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Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering, entreprenuer
Interests: diesel and gasoline engines, cars, aircraft, railroads, electric drives
Recent Activity
@charlesH I do not disagree with you math or that flywheels might be useful for fast charging but if you read the first line of the article, it states, "enabling guests at the hotel’s Leipzig, Germany, location to charge their EVs throughout their stay." If you have all night to charge the batteries, what good does a flywheel do?
OK Chicago, why do you not try a least a few of the Battery Electric versions. They might even be lower cost in terms of total ownership (capital plus fuel or energy plus maintenance). I am sure the drivers and the riders will like them better.
Why build a fuel cell powered transit bus? In the following article, the Canada-based Nova Bus, a member of the Volvo Group, is building battery-electric buses with ranges between 340 to 470 km on a single charge and will have a lower capital cost, lower energy cost, and a lower maintenance cost. There may be uses fuel cells but transit buses do not seem to one of them.
Someone must really want to play with a flywheel energy storage device. There might be reasons to use a flywheel to stabilize a power source. However, charging a battery does not seem to be one of them as the battery still requires a certain amount of power over a period of time and it is does not matter much if the charging rate varies over time. All the flywheel will do is make the charger more expensive and slightly less efficient.
I was hoping that the new Bolt EUV would have all-wheel drive but not yet. I have a 2019 Bolt which I really like but I live in snow country and occasionally need to drive my 4WD pickup. The good news is that the prices have come down considerably. A few days ago, some commenters were making the argument that PHEVs were less expensive than BEVs. However, the much more capable Bolt has a base price only about $2000 more than the base price of a Prius Prime which only has an electric range of about 23 miles and the Bolt has no scheduled maintenance other than tire rotation.
A really interesting technology and apparently it is financially viable or they would not be getting the investments they have received. The energy cost would be more but their web site suggests that the capital cost is considerably less. The quality of the iron should be considerably higher than blast furnace iron which eliminate several steps in the production of steel. Also, I would guess that the energy cost would be less than that required to do direct reduction with hydrogen as you use the electric power directly.
@yoatmon There are numerous uses of clean carbon or as it is commonly called carbon black. One of he major uses is as an additive to most rubber products. It is also used as a pigment for paint, plastics, etc. Apparently, the world production of carbon black is around 15 million metric tons. I would assume that the carbon produced by methane pyrolysis could be used for any of these applications. But what do you do with the excess carbon. In a above article, a group was proposing to produce 3.6 million MT of hydrogen per year. If this was done using methane pyrolysis, it would produce 11 million MT of carbon. In any event, it would be easier to sequester solid carbon than it is to sequester carbon dioxide. @Engineer-Poet PetCoke may contain too much sulfur and heavy metals to be considered a usable substitute for coal. The PetCoke produced in Utah is cleaner and is apparently used to make carbon electrodes. So what do we do with the excess dirty PetCoke? We export some of it to other countries that have less stringent pollution regulations. Apparently, we export about 30 million tons per year mostly to be burned as fuel.
This is even worse than using wind power to make hydrogen as the power is even more diffuse and the amount of capital equipment required is even greater to say nothing of the environment that it must operate in.
"The key point, according to Toyota, is that a BEV and PHEV can provide similar environmental benefits." The key word is "can". It would depend on the range of the PHEV and how far you drive on a daily basis and whether you can keep the PHEV charged so that you almost never use gasoline but you still have to use the gasoline engine periodically as the gasoline goes bad over time. Also, as the cost of batteries comes down, the cost advantage of the PHEV vs the BEV will reverse with the BEV costing less as the BEV is considerably less complicated and requires almost no maintenance. Toyota is just making an argument to keep producing the same old vehicles as long as possible.
For every kg of hydrogen, you should recover 3 kg of carbon so what do you do with the carbon? Sell it as green or "turquoise" coal? :) Use to back fill the existing coal strip mines? Seriously, this would be a real problem as our existing oil refineries are producing petroleum coke by the rail car load every day and in some locations, there is not much of a market for it. I still think that the cleanest and most efficient way to make hydrogen is to use nuclear power and high temperature electrolysis. I know that the English are planning to do this combined with wind energy. When the wind is blowing, the wind turbines provide the power for the grid and the nuclear plant provides the heat and power for electrolysis. When the wind is not blowing the nuclear plant provides the base load power for the grid.
I also wondered why they thought that this technique would be limited to 100 W to 10 kW. Anyway, this would a even more energy inefficient power source than just using hydrogen in fuel cells as you not only need to generate the hydrogen, you also need to use energy to convert the magnesium oxide back to magnesium. This technique might be useful for some specialized applications where the cost of energy is not a major consideration. Maybe specialized military drone aircraft? However, I doubt that this technique will find a wide application.
mahong, The Glomar Challenger project was the first thing that came to mind. I had a friend at the time that was working for Bolt, Beranek & Newman. He probably was working on submarine propeller design. Anyway, he said he looked at the Glomar Challenger project and it did not make any sense as the value of nodules was not worth the cost of the energy to bring them to the surface. Turns out, that was not what they were trying to bring to the surface.
The problem with all of these concepts is that aircraft (except for sail planes) require a relatively high continuous power for cruise. While full power is used for takeoff and the initial climb out, the power is only reduced to around 75 to 85 % for cruise.
I think that GM deserves a good deal of credit for their decision to announce that they expect to completely phase out internal combustion engines by 2035 and will have 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025 and expect that 40% of their sales in the US will be battery electric by 2025. Meanwhile, If you look at the link that gryf provided back in early December -- -- and look at slide 4, it seems that Toyota believes that more than 80% of their vehicles will still be powered by internal combustion engines in 2050 although most will be HEVs or PHEVs. According to their future plans, less 10% each will be BEV or FCEV in 2050. I have put more than 30,000 miles on my Chevrolet Bolt and am generally quite pleased with the driving experience. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, I let at least 20 people drive my car and it never failed to put a smile on their face. Yes, it would be a problem to drive across the country but the batteries are getting better and charging is getting faster. GM seems to have a good deal of confidence in their new Ultium batteries.
@mahonj If you have excess wind power at night and a greater need in the afternoon, I would suggest pumped hydro storage as the round trip efficiency is about 80%. You do need hills and water but I do not believe that is a problem in Ireland. In Quebec, it might be more of a matter of use the available power or loss it. I share your belief that it probably better to use hydrogen for industrial purposes rather than for fuel cells. I also think that the best way to generate hydrogen is to use nuclear power and high temperature electrolysis. That way, more electricity can be used for other purposes.
Thomas Pedersen answered some of my questions. How much total energy is used in their technique versus how much total energy is used in Haber-Bosch process. Cryogenic air separation is widely used to obtain O2, N2, and argon along with other trace elements and maybe CO2. Having a smaller scale process would be good if the capital and energy cost is not too high.
From a post on 18 January: "Shearwater Energy Ltd., a United Kingdom-based hybrid clean energy company, is developing a wind-SMR (Small Modular Reactor) and hydrogen production hybrid energy project in North Wales." I believe that this makes more sense as it allows the hydrogen to be made using higher efficiency, high-temperature electrolysis with nuclear power when there is excess electric power provided by wind power and the nuclear power plant can supply base load electric power when there is little or no wind power.
The best way to sequester carbon is to leave fossil fuels in the ground where they have already been sequestered. If you need hydrogen, I would think that the most efficient and clean way to produce it is to use nuclear power and high temperature electrolysis. This whole project looks like a gift to the fossil fuel industry.
I had wondered why GM had not developed a more modern van to compete with the Ford Transit, Ram Promaster or the Mercedes Sprinter. Both the Ford Transit and the Mercedes Sprinter will be available as a BEV next year and Fiat will have the E-Ducato which is an BEV European version of the Ram Promaster. Maybe, it was GM was developing BrightDrop EV600 which is a "new from the ground up" design for the growing first/last mile delivery business. The BrightDrop EV600 has about twice the range of the Ford E-Transit and more than enough to eliminate range anxiety for almost any delivery job.
The battery capacity of the battery electric locomotive will only allow the locomotive to operate at full power for about 20 minutes so this is not practical solution other than to add power for a relatively short period of time and to recover some of the power generated on the downhill segments which would normally turned to heat. However, even when the battery power is depleted the locomotive can still be powered from the diesel electric locomotives and provide added traction effort although at a slower speed. The two diesel electric locomotives have about 3300 kW each available for tractive power. This is mostly likely just an R&D effort to work on battery power. BNSF might be considering electrifying sections of some of their main lines. A battery storage locomotive with electric pickup would allow low clearance segments such as bridges and tunnels to not be electrified. The electric locomotive could power the adjacent diesel electric locomotives and conversely the diesel electric locomotives could power the battery electric locomotive if longer segments are not electrified.
Appears to be 2 Pipistel Taurus self-launching sailplanes put together with a new center wing section with the propulsion system. A somewhat strange and not a very practical aircraft but it was probably a low cost way to get something that would fly. Note that Pipistel builds the Taurus in an battery electric self-launching version with a retracting motor and propeller. They also offer battery electric training and light sport aircraft. See:
OK, you can do this but my question would be; is it more cost effective than using sunlight to convert CO2 to sugars via photosynthesis and then converting the sugars to alcohol and upgrading from there if needed? My guess that this is just a neat trick that is possible if you add enough energy to drive all of the reactions needed.
This design is not going to make it for use on American roads but it might be useful for parking enforcement, low speed maintenance operations on larger university campuses, run around use in retirement communities that now use modified golf carts, etc. Salt Lake City was using Toyota Prius vehicles for parking enforcement but I think that they have been replaced with Chevrolet Bolt BEVs which are probably cheaper to operate. I think that Toyota need not worry about popularizing BEV usage. I think they should worry more about losing market share to Tesla, GM, Ford, VW, etc.
I a hopeful that the TerraPower traveling wave reactor will indeed make it to operational status within 7 years. Their design will burn existing nuclear waste, existing depleted uranium and natural or non-enriched uranium. We have an existing stockpile of depleted uranium that will provide enough power for 700 years at our current rate usage. And burning the existing nuclear waste will largely eliminate this problem as the fissile material is burned to near completion.