The Anonymous Widower

Gravity, The Ultimate In Energy Storage

This is a must read article on explica.co.

It talks about three methods of storing energy using gravity.

Gravitricity

Gravitricity is under development in Edinburgh

Energy Vault

An image explaining the principle of Energy Vault is also shown.

The Energy Vault web site has some impressive video.

They could be a company to watch. Especially, when they have a battery working, where it can be viewed in action, as it will look like a gigantic many-armed robotic child, playing with thirty-five tonne concrete bricks.

Vázquez Figueroa

This writer from the Canaries has come up with an interesting idea, which combines an energy storage system with water desalination. This is his website. Unfortunately for me, it’s in Spanish only.

This is explica.co’s description of the idea.

Figueroa’s idea is conceptually very simple. Pumping water from the sea to an elevated reservoir, using renewable energy for the process when it is not in demand. Then, in a total win-win, the writer proposes to release that water into a vacuum (as in a traditional hydroelectric power station) which would move a turbine generating electricity. But also, and here’s the genius, that salty water could fall on a semi-permeable membrane, so that it desalinated. Clean electricity and fresh water for the same price. Who gives more?

It certainly sounds feasible.

It sounds to me, though it could be paired with another idea, I read about a couple of years ago.

  • A reservoir would be built on a high place close to the sea.
  • Pumps driven by the waves would pump seawater into the reservoir.
  • When electricity is needed, water is released from the reservoir through turbines.
  • There would be no reason, why the water discharged from the turbines couldn’t be desalinated.

Never underestimate the power of innovation. Especially, when it is fuelled by convivial company and appropriate beers!

May 2, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Innovation In Action

I once broke an expensive allow wheel and tyre on one of Suffolk’s many potholes many years ago.

But now it appears those clever people from JCB have developed a quick fix!

|Except that it’s no bodged job.

Let’s all drink to innovation!

As that will get us out of the hole, that the covids have dug for us!

May 2, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

The Return Of The Triplane Would Make The Red Baron Proud

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

Triplane and Red Baron are words that go together strawberries and cream. Or in my case strawberries and yoghurt!

The magazine seems to like the aircraft.

March 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Will A British Bioelectric Hybrid Plane Really Take Off?

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

The article is a serious look from a serious newspaper at the Faradair BEHA.

  • It will have a capacity of 18 passengers.
  • It will have a cruising speed of 230 mph
  • It will have a service ceiling of 14,000 feet.

The aircraft is a tri-plane based on a lightweight carbon-composite structure like many current Airbus designs and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

This image is copyright Faradair.

Note.

  1. The triple wing with the winglets.
  2. The conventional fuselage.
  3. The pusher fans at the rear of the fuselage.

It is not conventional.

Power

Power comes from a hybrid power unit consisting of a battery and the auxiliary power unit (APU) of an Airbus A 350 XWB. I wrote about the hybrid power unit in Honeywell Introduces Power Source For Hybrid-Electric Aircraft.

The power unit will run on sustainable aviation fuel produced from something like food, household or industrial waste.

As an experienced pilot and an experienced engineer and taking a few clues from the Guardian article, I believe the aircraft will fly a unique, but very sensible flight profile.

Many years ago, I wanted to fly my Cessna 340 A from Southend Airport to Naples Airport.

  • I loaded as much fuel, as the tanks would take.
  • I taxied to the runway,
  • A fuel bowser followed me down and added extra fuel to make up what I’d used in taxiing.
  • Take-off was on full power and I climbed at maximum rate to as high as I was allowed.
  • Once over France, I climbed to Flight Level 195 (19,500 ft), which was the highest level allowed in a light aircraft in full visibility without a full instrument rating.
  • The French Air Traffic Control handed me over to Italian Air Traffic Control at the same height.
  • I flew down the West coast of Italy at around 200 mph.
  • North of Naples, I descended slowly, trading height for speed and turned to come straight in to Naples airport.

Note.

  1. It had taken me six hours and forty minutes to fly around 1350 miles.
  2. What I had done in UK and French airspace was totally legal, but I suspect I broke the law in Italy.
  3. But the French ATC felt I was competent, so they just handed me over.

Sadly, I didn’t have a camera with me, as the views of Rome and the Italian coast were spectacular.

I believe that the Faradair BEHA will use a similar flight profile to that, which I used between Southend and Naples.

  • The plane will leave the terminal or apron with a full battery.
  • Before take-off, the hybrid power unit will make sure that the battery is full.
  • Take-off will be on full power and the lift of three wings will be used to lift off quickly and climb at maximum rate to the service ceiling of 14,000 feet.
  • The aircraft will build up speed to 230 mph using power in the battery or some extra power from the hybrid power unit.
  • The aircraft would execute a low power approach at the destination.

Note.

  1. Unlike in my flight to Naples, an autopilot will probably fly the aircraft to the maximum range profile.
  2. The plane will be very aerodynamically efficient and I suspect fuel consumption will be very low in the cruise.
  3. The higher you go, the less the air resistance.
  4. Fuel consumption would be almost nothing in the descent, as just as I did in my Cessna potential energy would be converted into kinetic energy to keep the plane at the necessary flying speed.

Faradair have not disclosed the range, but I feel with development, it could be a thousand miles.

Conclusion

By 2030, many of us will be flying around a thousand miles in weird looking airliners with up to twenty-five seats.

The 317 miles between Stansted and Edinburgh will be a piece of cake!

Everybody should read the excellent Guardian article.

 

 

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Is The £150m Global Centre For Rail Excellence Scheme In South Wales?

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

This sub-title is a good summary.

The Welsh Government project aims to create a world first in testing trains and rail infrastructure at the same facility

It looks like it will be very comprehensive and is a classic example of the sort of things we should do to attract world class companies to the UK.

This paragraph talks about one of the site’s uses.

Rail infrastructure cannot be tested on a live railway because there isn’t a safe way of doing it. The internal track will have a wagon travelling around at 40mph putting new infrastructure through its paces with rigorous assessment. When owner of the UK rail network Network Rail, which is committed to using the facility, want to test equipment it has to use the Pueblo testing centre in Colorado, as do equivalent organisations in Europe.

It’s surely easier to go from anywhere in Western Europe to Wales than Colorado. Especially, if you want to take some equipmement that might weigh several tonnes.

Conclusion

The Welsh seem to have done their homework and also come up with an innovative use for a worked-out open cast coal mine.

 

March 18, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Energy Minister Angus Taylor Launches $50 million Fund For Carbon Capture Projects

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The federal government has launched a $50 million fund to support the growth of carbon capture projects, which will include projects that reuse carbon dioxide emissions to make new products.

The launch of the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage fund was in Newcastle at the pilot site for Mineral Carbonisation International (MCI).

The company is using carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from a nearby ammonia plant to make building products like plasterboard and cement.

This sounds like a good idea to me!

They have a web site, which contains this YouTube video.

This could be a novel solution to decarbonisation.

March 2, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cardiff Bridge Avoids £40m Demolition Thanks To Electric Resistant Paint

When I first saw this headline on this press release on the Network Rail web site, I felt it sounded too good to be true.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In a world first, electric resistant paint combined with voltage-controlled clearance (VCC) has helped make a Victorian railway bridge usable by new electric trains, avoiding weeks of passenger disruption and train delays in the process.

I think this is the bridge.

Note.

  1. The South Wales Main Line runs East-West, with Cardiff Central station to the West.
  2. The track between Cardiff Queen Street and Cardiff Bay stations runs North-South, with Cardiff Queen Street station to the North.
  3. The two rail lines cross over a canal.
  4. The site is surrounded by new high-rise buildings.
  5. The clearance been the bridge and the main line underneath appeared to be too tight for electrification to be fitted.

But by using the combination of technologies, as stated in the introductory paragraph, Network Rail were able to squeeze the wires through, which didn’t need the bridge to be demolished and rebuilt on a tricky site.

I can see that railways and other places, where high-voltage cables are close to metal structures, will be able to find lots of uses for Southampton University’s “Magic Paint”

 

 

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Earth’s Energy: Switching Geothermal Power On

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

This must-read article talks about the awakening of geothermal power, which even featured in Rolling Stone magazine last year.

This is a paragraph of the article.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) lists a number of benefits offered by geothermal resources. Among them is that geothermal energy can provide baseload power, regardless of weather conditions. Geothermal power plants are also generally compact, using less land per GWh (404 m2) than coal (3,642 m2), wind (1,335 m2), or solar photovoltaic (3,237 m2) power plants, according to a study cited by the DOE.

The dinosaur brigades, who feel renewable power is only an intermittent source and a total waste of money, are always going on about baseload power. So could geothermal provide it?

The article also talks about Chevron and BP investing $40 million in Eavor Technologies, a Canadian geothermal company. This is said of their investment.

Big Oil is an especially important partner for the geothermal industry because “not only do they bring money and motivation,” Redfern said, they bring expertise “in global operations and project management, and knowledge of the subsurface and how you mitigate risks.”

It sounds like sensible diversification to me for Big Oil. It’s a bit like INEOS diversifying into hand-sanitiser during the pandemic, as they make the stuff and only needed to add a bottling plant. If you have the expertise use it!

This paragraph sums up how we bring geothermal to the world by drilling deeper.

To truly unlock the potential of geothermal energy, the industry must develop better drilling techniques that can “mine heat at much deeper depths,” said Vinod Khosla, an entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Sun Microsystems. Today, geothermal companies typically drill to depths of about five kilometers at most. “If we [can] go to 15 to 20 kilometers … then we will have limitless heat everywhere on the planet, or most places on the planet, with geothermal. And that would expand the market for geothermal 100-fold,” said Khosla, who describes himself as being “very, very bullish on geothermal.”

Khosla believes that new drilling techniques will get us to these awesome depths and has put his money, where his mouth is.

Read the article.

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Energy | , | Leave a comment

The Welsh Find A Use For Japanese Knotweed

I had to laugh at a story, which is the secondary  story in this article on Rail News, which is entitled New Station Opens Quietly – And Knotweed Is Useful At Last.

The main story is about the opening of Bow Street station to the North of Aberystwyth.

When the London Overground took over the Lea Valley Lines, I comforted a semi-distraught London Overground manager, who had just found that one station was totally overrun with this heinous invader. It was so bad, he couldn’t even check how bad it was!

But it does seem, that the Welsh have come up with a solution on the line of Make The Bugger Work.

This is the paragraph, which describes the solution.

Bow Street has also made use of a plant pest which had been growing in the area, because 5000 cubic metres of Japanese Knotweed was treated and re-used for fill at the site, saving 400 lorry loads which would otherwise have been taken to landfill.

It’s very innovation and totally appropropriate.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 2 Comments

Inner Eye AI Identifies Tumours To Speed Up Treatment Of Cancer

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A hospital in Cambridge is the first to use artificial intelligence technology developed by Microsoft to treat cancer patients faster, helping to cut the treatment backlog and save lives.

There is only one NHS hospital in Cambridge and that is Addenbrooke’s, who probably saved my life, by diagnosing me as coeliac in 1997.

This paragraph explains the development of the software and how it will be deployed across the NHS.

Inner Eye is the result of an eight-year project with Microsoft and Addenbrooke’s and is being introduced in other NHS trusts. It is easy to access and free to use. When the AI tool is in place, hospitals will be able to use their own data to improve accuracy.

This paragraph sums up the usefulness of the system.

Pat Price, a professor at Imperial College London and chairwoman of Action Radiotherapy, a charity, said: “This is just one brilliant example of the quiet but amazing technological revolution that has unfolded in radiotherapy in recent years and could dramatically improve cancer survival rates.”

It really is amazing how since my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, treatment of cancer has improved.

I can envisage a time, when a rare cancer like that, which killed her in three months, will be survivable!

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment