David Dundas

David Dundas


40 comments posted · 6 followers · following 0

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Shapps has spotted a o... · 0 replies · +1 points

The advent of rail in the UK helped the industrial revolution that made this country wealthy; improved transport communications will always boost the economy, and it is time to do this in the north, where roads are clogged because the rail infrastructure is inadequate. At the same time we need to include decarbonising our railways of which around 30% are diesel electric powered. Instead of installing expensive overhead electric catenaries that often need bridges to be rebuilt, which require costly maintenance and are vulnerable to extreme climate, flying objects and falling trees, decarbonising can be done a bit at a time with less strain on the cash-flow, by retrofitting the existing diesel trains to be powered by hydrogen; these conversions have already been proved with passenger trials and are ready to go (The Hydroflex and the Breeze)

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Red Wall, go green? · 0 replies · +1 points

Hi; "zero carbon" used in the climate change legislation is not the right description; it should be "zero fossil carbon" as hydrocarbon fuels can be made from the CO2 in the air, green hydrogen and electricity by the Fischer-Tropsch process which could then be used for difficult to power applications with electricity such as aviation. It is true that historically hydrogen and electricity have been more expensive than fossil fuel energy, but costs have tumbled in recent years, especially for renewables with wind power electricity having now reached parity with gas fired power stations, so its no longer a fantasy as you have written. When you cannot power a machine or process because it cannot be connected directly to the generator, such as for transport, then you have to package the energy, either in a battery or another energy carrier such as hydrogen or ammonia and load it on board.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Red Wall, go green? · 2 replies · +1 points

Hello Old John,

I have been following hydrogen as an energy vector for more than 10 years, and as a retired scientist and engineer with career experience in working in several sectors of the energy industries, I do know something about it. What is important to understand that all the UK's primary energy must be delivered by zero fossil fuel (green) electricity by 2050, the issue that follows that, is how to deliver it to the different consumers: either by direct connection to fixed equipment or by packaging it for moving machines, either in a battery or by hydrogen in a tank.

You can see that hydrogen is our best energy vector because it has so far been mainly carried by carbon as hydrocarbons, but these were produced by primitive plant life that used the sun's energy and photosynthesis to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water, to produce vegetation that over millions of years rotted down to form fossil fuels. The problem with fossil fuels is that when you burn them to get the sun's energy back, that releases the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, gradually returning our atmosphere to the primeval hot state millions of years ago, of low oxygen, and high carbon dioxide, which was unfit for animal life.

Hydrogen is the best energy vector because the energy change when its outer electrons are donated to another atom such as carbon to make a compound, is very great, since they are in the innermost shell of electrons; in short it requires a great deal of energy to split hydrogen away from oxygen when you electrolyse water, but you get back the same energy when you join them together. This means that hydrogen has the greatest chemical energy potential of all the elements.

Steam reforming of methane (SMR) is the way that most hydrogen is produced worldwide; here in the UK that is around 2.5 million tons a year; the problem is that the process releases a large amount of carbon dioxide which is released into the air. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be a short term way of capturing the carbon dioxide, but the capture cannot be 100%, at best it is 95% efficient and the cost in the chemical plant is high, as well as the energy cost of pumping it at high pressure into deep geological formations for storage, such as old gas wells, and most importantly it has not been proven at scale. CCS is a useful stepping stone to 2050, but by then it needs to be phased out as there are alternative ways to produce hydrogen that do not release carbon dioxide.

As a final thought, one of the problems of using hydrogen as our energy carrier, is that it is a gas at room temperature which has a low energy density. This can be improved by storing it under pressure such as 700 bar (10,000 psi) for cars. It can be transported as a liquid but then it must be cooled to below -256C which requires constant energy to maintain it as a liquid. It can be stored much more easily as a liquid combined with nitrogen as ammonia, but that's an unpleasant material to handle and is likely to only be used for bulk transport such as in shipping it by sea.

The major oil producing nations such as Saudi Arabia have "seen the writing on the wall" about the demise of oil which supports most of their economies, and are starting to build facilities to produce hydrogen from the sun's rays and export it instead of oil, such as their new city NEOM.

I hope this clarifies the hydrogen saga, and thanks for reading this far.

David Dundas

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Red Wall, go green? · 3 replies · +1 points

The PM is right to cement his votes in the north, not only to secure those votes but because underemployed of people in parts of our country in contributing to GDP is wasteful of our resources and bad for the whole country. Securing the northern votes is vital for the party in the long term, and this can best be achieved in the short term by visible immediate improvements, such as better rail communications and gradually removing of diesel powered trains which is also needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, not by expensive electrification but by retrofitting the existing diesel trains one by one as funds allow, with hydrogen power.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - All of ConservativeHom... · 0 replies · +1 points

Turbocharging the UK's transition to electric vehicles was mainly about cars and missed the overall need to decarbonise all transport, especially HGVs and trains which are arguably just as important part of transport carbon emitters as cars. And what about hydrogen powered cars that were not mentioned? Is Rachel Maclean MP Minster for Transport, blinkered to the fact that EVs should not be the sole focus for decarbonisation of transport?

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - As housing day opens a... · 3 replies · +1 points

I had hoped to join this discussion at conference but the website is just not working. There was supposed to be a lounge meeting at 14:30 which is not happening, so if I may make a comment here:
The core reason why the UK is not building sufficient homes is because it is dominated by a few national developers who have no interest in building enough homes to see house prices fall, and no incentive to build quality homes. As the 2017 white paper said, we need to give local builders the opportunity to build a few homes on a large new estate. This has not happened for the simple reason that a small builder needs the infrastructure of roads and utilities to be able to build, which is only installed by a national developer of the whole site. The local planning authority should acquire the agricultural land, design the layout of the estate, install the infrastructure and sell the plots to any UK entity, private or public. This is a time tried and tested method that works well in many other countries.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: Milling announc... · 1 reply · +1 points

Hi Lindsay,

So what did you actually do to bring the speakers into the conference website?

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: Milling announc... · 4 replies · +1 points

The conference website does not appear (to me) to be working. I have logged in and browsed around the pages and now in the auditorium of the conference where nothing is happening. I can join the conference through Conservative Home but is this the correct way because I can only listen to selected meetings?

Is there a known problem with the conference website?

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Virginia Crosbie: Nucl... · 0 replies · +1 points

Virginia Crosbie is absolutely right that we will need more nuclear power to reach the legal target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But she is underestimating the amount that we need; the latest BEIS data for energy demand in 2018 was 2,226 TWh of energy when the UK electricity production that year was only 15% of that, which included just 7% of renewables or 84.6 TWh. As all our primary energy will need to be delivered by green electricity by 2050, there is now way that we can increase renewables alone from 84.6 TWh in 2018 to 2,226 TWh to meet this challenging target. While we may be able to increase renewables 5 or 6 times to around 500 TWh the rest of 1,726 TWh must come from nuclear power and that's based on 2018 energy demand that is likely to increase significantly over the next 29 years. Increasing the production of nuclear power stations is a huge opportunity to create jobs and more GDP, and it is an export opportunity to nations that do not have the UK's very long experience in nuclear engineering, particularly for small modular reactors used in nuclear submarines that can be mass produced and taken to our gas fired power stations to retrofit them, as well as exporting them.
Why is climate change not a fringe meeting at conference? Is the Conservative Party asleep on the opportunities of climate change or are we fiddling while Rome burns? We have 29 years to get there and there's no Government plan to achieve it.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - A problem for Johnson.... · 5 replies · +1 points

It was always clear to me that the Johnson agreement for customs arrangements with the Republic of Ireland was a fudge that would eventually be exposed that it could not work. There is no way we can eliminate a hard border with the Republic and at the same time stay in the single market; the only unlikely solution to being able to leave the EU and not have a customs border between the Republic and Northern Ireland is to persuade the southern irish to leave the EU with us, and for the UK to compensate them for the agreed losses that that would bring; I don't see this happening any time soon or ever, especially as the UK is now seen to be prepared to unilaterally tear up an international agreement; how could they then trust us?