The Anonymous Widower

Funding Available For Rail Construction Innovation Projects

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

These are the two introductory paragraphs.

Innovators from across the UK are being invited to submit proposals for the Innovation in Railway Construction Competition, which is making £7·44m available for ideas which could be tested at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in South Wales.

The competition is being run by Innovate UK with GCRE and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

£7.44m doesn’t seem much, but it is only for feasibility studies, as the article explains.

Entries for the first phase close at 12.00 on December 14, with funding available for feasibility studies of up to £25 000. This would be followed by an invite-only phase two, with successful first phase projects able to develop and demonstrate their innovations.

As Innovate UK keeps coming up with these competitions, they must be judged to be worthwhile.

Do they use the same technique in areas like Health and the NHS? If not, why not!

December 8, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Project To Develop 20+ MW Floating Offshore Wind Technology Kicks Off

This is the introductory paragraph.

A consortium of thirteen partners has launched the NextFloat project in Paris aimed at accelerating the rollout of the next generation of floating wind technology for a competitive, more scalable, and industrial deployment. 

As some of the thirteen partners are serious players in the development and deployment of floating wind, I would assume that they believe that 20+ MW turbines are more than a remote possibility.

I remember in the days of North Sea oil and gas, a senior project manager told me, that as cranes got larger, this meant that modules could get larger and project times got shorter.

As turbines get larger, I wouldn’t be surprised to see construction times for wind farms get shorter.

This will have various beneficial effects.

  • Expensive equipment like cranes and support ships, will not be hired for so long.
  • The wind farm will be commissioned and start to deliver electricity earlier.
  • The total wind turbine capacity installed in a year will increase.

Cashflows will be generally be more favourable all round.

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Nanomaterial Offers Efficient Hydrogen Production – Just Add Light

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

A new nanomaterial catalyst needs only light to convert ammonia into hydrogen, its developers have said.

Made of inexpensive raw materials, the catalyst was developed by a team from Rice University in Texas, Syzygy Plasmonics Inc., and Princeton University in New Jersey.

I am not surprised, as I am a great believer in the power of catalysts.

In Hydrogen Fuel Cells Could Get A Lot Cheaper With Newly Developed Iron Catalyst, I wrote.

In the early 1970s, I worked with one of ICI’s catalyst experts and he said, that improvements in this area will be large in the future.

Increasingly, I see his prediction being proved right, in the varied fields, where catalysts are used.

It may be over fifty years ago, but then scientific truths don’t fade away and die. They just sit there quietly waiting to be rediscovered.

It is worth looking at the Syzygy Plasmonics web site.

Under a heading of Deep Decarbonisation For Chemical Manufacturing, this is their mission statement.

Syzygy is commercializing a deep-decarbonization platform dedicated to cleaning up the emissions-heavy chemical industry. We use breakthrough technology pioneered in the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University to harness energy from LED light to power chemical reactions. This new technology has the potential to partially or fully electrify the chemical industry, shifting it to renewable electricity, and cost-effectively reducing its carbon footprint.

The energy transition is here. The time to act is now.

That is some mission statement! But possibly one to expect from Houston.

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , | Leave a comment

First Of A Kind 2022 Winners Announced

The title of this post, is the same as that of this news item from Innovate UK.

This paragraph explains the competition.

The Department for Transport and Innovate UK are delighted to announce the first set of winners for the First of Kind (FOAK) 2022 competition. Winners will receive funding to help develop novel technology which improves rail freight services and lowers carbon emissions from trains.

I shall cover some of the winning ideas in future posts, which I will link to this post.

10039629 – Decarbonising Auxiliary Load In Freight Today

10037240 – Levelling Up Freight

10038447 – Transforming High-Speed Rail Logistics

10039135 – Automating Freight Access Right Management And Spot Bidding Using Novel And Modern Software To Drive Modal Shift From Road To Rail

10039606 – “Freight Skate” A Self-Powered Freight Bogie And Platform

10039559 – A Rapidly Deployable Rail Stress Sensor For Next Generation Freight Monitoring

10037294 – EventGo – Intelligent Rail Service Demand Forecasting for Event-Based Travel

10037862 – NextGen Data-Driven Timetable Performance Optimisation Tool

10039201- Protection and Resilience for OLE using ComputerVision Techniques (PROLECT)

10038989 – FEIDS – FOAS Enabled Intruder Detection System

10038342 – Rail Flood Defender

10039258 – Optimal Prediction of Sand For Adhesion

10038790 – Unauthorised Cable Removal And Fault Triage

10036632 – Trains With Brains(R)

10038228 – SBRI: FOAK 2022 Optimising Railway Possessions

10037542 – Portable Track Geometry Measurement System

10038973 – State Of The Railway Compiler Data Solution (SORClite): Open Access Real-Time Signalling Data

10036245 – ECML Net Zero Traction Decarbonisation

10039100 – UBER – Ultra-High Power Battery For Low Emission Rail

10037562 –  ZERRCI – Zero Emissions Repowering Of Railway Construction Infrastructure

10038683 – Axle Mounted Motor For Retrofit To DMU’s To Enable Zero Emissions In Stations

10038972 – Zero Emission Powering of Auxiliary Loads In Stations

10038627 – ERiCS – Emissions Reductions in Closed Stations

10037158 – 25kV Battery Train Charging Station Demonstration

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Energy, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

UK Group Plans First Large-Scale Liquid Air Energy Storage Plant

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

This is the first paragraph.

Highview Power is attempting to raise £400mn to fund project with capacity to supply 600,000 homes.

Note.

  1. This battery will have an output of 30 MW and a storage capacity of 300 MWh.
  2. The battery will be built at Carrington, near Manchester.
  3. Highview Power hope it will be opened by the end of 2024.
  4. It appears that the £400 million will also be used to start the engineering for another four batteries.

The article gives a detailed history of the company.

November 15, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 8 Comments

Ocergy Floaters Selected For 100 MW Project Off Scotland

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Splash247.com.

These two paragraphs outline Ocergy’s OCG-Wind foundation technology.

The Salamander floating offshore wind project, a joint venture between Simply Blue Group, Ørsted and Subsea 7, has awarded the pre-FEED (front-end engineering design) deal to Ocergy for its OCG-Wind foundation technology.

The US-based Ocergy has developed a novel semisub floater called OCG-Wind, to support turbines larger than 10 MW, designed for the development of large-scale wind farms. It is targeting a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) that can start to drive reductions in floating offshore wind farms to eventually be competitive with fixed offshore wind farms.

Note.

  1. There is a picture showing two turbines on OCG-Wind floats.
  2. Salamander is intended to be an INTOG project of 100 MW.
  3. The floaters are expected to be fabricated at Global Energy Group’s Port of Nigg.
  4. ERM’s Dolphyn electrolysis, desalination and hydrogen production concept is also planned for the project.

The Salamander project is certainly going for a lot of innovation.

October 31, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

RWE Looking for Innovators To Boost UK’s Offshore Wind Supply Chain

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

RWE appear to be looking for innovators in three areas.

  • Autonomous solutions and the best way to integrate them into wind farm site investigations, construction, and operations and maintenance (O&M) is the first challenge for which RWE is looking for responses.
  • The second challenge is about solutions to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of offshore wind farm construction and operations on birds.
  • The last challenge focuses on ideas and innovations in cable monitoring and protection, aiming to secure a reduction in offshore wind farm cable failures.

As sums of around £25,000 are talked about in the article, it could be worth applying, if you have a relevant idea.

Is it slightly flattering to the UK’s skills, that a German company is backing British innovation?

But then I was involved in a British invention, which was also backed by the Germans and made me a reasonable amount of money.

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 1 Comment

CIP Picks Stiesdal Floater For 100MW Scottish Offshore Wind Farm

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

These two paragraphs introduce the project.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has selected Stiesdal Offshore’s TetraSub floating foundation structure for the 100MW Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm project, to be located off the coast of Dounreay, Caithness, Scotland.

The technology has been said to offer a lightweight and cost-effective floating solution, based on factory-made modules which are then assembled domestically in port to form a complete foundation.

Note.

  1. The TetraSub seems to have been designed for ease of manufacture.
  2. One if the aims appears to be to build a strong local supply chain.
  3. The TetraSub was designed with the help of Edinburgh University.
  4. The TetraSpar Demonstrator is in operation off the coast of Norway.
  5. This page on Mission Innovation describes the TetraSpar in detail.
  6. The TetraSpar foundation, owned by Shell, TEPCO RP, RWE, and Stiesdal.
  7. It can be deployed in water with a depth of up to 200 metres.
  8. Currently, they carry a 3.6 MW turbine.
  9. At that size, they’d need 27 or 28 turbines to create a 100 MW wind farm.

The home page of the Pentland Offshore Wind Farm gives more details.

This article on offshoreWIND.biz is entitled CIP And Hexicon To Halve Pentland Floating Wind Project Area.

  • The project area has been halved.
  • The number of turbines has been reduced from ten to seven.
  • Compact turbines will be used.
  • The project will be built in two phases, one turbine in 2025 and six in 2026.
  • Effectively, the first turbine will help to fund the second phase, which eases cash flow.

The changes show how the wind farm has changed during development due to local pressures and improved technology.

Conclusion

It does seem that the competition is growing in the field of floating wind turbines.

Given the quality of the research and backing for these floats and the fact they now have an order, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this technology be a success.

October 13, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Carbon-Neutral Concrete Prototype Wins €100k Architecture Prize For UK Scientists

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Architect’s Journal.

Under a picture of two white-coated scientists with their protective boots on concrete samples, the story and their invention is outlined.

A pair of PhD students at Imperial College London have won a global architecture prize for devising a groundbreaking method of creating carbon-neutral concrete

Material scientists Sam Draper and Barney Shanks landed the €100,000 2022 Obel Award with their ‘simple way’ to capture carbon from industrial production processes and create an end product that can eliminate the CO₂ footprint of concrete.

The prototype technology, dubbed Seratech, takes industrial CO₂ emissions directly from flues and produces a carbon-negative cement replacement material (silica). According to the scientists, when this is used in combination with Portland cement, the carbon capture associated with producing the silica means the concrete products can be zero carbon.

One of the products, we will need in the world is concrete and if we can make it in a carbon-neutral manner, then that will surely reduce worldwide carbon emissions.

The Technology Explained

This page on the Seratech website is entitled Our Technology.

It gives this description of the technology.

Seratech has developed a process that consumes olivine and waste CO₂ from flue gases and produces two products which both have significant value in construction.

Silica is produced which can be used as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) in concrete meaning the amount of Portland cement in the concrete can be reduced by up to 40%. As the silica comes from a process that captures CO₂ it is “carbon negative” and the concrete can become carbon neutral.

Magnesium carbonate is produced that can be used to make a range of zero carbon construction materials and consumer products, including alternatives to building blocks and plasterboard.

The aim is for humanity to be able to continue building robust cities and infrastructure, but without the climate cost of traditional cement mixes and with the Seratech technology this goal is achievable!

Note that olivine in Europe is generally mined in Norway.

Replacement Of Steel By Concrete

Could we also replace steel in some applications with concrete?

In UK Cleantech Consortium Awarded Funding For Energy Storage Technology Integrated With Floating Wind, I talked about some of ground-breaking methods used by a company called RCAM Technologies to create infrastructure using 3D printing of concrete.

If Imperial’s concrete, which is called Seratech can be 3D printed, I can see lots of applications for the technology.

So you could kill two sources of large carbon emissions with one technology.

Conclusion

I have said on this blog before, that we will have to keep or even build more gas-fired power stations, as they can be an efficient source of pure carbon dioxide, that will be needed as a feedstock to create an increasing number of agricultural and building products.

October 10, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This The World’s Best Renewable Energy Video?

This is a promotional video from Minesto about their Deep Green technology.

Is it a serious proposition or is it just kite-flying?

After reading their web site in detail, I think they are serious.

Here’s why!

The Company Is A Well-Backed Spin-Out from Swedish Aerospace Company SAAB

These two paragraphs are from the About Us page.

Minesto is a marine energy technology developer, founded in 2007 as a spin-off from Swedish aerospace manufacturer Saab. Since then, Minesto has successfully developed its unique Deep Green technology.

The company has operations in Sweden, Wales, Northern Ireland and Taiwan, with headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Main owners are BGA Invest and Midroc New Technology. The Minesto share is listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market in Stockholm.

A company rarely succeeds without appropriate and sufficient financial backing.

One Of Their Target Markets Is Powering Remote Islands

This page from World Atlas is entitled Which Countries Have The Most Islands?

These are the top five countries.

  • Sweden – 267,570
  • Norway – 239,057
  • Finland – 178,947
  • Canada – 52,455
  • United States – 18,617

Note.

  1. That’s a lot of islands.
  2. The United Kingdom is 26th with a thousand islands.
  3. Scandinavia has 685574 islands or 686993 if you include Denmark.

Sweden has a thousand inhabited islands, so that means that in Scandinavia alone, there are about 2,500 inhabited islands. How many need a reliable decarbonised power supply?

In the UK, we are developing Remote Island Wind to serve similar locations, which I wrote about in The Concept Of Remote Island Wind.

The UK and Minesto are both looking at the supply of power to remote islands.

One of Minesto’s projects is in the Faroe Islands and it is described in this page on the Minesto web site, which has a title of Faroe Islands – Tidal Energy To Reach 100% Renewable By 2030.

These are the first two paragraphs.

In the Faroe Islands, Minesto is part of one of the world’s most ambitious energy transition schemes.

Collaborating with the electric utility company SEV, Minesto is working to pave the way for tidal energy to become a core part of the Faroese energy mix, allowing them to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Onshore wind and tidal could be an ideal combination, if they worked together.

At the bottom of the Faroe Islands page, the web site talks about The Deep Green Island Mode Project, where this is said.

In June 2019, Minesto was awarded a €2.5 million grant from the European Commission’s SME Instrument programme. The awarded funding will support the installation of Minesto’s technology in the Faroe Islands together with the utility company SEV. The aim of the project, called Deep Green Island Mode (DGIM), is to install Minesto’s first two commercially viable microgrid units in a production and customer environment.

Successful demonstration of DGIM will act as a first step to developing commercial ties with utilities across Europe, both for smaller-scale microgrid systems and as a catalyst for the market up take of larger utility-scale Deep Green systems.

This is also said about the number of installations in Europe.

15 million Europeans live on Europe’s 2,400 inhabited islands, at an average of approximately 1,500 households per island. As recognised by the European Commission, island energy is expensive, polluting, inefficient and dependent on external supply, with significant negative impacts on emissions, the competitiveness of businesses, and the economy.

It appears to me, that Minesto have researched their market well.

Minesto Can Provide Baseload Power

Another of Minesto’s projects is in Taiwan and it is described in this page on the Minesto web site, which has a title of Taiwan – Replacing Nuclear With Renewable Baseload.

These are the first two paragraphs.

In Taiwan, Minesto is carrying out site development with the purpose to establish the first tidal energy arrays with Minesto’s technology in Asia – and to demonstrate renewable baseload generation from the continuously-flowing Kuroshio current.

The conditions for extracting marine energy in Taiwan are very good due to access to both tidal streams and continuous ocean currents. Taiwan aims to produces 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and has decided to scrap its nuclear power capacity within the same timeframe. Today, 97.5 percent of the country’s total energy use comes from imported fossil fuels.

Taiwan has a well-developed industrial infrastructure and a number of stakeholders in the private and public sectors are active in marine energy.

Decarbonising Taiwan and removing nuclear is a tough ask!

Conclusion

Minesto may be kite-flying in an unusual way, but they appear to be a very serious Swedish company.

 

October 3, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments