The Anonymous Widower

Piney Point: Emergency Crews Try To Plug Florida Toxic Wastewater Leak

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Emergency crews in Florida have been working to prevent a “catastrophic” flood after a leak was found in a large reservoir of toxic wastewater.

This Google Map shows the location.

Note.

  1. At the top of the map is an area called Tampa Bay Estuarine Ecosystem Rock Ponds.
  2. The reservoir appears to be in the South East corner of the map.
  3. There appear to be several chemical works to the West of the highway.

This second Google Map shows the reservoir at a larger scale.

Note.

  1. The picture in the BBC article was taken from the North West.
  2. The problem reservoir is right and above of centre.
  3. To its right is Lake Price, which appears to be the sort of lake to sail a boat and perhaps do a bit of fishing and swimming.
  4. Moore Lake to the South appears similar to Lake Price.

It looks to me that it is not the place to have an environmental incident.

This article in The Times says this.

Engineers are furiously pumping the phosphate-rich water into the sea to avoid an uncontrolled spill at Piney Point, whose failure could unleash a 20ft-high wall of toxic effluent.

Pumping it into the sea? Surely not?

I suspect there could have been a mixture of sloppy management and loose regulation, with minimal enforcement and I’ll be interested to see what recommendations are put forward by the inevitable investigation.

In my varied past, I was once indirectly involved, in the toxic waste that comes out of chemical plants. At the time, I was working for ICI in Runcorn and my main job was building designing and building instruments for the various chemical plants in and around Runcorn.

As they had hired me because of my programming skills, they asked me if I could do a few small jobs on their Ferranti Argus 500, which could be plugged in to both their Varian NMR machine and their AEI mass spectrometer.

With the former, to get better accuracy in analysis of chemicals, I would take successive scans of a sample and aggregate them together. The accuracy of the results would be proportion to the square root of the number of scans.

The second to my mind was more difficult and much more interesting.

This explanation of mass spectroscopy is from Wikipedia.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that is used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. The results are typically presented as a mass spectrum, a plot of intensity as a function of the mass-to-charge ratio. Mass spectrometry is used in many different fields and is applied to pure samples as well as complex mixtures.

ICI at Runcorn had a lot of complex mixtures and the aim of my project, was to take a mass spectrum and automatically decide what chemicals were present in the mixture.

The mass spectra were presented as a long graph on a roll of thermal paper. I noticed that operators would pick out distinctive patterns on the graph, which they told me were distinctive patterns of chlorine ions.

Chlorine has an unusual atomic weight of 35.5 because it is a mixture of two stable isotypes Chlorine-35 and Chlorine-37, which produced these distinctive patterns on the spectra.

I was able to identify these patterns to determine the number of chlorine atoms in a compound. By giving the algorithm a clue in stating how many carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms could be involved, it was able to successfully identify what was in a complex mixture.

All this was programmed on computer with just 64K words of memory and a half-megabyte hard disc.

ICI must have been pleased, as I got a bonus.

One of the jobs the software was used for was to identify what chemicals were present in the lagoons alongside the River Weaver, which are shown today in this Google Map.

Note.

  1. The chemical works, which were part of ICI in the 1960s, to the North of the Weaver Navigation Canal.
  2. The two former lagoons between the canal and the River Weaver, which seem to have been cleaned out and partially restored.
  3. Was that a third large lagoon to the South of the River Weaver?
  4. There also appears to be a fourth smaller triangular lagoon between the canal and the river.

There certainly seems to have been a better clear-up in Runcorn, than in Florida.

I moved on from Runcorn soon after, I’d finished that software and have no idea how or if it developed and was used.

But the techniques I used stayed in my brain and were used at least four times in the future.

  • In the design of a Space Allocation Program for ICI Plastics Division.
  • In the design of two Project Management systems for Time Sharing Ltd.

And of course, they were also used in designing the scheduler in Artemis for Metier.

I

 

April 5, 2021 Posted by | Computing, Design, World | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thermal Energy Storage The Key To Reducing Agricultural Food Pollution

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

These two paragraphs, introduce the article and give the aim of the project.

University of South Australia thermal energy researcher Professor Frank Bruno has been awarded almost $1 million by the Federal Government to find a solution to agricultural pollution in Australia and India.

Prof Bruno, South Australian Energy Chair at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, will lead a collaborative project with India’s biggest private university, LPU, to develop a renewable energy-driven food processing and drying system which alleviates both pollution and landfill issues in both countries.

The big problem in India is air pollution, a lot of which is caused by farmers burning rice husks. By collecting solar energy, which will be stored as heat and used to dry crops, there is hope that this pollution can be reduced.

The whole article is very much a must-read.

Conclusion

This very much sounds like a good way to cut pollution in areas with lots of solar energy.

December 12, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

South Western Railway Completes Trial Of Class 159 Emission Reducing Technology

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

This is Project 4 called Green Rail Exhaust After Treatment, that I wrote about in Grants To Support Low-Carbon Technology Demonstrators.

I also wrote about the project in SWR And Porterbrook Trial New Emission-Slashing Rail Technology.

This paragraph from the Rail Advent article sums up the results.

In partnership with Porterbrook and Eminox, South Western Railway has trialled a new system that has real-world reductions in pollution from nitrous oxides (NOx) by over 80% and hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM) by over 90%.

The technology appears to have performed well in a six-month trial.

As the proof of the pudding is always in the eating, it will be interesting to see how many systems are installed on the two hundred trains in the closely-related Class 158 and Class 159 train fleets.

June 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

East Midlands Railway Class 170 Trains To Get New Emissions Technology

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

These two paragraphs introduce the article.

Porterbrook has announced that it has received funding for the trial fitment of technology to reduce emissions on its fleet of Class 170 DMU trains.

The £400,000 funding will see the Class 170 ‘Turbostar’ trains, which are in operation with East Midlands Railway, fitted with Eminox SCRT technology.

The trial will be for three months, after which a decision will be made, as whether Porterbrook’s share of the over 120 Class 170 trains will be upgraded.

June 18, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Wabtec Launches BlueFilter Air Filters For Trains

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

This is the introductory paragraphs.

Wabtec Corp has launched BlueFilter, a filter designed to be retrofitted to current passenger train HVAC systems to ensure the provision of clean air on board.

The company says it can remove contaminants that are .01 to 1 000 μm size, smaller than current standard filters and including bacteria, dust and viruses.

Does viruses include COVID-19?

This Press Release on Wabtec’s web site gives more details.

BlueFilter’s design removes contaminants that are .01 to 1,000 micrometers in size. That includes allergens, bacteria, various dusts and viruses. By comparison, today’s standard filters typically only remove particles that are between 10 to 1,000 micrometers in size, which only includes contaminants such as pollen, most dusts and some bacteria.

It certainly gets down to the nitty-gritty.

June 2, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Environmental Humour On Euston Road

I took this picture on the Euston Road outside Euston station.

It’s an area, where I don’t walk very often, so I don’t know how long it’s been there.

May 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , | 1 Comment

Air Pollution May Be ‘Key Contributor’ To Covid-19 Deaths – Study

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the Guardian.

This is the first two paragraphs.

High levels of air pollution may be “one of the most important contributors” to deaths from Covid-19, according to research.

The analysis shows that of the coronavirus deaths across 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, 78% of them occurred in just five regions, and these were the most polluted.

I think that this report could prove significant. But I have no idea why!

I grew up in a very polluted London, where regularly at Primary School we would be sent home early as the smog was so bad. In those days of the 1950s, there were few  immigrants and I only remember one black person at school. She was the Deputy Head Girl! The few immigrants at school, were generally Poles, although I do remember one Spanish boy.

April 20, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 5 Comments

Councils Rely On Diesels While Charging Drivers Who Use Them

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

Some points from the article.

  • Ninety-two percent of council vehicles are diesel-powered.
  • Only three percent are the greenest electric models.
  • Sivty-two council fleets are totally diesel.
  • Twelve councils are thinking of restricting or charging diesel or petrol vehicles to cut pollution, but all of these councils are reliant on diesel.

It looks like a case of politicians saying “Do as I say, but not as I do!”

 

 

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 5 Comments

A Walk Along Shaftesbury Avenue

These are some pictures I took as I walked up Shaftesbury Avenue at around lunchtime.

This is a summary of what I saw and my views.

  • I only saw one electric vehicle; a black taxi.
  • It was a horrendous collection of diesel trucks and vans. And an ambulance!
  • As someone, who suffers in polluted air, I say two words – Stop It!
  • All deliveries should be done at night!
  • No vehicle should be allowed through unless it is zero carbon.

Note the lack of private cars and I only saw a couple of buses, both of which were New Routemasters.

Conclusion

Shaftesbury Avenue is the heart of London’s Theatreland. And a downright disgrace!

I am lucky, in that if I want to go, I walk round the corner from my house and get a 38 bus direct to the Avenue.

But look at any map and you’ll see there is no Underground station in the area and you have to walk from Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road stations.

Crossrail 2 has a plan to build a station in the area, but as it would involve demolishing the Curzon Cinema, all the usual suspects are against that plan. They were also against the demolition of a theatre at the site of the expanded Tottenham Court Road station. Crossrail are doing the obvious and building a new bigger one!

Surely, the same thing would work for Crossrail 2!

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Is The East-West Rail Link Going For The Freight Market?

I will deal with question in two main sections; West and East.

Freight In The West

In Shapps Supports Beeching Axe Reversals, I talked about the reopening of the Northampton and Marketharborough Line to connect the West Coast and Midland Main Lines..

  • Passenger services could run between Market Harborough or Leicester and Marylebone, Milton Keynes, Oxford or Reading.
  • Multi-modal services could run between freight terminals in the North Midlands and Yorkshire and Southampton Docks.
  • With electrification, it could create the Electric Spine, that was cancelled a few years ago.

Judging by Grant Shapps comments, I do wonder if this scheme is part of the East-West Rail Link.

Look at freight trains between Sheffield or South Yorkshire and Southampton Docks.

  • Currently, they seem to use a route via Chesterfield, Ilkeston, Toton, Burton-on-Trent, Bordesley, Solihull, Warwick Parkway, Banbury, Oxford, Reading and Basingstoke.
  • After the East-West Rail Link and the Northampton and Market Harborough Line are opened, the trains would go via Chesterfield, Ilkeston, East Midland Parkway, Loughborough, Leicester, Market Harborough, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Bletchley, Bicester, Oxford, Reading and Basingstoke.

The advantages of the new second route would appear to be.

  • It doesn’t involve a Grand Tour of Birmingham.
  • It only involves the next phase of the East-West Rail Link.
  • It is partially-electrified.
  • It would be relatively easy to electrify between Didcot and Bletchley.
  • Innovative locomotives like the Class 93 locomotive might be ideal for the route.

I do suspect that the new route will be substantially quicker.

Freight In The East

If the East-West Rail Link will improve freight services in the West, what will it do in the East?

I wrote about freight at the Eastern end of the route in Roaming Around East Anglia – Freight Trains Through Newmarket.

This was the introduction to that article.

The East West Rail Consortium plan to change the route of freight trains to and from Haven Ports; Felixstowe, Harwich and Ipswich to the West of Kennett station.

In this document on the East-West Rail Consortium web site, this is said.

Note that doubling of Warren Hill Tunnel at Newmarket and
redoubling between Coldham Lane Junction and Chippenham Junction is included
in the infrastructure requirements. It is assumed that most freight would operate
via Newmarket, with a new north chord at Coldham Lane Junction, rather than
pursuing further doubling of the route via Soham.

How would these changes affect Newmarket and the horse-racing industry in the town?

I then examined the affects in detail.

My conclusions were that it will be a difficult project to get approved, as Newmarket won’t like a double-track freight railway through the centre.

Summary Of Freight Routes Using The East-West Rail Link

As far as I can see, these will be the major freight routes using the link.

Felixstowe and Birmingham

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Nuneaton and Castle Bromwich

Felixstowe and Bristol

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Oxford and Swindon

Felixstowe and Cardiff

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Oxford, Swindon and Newport

Felixstowe and Glasgow

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Stafford, Crewe, Preston and Carlisle

Felixstowe and Liverpool

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn

Felixstowe and Trafford Park

Ipswich, Newmarket, Cambridge, Bletchley, Stafford Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road

Southampton and Birmingham

Basingstoke, Oxford, Bletchley, Nuneaton and Castle Bromwich

Southampton and Glasgow

Basingstoke, Oxford,  Bletchley, Stafford, Crewe, Preston and Carlisle

Southampton and Liverpool

Basingstoke, Oxford, Bletchley, Stafford, Crewe and Runcorn

Southampton and Sheffield

Basingstoke, Oxford, Bletchley, Northampton, Market Harborough, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway, Ilkeston and Chesterfield

Southampton and Trafford Park

Basingstoke, Oxford, Bletchley, Stafford Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road

Note, that I have ignored routes like Felixstowe and Leeds or London Gateway and Trafford Park, which will avoid the East-West Rail Link.

Conclusion

The East-West Rail Link is going to be a very important freight route.

Winners And Losers

Will there be objections in places like Cambridge, Market Harborough and Newmarket, which will see a large increase in freight traffic?

On the other hand, some places like Banbury, Birmingham and North London will see a reduction in freight traffic.

Others like Oxford would see little difference in the numbers of trains.

Electrification

The East-West Rail Link connects to five electrified main lines at Oxford, Bletchley, Bedford, Sandy and Cambridge.

For freight’s sake, I think it should be electrified to make the most of new motive power, like the Class 93 locomotive and reduce pollution and carbon emissions.

 

October 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment