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Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, entreprenuer
Interests: diesel and gasoline engines, cars, aircraft, railroads, electric drives
Recent Activity
Apparently, Fiber Forge went bankrupt several years ago. Anyway, if you put enough energy into it you can probably turn CO2 into diamonds. Anyway, the energy required to turn CO2 back to carbon and oxygen is cosiderably more than the energy that was released going from carbon and oxygen to CO2. About the only energy and cost efficient way to turn CO2 back into carbon is photosynthesis.
Cummins Westport Inc. has received certifications from both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California for its 2018 L9N and B6.7N natural gas engines. Both engines meet California ARB optional Low NOx standards, as well as 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission (GHG) requirements, making them some of the cleanest engines available today for truck and bus customers. If you want to read all of the details: When is the CO2 to carbon fiber going to be commercial? How much carbon fiber do we need and much energy does this process take?
OK, there will be no massive deployment of Tesla semi trucks in 2018 and probably not in 2019 either but maybe a few will make it on the road. A better bet is the electric version of the Mercedes/Freightliner Electric Sprinter and the Cummins battery electric semi-tractor. Basically, you do not need fuel cells for in-city delivery where the typical range requirements is about 70 miles. The whole problem with fuel cells is producing, compressing, and storing hydrogen. Depending on whose numbers you use, the overall energy efficiency is about 30 to 40 percent of using a battery electric vehicle if you are using electrolysis. If you are using natural gas reformation, you might as well run a natural gas internal combustion engine. The whole point is to cut pollution not just transfer the source. China certainly does not have a surplus of clean power and continues to burn coal for most of their power.
This research may be a worthwhile endeavor but the claim that magnesium is the lightest metal is not correct. It may be the lightest practical structural metal but there are 4 metals that are lighter at room temp. Lithium 0.534 g/cm3 Potassium 0.862 g/cm3 Sodium 0.968 g/cm3 Rubidium 1.532 g/cm3 Magnesium 1.738 g/cm3 Also Beryllium (1.85 g/cm3) is an interesting metal that has an only slightly higher density than magnesium . However is is much harder and has more than 6 times the stiffness. There are health issues in machining it but it is used extensively in space instrumentation and especially for large mirrors.
It is described as being distinctive but the term ugly comes to my mind as in it is so ugly as to be safe as everyone will avoid it.
eci I read the articles you referenced. I know that some of the new wind turbine energy is being quoted at or below the cost of coal energy. However, there is a problem that somewhat reminds me of the old joke of having a customer complaining that the store owner's bananas are more expensive than the price across the street. When asked why he does not just buy the bananas across the street, it is because the other store is out. The first store owner simply states that if he did not have any bananas to sell, he could also sell them at that price. Not quite the right analogy but unless you have adequate storage, you also need to factor in the cost of having the backup power source. What is adequate probably depends on the location and how critical it is to have no outage or the cost of having an outage. Maybe it is 12 hrs, maybe 3 days, maybe 2 weeks. My personal opinion is that we should build modern nuclear power plants which are safer and more reliable than any of the renewable power sources. If we had enough nuclear power we could start to rip out the ugly wind turbines :^)/2. :^)/2 because I am half serious. Nupower is starting to scale up to build small modular reactors that are walk away safe and they have an initial customer for the first 12 units and approved siting. I am hoping that TerraPower's traveling wave reactor works out. It is designed to burn about anything -- existing reactor waste, depleted uranium, natural uranium. Apparently, we currently have enough stored depleted uranium to supply the entire US power needs for 700 years. See and CE88 I am not sure about the cost of geothermal but there is not much that is being used in the US as the cost of the infrastructure is too high and the available temperature is too low for efficient power generation. There are not that many places in the US where geothermal is practical. Iceland uses geothermal for most of their heating and domestic hot water.
The problem I have with "clean hydrogen" is than it uses electric power that otherwise could be used more efficiently. The round trip efficiency for electrolysis, compression and back to electricity via fuel cell is 25-30% and with battery storage, it is probably around 90%, so the efficiency is about 1/3. California still gets a large amount or it's electricity from coal which is mostly burned in Nevada and Utah so they import electricity and export pollution -- clever. And I live downwind of some of this pollution.
They may have added a reverse capability but they did not do it by adding a reverse GEAR<\i>. Electric motors run either direction just as well. It is just a relatively simple control function.
I think that these batteries are intended to be used in power plant type settings. As such they would be used to come on-line instantly to regulate or support the grid power whenever the wind suddenly died of the sun was blocked by clouds, etc. For longer outages, backup gas turbines or hydro would take over.
I hope that this works as well as they seem to indicate. It makes much more sense than trying to make and store hydrogen which as best is about 40% efficient (and more likely about 25% efficient) round trip. Of course, if you have water and a hill, there is pumped storage but I am not sure how the costs would compare with a Na–NiCl2 battery. Both require a major amount of infrastructure.
It is just a student project which is OK as it provides some real world education but it is highly unlikely to result in a real world product. Anyway, it sounds like a good project. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) sponsors a number of student competitions for the same purpose of providing real world engineering experience. I have been the advisor for students at the local university participating in FormulaSAE where the student build a small formula-type race car. We were using a restricted motorcycle engine limited to 600 cc but for the past 2 years we have entered the electric car version which is limited to 80KW. This is probably one the best experiences engineering students have to gain some real world engineering
Using Ruthenium in place of platinum does not seem to be much of a win as the annual production of Ruthenium is less than 5% of that of platinum From Wikipedia: "Ruthenium is usually found as a minor component of platinum ores; the annual production is about 20 tonnes." Also, the article did not claim to reduce the energy required.
yoatmon You are correct and I was wrong. From Wikipedia: For these reasons and the small size of helium monatomic molecules, helium diffuses through solids at a rate three times that of air and around 65% that of hydrogen.[20] I knew that helium was commonly used for leak detection but hydrogen also has less viscosity and will leak faster thru ao orifice.
Yoatman I think that you are confusing hydrogen with helium. From the Wikipedia article on hydrogen storage: "Compressed hydrogen storage can exhibit very low permeation." On the other hand, helium will leak thru anything. All you can hope to do is slow it down. There are lots of problems with hydrogen storage and fuel cells in general but high permeation is probably not one of them.
I have little faith in anyone making technology predictions 25 years out. In re-reading some of this article, I see that the group making the prediction is the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) which has a built-in bias towards supporting fuel cells as that is their main function. Always interesting to go back and read old Popular Science articles predicting the future. At one time, you might think that we would all be driving cars powered by nuclear reactors by now. In 1955, I learned to drive an Allis Chamlmers tractor so I had an interest in the 1959 Allis Chamlmers Fuel Cell tractor. Well, the short of the story is that farmers still are not using fuel cell tractors. Even if the cost (and size?) of the fuels become reasonable, there is still overall problem with generating hydrogen. Yes, every few days there is a new development but they are mostly lower cost catalysts but there is still the problem of supplying the energy to make the hydrogen and no we do not have surplus renewable energy. We currently generate about 6.5% of our electric power from wind and solar and about another 6.5% from hydro. Hydrogen and fuel cells are a bad storage solution as the overall efficiency is about 25%. Pumped storage (hydro) would be a better solution or just release less of the existing water used for hydro. I tried to find the source of the quote: "Predictions are hard to make, especially when they are about the future". So take your choice, Niels Bohr? Samuel Goldwyn? K. K. Steincke? Robert Storm Petersen? Yogi Berra? Mark Twain? Nostradamus? Anonymous?. Maybe it comes from a Danish proverb. Anyway, it has a certain self-evident truth.
HarveyD, The only thing that this report will probably confirm is how hard it is to make predictions more that 5-8 years into the future. One of my favorite quotes on this is from Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11 astronaut): "You promised me moon colonies and all I got was FaceBook". There is also Yogi Bera comment: "It is hard to make predictions especially about the future." Maybe by 2040, we will have almost free electric power from fusion which can be used for high temperature electrolysis although I would not bet on it. I agree with the comments about "Mass Compounding" but that ignores the possibility That we will have batteries other Lithium Ion. The Lithium Sulfur cell that Rice Univ and others developed promised about 4 times the energy density of Lithium Ion and extremely fast charging. Will this research or other similar research make it to the market. I do not know but I would rather bet on fast charging Lithium Sulfur than fuel cells. Maybe by 2040, there will be something completely different that we make us wonder why we ever looked at either batteries or fuel cells (Cold Fusion? :))
Reading some of the GM Self Driving Safety Report, it seems that the cars will initially be used only in certain areas of certain cities and will not be sold but will be used for a GM run ride share system. There are not for sale to the general public. Also, the cars are using the Chevy Bolt Electric Car as a base.
I am a little surprised that this will be ready in 2019 although I assume that it is just for testing and will not be released for sale to the general public in 2019. However, the article does say that it is production ready.
Earle: Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung with various causes. While the air pollution alone will not cause the common bacterial pneumonia, it will certain cause irritation of the lungs along with other problems. I live in the Wasatch Front and there are days where the air cause my eyes to burn and probably makes it harder to breathe.
I believe that the Cummins Battery Electric tractor would be both cheaper to own and operate and a more efficient use of electric power. For long-haul runs, fuel cells might make sense but personally, I think that I would bet on Lithium Sulfur batteries. Overall, in my opinion, batteries are making progress faster than fuel cells.
Davemart: NuScale is working on the small modular reactor and is making progress on getting a Design Certification from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and just yesterday cleared one hurdle. They have an initial customer, Utah Rural Power and an approved site on the Idaho National Lab grounds so there is hope. Then if Terrapower can get their wave reactor working and certified, the nuclear waste problem is solved and we can work on removing the ugly wind turbines that are cluttering our environment.
I was also going to point out that the Netherlands does not have excess renewable energy. It is a little hard to find current hard data but it appears that the renewable segment of the Dutch electric energy production is about 10% but this may include biomass co-firing of coal plants. Apparently, they are buying about 600,000 tons of wood pellets a year from the US. I find it a bit hard to accept this as completely "renewable" but is available at night. They have recently closed some coal plants but brought one new unit online in 2015 and 2 units online in 2016. Using electricity to make hydrogen to power transit buses is a waste of electricity as the overall efficiency is only about 25% whereas using battery electric buses will be about 80% efficient. In addition, the battery electric buses will both less expensive to buy and to operate.
Davemart, You have all night to charge the batteries and both power demand and transit demand is generally less at night.
The car looks nice but why the crazy doors. They have a single cantilevered hinge which is heavy, complicated, expensive, requires power to operate and will probably be prone to maintenance problems.
Yes, you can convert heavy fuel and even coke to lighter hydrocarbons. All you need to do is add enough hydrogen and enough energy. Look at the diagram.