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E-P you are correct about the use of the waste heat. After reading the article in more depth and one of the references (Bernical et al. [4] ) there are references to alkaline water electrolysis, e.g. "Compared to alkaline water electrolysis, high temperature steam electrolysis requires less electrical power. " Also, in Section 3.4. Modeling the Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell "excess heat from the gasifier is available and can be used to heat steam to temperatures well above 1000 °C. When feeding this hot steam to an SOEC . . . allows for electric input that is lower than what is needed at room temperature.". The article probably more importantly points out that the cost of producing advanced biofuel with the PBtL concept even with Hydrogen upgrading would still be very high compared to current fuel prices.
There are several "flaws" in this study that everyone has pointed out. The use of Hydrogen (or Hydrotreating) is a standard practice in the petrochemical industry for fuel upgrading or removing impurities, e.g. Sulfur or heavy metals. Though this Hydrogen comes from Steam Methane Reforming not renewable sources. Also, why use SOEC for Electrolysis? Maybe this has something to do with SINTEF research where one of the authors works. Why not include Zero-Gap Alkaline Water Electrolysis? Nel Hydrogen (a Norwegian company) and Thyssen Krupp already have production scale equipment used in the Ammonia Industry and probably is cheaper. BTW studies in the Ammonia Industry say if Renewable Electricity is to be competitive it needs to cost $25/MWh.
This is an interesting Li-S battery, though have not been able to read the full article. The use of Sodium Lignosulfonate looks like an excellent material for the suppression of the polysulfide shuttling effect. Lignosulfonate, a by-product of the paper manufacturing industry, is an abundant low cost material that has been used in Lead Acid batteries as a life extender for many years. Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have used it as a Cathode for their lithium–sulfur battery. Also, two of the authors of this paper have extensive backgrounds in lithium–sulfur batteries (John Goodenough) and in 3D graphene composite architectures (Xiangfeng Duan).
Davemart FWIW my professional and academic background is in Manufacturing System Engineering. I have been involved with the Toyota Production System since the 1980s. When I review a technology I look at all of it's aspects, i.e. engineering complexity, system efficiency, and supply chain considerations. There appears to be a global consensus in the automobile industry that vehicle electrification will be in all vehicles. It is too early to bet on which technology - HEV, BEV, PHEV, or FCEV will dominate and it is not worth promoting one over the other.
One final note. I still think Fuel Cell technology if it ever does take hold will be limited to a few areas, e.g. long range Class 8 trucks where large H2 tanks and cost would not be a problem. Besides would rather have a Tesla Model 3 or a Toyota Mirai (they are about the same cost).
Maybe I was not clear enough about how the CSIRO Membrane Technology to convert Ammonia to hydrogen was a "Green" process. Today the answer of course would be NO. However, the Ammonia industry is making every effort to convert this valuable chemical to a "Green" process. Yara, the world's largest ammonia producer, has many Electrolytic Ammonia plants that use Hydro generated electricity (they were originally part of Norsk Hydro). Yara intends to build a demonstration plant to produce ammonia using solar power, near its existing world-scale plant in the Pilbara, in Western Australia in 2019. Electrolytic Ammonia production can be cost competitive today with Natural Gas SMR Ammonia, if a low cost source of renewable electricity is available.
Using the existing Ammonia infrastructure might be a solution to creating an H2 infrastructure and this looks like one way to use it. However, today traditional Haber-Bosch ammonia plants use natural gas feedstock to perform a steam methane reformation (SMR) to make ammonia. The Haber-Bosch process requires eight steps: the first seven steps are all concerned with reforming natural gas (hydrogen production and clean-up) and preparing the feedstock (compression), only the final step is the actual Haber-Bosch (ammonia synthesis). There are alternatives to SMR Haber-Bosch process. One method would be using Electrolysis to create the hydrogen. Though SMR is currently cheaper except in places like Norway. Recently GCC had a post about ThyssenKrupp technology for "advanced water electrolysis" ( This will be used at a demonstration plant in Port Lincoln, South Australia. Of course the holy grail would be Direct Electrolytic Ammonia Production using only Air and Water though this is still in early stages of development, e.g.
This could be a lot closer to commercialization than many here think. This is really not about using Silver anodes, it is about how to manufacture complex 3D microlattice structures. Panat and his team have developed a new 3D printing method that allows for microlattice architectures of any size. CMU is using an Optomec Aerosol Jet 3D Printer that is used to print 3D Electronic circuits. Aerosol Jet technology can be ‘scaled’ up by the addition of more nozzles to a print head or the addition of multiple print heads to a system. Battery researchers can use this approach with more typical anode material, e.g. Tin or a Lithium coated Copper anode (ref: Joule (2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2018.06.003).
This is about 'green' ammonia. ThyssenKrupp has been making ammonia plants since 1928 and electrolysis equipment since the 1950's primarily for the Uhde Chlorine business. It is a building a demonstration plant in Port Lincoln, South Australia that will be "one of the first ever commercial plants to produce CO2-free 'green' ammonia from intermittent renewable resources."
Johnson Matthey licensed the CAM-7 Lithium Nickel Oxide cathode from CAMX Power. A November 14, 2017 MIT Technology Review article "This Startup Developed a Promising New Battery Material—and a Novel Survival Strategy" discusses The CAM-7 Cathode. It points out that high-nickel cathodes run into stability problems that shorten a battery’s life. CAMX developed a molecularly engineered composition that stabilizes the materials by placing small amounts of cobalt in crucial areas. Further information can be found in the CAMX patent application WO2017139477A1.
The Honda PCX Electric has a plug-in charge port. The Gogoro does not, though it does have a home "Go Charger". Gogoro will allow others to own the charger - like small businesses and Gogoro will even pay for it. It's called the OPEN Initiative—for Owner Proposed Energy Network.
At CES2018 Honda revealed the PCX Electric (similar to the PCX Hybrid) using the Honda Mobile Power Pack (“Mobile Power Pack”) detachable mobile battery. This is similar to the Gogoro scooter that is popular in Taiwan. Gogoro has 622 swapping stations already. This could be a great solution in many Asian countries where scooters are the predominate mode of transport.
Update on Protean In-wheel Electric Motor: Typical electric motors have the rotor housing and the main stator chassis made from aluminum. On the Protean In-wheel motor the rotor comprises the front portion of the motor and has rotor drive magnets mounted to the aluminum portion of the rotor rim (reference: US20160344246A1 - A rotor for an electric motor or generator, Assignee: PROTEAN ELECTRIC Ltd).
The aluminum endshield, the part of the motor housing that supports the bearing and protects the motor's internals can be heavy. The Siemens Electric Aircraft Motor redesigned the endshield into a lattice-like structure with the same performance at less than half the weight, The Siemens electric motor has a power-to-weight ratio of five kW/kg (260 kW/50kg). Significant weight savings for an in-wheel motor could be helped by using carbon fiber wheels similar to the ones on the Shelby Mustang.
Car Sharing and Blockchain. Every car maker will soon be involved with Car Sharing. Blockchain will keep a permanent record of all transactions and maintenance. Any use or misuse will be documented and subsequently charged back to the user. This will be similar to Performance Based Logistics (PBL) used in Defense contracts. The System Integrator, i.e. Car Dealer, or Service Provider, will guarantee a level of performance for the duration of the contract which could be as short as 24 hours.
Now I can build my All Electric "Glamper Van" and for those emergency times when a recharger is not close it will have a BMW Range Extender in the Frunk (for reference see the Workhorse N-Gen configuration). Expect Winnebago to have one in 2020.
The military tried reformed JP8 over 10 years ago. They found that high sulfur content quickly chokes fuel cells. While JP8 refined in the United States may have a sulfur content of 15 parts per million, the military buys its fuel regionally. In the first Gulf War, the military bought fuel from Saudi Arabia with a sulfur content of 3,000 parts per million ratio.
JP8 or drop in equivalent will probably remain the military fuel for some time. It used in all applications, i.e. air, land, and sea. The Liquid Piston X4 rotary diesel engine would be an excellent UAV engine since it is light and more efficient than gas turbines. For ground applications the Achates Power two-stroke opposed piston diesel looks like a winner. Already developed as the Advanced Combat Engine (ACE) by Cummins with up tp 1500hp can power all military vehicles even replacing the gas turbine in the M1 tank which is very inefficient. A similar diesel engine is in the Ukrainian T-84 tank (the KMDB-6) replaced the gas turbine in the T-80 tank (both the Achates Power and KMDB engine are based on the Junkers Jumo aircraft diesel).
And that excess heat from generating H2 and fuel cell use could be used to warm MREs and your sleeping bag when recharging batteries. This might even have a commercial use for campers.
The military has been looking at fuel cell tech for over a decade in 4 applications. This may be the solution to make this viable for wearable power systems and UAV power sources.Today a soldier carries 16 lbs of batteries for electronics and communications so anything to lighten the load or extend endurance is important. Also for small UAV fuel cell applications check out Protonex (a Ballard company). Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVS) are using another variation of this aluminum-based nanogalvanic alloy powder using a aluminum-water battery . The original MIT research is now being developed at L3 Open Water Power. For light duty vehicles this is still a long shot since this will require a larger supply of the aluminum alloy. However, a vehicle smaller than the ZH2 might work. Something like the optionally manned Polaris MRZR X which is being used by SOCOM.
According to Protean the Wheel Motor weighs 36 kg or 79.4 lbs. Unsprung weight is important to performance on a racetrack so Ford offers the Carbon Revolution carbon fiber wheels on the Shelby Mustang GT350R. So if you need to cut a few tenths of a second off your lap time at Le Mans (btw it's running this weekend), then do not use Protean Wheel Motors. If you are interested in the impact of Unsprung weight due to the Protean motors they have a whitepaper on their web site at title "Unsprung Mass with In-Wheel Motors – Myths and Realities".
Electrification not Synfuels is where the future of transportation appears to be headed. The one area where Synfuels may have a future is in commercial aviation. US airlines consumed 17.7 billion gallons of fuel in 2016 or roughly 7% of all fuel consumed in the US. A a hybrid conversion technology for catalytic upgrading of biomass derived syngas to produce Synfuel looks promising and does not require the use of surplus sustainable electricity.
A 2017 presentation by Sekisui (Japan) and Lanzatech claims that the 2.2 Billion tons from Global Municipal Solid Waste represents a potential of 60 Billion gallons of Ethanol (this is MSW that is unsorted, non-recycled, and non-compostable that is going to landfills).
The Stena Germanica uses the Wärtsilä Z40S engine modifications using a fuel injector capable of distributing two separate fuels individually (reference: The methanol is injected at TDC with 3 injectors for MeOH Injection and one for Pilot Diesel Injection (reference: International Conference “GREEN TRANSPORTATION 2016” ,