The Anonymous Widower

BP Plans To Turn Teesside Into First Green Hydrogen Hub

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

This is the first paragraph.

BP plans to build Britain’s biggest “green hydrogen” facility on Teesside to produce the clean fuel for use in new hydrogen-powered lorries and other transport.

Note.

The plans appear to be ambitious starting with a £100 million investment to build a 60 MW electrolyser by 2025, which would rise to as much as 500 MW by 2030.

The electrolyser will be paired with an upwards of a billion pound one gigawatt facility called H2Teesside, that will produce blue hydrogen.

I think there could be more to this than meets the eye.

Using The Carbon Dioxide Rather than Storing It!

I followed the carbon dioxide pipe from the CF fertiliser plant on Teesside using Google maps after seeing a film about it on the BBC. It goes to the Quorn factory and a massive greenhouse. I do wonder, if BP is talking to other companies, who also have a need for large quantities of good quality carbon dioxide.

One could be an Australian company, called Mineral Carbonation International, who have developed a process to convert carbon dioxide into building products like blocks and plasterboard. MCI won a prize at COP26, so could BP be looking at integrating one of these plants into their complex on Teesside?

The Electrolysers

Will BP be purchasing their electrolysers for green hydrogen from ITM Power in Sheffield?

This press release from ITM Power is entitled 12MW Electrolyser Sale.

The customer is not named, but could this be a starter kit for BP?

Alstom’s Hydrogen Aventras

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I came to this conclusion.

This modern hydrogen train from Alstom is what is needed.

I also felt there could be three similar trains; electric, battery-electric and hydrogen, which would help operators hedge their bets on what type of traction to use.

Teesside must be one of the more likelier places where the Hydrogen Aventras will be carrying passengers.

I wrote about this possibility in Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And Teesside.

A deal between BP and Alstom would surely be in the interest of both companies.

  • Alstom would get a local hydrogen supply.
  • BP would get a first sale.
  • BP would get excellent publicity and a local demonstration of the possibilities of hydrogen.

It might even be possible to supply the hydrogen by pipeline.

November 29, 2021 Posted by | Finance, Hydrogen, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Alstom Hydrogen Aventras And Teesside

In Alstom And Eversholt Rail Sign An Agreement For The UK’s First Ever Brand-New Hydrogen Train Fleet, I give my thoughts on Alstom’s new hydrogen train, which I have called the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra.

Would this train be suitable for the local railways around Teesside?

Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails is a post based on an interview with Tees Valley Mayor; Ben Houchen in Rail Magazine.

Teesside is getting ready for hydrogen.

  • They have identified a site for a specialist depot for hydrogen-powered trains.
  • There is plenty of hydrogen available from chemical works in the area.

All they need is some trains and I think the Alston Hydrogen Aventras would fill the need admirably.

I also believe that with its history of heavy industry, steel and chemicals, the residents of Teesside and the Tees Valley would take to hydrogen trains.

I wrote Fuelling The Change On Teesside Rails in January 2020 and since then the Department of Transport has funded a study to examine the extension of the Tees Valley Line past Bishop Auckland, which I wrote about in Reopening The Darlington – Weardale Line To Passenger Services.

On the subject of rolling stock for the Weardale Line, I said this in the Weardale Line post.

There is no point in extending the line in these days of global warming without providing zero-carbon trains.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority is keen on hydrogen and there are good reasons.

    • There is hydrogen available from chemical plants on Teesside.
    • Hydrogen will give the trains a long range.
    • The trains would probably only need refuelling once a day.
    • In addition, Alstom are looking for an order for their Class 600 train, which is a conversion of a Class 321 train.

But I have my doubts about Alstom’s trains and Hitachi have doubts about hydrogen.

Consider.

    • Do you really want to run hydrogen trains on a line where steam trains run?
    • Darlington station is fully-electrified and it is also to be remodelled for more capacity and High Speed Two.
    • Bishop Auckland and Darlington is just twelve miles.
    • Darlington and Saltburn is just thirty miles.

With charging systems at Bishop Auckland, Saltburn and Stanhope, I am fairly sure Hitachi could develop an electric train for Teesside’s railways.

When I wrote the Weardale Line post, I was veering towards the Hitachi battery-electric trains, but the launch of the Alstom Hydrogen Aventra may have changed that.

Conclusion

The new trains for Teesside could become a fight between Hitachi with their battery-electric trains and Alstom with their Hydrogen Aventras.

If there is a fight of the technologies, who wins on Teesside could be important in deciding the future of world-wide rail transport.

Is it slightly ironic, that this battle could be happening close to the birthplace of railways?

 

 

November 14, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reopening The Darlington – Weardale Line To Passenger Services

On October 27th this Beeching Reversal Project was given £50,000 to build a case for reopening.

The current Weardale Railway is a heritage line, that extends the current National Rail service between Darlington and Bishop Auckland stations further up Weardale.

  • It is a single track railway.
  • The current operational length is 18 miles between Bishop Auckland West and Stanhope stations.
  • The line could be extended a few miles to the site of the former Wearhead station.
  • Thre is a station at the village of Stanhope which i has a castle, a community hospital and a population of 1,600.
  • There is a station at the village of Frosterley which has a population of 700.
  • There is a station at the village of Witton-le-Wear which has a population of 700.
  • There seem to be lots of caravan parks along the river.
  • From my virtual helicopter, the track looks in reasonable condition.
  • There appear to be a couple of passing loops.
  • There don’t appear to be any tunnels.
  • The Weardale Railway has several bridges over the River Wear.
  • I suspect the scenery is not bad.

To my untrained eye, this section of railway would appear to have possibilities for reopening, without any serious engineering problems.

These are a few of my thoughts.

The Connection To National Rail

This Google Map shows Bishop Auckland station, where the Weardale Railway connects to the National Rail network.

Note.

  1. The station appears to be well-placed in the town.
  2. There is plenty of space for tracks connecting the two systems.

I suspect that building a combined through and terminal station that would satisfy the needs of all stakeholders would not be the most challenging of tasks.

Could The Extended Line Have A Japanese Fairy Godmother?

Consider.

  • Hitachi’s train factory at Newton Aycliffe is five miles to the South of Bishop Auckland.
  • Hitachi have stated that they are developing battery-electric trains for lines without electrification.
  • Developers of modern trains with complicated computer systems seem to go through many software versions.

I have to ask the question, if Hitachi would like to have a twenty-mile test track on their doorstep?

If they were testing trains that were agnostic about their power supply, the Weardale Railway would not need to be electrified, although there could be a couple of charging systems.

Would Access To The Quarries At Wearhead Be Needed?

The original Weardale Railway was built to access the quarries at Wearhead, but they switched to road transport some years ago.

This Google Map shows the Wearhead area.

Note.

  1. Wearhead is in the North-West corner of the map.
  2. There is a quarry and there used to be a fluorspar mine.
  3. The white scar at the East of the map was a cement works.

Is there something, that could possibly be mined in this area, that could be taken out by train.

I think it should be born in mind, that mining and quarrying used to be a very dirty and carbon-intensive industry, but big mining companies are now embracing zero-carbon technology.

Could A Holiday Company Like Center Parcs Develop A Site In The Wear Valley?

I noticed a lot of caravans and chalets, as I examined the line.

Could a big operator like Center Parcs develop one of their holiday centres?

It could even be developed with a station.

Is New Housing Needed?

Does the local authority want to develop housing along the line?

What Rolling Stock Will Be Used?

There is no point in extending the line in these days of global warming without providing zero-carbon trains.

The Tees Valley Combined Authority is keen on hydrogen and there are good reasons.

  • There is hydrogen available from chemical plants on Teesside.
  • Hydrogen will give the trains a long range.
  • The trains would probably only need refuelling once a day.
  • In addition, Alstom are looking for an order for their Class 600 train, which is a conversion of a Class 321 train.

But I have my doubts about Alstom’s trains and Hitachi have doubts about hydrogen.

Consider.

  • Do you really want to run hydrogen trains on a line where steam trains run?
  • Darlington station is fully-electrified and it is also to be remodelled for more capacity and High Speed Two.
  • Bishop Auckland and Darlington is just twelve miles.
  • Darlington and Saltburn is just thirty miles.

With charging systems at Bishop Auckland, Saltburn and Stanhope, I am fairly sure Hitachi could develop an electric train for Teesside’s railways.

Conclusion

Hitachi could be key to the design of the reopening of the Darlington and Weardale Line.

 

October 29, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Northern Rail Apologises Over Disruption On Durham Coast Line

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

These is the first two  paragraphs.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has invited Northern Rail executives and the Rail Minister to travel on the Durham Coast Line following “another weekend of rail chaos”.

As the football season kicked off and Seaham Food Festival attracted thousands of people, travellers were left angry and disappointed as they were unable to board overcrowded rail services at Horden and Seaham train stations.

The article then goes on to say that this has been an ongoing problem for several years.

I would have thought that to maximise revenue on any transport service, it is best to provide enough stagecoaches, charabancs, buses, trams or trains.

Could this business naivety be why the original Northern went bust?

What Should The Government Do?

As Northern is now run by the Government’s Operator Of Last Resort, it is up to the Government.

In Boris Johnson Backs Station Opening Which Could See Metro Link To County Durham, I report on an exchange between Boris Johnson and an MP in Prime Minister’s Questions.

These are my two main improvements.

Reopen Ferryhill Station And The Leamside and Stillington Lines To Create A New Route

Boris Johnson talked about reopening Ferryhill station, which could be key to opening up a second route between Teesside and Newcastle and Sunderland.

  • Ferryhill station would be on the East Coast Main Line and electrified to handle battery-electric trains.
  • Ferryhill terminal would be an ideal Southern terminal for a reopened Leamside Line, which most stakeholders seem in favour of, as it would take the pressure off the East Coast Main Line to the South of Newcastle and connect large areas to the rail network and in particular, the Tyne and Wear Metro.
  • Ferryhill station would be at the Northern end of the freight-only  Stillington Line, which runs South-Eastwards from the East Coast Main Line at Ferryhill to Stockton and Hartlepool or Middlesbrough.
  • A combination of the Leamside and Stillington Lines would open up a second route between the two conurbations.

It might also be possible to run a semi-fast York and Newcastle service via Northallerton, Yarm, Thornaby, Stockton, Ferryhill and the Leamside Line.

  • This service would only run on the East Coast Main Line, where there were four tracks to the South of Northallerton.
  • It could be run by a battery-electric train.
  • A battery-electric train could be charged at York, Ferryhill and Newcastle.

This article on the Northern Echo is entitled ‘Rapid’ Progress On Reopening Leamside Line, Connecting County Durham And Washington.

Things don’t seem to be standing still.

There would appear to be lots of scope for rail development between the Tyne and Wear in the North and the Tees in the South.

If the go-ahead is given by Government to develop the Leamside and Stillington Lines, the great thing is that construction of the new route will not affect anything on the important East Coast Main Line, as Network Rail would just be creating a railway by-pass around one of busiest sections of main line, that will be used by local and freight trains.

Two routes through the area, would certainly double the capacity, if both had an hourly train.

Battery-Electric Trains

I mentioned battery-electric trains as the rolling stock for a possible semi-fast service between York and Newcastle.

We are accumulating a large pile of surplus Class 350, 387 and 379 trains.

  • They are being replaced by modern units.
  • They were built within the last twenty years.
  • They are all high-quality four car trains.
  • They can all be modified for a 110 mph operating speed, so could venture on the East Coast Main Line if needed.

These trains have been mentioned several times as possibilities for conversion to battery-electric trains.

With a few strategically-placed charging systems, these would be ideal trains for services in the area.

Conclusion

It would be a great improvement for train services in the North-East.

My first step would be to convert the Hexham and Nunthorpe service via Newcastle, Sunderland, Seaham, Horden and Middlesbrough to battery-electric operation, by adding charging at Hexham and Nunthorpe stations.

Some are keen on hydrogen trains for this route, but these will have a longer gestation period.

I would also suspect that travellers in the North-East would prefer jam today, rather than possibly inferior jam sometime in the future.

Battery-electric trains based on the train classes I named would also be ideal for the Northumberland Line and the Salburn and Bishop Auckland service.

 

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Latest On Hydrogen Trains In The Tees Valley

In the June 2021 Edition of Modern Railways, there is an article which is entitled Northern Looks To The Future.

This is a paragraph.

Northern has been working on proposals to introduce both hydrogen and battery conversions. For the former, the Tees Valley has been selected for the potential deployment of a whole system production pilot for a hydrogen fleet, with a dedicated depot, fuelling infrastructure and trains. A sub-fleet of Class 600 HMUs, converted by Alstom and Eversholt Rail from Class 321 EMUs and dubbed ‘Breeze’, is the preferred option for routes radiating from Middlesbrough to Nunthorpe, Bishop Auckland and Saltburn, creating a small self-contained network. If approved, these plans would fit with the Government’s aim to develop a hydrogen hub in the Tees Valley.

Could the Class 600 trains finally be on their way?

May 22, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , | 2 Comments

GSK To Manufacture 60m Doses Of Novavax Covid Vaccine In UK

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

As the Novavax Covid-19 vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, that is enough for thirty million people.

Wikipedia gives brief details of the the manufacturing of the vaccine for Canada and the UK in this section entitled Deployment.

On 2 February 2021, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has signed a tentative agreement for Novavax to produce millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Montreal, Canada, once it is approved for use by Health Canada, making it the first COVID-19 vaccine to be produced domestically.

On 29th March 2021, the UK government announced an order for 60 million doses of the Novax vaccine, which will be manufactured in the UK. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and GlaxoSmithKline will manufacture and fill the orders respectively.

This Google Map shows Barnard Castle in relation to Teesside.

Note.

  • The red arrow in the South-West corner of the map indicates the GSK factory at Barnard Castle.
  • Teesside is the estuary at the Eastern edge of the map.
  • FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies are located in Billingham, which is on the North bank of the Tees.

The two sites are under an hour apart.

This page on the UK Government web site gives details of the vaccines ordered.

  • Adenovirus – Oxford/AstraZeneca –  100 million – Approved and in deployment
    Adenovirus – Janssen – 30 million – Phase 3 trials
    mRNA – Pfizer/BioNTech – 40 million – Approved and in deployment
    mRNA – Moderna – 17 million – Approved
    Protein Adjuvant – GlaxoSmithKline/Sanofi Pasteur – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials
    Protein Adjuvant – Novavax 60 million – Phase 3 trials
    Inactivated whole virus – Valneva – 60 million – Phase 1/2 trials

Note.

  1. Type, manufacturer, number and status are shown for each vaccine.
  2. This is a total of 567 million doses.

It looks to me, that backing four different technologies and seven different partnerships or companies was a successful strategy, as if the Novavax vaccine get approval, as serious commentators like Fergus Walsh of the BBC, think it will, picking four winners in a seven horse race.

GlaxoSmithKline appear to be a big loser in that they backed the French Sanofi Pasteur vaccine, which is still in Phase 1/2 trials. Wikipedia has a section entitled Deployment.

In July 2020, the UK government signed up for 60 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by GSK and Sanofi. It uses a recombinant protein-based technology from Sanofi and GSK’s pandemic technology. The companies claimed to be able to produce one billion doses, subject to successful trials and regulatory approval, during the first half of 2021. The company also agreed to a $2.1 billion deal with the United States to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Someone appears to have lost billions.

I wonder though, if GSK had developed a plan to fill and finish the sixty million doses for the UK.

So have the fixers in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) matched  FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies vaccine manufacturing to GSK’s fill and finish plan to give Novavax a 60 million dose capacity in the UK?

  • Both vaccines are of the same type, so can one fill and finish line handle both?
  • The Novavax vaccine was trialled in the UK.
  • Supplying Europe from Teesside would not be difficult.

Wikipedia seems to indicate, that Novavax like to spread production around. Spain, India and Poland are mentioned.

Conclusion

Every one of sixty million jabs helps.

President Macron was unavailable for comment.

March 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 1 Comment

BP Investigates Potential Of Largest Blue Hydrogen Plant In The United Kingdom

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

Some points from the article.

  • A feasibility study is being conducted and a decision will be made 2024.
  • It would be the largest such fascility in the UK.
  • It will be located in the North East of England and called H2Teesside.
  • It could create enough hydrogen to heat a million homes.
  • It would use carbon capture technology.
  • It would have a 1 GW production capacity by 2030.

This project should be gauged alongside the Government’s goal of 5 GW of hydrogen capacity by 2030.

This is the last paragraph.

The goal of the introduction of the H2 is to make it easier for residential and industrial customers to use their existing gas connections to decarbonise.

As an example of the things that will happen, last night, I read of a proposal to power hydrogen buses, using hydrogen delivered through the current gas mains.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a hydrogen filling system, that could be built into your drive or garage, so you can refuel your hydrogen car.

March 24, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , | Leave a comment

Eight New Freeports Set To Open In The UK

Today, in his 2021 Budget, Rishi Sunak announced eight new freeports.

This article on the BBC, which is entitled Freeports: What Are They And Where Will They Be?, gives a brief guide to the freeports.

This links link to the nearest I can find to an official web site for each of the freeports.

The Government has said that the freeports will start their operations late this year.

March 3, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dereliction On Teesside – 28th October 2020

The Tees Valley Line between Middlesbrough and Redcar is lined with derelict steel works.

I don’t think there’s an area of such industrial dereliction, in the UK.

October 31, 2020 Posted by | Business, World | , , | Leave a comment

Middlesbrough Station – 20th October 2020

I took These pictures at Middlesbrough station on my trip to Teesside.

These are my thoughts on the station.

Station Track Layout

This Google Map shows the layout of the station.

Note.

  1. The pair of freight lines passing around the North side of the station.
  2. Platform 1 is the Westbound platform on the South side of the tracks.
  3. Platform 2 is the Eastbound platform on the North side of the tracks.

Both platforms would appear to be about 150 metres long, which is long enough for a five-car Class 80x train, but not for a 234 metre long nine-car train.

Period Features

The station has a lot of period features, like cast-iron columns and brackets, and good Victorian stonework.

Much seems to have received good TLC.

Northern Entrance

I have seen comments about improving the Northern entrance on various web sites.

It certainly, isn’t in bad condition.

Improving The Station

In £35m Station Transformation Launched By Tees Valley Mayor, I wrote about the current plans to transform the station. I started with these paragraphs.

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced (June 9th) a £35m transformation of Middlesbrough Station to transport more train services to the town, including the first direct rail link to London in decades.

The Rail Technology Magazine article indicates that Platform 2 at Middlesbrough station will be extended to handle Azuma trains. As the current platform looks to be around 150 metres long and this would be long enough for a five-car train, does this mean that in the future nine-car and ten-car Azumas will be able to run services to Middlesbrough?

Having seen since I wrote the related post, that Hull station has handled some nine-car Azumas, I feel that although five-car Azumas could probably use Middlesbrough station, it would seem prudent to make it possible for the longer trains to call.

Let’s suppose Middlesbrough, were playing a big London club in an important post-pandemic FA Cup match. LNER might want to run a nine-car Azuma to Middlesbrough to accommodate extra passengers.

Charging Battery Trains

LNER and TransPennine Express could be running battery electric Class 800 and Class 802 trains to Middlesbrough and/or Redcar Central stations.

This Hitachi infographic describes their Regional Battery Train, which can be created by adding batteries to the current trains.

With a range of 90 km. or 56 miles, these trains could be able to reach Middlesbrough from the electrification on the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton.

With most journeys, they should have sufficient energy in the battery to return without trouble.

But it would probably be prudent to have charging at Middlesbrough and/or Redcar Central to ensure a safe return.

These pictures were taken from the Eastern end of Platform 2, which is down to be lengthened.

Note.

  1. The freight lines behind Platform 2.
  2. There is plenty of space beyond the end of Platform 2.
  3. There appears to be space for a reversing siding with a charger.

I am sure that a suitable form of charging can be provided on Platform 2 at Middlesbrough station.

Conclusion

Middlesbrough station could be turned into a big asset for the town.

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment