The Anonymous Widower

UK Govt Awards Almost GBP 33m To Innovative Energy Storage Projects

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

This is the first paragraph.

The UK government has awarded GBP 32.9 million (USD 39.7m/EUR 38.3m) in funding to five innovative energy storage projects under the second phase of its Longer Duration Energy Storage competition.

These are the projects.

StorTera

StorTera has secured GBP 5.02 million to create a prototype demonstrator of its single liquid flow battery (SLIQ) technology.

The company’s main product is the SLIQ Flow Battery, for which it gives the headline of Reliable, Economical Energy For 20 Years.

This is a description of the technology.

The revolutionary StorTera SLIQ single liquid flow battery offers a low cost, high performance energy storage system made with durable components and supported by our flexible and adaptable inverter and control system. The StorTera SLIQ battery brings the following benefits/advantages:

  • Low levelised cost of storage and capital cost
  • Long lifetime of up to 20 years (min. 7,500 cycles)
  • Long duration energy with the energy and power capacity easily and independently scalable
  • Safe with no cooling requirements and high flash point materials
  • Fully recyclable at the end of lifetime

This is said about costs – Using low cost materials and manufacturing techniques, we predict capital costs of approximately £120/kW and £75/kWh by 2022.

I feel there could be something about this technology, but we’ll only know, when the demonstrator is fully working.

Sunamp

Sunamp will get GBP 9.25 million to test its thermal storage system in 100 homes across the UK.

On their home page, Sunamp has a banner of World Leading Thermal Technologies, with this description underneath.

Sunamp designs and manufactures space-saving thermal storage that makes UK homes, buildings and vehicles more energy-efficient and sustainable, while reducing carbon emissions and optimising renewables.

They do appear to have sold something, which is always a useful thing to do.

This page on their web site,  describes their Thermino Thermal Storage For Domestic Hot Water, where this is said.

Thousands of Sunamp thermal batteries are already in homes across the UK storing heat from low-carbon energy sources and releasing it for mains-pressure hot water when needed.

Our Thermino batteries replace traditional hot water cylinders – direct (for grid electricity and solar PV) or indirect (for boilers and heat pumps).

They are up to four times smaller than the equivalent hot water tank because they are filled with our energy-dense phase change material, Plentigrade. This means that heat pump systems can be installed where otherwise they wouldn’t fit, for example.

The key seems to be this substance called Plentigrade!

This page on their web site describes Plentigrade.

Under a heading of Storing Energy As Heat And Releasing It When, And Where, It’s Needed, this is said.

Sunamp thermal batteries are energy-saving thermal stores containing Plentigrade: our high-performance phase change materials (PCMs) that deliver heating or cooling reliably, safely and efficiently.

Plentigrade, with its perpetual phase changing ability, is at the core of our products.

Our breakthrough technology was created in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, ranked among the top 20 universities in the world, and the UK’s national synchrotron particle accelerator, Diamond Light Source. To find out more about the chemistry behind Plentigrade, read our blog.

Note.

  1. This product almost looks to be too good to be true.
  2. But I’ve checked and it doesn’t seem to have appeared on Watchdog.
  3. It’s yet another breakthrough, that has used the Diamond Light Source.
  4. How many other developments would happen with a Diamond 2 in the North, as I wrote about in Blackpool Needs A Diamond?

I have a feeling, that my house needs one of Sunamp’s thermal batteries.

University of Sheffield

The article says this about a grant to the University of Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield has been awarded GBP 2.6 million to develop a prototype modular thermal energy storage system designed to provide optimised, flexible storage of heat within homes.

There are several thermal batteries around for houses.

RheEnergise

The article says this about a grant to RheEnergise.

With a GBP-8.24-million grant, RheEnergise Ltd will build a demonstrator of its High-Density Hydro pumped energy storage system near Plymouth. The technology uses a fluid denser than water to generate electricity from gentle slopes.

I wrote about this in Plan For £8.25m Plymouth Energy Plant To Generate Power From Cream-Like Fluid.

EDF UK R&D

The article says this about a grant to EDF UK R&D.

The government is also backing with GBP 7.73 million an initiative of EDF UK R&D and its partners, the University of Bristol, Urenco and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), to develop a hydrogen storage demonstrator using depleted uranium at UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

I wrote about this in Innovative Hydrogen Energy Storage Project Secures Over £7 million In Funding.

Conclusion

They are a mixed bunch of ideas from around the UK, that I think will produce at least two good winners.

 

December 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rail Flood Defender

This project was one of the winners in the First Of A Kind 2022 competition run by Innovate UK.

In this document, this is said about the project.

Project No: 10038342

Project title: Rail Flood Defender
Lead organisation: University of Sheffield
Project grant: £249,770

Public description: Rail Flood Defender will deliver a more reliable railway network that is safer for all stakeholders,
and empower Network Rail (NR) and the UK to become global leaders in intelligent holistic rail
drainage management. It will future-proof rail transport against the effects of climate change where
more intense and regular rainstorm events are expected.

The project will explore principles of autonomous active flow control to reduce manual operations
associated with protecting rail infrastructure from the effects of flooding. It achieves this by taking
the latest advances in edge computing and applying it to real-time automation of mechanical and
electrical equipment to control the flows in rail drainage systems, thus protecting the track drainage
from being overloaded and flooded during rainstorm events.

The importance of managing rail drainage infrastructure cannot be overstated. It is designed to
carry stormwater safely water away from the track via a system of pipes and channels. When
drainage infrastructure is compromised or inadequate, flooding can occur. Flooding causes delays
to passengers and costs to asset owners, but crucially can also affect other assets such as
structures and signalling, which endangers human life (e.g. Watford Tunnel
Derailment https://www.gov.uk/raib-reports/derailment-and-subsequent-collision-at-watford). This
project aims to collaboratively investigate the application of AI-powered automated real-time control
(RTC) for protecting the railway system and mitigating any impact on adjacent land.
The feasibility project will identify how the following benefits and sustainability opportunities can be
delivered:

  • Reduce risk of rail services being disrupted during rainstorm events.
  • Make the drainage design process more efficient.
  • Avoid capitally and spatially expensive flood solutions (e.g. stormwater retention tanks).
  • Provide a means for automated flushing to clear blockages (reduce manual intervention).
  • Reduce surcharging on adjacent rural or urban areas.
  • Explore additional opportunities such as rainwater harvesting for agriculture.

My Thoughts And Conclusions

Fifty years ago, I wrote and provided the software, that the Water Resources Board used to plan the water flows and new reservoirs in a large part of England. As over the intervening years, there have been few water shortages due to lack of reservoirs, I am led to believe that the WRB must have done a good job.

Now fifty years later our computing capabilities are much more advanced and I feel that the aims of this project are readily achievable.

November 18, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

How Did The Ukrainians Attack The Crimea Bridge?

No-one seems to know what happened on the Crimea Bridge, which appeared to catch fire.

  • Was it the Ukranians?
  • Was it some of Putin’s enemies in Russia?
  • Was it an accident?
  • Did a battery in an electric car explode?
  • Was it a suicide bomber?
  • Was it a drone strike?
  • Was it a drunken lorry-driver, who hit something?

We just get more and more questions.

But here’s two questions, that can be answered.

Was the train going from Russia? For my theory to be feasible, it must have been going from Russia into Crimea.

Did more than one part of the train catch fire? Someone said it did.

The Track Layout

I have been looking at the track layout over the bridge on OpenRailwayMap, which shows everything. It appears a couple of kilometres. to the South (Russian) side of the bridge there is a set of sidings and/or freight loops.

This OpenRailwayMap shows the sidings in relation to the bridge.

Note.

  1. The main line is shown in orange.
  2. The bridge is in the North-West corner of the map.
  3. The sidings are shown in black alongside the main line in the South-East corner of the map.

This second map shows the loops and sidings in more detail.

Note.

  1. Trains in Russia run on the right track, whereas the UK runs on the left.
  2. There are actually two sets of loops; one has extra sidings and the other doesn’t.
  3. Both loops can be accessed from both tracks and directions.

Unfortunately, the Google Map of the area shows the construction phase.

Did the freight train stop overnight in these sidings and proceed at first light? After all it might be going a long way and drivers needed time for sleep, some food, vodka and a few ciggies.

Whilst it was stopped did Ukrainian saboteurs sneak in and fix bombs with timers to the train? After all kids sneak into our sidings at night and graffiti the trains.

The timers could even have been fitted with GPS, so they went off on the most vulnerable part of the bridge.

This could explain the timing and how the train appeared to have been hit more than once!

For a raid, it would be much easier than say what the Norwegians did in WW2 to blow up the heavy water plant at Telemark, where they didn’t lose a man.

A Picture Of The Train Fire

This picture shows the train fire.

Note.

  1. It appears that the carriageway nearest to the camera has collapsed.
  2. If we assume, the break point is now lying on the seabed, it points to the pier with the light-coloured rectangle on top being the failure point of the road bridge.
  3. According to OpenRailwayMap, who handily show carriageway directions, that is the carriageway to Crimea.
  4. The rail bridge is double-track and appears to be reasonably intact.
  5. The train also appears to be intact, except for some fire damage.
  6. If the train was going to Crimea, it would be on the track nearest to the camera.

I do think, that if it was explosions on the train that caused the bridge collapse, there would be more damage on the other carriageway and on the railway.

The Collapse Of The Crimea-Bound Carriageway

This reminds me very much of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge in Wales, during construction in 1970.

Wikipedia says this about that collapse.

Errors in the box girder design caused the collapse during construction in 1970. The bridge became operational during 1975.

If I remember correctly, during construction, the bridge was effectively overloaded. I can certainly remember lots of discussion about the failure in the office, where I worked in ICI at Runcorn.

I am not suggesting, that there were errors in the Russian calculations, but that something happened to take the bridge outside of its safety limits.

Suppose, there was a large explosion near the pier, where the break occurred, could it have caused the bolts holding the sections of the bridge to shear and allow the bridge to fall, as the pictures show.

It is certainly looking that a major truck bomb, is the cause.

CCTV pictures have been shown, that purport to see a truck exploding.

Was It A Suicide Attack?

I don’t think that the type of traditional suicide attacks, as practiced by the Islamic State and others would be carried out by either Ukraine or Russia. Although Chechens did use suicide attacks in their war against Russia.

But I do think it would be possible for a driver to stop a truck, put out warning triangles or whatever is the law in Russia and then be picked up by a friendly driver.

Alternatively, they could wait until the truck exploded and then make a getaway under cover of the fire. They could even jump into the water and be picked up by a boat.

If the Russians were behind it, they would have the ability to use a hired driver from perhaps a local agency.

Suppose, a hired driver were to be told to take a truck load of watermelons to Sebastopol and bring the truck back. A quick look would confirm the watermelons, but I doubt, the driver would find the bomb underneath.

If the driver was killed would the Russians mind.

The Ukrainians might not either, but they’d have the problem of getting the truck deep into Russian territory, without being detected.

The Truck On The Bridge According To The BBC

This article on the BBC is entitled Crimean Bridge: Who – Or What – Caused The Explosion?.

The article says this about the truck.

Security camera footage released on social media showed a truck – allegedly from the Russian city of Krasnodar, an hour’s drive from the crossing – moving west across the bridge at the time of the explosion.

Russian officials named a 25-year old Krasnodar man, Samir Yusubov, as the owner of the truck, and said an older relative, Makhir Yusubov, was the driver.

But close examination of the footage seems to show that the truck had nothing to do with the explosion.

Note.

  1. If the truck was going West it was going from Russia to Crimea, this meant it was on the carriageway furthest from the railway.
  2. The truck was on the carriageway that collapsed.

Does that rule out a truck bomb?

The View Of A British Army Explosives Expert

The BBC article also says this.

“I’ve seen plenty of large vehicle-borne IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in my time,” a former British army explosives expert told me. “This does not look like one.”

A more plausible explanation, he said, is a massive explosion below the bridge – probably delivered using some kind of clandestine maritime drone.

“Bridges are generally designed to resist downwards loads on the deck and a certain amount of side loading from the wind,” he said. “They are not generally engineered to resist upward loads. I think this fact was exploited in the Ukrainian attack.”

That sounds feasible to me, but the BBC article also has this paragraph.

If this is how Ukraine managed to attack the Kerch Bridge, hundreds of miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, then it’s one of Kyiv’s most ambitious operations so far.

If that is true, it certainly is an ambitious operation, that ranks alongside the St Nazaire Raid in World War II.

A Structural Engineer’s Thoughts

This article on New Civil Engineer is entitled How The Crimean Bridge Explosion Caused Multiple Spans To Collapse.

It is the thoughts of Andrew Barr at the University of Sheffield and it well worth a read.

Conclusion

We’re still a long way from the truth.

 

 

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , | 5 Comments