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I would not convert the solar to hydrogen to make fuels, I would charge EVs. You could get maybe 200 kW per acre with 5 hours per day, that would be enough for more like 100 cars not the 20 I estimated. 5 cars versus 100 cars is a 20 to one, but the investment is 1000 times more. You can see the solar to EV is capital intensive, but uses less land. At a 50 to 1 difference in cost, you would have to run the solar 50 years to gain par.
It might cost $1000 per acre to grow a crop which will yield 1000 gallons per year servicing 5 cars. One acre of solar will cost $1,000,000 servicing 20 cars but cost much more.
The U.S. has 200+ million engine vehicles all using liquid hydrocarbon fuels. To say we will use electric from solar cells is a stretch, even if you could overcome the storage problem. People keep talking about how the conversion facilities have to be close to the biomass source, this is easy enough to do but not necessary in all situations. We transport coal thousands of miles, biomass is about the same energy density as lower grade coals.
RP Horizontally opposed four cylinder cycle the two inside pistons in while the two outside go out, whether they are two for four cycle, reciprocation still reduces vibrations.
"...a new palladium-doped anode.." As long as the ethanol is pure with few contaminants it could last. There can not be any CO created by partial reaction, but keeping the catalyst clean could prevent that.
A flat opposed two stroke is nice, lower vibrations with reciprocation. It is a small package which can fit with an alternator/transmission which can provide power.
Deltahawk has a 2L V4 two cycle aircraft diesel that creates 200 hp at 2700 rpm at about 300 pounds. Rotax has as 800cc two cycle gas that creates 160 hp at 5000 rpm at maybe 150 pounds. There are plenty of options for range extenders to drive alternators.
80c is where the fuel cell runs, so heating ethanol is not a problem. The problem with most direct methanol fuel cells is pass through, where the alcohol ends up on the other side, if they can get past that they could have something. E100 from cellulose is a good idea, you can synthesize ethanol from biomass as well as ferment and distill. The farm equipment can run on methanol and/or ethanol, gasified biomass can be used to create nitrogen fertilizer. It is not done because oil and natural gas have been less expensive, that may not be the case forever, even considering fracking and lower oil and gas prices now.
Some people may have third row seating because they think they might need it sometime. Maybe one reason why they buy SUVs and pickups, they think they might need it sometime. This is why we have 200 hp because we know we may will it sometime. That is the nature of utility value for the transportation dollar, people don't want to fall short of their perceived needs, then there are the wants which add to the price.
" don't feel the same "need" for one.." You may have a 1/4 hp bike, but would like a 20 hp scooter or a 100 hp car. A 200 hp car has more status, such is the way in the consumer world.
"..too low for 10 of its 12 members to balance their governments’ budgets.." That may mean that they have to have economies with tax revenues, imagine that. "Saudi Arabia may be losing money on oil at the moment..." Wrong, the government is running a slight deficit because they spend too much and tax less, they make a LOT on oil.
We are not going to balance the budget with gas taxes, but we may be able to pay for roads once again, instead of encouraging corporations to under fund pensions to increase their taxes.
Third row SUVs are routinely over 4600 pounds, that is the nature of the design. Perhaps using more aluminum panels inside the doors, hood and elsewhere could reduce the weight. MPGe is a biased number, it is based on energy used in a vehicle. Engines are 30% efficient motors/controllers/batteries are 70% (not the peak but average) so they score high, but they do not account for the energy expended at the power plant. If you account for ALL energy you get less than half the number quoted.
"..on-board reformers.." YES! This is what I have been advocating for years. Liquid is higher energy density which can be transported and dispensed with present infrastructure. We can run our cars on cellulose methanol and ethanol for for "sustainable mobility".
Store the CO2 from fossil fuel power plants then create a pipeline network to get it to points of use. At those points the CO2 is combined with hydrogen to make methane and methanol.
The latest record for a four layer solar cell is 46% efficiency, you have to concentrate but with a cold mirror you get heat and electricity. A high temperature electrolyzer can reach 80% efficiency, so you are close to 40% with sun.
Harvey, It may have more to do with demand than supply and selection. There is LEAF, Smart, Focus and several other models, but most sold are LEAF and most of those in Japan. I like EVs, but I try to be realistic about the marketing aspects. If a lot of people don't want the EVs that are presently offered, they won't buy them. We still have 5 years in this decade to make the next battery breakthrough, that could increase sales.
Airplane powered by serial-hybrid electric drive
I could see Toyota, Honda and Hyundai leasing FCVs then providing free hydrogen for the 3 year lease. You might get some customers in selected areas.
Instead of 6000 cells per EV, you might have 1500 with quad energy density, the cost would be reduced with range increased. If you need more than 200 mile range, the car maker has a deal with rental companies for discounts.
There is "bolt on" technology for the 200 ethanol plants in the U.S. They can add cellulose processing to make sugars out of corn stalks then ferment them in the same plant, reducing costs. I never said the U.S. would provide ALL our transportation fuels using biomass, the all or nothing argument makes no sense. Reducing oil imports and fossil carbon emissions even 10% is a good goal.
It would be good to have a table showing the actual costs, the PHEV seems to do well compared to the EV. If you have $8 per gallon fuel prices in Europe, $8 per hydrogen kilo does not seem so bad.
If we did, industry would not need coal nor natural gas, but that is NOT the case and you know it.
Designing a FCV with a trunk is no problem if you reform liquid hydrocarbon fuels into hydrogen on board. Liquid fuel has higher energy density than CNG or H2.