The Anonymous Widower

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

Dangerous Innovation

I had to put a link to this article on the Romford Recorder, which is entitled Heritage: Sootigine, Dagfert and Baxtrol.

It is a tale of dangerous products mainly developed in East London.

It has to be read, as no precis of mine can do it justice.

I will add a story, that was told by the guy whose bottom fell out in this post.

The guy in the story had at one time been the Complaints Manger for Ford in Dagenham.

This was one of his tales.

Ford received a complaint via  the main dealer in East London.

  • The engine had failed in a car about six months old.
  • So he arranged a time to meet the owner at the garage.
  • When they arrived, he asked, the garage manager to start the car.
  • He said that he’d never heard such a noise. All big-ends and the small-ends were making a lot of noise and it was the worst engine he’d ever heard.
  • So he asked the manager to put the car on a lift and drop the sump to have a look.
  • When the sump was dropped, the manager showed him the sump, which looked like it was full with a waxy solid.

So they asked the owner, who was of Mediterranean origin, what oil he was using in his car.

They got the immortal reply!

“Good enough for my fried fish! Good enough for my car!”

December 25, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 3 Comments

Is The Pfizer Vaccine The New Betamax?

To me, the Pfizer vaccine may work well, but the precautions needed to deliver it safely are so onerous, I can’t see it being the most successful of vaccines.

If healthcare professionals and GP surgeries in the UK, are saying that the minus seventy delivery route is going to be difficult, then how difficult is it going to be to deliver it, in parts of India, Africa and South America.

I can’t see the current Pfizer vaccine lasting very long, before it is either overtaken by one of the many others vaccines under development or Pfizer reformulate it, so it has an easier method of delivery.

It truly is the new Betamax.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 7 Comments

Today’s Rubbish, Tomorrow’s Jet Fuel

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

This is the opening paragraph.

One day, in the very near future, commercial aircraft will be fuelled by household rubbish. Yes, seriously.

It then goes on to describe the Velocys process for producing sustainable aviation fuel from household rubbish.

This paragraph explains, how it will change rubbish disposal.

Interestingly, Velocys won’t have to pay to obtain the waste. “We don’t buy it. We get paid to take it,” says Hargreaves. He explains how the supply chain starts with councils and businesses that are obliged to pay waste contractors to dispose of their waste. Those waste contractors then pay to incinerate the waste or send it to landfill sites. Velocys’s plant will simply act as an alternative disposal route.

The article is a very good explanation of one of the developments, that will shape the future of the world.

 

December 18, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Transport | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Device Separates Hydrogen From Natural Gas When The Two Gases Are Blended In Pipelines

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

With clean hydrogen gaining recognition worldwide as the carbon-free fuel capable of making a significant contribution to addressing climate change, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) today announced it will field test a new technology that can simultaneously separate and compress hydrogen from a blend of hydrogen and natural gas.

It may sound rather mundane, but it means, you can convert surplus electricity into hydrogen and blend it with natural gas and distribute it in the local natural gas grid.

  • As natural gas grids can contain a proportion of hydrogen, this shouldn’t be  a problem.
  • Any user, who needs hydrogen connects one of these clever devices to the grid and it separates out the hydrogen, for your use.
  • All very simple and efficient, as you don’t need a second gas grid for hydrogen.

I very much like this idea, which was developed by a Dutch company called HyET Hydrogen.

There is also an explanatory video.

This invention could change the world!

 

 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

This Company May Have Solved One Of The Hardest Problems In Clean Energy

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

I found the article about an American company called Hytech Power, very interesting.

The company has developed technology called Internal Combustion Assistance (ICA), that improves the fuel consumption and emissions performance of diesel engines, by injecting small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen into the cylinders at the right time.

This is a paragraph from the article, which gives the performance improvements.

HyTech’s offer to that market is pretty remarkable: it claims that its ICA can improve the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine between 20 and 30 percent, reduce particulate matter by 85 percent, and reduce NOx by between 50 and 90 percent. In concert with a DPF and some SCR, it can yield a diesel engine that meets official California standards for an “ultra-low emissions” vehicle.

Note.

  1. A DPF is a diesel particulate filter.
  2. SCR is selective catalytic reduction fluids.

Both are expensive!

This paragraph from the article gives some customer feedback.

The ICA has been listed by the EPA as a candidate for emissions-reduction technology; respected testing firm SGS found that the ICA boosted the fuel efficiency of a FedEx delivery truck by 27.4 percent; FedEx is currently road testing the ICA on a fleet of trucks and finding 20 to 30 percent better fuel economy and substantially reduced DPF maintenance costs. In third-party testing, and in limited local sales around Redmond, the ICA has performed as promised.

It never hurt a company to have FedEx on their side! Later on, the article says that Caterpillar are on board and their engines, generators and equipment features heavily on the Hytech Power web site.

If you look at the Wikipedia entry for Hydrogen Fuel Enhancement, you read a lot of sceptical words about this technology.

I would suggest that you read the Vox article, Hytech Power’s web site and the Wikipedia entry in detail before making your mind up.

My decision has been to file Hytech Power in a box, called Must Watch and set up a Google Alert.

For three of the last ten companies, I did that for, I made an investment in the shares. None are trading badly!

 

 

December 13, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

This Material Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Months, Maybe Even Years

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

This is the sub-title.

Thin coatings of the material could soak up sun in summer months and provide heat to buildings in winter, all without using fuel or electricity.

This sounds like something to file under Too Good To Be True.

But the research does come from the University of Lancaster and uses a type of material called a metal-organic framework.

Conclusion

Increasingly, it seems to me, that we’re seeing lots of outstanding chemistry coming to the fore.

 

December 11, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | 1 Comment