bet they’re chuffed

The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust has just completed the first new steam locomotive in the UK for, ooh, basically ever. Not quite sure why they chose such an antiquated design, but hey, keeps them out of the way of the buses.

everything old is new again: clean coal

Clean coal seems to be in vogue, but when I read about it, I thought — hang on, isn’t this just the old town gas technology?

I’m guessing the new clean coal guys don’t want us to know about the old town gasworks in the UK, most of which still have toxic wastes lurking deep down.

Coal Seams Not So Efficient

A correspondent mentioned a recent article he had read – probably in New Scientist – which reported on the efficiency of coal seams in capturing and storing solar energy. He couldn’t retrieve the article at the time, but it calculated that less than 0.1% of the solar energy originally captured by plants has actually made its way into coal.

So that means that a coal-fired power station, at about 40% thermal efficiency, is actually 0.04% efficient, in terms of primary solar energy. Since solar panels turn about 10-12% of the solar energy that falls on them into electricity, they leave coal in the dust.