The Anonymous Widower

University Of Manchester And National Grid Team Up To Develop SF6-Free Retrofill Solution For Electricity Network

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

National Grid and the University of Manchester are to collaborate on a four-year project to develop a full-scale demonstrator at the Deeside Centre for Innovation, designed to test at scale how the UK can retrofill sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) across its network of high-voltage equipment.


  1. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is a gas commonly used in the power industry to provide electrical insulation and arc interruption.
  2. Eighty percent of sulphur hexafluoride is used in the electricity industry.
  3. According to Wikipedia, sulphur hexafluoride has several important applications, including a medical one in eye surgery.
  4. But sulphur hexafluoride is a is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential that is 25,200 times greater than CO2.

It certainly looks to be a good idea to see if the sulphur hexafluoride can be eliminated from electrical equipment and other uses, that may release the gas into the atmosphere.

These paragraphs from the press release outline the project.

The £1.9m project will see experts at Manchester help determine how National Grid can develop a retrofill solution to replace SF6 with an environmentally friendlier alternative without having to replace or otherwise modify the existing equipment.

This solution – to be demonstrated at National Grid’s test facility the Deeside Centre for Innovation – will mean National Grid can avoid the environmental impact and cost of replacing equipment otherwise fit for many more years’ service.

It is not the first time National Grid and the University of Manchester have teamed up on a project exploring SF6 alternatives – a previous initiative which concluded in 2020 is now up for an IET Engineering & Technology magazine innovation award for ‘Best Innovation in Net Zero and Sustainability’.

The press release also says this about the Deeside Centre for Innovation.

National Grid’s Deeside Centre for Innovation in North Wales is the first of its kind in Europe, where electricity network assets can be tested under real life conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It certainly seems that National Grid and Manchester University are on top of the problem and have the resources to achieve success in the project.

The Russian Attack On Ukraine

You may wonder what this has got to do with improving transformers and switchgear in Manchester and Wales.

Recently, the Russians have been targeting the Ukrainian electricity network. Are Ukrainian transformers and switchgear insulated with sulphur hexafluoride and if they are how of this potent global warming gas has been released into the atmosphere?

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Health | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Expedition To Muswell Hill To Get Some Lovely Liver

After my plea in Need To Regularly Eat A Large Plate Of Calves’ Liver, I got a recommendation to try The Cilicia at Muswell Hill.

It was delicious and just what my body wanted. The liver had been cooked in sage butter with tomatoes, mushrooms and potatoes.

I shall return!

The only problem is that Dalston and Muswell Hill is not the easiest journey to make by public transport.

My route was as follows.

  • I took by taking a 141 bus from close to my house to Manor House station.
  • I then got a Piccadilly Line train to Turnpike Lane station.
  • From there it was a 144 bus to Muswell Hill Broadway.

It took about 45 minutes.

But it might be quicker to take a 102 bus from Bounds Green station.

Or go to the Angel Islington and get a 43 bus from there to Muswell Hill Broadway.

But my route could all have been so different.

This map shows the Muswell Hill branch which was closed by British Rail and has since been mainly built over.

The Muswell Hill branch would have been part of the comprehensive Northern Heights Plan.

  • The Northern Line would have been extended from Edgware to Bushey Heath.
  • The Mill Hill East branch would have been extended to Edgware.
  • If you look at the maps in Wikipedia, the Northern Line would be very different through London.
  • The Muswell Hill branch would have given better access to the magnificent Alexandra Palace.

But Austerity after World War II meant the extension never happened.

I can see a case could be made for some parts of the Northern Heights plan, but it is too late now, as viaducts have been demolished and routes have been built over.

My feeling is that if there was a need for the Northern Heights plan in the 1930s, then as London has expanded, that need will need to be fulfilled in the future.

So when Austerity hits as it did after World War II and as it is happening now due to Covid-19 and Vlad’s war in Ukraine, we should make sure we don’t compromise our plans for the future.

I believe that with a small amount of safeguarding in the 1960s, the Northern Line would now have a useful branch to Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Should I Get Depressed About A World Ruled By Putin, Trump And Xi?

When I read the reports of the mid-term elections in the United States, Putin’s War in Ukraine and Chairman Xi’s coronation as Emperor for Life, I despair.

As I suspect do many others!


November 7, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘A Gift For Putin’: Czech E-shop Sells Tanks And Grenades To Support Ukrainian Army

The title of this post, is the same as that of this story on expats_cz.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Czech Republic has been among the most active countries in supporting the Ukrainian military with donations and sales of weapons and ammunition, including shipments of Soviet-era tanks, multiple rocket launchers, howitzers, infantry fighting vehicles, and anti-aircraft weapons.

I hope the gift, will calm Vlad the Mad.

October 3, 2022 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putin Burns $10m Of Gas A Day In Energy War With The West

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

This is the first paragraph.

Russia is burning off an estimated $10 million of natural gas a day from a single plant, leading to accusations that President Putin is deploying his country’s vast energy reserves as a weapon against Europe.

It just showed the sort of idiot we’re dealing with!

  • He doesn’t care about the planet.
  • He’s effectively burning his country’s cash reserves.
  • He’s spurring Western engineers on, to on the one hand find ways to beat him and on the other to find ways to make our gas go further, so we don’t need to buy his bloodstained gas.
  • If he thinks, that he might provoke a war with Finland, I suspect the Finns are too bright for that.

They’ll be waiting and if the Russian Army should invade, they’ll get the kicking of a lifetime, just like Stalin’s thugs did in the Winter War of 1939-1940.


August 27, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Should The World Call A Halt To Large Nuclear Power Stations?

When I left Liverpool University in the 1960s with an engineering degree, my fellow graduates and myself felt that nuclear power would be a sensible way to provide the electricity we need. Aberfan and other disasters had ruined coal’s reputation and not one of my colleagues joined the National Coal Board.

Over the intervening years, nuclear power has suffered a greater proportion of adverse events compared to other forms of electricity generation.

Large nuclear has also suffered some of the largest time and cost overruns of any energy projects.

My optimism for nuclear power has declined, although I do hope and feel, that small modular factory-built reactors, like those proposed by Rolls-Royce and others, might prove to be as reliable and economic as gas-fired, hydro-electric and tidal power stations, or solar and wind farms.

The smaller size of an SMR could be advantageous in itself.

  • Smaller factory-built power stations are more likely to be built on time and budget.
  • The amount pf nuclear material involved is only about twenty percent of that of a large nuclear station.
  • A smaller site would be easier to protect from terrorists and Putinistas.
  • Would the risk of a serious accident be reduced?
  • SMRs would be less of a blot on the landscape.
  • SMRs would not need such a high-capacity grid connection.
  • An SMR integrated with a high temperature electrolyser could be the easiest way to generate hydrogen for a large customer like a steelworks.

Overall, I believe an SMR would be involve less risk and disruption.


Zaporizhzhya is probably the last straw for large nuclear, although the incident isorchestrated by an evil dictator, who is much worse, than any of James Bond’s cruel adversities.

I doubt Putin would get the same leverage, if Zaporizhzhya were a gas-fired or hydroelectric power station.


I feel, the world must seriously question building any more large nuclear power stations.

August 26, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sizewell C Nuclear Plant Campaigners Challenge Approval

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

These three paragraphs introduce the article.

Campaigners against the Sizewell C nuclear power station have written to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to legally challenge his decision to give the scheme the go-ahead.

The £20bn project for the Suffolk coast was given government approval in July.

However, the decision was against the advice of the Planning Inspectorate and those against the scheme said the consent was therefore “unlawful”.

I summed up my attitude to nuclear power in Sizewell C: Nuclear Power Station Plans For Suffolk Submitted, where I said this.

As a well-read and experienced engineer, I am not against the technologies of nuclear power.

But I do think, by the time it is completed , other technologies like wind and energy storage will be much better value. They will also be more flexible and easier to expand, should we get our energy forecasts wrong.

I wrote that in May 2020, which was before Vlad the Mad started his war in Ukraine. So our energy forecasts are totally wrong! Thanks for nothing, Vlad!

In Plan To Build £150m Green Hydrogen Plant At Felixstowe Port, I talked about ScottishPower’s plan to build a large electrolyser at Felixstowe.

The Port of Felixstowe has in the past talked of using electricity from Sizewell C to create hydrogen.

So is the port backing another horse or just playing safe?

August 12, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The EuroAsia Interconnector

The Wikipedia entry for the EuroAsia Interconnector, introduces the project like this.

The EuroAsia Interconnector is a proposed HVDC interconnector between the Greek, Cypriot, and Israeli power grids via the world’s longest submarine power cable (310 kilometres (190 mi) from Israel to Cyprus and 898 kilometres (558 mi) from Cyprus to Greece, for a total of 1,208 kilometres (751 mi)). Connecting Kofinou, Cyprus to Hadera, Israel and Korakias, Crete, Greece and stated to finish construction in 2023.

When completed it will have a capacity of 2 GW.

From Wikipedia, it appears that at least initially, Israel will export electricity produced in gas-fired power stations from their own more than adequate supplies of natural gas.

In Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries Inks Deal With Kingdom of Jordan For Green Hydrogen Study, I published this Google Map of Jordan.

Surely, in the future, the EuroAsia interconnector could be carrying solar generated green electricity from Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to Cyprus and Greece.

As, according to Reuters, Greece covers about 40% of its annual energy needs with Russian gas, this can’t be good for Vlad the Mad and his bloodstained gas.



July 25, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will We Run Out Of Power This Winter?

Someone asked me if we will run out of power, if Vlad the Mad cuts all the gas to Western Europe.

This was my reply.

It appears that this year, 3.2 GW of new offshore wind farms could start producing electricity, followed by similar amounts in both 2023 and 2024.

One of those to come on stream about now is the 1.4 GW Hornsea 2 wind farm!

The follow-up 2.9 GW Hornsea 3, signed a contract last week for delivery in 2026/27.

Moray East in Scotland and Triton Knoll off Lincolnshire, are also scheduled to come on stream this year and they’re around 900 MW each.

As someone, who used to write project management software, I hope the companies building these fields have enough resources, in terms of people, boats, cranes and money. But as the companies are all the Shells of the wind industry, I would hope they have got their sums right.

What About The Contracts for Difference Awarded In Allocation Round 4?

We are currently fighting two wars at the moment.

  • The main war in Ukraine, where we are giving that unfortunate country all the help we can.
  • The secondary war in the UK against energy prices.

Would it help our cause in both wars, if we produced more energy?

  • More renewable energy would reduce our dependence on imported gas.
  • The gas saved could go to Europe.
  • Europe would not be buying Vlad the Mad’s bloodstained gas.
  • Replacing gas with solar and wind power might reduce energy prices.

If I put myself in the position of a struggling farmer with a contract for difference to build a solar farm on a poor field, I would want that farm to be earning money as soon as possible.

  • Now that I have the contract can I start assembling that solar farm?
  • Similar arguments can probably be used for onshore wind, which must be easier to assemble, than offshore wind.
  • I don’t think that the hard-pressed energy suppliers would bother, if they received some quality cheap electricity earlier than they expected.
  • Obviously, all the cables and the substations would need to be in place.

So I think that it is reasonable to assume, that energy might ramp up quicker than expected.

It could even be more front-loaded, if all the installers got a shift on.

Every little helps!

New Renewable Energy In 2023?

These wind farms are scheduled for commissioning in 2023.

  • Neart Na Gaoithe – 450 MW
  • Sofia Offshore Wind Farm – 1400 MW
  • Seagreen Phase 1 – 1075 MW

We could see 2925 MW of offshore wind power commissioned in 2023.

New Renewable Energy In 2024?

These renewable energy sources are scheduled for commissioning in 2024.

  • Dogger Bank A – 1200 MW
  • Round 4 Solar – 125.7 MW
  • Dogger Bank B – 1200 MW
  • Dogger Bank C – 1200 MW

Note, where a windfarm is given a commissioning date of 2023/24  in Wikipedia , I will put it in 2024.

We could see  3726 MW of renewable energy commissioned in 2024.

New Renewable Energy In 2025?

These renewable energy sources are scheduled for commissioning in 2025.

  • Moray West – 1200 MW
  • Round 4 Solar – 1958 MW
  • Round 4 Onshore Wind – 888 MW
  • Round 4 Energy from Waste – 30 MW
  • Vanguard Boreas Phase 1 – 1400 GW

We could see  6476 MW of renewable energy commissioned in 2025.

New Renewable Energy In 2026?

These renewable energy sources are scheduled for commissioning in 2026.

  • East Anglia 1 North – 800 MW
  • East Anglia 2 – 900 MW
  • Round 4 Tidal Stream – 5.62 MW

We could see  1705 MW of renewable energy commissioned in 2026.

New Renewable Energy In 2027?

These renewable energy sources are scheduled for commissioning in 2027.

  • Round 4 Tidal Stream – 35.2 MW
  • Round 4 Floating Offshore Wind – 32 MW
  • Round 4 Offshore Wind – 5594 MW
  • Hornsea 3 Offshore Wind – 2852 MW
  • Hinckley Point C Nuclear – 3,260 MW

We could see  13173 MW of renewable energy commissioned in 2027.

Too Much Electricity!

Summarising the figures for new capacity gives.

  • 2022 – 3200 MW
  • 2023 – 2925 MW
  • 3024 – 3726 MW
  • 2025 – 6476 MW
  • 2026 – 1705 MW
  • 2027 – 11773 MW

This totals to 28554 MW.

One problem we may have is too much electricity and as we are not blessed with much storage in the UK, where will be able to put it?

In a strange way, Vlad the Mad may solve the problem, by cutting off Europe’s gas.

We have a few interconnectors, where we can export the electricity to allow the Belgians, Dutch, French and the Germans to have a shower.

It looks like construction may be starting soon for another interconnector. NeuConnect will have a capacity of 1.4 GW between the Isle of Grain and Wilhelmshaven.


If I was the German Chancellor, I’d do everything in my power to accelerate the construction of NeuConnect!

July 10, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Equinor And Partners Consider 1 GW Offshore Wind Farm Off The Coast Of Western Norway

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

This is the first paragraph.

Equinor and its partners Petoro, TotalEnergies, Shell and ConocoPhillips in the Troll and Oseberg fields, have initiated a study and are looking into possible options for building a floating offshore wind farm in the Troll area some 65 kilometres west of Bergen, Norway.

This second paragraph describes the production and use of the electricity.

With an installed capacity of about ~1 GW and an annual production of ~4.3 TWh, with a startup in 2027, Trollvind could provide much of the electricity needed to run the offshore fields Troll and Oseberg through an onshore connection point. The Bergen area already serves several of these installations with power – and needs more input to its electricity grid. The plan is that the partnership will buy as much energy as the wind farm can produce at a price that can make the project possible.

The press release includes a map of the wind farm, the oil and gas fields and Bergen.

This is not the first time, I’ve heard of plans to use wind-generated electricity to power offshore oil and gas fields.

It could be argued that if the gas is sold to the UK or Germany, then that country is responsible for the carbon emissions.

I doubt that Vlad the Mad’s bloodstained gas is produced using a carbon-free process.

June 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment