28 June 2012

Bang up the Bankers!

prison cell
I really don't agree with BBC Radio 4 Reith Lecturer, Niall Fergusen's laissez faire view of financial market regulation.

In his second lecture (on Monday) he used historical analysis to argue for lightweight, simple and clear regulations - but with tough penalties.

That's the bit I do agree with.

Frankly, an apology from Barclays boss, Bob Diamond, for the LIBOR scam, and turning down this year's multi-million pound bonus, just doesn't really cut it anymore; not in a society where the full weight of the law is brought to bear on the pathetic disposessed who might sieze the opportunity to snatch a pair of trainers or a TV when riots break out.

Only when a few thieving bankers and City gangsters are seen being dragged by Mr Plod from their Hamstead homes and Docklands penthouses, with distraught families clinging to their ankles, to be banged up in Pentonville... only then will behaviour start to change.

These "masters of the universe" (Tom Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities) think they are immortal, and to be honest, they are. They command such wealth and with it, power, they are pretty much untouchable.

NOTHING will change, until that is challenged.

12 June 2012

Good grief! Look at the size of these things!

75m wind turbine blade mould

Siemens send me press photos from time to time because I sometimes write about new trains/rail tracks and other transport tech. They've just sent me these shots of their new 75 metre wind turbine blades (they've just produced the first batch).

They will be installed on the second prototype of Siemens’ 6-MW offshore wind turbine, which will be erected in the second half of the year in Denmark’s Østerild Test Station.

They say:
The 75 meter long B75 Quantum Blade demonstrates tremendous strength at a low weight and, thanks to its unique airfoils, offers superior performance at a wide range of wind speeds. If the B75 Quantum blade were produced using traditional technology, it would be 25-50 percent heavier. Heavy blades are subject to higher loads and require stronger nacelles, towers, and foundations. The combination of intelligent design and low weight has a correspondingly positive effect on the power generation costs for wind energy.
But just look at the size of that mould!

Then it begs the question: How do they get it there??

Well, it seems they've got a special truck...

Their special vehicle, traveling 60 kilometers per hour, transported the giant blades over a distance of 575 kilometers from the blade factory in Aalborg to the Danish town of Nakskov on Lolland Island. By car, the trip is about 330 km, but because of the length of the rotor blade some re-routing was necessary taking bridges and tunnels into consideration. In Nakskov the blades were painted – the painting cabin at the blade factory is currently limited to 58 m blade length.

Fantastic engineering. I wish we were doing stuff like this in the UK. I know we have a well-respected wind turbine industry but I don't believe we're manufacturing on this sort of scale.