måndag 25 juni 2018

Swansea Bay barrage dropped

This project sounds like one of those environmentally friendly schemes which is almost certainly just the opposite. Just a few of the doubts concern...
  • The embodied energy of the concrete structure.
  • The effect on wildlife, including fish and wading birds.
  • The long-term consequences of the scheme, eg silting and pollution.
  • Maintenance issues eg marine growth on the turbines, and silting again.
The uncompetitive cost of the electricity it would generate gives some indication of the embodied energy the scheme would absorb before any power was generated. I am inclined to think it is a good thing that the scheme has been abandoned.

onsdag 20 juni 2018

Västlänken - the chaos begins

Next week come the first major disruptions due to Västlänken. Major alterations to Gothenburg’s tram services are always a feature of the summer as the holiday season is set aside for renewal of track. That is a story in itself, because the fleet of Italian trams that came into service in 2010 are inflexible and cause additional wear on curves. However, on top of this, there are closures in preparation for Västlänken, and to crown it all, the road tunnel along the Göta Älv will be closed for six months in one direction for the same reason. That will cause horrendous and widespread delays and congestion.

It is already proving to be a project too far, and that is just a month into the construction period.

In addition, trenches are appearing all over the place, blocking the entrances to shops and restaurants, which cannot be doing their business any good at all. I wonder how many bankruptcies there will be before the wretched scheme is complete?

onsdag 6 juni 2018

Microsoft’s underwater data centre

Microsoft’s underwater data centre idea plumbs the depths in several ways. The idea is to use cold surrounding seawater to dissipate the heat generated. This is of course low-grade heat, but it is perfectly suitable for the heating of buildings, hot water systems, etc, which adds up to a huge amount of energy use worldwide, especially in the colder parts of the world.

A data centre in Helsinki uses the waste heat in this way, heating a group of adjacent buildings. I would be happy to have a data centre in our basement if it meant no more heating bills. There is a fibre optic cable in the street outside, so there is no need for an underwater cable.

What are Microsoft engineers thinking of?

Should employment be subsidised?

With increasing automation, it has been suggested that it will be necessary to subsidise jobs. Is there anything in this idea? There are u...