The Anonymous Widower

DOE Announces 7 Awards To Cut Heliostat Costs

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

I haven’t talked about heliostats much before and can only find these two posts; one about Australia and one about Spainspain

I feel it is good that the Americans are backing this technology.

These are a summary of the projects.

  • SunRing: Advanced Manufacturing and Field Deployment: This project by Solar Dynamics LLC and partners will develop processes to maximize cost-competitiveness, performance, and reliability of Solar Dynamics’ existing SunRing heliostat design.
  • HELIOCOMM: A Resilient Wireless Heliostats Communication System: This components-and-controls project by the University of New Mexico will model a resilient wireless communication system based on the principles of integrated access and backhaul (IAB) technology, entropy-based routing, dynamic spectrum management, and interference mitigation.
  • An Educational Program on Concentrating Solar Power and Heliostats for Power Generation and Industrial Process: This project by Northeastern University will develop an educational program focused on concentrating solar power (CSP) and heliostats for power generation and industrial processes.
  • Demonstration of a Heliostat Solar Field Wireless Control System: Solar Dynamics LLC, with partners Remcom and Vanteon Corporation, will carry out a project aimed at demonstrating the reliable operation of a wireless heliostat solar field control system using commercially available products and developing analytical tools to de-risk the large-scale deployment of the wireless technology to solar fields with tens of thousands of heliostats.
  • Twisting Heliostats With Closed-Loop Tracking: This project will design, manufacture, and test a new type of heliostat and study its application for high-concentration CSP.
  • Digital Twin and Industry 4.0 in Support of Heliostat Technology Advancement: The Tietronix project aims to leverage technologies from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) to enhance the CSP industry and achieve the cost reduction experienced by other industries that have already adopted such advancements.
  • Robotic-Assisted Facet Installation (RA-FI): Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corp., in collaboration with Heliogen, will investigate the feasibility of a novel mobile robotic system capable of supporting the installation of mirror facets onto a heliostat.

Governments and institutions and individuals with money should support this sort of research and development.

June 4, 2023 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bonus For GPs If Patients Join Drug Trials In Plan To Lure Firms To NHS

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

This is the sub-heading.

£650m boost for medical research after number of participants slumps

These three paragraphs outline what is to be done.

Tens of thousands more patients will be signed up for clinical trials as ministers promise drug companies better access to the NHS to expand the economy and develop cutting-edge treatments.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is promising a £650 million package to boost life sciences as he attempts to lure pharmaceutical giants to Britain.

GPs will be offered financial incentives to recruit patients into trials of new treatments and hospitals will be given research targets under plans to reverse a slump in clinical testing while the NHS struggles with the backlog from Covid-19.

It all sounds good to me.

I have been involved in several trials and medical research projects.

  • As part of my coeliac disease diagnosis, one endoscopy was performed by Rebecca Fitzgerald at Cambridge, as she was taking samples of bile fluids for her research into Barrett’s esophagus.
  • After the death of my wife, I was interviewed by PhD students in the Psychology Department at Liverpool University for their research into widowhood.
  • Oxford University interviewed me on diet for their coeliac disease research.
  • After my stroke, I spent an entertaining afternoon at the University of East London doing balance tests by computer. Their aim was to develop a reliable balance test for stroke and other patients, that could be carried out by physiotherapists quickly, than by more expensive doctors.
  • I have also been on a drug trial at Queen Mary University, but that drug was useless and had no good or bad affects, so the trial was halted. However, it did lead to other enjoyable activities in the field of patient relations with treatment and research.

As a confirmed coward, I should note that with the exception of the drug trial, all of the other projects were low risk.

I should say, that I also sponsor pancreatic cancer research at Liverpool University, in memory of my son, who died from the disease. I wrote about the first Liverpool project in There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!.

A Database Of Projects Open For Volunteers

I believe that this is needed, so that those like me, who like to contribute to research can volunteer.

Perhaps some of the £650 million, that has been promised by Jeremy Hunt, could be used to create the database.

I also believe the database could be used for other non-medical research.


May 29, 2023 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can ‘Enhanced Rock Weathering’ Help Combat Climate Change?

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

This is the sub-heading.

In a quarry surrounded by the din of heavy machinery Jim Mann crouches down and picks up a handful of tiny black rocks.

These three sentences introduce Jim and his magic dust.

“This is my magic dust,” he says with a smile, gently rubbing them between his fingers.

He’s holding pieces of basalt. It’s a hard volcanic rock that is neither rare nor particularly remarkable.

But through a process known as ‘enhanced rock weathering’ it could help to cool our overheating planet.

This Google Map shows Orrock Quarry, where the basalt is mined.

The article then gives a simple explanation of enhanced rock weathering.

When one of the companies, I’d backed won a green design award it was presented by David Bellamy. I remember having a very radical conversation with him, about some of the projects, where he’d been an advisor.

Some might have dismissive views about Jim Mann’s work as being too good to be true, but when I see the chemistry, I suspect,I’ll find it to be sound.

It would be a very interesting process to mathematically model!

May 21, 2023 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

£77 Million Investment For UK Heavy Duty And Commercial Vehicle Projects

The title of this post is the same as that of this press release from the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

These are the projects.

Ford to design, develop, and build a fleet of 8 hydrogen fuel cell powered Transit vans, with the latest advances in technology

£8 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £16.3 million.

This research project will design and develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the Ford Transit van, with a Ford Dagenham estate facility re-purposed for upfitting of the vehicle. By bringing the manufacturer, vehicle operator and supply chain businesses together, this project aims to establish a business case for the wider rollout of hydrogen Light Commercial Vehicles.

Project partners include: Ocado, BP, Cygnet Texkimp, Cambustion, Viritech.


  1. I suspect Ocado will do the road testing.
  2. BP will probably supply the hydrogen.
  3. Cygnet Texkimp are a company based in Northwich and is a leading global provider of fibre handling and converting technology. Have they developed a machine for knitting hydrogen fuel tanks?
  4. Cambustion‘s Engineering Services team provides powertrain development and testing services to a range of global clients from our Cambridge, UK base.
  5. Viritech’s web site has a mission statement of Rewiring the DNA of Hydrogen Powertrains.

Ford seem to have assembled a team of all the talents.

Wrightbus to develop a new world-leading zero-emission battery and hydrogen fuel-cell electric, multi-axle vehicles

£6.4 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £12.7 million.

This project will produce a new, market-leading platform for battery and fuel cell electric driven buses. Whilst demand is growing for zero-emission vehicles, there are currently few options available for heavy, multi-axle vehicles like large buses.

Project partners include: Queens University Belfast, Grayson Thermal Systems, Hutchinson Engineering, Translink.


  1. Grayson Thermal Systems are based in Birmingham and specialise in providing HVAC for vehicles and especially zero-carbon ones.
  2. Hutchinson Engineering are based in Widnes and invest in state-of-the-art machinery and technology to give our customers the most advanced, cost-effective solutions in design, fabrication and manufacturing.
  3. Translink provides public transport in Northern Ireland.

It looks like Wrightbus have excellent partners.

ULEMCo creating a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell range extender for prototype ambulance, fire engine and road sweepers

£3.9 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £7.9 million.

This project will develop a hydrogen fuel cell range extender for electric vehicles used for special purposes, such as ambulances, fire engines and street sweepers. The zero-emissions range extender will be based on existing, proven technology from the Toyota Mirai, and demonstrate how zero emissions vehicles can be used in a wide range of specialised and challenging settings.

Project partners include: Altair Engineering, Emergency One, Technical Services Ltd, Oxon Fire & Rescue Services


  1. ULEMCo are based in the Liverpool City Region and it is very much in Liverpudlian DNA to repurpose something that works. Hence the use of The Toyota technology.
  2. Altair Engineering is a multinational engineering and technology company.
  3. Emergency One is a Scottish manufacturer of fire engines and emergency vehicles.
  4. Technical Services Ltd, who are based in Cleckheaton, supply thermal management systems and solutions.
  5. Oxon Fire & Rescue Services will obviously be doing the testing.

In Hydrogen-Powered Ambulance Drives Into Glasgow Ahead Of London Trial, I wrote about a prototype hydrogen-powered ambulance, that was built by ULEMCo and industry partners, that was shown at COP26.

Is this project turning the prototype into a system, that can be manufactured in large volumes?

Bramble Energy developing a hydrogen double-deck bus, using innovative, low-cost fuel cell technology

£6.3 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £12.7 million.

This project will demonstrate a fuel cell/battery hybrid powertrain on a double-decker bus. This novel product will be cheaper than the equivalents currently available for large vehicles like buses and uses innovative new electronics and energy recovery technologies.

Project partners include: University of Bath, Equipmake, Aeristech


  1. Bramble Energy‘s Printed Circuit Board Fuel Cell (PCBFC™) is a patent protected, revolutionary design which leverages existing manufacturing routes from the printed circuit board industry to offer a cost-effective, scalable hydrogen fuel cell solution.
  2.  Equipmake are based at Snetterton in Norfolk.
  3. In Equipmake Hybrid To Battery Powered LT11, I describe Equipmake’s conversion of a New Routemaster to battery operation.
  4. Aeristech are based in Crawley and have developed a range of award-winning compressors for Tier-1, OEMs and other customers.
  5. Is the compressor needed to pump a mixture of hydrogen and air through the fuel cell?

I have a feeling, that this could be a very revolutionary design.

BorgWarner developing hydrogen combustion systems for heavy-duty commercial transport

£4.9 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £9.8 million.

This project aims to speed up the rollout of hydrogen-burning internal combustion engines, as an alternative to diesel. Hydrogen is a clean fuel, producing only water when burned. Project Cavendish will develop new fuel and air management systems, so that existing heavy duty diesel technologies can be repurposed to use hydrogen as fuel.

Project partners include: Mahle, Cambustion, Hartridge


  1. BorgWarner is a large American automotive supplier.
  2. Mahle is a large German automotive supplier.
  3. Cambustion‘s Engineering Services team provides powertrain development and testing services to a range of global clients from our Cambridge, UK base.
  4. Since the brand formation in 1930 Hartridge, who are based in Buckingham, has become a world leader in diesel fuel injection test equipment.
  5. Project Cavendish is obviously named after Henry Cavendish, who discovered hydrogen.

In Ricardo Supports Industry Leaders To Develop Innovative Dedicated Hydrogen Engine, I talk about another project involving BorgWarner. Is Project Cavendish a follow-on from the original project or a new one?

Leyland Trucks scaling up the production of electric trucks through innovations in automation and advanced testing

£2.6 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £5.1 million.

By better use of automation and advanced testing, Leyland Trucks aim to increase productivity and step up their production of battery electric trucks. A ‘digital twin’ of the Leyland production line will be set up, meaning any changes can be run in simulation before being rolled out physically.

Project partners include: Expert Tooling, HSSMI


  1. Leyland Trucks is one of Britain’s leading manufacturing companies. It is PACCAR’s established centre for light and medium duty truck design, development and manufacture. The company is based in Leyland.
  2. Expert Technologies are specialists in delivering industrial automation solutions. The company is based in Coventry.
  3. HSSMI is a sustainable manufacturing consultancy.

As I have done a lot of simulation in my time, I’m very much in favour of digital twins.

JLR leading a consortium research project to develop a high-efficiency and highly integrated 800V inverter designed and built in the UK

£6.3 million awarded by government, matched by industry to a total £12.6 million.

This project will explore and develop technology for inverters – a key component in electric vehicles. As well as developing a best-in-class product, this work will support the growth of a UK supply chain in components for electric vehicles.

Project partners include: University of Bristol, Custom Interconnect Ltd, API Capacitors Ltd


  1. JLR is Jaguar Land Rover.
  2. Custom Interconnect is an advanced electronics manufacturing company, which is based in Andover.
  3. API Capacitors is the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of high quality power capacitors for power electronic applications. The company is based in Great Yarmouth.

I suspect this invertor will have several applications.


The grants seem to have been widely spread around the UK.



May 9, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coeliac Journey Through Covid-19 – Medical Research

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Medical Research

I first got involved as a lab-rat in medical research, when I had my second endoscopy to check for coeliac disease at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in 1997. Rebecca Fitzgerald took a sample of fluid from my gut for her Barrett’s oesophagus research.

After my wife died, I asked my contact in Alumni Relations at Liverpool University, if they did widowhood research.

They are one of the few universities that do and I did several interviews for PhD students in the unit, which is in the Psychology Department. It was very much a positive experience and certainly helped with my grieving.

In some ways the most enjoyable piece of research I have been involved in, was at the University of East London, where they were using computers to measure the balance of those recovering from strokes.

My GP also suggested that I get involved in drug tests at Queen Mary University. The tests were abandoned as the drug didn’t have any good or bad effects, but now I’m one of the William Harvey Centre’s lab-rats.

I also help to sponsor pancreatic cancer research at Liverpool University in memory of my son.

In There’s More To Liverpool Than Football And The Beatles!, I detail some research, that I sponsored in a small way.

I may be tempted to do the fund-raising trip again.

I always advise people to get involved in medical or psychological research, as I have found it such a beneficial experience.

One thing that is needed, is an on-line database of all research projects that are looking for volunteers.

Remember, that much medical and psychological research is about as dangerous as meeting someone in a GP’s surgery for a chat or perhaps in a cafe and having a coffee.

April 28, 2023 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Northern Unveils ‘Supersonic’ Leaf Busting Tech

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

These two paragraphs outline the project.

A collaborative effort between Northern and The University of Sheffield has resulted in the development of an innovative piece of technology, small enough to be fitted onto passenger trains, that clears leaves from the line.

A recent demonstration at the Wensleydale Railway has highlighted the effectiveness of this tech, meaning that the disruptions from fallen leaves to rail operations could soon be a thing of the past.

The process is described in this paragraph.

The new cleaning system, developed by researchers from the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, works via firing dry ice pellets in a stream of air at supersonic speed at the railhead, resulting the freezing of the leaves stuck on the line, which are subsequently blasted away as the dry ice pellets turn back into a gas. The dry ice pellets themselves are provided from waste carbon dioxide from other industries.

I suppose the only problem, is that it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

More Details

This page on the Sheffield University web site, which is entitled End Of The Line For Rail Delays Caused By Autumn Leaf Fall, gives more derails.


April 5, 2023 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

ORE Catapult, ABP, Microsoft & Co To Create World’s Biggest Offshore Wind ‘Living Lab’ In UK

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

This is the sub-heading.

A consortium led by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has launched a project that will create the biggest offshore wind “living lab” in the world in the UK through the development of a 5G Testbed that includes Grimsby Port and the Lynn and Inner Dowsing offshore wind farm.

These two paragraphs outline the project, its aims and partners.

The GBP 2.8 million (approximately EUR 3.2 million) project, which will run until March 2024, involves setting up a 5G Testbed to allow technology providers to test and demonstrate their equipment in real-world conditions, with access to reliable, high-speed communications.

The aim is to kickstart a digital revolution in offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) and accelerate the development of a new generation of digital technologies essential for the expansion of offshore wind generation, according to ORE Catapult, which partnered with Microsoft, Vilicom, JET Connectivity, XceCo, Associated British Ports (ABP), Acceleran and Satellite Applications Catapult to realise the project.

This seems to me to be a very good idea and it is certainly well-backed.

April 4, 2023 Posted by | Design | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ricardo Supports Industry Leaders To Develop Innovative Dedicated Hydrogen Engine

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Ricardo.

This is the sub-heading.

Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental, and engineering consulting company, has delivered a hydrogen-fuelled research engine to global engine specialist Cummins and automotive supplier BorgWarner, as part of Project BRUNEL part funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)

These four paragraphs outline the project.

Cummins is a global specialist in diesel and alternative fuel engines and generators, and related components and technology. BorgWarner is an automotive tier 1 supplier and specialist in the design and manufacture of systems for electrified and conventional propulsion types, that includes injection equipment for conventional and renewable fuels. BorgWarner recently announced the intention to spin off its Fuel Systems segment. The intended company name is PHINIA Inc. PHINIA is expected to be a product leader in fuel systems, starters, alternators and aftermarket distribution.

The project aims to support internal combustion engine (ICE) sub-system suppliers to increase their use of hydrogen as an alternative zero-emissions fuel solution across the light commercial vehicle market.

The engine is specifically designed to burn only hydrogen – with no supporting fuels that could give rise to any carbonaceous, or excessive air quality emissions.

Experts in hydrogen technology and integration, Ricardo has provided an engine based upon its world-renowned series of single cylinder research units, which can help the research teams evaluate a wide variety of fuels. The engine is designed to help engineers evaluate a variety of injector types and will support increased fuel efficiency, reduced air quality emissions and the move towards carbon-free heavy-duty propulsion.

Reports of the death of the internal combustion engine are greatly exaggerated.

The Aims Of The Project

This talks about the light commercial market, which for Cummins means, that this engine could be a replacement for their B Series engine, which is described in Wikipedia like this.

In production since 1984, the B series engine family is intended for multiple applications on and off-highway, light-duty, and medium-duty. In the automotive industry, it is best known for its use in school buses, public service buses (most commonly the Dennis Dart and the Alexander Dennis Enviro400) in the United Kingdom, and Dodge/Ram pickup trucks.

A version is also used in London’s New Routemaster buses.

Speculation About A Hydrogen-Powered Dodge Ram Pickup

This article on Mopar Insiders is entitled Next-Gen Ram Heavy Duty Could Feature Cummins Hydrogen Powerplant!

It has this sub-heading.

Fast Refuel Times, Extended Range, & Zero-Emissions…

Sounds great for wide open spaces.

I’ve also read in an interview with a retiring Cummins Executive, who said that Dodge RAM trucks are being converted to hydrogen by enthusiasts.

Could New Routemasters Be Converted To Hydrogen?

In the Wikipedia entry for the Cummins B Series engine, this is said about the engine in a New Routemaster.

The 4.5L ISB is essentially a four-cylinder, two-thirds version of the 6.7L ISB rated at 185 hp (138 kW), used in the New Routemaster, a series hybrid diesel-electric doubledecker bus in London.

Having worked in the Cummins factory at Darlington, I know they are happy to produce specials for a particular application, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hydrogen-powered New Routemaster created by an engine and fuel system transplant.


The tie-up between Cummins, BorgWarner and Ricardo could be significant.

American power with a touch of Sussex finesse.


March 26, 2023 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Siemens Gamesa, Ørsted Link Up With UK Universities To Boost Wind Turbine Efficiency

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

This is the sub-heading.

A major collaboration between universities and energy companies has made “vital” improvements to offshore wind turbines, which could help them generate more renewable energy and reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.

This paragraph outlines the research.

The GBP 7.7 million partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Durham, Hull, and two global energy companies, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and Ørsted, could help offshore wind turbines run for longer periods of time – boosting the amount of energy each wind farm generates.

We may not manufacture a large proportion of wind turbines, but companies do turn to UK universities, when they need important research to be done.

March 23, 2023 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Project Launches To Pair Offshore Wind With Sustainable Food Production

Note that it’s a little over a fortnight to April Fool’s Day!

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

This is the sub-heading.

Win@Sea, a new collaboration between Vattenfall and Danish universities and companies, will investigate how to produce offshore wind power and sustainable food – all while improving the marine environment and biodiversity in the same marine area.

This is the first paragraph.

The partners will look into whether an offshore wind farm could simultaneously produce fossil-free electricity and sustainable food while also contributing positively to biodiversity in the same area.

But this report is not alone, in using the sea as a farm.

It sounds to me like a case of great minds thinking alike.

March 15, 2023 Posted by | Energy, Food | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment