The Anonymous Widower

Will INEOS And Rolls-Royce Get Together Over Hydrogen Production?

It has been a busy week for press releases.

8th November 2020 – Rolls-Royce signs MoU With Exelon For Compact Nuclear Power Stations

9th November 2020 – Rolls-Royce signs MoU with CEZ For Compact Nuclear Power Stations

9th November 2020 – INEOS Launches A New Clean Hydrogen Business To Accelerate The Drive To Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Does the timing of these three press releases indicate that there is possible co-operation between the INEOS and Rolls-Royce?

These are my thoughts.

Electricity Needs Of Integrated Chemical Plants

Integrated chemical plants, like those run by INEOS need a lot of electricity.

When I worked for ICI Plastics in the early 1970s, one of the big projects at Wilton works was the updating of the Wilton power station.

  • Fifty years later it is still producing electricity.
  • It is fired by a variety of fuels including coal, oil, gas and biomass.
  • It even burned 110,000 tonnes of cow fat (tallow) from the carcasses of animals slaughtered during the BSE Crisis of 1996.
  • It produces 227 MW of electricity.
  • It also produces around 4,000,000 tonnes of steam per year for the plants on the complex.
  • Wilton 10 is a 2007 addition to the station, that burns 300,000 tonnes of a combination of sustainable wood, sawmill waste and otherwise unusable wood offcuts a year.
  • Wilton 11 is a 2016 addition to the station, that burns domestic waste, which arrives by train from Merseyside.

ICI was proud of its power station at Wilton and there were regular rumours about the strange, but legal fuels, that ended up in the boilers.

Integrated chemical plants like those on Teesside can be voracious consumers of electricity and steam.

I can envisage companies like INEOS boosting their electricity and steam capacity, by purchasing one of Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactors.

A Look At Teesside

If you look at the maps of the mouth of the Tees, you have the Hartlepool nuclear power station on the North side of the river.

  • It was commissioned in 1983.
  • It can generate 320 MW of electricity.
  • It is expected to close in 2024.

This Google Map shows the mouth of the Tees.


  • Hartlepool power station is in the North-West corner of the map.
  • The Hartlepool site is probably about forty acres.
  • Wilton power station is on the South side of the Tees in the Wilton International site.

I can see, when Hartlepool power station closes, that more power will be needed on Teesside to feed the various industries in the area.

Some will come from offshore wind, but could a fleet of perhaps four of Rolls-Royce’s small modular reactors be built on a decommissioned Hartlepool power station site to replace the output of the current station?

If built in a planned sequence to correspond to the expected need, there are savings to be made because each unit can be commissioned, when they are completed and used to generate cash flow.

I can even see INEOS building a large electrolyser in the area, that is powered either by wind or nuclear power, according to what power is available and the various costs.

An Integrated Small Modular Nuclear Reactor And Electrolyser

Some countries don’t have good resources to exploit for renewable power.

Will a small modular nuclear reactor, be pared with a large electrolyser to produce hydrogen for feedstock for chemical plants and fuel for transport?

How Much Hydrogen Would A Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Produce?


  • One of Rolls-Royce’s small modular nuclear reactors has a power output of 440 MW.
  • It takes 23 MWh of electricity to create ten tonnes of hydrogen.

This would create 4,600 tonnes of hydrogen in a day.

That is a lot of zero-carbon chemical feedstock to make fertiliser, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals and fuel for heavy transport.


I will be very surprised if INEOS were not talking to Rolls-Royce about using small modular nuclear reactors to generate the enormous quantities of electrical power and steam, needed to produce chemicals and fulfil their ambition to be a world leader in the supply of hydrogen.

November 13, 2020 Posted by | Business, Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blaenau Ffestiniog Station

Blaenau Ffestiniog station is the interchange between the Conwy Valley Line and the Ffestiniog Railway.

Note that as my train arrived from Llandudno, there was a Ffestiniog Railway train to take travellers to Porthmadog.

This is said in the Wikipedia entry for KeolisAmey Wales under Improvements.

Invest to co-fund new station buildings at Blaenau Ffestiniog


  • The Conwy Valley Line is scheduled to be run by new Class 230 trains from mid-2019.
  • According to Wikipedia, there have been steam workings up the Conwy Valley Line.
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog station has a run-around loop to put a locomotive on the other end of a train.
  • The Halton Curve will open in December 2018, allowing direct and faster trains between Liverpool and Llandudno.

It would appear Transport for Wales are pulling out all the stops to bring tourists and employment to Blaenau Ffestiniog.


July 22, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Travelling Along Peak Rail

Whilst at Matlock, I took a trip on Peak Rail to Rowsley South station.

The heritage line has a very professional feeling.

It makes me think that their aim to expand the railway to Bakewell, is feasible on an engineering basis, given enough money.

But it is the politics and other interests.

In Connecting The Powerhouses, I said this.

But there are possible problems.

  • The A6 has to be crossed.
  • One local landowner didn’t allow consultants access to the line for an inspection.
  • Severn Trent Water are digging a large pipe into the track-bed.

It sounds to me that everybody should find a good hostelry and thrash out a comprehensive co-operation agreement on the backs of engineering envelopes, fuelled by some excellent real ale.

The landowner lives between the current end of the line and Bakewell.

After my visit, I still feel optimistic, that the route can be restored.

It was talking to several local people, both on and off the Peak Rail train, who recalled times when they they would use the line for days out in Manchester, Derby and Nottingham. One guy had even used the line to go to Scotland with a change in Manchester.



June 1, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Tornado At Canonbury Station

Tornado passed along the North London line yesterday, on it’s way from Ipswich to Bath for a shopping excursion. I took these pictures on Canonbury station.

I know it’s only a modern replica, but it was an impressive sight.

It was cold and that probably explains, why so few enthusiasts were on the station to see the train pass. Although there was one kid about sixteen, who said he’d seen the engine before.

Who said train-spotting is dead?

I made a video of Tornado a couple of years ago.  It’s here.

December 2, 2012 Posted by | Transport | , | 3 Comments

Tornado Chasing

I’m going Tornado chasing this morning. Not of the weather variety, but the steam engine, will be passing through North London around ten o’clock this morning, all being well. It’s hauling a Christmas shopping trip from Ipswich to Bath and should pass West Hampstead station at 10:00, where it’s stopping to pick up passengers.

It returns at 21:00 tonight.

December 1, 2012 Posted by | News, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Are The Ghosts Of Long-Dead Steam Engines Powering Great Britain On?

As a ten-year-old or so, I used to bunk the engine sheds in East London to collect the numbers of the steam engines stabled there at the motive power depot.  It was a massive place, as the number of engines needed to power services into East Anglia and Essex was very large. Many were being scrapped, as electrification of the suburban lines out of Liverpool Street continued.

Much of the site was cleared for HS1, the link to the Channel Tunnel from St. Pancras, but much of the area ended up a derelict site, supporting large numbers of businesses.

But it was here in Stratford, that the Olympic site was created.

So are the ghosts of those long-dead steam engines powering Great Britain on?

August 5, 2012 Posted by | Sport, Transport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Steaming Ahead

It was fascinating to hear that the land speed record for steam powered-cars was set in 1906 at 127 miles an hour.  Incidentally, this is just a mile an hour faster than that of the Gresley A4 Pacific, Mallard set in 1936.  And Mallard was built for daily service!

They’re having a go at the record soon.

The car was developed by Donald Campbell‘s nephew.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment