The Anonymous Widower

The Massive Hydrogen Project, That Appears To Be Under The Radar

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Aldbrough Gas Storage.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, in East Yorkshire, officially opened in June 2011. The last of the nine caverns entered commercial operation in November 2012.

This page on Hydrocarbons Technology is entitled Aldbrough Underground Gas Storage Facility, Yorkshire.

It gives these details of how Aldbrough Gas Storage was constructed.

The facility was originally planned to be developed by British Gas and Intergen in 1997. British Gas planned to develop Aldbrough North as a gas storage facility while Intergen planned to develop Aldbrough South.

SSE and Statoil became owners of the two projects in 2002 and 2003. The two companies combined the projects in late 2003. Site work commenced in March 2004 and leaching of the first cavern started in March 2005.

The storage caverns were created by using directional drilling. From a central area of the site, boreholes were drilled down to the salt strata located 2km underground.

After completion of drilling, leaching was carried out by pumping seawater into the boreholes to dissolve salt and create a cavern. Natural gas was then pumped into the caverns and stored under high pressure.

Six of the nine caverns are already storing gas. As of February 2012, dewatering and preparation of the remaining three caverns is complete. Testing has been completed at two of these caverns.

The facility is operated remotely from SSE’s Hornsea storage facility. It includes an above ground gas processing plant equipped with three 20MW compressors. The gas caverns of the facility are connected to the UK’s gas transmission network through an 8km pipeline.

Note.

  1. The caverns are created in a bed of salt about two kilometres down.
  2. It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 370 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.
  3. Salt caverns are very strong and dry, and are ideal for storing natural gas. The technique is discussed in this section in Wikipedia.

As I worked for ICI at Runcorn in the late 1960s, I’m very familiar with the technique, as the company extracted large amounts of salt from the massive reserves below the Cheshire countryside.

This Google Map shows the location of the Aldbrough Gas Storage to the North-East of Hull.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Aldbrough Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Hornsea Ltd.
  3. Hull is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

It appears to be a compact site.

Atwick Gas Storage

This page on the SSE Thermal web site, is entitled Atwick Gas Storage.

This is said on the web site.

Our Atwick Gas Storage facility is located near Hornsea on the East Yorkshire coast.

It consists of nine caverns with the capacity to store around 325 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas.

The facility first entered commercial operation in 1979. It was purchased by SSE in September 2002.

This Google Map shows the location of the Atwick Gas Storage to the North-East of Beverley.

Note.

  1. The red-arrow marks the site of the Atwick Gas Storage.
  2. It is marked on the map as SSE Atwick.
  3. Beverley is in the South-West corner of the map.

This Google Map shows the site in more detail.

As with the slightly larger Aldbrough Gas Storage site, it appears to be compact.

Conversion To Hydrogen Storage

It appears that SSE and Equinor have big plans for the Aldbrough Gas Storage facility.

This page on the SSE Thermal web site is entitled Plans For World-Leading Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough.

These paragraphs introduce the plans.

SSE Thermal and Equinor are developing plans for one of the world’s largest hydrogen storage facilities at their existing Aldbrough site on the East Yorkshire coast. The facility could be storing low-carbon hydrogen as early as 2028.

The existing Aldbrough Gas Storage facility, which was commissioned in 2011, is co-owned by SSE Thermal and Equinor, and consists of nine underground salt caverns, each roughly the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Upgrading the site to store hydrogen would involve converting the existing caverns or creating new purpose-built caverns to store the low-carbon fuel.

With an initial expected capacity of at least 320GWh, Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage would be significantly larger than any hydrogen storage facility in operation in the world today. The Aldbrough site is ideally located to store the low-carbon hydrogen set to be produced and used in the Humber region.

Hydrogen storage will be vital in creating a large-scale hydrogen economy in the UK and balancing the overall energy system by providing back up where large proportions of energy are produced from renewable power. As increasing amounts of hydrogen are produced both from offshore wind power, known as ‘green hydrogen’, and from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, known as ‘blue hydrogen’, facilities such as Aldbrough will provide storage for low-carbon energy.

I have a few thoughts.

Will Both Aldbrough and Atwick Gas Storage Facilities Be Used?

As the page only talks of nine caverns and both Aldbrough and Atwick facilities each have nine caverns, I suspect that at least initially only Aldbrough will be used.

But in the future, demand for the facility could mean all caverns were used and new ones might even be created.

Where Will The Hydrogen Come From?

These paragraphs from the SSE Thermal web page give an outline.

Equinor has announced its intention to develop 1.8GW of ‘blue hydrogen’ production in the region starting with its 0.6GW H2H Saltend project which will supply low-carbon hydrogen to local industry and power from the mid-2020s. This will be followed by a 1.2GW production facility to supply the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, proposed by SSE Thermal and Equinor as the world’s first 100% hydrogen-fired power station, before the end of the decade.

SSE Thermal and Equinor’s partnership in the Humber marks the UK’s first end-to-end hydrogen proposal, connecting production, storage and demand projects in the region. While the Aldbrough facility would initially store the hydrogen produced for the Keadby Hydrogen Power Station, the benefit of this large-scale hydrogen storage extends well beyond power generation. The facility would enable growing hydrogen ambitions across the region, unlocking the potential for green hydrogen, and supplying an expanding offtaker market including heat, industry and transport from the late 2020s onwards.

Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage, and the partners’ other hydrogen projects in the region, are in the development stage and final investment decisions will depend on the progress of the necessary business models and associated infrastructure.

The Aldbrough Hydrogen Storage project is the latest being developed in a long-standing partnership between SSE Thermal and Equinor in the UK, which includes the joint venture to build the Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

It does seem to be, a bit of an inefficient route to create blue hydrogen, which will require carbon dioxide to be captured and stored or used.

Various scenarios suggest themselves.

  • The East Riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire are agricultural counties, so could some carbon dioxide be going to help greenhouse plants and crops, grow big and strong.
  • Carbon dioxide is used as a major ingredient of meat substitutes like Quorn.
  • Companies like Mineral Carbonation International are using carbon dioxide to make building products like blocks and plasterboard.

I do suspect that there are teams of scientists in the civilised world researching wacky ideas for the use of carbon dioxide.

Where Does The Dogger Bank Wind Farm Fit?

The Dogger Bank wind farm will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

  • It will consist of at least three phases; A, B and C, each of which will be 1.2 GW.
  • Phase A and B will have a cable to Creyke Beck substation in Yorkshire.
  • Phase C will have a cable to Teesside.

Creyke Beck is almost within walking distance of SSE Hornsea.

Could a large electrolyser be placed in the area, to store wind-power from Dogger Bank A/B as hydrogen in the Hydrogen Storage Facility At Aldbrough?

Conclusion

SSE  and Equinor may have a very cunning plan and we will know more in the next few years.

 

 

May 22, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Torvex Energy

Hydrogen And Chlorine Production At ICI Mond Division in The 1960s.

In my time in the late 1960s, when I worked For ICI Mond Division, I spent time in the Castner-Kellner works trying fairly unsuccessfully to develop an analyser to detect mercury-in-air in the Castner-Kellner process, that created chlorine and hydrogen from brine.

The process is not a nice one as it uses a mercury cathode and Wikipedia says this about safety.

The mercury cell process continues in use to this day. Current-day mercury cell plant operations are criticized for environmental release of mercury leading in some cases to severe mercury poisoning (as occurred in Japan). Due to these concerns, mercury cell plants are being phased out, and a sustained effort is being made to reduce mercury emissions from existing plants.

ICI felt that a mercury-in-air analyser would help to make the plant safer.

But ICI did have an alternative way to produce the chlorine they needed for selling as a gas or liquid or using as a base chemical for products like disinfectants, bleaches and dry cleaning fluids, without the use of mercury.

It was only a small plant and I was taken their once.

As with the Castner-Kellner process, it used a series of electrolyser cells.

  • These were smaller and had a tub, with a concrete lid.
  • The anode and cathode and the pipes collecting the hydrogen and the chlorine went through the lid.
  • They were rebuilt regularly.
  • As with the Castner-Kellner process, brine is electrolysed.
  • The process was old and probably dated from before the Castner-Kellner process.

But of course as there was no mercury, the hydrogen and chlorine were pure and could be used for certain types of manufacture like pharmaceuticals.

Torvex Energy

This article on Hydrogen Fuel News is entitled Stockton R&D Firm Unveils New Hydrogen From Seawater Production Process.

These are some points from the article.

  • Torvex Energy, a Stockton research and development company, recently unveiled a new technique for producing hydrogen from seawater.
  • This unique method of producing hydrogen from seawater does not result in oxygen gas emissions.
  • As such, it is clearly quite different from more traditional water electrolysis methods used for producing green H2.
  • The team behind the production method call it an environmentally friendly technique.
  • There is no desalination process.
  • The firm has patents pending on this unique form of electrochemical process.
  • It worked with the Material Processing Institute to establish proof of concept for this purpose.

I originally felt that Torvex Energy may have updated the ancient ICI process, that I saw over forty years ago, but when I asked the company, they said it was different.

It now appears that they haven’t, which means they must have found a totally new process.

There is certainly an ongoing patent application with a number of gb1900680.8.

How Efficient Is The Torvex Energy Process?

This will be key and there is nothing on their web site or on the Internet to indicate, if the Torvex Energy process is more or less efficient than traditional electrolysis.

Offshore Hydrogen Production

The main application for the Torvex Energy process must surely be in the production of hydrogen offshore.

  • A fleet of floating wind turbines could surround a mother platform with a Torvex Energy process.
  • The hydrogen could then be sent ashore in a pipeline.
  • If there to be a handy depleted gas field, the this could be used to store the gas.

Depending on the efficiency of the Torvex Energy process, this could be a more cost-effective way to bring energy ashore, as gas pipelines can be more affordable, than HVDC electrical links. Especially, if pipeline already exists.

Conclusion

Torvex Energy would have appeared to have made a major breakthrough in the production of hydrogen.

 

April 17, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

HS2 Reveals Dramatic Carbon Saving With Ambitious Modular Design For Thame Valley Viaduct

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release on High Speed Two.

This is the first paragraph.

HS2 today revealed the final designs for the Thame Valley Viaduct and the pioneering pre-fabricated construction methods that will see the 880m long structure slotted together like a giant Lego set, cutting its carbon footprint by an estimated 66%.

This is one of the pictures released in this photoset.

This second picture shows a closer view of a pillar and the catenary.

It does appear in these two views that the catenary and the gantries that support it are more elegant than those that tend to be used on most electrification schemes at the present time.

These paragraphs describe how the design saved carbon emissions.

Applying lessons from recent high speed rail projects in Spain, the design team cut the amount of embedded carbon by simplifying the structure of the viaduct so that every major element can be made off site.

In a major step forward for viaduct design in the UK, the team opted for two wide ‘box girder’ beams per span instead of eight smaller beams – to simplify and speed up assembly.

The production of steel and concrete is a major contributor to carbon emissions, with the new lighter-weight structure expected to save 19,000 tonnes of embedded carbon in comparison to the previous design. That’s the same amount of carbon emitted by one person taking a flight from London to Edinburgh and back 70,000 times.

It would appear that saving weight and using less steel and concrete can save a lot of carbon emissions.

I once got a bonus at ICI because I saved ten metres on the height of a chemical plant. My boss said, I’d saved nearly a million. by using a mathematical model on an analogue computer to show that a vessel in the plant wasn’t needed and this eliminated a complete floor of the plant.

How much concrete and steel has been saved by High Speed Two on this viaduct, by making it more basset than Afghan hound?

Ever since I watched the building of Crossrail’s Custom House station, I have been in favour of off-site construction.

I wrote about it in An Express Station and am pleased to see it being used on High Speed Two.

April 8, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is The Truth Getting Through To The Man Or Woman On The Moscow Tram?

I ask this question, as it appears that Russian TV is parroting, the Kremlin’s lies.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I used to work for ICI.

A couple of times, I came across fellow engineers, who had worked on the Polyspinners project.

In this Wikipedia entry for September 1964, this is said about Polyspinners.

Edward du Cann of the British Board of Trade announced the signing of the largest trade deal in the history of British relations with the Soviet Union, with the Soviet purchasing agency Techmashimport and the British conglomerate Polyspinners, Ltd. agreeing for the supply of British textile machinery to a polyester fiber plant being constructed in Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. In all, the United Kingdom agreed to advanced $67 million of credit over a 15-year period.

It was a large project and ICI did well out of it.

My colleagues at ICI generally spoke well of the project and friends they had made in Russia and in those pre-mobile phone and internet days, they regularly sent each other cards and letters.

That was nearly sixty years ago, but human beings generally want to be friends with each other, so how many links are there between people living in Western Europe, North America, Australia and other countries and those living in Russia, which started as family, business or historic links or even casual meetings on say a holiday in the Mediterranean?

I should say that two of my best British friends in the UK, I met on holiday in St. Kitts and Moscow.

There must be millions of these links and they will surely allow the truth to get through to the man or woman on the Moscow tram.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | News, World | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Battery Train And Fast Charger To Be Tested In London

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

This is the first paragraph.

Great Western Railway has signed an agreement to test Vivarail’s Class 230 battery multiple-unit and fast charging technology under real-world conditions on the 4 km non-electrified branch between West Ealing and Greenford in West London.

As an engineer, who started designing control systems for rolling mills in the mid-1960s and went on to get a Degree in Control and Electrical Engineering from Liverpool University, before working for ICI applying computers to a variety of problems, I can’t look at a railway line like the Greenford Branch without wanting to automate it.

I had one amateurish attempt in An Automated Shuttle Train On The Greenford Branch Line. I was trying to get four trains per hour (tph) on the branch and I don’t think that is possible, with the Class 230 trains.

Now we know the train we are dealing with, I could plan an automated system, that would drive the train.

  • Each journey on the branch takes around 11-12 minutes.
  • Two tph would take between 44 and 48 minutes shuttling between the two stations in an hour.
  • The article states that recharging takes ten minutes.
  • If the train charged the batteries once per hour, that would leave between two and six minutes for the other three stops.
  • Any freight train using the branch seems to take about six minutes, so they could sneak through, when the shuttle is having a fast charge.
  • I would also use a similar system to that originally used on the Victoria Line. After the driver has closed the doors and ascertained that there were no problems, they would press a button to move the train to the next station and then automatically open the doors.

From this rough calculation to run a two tph service, I suspect that the train needs to be able to go between West Ealing and Greenford stations in ten minutes. Assuming one ten minute Fast Charge per hour, this would give three minutes and twenty seconds to turn the train, at the three terminal station stops.

I certainly feel, that an automatic shuttle would be possible.

February 16, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Carlton Power, Stag Pool Knowledge For UK Energy Storage, Green H2

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

British energy infrastructure developers Carlton Power and Stag Energy are merging their operations with plans to develop projects that will help improve energy storage, grid stability and green hydrogen production in the UK.

The article says this about Carlton Power.

Yorkshire-based Carlton has delivered more than 6 GW of thermal and renewables generation in the past 30 years. It is the lead developer of the Trafford Energy Park in Manchester, which foresees a 50-MW/250 -MWh liquid air energy storage plant to be built in partnership with Highview Power, a 200-MW hydrogen electrolyser and commercial hydrogen hub for use in transport and heating as well as a 250-MWe battery energy storage facility. Carlton also plans to expand its Langage Energy Park near Plymouth with the addition of energy storage and electrolyser facilities.

They certainly seem to have a history, that will be worth extending into the future, with energy storage and hydrogen production.

The article says this about Stag Energy.

Edinburgh-headquartered Stag Energy, for its part, has previously developed open-cycle gas-turbine (OCGT) plants in England and Wales and has a joint venture with Lundin to build the Gateway offshore underground gas storage facility in the Irish Sea using salt caverns. Stag Energy is also part of the National Grid’s Pathfinder process to uncover ways to improve electricity system stability.

This article on Hydrocarbons Technology is entitled Gateway Gas Storage Facility and starts with these two paragraphs.

The Gateway Gas Storage Company (Gateway) is developing an underground natural gas storage facility, Gateway Gas Storage Facility (GGSF), 25km offshore south-west Barrow-in-Furness, UK, in the East Irish Sea.

The GGSF plant has a strong locational advantage for developing offshore salt cavern gas storage facilities, according to the British Geological Survey.

In my time at ICI in Runcorn, I learned a lot about salt caverns and once had a memorable trip into their salt mine under Winsford, which was large enough to accommodate Salisbury cathedral. A couple of years later, I worked with a lady, who arranged for ICI’s historic documents to be stored in the dry air of the mine.

Natural Gas Storage In Salt Caverns

This section in Wikipedia describes how caverns in salt formations are used to store natural gas.

In the 1960s, ICI used to create boreholes into the vast amount of salt, that lay below the surface and then by pumping in hot water, they were able to bring up a brine, which they then electrolysed to obtain chlorine, hydrogen, sodium hydroxide and sodium metal.

When they had taken as much salt out of a borehole, as they dared, they would move on.

Provided the salt stayed dry, it didn’t cause any problems.

It sounds like the Gateway Gas Storage Facility will use new caverns carefully created under the Irish Sea.

This document from the Department of Energy and Climate Change is an environmental impact assessment of the project.

It has a full description of the project.

The proposed gas storage facility will be located southwest of Barrow-in-Furness, approximately 24 km. offshore from Fylde, North West England. It will comprise 20 gas storage caverns created in the sub-seabed salt strata. A single well will be drilled at each cavern location, and the salt will be removed using seawater pumped down the well. The dissolved salt, or brine, will then be discharged directly to the sea. The size and shape of the caverns will be controlled using an established technique known as Solution Mining Under Gas (SMUG). At each well location, a monopod tower facility will be installed, to house the solution mining equipment required during the construction phase, and the gas injection and extraction wellhead equipment that will be required for the storage operations. It is proposed that the monopod towers will be drilled into position, although there is a contingency for them to be piled into place if drilling is not feasible.

A short pipeline and methanol feeder pipe will connect each wellhead facility to an 8 km. ‘ring main’ linking all the caverns. The ‘ring main’ will consist of a single 36″ diameter gas pipeline with a ‘piggy-backed’ 4″ methanol feeder line. Two 36″ diameter carbon steel pipelines will connect the ‘ring main’ to the onshore gas compressor station at Barrow. A 4″ methanol feeder line will be ‘piggy-backed’ on one of these pipelines. Power for the offshore facilities will be provided via a single cable laid alongside the more southerly of the two pipelines, with individual connections to each monopod tower. The offshore sections of the pipeline and cable systems up to the point of connection with the ‘ring main’ will be approximately 19 km. in length. The pipeline and cable systems will be trenched, and the trenches allowed to backfill naturally. Where necessary this will be supported by imported backfill. The trenches for the two 36″ pipelines will be approximately 20 metres apart, and the trench for the power cable will be approximately 10 m from the more southerly of the two pipelines. The two pipelines will cross the Barrow Offshore Windfarm power cable and the ‘ring main’ will cross the Rivers Field export pipeline and the Isle of Man power cables. All crossings will be suitably protected.

Note.

  1. The multiple cavern structure would surely allow different gases to be stored. Natural Gas! Hydrogen? Methanol? Carbon Dioxide?
  2. On this page of the Stag Energy web site, they state that forty caverns could be created, with each having the capability of storing around 75 million cubic metres of working gas.
  3. Converting that amount of natural gas to gigawatt-hours (GWh) gives a figure of around 800 GWh per cavern.
  4. This page on the Statista web site, shows that we used 811446 GWh of gas in 2020, so we will need around a thousand of these caverns to store our gas needs for a year.

It sounds just like the sort of gas storage project we need for a harsh winter.

In Do BP And The Germans Have A Cunning Plan For European Energy Domination?, I talked about BP’s plans for wind farms in the Irish Sea and speculated that they would create hydrogen offshore for feeding into the UK gas network.

The Gateway Gas Storage Facility would be ideal for holding the hydrogen created by electrolysis offshore.

Conclusion

The deal does seem to be one between equals, who have an enormous amount of practical knowledge of the energy industry.

I also think, that it will see full development of the Gateway Gas Storage Facility.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Middlesbrough By LNER

Today, I took the new LNER service to Middlesbrough.

It left at 15:25 and should have arrived in just under three hours. But it was eighteen minutes late.

I took these pictures of our arrival in Middlesbrough.

Note.

  1. The train wasn’t full at Middlesbrough.
  2. Quite a few passengers left and joined at York.
  3. There were also a good number of leavers at Thornaby.
  4. The train was five cars.

As it is only the third day of the new service, passenger numbers seem to me to be on-line with what I’ve seen for other new services.

I have a few thoughts.

Is A London and Middlesbrough Service Needed?

In the 1970s, when I worked at ICI, I would regularly travel to Middlesbrough from London for a day’s work at their Wilton site.

In those days there was no direct train and you had to change at Darlington.

Since then I’ve also travelled to Middlesbrough to see football matches and visit the local countryside.

I suspect I’ve done well over fifty trips between the town and London, but today’s trip was my first one that was direct.

Will More Services Be Added?

If you look at LNER’s service patterns to Harrogate and Lincoln, they started with a single service and have quietly grown to between five and seven trains per day (tpd) in both directions.

I suspect that an early and a late train are essential to allow a full day in London or Middlesbrough.

Could This Route Be Run By A Nine-Car Train?

I suspect normally, a five-car train would be sufficient, but suppose one of the big London football clubs was playing Middlesbrough in an FA Cup quarter final, LNER might like to add capacity for the match.

King’s Cross and York stations regularly handle nine-car Azuma trains and from my pictures, it looks like Middlesbrough can too! The only other stop is Thornaby station, which is shown in this Google Map.

I suspect that it might just be possible, if Thornaby passengers were told to get in the first six cars.

Could This Route Be Run By A Battery-Electric Train?

Consider.

  • The trains run on diesel power North of Longlands junction, where they leave and join the East Coast Main Line.
  • It is a distance of only 22.2 miles.

With some form of charging at Middlesbrough, I think that within a few years, this could be an all-electric service.

It would be very handy for Hitachi, as any possible customers for battery-electric trains could be given a demo to or from London.

I Think The Stop At York Is A Good Idea

It could be argued that LNER’s King’s Cross and Middlesbrough service is two services in one.

  • A direct service between London King’s Cross and Thornaby and Middlesbrough.
  • A fast non-stop service between London King’s Cross and York, that takes several minutes under two hours.

Hence my view, that the York stop is a good idea.

Could The Middlesbrough Service Split And Join With Another Service At York?

The Middlesbrough service takes five minutes for the stop at York, but other services only take three minutes.

Has the longer stop been inserted into the timetable, so that the Middlesbrough timetable can be split to serve two separate destinations?

  • Secondary destinations would have to be North of York or York station itself.
  • These could include Bishops Auckland, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Scarborough and Sunderland.
  • Given the arguments, there have been over the new timetable not calling at smaller stations, could these be served by a train to Newcastle?

There are quite a few sensible possibilities.

An alternative could be to split and join at Thornaby to serve both Middlesbrough and Sunderland.

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fortescue Making Plans To Test ‘Green’ Locomotives At Rail Operations In 2022

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The decarbonisation of Fortescue Metals Group’s (Fortescue) locomotive fleet is ramping up with the arrival of two additional locomotives at Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI) research and development facility in Perth, Western Australia.

The two four-stroke locomotives will undergo further testing on the new fuel system, joining the first two-stroke locomotive which underwent testing earlier this year.

FFI aim to test the locomotives in 2022.

Reading the International Mining article reveals an interesting philosophy for decarbonisation.

FFI have set up a Green Team and it appears that they have a free rein to stick their noses into any decarbonisation issue in Fortescue Metals Group’s business.

I know it is a technique that works from personal experience.

When I worked for ICI Plastics Division in the early 1970s, I was in their Computer Techniques Section. The section had been setup by the Divisional Board to see if these new-fangled computers had a use in the running and development of the business outside of the company’s billing and accountancy.

We had a right to stick our noses anywhere.

It certainly gave me a wonderful apprenticeship into how to apply computers to diverse and difficult problems.

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Ineos In Runcorn Is Key To UK Move To Hydrogen Energy

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Runcorn and Widnes World.

These are the first two paragraphs.

Thousands of buses and HGVs in the UK could soon be running on hydrogen – made in Runcorn.

The town, which already produces enough clean hydrogen to fuel 1,000 buses or 2,000 HGVs every day, is ramping up production to help reduce the amount of harmful CO₂ emissions on Britain’s roads.

The INOVYN site used to be owned by ICI in the 1960s and I used to work on the Castner-Kellner plant that electrolysed brine to produce sodium hydroxide, chlorine and hydrogen.

October 28, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Build A Liverpool-Style Optical Bench

When I worked at ICI in Runcorn, one of the guys had developed a very accurate instrument for measuring trace chemicals in a dirty process stream. I remember one of these instruments was used to measure water in parts per million in methyl methaculate, which is the misnomer or base chemical for Perspex.

All the optical compliments needed to be mounted on a firm base, so a metre length of nine-inch C-section steel beam was chosen. The surface was then machined flat to a high accuracy.

In the end they found that instead of using new beams, old ones decades-old from the depths of a scrap yard gave better accuracy as the steel had all crystallised out. Machined and spray-painted no-one knew their history.

But they were superb instruments and ICI even sold them abroad.

October 14, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , , | Leave a comment