The Anonymous Widower

Is There A Virtuous Circle In The Installation Of Wind Farms?

Because we are developing so much offshore wind turbine capacity, this will result in two things.

  • A big demand for steel for the foundations and floats for wind turbines.
  • A large amount of electricity at a good price.

In my view the UK would be the ideal country to develop an integrated steel and wind turbine foundation/float capability.

There will also be a strong demand for deep water ports and sea lochs to assemble the floating turbines.

Our geography helps in this one. We also have Milford Haven, which is just around the corner from Port Talbot. Scunthorpe is on the River Trent, so could we assemble floats and foundations and take them by barge for assembly or installation.

We probably need an integrated capability in Scotland.


It looks to me, that there is a virtuous circle.

  • The more offshore wind turbine capacity we install, the more affordable electricity we will have.
  • This will in turn allow us to make more steel.
  • If this steel was produced in an integrated factory producing foundations and floats for wind farms, this would complete the circle.
  • It would also be inefficient to make the foundations thousands of miles away and tow them to UK waters.

Any improvements in costs and methods, would make the system more efficient and we would have more wind turbines installed.

It looks to be a good idea.

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Elizabeth Line – Custom House Station – 24th May 2022

I took these pictures at Custom House station on the Elizabeth Line.


  1. The station was built in a factory and the concrete beams were assembled on-site. Traditionally, the concrete structure would have been poured on site.
  2. The quality of the columns is excellent and an engineer I spoke to a few years ago, said that the methods used at Custom House station ensure a high quality building. Look at the last two pictures.
  3. The two escalators are in-line, rather than side-by-side and it looks like this was done to squeeze in the station.
  4. There were signs up for toilets, that are visible in picture 4. Are they going to be installed?

The ideas used to create Custom House station, will be borrowed by architects and builders all over the world.

May 25, 2022 Posted by | Design, Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

The Diamond Light Source And PETase

When I was writing Diamond Synchrotron Sparkles And Shows Its Value To UK Economy, I came across a reference to PETase, in an article in Chemistry World, where this was said about the Diamond Light Source.

‘It is the facilities in the UK that really make the difference and make us a world leader,’ comments John McGeehan, professor of structural biology at the University of Portsmouth.

His team has used Diamond to study the bacterial enzyme PETase, which digests plastic. ‘Diamond’s I23 [long-wave macromolecular crystallography] beamline is unique in the world. It allowed us to solve the 3D structure of the PET-degrading enzyme, first found in plastic dumps in Japan in 2016. Three years ago it was the highest resolution image of the enzyme measured and remains so today. Having this information allows us to understand how the enzyme works, and how to make it work faster and better.’

As a result, the team has been able to visualise the active site of the enzyme and how it consumes plastic. The researchers discovered that the active site was slightly wider than cutinase, a similar enzyme that bacteria use to break down natural plant polyesters. ‘The technology leading from this research means plastic waste can be broken down and put back together into bottles (infinite recycling), or can be made into higher value products such as resins for wind turbine blades,’ says McGeehan. Patents are pending.

Note, that PET is polyethylene terephthalate, which is a very common plastic used to make fabric (Terylene/Dacron) and packaging.

Now that is what I call recycling!

October 24, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alstom’s Widnes Factory

I took these pictures as the train to Liverpool passed Alstom’s Widnes factory, soon after crossing the River Mersey.

There has still been few announcements lately on the progress of the Class 321 trains being converted to hydrogen-powered Class 600 trains.

Perhaps, they are too busy updating Avanti West Coast’s Class 390 trains.

October 15, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hitachi Ships TransPennine Express’s First Class 802 From Japan

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News.

To my mind, the Japanese do some inefficient things when building trains.

  • It could be sensible to build the first of each different sub-fleet in Japan and ship it to the UK by sea, but what puzzles me is that the body shells are all built and painted in Japan and then shipped half-way round the world.
  • The shipping delay must make production difficult to plan and inefficient.
  • I would have thought they would have built a body plant somewhere in Europe.

CAF may send their trains by ship, but that is only a short sea crossing and because the Spanish rail gauge they can’t tow them through the Channel Tunnel, as the other European manufacturers do.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 3 Comments

Did The Mind Of Buyers Cause The UK’s Surprise Manufacturing Rebound?

This article on the BBC is entitled Pound jumps as UK manufacturing activity rebounds.

This is the opening paragraphs.

The value of the pound has jumped after a survey indicated the UK’s manufacturing sector rebounded sharply in August.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector rose to 53.3 in August from July’s figure of 48.3. A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

The weakening of the pound following the Brexit vote boosted exports, the survey found.

I also think another factor comes into it – The buyers who are purchasing the goods.

My father’s business was ruined by a bent buyer, who was taking bribes all over the place. When this was discovered, all the suppliers were changed and three-quarters of my father’s orders for his specialist printing disappeared to the only other company locally, who could do it.

My father was not amused and he told me so, in no uncertain terms.

There is also the story of the UK department store chain, that cut the foreign travel budget for their buyers, who were sourcing goods to sell. One unexpected consequence was that they increased the proportion of UK-made goods.

I’ve heard so many tales of bent buyers, and suitcases filled of high-value notes, that I can afford to keep some back for later.

Now though, the UK could have a rather strange advantage because of Brexit.

Say you’re a German buyer of components for your company, that are made in the UK.

Could Brexit on the horizon mean that you’re worried that in a couple of years, doing business with the UK will be a lot harder?

So perhaps now is time to have a last business trip to the UK before it gets too difficult.

If the price is right, it’s also a lot easier to go to Birmingham than Shanghai!

Never underestimate buyers, who are always looking out for themselves.

You are probably a straight buyer, but your family will probably enjoy the UK more than China.


September 1, 2016 Posted by | Business, World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Most Surprising News Of The Day

I must say, I was surprised that Hitachi are going to make London the worldwide headquarters of their rail business.

It is reported here on the BBC.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

The Dangers Of 3D Printing

I’m a great believer in 3D printing, as it is a technique, that would have helped me greatly in the past, with some of the companies, in which I invested.

But this story, where some idiots in Texas, have designed a gun produced on a 3D printer horrifies me. Their aim seems to be to give everybody an affordable firearm.

But how do you police such a technology as 3D printing?

You can’t! Especially, as in a few years time, it will be one of the mainstays of small scale manufacturing.

May 6, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | 1 Comment

Living With British Products Only

A family called Bradshaw have decided that they are going to live using only British products. Their story is here on Kent On-Line and their web site is here.

The BBC also flagged up a web site called Make It British.


Their piece also showed that you can buy tea from Cornwall. Now that is truly a British cup of tea!

January 15, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , | 2 Comments