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Author Topic: UK government's Transport decarbonisation plan  (Read 9187 times)
Reading General
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« Reply #90 on: October 20, 2021, 07:11:08 pm »

Agreed. Battery power should be kept to a minimum as the potential for other environmental problems and charging demand are yet to be foreseen. Consider every ICE vehicle in this country running on battery, from the locomotive to the chainsaw. It is difficult to see how it can be accommodated, how much consumption of raw materials, the charging overnight effects and how many extra vehicles might be required to make up the distance that services may require.
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« Reply #91 on: October 20, 2021, 07:37:55 pm »

Yes, battery power has IMHO (in my humble opinion) a bright future for secondary routes and branches that are lightly used, and also for short stretches of main lines that are problematic to electrify.

Extreme conditions such as at Dawlish, tight clearances  in existing infrastructure, and the like.

Also for through services from London or Bristol on to the Minehead branch, and no doubt in other places with similar circumstances.

I remain of the opinion that all new electric trains should have either a diesel engine or a battery for when the wires come down. A reasonable specification would be sufficient to run on board services for several hours, and then to proceed at much reduced speed to the next major station.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
TonyK
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« Reply #92 on: October 20, 2021, 08:30:24 pm »


I’m guessing that the government and industry are applying the same rules as other areas on climate change, the idea that technology will have exponential improvement if we wait long enough. For some odd reason perhaps we will think that tried and tested technology, that has been for most of the last century, will no longer work if technology gets better, or perhaps it will be an embarrassment from the eyes of the rest of the world. The more likely reason is that this particular government doesn’t want any responsibility for any infrastructure in the future and neither do the private companies.

Technology will always improve. Most of us here remember the introduction of the energy saving bulb - the curly neon 11W replacement for the tungsten filament 60W bulb, now itself a fading memory following the introduction of the 4W LED. Internal combustion engines have got far more efficient, with cars doing the sort of MPG that even Minis couldn't manage back in the day. Carburretor? Brilliant invention, now serving only a niche. High bypass jet engines are much more economical and reliable than their predecessors. Batteries? We have gone from lead acid (although still in use where it is the best fit) to lithium ion, and there are new types appearing regularly. So yes, the old still works, but changing to the new will save in the long term. The difficulty is in knowing when, and in persuading someone to part company with something they invested a lot of cash in. Some things become practically obsolete overnight - a modern smartphone does more than every gadget in my office did at the dawn of my "career", but not all.

All that said, I can think of no real practical alternative to 25 KV OHLE for getting big trains moving at big speed without emissions on the way, and electricity is still made by spinning things. Even nuclear largely boils water to spin things, unless it's in space.

Battery seems the wrong way of doing for trains.  My carpenter / property maintenance guy son in law buys the expensive tools that most DIY'ers avoid, because cheap ones are a false economy to him. The batteries are the usual cause of death, although he has noticed an improvement from about 6 months to about 8 months. The cost of a replacement battery is sometimes more than replacing the whole lot. I haven't seen much top persuade me that batteries are a long-term solution for trains, and the same may prove to be true of HGVs too, without a quantum leap in useful life. That leads me to the tried and tested old-fashioned OHLE for the foreseeable. The technology at either end might change dramatically, but you can't beat a copper wire for the bit in between.
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« Reply #93 on: October 20, 2021, 10:40:19 pm »


I’m guessing that the government and industry are applying the same rules as other areas on climate change, the idea that technology will have exponential improvement if we wait long enough. For some odd reason perhaps we will think that tried and tested technology, that has been for most of the last century, will no longer work if technology gets better, or perhaps it will be an embarrassment from the eyes of the rest of the world. The more likely reason is that this particular government doesn’t want any responsibility for any infrastructure in the future and neither do the private companies.

Technology will always improve. Most of us here remember the introduction of the energy saving bulb - the curly neon 11W replacement for the tungsten filament 60W bulb, now itself a fading memory following the introduction of the 4W LED. Internal combustion engines have got far more efficient, with cars doing the sort of MPG that even Minis couldn't manage back in the day. Carburretor? Brilliant invention, now serving only a niche. High bypass jet engines are much more economical and reliable than their predecessors. Batteries? We have gone from lead acid (although still in use where it is the best fit) to lithium ion, and there are new types appearing regularly. So yes, the old still works, but changing to the new will save in the long term. The difficulty is in knowing when, and in persuading someone to part company with something they invested a lot of cash in. Some things become practically obsolete overnight - a modern smartphone does more than every gadget in my office did at the dawn of my "career", but not all.

All that said, I can think of no real practical alternative to 25 KV OHLE for getting big trains moving at big speed without emissions on the way, and electricity is still made by spinning things. Even nuclear largely boils water to spin things, unless it's in space.

Battery seems the wrong way of doing for trains.  My carpenter / property maintenance guy son in law buys the expensive tools that most DIY'ers avoid, because cheap ones are a false economy to him. The batteries are the usual cause of death, although he has noticed an improvement from about 6 months to about 8 months. The cost of a replacement battery is sometimes more than replacing the whole lot. I haven't seen much top persuade me that batteries are a long-term solution for trains, and the same may prove to be true of HGVs too, without a quantum leap in useful life. That leads me to the tried and tested old-fashioned OHLE for the foreseeable. The technology at either end might change dramatically, but you can't beat a copper wire for the bit in between.

I agree with most of this, but is this not the first time in history we are simply waiting for technology to improve rather than just embracing the new technology as it occurs after much scrutiny? It appears that we shun what’s available now in favour of what’s around the corner and we’ve been doing that for several decades where road transport is concerned. This is easy to do as it requires no commitment and the private companies with interest in their particular market can introduce technologies as and when they feel. Variable valve timing, 16 instead of 8 valves, fuel injection over carbs, all moving on but essentially no better for the environment as it’s still burning stuff at the point of use for traction so, as I see it, the same as it was when it became the chosen form decades ago. Yes, technology moves on but you must admit the internal combustion engine has been the only choice for over 100 years in some transport.

The current situation with climate change should require us to move towards the obvious rather than delay for the latest. The underground lines in London all use technology that is old but still does the job and so will potential future electrified lines in 100 years if we press on with them now instead of trying to avoid doing anything for fear of future cost. The basic principles of transport are there we just need to choose the right power source to make it favourable for future generations.

Now, where battery technology is concerned, yes it has and will move on but can we predict the effects of sudden change? The demand for the raw materials? The effects of mining and recycling those materials? We don’t want to end up with another problem in years to come so why not reduce the battery requirement? If a transport route is fixed why not electrify it by other means and keep the battery use down until the facts are established? No permanent wiring this time around will ever be redundant if built, it will all still be better for the environment than the internal combustion engine regardless of how technology improves and the internal combustion engine we are currently reliant on for every aspect of our lives. Can we risk the battery being involved in every aspect of our lives the same way if it’s only slight improvements over time?
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« Reply #94 on: October 20, 2021, 11:06:33 pm »

I note that "the end of diesel by 2040" has become "ambition to remove all diesel-only trains" by that date, thus allowing hybrids to carry on running on diesel. In fact, allowing more than that because what was previously presented as a deadline has become an "ambition".

If you check the history of that claim, it hasn't changed - you just remembered it without the caveats, as we all usually do.

The transport decarbonisaiton plan studiously avoided any clear dated commitment before 2050, and filled in the space with promises unrelated to carbon. The specific promise on this topic was:
Quote
We will deliver a net zero railway network by 2050, with sustained carbon reductions in rail along the way. Our ambition is to remove all diesel-only trains (passenger and freight) from the network by 2040.

So it was already an ambition. And going back to Jo Johnson's official announcement in 2018, that was actually a speech, scripted as a succession of one-line one-sentence paragraphs (as they do these days). And it was an ambition - and an ambitious one - from the start:
Quote
And that’s why I am today announcing a new ambition.

I would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040.

If that seems like an ambitious goal - it should be and I make no apology for that.
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broadgage
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« Reply #95 on: November 13, 2021, 12:16:57 am »



I am going to suggest that most UK (United Kingdom) Jo(e) Publics wants to keep moving around in the way that (s)he has done for the last fifty years, largely with private vehicles, but perhaps with fossil fuels replaced by electricity that comes from the magic "sustainable" tree that provides an endless supply at no cost to the environment. 

There is no "sustainable tree". There used to be, but Drax burnt it as biomass, to generate subsidies electricity.

In theory there could be if a plot of land is reserved for cultivating biomass and is only used at a sustainable rate while ensuring that soil is managed in a sustainable way and the carbon used in harvesting comes from renewable sources.  However in reality I suspect TonyK is right.
I'm not sure there could be a 'sustainable tree', even in theory. With anything that uses energy there are always 'losses'; not all the chemical energy in each lump of coal that Drax burnt made it into electrical energy in the power plant's output. Similarly, does the growth of a new tree capture all the carbon released by burning the previous tree, remembering that plants respire (releasing CO2) and don't just photosynthesize all the time? I don't fully understand this article about the Amazon rainforest now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs, but this quote from it does seem to support the view that biofuels can't be fully sustainable “The first very bad news is that forest burning produces around three times more CO2 than the forest absorbs."

It looks as though someone agrees with our negative thoughts about imported wood chips being green or renewable.

Climate change activists have boarded and halted a train carrying wood chips to Drax power station.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-59267244
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
stuving
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« Reply #96 on: November 13, 2021, 12:33:06 am »

GWR (Great Western Railway) are looking to convert an 802 to battery by taking the diesel generators and fuel tanks out replaced by batteries.

Page 78 has a map https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002285/decarbonising-transport-a-better-greener-britain.pdf

Full overhead wiring looks like it will only get as far as Exeter, then on battery power to say Newton Abbot -Plymouth to get over the banks and charge the batteries for the trip into Cornwall. The other saving is no overhead in stations low bridges, or level crossings.

I don't think those to points are linked, are they? And both are old news! The battery in an 802 was announced by Hitachi last December , and while grossly oversold in reports is basically an experiment. And it's primarily Hitachi's project, with Eversholt's approval (as ROSCO» (Rolling Stock Owning Company - about) owning the train), Hyperdrive's collaboration (making the battery packs), and GWR's assistance in running the trains (it's not clear what staff and whose that will call for).

Hitachi have reannounced that GWR first-step single-battery train, and added another for TPE (Trans Pennine Express) (owned by Angel, rather than Eversholt). This article in International Railway Journal has more detail on the progress of the project:
Quote
HITACHI has confirmed plans to fit a battery to one of its five-car 200km/h bi-mode class 802/2s used by TransPennine Express (TPE), with trials beginning next year.

This will be similar to another trial already announced using a similar bi-mode class 802/0 that will also be fitted with a battery that will begin operating with Great Western Railway (GWR) next year. IRJ understands that the trials will run in parallel and data collected from both regarding performance and emissions will be compared.

The battery being fitted to both trains will be 6m by 2.2m, and will replace one of the train’s three 700kW MTU (Motor Traction Unit) 12V diesel engines. The retrofitting will be undertaken at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility where static testing will also take place. The battery packs will be supplied by Hyperdrive’s Hyve facility, based in Sunderland.

Hitachi says that installing the battery technology on its inter-city trains will cut fuel usage and reduce carbon emissions by at least 20%. The batteries will be charged by regenerative braking on non-electrified lines and by 25kv ac catenary when operating on electrified lines.

“We believe there is a pathway where we work up to a fully battery-electric intercity train,” Hitachi spokesman, Mr Douglas McIlroy, told IRJ. “Combined with discontinuous electrification, improvements in battery technology and Hitachi Energy’s fast charging infrastructure[DB1] , this trial is the first step in that journey.”

Initial mainline testing will be without passengers, but the aim is for both trains to operate in service using battery technology next year.

Trials with the GWR class 802/0 will include operating only on battery power, and to supplement the diesel engines. With the TPE trials, there is an ambition to improve performance when climbing gradients across the Pennines...
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TonyK
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« Reply #97 on: November 13, 2021, 08:20:34 pm »


It looks as though someone agrees with our negative thoughts about imported wood chips being green or renewable.

Climate change activists have boarded and halted a train carrying wood chips to Drax power station.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-59267244

I am normally quick to condemn stunts by ego warriors, but I won't be quite so harsh this time. This is a particularly nasty bit of greenwashing for profit, and deserves a much higher profile than it has amongst the general public. Drax burns some 8 million tonnes of wood annually. If it replaced every tree immediately, how many years would it be before the carbon released by burning is extracted from the air? I have seen reports that suggest a century to break even on the carbon front. I don't agree with trespass on the railway or getting in the way of the smooth running of trains, but Drax needs to stop. The current subsidy of over £800 million pa to burn forests is due for renewal in 2027, and Drax's propaganda machine is busy paving the way to a new deal. Hopefully, by that time the government will have decided against renewal. The previous Theresa May administration was getting cold feet about it, but proved largely ineffectual in everything else.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2021, 11:59:37 pm by TonyK » Logged

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« Reply #98 on: November 13, 2021, 08:36:01 pm »

More nuclear, now!
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« Reply #99 on: November 13, 2021, 11:59:58 pm »

More nuclear, now!

Gets my vote!
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« Reply #100 on: November 15, 2021, 04:15:03 pm »


I am in general "neutral" as regards new nuclear power stations. I can see the merits but have concerns about rapidly inflating costs and ever extending completion dates.
I do not trust any chinese involvement for both national security and quality control reasons.
I do not want to pay a potential enemy to place a nuclear bomb on our territory.
Neither do I trust chinese components to work safely and reliably in a critical application.

I have more faith in the proposed (relatively) small nukes from Rolls Royce, based on established technology used in nuclear powered submarines.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #101 on: November 15, 2021, 05:40:34 pm »

British components at Windscale. American components at Three Mile Island. Japanese and US components at Fukushima. Soviet components at Chernobyl. Chinese components at Taishin.

Who are we to say Chinese components are worse than any others? Who are we to say British nuclear power station operators are any less likely to succumb to human error?

Potential enemy? I'd rather see China as a valuable trade partner than the bogeyman.
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« Reply #102 on: November 15, 2021, 05:51:23 pm »

I'm not opposed to nuclear power. However my insider chum is rather of the view that the 'cheap SMR' concept is a bit of a smokescreen (if you'll forgive the pun!). By the time you've made them as safe as their bigger cousins, they're no cheaper.
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« Reply #103 on: November 16, 2021, 10:57:23 am »

British components at Windscale. American components at Three Mile Island. Japanese and US components at Fukushima. Soviet components at Chernobyl. Chinese components at Taishin.

Who are we to say Chinese components are worse than any others? Who are we to say British nuclear power station operators are any less likely to succumb to human error?

Potential enemy? I'd rather see China as a valuable trade partner than the bogeyman.

In my view, chinese electrical components ARE worse than those from other major countries. Fakes and forgeries of all types abound. Examples include 13 amp style plugs with no fuse, IEC leads without an earth, and grossly undersized flexible cords.
With that kind of thing prevailing I would not want chinese components in something as critical as a nuclear reactor.

Also a very poor record on human rights and on the environment.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #104 on: November 16, 2021, 11:08:55 am »

I very much doubt that reactor builders will be using knock-off components.

There is a problem at the bottom end of the market with cheap and dangerous consumer goods from China, I don't doubt that. There are, however, many excellent Chinese companies providing both consumer and industrial components that are on a par with those from other countries.

This reply is being typed on a Chinese smartphone. A device I've never had an issue with.
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