The Anonymous Widower

Chief Scientific Advisor And Chief Medical Officer Briefing On Coronavirus (COVID-19): 21 September 2020

The title of this post, is the same as that of this page on the Government web site.

The page gives full transcript of what was said.

This is a paragraph.

When people have an infection, the vast majority of people get an antibody response, and we know that some of those antibodies are so-called neutralising antibodies. They do indeed protect against the virus. We also know that they fade over time, and there are cases of people becoming re-infected. So this is not an absolute protection, and it will potentially decrease over time. What we see is that something under eight per cent of the population have been infected as we measure the antibodies, so about eight per cent, so 3 million or so people, may have been infected and have antibodies. It means that the vast majority of us are not protected in any way and are susceptible to this disease. There may be other forms of protection that increase that number a little bit, other parts of the immune system, but it does mean the vast majority of the population remain susceptible, and therefore you’d expect spread throughout them. The number of people with antibodies is a little higher in the cities, and it may be as high as 17 per cent or so in London. That may confer a little slowing of spread but not much more than that. At that point I’ll pass over to Chris to take you through some of the other features of the epidemic. Chris.

Note that I have indicated some of Professor Vallance’s words in colour.

What does he mean?

Could he be alluding to some people having a better immune system than others and are less likely to get COVID-19?

  • I am a coeliac on a gluten-free diet.
  • Research by Joe West at Nottingham University has shown that coeliacs like me, are 25 % less likely to suffer from cancer. Could this be because of our condition or our diet, coeliacs like me, have a very strong immune system?
  • I have various coeliac contacts, including several who read this blog and so far, I haven’t heard of one, who has suffered a bad dose of the covids.

Research should be done to see if there is a beneficial link between coeliac disease and COVID-19!

Conclusion

Patrick Vallance was certainly alluding to something!

September 21, 2020 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Lightweight Green Supercapacitors Could Quickly Charge Devices

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Texas A & M Today.

 

This is the sub-title.

Texas A&M researchers have designed a new energy storage device that can store a charge up to 900 times greater than state-of-the-art supercapacitors.

It appears what they have developed is plant-based.

They appear to use lignin and potassium permanganate to create the electrodes for a supercapacitor.

It looks to be interesting research.

September 8, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Sweden’s HYBRIT Starts Operations At Pilot Plant For Fossil-Free Steel

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

These are the first paragraph.

Swedish green steel venture HYBRIT, owned by SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall [VATN.UL] and miner LKAB, on Monday started test operations at its pilot plant for fossil-free steel in Lulea, Sweden.

The HYBRIT web site outlines the process on its home page.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. The goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035. If successful, HYBRIT means that together we can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

This could be a very significant development.

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , | Leave a comment

A New Design For Flow Batteries

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in phys.org, which documents a development from the Mendeleev University in Russia.

The Russians are claiming they have developed a novel architecture.

August 20, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Solar To Hydrogen Efficiency Record Broken By Australian National University Researchers

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Hydrogen Fuel News.

The traditional route to produce green hydrogen from solar panels, is to create electricity and then use electrolysis to create the hydrogen.

This process goes direct and an improvement in efficiency of 17.6 %.

August 13, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , | Leave a comment

Smartphone-Based Testing Device Cuts Time And Cost Of Diagnostics

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

This is the sub-title of the article.

An inexpensive and sensitive smartphone-based testing device for viral and bacterial pathogens could reduce the pressure on testing laboratories during a pandemic.

These are a few important points from the article.

  • The device has been developed by researchers and engineers at the University of Illinois.
  • They are aiming for a $50 price.
  • They started looking for a solution to look for viral and biological pathogens in horses.
  • Tests work with a nasal or blood sample.
  • Tests take about half-an-hour.

If this device can be productionised, so that millions can be turned out for their target price, this will be a major weapon in the fight against COVID-19.

Apparently, there is a great advantage of using horses in the trials of the device. The horse pathogens are harmless to humans, so it lowers the risk to researchers.

 

April 28, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

Climate Change: ‘Bath Sponge’ Breakthrough Could Boost Cleaner Cars

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

A new material developed, by scientists could give a significant boost to a new generation of hydrogen-powered cars.

The article is a must read and the development could make it a lot easy to store hydrogen in vehicles.

The problem is that hydrogen is extremely light and the article says this about storage.

In normal atmospheric pressure, to carry 1kg of hydrogen which might power your car for over 100km, you’d need a tank capable of holding around 11,000 litres.

That is rather large. This extract from the article describes the solution.

To get around this problem, the gas is stored at high pressure, around 700 bar, so cars can carry 4-5kg of the gas and travel up to 500km before refilling.

That level of pressure is around 300 times greater than in a car’s tyres, and necessitates specially made tanks, all of which add to the cost of the vehicles.

Now researchers believe they have developed an alternative method that would allow the storage of high volumes of hydrogen under much lower pressure.

The team have designed a highly porous new material, described as a metal-organic framework.

As ITM Power’s hydrogen filling stations can provide hydrogen at up to 350-700 bar, I’m sure that there could be a useful coming together, that will make hydrogen-powered vehicles more common.

Could for instance, the new material mean, that hydrogen becomes the fuel of choice for heavy trucks and railway locomotives?

April 19, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aerodynamic Research Facilities Enhanced

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

The University of Birmingham’s Transient Aerodynamic Investigation facility at Derby’s Rail Technology Centre business park has reopened following a £1·5m renovation.

It is certainly the start of a must-read article.

It is interesting, that Bombardier have been a user of the facility. As I have said before, the Aventra seems to have good aerodynamics, so was this facilty used to improve them?

March 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Past Is Worrying Me!

It must have been in the early 1970s, when I was acting as a mathematical-modelling consultant.

I was asked to do some modelling by a major drug company of the propagation of a virus through the UK population.

Their aim was to show how serious these pandemics could be and they wanted to get substantial grants from the Government to fund various lines of research.

With their data and the model I built, we were able to show how a dangerous pandemic could evolve.

But I never found out how successful they were in obtaining the money needed to start the research!

It does look like this pandemic could be the one that researchers at the company were predicting nearly fifty years ago.

March 13, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health | , , , | 2 Comments

Rail Research At Birmingham University

In Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, there is an article entitled Full Steam Ahead, which discusses the the work at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research an Education (BCRRE).

Amongst many subjects three are mentioned where I have a big interest.

Aerodynamics

The article says this.

Aerodynamics is also an important area for research, as any reduction in drag and air resistance due to structures will improve the energy efficiency of rail vehicles.

I very much agree with this approach.

I also feel that due to their low noise profiles as they pass by, that Bombardier have applied aerodynamic knowledge, perhaps from their aircraft engineers, to the design of the new Aventra.

Hydrogen Supplies For Hydrogen-Powered Trains

The article says this.

Funding has also been secured from Innovate UK to create a company that can provide the necessary infrastructure needed to support hydrogen trains, including fuelling stations and hydrogen generation facilities.

This sounds very similar to the systems that ITM Power ae deploying for Shell to fuel hydrogen buses, cars and other vehicles.

I hope that there is not too much duplication going on.

Working With Michigan State University And Stadler To Bring Hydrogen Trains To California

Co-operation is always good and especially in rail projects, where the number of trains involved is fairly small.

A Quote From Dr. Stuart Hillmansen of BCRRE

This quote is in the article.

Is is possible to completely decarbonise, by using electrolysis that is powered using renewable energy to create the fuel.

I completely agree with that!

Conclusion

I would hope that the BCRRE develops into a one step shop for the solution of rail related problems.

It does seem that by putting various areas of expertise together, they could be a go-to institution for those that want to built a hydrogen-powered rail service.

February 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment