BLOG - Members please submit your blog to webmaster or secretary, Photographs (small) in jpg or png, linked documents in pdf, text in .txt, .rtf, .doc, .docx. Include Title and date.

13 March 2024 - Visit to DCW plant in Marsh Barton, Exeter

A dozen of our members visited the DCW plant. DCW (Devon Contract Waste) takes in plastic for recycling and granulates it for selling on to customers for remanufacture. The company also uses some of the granulated plastic that is not quite up to the quality required by some customers and makes solid planks as wood replacement requiring no maintenance. These planks are extruded from the molten plastic and when cool are manufactured in the premises by hand into items such as picnic benches, fences and decking. The photo above shows the steel moulds that the liquid plastic is fed into. As the plastic material reaches the end of the tube it is cut off and sprayed with cold water to stop the flow. The material shrinks sufficiently in the tube to allow the solid plank to be pushed out by hand. Some of the members lunched in the Seven Stars in Alphington Road after the visit. Photos by Robbie.

8 January 2024 - New Page

A new page has been added in the Members' section to show details of the PECE committee, including "mugshots"

11 December 2023 - Christmas Lunch

Members and guests assembled for Christmas Lunch after our talk by John Dike on Photography. Many thanks to Robbie for organising the lunch and providing the attached photographs. If you would like to view the image full size, right click and select "open in new tab".

13 October 2023 - New Page

A new page is being constructed to show meetings of various engineering institutions in the Exeter and Devon area. This page can be accessed by a link from the Events page. Members are asked to send details of their own institution's meetings in the area to the web master ( for inclusion on a monthly basis. It is hoped that we may be able to have reciprocal arrangements with some of the institutions.

27 September 2023 - Kelly Mine, Lustleigh

Several members and guests went to the Kelly Mine near Lustleigh. This was a fascinating visit to a former micaceous iron oxide (MIO) mine where the whole process of extraction of the ore, its crushing, washing, drying and packaging process was shown. The MIO (so called because it is silvery looking and flaky, like mica - but does not contain mica. MIO was, and still is, used in protective paint for bridge structures, warships etc. The mine is looked after by a preservation society and is often open on a Sunday. You can open images in another tab and zoom in to see the detail. The MIO was located in veins or lodes less than a metre wide within the granite. These veins were almost vertical planes and could be mined at different levels as can be seen in the X_section. This section is of only one of severl vertical lodes forming the mine complex. We were able to enter one of the tunnels for a short distance. Another picure shows our host with a carbide lamp that produces an acetylene flame. BLOG in progress..., and further images will be placed in the members' gallery page.

10 May 2023 - Gorst Anaerobic Digester

Twelve of us met at Gorst Energy, Clyst St Mary. We had been given a talk on 12 September 2022 by Darren Stockley of Gorst (see blog below for plant diagrams) so we were all keen to see the plant in action. This is an anaerobic digester plant that produces gas which is exported to the grid. The digester is fed with pig slurry from the adjacent pig farm and crop products. The solid digestate is supplied to farmers to replace artificial fertilisers. We saw the digester tank and its feed tanks, the CHP plant, and the gas cleaning plant. Thanks to Gorst for a most interesting and informative visit and thanks to Robbie for organising the visit and supplying the photos. Some of our members went on to the Cat and Fiddle for lunch.

17 April 2023 - Pyrolysis Process

Barry Hayden gave a talk on Pyrolysis at our meeting on 17 April. Here is one of the slides from the talk. Pyrolysis uses heat without oxygen tio reduce waste material into useful product such as fuel oils and gas, and a solid material- Biochar. Barry concentrated on the production of Biochar and its uses such as soil improver, building material additives and even animal feed supplement that reduces methane from cattle.

24 March 2023 - Hinkley Point T Pylons

National Grid has this week successfully energised 36 of the world’s first T-pylons between Bridgwater and Loxton in Somerset, including some which run past the villages of East Huntspill and Mark. The new T-shaped pylons have been constructed as part of the £900 million Hinkley Connection Project, a new 57 km high-voltage electricity line. See article ----Thanks to Geoff for noticing this.

8 March 2023 - Exmouth Lifeboat

On a wet and cold Wednesday morning 14 members and guests braved the weather to meet at the Exmouth RNLI Lifeboat station. Here we had an introductory talk in the crew's mess room by Andy Stott, the Full-time Mechanic/Deputy Coxswain, giving the history of the station and the generosity of Lady Rolle in its instigation. We then split into two groups to be shown around the "R and J Welburn", a Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) by Andy and Robert Thompson (Tommo) the Deputy Mechanic/ALB Crew showed us both the D Class Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) "George Bearman II" and the ALB carriage and tractor, known as the Shannon launch and recovery system (SLARS). The enthusiasm and pride shown by both crew members was clearly evident. Due to the number of questions being raised during the clambering in, over and through the ALB and around the ILB and SLARS, the visit, which was due to take an hour tops, actually took an hour and a half! Thanks was given to Andy, Tommo and the other crew members in the mess room and we departed into a dry but overcast afternoon. Eight members and guests continued along the Esplanade to "The Bath House" for lunch, drinks and a chat, the pie being given high praise. Thanks to Robbie for the blog.

12 September 2022 - Anaerobic digesters

Darren Stockley talked on anaerobic digester plants, with particular reference to a plant near Clyst St Mary. Here is a diagram of the process from his slide show. The plant primarily produces gas for the grid using a gas cleaning process. See news archive for a fuller description of the talk.

26 July 2022 - Visit to Lower Otter Restoration Project

Site visit to the Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) at Budleigh Salterton. This recent image from a drone flight shows the area we visited. From the Lime Kiln car park we walked along the dyke to White bridge over the Otter then towards Granary Road where Kier site office is situated. The purpose of the project is to introduce salt marshes where there are presently agricultural fields and a cricket pitch. There will be a new glass fibre pedestrian bridge over the Otter slightly upstream of the Lime Kiln car park which will shorten the inland detour for coast path walkers. The road from Granary road to White bridge will be raised by building a new road alongside on an embankment. This embankment is currently surcharged by about 2.5 metres and the settlement is continually monitored. At the west end of the embankment a new bridge is being constructed to allow water to pass below the road. Thanks to Kier for escorting us.

26 June 2022 - May AGM

The minutes of the May22 AGM have been added to the members' section. Points to note are that the membership subscription has increased to £50 pa with immediate effect, and that our membership is currently 45. Three new members have joined this year so far but we need at least another three or four. Thanks to our new speakers' secretary Brian, we have a good forward programme of talks, which you can see on the Events page.

4th March 2022 - Marsh Barton Station update

The pedestrian bridge has now been installed at Marsh Barton Station. The bridge is supported on either side of the tracks by circular steel columns, each carrying a short section of the bridge superstructure that provides cantilever support for the main span over the tracks and for the side spans. The ends of the side spans are supported on concrete abutments. See link here. Please note that our April meeting will feature a speaker from Network Rail.

3rd February 2022 - Marsh Barton Station

This is a photograph of Marsh Barton station, taken on his phone this week by Laurence Acher of the Alphington Photographic Group. PECE is hoping to get a speaker from Network Rail to discuss the conception and design of the station. The station is due to open in winter 2022 and apart from the platforms that you can see in the picture, there will be a pedestrian/cyle bridge alongside the road bridge from which the picture was taken. Full details of the development of the station including drawings can be found here

2nd February 2022 - Webmaster comment

This page has been prepared following a committee request for a blog page. All members are encouraged to submit a blog of interest. At present members can't add directly to the blog page, as you can in Facebook or other social media, but this is being investigated. In the meantime just send your blog to webmaster or secretary.

10th January 2022 - Debate

Members debate on the Government's 10 points to deal with climate change. The form of the debate was that 4 members spoke for 12 minutes on one of the 10 points. After each speaker there was time allowed for questions and comments from the audience.

13th December 2021 - HMS Terror

John Davidson talked about HMS Terror, built in Topsham at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. HMS Terror was built specially strongly for bombardment, with two massive mortars on board. These were used notably, but unsuccessfully, against Fort Henry at the approach to Baltimore. As large scale war diminished, Terror was essentially laid up until the Admiralty decided to use several ships for expeditions (and so get government funding) to the Arctic and Antarctic.

8th November 2021 - Exeter Energy Recovery Facility

Lucy Mottram of Devon County Council gave us an interesting talk on waste management in Devon. Lucy discussed the waste statistics and described how the council is aiming to go from a linear to a circular waste economy. She told us about the history and operation of the Energy from Waste plant at Marsh Barton. Link to the EERF here.

11th October 2021 - All about Colour

Leigh Edwards gave a talk "All about Colour" copiously illustrated with slides. The slides introduced an understanding of colour, but it is a wide and sometimes more complex subject than people realise.

13 September 2021 - Talk on Geothermal Energy

Professor Richard Cochrane gave us a fascinating talk on commercial Geothermal Energy and domestic heat pumps. Richard started by showing graphs of global temperature and Co2 levels over the last 400,000 years. The correlation is remarkable except for the last few decades where CO2 level is so high that we are now in uncharted territory. Richard explained his work on deep trial bores at United Downs.

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