The Anonymous Widower

Neutrino Energy And Renewable Energy Decisions

The title of this post, is the same as that pn this article from Cision.

This is the introductory paragraph.

While Fossil fuels pose serious dangers to the future of human civilization, the Neutrino Energy Group proposes safe, clean solutions to the modern energy crisis that will help humanity take genuine leaps forward in development.

I’ve read the whole article and it is interesting.

It could be the biggest development in energy since our ancestors discovered fire or the largest load of hype since ZETA  was built at Harwell in 1957. The latter was supposed to provide electricity too cheap to meter.

Every ten years or so, something like this pops up. The only thing different about this one, is that it has come from the Germans! Although in the 1930s. it was in Germany, where people like Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner were leading the world in nuclear research. They discovered nuclear fission for which Hahn won the Nobel Prize.

Meitner spent her last years in Cambridge and I’ve always wondered, if she ever met Rosalind Franklin, the other great female scientist of the time, who many believe should have also received a Nobel Prize. If they did or even if they didn’t, it would surely make a wonderful drama, in the style of Copenhagen.

Luckily for the world, these German nuclear scientists were often Jewish, so they left, probably robbing the Nazis of an atomic bomb. Many ended up on the Manhattan Project.

June 13, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Equilibrium INR Has Risen Under Lockdown

For something like four years my Warfarin regime has been to take 4 mg.  every day and to self test every Monday and Friday. It has been a simple regime that has worked well and my INR has stayed between two and three, with 2.4-2.6 being the common readings.

In other words what I would call as a Control Engineer, my equilibrium INR is spot on.

In the past, I have noticed that in times of hot weather my INR  has tended to rise and in times of cold weather, it has occasionally dropped. A change of dose to three or five mg. has generally kicked it back towards 2.5 mg.

Doctors and this Control Engineer would say that you shouldn’t chase the INR by constantly changing the dose.

Warfarin also seems to have a cumulative property. A couple of years, I had to have a small operation. I dropped the INR to 2.1 for the operation over three days, by cutting back to 3 mg. After the operation three days at 5 mg. brought it back to 2.5.

Under lockdown, my equilibrium INR rose initially to 3 on a dose of 4 mg. every day.

In a telephone conversation with my GP, we agreed to alternate the dose between 3 and 4 mg. every day. My INR now seems to be stabilising between 2.5 and 2.8.

Why has my equilibrium INR risen under lockdown?

My house can get hot, as it wasn’t designed and built correctly and because of that I am drinking a lot of fluids. When I prick my finger for the self-test, the blood seems more watery than usual, so are all those fluids diluting my blood and causing my INR to rise?

Bodies can’t disobey the laws of physics!

Oh! For a walk by the sea in the sun!

 

May 5, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Could Modern Energy Systems Have A Secondary Role?

Close to where I live is a small heat and power system, that I wrote about in The Bunhill Energy Centre.

I first went over the centre during Open House.

Several of these modern systems are very good demonstrations of the principles of maths, physics and engineering.

So do these innovative energy systems do their bit in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers?

Some of the modern systems, that are in development like Highview Power’s energy storage using liquid air would be ideal for a secondary education role!

Most too, are very safe, as there are no dangerous processes or substances.

And in the next few years, there will be more systems all over the country and many in the hearts of towns and cities. Some schools, colleges and especially universities, will have their own innovative energy sources.

Liverpool University already has a system, which is described here.

January 16, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Cambridge Going To Save The World From Global Warming?

Watch this video!

And then visit Superdielectrics web site.

It does appear to be a  bunch of mad scientists in Cambridge, who’ve come up with the bizarre idea of using the material in soft contact lenses as an energy storage medium.

Link Up With Rolls-Royce

And then there’s this press release on the Rolls-Royce-Royce web site, which is entitled Rolls-Royce Links Up With UK-based Superdielectrics To Explore Potential Of Very High Energy Storage Technology.

Conclusion

I have been observing technology since the 1960s.

This is either one of those scientific curiosities , like cold fusion, that appear from time-to-time and then disappear into the scientific archives or a game-changer

I suspect we’ll know in a couple of years.

But even if it is isn’t the solution to affordable and massive energy storage,, that will save the world, I believe that one of the teams of men and women in white coats, somewhere in the world will crack the problem.

 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

More About Steamology Motion

In Grants To Support Low-Carbon Technology Demonstrators, I talked about a company called Steamology, who were given a grant by the Department for Transport to develop a method of converting hydrogen into energy.

The company is called Steamology Motion and in Issue 872 of Rail Magazine more details are given in an article, which is entitled DFT Hands Out £350,000 Each To Five Rail Green Schemes.

This is said in the article.

Steamology Motion, the final recipient, aims to create a new zero-emmissions power train for a Vivarail Class 230 train. The W2W system generates steam from compressed hydrogen and oxygen stored in tanks. The steam then drives a turbine to generate electricity.

The concept is aimed at being a ‘range extender’ able to charge onboard battery packs.

My mathematical modelling skills for this type of system have never been strong, but I’m sure that others will know how much hydrogen and oxygen are needed to charge a 200 kWh battery.

  • A quick search of the Internet reveals that small steam turbines could be available
  • I very much suspect, that as the system is a ‘range extender’, rather than a power unit to take the train hundreds of miles, that the physical size of the gas tanks will be smaller than those proposed by Alston for their hydrogen conversion of a Class 321 train.

I also don’t think that the DfT would have given £350,000 to the company, if the the physics and the mathematics weren’t credible.

Conclusion

If this technology is successful, I suspect it could have other applications.

February 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Physics

On the One Show on BBC television, yesterday there was a report about a man called Ian Tansley, who has invented a vaccine fridge for use in places like Africa, where the electricity is not reliable.

This Wikipedia entry for Sure Chill Technology describes the technology and this report on the BBC, describes how the invention has been backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physics to many is a dull subject at school, but to me, it’s the key to so many interesting inventions and ideas that will shape our lives in a better way.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

A Strange Fog

On Monday night, it was hot in the house and I was listening to the radio and typing up a few things for my blog.

The window was open for fresh air and as I often am, I was just wearing a pair of small black briefs for comfort, modesty and to keep cool.

Id been to the vigil by Tower Bridge and I’d had rather a nice ready meal from Marks and Spencer for supper.

I was also drinking heavily, but it was only endless mugs of tea!

So I laid down on the Chinese carpet on the floor and must have dosed off for half-an-hour.

When I awoke and stood up, I found that I couldn’t see very well.

I was worried at first, but after going into my bedroom to the toilet, I found I could see alright in the other room.

I then thought that the living room must be full of smoke or steam like you’d get if you left a saucepan of water on a lighted stove.

But the kettle and stove were cold, all taps in the house were switched off and there was no obvious source of the fog.

I then weighed myself, as I often do before I go to bed and found that I lost a kilo since Sunday night, despite eating well and drinking a lot.

And then it dawned what the fog was.

The temperature and humidity in the room had been such, that it had drawn the water through my skin and I was looking through a fog of my own perspiration.

I should say, that regularly, I lose a kilo overnight.

All very strange, but totally explained by the laws of physics and my extraordinary skin, which baffles medics, as if say they inject me or take blood, I don’t bleed afterwards and don’t need a plaster, despite being on Warfarin.

 

 

June 7, 2017 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

A High Speed Train With An IPEMU-Capability

Bombardier were reported by Ian Walmsley in the April 2016 Edition of Modern Railways, to be developing Aventra, with a 125 mph capability.

Bombardier have also told me, that all Aventras will be wired so they could be fitted with on-board energy storage.

I don’t know all the masses and speeds, but imagine if an Aventra with an IPEMU capability ran at high speed down an electrified main line and then with its on-board energy storage full to brimming, turned on to line with a reasonably high speed, where it might make a number of calls before returning.

A typical line could be London to Norwich via Cambridge, along the Breckland Line, which is not electrified from Ely to Trowse Junction south of Norwich. Parts have a 90 mph speed limit and I’m sure the speeds could be improved.

The train would need to use the energy storage, but this storage would be partially recharged every time the train stopped, by the regenerative braking of the train.

An interesting fact, is that the kinetic energy of a train is given by half the mass times the square of the speed. So if the train leaves the electrified section, as fast as is reasonably possible, it is carrying extra energy.

Because of the regenerative braking of Aventras and for that matter, Electrostars and some other trains. some of this energy can be recovered and stored in the on-board energy stoppage of an IPEMU, every time the train stops at a station

Intuition and many years of doing this sort of dynamic simulation, tells me, that the faster the train goes at the start, lengthens the range if on-board energy storage is available.

It is worth noting the energy levels involved. If you take the energy of a train travelling at 40 mph as one, the energy of a train travelling at 60 mph is 2.25 times as much and one travelling at 125 mph, a massive 9.76 times.

I think that other factors will also help.

  • A track built for speed.
  • Modern signalling.
  • An efficient train.
  • Low dwell-times in stops.
  • Advanced driving aids.
  • Good driving.

I suspect that Network Rail and Bombardier are doing extensive simulations of possible routes for trains with an IPEMU capability.

These calculations will probably show some routes are more suitable than others.

A route that could might be ideal, would be a branch where the line speed was high to a single station, so that by the use of the regenerative braking, the train could start the return journey with a high level of energy in the storage.

London to Norwich via Cambridge, is not a line to a single station, but both ends are electrified, so the trains will start the journey with full storage, probably losing a proportion of the energy at each stop.

I’d love to be doing those simulations. But it’s all physics that Isaac Newton would have understood.

 

 

April 23, 2016 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 5 Comments

Why Are Some Rails Painted White And What Is Saggy Wire Syndrome?

After reading this article on the Rail Engineer web site, I did think about calling this article something like – Who’d Be A Rail Engineer?

But I just had to include Saggy Wire Syndrome.

The article is a technical article about how using steel wheels on steel rails can be a nightmare for the railways and their engineers in hot weather.

When I was a child, the rails had a length of sixty feet and they were separated by a small expansion gap and connected by fishplates. This gave the clickety-clack. Now rails are continuous for several kilometres to give a smooth ride, so occasionally they buckle. To mitigate the problem rails are made pre-stressed to their length at 27°C, so the problems kick in, when the temperature of the track gets above that temperature.

As switches (points) and crossings are particularly vulnerable in hot weather, they are often painted white in the UK, to reflect the heat.

It’s funny, but after having come across Europe through Poland, Germany and Belgium, I can’t actually remember seeing any rails painted white on my journey. Although, there was no clickety-clack indicating jointed rails. Next time, I go to Germany or Poland I must look.

So what is saggy wire syndrome?

This is where the overhead electric wire stretches in the heat and sags, because the tensioning mechanism can’t cope.

The article finishes with this paragraph.

Summer is a real problem.  Roll on winter, when the rails shrink as they get cold and eventually break, earthworks get soggy causing uneven track surfaces, and S&C gets flooded and won’t work.

Who’d be a rail engineer?

All passengers should read the article!

July 4, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Using The Strange Property Of Water To Advantage

Most people, except perhaps those, who live in hot climates, know from their personal experience that ice floats on water. But most people don’t know that water is at its densest at 4°C. So water at this temperature sinks, but it rises at all others.

I once heard somebody use the existence of this property as a reason why God exists. He argued that if it didn’t, then life would have been impossible in water. It was all a bit contrived, but it is still as a strange property.

This morning, I was listening to Wake Up To Money, when a company called SureChill was mentioned. So I looked them up and found that they are using this property to create a new type of refrigerator. This page explains it all. This section describes the solution.

Sure Chill is a brand new kind of cooling system. It doesn’t need a constant power source. In an on-grid situation with intermittent power, it works perfectly well. In an off-grid situation, where a solar panel may be used, a Sure Chill powered refrigerator doesn’t even need a rechargeable battery. It shouldn’t work but it does. And it works beautifully.

Water surrounds a Sure Chill refrigeration compartment. When it has power, the water cools and forms ice above the compartment leaving only water at four degrees cooling the contents. When the power is switched off, the water warms and rises while the ice begins to melt, keeping only four-degree water cooling the contents of the compartment. So it has its own internal and entirely natural energy store that maintains a completely steady temperature. The system can operate like this, without power, for days and weeks.

People think physics is boring. Outside of Metier, I’ve done well in my career and made quite a bit of money by understanding the laws of physics that govern our lives.

My surprise at this idea, is that the technique could have been implemented in a refrigeration system decades ago. Artificial refrigeration was first performed by William Cullen in 1755. My bible; Nelkon amd Parker says that the maximum density of water was first measured by Thomas Charles Hope in 1804.

That is a long time from experimental proof to reality!

November 21, 2014 Posted by | Design, World | , , , | 2 Comments