The Anonymous Widower

Ukraine Tender Would Pair Hydroelectric Plants With Large-Scale Battery Storage

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is a must-read article, as it outlines the damage that Russia is doing to Ukraine’s energy generation.

It also reports how the World Bank is trying to help.

November 30, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Note.

  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

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

‘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.

I

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

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.

Conclusion

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

Green Hydrogen Magnate Forrest Sanctioned By Russia After Calling Putin A ‘Murderer’

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

Andrew Forest’s reply or the part that can be printed included.

You’re not worth talking to unless you’ve been sanctioned

I think that to many experts, Forrest’s plans for green hydrogen are one of the biggest threats to Russia’s oil industry.

June 17, 2022 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine’s New Stealth Weapon

This article on Electrek is entitled Ukraine Is Now Using These 200-Mile-Range Electric Bikes With NLAW Rockets To Take Out Russian Tanks.

This is the first paragraph.

Ukrainian electric motorbike company Delfast has seen its electric bikes used for some vastly diverse tasks, such as breaking Guinness World Records and outfitting Mexican police. But their latest use is perhaps the bikes’ most important mission yet: helping Ukrainian soldiers strike a David vs. Goliath blow against Russia’s barbaric invasion of their country.

How do you protect your tank against a silent by deadly soldier coming to get you with a Belfast-made NLAW on a Ukrainian Delfast at 50 mph?

I suspect a fit well-trained soldier can outride a Russian T72 tank, hide in the forest and setup his NLAW. Now that’s humiliation!

It also appears from these two paragraphs, that Ukrainian snipers are also enjoying the advantages of electric bikes.

Another local Ukrainian company, ELEEK, has also supplied its country’s armed forces with silent, powerful electric motorbikes for use on the battlefield.

In that case, the electric motorbikes were requested for use by sniper teams.

The Ukranians seem to be a very inventive nation.

 

 

 

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Fortescue Future Industries’ Green Hydrogen Help Europe Ditch Russian Energy?

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Motley Fool Australia.

This is the first paragraph.

Green hydrogen may help interrupt the Kremlin’s ability to conduct “war games”, says Fortescue chief Andrew Forrest.

I very much think that Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is right.

My last three hydrogen articles were.

If the projects in these articles don’t blow the bottom out of the market for Russia’s bloodstained gas, with a little bit of help from Twiggy’s hydrogen kanganaut, then I’ll be very surprised. Especially, as countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Jordan, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Morocco, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United States are all planning to produce green hydrogen in large quantities.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment