Apr 2014 - Switched ON

The lecture was given by Alick Barnett and entitled "Switched ON". He began his illustrated talk by saying that the term electricity was coined in C1600 by Dr William Gilbert of Colchester from the Greek word for amber. He then went on to mention Benjamin Franlkin and his kite experiments, Volta's Pile, Humphrey Davey, Orsted, and Michael Faraday and their contributions the discovery of the use of electricity and it properties. By the 1850's electric light was starting to be used in Lighthouses using arc lights, the electricity being supplied from various forms of generator. In 1878 the Metropolitan Board of Works contracted with the Societe Generale de I'Electricite to light the Victoria Embankment, generated by a Gramme dynamo and exciter and powered by a Ransome Sims & Head steam engine. Around 1880 Swan's lamps were being used and by 1881 Godalming was the first town in the world to have to combine a public and private lighting undertaking with both arc and incandescent lamps.

In 1882 Edison Electric Light Station claimed to be the first public steam powered station in the world. At about this time there was the battle of the systems between Edison who favoured DC and Tesla, AC. AC eventually won.

In 1883 the Grosvenor Gallery in Bond Street (Sir Coutts Lindsay) started generating Electricity to light the Gallery and in 1886 due to problems of overloading the systems Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti became engineer to the Sir Coutts Lindsay and Company and pioneered the system of transformers in parallel to form the distribution system we know today, at the age 21 He was also responsible for the design and erection of the electric supply station at the Grosvenor Gallery and for the building of much of the machinery and the running of the public supply of power from the station.

1887 the London Electric Supply Corporation took over the Grosvenor Gallery Electric Supply Company, London's first commercial electric power supplier and hired Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti to design their power station at Deptford. He designed the building, the generating plant and the distribution system, with a 10kV AC transmission line to London.

Between 1885 and 1900 various small schemes to supply electricity to companies and houses in East Anglia were undertaken by various companies. By 1902 the Ipswich Council decided to have an electric tramway and the power station at Constantine Road was build. The area supplied gradually expanded eventually, supplying Felixstowe at 3.3kV. This was eventually raised up to 33kV.

All areas of the country were connected together to become the National Grid by October 1937, operating at 132kV and at a standard frequency of 50Hz. In 1946 the building of Cliff Quay Power Station was started and began generating in 1946. The station stopped generating in March 1985.

Between 1948 to 1978 Finbrough Hall was the Group HQ of Eastern Electricity before moving to Wherstead and Essendon Place was bought by EE 1961 as a training facility. In 1965 the High Voltage operations training school was opened at Essendon.

Following many questions the Chairman thanked both Alick for a very informative and interesting lecture. Members showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

Mar 2014 - Ipswich Travel Project for the 21st Century

The lecture was given by Clive Wilkinson, Project Engineer SCC and Daniel Hobbs, Regional Director Transportation AECOM.

Clive began by outlining the projected Ipswich area growth by 2031 which was an increase of 20,000 homes and 30,000 jobs, with a jobs growth focused on central area of the town and development of the town towards the waterfront. This projected future congestion for the town.

In order to deal with this increase there needed to be improvements with the traffic flow in the town and with the buses, - real time passenger information and bus priority at junctions. Tower Ramparts and Old Cattle Market bus station needed to be remodelling together with improvements to bus stop and road junctions.

He then gave an overview and background the process followed. He showed several pictures of maps of Ipswich of traffic flows and areas where congestion would be its highest. Hence the need for an intelligent transport control system and general improvements in the centre of the town.

Daniel then continued by describing the general methods of traffic management systems. Terms use were: UTC (Urban Traffic Control) this is central control of traffic signals by central computer to implement and overall strategy and SCOOT - (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) - A UK developed dynamic control algorithm that adjusts traffic signal times based on detected traffic levels. where information on the physical layout of the road network and how the traffic signals control the individual traffic streams are stored in the SCOOT database. SCOOT detects vehicles at the start of each approach to every controlled intersection. It models the progression of the traffic from the detector through the 'stopline', taking due account of the state of the signals and any consequent queues. The information from the model is used to optimise the signals to minimise the network delay. (http://www.scoot-utc.com/HowSCOOTWorks.php)

It is a mathematical model, similar to modelling water flow where vehicles are detected, building the model view of congestion so that signal timings can be adjusted second by second to balance demand. Control parameters are set in the computer with set constraints and network wide flows can be adjusted to deliver strategies. Incidents or events can be monitored and changes made to traffic timings. Bus location information can be fed in to give help to buses through queues and Variable Message Signs installed to tell road users of area to avoid etc.

For bus users there is Real Time information at stops and bus priority at traffic signals. Buses are tracked with GPS (Global Positioning System) and report frequently using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) to the system for the real time information.

Considerations is also given to the Air Quality in the streets where there is congestion, the range of pollutants, NOX & PM10 (Particulate Matter up to 10 micrometers in size) that arise from congestion, the stops and starts, the canyon effects of the buildings in the streets and also the weather. The air quality options are used to manage traffic flows to reduce these impacts using specific strategy variants.

This then gives an overall Integrated Architecture to the management of the traffic flow, and is the system that is used in London, many large UK cities and across the world.

Following many questions the Chairman thanked both Clive and Daniel for a very informative and interesting lecture. Members showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

Feb 2014 - Metal Recycling

The evening's lecture was given by Nigel Slinn from Sackers Recycling, entitled "Recycling a Car".

Cars arrive at the site in Claydon or are brought in by other dealers. They also buy in cars from London in order to meet their targets. The first part of the process is to remove all the pollutants in the car which means removing all fuels, drain the oils from engine. shock absorbers, gear box and removing the batteries etc. The petrol and diesel is used in company vehicles. The fuel tanks are pierced to ensure any remaining residue is removed. A car weighs approximately 1 ton. Bailed cars must be broken open before the shredding process takes place.

They also supply four to five cars per week to the Suffolk Fire Brigade for training practice. Air bags have been known kill firemen when cutting the door pillars so it is important for them to keep up with training as there are big leaps forward in car construction. The police also use them to demonstrate to youngsters the problems that can arise from road accidents.

The plant that shreds a car is a "hammer mill" which cost £3 million. It is powered by a 1250 hp 11kV electric motor and can completely shred a car in 60 seconds including the engine block and gearbox. The result is a blend of various metals, wire, plastics, glass and "fluff" (the sound absorbing materials, carpets etc). They also have been asked to shred an aircraft (from Southend Airport) and radio towers. It can shred 35ton/hr, about 250-300ton a day, working a 7hour day. One day a week is set aside for maintenance. There have been problems with small explosions from time to time but they try to avoid them happening, the biggest fear is a LPG cylinder left in a crushed car.

The output from the hammer mill is sent to a sorter which separates the various materials in to different categories. The iron and steel is sent to India to be melt down, returning to England as new steel. As an example currently the price of sorted materials such as brass is £3800/t and household cable £600/t.

The profit is made on the non-ferrous metals, stainless steel, aluminium when separated. The iron and steel is loaded into containers holding 27 tons each, 14 containers a day are shipped to Felixstowe, and being close to the port this keeps transport costs to a minimum. There is a problem in both China and India with corrupt customs practices, dirt can be added to the load and this can lead to claims being made for dirty loads.

Recently a new Separator, has been installed to extract smaller particles which will give them a payback of 2/3yrs. This plant includes shaker beds, suction unit and linear magnets etc and is saving 500 tons per week of small particles being sent to landfill. The fluff waste is sent to an energy from waste plant.

The other side of the business deals with commercial waste, wheely bins from businesses. Here waste is sent to a Shredder which reduces it to about A4 size pieces before being passed to a Trommell, (a rotating drum) and sorter to separate the pieces and remove the small fraction items. Good clean material can command good prices. There a 50 different types of plastic which can command £300/ton. These go for granulating in Northampton before being made into garden furniture. Wood is shredded to be burned as biomass, Eddie Stobart is paying them to get rid of wooden pallets etc. They are shredding 100ton/mth which is not having to go to landfill at a cost of £100/ton. Germany imports 1 Million tons per year of waste from UK to feed their waste to energy plants. Batteries are sent to a specialist disposal company and tyres go to India for burning in cement kilns. Oils are recycled by ECO Oil, and food waste goes to Tamar, energy food waste plant in Essex, for anaerobic digestion.

Following many questions the chairman thanked Nigel for a most informative and interesting lecture and the members expressed their appreciation in the usual way.

Jan 2014 - Building the London Overground

The evening's lecture was given by Huw Edwards, Head of Programme Delivery from Transport for London, on the creation of the London Overground.

Huw, began by saying why he became a civil engineer and worked for the railways. He grew up in North Wales and was fascinated by the engineering works of the bridges in the area and railways. He was also influenced by the fact his father was an engine driver, illustrating his talk with pictures and a video of some of the work.

He went on to describe why the London Overground was created. As London has grown it became obvious that the existing transport system could not cope. So the decision was made to connect up the various sections of the railway above ground around London, into an integrated system running 24 trains per hour each of four cars around the network and this is already having to be extended to five cars per train.

The railway connects the deprived areas of London and as a result already has seen an increase in the mobility of the people from these areas and is now known as the railway M25. Passenger numbers were 33M in 2007 and had risen to 133M by 2012 and is projected to rise to 150M in the near future.

The construction has meant that railway bridges have had to be replaced, with new sections of track, and new signalling systems. The new rolling stock is capable of running on the two different electrical systems that exist, the 25kV ac overhead line system north of the Thames and the 600V dc third rail system south of the river. The rolling stock is the new Class 378 cars with longitudinal seating and no doors between the cars. The trains are single man operation which means that the driver must be able to see all the doors.

There have been new stations and many that were renovated or rebuilt. Some being built in such a way that the space above the station could be let to property developers to build above, "selling the air rights to build on top". New railway sidings have also been built together with new maintenance depots.

Following many questions, the Chairman thanked Hue for a most informative and interesting lecture and the members expressed their appreciation in the usual way.

Nov 2013 - Wave Generation & and the Government's Pathway 2050

The evening's lecture was given by Malcolm van den Berg B.Sc. C.Eng., F.I.Mech.E., , Engineering Director - Trident Energy.

Malcolm began his talk by reminding members of the Wave Generator that he spoke on at his previous lecture in October 2009 and the accident that occurred with the prototype after it was towed out to sea to be tested. It was too expensive to rebuild and repeat the trial so after various delays it was decided to run a land based one using the principle of a nodding donkey to drive the float. Its operation was to mimic the wave motions of the sea using various sea waveforms and using computer controlled electronics to control the drive system. A new armature to improve the efficiency was also fitted. The aim of the system is to keep the float in phase with the wave. This was achieved by using a system by "Speedgoat" which then enabled it to be tuned to meet sea conditions.

The placing of these generators provides various challenges. One idea is to place a ring of generators around a mono pile which is good for sea depths between 20 - 30 metres. Another is to place them around the bases of Wind Generators but that presents problems with the supply boats getting to the wind turbine bases as it is usual for the boats to push up against the base when attending, for maintenance.

Wind turbine installations require a power supply for navigation lights and so if the generator is not working or becomes disconnected from the grid through cable breaks or faults, the navigation lights must be supplied by a diesel generator. These have to be refuelled every so often and maintained. Therefore fitting them with a wave generator would negate this need. A later proposal is to install them inside the base of the columns so that they would be protected from the weather and boats and other debris.

There followed a discussion on the economics of renewable generation, where it was learnt that there is degree of levelisation in the cost of energy taking place in the industry so it is difficult for the layman to know the true costs of the different sources. The country still has a way to go to meet it's renewable obligations.

The second part of Malcolm's lecture was on the UK's commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. For this to happen, there is the need to transform the UK economy while ensuring secure, low-carbon energy supplies to 2050. To help people understand what this means the "2050 Calculator" has been designed that lets one create their own UK emissions reduction pathway, and see the impact using real scientific data. Malcolm was able to give a brief online demonstration of the calculator to the members but due to the speed of the connection was not able to show its full potential. This is available to everyone by Googling - "2050 Pathway" - and he left it to the members to try it for themselves.

There were many questions throughout the evening and the Chairman summed up the evening by asking the members to thank Malcolm for a most informative and interesting lecture with everyone showing their appreciation in the usual manner.

Oct 2013 - Energy from Waste

The evening's lecture was given by Mr Cliff Matthews, the Energy from Waste Regional Manager (Suffolk) of SITA, a Chemical Engineer by Qualification.

The project is the building of a boiler and electrical generation plant, together with a district heating scheme at Great Blakenham near Ipswich. It has been planned to be an iconic building by architects, Grimshaw. There was trouble-free planning with a Public Consultation in July 2010, the Application was submitted in Jan 2011 and Permission granted in August 2011. Final notice to proceed was given in November 2011. The (BREEN) Building Research Establishment (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method for buildings has given the building a rating of - Excellent 70%. There was good communication between local committees, the county liaison group, including Public Events and Parish Council Newsletters.

Following the ground clearance, a water tight bunker was formed using Secant bunker piling then the building construction continued with the "big stuff" like the chimneys being erected at an early stage together with the boilers, due to the confines of the site. Cliff stressed that this plant is not an incinerator but a means of using waste to produce heat energy.

The Boiler produces superheated steam to drive a turbine with a bypass system to drive a 24MW alternator. Waste gasses pass through activated carbon and urea to remove the organics and acids and the fine particulates are also removed so that he exhaust is comparable with that emitted by the vehicles on the nearby A14. The waste is mixed before being fed into a hopper and onto a sloping grate. Metals and clinker drops out at the bottom to be recycled or disposed of as road aggregate. The boiler is fed by forced draught fans to produce 85 MW heat. Electrical power output is 24 MW with a process power requirement of 3 MW.

It is proposed that some of the waste heat is to be used in the growing of tomatoes in glass houses, 19 Hectares in area which will have an average heat requirement of 11 MW. (Ipswich is too far away for district heating scheme). There will be 53 permanent employees and 180 seasonal workers at this enterprise and it will inject £3M pa into the economy There will also be an industrial site adjacent which will include a Data Centre, Food Processing and Industrial Units all of which will also use the waste heat.

There has been community engagement with Parish Councils, Schools, Suffolk Waste Partnership and talks to interested groups The Waste to Energy site will also have a Visitor Centre and can be followed on Twitter and the web at www.intervalfilms.com/sitapublic

When it opens, in December 2014, the Suffolk site will produce enough electricity for 30,000 homes, divert 252,000 tonnes of waste a year from landfill, reduce greenhouse gasses by 75,000 tonnes a year and allow for greater recycling.

It was a most informative lecture and the members showed their appreciation in the usual manner.

Sept 2013 - The Chairman's Evening - The History of Magic.

The lecture was given by Colin Hooper. Colin is a local magician who gave up engineering to entertain children. Magic is a visual art and is the arguably the second oldest profession in the world The purpose of a magic trick is to entertain, amuse and create a feeling of wonder; the audience is generally aware that the magic is performed using trickery, and derives enjoyment from the magician's skill. Usually, magicians will refuse to reveal their methods to the audience. A magician depends on mystery to make his act work unlike singers and comedians.. Early magic also involved the use of electricty in the form of electro magnetism where it was used to effect the illusion.

It was a most informative lecture with some tricks performed close at hand which members enjoyed and they showed their appreciation in the normal manner.