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Author Topic: Steampunk Coal-Power Gauge shows end of the steampunk era?  (Read 605 times)
yereverluvinunclebert
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



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« on: May 15, 2016, 09:43:27 pm »

The below image is a gauge that I designed and which was coded by Harry Whitfield. It shows coal-consumption by the UK's coal-fired power stations, a real-time gauge that takes its information via a real-time feed from powergen, the UK national power generating organisation.



I never released this widget to the world but I do have a copy running on my desktop that has recently told me something rather interesting and rather un-steampunk. For the first time since 1882 the power stations of the UK have run without burning any coal at all. The very first power station was set up in 1882 and coal-powered power stations have been run continuously ever since. They have produced the majority of Britain's electricity over the last 150 years.

Huge efforts by the governments over the recent decades have reduced Britain's reliance on coal until it has reached a point where they were able to turn all the coal-powered stations off. The above gauge shows just half a gigawatt currently being generated by coal but that gauge has been reading zero for almost a week. This is Great Britain doing its bit for the environment.

I find this a fascinating bit of information especially as it is a rather telling indicator that Britain's industrial revolution, the one powered solely by coal is nearly at an end, you could call it the end of a steampunk era... the good thing is even the newest nuclear power stations are still producing copious amounts of steam!
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Lightquick - Steampunk Widgets and Icons of Some Worldwide Repute
Newchurch
Snr. Officer
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England England


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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2016, 03:43:35 pm »

How intriguing.  Is the information feed to your gauge visible elsewhere on the web?  I'm slightly surprised that the newspapers seem not to have picked this up.  It is, as you say, the end of an era.
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Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
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Australia Australia



« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2016, 04:01:17 pm »

Now, if there was one for Victoria's brown coal power station's consumption it would be really something to watch.

unclealbert, your desktop must be a minor miracle!!
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James Harrison
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Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2016, 05:06:21 pm »

I was reading about this in The Guardian just yesterday (well, the online version of it anyway).  One of the points that was mentioned was that when coal-fired stations aren't providing electricity to the grid, it doesn't mean they're shut down completely with the furnaces at cold iron, but rather just that the generators are turned off.  They're still burning coal, just to no end use.     
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Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.
yereverluvinunclebert
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2016, 06:58:58 pm »

Typically they shut down 50% of the boilers, in a power station of four, taking two out of commission, two are completely cold, they run the remaining 50% on low fuel consumption just to keep them hot so that they can crank up the heat and therefore the steam to drive the turbines as required. They need to keep the smallest capacity ready to respond to changes in demand. As you say, some are kept very hot as they will be the ones that will be switched in first.

They have CCGT (closed cycle gas turbines) that can take up the slack much better than coal as they ignite and get to temperature faster, they also have open cycle gas turbines that are basically jet engines that can be run at any time to take up any demand that cannot be satisfied by any other means. These last are hugely inefficient so they only run them when they have to but they can be turned on/off at will.

My gauges show the output from each of these types of generating stations (wind as well) as well as the import/export of energy to and from France. The information has been available for a while as a feed from Powergen.

Banfili - my desktop is a minor miracle Grin  I had not released these gauges as I thought there would be no interest.



Right click on the image and select view image to see these in a larger size. Each gauge is showing a different aspect to power consumption/generation.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 07:25:43 pm by yereverluvinunclebert » Logged
Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 12:02:34 pm »

unclealbert, your stuff is grand!
Do you make 'em for Mac? I bailed out of Windows for Christmas!
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yereverluvinunclebert
Zeppelin Captain
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2016, 09:58:49 pm »

Unfortunately there is bad news for Macs, as from El kapitan onward the Konfabulator engine is only partially working, due to some security conflicts the dock is a bit fecked. If you lower El Kapitan's OS/X security settings a bit the engine may work better but it will be a matter of some digging and fixing to get it to work. I know one person who has rolled back OS/X just to keep the widgets working - and conversely it has been his stimulus to move to Windows...

I'd be wary of passing over to OS/X as Apple is now killing that o/s, slowly - but surely.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 10:01:06 pm by yereverluvinunclebert » Logged
Banfili
Zeppelin Captain
*****
Australia Australia



« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2016, 09:09:13 am »

I will not bother with the Mac then - however, i still have Windows machines to play with!
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