Fred has been an active member of Newcomen, especially since 2007, after four years as a visiting consultant with the EU’s Institute for Energy in North Holland. He suggested, and then helped organise Conferences on the “Piston Engine Revolution” and on WWI “Swords into Ploughshares”. Here, he acknowledges tremendous support and encouragement from Ed Marshall and Bryan Lawton - “Cronies” in the best sense of the word.
In 2018 Fred and Jonathan Aylen put together the Newcomen Society Summer Conference on Teesside. Something that Fred, as a native of Stockton-on-Tees thought well overdue.
Fred graduated with a degree in Metallurgy, in 1966. Most of his working life was spent at the British Gas, London Research Station. Initially employed as a failure investigator on steam reforming plants, he became responsible for developing materials to resist high temperature corrosion in advanced gas making environments.
As this work began to wind down in the mid-eighties, Fred headed projects relating to gas turbines and Stirling engines. After leaving British Gas in 1996, he worked with several organisations, in which corrosion in coal and waste incineration fired steam plant were critical issues. Because of this wide background he was invited to join the EU’s Institute for Energy, where he transformed the way that technologies relating to the production of hydrogen were viewed.
Since formally retiring, Fred continues to monitor the energy scenario in Britain and tends to be scathing about the claims of the various protagonists for wind, nuclear, carbon capture, and district heating.
Dr Fred Starr reviews the book Golden Egg or Poisoned Chalice: The Story of Nuclear Power in the UK by Tony Wooldridge and Stephen Druce, discussing nuclear's troubled history and its struggle against Gas Generators.