The Anonymous Widower

The FAA Has Begun To Recognize Electric Propulsion During Certification

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

The article also has this sub title.

The FAA has set out its Part 33 certification requirements for MagniX’s electric propulsion units, providing high hopes for the future of electric aircraft

Reading the whole article , indicates that the FAA is taking electric aircraft seriously.

These are my random  thoughts on electric flying in the UK and Ireland.

  • The UK and Ireland could be one of the heaviest users of electric aircraft.
  • There will be electric routes between the UK and Ireland.
  • One of the first electric routes will be between London and New quay.
  • Smaller cities and towns will develop electric airfields.

Without doubt here in the UK and Ireland, where the two largest of many islands can fit within a five hundred mile circle, electric aviation will be seriously developed for island hopping, longer mainland flights and short flights to the Continent.

October 1, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Could The Morocco-UK Power Project Be Developed Into A Western Europe And Africa Interconnector?

This page on the Xlinks web site, describes the Morocco-UK Power Project, which is proposed to generate solar and wind power in Morocco and deliver it to the UK.

  • The plan envisages 10.5 GW of electricity being generated.
  • There will be a 5GW/20GWh battery in Morocco.
  • They will export 3.6 GW of electricity to the UK for at least twenty hours per day.
  • The electricity will be exported to the UK by an Interconnector that skirts to the West of Spain, Portugal and France.
  • The interconnector will be 3,800 kilometres long.

I described the project in detail in Moroccan Solar-Plus-Wind To Be Linked To GB In ‘Ground-Breaking’ Xlinks Project.

This Google Map shows Western Europe And North Africa.

Note.

  1. The light blue of the Continental Shelf
  2. The darker blue of deeper water.
  3. The Southern end of the Morocco and the UK interconnector will at Guelmim Oued Noun in the South of Morocco, which is indicated by the red arrow.
  4. The UK end of the cable will be at Alverdiscott between Barnstaple and Bideford in North Devon.
  5. Southern Morocco and Algeria look to be mainly in the Sahara Desert.

If we look at the route of the cable, it connects a lot of possible renewable energy sources.

  • Morocco – Solar and wind
  • Spain – Solar and wind
  • Portugal – Solar and wind
  • France – Nuclear, tidal and wind
  • UK – Nuclear and wind.

Could the UK and Morocco interconnector be developed into a bigger power project?

  • Solar and wind power from Algeria could be added.
  • Tidal power from a Severn Barrage could be added.
  • Connections could be added to Gibraltar, the Irish Republic and Wales.

I believe that there could be a large amount of electricity developed on the Western costs of Europe and Africa.

An interconnector would move it to where it is needed.

 

September 29, 2021 Posted by | Energy, World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dublin Energy Start-up Targets $2 trillion Offshore Wind Sector

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

The article gives a few clues, as to what Gazelle Wind Power are about.

This is the sub-title.

Gazelle Wind Power raises $4m to develop its hybrid floating offshore wind platform

What is a hybrid floating offshore wind platform?

I have form in the subject of large floating structures, as I did the calculations for a Cambridge-based company called Balaena Structures, that was proposing floating oil production platforms.

The company failed and I got paid, but their ideas returned to obscurity.

However, from that brief interlude in my life, I believe that there are innovative floating designs that could benefit the wind power industry.

This paragraph sums up the platform.

Overall the company estimates its solution costs half the price of other platforms to manufacture and 60 per cent less in terms of installation fees, while providing savings well above €1 million per megawatt.

I’ll go along with that, as the Balaena was very affordable and very stable.

The company has also recruited some powerful advisors, as this paragraph shows.

Gazelle recently named an elite group of energy industry veterans to its board of directors that includes Dr Javier Cavada, chief executive of Highview Power, Pierpaolo Mazza, a former general sales manager at GE Power, and Connie Hedegaard, former minister of environment to Denmark.

I have a feeling Gazelle Wind Power could be on to something.

Does the presence of the chief executive of Highview Power mean they are developing a floating platform with energy storage?

I remember that Balaena’s platform was very stable and as it was for oil and gas production, it had plenty of processing equipment on top.

Certainly, a wind turbine in the megawatt range with power storage would be a useful system.

August 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 5 Comments

France Passes A Law That Prohibits Domestic Flights, For Trips That Can Be Made By Train In Less Than Two And A Half Hours

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

I actually wonder, if this is something that is almost a complete ban on domestic flights except to islands like Corsica, as with the growth of the TGV network there can’t be many pairs of places in France, where the train takes more than two and a half hours.

I need to go to Pau at some time in the near future.

Pau is actually four and a half hours from Paris. Would most people take the train?

Other distances for comparison include.

  • Biarritz – 4 hours 11 minutes
  • Bordeaux – 2 hours 11 minutes
  • Marseilles – 3 hours 2 minutes
  • Nice – 6 hours
  • Strasbourg – 2 hours

It just shows how big France is.

By comparison in the UK, you can get to the following places in two and a half hours from London.

  • Preston from Euston
  • Hull from Kings Cross
  • Leeds from Kings Cross
  • Northallerton from Kings Cross
  • Exeter St. Davids from Paddington
  • Port Talbot Parkway from Paddington

Other roughly two and a half hour journeys would include.

  • Edinburgh and York
  • Glasgow and Preston
  • Aberdeen and Edinburgh

I would think, that the French have got the limit in their law about right.

Should We Have A Similar Law In The UK?

I have once taken a flight on a scheduled airline in the UK, shorter than London and Edinburgh. That was between London and Newcastle in the 1970s in a Dan-Air Comet 4.

In the last fifty years, four flights to Edinburgh and one to Aberdeen and Belfast, are probably all the domestic flying I’ve done in the UK.

I suspect, it is unlikely, that I will be affected if a similar law to France, were to be enacted in the UK.

There is also an interesting development in the provision of long distance rail services in the UK.

  • East Coast Trains are bringing in a fast, no-frills, one price service on the London and Edinburgh route.
  • Other companies are looking to do the same from London to Blackpool, Cardiff and Stirling.

I feel, that we’ll see some interesting services introduced by rail and ferry companies to compete with airlines.

London Euston And Dublin By Low Carbon Boat Train

Currently, you can get to Dublin from London by train to Holyhead and then a ferry.

  • The non-stop train between London Euston and Holyhead takes just over three and a half hours.
  • Avanti West Coast will be replacing their trains with new faster Class 805 bi-mode trains, which in a few years could be capable of running at up to 140 mph between London Euston and Crewe.
  • Irish Ferries have a fast ferry that goes between Holyhead and Dublin in one hour and forty-nine minutes.

I can see a fast train and ferry service between London Euston and Dublin getting very close to five hours.

It could be quite likely that new technology, faster trains and targeted marketing will reduce the number of internal flights in the UK.

The same forces will probably do the same in several countries, including France.

So do we really need a law?

April 14, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Covid-19 Vaccination On The Island Of Ireland

Every day, The Times publishes a table of how many people in various countries have been vaccinated against the Covids.

Today’s figures included.

  • UK – 11 %
  • Ireland – 3 %

Out of curiosity, I calculated today’s figure for Northern Ireland. It was 10.4 %.

As the people of Ireland form a rich pattern of families, commerce and employment on both sides of the border, will these figures cause tensions in the Republic?

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , | 4 Comments

Brexit: Duty-Free Makes A Come-Back For Travellers Returning From Britain

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

For the first time in more than 20 years people travelling to the State from British ports and airports will be able to load their luggage or their cars with tax-free tobacco, alcohol, perfumes and so-called luxury items once the new year bells chime in less than a week.

Duty-free between Ireland and Britain was abolished 21 years ago as it was not considered compatible with the emerging single market. However with the UK now leaving the EU and its single market from the start next year the old rules are set to revert.

As someone, who never buys anything in duty-free, I can’t say I’m bothered.

January 3, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 2 Comments

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

As a coeliac, I have been worried about the Covids and researching the statistics for some months.

Who Are Likely To Be Coeliac?

In the next sub-sections, I look at various groups.

Ashkenazi Jews

I am coeliac because there is an unbroken genetic line to my great-great-great-grandfather; Robert, who was a Jewish tailor from Königsberg  in East Prussia. Census records in the UK, say that he arrived around 1800 and setup business in Bexley. Like many Jews from East Prussia, he had to leave, when he became eighteen, because he was male, Jewish and not one of the privileged families.

I know little of him, except from a brief chat from my father, whose own grandfather had met him as a child and remembered him, as a small elderly man, who didn’t speak any English.

I did get some more details of the Jewish community in East Prussia from a curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin, and I don’t think she was proud at her countrymen’s treatment of the Jews before the Second World War. By the 1930s many had fled to the UK or the United States.

Wikipedia has a detailed History of the Jews in Königsberg.

In May this year at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, I wrote Jews In The UK And COVID-19, which is based on three articles in the Times of Israel.

This is an extract from my post.

I am also fairly sure, that my coeliac disease came from my Ashkenazi Jewish genes.

This second article on The Times of Israel is entitled Jewish Charity Warns Of Coeliac ‘Stigma’ As Half-A-Million Said Undiagnosed.

This is the introductory paragraph.

A Jewish charity says there is a “stigma” surrounding coeliac disease in the Jewish community, after a national charity warned that there were still half a million people in the UK who are undiagnosed.

I would assume that the half-a-million figure refers to all the population of the UK, as there are only about half that number of Jews in the UK.

Could coeliac stigma mean that there many older Jews, who are coeliac, have not been diagnosed and their poorer immune systems make them more vulnerable to COVID-19?

In the post, I also came to this conclusion.

I should say, that I’m no medic, but just a humble engineer, mathematician and statistician, who has nearly sixty years experience of analysing data.

That experience applied to coeliac disease and COVID-19, says that undiagnosed coeliac disease, is not helping our fight against COVID-19!

I stand by that statement today.

The Elderly

I suppose at seventy-three, I’m in this group too!

In April this year I wrote A Thought On Deaths Of The Elderly From Covid-19, where this was the conclusion.

Many of those 120,000 coeliacs will have been born before 1960 and have a high probably of not having been diagnosed. for the simple reason, that a childhood test for coeliac disease didn’t exist.

Will these undiagnosed coeliacs have a compromised immune system, that makes them  more susceptible to Covid-19?

It has been said, that a good immune system helps you fight Covid-19!

I heard today of an 85-year-old coeliac, who was diagnosed at forty and is bright as a button on a gluten-free diet. They have already had their jab. Excellent!

The Irish

As with the Ashkenazi Jews, the Irish have suffered bad living conditions and famine and they seem to have more than their fair share of coeliac disease.

Black People With Slaves As Ancestors

In the last thirty years or so, I have come across three or four West Africans with coeliac disease, including one, who was an excellent chef in a pub, near where I lived at the time. I also met an American vet online called DogtorJ, who wrote this paper on his web site, which is entitled Why Is The Plane Of Our Nation’s Health In A Death Spiral? He was referring to the United States, but a lot of the points he makes can equally apply to the UK and other nations.

In one section he talks about the historical atrocity of the slave trade from a medical perspective, where he says this.

I read in one source that approximately 6% of the slaves never made it to their destinations, many of whom died of dysentery. It suddenly dawned on me that they could have easily been the newest batch of gluten intolerants. These transplanted people had never eaten wheat-based foods in the past and yet here they were, under the worst possible conditions, having this new dietary challenge suddenly thrust upon them in the form of the white man’s bread.

DogtorJ’s reasoning applies to Afro-Americans, but it could surely apply to all slaves and their descendants, just as one coeliac ancestor passed me the disease.

People From The Indian Sub-Continent

I always thought that the Indian Sub-Continent was fairly free of coeliac disease, as Indian cuisine is rice-based and I’ve had many excellent gluten-free meals in Indian restaurants all over the UK.

But then I found this article on the Indian Journal Of Research Medicine.

I wrote about the article in Coeliac Disease: Can We Avert The Impending Epidemic In India?

I finished with these sentences.

What do I know? I’m just an engineer and a coeliac who has a good nose for problems!

But please someone! Research the connection between undiagnosed coeliac disease and COVID-19!

My son; George was an undiagnosed coeliac with a gluten-rich and smoky lifestyle. He died at just 37 from pancreatic cancer.

Did he have a poor immune system, which meant he couldn’t fight the cancer? One expert on cancer said, “Yes!”

Are people from the sub-continent suffering from the same problems, that slaves did several centuries ago?

Research From The University Of Padua

This paper on the US National Library of Medicine, which is from the University of Padua in Italy.

The University followed a group of 138 patients with coeliac disease, who had been on a gluten-free diet for at least six years, through the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Padua.

This sentence, sums up the study.

In this analysis we report a real life “snapshot” of a cohort of CeD patients during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Italy, all followed in one tertiary centre in a red area of Northern Italy. Our data show, in accordance with Emmi et al., the absolute absence of COVID-19 diagnosis in our population, although 18 subjects experienced flu-like symptoms with only one having undergone naso-pharyngeal swab.

It says that no test subject caught Covid-19, in an admittedly smallish number of patients.

But it reinforces my call for more research into whether if you are a diagnosed coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet, you have an immune system, that gives you a degree of protection from the Covids.

It should be remembered, that Joe West of Nottingham University has shown, that diagnosed coeliacs on a gluten-free diet have a 25% lower risk of cancer compared to the general population.

My Advice To Coeliacs On A Gluten-Free Diet Concerning The Covids

I shall be carrying on with my gluten-free diet, as the respected University of Padua found no problems in doing so!

A Small Piece Of Research

If you are on a gluten-free diet or you are a coeliac, you might like to fill in my poll, if you haven’t suffered from the Covids.

 

December 23, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rolls-Royce Commences Series Production Of Hybrid-Ready MTU PowerPacks For Irish Rail

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rolls-Royce is to supply its very first series production MTU PowerPacks which are prepared for future use as hybrid traction units: Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail, the national railway operator of the Republic of Ireland, has ordered 41 of these MTU Hybrid-ready PowerPacks. Fitted with MTU 6H 1800 R86 engines, the PowerPacks comply with the EU Stage V emissions directives and each delivers 375 kW from the diesel engine as well as 150 kW from the electrical machine.

Later the aim would be to add batteries to the PowerPacks to make the trains fully hybrid.

I do think Rolls-Royce MTU might have a game-changer here.

  • You take a modern fleet of diesel multiple units like a British Class 170 trains or an Irish Class 22000 trains,
  • For starters you replace the old diesel engine, with a modern one that meets all the latest environmental regulations.
  • It surely helps both sales and engineering, when the old diesel engine was supplied by MTU.
  • Later you fit appropriately sized batteries to the PowerPack to create full hybrids with regenerative braking.

In Iarnród Éireann Orders Stage V MTU PowerPacks, I said this about fuel consumption and emissions.

The aim is to achieve a reduction of over thirty percent in both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

I would suspect that with savings like that, the case for conversion might be an easy sell.

August 13, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Think Zinc: Another Metal That Can Transform The Energy Storage Sector

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Mines worldwide extract more than 11.9 million metric tons of zinc annually. There are zinc mines in over 50 countries around the world, and while the metal plays a key role in the steel industry, few people understand its transformative role in the energy storage sector. When most people think of the metals that power today’s energy storage systems, vanadium and lithium are at front of mind.

Wikipedia has an entry called Zinc Mining. This extract, sums up the availability of zinc from mining.

Global zinc mine production in 2019 was estimated to be 12.9 million tonnes. The largest producers were China (34%), Peru (11%), Australia (10%), United States (6.1%), India (5.5%), and Mexico (5.4%), with Australia having the largest reserves.

The world’s largest zinc mine is the Red Dog open-pit zinc-lead-silver mine in Alaska, with 4.2% of world production. Major zinc mine operators include Vedanta Resources, Glencore, BHP, Teck Resources, Sumitomo, Nexa Resources, Boliden AB, and China Minmetals.

The paragraph  is accompanied by a photograph from the Zinkgruvan mine in Sweden.

Closer to home, in 2009, Ireland mined 385,670 tonnes of zinc and was the tenth largest producer in the world. Tara Mine is at Navan in County Meath.

This Google Map shows its location to the West of Navan.

So if the Irish build more wind turbines, they have the zinc for their own zinc-air batteries.

The Stockhouse article is written by Ron MacDonald, who is President and CEO of Zinc8 Energy Solutions. He says this.

To give one example: Our company Zinc8 Energy Solutions has won a recent contract award and project collaboration with the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and private sector deployment agreement with Digital Energy supported by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Nyserda). We will deploy a 100kW/1.5MWh zinc-air system capable of storing energy for 15 hours.

Everybody, who worries about our future energy supplies should read the full article.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Wrightbus Boss Eyes All-Island Green Transport Plan

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

THE new owner of manufacturer Wrightbus says 12,000 buses on the island of Ireland as well as trains could be replaced with hydrogen engines to usher in a new era of environmentally friendly transport.

These points are made in the article.

  • Jo Bamford, who is the owner of Wrightbus, plans to decarbonise all buses and trains on the island.
  • A hydrogen infrastructure would need to be setup.
  • The Enterprise train between Belfast and Dublin would be run by hydrogen.
  • Jo Bamford has yet to talk to the Irish Government.
  • Wrightbus is seeking a £500m subsidy from the UK Government to built 3,000 hydrogen-powered buses by 2024.
  • This would bring 1,500 jobs to Ballymena.
  • The ydrogen-powered buses, will be the same price as diesel.
  • New Whightbus hydrogen buses will be on the streets of London and Aberdeen later this year.

This is one of the last paragraphs of the article.

He (Jo Bamford) said that the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the environment, with a clearer sky and cleaner air resulting from the fall in traffic, could be an inspiration for greener transport.

It may be an ambitious plan, but then you would expect ambition to be flowing in large quantifies in the veins of someone from the family, that gave us JCB.

Will Hydrogen Double-Deck Buses Become Commonplace?

There are now three different designs of hydrogen-powered double-deck bus in design, if not production.

There is also the hydrogen-powered version of the Van Hool ExquiCity tram-bus, that I wrote about in Ballard-Powered Fuel-Cell Tram-Buses From Van Hool Now In Revenue Service In France.

There are some big players making large investments in hydrogen-powered buses. I suspect at least three and possibly all four will succeed.

Designing A Hydrogen-Powered Vehicle

Two hydrogen-powered vehicle designs have impressed me this week.

Both designs use the existing electric transmission and seem to have been relatively straightforward for experienced engineers who are working in the field.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see other suitable vehicles redesigned for hydrogen power.

April 29, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment