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Engineer-Poet
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I like warm feet too, but that doesn't stop me from playing the hypermiling game even in the dead of winter. This doesn't work so well when it's so cold that the software fires up the engine the instant the key is turned.
I think they are pushing it, at least for drivers in colder climates where the range takes a hammering in winter. This is even more true for PHEVs than EVs. As an electrical engineer and sometime electrician, I have my eyes open for existing infrastructure which allows installation of "chargers of opportunity". There is a LOT of 208/240 VAC wiring already run into parking areas, and much of it is rated for the demands of HPS or even incandescent lamps rather than the LEDs now replacing them (at 70% savings). All the capacity now rendered excess could be taken up by chargers, and 100% of capacity during daylight. If charging is ubiquitous, even at Level 1 ratings or just barely more (e.g. 208 VAC 10 A), the range limits of EVs are greatly relaxed. So is the winter range penalty, because a battery that's being charged stays warm. All you have to do is solve the "last-yard" problem, from the base of the light pole to the vehicle with the bumper almost against it. Diesel heaters are so yesterday. Gasoline is now cheaper per BTU in the USA, and a sustainer engine is a much better use in the cold than just a heater. If you want instant heat, add a heat exchanger to the catalytic converter.
This could not have been done 75 years ago, and barely 25 years ago. Neither the materials nor the CFD codes were available; even if you could have designed the curves and ducts in 1940, you couldn't fabricate them in aluminum at an affordable price. Trailer skirts could have been done 75 years ago. Cheap fuel is an adequate explanation for them not appearing until lately... or the primacy of cargo capacity over fuel economy (the weight of a skirt cuts what you can carry).
the application for this motor is replacing piston (and eventually turboprop) engines rather than turbofan. I prefer to think big. Also think beamed power; if you don't have to carry your energy, you can do a lot more. Think of an airliner which only needs enough fuel to reach its diversion landing sites en route, rather than the entire trip.
A quick question for you, if you would be so good: If the correct metric to use when considering the production of hydrogen for use in a vehicle the lower heating value? If you're burning hydrogen in a combustion engine, you'd use the LHV. I couldn't tell you what's appropriate for fuel cells and the like. End-to-end efficiency for power-to-gas-to-power is the same in any event, as you'd incorporate the difference one way at production and the other way at consumption. the figures which I have seen giving very high efficiencies may be based on higher heating value for the hydrogen They'd more likely be based on the LHV, since the LHV is a smaller value and gives a larger efficiency when it's the denominator. (note: I'm seeing blockquotes boldfaced in the preview. This is not my doing.)
I think the greater potential is decoupling of the primary powerplant and the fan systems. A turbofan engine's diameter is limited by the need for ground clearance beneath the wing, and the Froude efficiency is limited by the diameter (and the amount of air it can handle). If the engine core drives an alternator to power smaller fans running the span of the wing, the ground clearance can be increased while total fan area and efficiency also increase. If power can be transferred across wings, engine-out operation need not cause asymmetric thrust. With all fan elements still operational, drag is not increased from either dead fans or trim loads and performance improves.
EP: There are 47,714 miles of highway in the US, how do we fund that? What is the cost per mile? Do you mean "47,714 miles of Interstate highways"? There's a lot of mileage of non-Interstates, several times as much. I-75 runs from Toledo through the entire LP of Michigan to the Mackinac bridge, but there are quite a few roads running parallel which have the designation of US highways and still more state routes which all deserve the label "highway". Yes, it's a big job. As for cost per mile, I'd take Alan Drake's figures on railway electrification with a multiplier for two-wire service over pavement. But even at $3 million per mile, $150 billion to eliminate diesel consumption on the Interstates would be paid off with the fuel savings in less than 5 years. There's a lot of underutilized resources out there. Former rail right-of-way can be revived to serve electrified trucks. When freeways are rebuilt, part of the median could be repurposed as railbed. And there is always hybridization; we don't need to get all fuel consumption, just the bulk of it. A 3-liter diesel sustainer and a 20-gallon fuel tank good for 150-200 miles would be relatively light and allow service to almost anywhere.
I have yet to see batteries come in at the correct densities and cost to be competitive with ICEs... I'm driving around on battery power that's competitive with gasoline at the price of a year ago (and probably again a year from now). Imagine an over the road truck... what are the solutions? Either overhead wire pairs a la Siemens, or Bladerunner rail-capable truck with power supplied overhead or by flush third rail. I really prefer Bladerunner because it separates heavy truck traffic from LDVs, increasing the safety of both. Heavy trucks can carry enough battery capacity to get from the freeway interchanges to loading docks, or just hybridize them for trips beyond battery range. 20 gallons of fuel at 10 MPG is enough to get from a rail spur to almost anywhere you need to go.
I are a engineer (joke), and my views do happen to mesh pretty closely with ECI's on this and several other issues. What was it someone wrote a few years ago, about how many miracles it would take to make the hydrogen economy possible? We've got a couple of them in hand (getting rid of precious metal catalysts being one), but we're still short several... and we'd need them ALL. That one fact makes the current push to hydrogen look like Freedom Car: a scam, a do-nothing replacement for a program that actually threatened to be effective.
Maybe BMW can pay people for X fraction of electricity from wind or whatever, but what they actually use is what's supplying the local grid moment by moment. Ditto the landfill gas; a vast amount of MSW went into the landfill, but BMW is buying the credit for "renewability" while the suppliers of their gas's raw material use fossil fuels (or if they're lucky, nuclear). Such claims as BMWs are pure greenwashing.
Considering that I discovered a fact about the Ford PHEV charging systems (which is left out of the owner's manual and all on-line documentation), there's nothing TO patent. And I'd happily give away any IP from my notion just to see it go into use.
Things look a bit different perhaps though if you combine a lot of partial solutions instead of looking for the big one which solves everything. The problem you get in discussion of such matters is that the Greens will mention 10 different things, but each one is capable of handling only 1-3% of the required work (or is commercially defunct, like wave power). In practice, you need one thing that serves at least 50% of need. For home heating, that used to be coal (now natural gas). So maybe you have some PHEV FCEVs which don't use so much hydrogen, and charge during the day on solar installed at workplaces in parking lots, then use some biomass for the hydrogen. Does it make either economic or engineering sense to put a PHEV-class battery in an FCEV? Both batteries and H2 tanks are bulky. Carbon capture was a technology I could not see much evidence for working, but technologies like zeolitic adsorbtion may be changing that to a realistic option You still have to find a place to put it. The recent legal issues arising from deep-well injection of used frack water doesn't make me sanguine about this.
My discovery isn't ha-ha funny, it's more along the lines of "how I stumbled over this obfuscated fact". And the discovery of that fact makes me wish I could pick the brains of the people who design these systems, in part to see if chargers can be made better for the existing fleet.
To be more accurate, improvements in PEMs don't affect appraisals based on energy balances or overall economics. This bears watching, though. The recent announcements of non-PM OER catalysts suggest that it may be possible to squeeze much of the capital cost out of the system. If you have low enough capital cost, you can afford to keep things on standby and operate them at low duty cycles. That is required (but not sufficient) for an RE-powered hydrogen economy to work. Another requirement is really cheap energy to feed into storage. So long as the RE inputs require FITs to be economically viable, this is a guaranteed failure. Some uses like hydro-reforming biomass to make limited amounts of high-value materials are going to work out at much higher input costs than bulk energy. I would not be surprised if gasified biomass into a steam-reformer is a more viable source of hydrogen for FCEVs than RE into electrolysis. Figure $50/ton for lignocellulose at 45% carbon, balance breaking down to H2O; that's $111/ton C. 1 atom carbon can liberate 4 atoms H from water; assuming 75% efficiency we'd get 3, or 1/4 ton H2 out of 1 ton C. Feedstock cost for the H2 would be about 45¢/kg. 1 billion tons biomass would contain 450 million tons C and produce 150 billion kg H2. At 60 vehicle-miles/kg you'd get 9 trillion vehicle-miles. I believe the USA logs about 3 trillion vehicle-miles per year in LDVs, so that pencils out.
No one knows how private industry can store endless supplies of used nuclear material for tens of thousands of years. Ask yourself how private industry stores millions of tons of toxic combustion byproducts, or chemical toxins. Nuclear could do worse, but would have to work at it. Left to be in a competitive environment, nuclear would not exist. Without the artificial cost and schedule impediments imposed by government, nuclear would long since have pushed coal out of the marketplace for electricity. The USA is far from the worst; Australia is so protective of its coal miners, it imposed an outright ban on nuclear. Fortunately, climate change is prompting a review of that decision.
Its important to remember it is NOT important to have carbon-free electricity.Carbon neutral is just fine. I'm not seeing carbon-neutrality in action. Sequestration is only economical when it's used for scrubbing otherwise-unrecoverable petroleum from oil fields; much more carbon comes out of the ground than goes in. Large-scale biomass in actual practice puts the carbon inventories of forests into the atmosphere for decades. If 20% of your power per year is generating carbon emissions for fossil-fuel backup, you just plant some trees or tax (or cap/trade) carbon to make efficiency improvements financially viable to compensate. Trees are not a durable means of CDR; they are subject to disease, insect attack, fires and droughts to list just a few things. There's also the minor detail that just about every bit of suitable land is already spoken for. The effective energy capture of green things in the temperate zone is about half a watt per square meter; you run out of land long before you run out of carbon to remove. I've got a case in point right in front of me; I am heating my house with insect-killed trees which were growing just 2 years ago. If I took money to sequester someone else's carbon, would I owe them a refund? If we take "The Billion-Ton Vision" as the template for the USA, its 1.3 billion bone-dry tons of biomass at 45% carbon comes to just 585 million tons of carbon available for either energy or CDR (but probably not both). There is some potential there (especially if direct-carbon fuel cells ever make it) but it isn't here yet and we can't wait for it. the 10x advantage e.g. natural gas turbines has over nuclear in capital costs per watt becomes even more formidable. So you ignore the cost of fuel (by far the biggest part of a SCGT's budget) as well as any carbon taxes applicable in the future. If you do dump carbon to the air, you have to add whatever it costs to get it out again. That's not cheap, and the climate impact in the time it's in the atmosphere is neither cheap nor safe. the USA also has already existing hydro and nuclear Hydro was just 6.7% of US electric generation in the last complete year on record. Much of that has to be used or spilled in the peak season, because reservoirs fill up. There's a hydro plant less than 3 miles from me which can't follow demand on cycles longer than about a day because of legal restrictions on the water level in its reservoir. which nobody is planning to just dynamite. Kewaunee, Vermont Yankee, and San Onofre were effectively "just dynamited" (by politics), and Diablo Canyon, Indian Point and others are in the crosshairs of those who made it happen. There's a push to remove dams on many rivers including ones near me, one of which has already been taken out. I am seeing the precise opposite of what you claim. It still handily beats nuclear on cost. Nuclear has the virtue of zero GHG emissions, zero competition for biomass, minuscule real estate impact and fuel security for well over a year (pushing 2 years now). Much of the cost of nuclear comes from a regulatory system demanding unlimited "safety" while ignoring the public health impact of the power that would be displaced. it is ultimately a strawman That's how I see the major arguments for ruinables: straw men.
Rayleigh scattering is proportional to the inverse fourth power of wavelength, and the proposals for powersats have long included real-time correction of wavefront distortions due to ionospheric inhomogeneity to put as much power as possible on the target.
This seems to be the day for OER catalysts. Everyone knows I'm bearish on the prospects of H2 FCEVs, but I can't help but wonder if this might not boost the viability of hydro-deoxygenation of biomass-derived materials to make fuels and such.
ECI, you're absolutely right about PHEV psychology (I've been topping up regularly in order to avoid turning on the engine). Speed of charging is a very big deal for those brief stops. You'd probably be amused if I told you one of my recent discoveries, and what I wish I could ask the various auto company engineers about the capabilities and limits of their PHEV chargers.
Going off-grid means having to manage your own dry spells. Solar + battery + backup generator + fuel starts getting complicated as well as pricey, and that assumes that local zoning and fire regulations allow you to use the generator and keep the fuel on hand. It would be much better if the control of the battery was turned over to the utility. With a late-evening demand peak, the utility would likely use the battery to help supply that peak and charge the battery during the overnight hours and the noontime PV generation peak. That would reduce overall costs.
PHEVs have small enough batteries that they can be fully charged overnight from regular wall outlets. Better charging infrastructure is nice for such vehicles, but hardly required.
I don't read Danish, and my experience with machine translations of technical documents doesn't inspire me to try it again. If you have a source in English I'll go over it. A storage cost of 10¢/kWh is far too expensive when industry needs total cost around 6-7¢ to be viable. The market for refrigeration will be saturated quickly, so it won't be able to offset the cost of electric storage. You didn't mention efficiency either. Losses in the storage system cut your system EROI, and major investments can haul wind down from 20 to below the critical level of 7 all too quickly. Nuclear has an EROI around 100.
Knew you couldn't. It's the bridge to "Home on Lagrange", not part of the officially-published version on Oberg's site.
The cattle are standing like statues The cattle are standing like statues They smell of roast beef every time I ride by And the hawks and the falcons are dropping like flies (betcha can't name what that's from)