The Anonymous Widower

Quiet, Clean And Fast – MTU Hybrid Drive From Rolls-Royce For Lake Constance Belt Railway

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

It is the earliest press release from the company, about the MTU Hybrid PowerPack that I can find.

It dates from May 2018.

The press release opens with these bullet points.

  • Successful simulation of hybrid train operation on Lake Constance Belt Railway
  • MTU Hybrid PowerPack reduces emissions, noise levels and operating costs on the existing infrastructure
  • Development is part of the Rolls-Royce electrification strategy.

It looks to me, that the press release was produced as marketing material for the launch of the MTU Hybrid PowerPack, which took place in 2018.

These are my thoughts.

Lake Constance Belt Railway

The Lake Constance Belt Railway is introduced like this by Wikipedia.

The Lake Constance Belt Railway (German: Bodenseegürtelbahn) is a continuous, single-track railway from Stahringen to Lindau-Aeschach in the German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. It runs mainly along the northern shore of Lake Constance (Bodensee).

Note.

It was originally built by three different railway companies in what were then three different countries that are all now states in Germany; Bavaria, Baden and Wurttemberg.

  1. It is a 74 kilometre or 46 mile line.
  2. It is a standard gauge railway.
  3. The line has lots of curves.
  4. It appears to have about a dozen stations.

The railway also passes through Friedrichshafen, where MTU Friedrichshafen is based.

Note.

  1. MTU Friedrichshafen factory is indicated by a red arrow.
  2. The Lake Constance Belt Railway running between the factory and marina.

It’s all very handy for the factory.

Railway Operations

Services on the railway appear to be run using DB Class 611 trains.

  • They are two-car tilting, diesel multiple units.
  • They have a top speed of 160 kph or 99 mph.
  • They have two MTU engines of 540 kW.
  • Forty are still in service.

These trains were replaced with similar but more modern DB Class 612 trains.

Forty of the earlier trains are are still in service on the Lake Constance Belt Railway and other routes.

It would appear that electrification could be the solution for this single track railway, which is only forty-six miles long.

But it appears some of the locals have objected.

Could it be that MTU Friedrichshafen felt they could provide a better solution?

Simulation Of The Route

The press release describes how the route was simulated.

The operation of the current VT 612 railcar was simulated – it had been retrofitted in virtual reality with MTU Hybrid PowerPacks. That such a retrofit is also possible in a real-world environment has also been demonstrated by a feasibility study carried out by the Deutsche Bahn subsidiary, DB Systemtechnik. This is particularly relevant because these are vehicles that travel fast on curving track. Only these trains, which are fitted with “tilt technology“, are able to negotiate the numerous curves encountered on the Lake Constance Belt Railway track at high speed and thus provide a fast service between Basel and Ulm.

It looks to be an interesting solution to maintain a fast service on a difficult route, that has a twisty bit in the middle.

The press release also describes the MTU Hybrid PowerPack to provide an efficient solution.

The MTU Hybrid PowerPack is a high-tech product from Friedrichshafen and the result of collaboration between the local companies Rolls-Royce Power Systems and ZF Friedrichshafen. It combines the following components to produce an intelligent drive system: a modern MTU diesel engine with exhaust gas aftertreatment, which meets current emission regulations in addition to the future EU Stage V that will come into force as of 2021, an innovative ZF automatic transmission, an electric motor that recovers energy in braking mode and also serves as a drive unit, and an advanced battery system to store the recovered brake energy. The Hybrid PowerPack has demonstrated its reliability, for example, in real-life test runs with a length of around 15,000 kilometres.

Certainly, MTU have done their research and where better, than with a local problem?

January 15, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Very Light Rail – A Revolution

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

It is a good explanation of what very light rail is all about and the design concepts behind the first vehicle, which is called Revolution.

My feeling is that Any Very Light Rail vehicle should be able to run a short branch line route as capably as a Class 153 train.

But hopefully with better passenger and driver comfort and facilities.

  • The speed of Revolution is 65 mph and that of a Class 153 train is 75 mph, so is that close enough?
  • I would hope that Revolution has better acceleration as it has an electric transmission.
  • Revolution has 56 seats and a wheelchair space and is PRM-compliant, whereas the Class 153 train has a few more seats and only some are PRM-compliant.
  • Revolution has wi-fi and power sockets and most Class 153 trains don’t.

The quality of the seats and the view from the trains will probably be the tie-breaker.

The article doesn’t say, but surely they would find more applications, if they could run in pairs, do they might be able to replace a two-car Class 150 train.

Reading the whole article gives me the impression, that the designers have done thorough job to design a lightweight train, that both passengers and drivers will like.

I will reserve my judgement until I see and ride one of these trains.

An Automated Shuttle Train

In An Automated Shuttle Train On The Greenford Branch Line, I proposed an automated shuttle on the Greenford branch.

The Greenford Branch Line has the following features.

  • It is 2.5 miles long.
  • It is double-track.
  • It is not electrified.
  • There is a single platform station at both ends with three intermediate stations.
  • The service frequency is two tph.
  • Trains take 11-12 minutes to go between the two terminals.
  • Freight trains also use the line.

To run the ideal four tph, trains would need to do a round trip between West Ealing and Greenford in fifteen minutes.

Suppose the Revolution vehicle was automated with the driver having a supervisory role.

  • The train would shuttle between West Ealing and Greenford, leaving each station, when it was ready, so as many trips as possible were performed.
  • On seeing a green signal, the driver would tell the train to proceed top the other station, if they knew it to be safe.
  • If a freight train needed to come through, the shuttle train would stay in either West Ealing or Greenford stations out of the way protected by the signalling, until the freight train had cleared the track.
  • Freight trains and the shuttle would never be on the same piece of track at the same time, which would greatly aid safety.

I suspect that at least three trains would go between the two stations in every hour, with perhaps four in the Peak.

January 11, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 5 Comments

Mote – World’s First Carbon Removal Plant Converting Wood Waste To Hydrogen

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

This paragraph caught my eye.

Mote is also in discussions with carbon utilization company CarbonCure Technologies on the potential of permanently storing its CO2 in concrete via CarbonCure’s carbon removal technologies, deployed in hundreds of CO2 mineralization systems at concrete plants worldwide.

So I looked up CarbonCure Technologies web site.

This page gives an overview of their technology.

According to their web site, they can add carbon dioxide to precast concrete sections. How much carbon dioxide would it have been possible to bury, if the tunnel linings for Crossrail had used CarbonCure’s technology?

December 24, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment

10GW Green Hydrogen Project Aims To Electrolyze Water Drawn From Desert Air

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

This is the first paragraph.

Desert Bloom, an AUD$10.75 billion (USD $7.63 billion) 10GW green hydrogen project will begin construction in Australia’s Northern Territory in 2022.

Desert Bloom is not a small project and uses new technology from Aqua Aerem.

December 22, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Central DMU To Be Used For Dual-Fuel Trial

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

An Alstom Class 180 Adelante diesel-hydraulic multiple-unit is to be converted to run on a combination of diesel and liquefied natural gas in a dual-fuel technology demonstration project.

One car of the DMU which Arriva-owned open access inter-city operator Grand Central leases from Angel Trains is to be equipped with dual-fuel technology company G-volution’s Optimiser system, which is used in the road sector. The modifications are expected to be straightforward, enabling trials on the national network to start later this year.

The article dates from May 2019 and I suspect the small matter of the pandemic and Grand Central’s resulting three closures due to lockdowns are the reason this development hasn’t been heard of since.

But this was the London end of the Class 180 train, that I rode from Mirfield to King’s Cross.

I haven’t ridden in a Class 180 train for some years and there was nothing to indicate from the performance, that it was not a standard train.

There are fourteen of these 125 mph trains.

This explanatory video of G-volution’s technology is on the G-volution web site.

Note that in the video, one of G-volution’s Managing Director; Chris Smith says that the technology is fuel agnostic and will work with a range of fuels including ammonia, biodiesel, bio-LPG, hydrogen and methanol.

Conclusion

It will be very interesting to see what is decided to be the ideal fuel-combination and how much reduction is possible for the various emissions.

I’ll end with two questions.

Will Passengers Like The New Trains?

What is there not to like! Same train and performance with lower emissions.

Will Cummins Like What G-volution Have Done To Their Engines?

Cummins might be a bit miffed, as they built the QSK19 engines for the Class 180 trains and may have their own plans for them. But they are a practical and flexible company in my experience and generally they do what the customer needs or wants. Decarbonisation is surely in everybody’s interest.

Incidentally, the same Cummins diesel engines are used in the TransPennine Express, Class 185 trains, I’ve been riding in most of today.

There are fifty-one of these 100 mph trains in use in the UK. They could be ideal for some long routes, if they could be converted to low-emission.

 

 

December 16, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Alstom And Liebherr Sign A Collaboration Agreement, In Order To Optimise Hydrogen Fuel Cells

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

The press release starts with these points.

  • Liebherr is developing air management technology that is particularly well suited to hydrogen fuel cells.

  • Alstom’s hydrogen strategy is part of its ambition to innovate by pioneering smarter and greener mobility solutions for all.

This paragraph then gives the basic outline of the agreement.

Alstom has signed a collaboration agreement with Liebherr – Aerospace & Transportation SAS, a France-based company specialising in the manufacture of compressors for fuel cells. This agreement is aimed at optimising hydrogen systems, including improving the reliability and durability of fuel cells, increasing their power density and reducing the cost of such solutions.

The press release gives a lot more details about Alstom’s hydrogen collaborations with other companies

Alstom seem very serious about hydrogen-powered trains.

November 30, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Simple Solution To The Tricky Problem Of Eye Drops

Since the cataract in my left eye has been removed, I have supposed to be putting drops in my eyes seven times a day. It’s four of one and three of another.

But it has all changed since the District Nurse brought me a pair of these shields.

The bottle with the drops is poked through the bottom of the shield and the cut goes over the eye. To get one drop, you squeeze the bottle gently.

I find the best place to be drop the drops, is lying on my back on my Chinese carpet, with my head on a cushion that C embroidered.

My father would have liked this device.

In his printing business he specialised in creating special cards and forms for the office systems of the 1950s and 1960s. So he would create guides and spacers out of wood in his workshop, so that his staff could perform complex operations quickly and efficiently.

It has certainly made putting the drops in my eye a lot easier.

Conclusion

The hospital should have given me a shield with the drops. The wholesale price can’t be that expensive.

November 20, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 6 Comments

Charco Neurotech: $10m Boost For Firm Helping People With Parkinson’s

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

Parkinson’s is an awful disease and my scientific nose says that the company named in the article; Charco Neurotech may be on to something.

The important markers are all there and if I’d spotted it earlier, I would have put a few pounds into the company.

Who’d have thought that wearing a vibrator on your chest would have a positive effect against a terrible disease.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find the device has uses with other diseases and conditions.

November 19, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Health | , , | Leave a comment

Will JCB Dig The Whole World Out Of A Hole?

JCB and the Bamford family in general have form, where hydrogen is concerned.

  • JCB have developed internal combustion engines, that will run on hydrogen.
  • Jo Bamford owns Wrightbus and they are building hydrogen-fuelled buses in Northern Ireland.
  • JCB were an early investor in hydrogen electrolyser company; ITM Power.
  • JCB have signed a large contract for the delivery of hydrogen with Fortescue Future Industries.

I have just watched this amazing video, where Lord Bamford explains his philosophy on hydrogen.

November 13, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, World | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ballard Buys UK Fuel Cell Specialist Arcola

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

This is the first paragraph.

The Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems acquires Arcola Energy, a British specialist for the integration of fuel cell systems in heavy commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and trains. Both sides had previously worked together for years.

The price is stated as around forty million dollars in cash and shares.

As Arcola started just round the corner from where I live in Dalston, I wish them well!

November 13, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments