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Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, entreprenuer
Interests: diesel and gasoline engines, cars, aircraft, railroads, electric drives
Recent Activity
I am a firm believer in scientific research. However, I do not understand the concept of excess "renewable" energy. We currently get about 11 to 13 percent of our electric power generation from renewable sources and about half of that or~6.25% is from hydro which is a fairly static number. About 4 or 5 % is wind and ~1% is solar. The rest is biomass with a small amount of geothermal. Some of the biomass is probably not much cleaner than coal. The amount of hydro has remained about the same for decades. The amount of wind is growing some and solar will probably grow more rapidly for a while but we are a long ways away from having excess renewable energy See if you want to puzzle thru the numbers yourself. Anyway, maybe you have 6% renewable from wind and solar which fluctuates wildly requiring fast response backup power. But it is a long way from going to excess. My argument remains that if you pull wind or solar off the grid to make hydrogen, you end up needing to replace it with some other source which is probably either natural gas or coal as the nuclear plants are already running flat out all the time.
Davemart You do not get it. Maybe Iceland has enough surplus power to make hydrogen. Japan, Germany, the US, etc do not or they would not be burning coal and natural gas for power. There is no excess renewable power. Yes, you can generate methane from sewage and other waste. This was being done 45 years ago when I toured the sewage plant in Boston and they were using the methane to generate the power to run their pumps. It would also make sense to use high temperature incineration instead of land fills but that is another subject.
Davemart and HarveyD The problem remains that using "renewable" energy for hydrogen production means that unless there is really a surplus of clean power for the entire grid, taking renewable power off the grid for hydrogen production means replacing it with other power and that is often natural gas or coal. Yes, there are a few places in the world where there is a potential surplus of clean power. Norway which has a relatively small population and a lot of hydro power may be one of those places. Iceland has ample hydro power and maybe even HarveyD's Quebec. However, Germany and Japan both burn too much coal and Germany burns peat which is even worse. And even in Iceland, the power is used for Aluminum production. In Quebec, the power is added to the grid which feeds the the rest of eastern Canada and eastern US. Take this power off the grid to make hydrogen and it needs to be replaced from somewhere.
The problem of "where is the source of clean H2" remains. Hydrogen probably comes from steam reforming natural gas or coal which is not exactly clean or maybe from electrolysis of water which could be clean if the required electricity was clean. But in Japan, most of the electricity is from either burning LNG or coal. It was a bit hard to get current data but there are maybe 48 coal fired power plants or maybe they are planning 48 new coal fired plants. Anyway, it is hard to argue that this is clean power. Taking clean power away from the grid just means that dirty needs to be supplied to replace.
This looks to be a worthwhile development project. It would increase the efficiency of nuclear power plants and decrease the need for cooling water. It also decreases the size and cost of the turbo-machinery which would make it more feasible to have compact modular nuclear power plants. I would have liked more information on the temperatures at various stages in the process.
Interesting that support came from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Program Agency), China, and Russia.
errata I wrote "1983 turbo-charged Oldsmobile F85 Starfire". It should have been "1963 turbo-charged Oldsmobile F85 Starfire". Over 50 years ago!
Engineer-Poet Most of the older aircraft engine fuel systems are not made compatible with ethanol. However, if you ran a new separate ethanol or ethanol/water injection system to prevent detonation, this would not be a problem. This was actually done on a number of WW2 aircraft to prevent detonation at high power setting and low altitude and is currently used on race planes. A similar system was also used on the 1983 turbo-charged Oldsmobile F85 Starfire. To use such a system on certified aircraft would require additional certification. However, with experimental aircraft, this would not be a problem. I am currently building an experimental aircraft with a turbo-charged Rotax engine. While it is possible to run 100 LL, it is not recommended. The best thing is to run high octane gasoline without ethanol but it is better to run E-10 autogas than 100 LL.
This scheme would also work on old Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines that now burn 100 low lead (which is actually only lower in lead content that old military grade 130/150 octane fuel).
It is my opinion that we should progressively phase in a carbon tax. However, I am not holding my breath on this. Just because it would be a smart policy will not make it happen. I do understand why the major vendors want some certainty about future regulations as it allows for rational future planning.
Juan Valdez The article states that the turbo compounding system is available in the 2017 engine program. Glad to hear about the charger in Wendover. I still might be a little concerned about Wendover to Ely and back and would definitely be concerned about Nephi to Ely and back as it is 404 miles round trip. I think that a lot of people on the coasts or even in the mid-west do not realize how empty it is in some parts of the inter-mountain west. A few years back I drove about 8 hours on dirt roads in western Utah and never passed another vehicle. Anyway, I commend GM for having a reasonably priced car with 238 miles or range (which would be less at 80 mph) and hope that Tesla is successful with the Model 3.
Who has 500 mile days? really. You have to be kidding? I sometimes do 800 mile days. Also, we have stretches out here in Utah and Nevada where it is well over 100 miles between gas stations. I sometimes drive from SLC to Ely, NV which is 257 miles at either 70, 75 or 80 mph. I doubt that a Tesla would make it. Maybe there are charging facilities in Wendover but I doubt it.
I am the FormulaSAE advisor for the local University (FormulaSAE is a student competition in which students build a small open wheel race car.) At the 2016 FormulaSAE competition in Michigan, Honda had several of the NSX cars on display. I looked one over and told the Honda Rep that I had a car with a similar layout, rear mid-engine V-6 with the radiator up front. He looked surprised and asked what it was -- a 1987 Pontiac Fiero GT. I got in the NSX which is a bit of a struggle but not worse than the Fiero. I am stiff partly from age and partly as the result of driving a dual sport motorcycle into the side of a AAA service truck about 5 years ago when I was not acting my age and the 19-year old driver made a U-turn in my face. Anyway, once I was in the NSX, I decided that the seating in the 1987 Fiero was much better than the NSX. The Fiero has much better leg room than the NSX. I am only about 5'11". So much for being "Human-Centered". The NSX may run better but I would not be able to drive it long enough to matter.
A bit weird but not as ugly as the Leaf or some of their other products.
The Pony Express made a big play in people's imagination but it was bankrupt in 2 years. Stopping to change tractors ever 2 hours is not even get as far as the Pony Express. Maybe if rechargeable lithium-air batteries become practical, you could replace diesel engines for long haul trucking but the best bet is to haul the trailers or containers by rail and use trucks for the first and last miles.
ECI is basically correct. This is just a neat scientific development adding to our overall knowledge which is a good thing. However, it is very unlikely that it will result in low cost hydrogen from renewable energy.
If the goal is to have long distance heavy trucking without using an internal combustion engine, this is what probably makes the most sense unless Lithium Air becomes real and even then this might be better but it will not be inexpensive. With enough battery to get the first and last few miles (kilometers), only the main highways need to be wired. In cases where the distance is long enough, it would be better to ship containers by rail. HarveyD -- This is considerably more efficient than hydrogen fuel cells, so it would require less energy and with hills, the downhill traffic would feed power back into the system to help with the uphill traffic.
I would think that it would be far better to keep the nukes running and buy less coal fired power from Nevada and Utah. But, of course, that would not satisfy the anti-nuke people in California and the winds mostly blow the pollution from the coal fired plants east away from California.
There were a few hybrid locomotives built. It does make some sense to make a hybrid switch locomotive as it spends most of it's time stopping and starting. See There was even a fuel cell version built for testing. Just for you, HarveyD :) GE built a hybrid version of their main line locomotive but that does not make much sense as you need to both store and draw far too much energy in normal operation
@ storky There are new reactor designs that will burn existing nuclear waste and will even burn depleted uranium and leave very little waste and virtually no high level waste. What waste is left can be re-burned. The traveling wave reactor requires no fuel processing and will burn natural uranium, spent fuel, depleted uranium or thorium. It is also possible to build subcritical reactors that require neutron injection to run. As a point of interest, your share of the nuclear waste from a current light water reactor for a life time of power generation would fit in a coke can.
Henrik What is the basis of your statement: "Model 3 will clearly be more efficient than the Bolt." Do you have any facts for this. From GM: They have quite a few specs including 60KWH battery energy but not a final mileage other than over 200 miles. The final mileage rating will depend on EPA testing on the production vehicle. From Tesla: Not many specs other than a 215 mile rang. I might believe that the Model 3 has a lower Cd based on the fact that it is more of a sedan and the Bolt is more of a small CUV and is taller and maybe shorter.
Clett The data is for Dubai which certainly has sunny skies and who knows what the cost of land and labor was along with the cost of finance. The lowest cost in the US was about twice that.
HarveyD, clett, et al I do not know where you got your data from. Cherry picking highly select sources? Look at Natural gas combined cycle is consistently the lowest cost while photo-voltaic is consistently the highest and wind and new nuclear are projected to be about equal with on-shore wind a little lower and off-shore considerably higher. But this does not take into account that you need backup power for either wind or solar. But my real comment was to replace burning coal with what renewable power we do have and not use use it for the hydrogen fantasy. Also, when you quote some of the European data on renewable power consider that some of this comes from burning peat which in my opinion is worse than burning coal and some comes from wood pellets imported from the US.
@Roger Pham We (in the United States) do not have grid excess renewable energy. Last year about, we got about 13.5% of our electric energy from "renewables" which was mostly hydro electric. Only about 4% was wind and less than 0.6% solar. It is far better to replace some electric power that would be generated by burning coal than trying to make hydrogen by electrolysis. I do not know why you persist with the excess renewable energy to hydrogen fantasy. Internal combustion engines will be with us for quite a while -- especially diesel engines for high continuous load applications such as trucks, tractors, construction equipment, etc.