
  • Bethnal Green – -8 %
  • Enfield Town – -35 %
  • Bush Hill Park – -38 %
  • Edmonton Green – -31 %
  • Silver Street – -25 %
  • White Hart Lane – -2 %
  • Bruce Grove – -25 %
  • Seven Sisters – -34 %
  • Stamford Hill – -21 %
  • Stoke Newington – -37 %
  • Rectory Road – -38 %
  • Theobalds Grove – -18 %
  • Turkey Street – -29 %
  • Southbury – -26 %
  • Emerson Park – -36 %

Note.

  1. 2017-18 is pre-Class 710 trains and Covid-19
  2. 2021-22 is after-Class 710 trains and Covid-19
  3. White Hart Lane is probably a low reduction because of the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has increased passenger numbers.

The average decline in passenger numbers was 26.25 %.

Analysis

It does appear that the figures for the Gospel Oak and Barking Line fit with Go-Ahead’s findings, that were published in their press release.

But why did the other Overground lines, which received new Class 710 trains have such a large decline in traffic?

I can postulate these reasons.

  • There was no green transition on the other lines.
  • Passengers on the Gospel Oak and Barking Line have no easy alternative form of public transport.
  • Some of the competing bus routes to the Lea Valley Lines now have zero-carbon buses.
  • Passengers don’t like the longitudinal seating of the Class 710 trains.
  • Passengers using the Lea Valley Lines are more affluent and can work from home.
  • Covid-19

It will be interesting to see how passenger numbers move in the next couple of years.

Is It Worthwhile Replacing Diesel Trains With Zero-Carbon Trains?

From the Gospel Oak and Barking figures and Go-Ahead’s press release, this will appear to be a worthwhile action.

If you get an increase in passenger numbers, when you replace the quality Class 172 trains on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, what sort of increase would you get if you were replacing trains, that were well past their best?

Is It Worthwhile Replacing Older Electric Trains With New Zero-Carbon Trains?

The figures from the Lea Valley Lines are poor, when compared to those of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, so unless there are other reasons, it may be better to soldier on with the existing trains.

 

December 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Wrightbus Hydrogen Fleet Cover 1,5 Million Miles

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

Leading bus manufacturer Wrightbus’s fleet of hydrogen fuel-cell buses have travelled a staggering 1.5 million miles since first entering service.

This latest milestone from the Ballymena-based firm means the hydrogen fuel-cell fleet has prevented 2,366 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions entering the atmosphere compared to journeys made by an equivalent diesel bus.

It does appear that the company is on the road to a much needed recovery.

November 29, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Government Boosts Hydrogen Buses With £26m

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A Northern Irish bus company is receiving £26 million in funding to build electric and hydrogen buses.

Wrightbus built the world’s first hydrogen double-decker bus in 2020 and is now looking to export its zero-emission buses worldwide to Australia, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Other points from the article include.

  • Wrightbus are aiming to build 3,000 zero-emission buses.
  • Jobs could increase by 300.
  • They would like to increase exports by 40 %.

It looks like there’s a future in zero-emission buses.

 

November 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

My First Ride In A Refurbished New Routemaster

When I went to see the Queen’s flowers, that I wrote about in The Queen’s Flowers In Green Park, the 38 bus, I rode to Green Park, was a refurbished New Routemaster.

Note.

  1. It appears to have scrubbed up well.
  2. There is a new fabric and all the gold metal parts have been re-anodised.
  3. The priority seats for those with limited mobility are now labelled.
  4. As they are now up to eleven years old, will they now be good for at least another ten?

This article on Key Buses is entitled New Routemaster Refurbishment Underway, where this is said.

Despite coming under threat as a result of Tf L’s funding crisis the first New Routemasters have now returned from refurbishment. These include buses in the Abellio London, Metroline and London United fleets. The latter now carry RATPDev Transit London fleetnames. The first 200 vehicles are expected to be refurbished by March 31, 2023.

With 200 buses, I should get a lot of chances to add some more pictures.

In Could London’s New Routemaster Buses Be Converted To Hydrogen Power?, I came to this conclusion.

I believe from my knowledge of Cummins and the way they work, that they will come up with a hydrogen-based solution, that will replace the Cummins diesel in these buses with a zero-carbon engine.

If Cummins don’t then someone else will.

Whoever solves the problem of converting London’s new Routemasters to hydrogen will have one of the best adverts for their product, there has ever been.

After converting London’s thousand Routemasters, the engineers could move on to anything powered by a Cummins engine.

Since then I’ve written Werner Enterprises Signs Letter Of Intent Planning To Secure 500 X15H Engines From Cummins, which describes the application of Cummins technology to convert heavy trucks to hydrogen power.

 

September 20, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 4 Comments

Werner Enterprises Signs Letter Of Intent Planning To Secure 500 X15H Engines From Cummins

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

This is the first paragraph.

Werner Enterprises, a premier transportation and logistics provider, and Cummins Inc., a global power solutions provider, announced today Werner signed a letter of intent to purchase 500 Cummins’ 15-liter hydrogen internal combustion engines upon availability. The two companies announced earlier this year, Werner Enterprises plans to validate and integrate Cummins’15-liter natural gas and Cummins’ X15H hydrogen engines, both part of Cummins’ fuel agnostic platform, into their fleet.

More details of the X15H engine are given in this earlier press release, which is entitled Cummins Inc. Debuts 15-Litre Hydrogen Engine At ACT Expo, which has this first paragraph.

Today, Cummins Inc. debuted its 15-liter hydrogen engine at ACT Expo in Long Beach, California. This engine is built on Cummins’ new fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket each fuel type’s engine has largely similar components, and above the head gasket, each has different components for different fuel types. This version, with expected full production in 2027, pairs with clean, zero-carbon hydrogen fuel, a key enabler of Cummins’ strategy to go further faster to help customers reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

I certainly like the concept of a fuel-agnostic platform, where below the head gasket, everything is similar, and above the head gasket, there are appropriate components.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Rolls-Royce mtu and JCB have used a similar concept for their hydrogen internal combustion engines.

Cummins have also developed a 6.7 litre engine.

This is a paragraph from the press release.

Hydrogen internal combustion engines use zero-carbon fuel at a lower initial price of a fuel cell or battery electric vehicle with little modification to today’s vehicles. Accelerated market adoption of hydrogen engine powered vehicles is driven by the technology’s high technology maturity, low initial cost, extended vehicle range, fast fueling, powertrain installation commonality, and end-user familiarity.

I certainly feel it is the way to go technically.

Take London’s New Routemaster buses.

  • These buses are powered by a Cummins B-series engine, which has four cylinders and a capacity of 4.5 litres.
  • This engine powers large numbers of trucks and pick-ups.
  • For the UK, they are manufactured in Darlington.
  • It appears that Cummins 6.7 litre engine is a six cylinder B-series engine.

It would certainly be more affordable to change the cylinder heads of these buses and power them by hydrogen, than purchase a new fleet.

Cummins have an excellent tutorial on hydrogen internal combustion engines on their web site.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Hydrogen Tourist Transport Network Trialled In The Peak District

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

This paragraph outlines the trial.

A trial is taking place in the Peak District National Park where hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) will run together between multiple destinations and attractions.

 

Note.

  1. Toyota will provide the buses.
  2. Air Products is providing hydrogen.
  3. The services appear to be centred on Chesterfield station.

It looks like one of the objectives is to test the two types of buses against the terrain.

I can see hydrogen-powered buses being used extensively in tourist areas all over the world.

September 13, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Repowering Zero-Emission Buses As An Alternative

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

The article makes the argument for swapping out the diesel engine for a zero-emission powertrain.

I very much feel that this is a worthwhile idea, as do Ricardo.

I wrote about converting London’s New Routemasters to hydrogen in Could London’s New Routemaster Buses Be Converted To Hydrogen Power?.

July 24, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce To Develop mtu Hydrogen Electrolyser And Invest In Hoeller Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Rolls-Royce.

These are the three main points in the press release.

  • Holdings in start-up companies in northern Germany secure Rolls-Royce Power Systems access to key green hydrogen production technology.
  • Electrolysis systems for several megawatts of power.
  • First demonstrator in 2023 using a Hoeller stack.

This is the introductory paragraph to the deal.

Rolls-Royce is entering the hydrogen production market and acquiring a 54% majority stake in electrolysis stack specialist Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division. Hoeller Electrolyzer, based in Wismar, Germany, is an early-stage technology company that is developing highly efficient polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) stacks, under the brand name Prometheus, for the cost-effective production of hydrogen.

This page on the Hoeller Electrolysis web site gives details of Prometheus.

  • Hoeller are planning small, medium and large electrolyser modules, the largest of which is rated at 1.4 MW.
  • Load changes of between 0 and 100 % within seconds.
  • Cold start capability.
  • It will produce 635 Kg/day.
  • They are talking of a cost of 4€/Kg.

It all sounds good to me.

This paragraph is from the press release.

Founded in 2016, Hoeller Electrolyzer has positioned itself, with Prometheus, as one of the few highly specialized expert players in the field of high-efficiency PEM electrolysis stacks. Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus. Particularly high efficiency is promised by special surface technologies for the bipolar plates which significantly reduce the use of expensive precious metals platinum and iridium as catalysts, as well as increased output pressure.

I know a small amount about electrolysis and feel that Rolls-Royce may have got themselves a high-class deal.

Rolls-Royce’s large German presence in companies like mtu, will also help to smooth any doubts about the deal.

This paragraph indicates a shared belief.

Rolls-Royce and Hoeller Electrolyzer are united by a shared belief in the opportunity of zero-carbon energy – both for power supply and the propulsion of heavy vehicles. With decades of experience and systems expertise, Rolls-Royce is going to develop a complete electrolyzer system and has a global sales and service network, which opens up the potential for significant worldwide sales.

But perhaps, this is the most significant paragraph of the press release.

Armin Fürderer, who heads up the Net Zero Solutions business unit of Power Systems, said: “We’re going to launch electrolyzers with several megawatts of power right from the start. A total output of over 100 megawatts is conceivable by combining several electrolyzers.”

A quick search of the Internet, indicates that 100 MW is the size of the world’s largest electrolysers.

Applications

I can see applications for these large electrolysers.

Rolls-Royce Power Systems

This is a sentence from the press release.

Hoeller Electrolyzer, whose innovative technology will form the basis of a new range of mtu electrolyzer products from its Power Systems division.

The Rolls-Royce Power Systems web site, has this mission statement.

The Power Systems Business Unit of Rolls-Royce is focused on creating sustainable, climate neutral solutions for drive, propulsion and power generation.

In Rolls-Royce Makes Duisburg Container Terminal Climate Neutral With MTU Hydrogen Technology, I describe one of Rolls-Royce Power Systems projects.

The title of this post, is the same as this press release from Rolls-Royce.

This is the first sentence.

Rolls-Royce will ensure a climate-neutral energy supply at the container terminal currently under construction at the Port of Duisburg, Germany.

There is also this Rolls-Royce graphic, which shows the energy sources.

It would appear batteries,  combined heap and power (CHP), grid electricity, hydrogen electrolyser, hydrogen storage and renewable electricity are being brought together to create a climate-neutral energy system.

Note.

  1. The system uses a large hydrogen electrolyser.
  2. I suspect the hydrogen will be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  3. Hydrogen will probably power the container handling machines, ships, trucks, vehicles and other equipment in the port.

Hydrogen appears to be used as a means of storing energy and also for providing motive power.

I would suspect, the ultimate aim is that the port will not emit any carbon dioxide.

Other ports like Felixstowe and Holyhead seem to be going the hydrogen route.

Refuelling Hydrogen Buses and Charging Electric Buses

If you look at the Duisburg system, I can imagine a similar smaller system being used to refuel hydrogen buses and charge electric ones.

  • The hydrogen electrolyser would be sized to create enough hydrogen for a day or so’s work.
  • Hydrogen would be generated by off-peak electricity and local renewables.
  • If an operator bought more buses, I’m certain that the architecture of the electrolyser would allow expansion.
  • Hydrogen fuel cells would boost the electricity supply, when lots of buses needed to be charged.
  • Any spare hydrogen could be sold to those who have hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • Any spare electricity could be sold back to the grid.

It should be noted that manufacturers like Wrightbus have developed a range of hydrogen and electric buses that use the same components. So will we see more mixed fleets of buses, where the best bus is assigned to each route?

I have used buses as an example, but the concept would apply to fleets of cars, trucks and vans.

Green Hydrogen

Large efficient electrolysers will surely be the key to producing large quantities of green hydrogen in the future.

It appears that about 55 MWh is needed to produce a tonne of green hydrogen using existing electrolysers.

The Hoeller electrolyser appears to be about 53 MWh, so it is more efficient.

Green Hydrogen From An Onshore Wind Farm

If you look at the average size of an onshore wind farm in the UK, a quick estimate gives a figure of 62 MW. I shouldn’t expect the figure for much of the world is very different, where you ignore the gigafarms, as these will distort the numbers.

An appropriately-sized electrolyser could be added to onshore wind farms to provide a local source of hydrogen for transport, an industrial process or a domestic gas supply for a new housing estate.

A single 5 MW wind turbine with a capacity factor of around 30 % would produce around 680 Kg of green hydrogen per day.

Green Hydrogen From An Offshore Wind Farm

There are basic methods to do this.

Put the electrolyser onshore or put the electrolyser offshore and pipe the hydrogen to the shore.

I think we will see some innovative configurations.

In ScotWind N3 Offshore Wind Farm, I described how Magnora ASA are developing the ScotWind N3 wind farm.

The floating turbines surround a concrete floater, which in the future could contain an electrolyser and tankage for hydrogen.

The ScotWind N3 wind farm is designed to be a wind farm rated at 500 MW.

I can see an electrolyser on the floater, of an optimal size to make sure all electricity is used.

Pink Hydrogen

Pink hydrogen, is zero-carbon hydrogen produced using nuclear-generated electricity.

There are industrial processes, like the making of zero-carbon chemicals, concrete and steel, that will require large quantities of zero-carbon green or pink hydrogen.

Rolls-Royce are developing the Rolls-Royce SMR, which will be a 470 MW small modular nuclear reactor.

One of these placed near to a steel works and coupled to one or more 100 MW electrolysers could provide enough zero-carbon electricity and hydrogen to produce large quantities of zero-carbon green steel.

Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce and their subsidiaries like mtu, seem to be extensive users of advanced manufacturing techniques and I would expect that they can improve Hoeller’s manufacturing.

Research And Development

The press release says this about the founder of Hoeller.

Its founder, Stefan Höller, has more than a quarter of a century’s experience of developing electrolysis technology and has already registered 14 patents connected with Prometheus.

If Rolls-Royce can develop and support Stefan Höller and his team, development could easily go to a higher level.

Conclusion

I think that Rolls-Royce have taken over a company, that will in the end, will design excellent efficient electrolysers.

 

 

 

June 29, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment