The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:35 pm

I know people who drive normal cars, but hire cars for long journeys or when they have lots of driving to do (e.g. ecological consultants during their field season). Saves wear and tear on their main vehicle, can be put through as a business expense etc etc.

In Portugal you can hire a car for <15€/day, so it's really not that bad. Even I'd consider it for a long drive, as my fiesta is ancient and not hugely fuel efficient either.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:46 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:29 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 3:17 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:55 pm


It's not exclusively 'hire a car for a long journey', but it's something I've heard from several people. And putting the miles on might not be the only factor, for example, if you normally drive a truck or an SUV, it might be more economical to hire something with better mileage for the long journey.

Hiring cars does seem to be a lot cheaper here than in the UK too (don't know about Europe). Especially if you can use your own insurance and leave it in the same state you picked it up from.
Oh yeah, if someone is a despicable c.nt who drives a cuntmobile, then i can get why they would hire a normal person's car for long journeys. You could save money on the petrol that way and the people in the place you're going to wouldn't know you're a c.nt until you start talking.
Maybe it's just that I don't know anyone who would drive such a sh.tty car that tells the world 'i am a c.nt. i can't drive & i know it, so i'm driving a car that will kill the planet faster than others so that when i inevitably crash, at least i'll kill the other person rather than myself'.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Pishwish » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:40 pm

I used to wonder why people didn't do the opposite during holiday times--rent an SUVs or pickup if you want to tow a boat or go skiing. I think the reason why we don't is that SUVs would not be available during holiday periods (and you, the driver of a normal car, would probably damage it through inexperience). I also think it may be more common for Americans who live in the suburbs to own a couple of cars for different functions, whether that's because fixed annual costs are lower or because they are happy to pay these costs. As for range, it's a pity electric cars can't charge from a third rail (Scalextric-like) when driving on motorways with cruise-control. I believe this sort of assist is being considered for large trucks with pantographs in Germany, but obviously this would not work for cars.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:16 am

Of course, more electric public transport is also a good idea.

Personal vehicles are very inefficient. They just happen to solve the other inefficiency of where people live.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Wed Jan 12, 2022 12:39 am

monkey wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:55 pm
Hiring cars does seem to be a lot cheaper here than in the UK too (don't know about Europe). Especially if you can use your own insurance and leave it in the same state you picked it up from.
It's very common that UK driving policies only cover the driver in their own vehicle. Some extend this in a way intended to cover emergencies, which might not apply to hire cars. If you want "driver other vehicle" you need to ensure you buy the right policy every year. And I think car hire places won't normally accept drivers' own insurance in the UK. Though a quick search shows Hertz advertising hire from £84.00 per week (works out at £12.00 per day).
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:38 am

Pishwish wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:40 pm
As for range, it's a pity electric cars can't charge from a third rail (Scalextric-like) when driving on motorways with cruise-control. I believe this sort of assist is being considered for large trucks with pantographs in Germany, but obviously this would not work for cars.
I think there are serious safety issues in relation to having deadly live electrics on the roadway itself. You might say, in a depressed channel, but I think there are considerable difficulties in achieving something like that which works. Especially when you remember how much roadways suffer damage. And as we know from trains, a third rail has to be much lower voltage, and this makes it a lot more expensive in terms both of much more frequent substations or the voltage falls too much as you get further away from the substation.

There are serious thoughts of providing overhead electric wires on motorways. We have trolley buses and OHE trams in towns, so OHE can be an acceptable safety issue on roads. A short demonstration section have been buil in Sweden over 5 years ago now. We are apparently now to build a demonstration section near Scunthorpe. Lucky Scunthorpe.

Doesn't address cars I know. But I think trucks are expected to require a greater amount of electricity in total than cars, if they were all electrified. And a large fraction of big truck traffic is on motorways. Trucks in total use, I think, a bit less liquid fuel than cars, but this reverses when you go electric, as you can't get such large fuel savings in designing electric trucks. That's because the point of trucks is to carry big heavy loads, so there is much less weight saving, etc, available, before you put the battery in.

One issue I worry about is that since we build OHE for railways in this country at 3 times the cost as on the continent, I rather expect we'd pull off the same trick on motorways. You only have to look at variable information signs and gantries in this country in comparison to the ones on the continent to realise that we have already pulled off a similar trick in relation to infrastructure like that.

An issue I worry about is clearance. Apparently our major road system is built with a minimum clearance of 5.03m under bridges. This is advertised. So it does mean that currently people might try to drive vehicles up to 5.03m high, including their load. Obviously that wouldn't be a good idea if we then build an OHE system that fits underneath our current bridges. I think in practice 4.4m is a common standard vehicle height for the largest kind of trucks, and there's a relatively small number that are up to 4.6m. Otherwise it seriously restricts where you can go. I watched a lorry in front of me go very carefully and slowly under a bridge saying it was 4.4m on an urban road a couple of weeks ago, and it was wise to take it carefully, there was very little to spare. A few are 4.6m. Anything higher than that is unusual, as you soon start to substantially restrict where you can drive. So you need the OHE to be high enough above the vehicle to fit the pantograph etc. And then you need clearance under the bridges.

So what maximum height of vehicle are we going to build this for so that we don't have to increase the clearance at all our motorway bridges, which would be shockingly expensive? Railway OHEs are now required to be something like a minimum of 0.4m clearance below the bridge deck, due to an unscientific standardisation decision in the EU, which we didn't do enough to oppose. Practical experimentation in the 50s showed that 0.1m is enough, and the UK standard before the EU got at us was 0.2m, with derogations to 0.15m permitted, as that was plenty. Maybe we can grow up, ignore the unscientific EU rule, and go back to 0.2m/0.15m, it would save us a huge amount of money on rail electrification projects. A rare benefit of leaving the EU. (In practice ORR could have been very liberal with derogations back to 0.2m, but it wasn't, and made clear that whilst it would derogate on occasion, it was vety much that the standard was 0.4m, not 0.2m). Then our 5.03m road bridges will allow us to build for 4.4m trucks, maybe even 4.6m. The alternative is break the OHE at bridges, since trucks will be designed for discontinuous electrification as necessity. But there are also complications and extra costs in doing that.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by monkey » Wed Jan 12, 2022 5:06 pm

Some of you might be interested in this piece looking at whether it's better to be stuck in an ICE or EV because of snow. This became a sort of popular debate after a bunch of people got stuck in snow in their ICE cars*.

The article suggests that it doesn't seem to matter much, and getting stuck in your car is rubbish. It ends "the far more important question is how we prevent such catastrophic failures of our vital infrastructure in the first place." which seems sensible to me. It does have some interesting bits about how efficiently things can be kept warm though.

clicky

*Alright, there was probably a few EVs too.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:48 am

Overhead electric power for vehicles
IvanV wrote:
Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:38 am
An issue I worry about is clearance. Apparently our major road system is built with a minimum clearance of 5.03m under bridges. This is advertised. So it does mean that currently people might try to drive vehicles up to 5.03m high, including their load. Obviously that wouldn't be a good idea if we then build an OHE system that fits underneath our current bridges.
That wouldn't be a problem. Unlike trains, road vehicles need the ability to travel without external power, so the overhead wires could stop a short distance before a bridge and resume afterwards. The vehicle would need to detach fully automatically, but that ability would be needed anyway for leaving the powered stretch.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:16 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:48 am
Overhead electric power for vehicles
IvanV wrote:
Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:38 am
An issue I worry about is clearance. Apparently our major road system is built with a minimum clearance of 5.03m under bridges. This is advertised. So it does mean that currently people might try to drive vehicles up to 5.03m high, including their load. Obviously that wouldn't be a good idea if we then build an OHE system that fits underneath our current bridges.
That wouldn't be a problem. Unlike trains, road vehicles need the ability to travel without external power, so the overhead wires could stop a short distance before a bridge and resume afterwards. The vehicle would need to detach fully automatically, but that ability would be needed anyway for leaving the powered stretch.
"That wouldn't be a problem." What I have read about the potential for discontinuous OHE on railway lines, which would make bridges and stations a lot easier/cheaper, is that it's not as obvious and easy as "just do it". There are some tricky electrical engineering issues to be handled. If it was obvious and easy, I think it would already be routine, and trains would have some backup power to be able to get past gaps. Often momentum will do the trick, but clearly we need to cater for the situation of not having sufficient momentum or needing to stop in the gap.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:31 pm

But lorries would have their own batteries. Need to get from their home warehouse to the motorway, then from the motorway to the supermarket.

You'd have to run the maths, but I suspect they could recharge over a 23 mile electrified section of the M1, use power on the next unelectrified section of 12 miles, come to another 8 mile electrified section, and so on. The objective is to significantly reduce the weight of batteries needing to be lugged around, rather than get that weight to zero.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:32 pm

Motoring along at 70mph with a pantograph up and having to lower it just in time to dodge tunnels/bridges/signs etc… will be interesting engineering. Possibly more useful in long open sections of motorways with no overhead nonsense, giving lots of time to raise/lower your connection to the wires.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:34 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:31 pm
But lorries would have their own batteries. Need to get from their home warehouse to the motorway, then from the motorway to the supermarket.

You'd have to run the maths, but I suspect they could recharge over a 23 mile electrified section of the M1, use power on the next unelectrified section of 12 miles, come to another 8 mile electrified section, and so on. The objective is to significantly reduce the weight of batteries needing to be lugged around, rather than get that weight to zero.
Trains could have batteries too, which was the point being made I think. The problem is in having discontinuous power lines.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:50 pm

Why would they be discontinuous? They can just dive underground on approach to a bridge and pop back up afterwards.

Computers can handle pantograph ups and downs, seems a pretty trivial self-driving task.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Martin_B » Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:45 pm

bjn wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:32 pm
Motoring along at 70mph with a pantograph up and having to lower it just in time to dodge tunnels/bridges/signs etc… will be interesting engineering. Possibly more useful in long open sections of motorways with no overhead nonsense, giving lots of time to raise/lower your connection to the wires.
The engineering for such things has been done before.
Express steam trains used to pick up water from troughs with a scoop to prevent them having to stop and fill up from water tanks. But someone identified that if the scoop isn't raised in time for the end of the trough then either the scoop or the trough will be damaged. So the track towards the ends of the trough was raised slightly to lift the scoop clear even if it hadn't been retracted.
Simple engineering and thought of decades ago; it shouldn't be beyond our ken to do something similar.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by nekomatic » Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:23 am

I’m going to guess that the time and cost of agreeing the specification for, then implementing, a significant modification to every overhead electrified rail vehicle in the country that might have to pass under such a bridge would make the cost of raising an individual bridge look like peanuts in comparison, so it’s never happened even if it would be cheaper overall in the parallel universe where things could always be done the global optimum way. Overhead electrified lorries are a brand new thing so can be designed for this from the start.
Martin_B wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:45 pm
But someone identified that if the scoop isn't raised in time for the end of the trough then either the scoop or the trough will be damaged. So the track towards the ends of the trough was raised slightly to lift the scoop clear even if it hadn't been retracted.
Well that’s silly. Why didn’t they just lower the trough at one end?
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by IvanV » Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:24 am

lpm wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:50 pm
Why would they be discontinuous? They can just dive underground on approach to a bridge and pop back up afterwards.

Computers can handle pantograph ups and downs, seems a pretty trivial self-driving task.
Clearly this is the alternative to having numerous entirely separate sections each fed by their own substation. If you have many short sections each with their own sub-station, you soon end up with a lot of extra cost in having many substations. Which thus negates what is supposed to be the cost advantage of high voltage AC vs lower voltage DC.

The electrical engineering issue is beyond me. All I can do is report that people say it is not straightforward having a continuous line that is connected underground across the gap. I don't understand why having sudden load drop-outs as the train briefly comes off and then goes back onto the same wire across the gap is any harder than having trains enter and leave separate wire sections at speed. I think it might have something to do with what happens to the frequency.

Computers handling pantos up and down would depend on sensors and GPS and things. How reliable are those? Failure at some low rate might still add up to a lot of pantos hitting obstacles. Like those sensors called eyes failing to detect that a truck won't get under a bridge, despite widespread use of SatNavs. Could we do a bit better over that so there weren't so many bridge bashes, which mostly look completely unnecessary. Or driving down roads where they won't fit. Did you see the pictures of the Chinese truck failing to get along a too-narrow road that is cut as a shelf along a very high cliff? Very lucky people to get out alive.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gfamily » Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:33 am

If the pantographs charged batteries and the batteries powered the vehicles, with a capacity allowing for 20 or 30 miles at ~ constant speed, that would allow for bridges, tunnels, junctions, local roads etc.

ETA - to make more general (multiplied off panto range by 10x and "local roads")
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:41 am

Increase government investment in renewables to offset exposure to fossil markets, say economists
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-c ... 91518.html
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:49 am

IvanV wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:24 am
Computers handling pantos up and down would depend on sensors and GPS and things. How reliable are those?
I wouldn't trust them at all. Instead make the wires descend to the height of the bridge and be replaced with unpowered wires which lead down to the lower edge of the bridge. That way the vehicle can detect the reduced height and use that as the trigger to lower the pantograph, while there's a failsafe in that if it doesn't get lowered by the vehicle, it will be mechanically lowered so that the bridge isn't damaged.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:16 am

Simpler still, only have wires in places where there are long sections of road with no over head obstructions. Mandate some sizeable minimum gap between the wires and bridges etc… When running out of wire, the pantos are set to automatically descend. The gap ensures time for the vehicle to stop should the pantos fail to descend.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by lpm » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:02 am

These lorries will be self driving. You're not going to do this on motorways without also putting in a guidance system along the road. This is for fully automated routes, from Avonmouth docks to a warehouse on the M1 say.

A lorry will know where it is to a millimetre. It will be a virtual railway.

It feels weird to see mechanical answers proposed in 2022, let alone in 2042 when this might begin.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:17 pm

lpm wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:02 am
These lorries will be self driving. You're not going to do this on motorways without also putting in a guidance system along the road. This is for fully automated routes, from Avonmouth docks to a warehouse on the M1 say.

A lorry will know where it is to a millimetre. It will be a virtual railway.

It feels weird to see mechanical answers proposed in 2022, let alone in 2042 when this might begin.
In 2050 maybe, not in 2030.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:17 pm

lpm wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:50 pm
Why would they be discontinuous? They can just dive underground on approach to a bridge and pop back up afterwards.

Computers can handle pantograph ups and downs, seems a pretty trivial self-driving task.
Doesn't even need to go underground.
Have a disconnector bit, then raise the wire so the pantographs can no longer reach it. switch it to a plastic-coated one and run it to the bridge and tight under the bridge then rejoin afterwards.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:20 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:49 am
IvanV wrote:
Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:24 am
Computers handling pantos up and down would depend on sensors and GPS and things. How reliable are those?
I wouldn't trust them at all. Instead make the wires descend to the height of the bridge and be replaced with unpowered wires which lead down to the lower edge of the bridge. That way the vehicle can detect the reduced height and use that as the trigger to lower the pantograph, while there's a failsafe in that if it doesn't get lowered by the vehicle, it will be mechanically lowered so that the bridge isn't damaged.
There's loads of ways it could be done with some kind of triggering mechanism. GPS is entirely unnecessary.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by tom p » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:25 pm

bjn wrote:
Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:32 pm
Motoring along at 70mph with a pantograph up and having to lower it just in time to dodge tunnels/bridges/signs etc… will be interesting engineering. Possibly more useful in long open sections of motorways with no overhead nonsense, giving lots of time to raise/lower your connection to the wires.
58 mph, innit?
And, as others have mentioned, just in time is entirely unnecessary. Half a mile before the obstruction should be a minimum, along with multiple sensors either side of the motorway, like the laser 'trip wires' you see in museums in hollywood movies which would warn any lorry that still had its pantograph up. That gives them 30 seconds to hit the emergency pantograph retraction mechanism.
Couple that with strict liability for the lorry drivers & owners/lessees for all costs associated with a pantograph retraction failure and no f.ckers gonna crash theirs.

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