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Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, entreprenuer
Interests: diesel and gasoline engines, cars, aircraft, railroads, electric drives
Recent Activity
Isobutanol is close to a drop in substitute for gasoline so all they really need to do is produce isobutanol cheaper than gasoline.
You do not need a range extender for a slow speed stop and go urban transit bus. Note that they bought 20 battery electric buses and ordered 25 more and bought the fuel cell bus to see if it had anything more to offer.
I bought some Gevo stock about 8 years ago based on their claims of being able to make isobutanol by direct fermentation. The stock is almost worthless but they continue to stay in business. Maybe, I should buy some more now. Fortunately, most of my investments paid off.
Why? The older VW beetles were an unstable driving disaster. The only vehicle that I have driven that was worse was the older VW micro bus. Driving a motorcycle would be safer.
I would not think that fuel cells are required for local transit buses as Proterra makes buses with ranges up to 350 miles (560 km). Fuel cells will just add to the initial cost and the cost of fuel and maintenance. Maybe fuel cells could be justified for long distance buses until faster charging batteries are commercially available.
I wish Nocola well but I would be hard pressed to evaluate the company at $3B. Nicola was moving out of a building in SLC, UT at the same time that my company was moving into a larger section of the same building. Nicola had received either funding or tax breaks from Arizona so they were moving to the Phoenix area. I was able to take a quick tour of their vehicle. Any my company (I am a minority owner) which makes some high tech ag equipment and is building a 1/4+ $M machine every 3 or 4 days and growing and is not worth anywhere near their evaluation. We must have started at about the same time but with far less funding. I think that their battery electric day cab local delivery truck will be an easier vehicle to sell than the fuel cell long haul truck. Anyway, we will see the how they do.
Clean hydrogen from coal? Really? The only clean coal is the coal not mined. Cleaning the air using a fuel cell is also a ridiculous concept. It would clean a minuscule amount of air and even then you have to clean the filter. This is not really any better than running a tier 4 diesel in a dirty environment.
HarveyD, please note that it is possible to run electric powered school buses in Quebec (also in North Dakota) using only batteries. No hydrogen fuel cells are required.
Enviation's Alice 9-seat aircraft is a larger and heavier electric only aircraft with a similar range and is fully battery electric but it is not clear that it has flown yet It was displayed at the Paris Air Show and they have announced an initial customer in the US. I was hoping that it would be shown at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Oshkosh airshow this year but they were not there. Maybe next year with an operating plane. An interesting problem with a battery electric aircraft is that they do not burn off weight as they fly so they have to land at the same mass as they took off.
HarveyD Most school buses run a 10-15 mile loop once or twice in the morning and once or twice in the afternoon and can be recharged during midday if necessary and can certainly be charged all night. I grew up in rural America and rode on school buses so I know something about school buses. Anyway there is no reason to use fuel cells for school buses. All it would do is add purchase costs, fuel costs and maintenance costs. School buses are a good match for battery electric power. Maybe you can justify using fuel cells for intercity buses that have to run at freeway speeds for hours but Proterra has also shown that battery electric buses will work for almost all transit situations. Park City, UT which is a ski resort town bought Proterra buses. It is certainly cold enough there during the winter and they work quite.
HarveyD, There is no reason to put fuel cells in school buses or urban transit buses. All this will do is add cost and maintenance. Yes, hydrogen has all sorts of magical properties. It is the smallest molecule and magically disappears because it leaks thru everything. It also magically changes the properties of the containers it is stored in. It is called hydrogen embrittlement. It can even magically combust leaking thru a small hole or crack without an ignition source. You need to talk with someone who has had to work with hydrogen. It is a serious problem to work with.
Anyway, I am increasingly hopeful that the NuScale reactors will be built and will make a real difference in the production of reliable clean electric power. Who knows, if we build enough of them, we can start to dismantle the wind turbines that are a blight on our landscape :)/2 (half serious)
Heath Robinson is the English version of Rube Goldberg. Cartoonist who drew elaborate machines to accomplish a simple task but that seemed to be the English method anyway. I remember taking apart a Lucas electric fuel pump that had an incredible number of parts for the contacts. It reminds me of the English car joke: Why do the English drink warm beer -- Lucas refrigerators.
If they are the king of hybrids,are they the pageboy of BEVs? Maybe they will be the king of fuel cell vehicles but it probably be like being the king of Andorra.
Not only is the range not that outstanding, neither is the performance. The Chevy Bolt will accelerate from 0-60 in 6.5 sec and the Tesla 3 with dual motors and AWD claims 3.2 sec. If they are going to sell this on performance, they need to have better performance.
If they get 860 watts maximum they should recover about 3.5 kWhr per day. Given that it takes 0.2 to 0.25 kWhr per mile in real life driving, they should get about 14 to 18 miles or 22 to 29 km gain in range and not 44 to 56 km but then they are not using EPA standards. A Chevy Bolt with 60 kWhr is EPA rated at 238 miles range which is about 4 miles per kWhr.
In a way, this reminds me of steam engine development in the late 1940s or maybe piston engine aircraft in the same time frame. They were making impressive developments but the race had already been lost.
About 45 years ago, I borrowed a VW bus to move a piece of furniture. It was the worst and most unstable feeling vehicle that I ever drove. Yes, they have a nostalgic value but they are really dangerous to drive. Maybe the new suspension fixed part of the problem but it still has the driver sitting ahead of the front wheels in an unprotected position.
I do not know what the cost of this vehicle is but the total cost of ownership may be close to break even compared with a similar diesel vehicle as apparently BE transit buses have already hit the break even point. Once this happens, there will be a reasonable demand for these vehicles. They probably make more sense than BE private cars for reducing fossil fuel consumption.
Will it be available in the US market or just Europe (and Japan)? Cost? When I clicked the online ordering link, I got a quote 0f 800 British Pounds for the reservation fee but no total cost. The specs are reasonable for urban commuting. The styling is a bit retro and not very exciting but not as ugly as the original Nissan Leaf. I think that Honda is going to be playing a catch up game in this market.
Tesla claims "improvements to its working capital position." Are they making a per car profit?
Peak not peal which I saw right after I posted the comments. I believe that the 700 years worth of depleted uranium came from a Nova program on PBS. Anyway, we are not about to run out of uranium.
Remember peal oil? It did not happen because drilling technologies improved sufficiently that the US is now producing more oil than Saudi Arabia. Improved efficiency also helped. Now the talk is about peak demand. Cobalt might be a problem but there are lithium battery chemistries that do not require cobalt. Likewise, there are motor designs that do not require rare earth magnets. Also, if you look at the long term prices of commodities, they have mostly decreased as extraction techniques have improved. For energy, nuclear power provides reliable 24/7 power without requiring the land or the capital equipment that so-called renewables require. We currently have enough stored depleted uranium to provide over 700 years of power at the current demand in the US.
Not sure why this is a smart solution. There are only using 100 KW from the fuel cell cell so it would relatively easy to replace the fuel cell with larger battery packs. The Proterra buses which are lighter and smaller vehicles are available with up to 650 KWHr and as the railcar would spend at least some of the time under catenary, it could charge the during this timeand still be able to run 5 or 6 hours on battery power alone. The battery only solution would be cheaper and more energy efficient. As Mahonj noted, It would be hard to power high speed rail without catenary, These trains are drawing upwards of 12,000 KW.
I would like to hope that new nuclear power comes on strong as it is the only clean 24/7 power available. The only other chance is to keep the population under control which might happen with better education.