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Group Spring Meeting Reported by Peter McCree

Posted on 25/03/19 |

BloodbikeOur first speaker of the evening was Edward Kendrick from the local branch of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes - Severn Freewheelers.


The reason for his talk was that our group has been invited to provide an “Out of Hours” courier service weekdays between 7pm and 7am and all weekend.  The majority of the work will be taking blood from Worcester Royal Hospital to the Air Ambulance at  Strensham.  Blood has a limited shelf life of 72  hours and therefore has to be replenished on a regular basis. In addition the volunteers could be called to take blood, biopsies, MRI scans, drugs or specialist medical equipment as far away as Coventry.

A further service would be to collect and deliver mother’s milk for premature babies.  The area of operation for this service is Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, North Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

To be considered for this service volunteers are required to be IAM RoadSmart or ROSPA qualified.

To be able to carry out this voluntary work a 4X4 vehicle will be supplied and it is envisaged it  will be kept at the home of the volunteer while he or she is on duty.  It is expected that the volunteer would be on call for seven day periods.

Training in all aspects of being responsible for and carrying  the varied samples would of course be provided. 

A daytime service may be required for other samples to be passed to and from adjacent areas. 

Contact Janet Stott on if you hold the necessary qualifications and are interested in volunteering for the above.


Our second speaker of the evening was David Dewson whose company specialises in testing all types of engines on dynamometers.  As part of the facility there is a climate controlled area whereby accurate engine efficiencies can be checked under a variety of conditions.

EfficiencyCurrent internal combustion engines (ICE) are around 20% efficient with up to 80% of the energy being produced is wasted as heat.  There is none or hardly any energy  recuperation. To make ICEs emit less pollutants to atmosphere they are fitted with either a catalytic convertor or a diesel particulate filter or both.  On some diesel engines a liquid called “adblue” is added to a special tank on the vehicle and the liquid is injected.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the presentation was the comparison David made of the current types of motive power available, the fuel they use and the different  efficiencies.

Petrol and diesel vehicles are quite complex and have many inter reliant parts. Hybrid vehicles are very complex, have additional components and as a result are heavier. The hydrogen fuel cell vehicle converts the hydrogen into electricity that in turn powers an electric motor which then drives the wheels. It  also uses around 14gms of Platinum for the converter whereas an ICE uses only 1.2gms.  

A fuel cell vehicle also requires an exceptionally clean air intake however the exhaust only produces water.

Looking more closely at the relevant efficiencies - ICE 20%, Hydrogen 22% and finally battery powered vehicles with only 20-25 components are 73% efficient and increase to 83% if you use solar energy to charge the battery.

Many people when considering a battery powered vehicle are concerned about battery life.  There is now market experience that indicates a life expectancy of 10-15 years being the norm and batteries can then be used for domestic power storage and also provide a further 20 years of life.  Even at the end of their life cycle 99% of the components are recyclable.  Their Lithium-ion batteries are derived from salt so there is no shortage of the prime material unlike ICE vehicle exhaust systems that require Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium. 

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