The Anonymous Widower

Railway To Hell To Be Electrified

This is the title of a serious article on Railway Gazette.

Hell is a village near to Trondheim in Norway and the railways around Trondheim are being electrified.

September 6, 2021 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Vivarail Targets Overseas Markets

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

This is an extract from the article.

Shooter told RAIL: “We are at the moment putting together a bid for an operator – not in this country – where the routes would be up to 500 miles long, to be provided totally with battery trains using this device.

“This bid we are putting together contemplates trains that are running for several hours – 60 to 70 miles between charging stations, but possibly going twice that far in emergency if the charging station should go down.”

By this device I suspect they mean their Fast Charge device, which is described in this press release from Vivarail.

This extract describes how it works.

The concept is simple – at the terminus 4 short sections of 3rd and 4th rail are installed and connected to the electronic control unit and the battery bank. Whilst the train is in service the battery bank trickle charges itself from the national grid – the benefit of this is that there is a continuous low-level draw such as an EMU would use rather than a one-off huge demand for power.

The train pulls into the station as normal and the shoegear connects with the sections of charging rail.  The driver need do nothing other than stop in the correct place as per normal and the rail is not live until the train is in place.

That’s it!

That sounds simple to me.

Where Would This Possible Order Be From?

I have ridden in a Vivarail battery train, as I wrote in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

I have also ridden the diesel variant, as I wrote in A First Ride In A Revenue-Earning Class 230 Train.

I very much feel, I can list a few of the good qualities of the trains.

Big Windows

The big windows give a good view, so I wonder if the trains would work well on a railway noted for its scenery.

Quietness

I have ridden in two battery trains.

The other was Bombardier’s Class 379 BEMU, that I wrote about in Is The Battery Electric Multiple Unit (BEMU) A Big Innovation In Train Design?.

Both were extremely quiet.

No Infrastructure Required

Except for the charging stations, no infrastructure is required.

Sturdy Engineering

Although the trains were only originally built for the London Underground, they are sturdily-built trains, as they used to share tracks with full-size trains.

I suspect, they are certified to share tracks with freight trains, as they do on the Marston Vale Line.

A Range Of Interiors And Customer Facilities

Although the trains tend to use the old London Underground seat frames, they have a range of interiors, which seem to be well-designed and comfortable.

I have been on Class 230 trains, with tables, a single toilet, onboard Wi-Fi, and electrical charging points.

Zero-Carbon

The trains are probably as near to zero-carbon, as any! Especially, if all the Fast Charge stations are powered by renewable electricity.

Remote Servicing

The trains have been designed for remote servicing.

Conclusion

All of these qualities lead me to think, that an ideal line in the UK could be the Far North Line, between Inverness and Wick and Thurso.

Although the train ticks a lot of boxes, it could well be too slow, It is also only a 160 mile route and not five-hundred

But there must be quite a few long, scenic lines in countries, where a passenger service needs to be added to a freight line, that perhaps serves a remote mining town.

Sweden and Norway are surely possibilities, but Finland is ruled out because it is Russian gauge.

Could the trains end up in parts of Africa, Canada and the United States?

Who knows?

September 3, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Financing Secured To ‘Enable Rapid Development’ Of Norway’s First Lithium Battery Cell Gigafactory

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

The article says that the gigafactory’s biggest competitor will be in Sweden.

With companies in the UK, like Hyperdrive Innovation, Gore Street Energy Fund and others developing massive demand for batteries, perhaps we should build our own gigafactory?

This article on Energy Storage News is entitled More Money For Lithium Exploration In Cornwall.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Cornish Lithium has successfully raised over £826,000 from shareholders to continue exploration for lithium in Cornwall, in both geothermal waters and in hard rock, and will build on the successful drilling programmes that concluded earlier this year.

I wrote about Cornish Lithium in How To Go Mining In A Museum.

Could an unusual tale becoming to a successful conclusion?

Conclusion

I think we can trust the Cornish, Norwegians and Swedes to ensure, we have enough lithium-ion batteries.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Finance | , , , | Leave a comment

Norway Announces $384.5m Clean Energy Fund To Aid In Covid-19 Recovery

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

These are the first one-and-a-half paragraphs.

Last week, Norway announced plans to fund a “green transition package”, investing $384.5m into sustainable power and infrastructure to help the country’s economy and productivity post-Covid-19.

The fund will be used to support a range of initiatives, including investments in hydrogen power and battery storage technology, building offshore wind infrastructure, and renovations to new and existing buildings, as Norway looks to reach the Paris Climate Agreement target of limiting global temperature rise to less than two degrees by 2050.

Perhaps we should follow Norway’s lead.

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.

Conclusion

Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.

Conclusion

Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..

 

June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s Top Wealth Fund Puts Billions Into Britain

The title of this post is the same as that of a news story on the front page of today’s copy of The Times.

There is a subtitle to the article.

UK will be stronger after Brexit, Norwegians say.

Some points from the article.

  • Norway’s wealth fund is worth £740billion.
  • The fund owns £62billion of UK investments.
  • Britain is the third largest market for their investments.
  • The fund works to a thirty-year-plus investment strategy.
  • The fund is co-owner of Regent Street.
  • The fund is a top five investor in companies.

I feel a smidgen of pride, that Artemis, which was the project management software, that  I wrote; in the late 1970s, had played small part in the creation of Norway’s wealth from oil and gas.

February 28, 2019 Posted by | Finance, World | , , | 1 Comment

Finland And Norway To Explore Building Arctic Rail Link

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the Reuters web site.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Finland and Norway agreed on Friday to explore constructing an Arctic rail link from northern Finland to the Barents Sea coast to develop trade routes and business opportunities in the region.

The proposed link would run from Finland’s northern city of Rovaniemi to Norway’s ice-free deep-water port of Kirkenes, located some 15 km from the border with Russia.

I didn’t know that ports, that far North could still be ice-free.

It is an interesting concept.

My only worry, is what will Vlad think of it all!

But then the Finns have stood up to the Russians before!

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

We Just Get Leaves On The Line

But the Norwegians have just suffered a bigger problem!

See this article on Global Riail News, which is entitled Tank Removed From Railway Line In Norway.

It reportedly fell of the back of a train.

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 4 Comments

British And French Engineers Can Work Together

In the Sunday Times today, they are talking about a £4billion project to import electricity into the UK from Iceland,  It is called Icelink and it would appear to have the backing of both the UK and Iceland governments. There’s more about it in this article in Utility Week.

So it got me thinking about undersea electricity connections around the world. There is a list of them here. And there is forty-four of them

Perhaps the best known is the connection between Kent and France, which is called the HVDC Cross Channel.  It is actually the second one and it has been running for nearly thirty years. A section in Wikipedia describes its significance.

Since the commissioning of the 2,000 MW DC link in the 1980s, the bulk of power flow through the link has been from France to Britain. However, France imports energy as needed during the summer to meet demand, or when there is low availability of nuclear or hydroelectric power.

As of 2005 imports of electricity from France have historically accounted for about 5% of electricity available in the UK. Imports through the interconnector have generally been around the highest possible level, given the capacity of the link. In 2006, 97.5% of the energy transfers have been made from France to UK, supplying the equivalent of 3 million English homes. The link availability is around 98%, which is among the best rates in the world. The continued size and duration of this flow is open to some doubt, given the growth in demand in continental Europe for clean electricity, and increasing electricity demand within France.

So it would appear it’s been successful and proves that we can work with the French on an engineering project.

It strikes me that we need to connect all of our power systems together in Western Europe. The UK is being connected to Ireland, Iceland and Norway and the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are getting in on the act.

What you won’t find from reading about the cables, but you will in some newspaper articles, is that Norway will have the ability to store electricity in a pumped storage system in the future.

So when the wind is blowing and we have too much electricity, the Norwegians will pump water from a low to a high lake and when we want it back, the water will be released through a turbine. It’s like putting your KWh in a bank!

February 16, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Sweden’s Mammals – Would I Go Again?

It is now a few days since I returned from my trip to see Sweden’s mammals, and it is time to pause for reflection.

Although, I ask the question of whether I would go again in this post, I actually don’t think, I would do the exact same trip again, as I’ve done it once and the only disappointment was that the bears and the wolves were on holiday too.

So I might go just to see bears or wolves and Sweden would be one of the places I would look at. After all, it’s a country, where things are done correctly, the food and accommodation, I had on the trip was very good and overall, it was all well organised.

Overall, I enjoyed it immensely and don’t regret going one bit in any way.

I said on the first night on the boat looking for beavers, that we would get some surprises and things wouldn’t turn out as expected.

Obviously, the problems with the bears and the wolves was one surprise, but as someone who lived in the countryside for forty years, I know how unpredictable animals and birds can be.

But we also had two very positive surprises; the ants and the magnificent skies.

If I was organising the tours, I would make sure that these were explained better.

But then as in all things, it is attention to detail that counts.

I have a feeling that this tour and others like it will get more popular, as surely Norway and Sweden, are the one place close to the UK, where you can see large  wild animals.  It’s also an ideal short break.

I think coupled with visits to Stockholm and Oslo at either end, it could be part of a fuller exploration of Scandinavia for everybody.

THe tour I took was organised by Marcus Eldh of Wild Sweden and I booked it through Naturetrek in the UK.

All of the posts can be accessed by clicking this link.

September 14, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 1 Comment