Saturday, 17 March 2012

Caught between the Duracell™ and the Dinorwig

This week’s IMechE conference on Energy Storage for Electricity Networks was a dramatic tragedy of fine engineering thwarted by red tape. The anagnorisis: the tragic turn of fate, was when Prof David Mackay’s keynote address reckoned up the UK’s energy storage needs in terms of Dinorwigs. The Dinorwig is a loosely defined unit of energy capacity and delivery power, somewhere in the region of 1.8 GW and 11 GWh. That’s a lot.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Solar panels vs. solar flares

Last week’s solar flare was no more than an interesting novelty for most of us, but we were lucky. The next one, perhaps in the cyclical peak next year, could knock out our National Grid, as it did for Quebec’s power grid in 1989.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A fair tale of New York

The Home Office is preparing to go to tender for a replacement for the TETRA wireless network service that our emergency services use. While TETRA offers very high availability, mobile-to-mobile direct calling and a few other handy features, its data transmission capability is hopelessly small for today’s needs; let alone for the future’s.
The prospects are not terribly good.