The Anonymous Widower

Nestlé Unveils New Double-Stacking Rail Logistics Plan To Reduce Carbon Footprint

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

These paragraphs explain the concept.

Nestlé UK & Ireland has unveiled plans to increase freight capacity on trains to allow the double-stacking of products, an important step towards reducing its carbon footprint.

The new curtain-sided rail container with a raising roof, designed to transport double-stacked palletised products by rail, was displayed at the Multimodal Exhibition in Birmingham this week.  

The design of the container overcomes an important barrier as the height of road trailers differs from rail containers due to the height constraints of the rail network, meaning transport by rail had not been a winning option for Nestlé until now.

Utilising a hydraulic raising roof mechanism, the unit allows the business to double-stack its food and drink products. The roof is then lowered to just above the height of the stock, making it compliant with the height requirements of rail transport, while being able to get more products on board.

It is currently under test between the Midlands and London.

The press release also mentions, that it could be used to deliver to Tesco, who are extensive users of rail freight and have been for some years.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Does Anybody Have Good Contacts At Network Rail?

In the 1980s, I did some business with British Rail, as it then was.

I provided my Daisy software and they used it to analyse signal failures.

It led to a guy called J S Firth, writing a paper called Failure Recording And Analysis On British Rail.

He had the courtesy to send me a copy of the paper, which mentions SigTech, which appears to have been a business unit of the British Railways Board.

All my dealings with Firth and his colleagues were in person at an office block in front of Marylebone station, which is now a posh hotel.

And then, a few months ago, someone contacted me from Network Rail.

Apparently, his father had worked on the signal failure project with me and he was now working in Milton Keynes for Network Rail on a similar project.

He asked if I had a copy of the paper.

At the time, I didn’t, but today I had a small sort out and found a copy.

Unfortunately, I have now lost the piece of paper on which I wrote the guy’s details.

Does anybody have any ideas, how I can find the guy, who contacted me?

June 12, 2022 Posted by | Computing, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Energy Dome Launches World’s First CO2 Battery Long-Duration Energy Storage Plant

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewable Energy Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Energy Dome, a provider of utility-scale long-duration energy storage, has successfully launched its first CO2 Battery facility in Sardinia, Italy. This milestone marks the final de-risking of the CO2 Battery technology as Energy Dome enters the commercial scaling phase, becoming the first commercial long-duration energy storage technology on the market offering a reliable alternative to fossil fuels for dispatchable baseload power globally.

I like their technology and you can find more about it on their web site.

They say this about how they use the unique properties of carbon dioxide.

CO2 is the perfect fluid to store energy cost effectively in a closed thermodynamic process as it is one of the few gases that can be condensed and stored as a liquid under pressure at ambient temperature. This allows for high density energy storage without the need to go at extreme cryogenic temperatures.

And it’s not that carbon dioxide is a rare and expensive gas.

This is certainly technology to watch.

June 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

First Order In For Revolutionary Modular Railway Footbridge

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

Greater Anglia seem to have ordered the footbridge for Stowmarket station, without seeing a real one.

A prototype is also being installed at the former Widmerspool station on the Old Dalby Test Track.

I wrote about the proposed footbridge at Stowmarket in Stowmarket Station To Go Step-Free.

June 1, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Story Behind The Concrete Panels On The Elizabeth Line.

These are a selection of the pictures I took yesterday inside Elizabeth Line stations.

Note.

  1. The walls and ceilings appear to be covered in light grey panels with holes.
  2. The material appears to look like concrete.
  3. Every one is a totally different shape, so how were they manufactured?

This article on Ian Visits is entitled How Crossrail Is Using 3D-Printing To Build Its Stations.

This is the two opening paragraphs.

When you start to use the new Elizabeth line stations, among its many achievements will be the first large scale use of 3D-printing in concrete.

The use of 3D printing has made possible one of the more distinctive features of the future Elizabeth line stations — the curved concrete panels that will line the inside of the passenger tunnels and some stations, and sinuously glide around corners in a way never seen before in a tube station.

There will be a total of something like 36,000 of these panels and although printing each in concrete is possible, Crossrail would probably have been delivered in the 2040s or 2050s.

The contractors used an innovative process called FreeFAB, which had been invented by an Australian architect.

  • The process creates a wax mould for each panel using 3D printing.
  • This mould is then used to create the actual panel.
  • After each panel is cast, the wax is melted off and recycled.
  • The panels are made in a factory in Doncaster.

We will see a lot more of this technique used in the construction industry.

May 25, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s New Stealth Weapon

This article on Electrek is entitled Ukraine Is Now Using These 200-Mile-Range Electric Bikes With NLAW Rockets To Take Out Russian Tanks.

This is the first paragraph.

Ukrainian electric motorbike company Delfast has seen its electric bikes used for some vastly diverse tasks, such as breaking Guinness World Records and outfitting Mexican police. But their latest use is perhaps the bikes’ most important mission yet: helping Ukrainian soldiers strike a David vs. Goliath blow against Russia’s barbaric invasion of their country.

How do you protect your tank against a silent by deadly soldier coming to get you with a Belfast-made NLAW on a Ukrainian Delfast at 50 mph?

I suspect a fit well-trained soldier can outride a Russian T72 tank, hide in the forest and setup his NLAW. Now that’s humiliation!

It also appears from these two paragraphs, that Ukrainian snipers are also enjoying the advantages of electric bikes.

Another local Ukrainian company, ELEEK, has also supplied its country’s armed forces with silent, powerful electric motorbikes for use on the battlefield.

In that case, the electric motorbikes were requested for use by sniper teams.

The Ukranians seem to be a very inventive nation.

 

 

 

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two More Floating Wind Projects In The Celtic Sea

In Two Celtic Sea Floating Wind Projects Could Be Delivered By 2028, I said this.

There now appears to be four floating wind farms under development in the Celtic Sea between the South-West corner of Wales and the Devon and Cornwall Peninsular.

  • Blue Gem Wind – Erebus – 100 MW Demonstration project  – 27 miles offshore
  • Blue Gem Wind – Valorus – 300 MW Early-Commercial project – 31 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy – Petroc – 300 MW project – 37 miles offshore
  • Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy Llywelyn – 300 MW project – 40 miles offshore

But they do create a starter for a GW.

Last night, I found two other projects being developed in the Celtic Sea, under the collective name of the Llŷr Project.

The sponsoring company, which appears to be called Llŷr Wind has a web site, with a title of Harnessing Welsh Energy, which has this outline description underneath.

Situated off the Pembrokeshire coast, in southwest Wales, is a flagship project that could transform the world’s ability to generate renewable electricity from wind. The Llŷr projects are exploring the potential of two innovative floating offshore wind technologies.

The next statement is key.

Combined, the two 100MW projects will generate enough renewable electricity to power around 250,000 homes. If successful, we will be able to offer highly cost-effective, floating offshore wind farms to the rest of the world by 2030.

The Llŷr Project would appear to be a research project to find the best way to generate electricity using floating wind turbines in deep water.

  • It appears that the two wind farms will use different floats for the turbines.
  • The Llŷr projects are located in the approaches to the Bristol Channel in the Celtic Sea approximately 40 kilometres offshore at depths averaging 60-70 metres.
  • These offshore sites enjoy high average windspeeds which are, typically, in excess of 10 metres per second. That is over twenty miles per hour.
  • Each 100MW project will comprise 6 to 8 next-generation turbines which are too large to be deployed on land.
  • 6 x 20 MW turbines will be 120 MW.
  • 8 x 12 MW turbines will be 96 MW.
  • Each project will have an offshore substation.
  • There will be up to two connections for each substation.
  • Will the Llŷr Projects test manufacturers’ new turbine designs?
  • It is hoped that installation of the turbines will start in 2025/26, with power being delivered in 2026/7.
  • The project is being developed by Floventis Energy, which is a joint venture of SBM Offshore and Cierco.

It does look to me that SBM Offshore, who are a Dutch company, are using their extensive oil and gas experience to develop floating offshore wind.

This appears to be a very well-thought out research project in a location, where there is everything needed.

  • Lots of wind, which can be boosted by dragons if needed.
  • Deep water.
  • Ports for assembly of turbines onto floats.
  • Steelworks and fabrication.
  • Good electrical connections to the National Grid.
  • Excellent universities.
  • Good transport connections.
  • An experienced engineering workforce.

There is also the ultimate potential of 50 GW of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea.

Conclusion

The Llŷr Project could have a very positive input into the worldwide development of floating offshore wind.

I have read the web sites of Floventis, SBM Offshore and Cierco and these companies appear to be aiming to dominate the floating offshore wind industry.

Their strategy is stated on the Floventis web site.

Our strategy is simple. We plan to maximize the local benefits of our projects and minimize their impact. Our technologies are far more benign than conventional offshore wind and more suited for deployment in remote and sensitive environments.

Already driving demonstration projects in California and the UK, Floventis is building a portfolio of projects to take floating offshore wind, through a stepwise process – increasing project size, to full scale commercial development proposals by 2030.

We believe that the floating offshore wind industry is a model for a “just transition” to clean energy, at scale, which will reward communities, in the broadest sense, with skilled jobs and enhanced social equity.

I can certainly live with that! And I’m certain the world can too!

 

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , | 1 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

Fortescue Unveils World-First Electric Train Using Gravity To Recharge

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

These two paragraphs summarise the project.

Fortescue has announced the development of an electric train that recharges itself using gravity, as the Australian resources giant finalises its acquisition of UK-based Williams Advanced Engineering.

Fortescue is dedicating $50 million, in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), for research and development on the Infinity Train, which fully recharges its battery using gravitational energy when it descends.

Note.

  1. Most of Australia’s iron ore is mined in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
  2. There are at least four railways in Pilbara leading to the coast.
  3. As the mines are higher than the coast, the heavily loaded trains will be going downhill, whereas the empties will be going uphill.
  4. There would certainly appear to be scope for charging going to the coast and coming back on a full battery with the empties.
  5. 94 % of Australia’s iron ore exports are transported by train from Pilbara to the coast.

There are hundreds of locomotives used for transportation of Iron ore from Pilbara to the coast.

Will Williams Convert Existing Locomotives?

I suspect they will as this is route that Wabtec is taking with their FLXdrive locomotives.

Will Williams Convert Locomotives For Other Pilbara Companies?

I suspect what Andrew Twiggy Forest wants he gets.

Could Williams Convert Other Diesel Electric Locomotives

I suspect they could and I wouldn’t rule out seeing a battery-electric Class 66 locomotive.

I laid out my thoughts in Could Class 66 Locomotives Be Converted Into Battery-Electric Locomotives?.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Game-Changing” Long-Duration Energy Storage Projects To Store Power In Hydrogen, Compressed Air And Next-Gen Batteries Win UK Government Backing

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

These are the first two paragraphs.

EDF UK has received £2 million in funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to support four innovative methods of storing energy for longer periods of time.

The four longer-duration energy storage demonstration projects will help to achieve the UK’s plan for net zero by balancing the intermittency of renewable energy, creating more options for sustainable, low-cost energy storage in the UK.

These are the projects.

Tech Transfer And Modification Of Metal Hydride Storage Used In Fusion Sector For Hydrogen (Protium) Storage

The project is described like this in the press release.

The first project will store electricity as hydrogen in a chemical form using depleted uranium hydride (UH3). The project will utilise Urenco’s depleted uranium liability – a waste product from fuel production and reprocessed spent MOX fuel – to safely store hydrogen as UH3, which has approximately twice the volumetric energy density as liquid H2. The project will see EDF R&D lead a consortium combining expertise in engineering and materials from University of Bristol, operating metal hydride storage at UKAEA and handling depleted uranium from Urenco.

Sounds like a good project. Especially, as it finds a use for Urenco‘s depleted uranium.

Pivot Power

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, will work on two projects.

  • Delivering Power On Demand From Solar PV Using 40MWh Vanadium Flow Battery Storage System
  • Accelerate Commercialisation Of Zinc-Based Battery Storage

The first project was described in Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration Programme, Stream 1 Phase 1: Details Of Successful Projects.

This is what EDF says about the two projects which are linked.

Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewables, will support the delivery of two demonstration projects. The first project, delivered in partnership with Invinity Energy Systems plc (AIM:IES), will establish the feasibility of developing one of the UK’s largest storage-enabled solar power resources. If selected, Phase Two of this project, which includes a utility-scale 10 MW / 40 MWh Invinity Vanadium Flow Battery, would receive funding under the programme.

Pivot Power will also work alongside e-Zinc, with support from Frontier Economics, to ‘metalize energy’, deploying breakthrough technology that stores energy in zinc, an inexpensive and widely available metal that has a high energy density.

I’m a believer in storing energy in zinc, until it is proven, it’s not a good method.

The final project was also described in Longer Duration Energy Storage Demonstration Programme, Stream 1 Phase 1: Details Of Successful Projects.

The EDF press release adds this.

The final project will explore how electricity, converted into compressed air, can be stored in EDF’s existing gas storage facilities, where EDF Thermal Generation and R&D will partner with io consulting and Hydrostor.

I have a good feeling about this project.

February 24, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment