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Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, entreprenuer
Interests: diesel and gasoline engines, cars, aircraft, railroads, electric drives
Recent Activity
Harvey, How much of the UK renewables are the burning of wood pellets and other biomass? Apparently at least about 40% How much of Brazilian renewables come from sugar cane alcohol and the burning of biomass? Most of their renewables are hydro but alcohol and biomass are also important.
Just another dull car from Toyota. Basically, they had an advantage in the late 1990's by having the first mass produced hybrid and then they blew it by hanging on to the same architecture too. I drove one of the early Prius cars that a colleague had bought. My impression was that it did not do anything weird which was good but other than that it was a relatively dull car that I would not want to own. It got better mileage but I got about 10 mpg less than my colleague thought that I should because I tried to drive in my normal rather non-aggressive mode and not in some super-mileage mode.
This is a very complicated system and expensive for a 4 place plane. Much better to have a single fuel cell sufficient for cruise with a limited battery to smooth out power demand for takeoff and climb and then have multiple motors and propellers.
EP I am not arguing for wind or solar. I would far rather have the new nuclear plants as they are far more reliable and take up little little space. If you want roof top solar, OK to an extent. I consider wind turbines a blight on the landscape. I was arguing against going with hydrogen as a storage mechanism as the efficiency is relatively low and it is hard to store or transport. Maybe, you can use hydrogen for direct reduction of iron oxide to iron and of course it is used in making hydrocarbon fuels.
EP, I would not try to store enough energy to power the entire US for several weeks -- only enough to store excess energy for maybe 10 hours. The proposed electrolysis project was only 100 MW. The Bath County (Virginia) pumped storage has a max output of about 3000 MW with about 10 hours of storage. However, they have a rather high hydraulic head at 385 m (1262 ft) to work with. This was built to level out demand for nuclear power so the nuclear facility could run at full power off peak. The Niagara Power Project stores water during night hours so more water can run over the falls during the day. They pump water into a reservoir and then release it thru the pump turbines to generate 240 MW before sending thru the main turbines. This was built on flat land so the head is probably only about 20 m. I worked on this project when I was 17 (1960) but in the switch yard not the pumped storage facility. Anyway, I would recommend pumped storage instead of electrolysis for energy storage or leveling. If you already have hydro power as is the case along the Columbia River, all you need is cut back on the water release if you have excess wind energy. If you want to make hydrogen for industrial purposes, maybe that makes sense but not for energy storage.
If they actually have excess wind energy( and maybe they do or maybe they do not), a much better solution would be pumped storage hydro as the round trip efficiency 80%. Also, England certainly has hills and water.
I believe that this is one of the more important steps in providing clean safe carbon free power. The other step would be the implementation of a traveling wave reactor that will burn existing nuclear waste, depleted uranium or natural (non enriched) uranium. Anyway NuScale's reactor weighs 700 tons but is shipped in 3 parts but the largest piece is 65 ft long and 15 ft in diameter. It can be shipped by barge, rail,or truck but the rail and truck options would entail special oversize load handling. The truck option is shown in an illustration. The trailer appears to have 128 wheels. See NuScale Fab and Assembly Air transport would not seem to be an option as the heaviest lift aircraft, the An-225 has a load capacity of about 200 T and there is only 1 or 2 of these aircraft in existence.
Or maybe compare this with a Proterra Battery Electric Bus with a lower overall operating cost and twice the energy efficiency and more than sufficient range for almost any imaginable transit bus route (over 300 miles or 500 km operating range).
Davemart: You almost need to be a lawyer to read the fine print but upon careful rereading the article, I found this line: "Together, they will provide multiple sources of hydrogen throughout the region, including over 1 ton of 100% renewable hydrogen per day at the heavy-duty station to be operated by Shell..." My interpretation of this is that not all of the hydrogen is 100% renewable (whatever that might mean). If any electric power is being used and it almost certainly is being used, it is tied to the grid. From the other previous article your referenced, I did indeed make several comments. One was to comment on how little the total amount of power was and the other was to state that it is not easy to transport hydrogen as it must either be compressed to very high pressures or liquified, both of which require considerable energy input. And from the previous article, if they are using biogas, they would be easier to use it as methane or CNG in an internal combustion engine or just add it to the natural gas pipeline. I think that our goals are the same but the problem with fuel cells is that there is no easy source of hydrogen. Somehow you have to make it and the overall efficiency of making hydrogen and converting it back to electricity is less that using batteries as an energy storage mechanism (something like 25% to 40% compared to 80%). And if you really had a lot of excess renewable energy, pumped storage hydro will get you about 80% round trip efficiency. In addition, battery electric is less complicated and cost less. Anyway, I will stand with EP and agree that this is just Toyota "greenwash".
Davemart: The hell they do not use coal fired power. As long as they are tied into the grid, they are using power that could be used more efficiently elsewhere and some of this power is coal fired. For most drayage and other short haul freight, battery electric is more efficient and cheaper and may be cheaper than diesel after all costs are included.
This is a waste of resources and will not reduce greenhouse gases as much as going battery electric. Maybe, fuel cell technology makes sense in the near future for long haul trucking but battery electric is more than sufficient for drainage and local deliveries . Also, as long as California is buying coal fired power, it is hard to argue that fuel cells are cleaner than diesel except that Utah and Nevada have the emissions and not California.
HarveyD: If it highly automated, the cells do not need to be made where labor is cheap. They could be made for the market where they will be used.
A smarter variation of this device would be to steer each wheel independently which would allow the steering to be correct for all steering conditions. The commonly used Ackerman system is only correct straight ahead and at one angle. At any other angle, the tires must scrub which wears the tires and wastes energy.
And when was peak oil supposed to occur?
So what is the carbon cost of this hydrogen? They mention using coal and natural gas in addition to so-called clean energy which is not really clean as long as you are using power that would otherwise displace electric power produced burning coal or natural gas.
a1_vin This is what you really want: I am not sure why this has not been more popular has it combines the best of both worlds and the close fit of the trailers would minimize air drag. The only disadvantage that I know of is that the trailers are somewhat heavier to withstand the buff forces and that eats into the net permissible load on the highway but a lot of loads bulk out anyway.
Much of the freight hauled in the larger tractor trailer rigs is not driven to the end user. It is taken to a terminal where it is sorted for and taken to the customers in smaller trucks. No one is going to drive one of the doubles into a European city. There are exceptions especially for large manufacturing operations. A car manufacturer may make engines in one plant and take it to another plant in a different city for final assembly with the car. But these plants often have rail spurs. At our facility where we manufacture specialized self-propelled ag equipment, we get large tires, diesel engines, seats, steel, etc on a daily basis. All of it comes as less than truckload freight and has been take to a terminal and transloaded onto city delivery trucks.
They are only running double 45 ft trailers. What is the big news? In the western US, we run double 53 ft trailers or triple 27 ft trailers. Anyway, I agree with EP that they should run more of the cargo on trains. We have double stack trains (2 containers stacked one on top of the other) in the US that exceed 12,500 ft in total length. In Europe, most of the railways are electrified but while their passenger trains are first rate, their freight railroad systems is not as well developed or not as well used.
Roger and SJC I think that my desires are the same as yours. Cut down on the use of fossil fuels. The problem is that unless, you truly have excess electric power, making hydrogen from electric power, compressing it, and then converting it back to electricity is probably somewhere in the range of 25 to 40% efficient and even f you used the best possible numbers, 53% which is probably not likely. Hawaii is planning on having total renewable energy in 2045 so there is no excess Solar or Wind energy now nor will there be in the near future. Any, if there was, it would make more sense to put in pumped storage which is about 80% efficient. Basically, I think this smacks of a Toyota "greenwash" stunt. Maybe fuel cells would be useful for military vehicles, drones, or submersibles where stealth is important and there is limited infrastructure for charging batteries. Maybe (and I think that this is a stretch), fuel cells will be used in long distance trucks as Nicola Motors is proposing or in construction and ag machines where relatively constant high levels of power are required. For cars, delivery vehicles, and transit vehicles batteries seem to be much more energy and cost efficient.
Why? There is nowhere to go in Hawaii that could not be driven to with a Tesla or Bolt or even a Leaf. In a Tesla or Bolt, you could easily circumnavigate the big island and still have charge left.
SJC If you are going to quote best case efficiencies for your side of the argument than use it for the other side. GE offers combined cycle efficiencies of 62.22 % to make electricity from natural gas. Real world it is probably 58-60%. Roger Likewise, plus I think that I would take Nikola Motors numbers with a few grains of salt. "Nobody would be so dumb as to use coal-fired or natural gas power plants' electricity in electrolyzer (sic) to make hydrogen" Really! It does not matter anyway as electricity is fungible. Anyway, there is no energy cheap easy source of hydrogen. If you were going to make hydrogen, probably the best technique would to use nuclear power and go with high temperature electrolysis.
SJC If you have bio-methane, a modified diesel engine such as the Cummins Westport "Near Zero NOx" engine would be better than messing with hydrogen. Or, if you insist on making hydrogen, use the hydrogen for direct reduction iron where you would replace coke from coal.
If you run straight electric or battery electric, you will be about 80 to 90% efficient. If you run a fuel cell about the best estimate I have seen for efficiency is 40% but 25% is probably a better number for common current practice. If the usage is not sufficient to make overhead catenary economically practical, a better solution would be to have a battery electric system where the train is charged either at the stations or using short sections of overhead catenary. Last fall, I rode a urban transit rail system in northern Italy that worked on such a system If you are running at 25 to 40% efficient and using coal for electric power, even diesel power is probably cleaner than using coal fired electric power to generate hydrogen. About 44% of German electric production is coal based and about another 6% is burning biomass which could be better or worse than coal.
Jason Burr If you wanted to use wind power for emergency propulsion, I would suggest that sails would be much more efficient. The hull is a trimaran so it should sail reasonably well without a keel.
Why build fuel cell vehicles in South Korea? A modern BEV would take you anywhere in South Korea with range to spare. The place is like an island as you have water on 3 sides and North Korea on the other side. They get about 70% of their electric power from fossil fuels, 20% from nuclear, and about 10% from renewables including hydro. They have no oil and some natural gas but are also importing natural gas. Why are they wasting resources on hydrogen?