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Thomas Pedersen
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In fully serial-hybrid mode, there's nothing keeping the ICE from operating at optimum efficiency, except perhaps from driving up a mountain. Ahh, now I see. They are comparing full load efficiencies, which is not where FC's shine the most, but ICEs do. OK then... OTOH, if there's ultimately minor difference in efficiency then use FC or ICE as you please... Switching to hydrogen removes CO2 emission from green hydrogen and moves it to central locations where it can be captured and sequestered for blue hydrogen. However, a sufficiently large battery, e.g. 200 kWh and large H2 tanks start to take up quite a bit of volume...
Dear Nissan, Please begin making hundreds of thousands of these engines to all other car manufacturers. Love, Thomas There is no information on power output, but I suppose 50 hp would be plenty for class C/D cars with a suitably large battery, like the coming generation of Mercedes C class. This car, however, sports a complicated, powerful 200 hp gasoline engine. A modern aerodynamic car with low cooling demands (due to having only a small, efficient ICE) should be able to do >100 mph with 50 hp, and significantly more in peak bursts from the battery. Another fabulous aspect of this is the fact that with such high efficiency, a just 10-20 litre gasoline tank would be able to deliver sufficient range between stops and not encroach on trunk space. This is the engine the BMW i3 REX should have had.
majonj, You are absolutely right about steel making and other hydrogen-consuming industry being more important use of hydrogen than cars - insofar as the only other option to decarbonize those industrial sectors would be carbon capture and storage. Not that there's anything wrong with CCS (my specialty) but not all locations are well suited for subterranean sequestration. The article does not mention any on-site hydrogen storage facility. An I am quite sure the steel plant cannot or is not willing to stop production when there's little wind or solar. This is why a hydrogen grid - connected to underground storage volumes - is so important to create for the future. While it is impossible to everything perfectly, the Germans are taking the correct approach; converting a steel plant to hydrogen reduction of iron ore using grid electricity for electrolysis, while waiting for 1) the grid to become 'greener' and 2) for a dedicated hydrogen network to capture and store the potential 'green hydrogen' from excess wind and solar. The alternative would have been to commit to another 2-3 decades of iron ore reduction with graphite and the ensuing CO2 emissions. Actually, after reading the article again, I am not sure whether they can in fact operate the blast furnaces on a mixture of hydrogen and carbon. If so, they could potentially change the mix according to projected renewable generation (as opposed to minute-to-minute response to wind loads). Let's not forget either that Germany has a strong hydrogen strategy for exactly this sort of purpose and large companies have a clear interest in proving their commitment to the Paris agreement and not least the national strategy. Let us hope that Thyssenkrupp is setting a precedence here wrt steel making. This is an important contribution to CO2 emissions reduction.
The Haber-Bosch process does not emit CO2. The SMR process before the H-B process, however, emits CO2 when converting CH4 + H2O into CO2 + H2. They now use an electrolytic process to wrestle hydrogen free from oxygen in water to give to the nitrogen - as well as to react with the Ox attached to it. This pretty much corresponds to electrolysis of water to make free hydrogen. What they have really devised is a way of separating nitrogen out of air using plasma activation. And it remains to be seen whether this is more efficient than cryogenic air separation... Their process: 1836 kJ/mol for the electrolysis. Energy loss (from hydrogen) in H-B process: 46 kJ/mol NH3 Additional energy consumption to produce the hydrogen: 550 kJ/mol NH3 I'm afraid I fail to see how this is an improvement.
Honestly, the need for fossil-free hydro-carbon fuels makes it a moot point to generate hydrogen from biogas. Long before any country or region has reached even 50% renewable energy input (or nuclear), i.e. with electricity as the primary energy source, there will be great excess of RE at times that could beneficially be turned into hydrogen. Some of this hydrogen could, and will most likely, be converted into synthetic hydro-carbon fuels for energy demands that cannot easily be directly electrified. That being said, I principally recognize carbon capture and sequestration of CO2 resulting from biomass as being carbon negative as the CO2 absorbed by the plants during their growth is extracted and sequestered away from the biosphere.
Arnold, The battery locomotive is a third locomotive. If the two diesel locomotives are able to pull the train without the battery locomotive, albeit with higher diesel consumption, the battery locomotive is effectively a third locomotive, adding about 50% to CAPEX and less to OPEX.
While I realize that real-life demonstrations are required, I do get a feeling of someone thinking: "So, batteries have worked fine in phones, laptops, bikes, drones, buses, cars, trucks, passenger trains and many more. I wonder if they will work in our trains..?" A question though: Does the electric locomotive eliminate a diesel counterpart (because the locomotives operate at > 2/3 power once cruise speed is achieved)? If not, 50% more locomotives to save 10% fuel seems expensive.
I suppose it will leave the crew eternally hungry, what with the permanent smell of fries onboard... mahonj, This oil would most likely have been used anyway. In Denmark we add it to biogas digesters and produce biomethane. LNG is not the most fantastic fuel, because as little as 1% spillage and/or unburnt fuel equates to a GWP (Global Warming Potential) as bad as bunker fuel, albeit with fewer emissions of pollutants (which are now mostly captured by scrubbers - and emitted to the sea locally)
Stop what you're doing and go straight to hydrogen reduction of iron ore. 'Easiest' way to make a huge dent in industrial CO2 emissions.
I suppose trucks in the US typically travel more miles than in Europe - due to much lower population density. However, when examining the layout of a truck one readily sees that there is ample space for lots of batteries. But it strikes me that a very ICE-weak hybrid (100 hp 2.0 diesel genset) could solve this problem elegantly. A fuel cell could also be used but at greater expense and technical risk. It would greatly reduce the highway range issue. I'm sure MAN could source a packaged diesel genset from VW (before making VW diesel scandal jokes, allow me to point out that it is easy to tune a stationary engine to low emissions and that VW have vastly upgraded their NOx reduction system).
mahonj, From a purely systemic point of view, it would be important to not produce hydrogen during times of low production - that is if the plant is connected to the grid. What is found, almost universally (depending on local rules and regulations), is that hydrogen production needs to be connected 'behind the meter' to avoid paying grid fees that could nearly double the effective cost of the hydrogen when using very cheap wind or solar power. This means that it is rarely economically feasible to produce the hydrogen where it is needed. You could envision installing a 50 MW power export line and 150 MW electrolysis for a 200 MW wind or solar plant. When electricity prices are high, which is when the grid is power deficient, you would utilize the power line as much as possible, which would also generate more income than producing hydrogen - unless there were other commercial limitations. If not, power deficiency would lead to consumption of hydrogen to generate electricity at the same time as electricity is converted to hydrogen, which should obviously be avoided if at all possible. The importance of a hydrogen grid with some storage caverns (the grid becomes a storage volume in itself) cannot be overstated. It is this storage which de-couples production and consumption of energy from renewable sources. When you can use hydrogen produces last week or last month then there are truly no time constraints to produce either power or hydrogen at the most opportune times. Furthermore, transmission of hydrogen in pipes rather than containers is order(s) of magnitude cheaper unless the volume is very low and distances very high. For remote locations, transmission of large amount (>2-5 GW) of renewable energy (e.g. from North Africa to Europe) is a lot cheaper as hydrogen than as electricity. And hydrogen pipes are more easily placed underground than electrical transmission lines, something that is equally important in Europe. Nobody wants to stare at transmission lines transporting electricity from far away to someone else equally far away - if at all.
NH3 has three times higher volumetric energy density than liquid hydrogen (-253°C) and thus more easily transported. Global transport of liquid ammonia is about 10 Mt/yr. No liquid hydrogen transport ships currently exist, to my knowledge (there is probably some obscure vessel out there...).
Davemart, 55 + 15 kWh/kg H2, which is a lot. Siemens and others quote about 50-51 kWh/kg H2 for PEM electrolysis cells. At roughly 80°C. Alkaline electrolysis cells operate at even lower temperature. I find it's nonsense to label this technology as contact-free (which they do not say, but imply) when the who concept is that an oxygen-depleted oxide steals oxygen from water (steam), leaving hydrogen behind. This concept is further hampered by the fact that it requires a sweep gas to remove the oxygen, which makes it harder to utilize. I should note that when combining this concept with a Sabattier reaction (converting CO2 + 4H2 into CH4 + 2H2O) provides the heat required to generate the steam, and the 15 kWh/kg H2 may be recovered. This is also at least partially true for methanol synthesis, which is generally more useful. CH4 made from hydrogen is weird with others are converting CH4 to H2. Both should not happen at the same time in the same market. The Sabattier reaction ties 4 hydrogen atoms to a carbon, when most hydrocarbon molecules operate at H/C ratio of about two (gasoline, diesel, kerosene). Dehydration of CH3OH leads to CH2 (not stable molecule), which has the right ratio. DME (CH3OCH3) can also be produced and is also a useful chemical intermediate, or a nice diesel substitute in its own right. PS. Sorry for the rambling...
In Denmark, where the BioCat project took place, the CO2 in question comes from biogas (typically 55-60% CH4 and 40-45% CO2) from sludge from a waste water treatment plant. Nobody is suggesting to capture CO2 from fossil fueled power plants and convert them back to hydrocarbons. This technology becomes relevant for non-power producing CO2 point sources. I believe one of the advantages of this biological process over 'conventional' catalytical methanation via the Sabattier process, is less sensitivity to sulphur. In fact, those organism - which originate from from vulcanic hot springs - may actually enjoy sulphur. Typical Sabattier catalysts require ppb level sulphur in the CO2 stream. Biogas always contains sulphur. PS: When I press the 'Preview' button, there is no 'Post' button and I cannot get back to my text. Fortunately I copied it before I clicked. Does anyone else have the same issue?
Natural gas engines are only promoted because VW are allowed to feed in a certain amount of 'zero-emission' synthetic natural gas into the German natural gas network and thereby count these vehicles as zero emission. This in turn enables them to sell more high-power Audi A6 or similar with greater profit while maintaining a fleet-average of 95 gCO2/km. While natural gas undoubtedly produces less emissions than diesel, it takes only a 1% leakage rate of the natural gas - at any point in the value chain to generate worse climate effects than diesel or gasoline engines.
Nirmalkumar, If you mean by taking their time to develop a BEV platform in the same way they have successfully deployed new vehicles in the past decades - in accordance with their business model; then "yes". They have actually been producing the ID.3 for a while but afaik have a setback with the software, which needed to be corrected and updated before they can be sold to customers. I can tell you that the VW BEVs from the MEB platform are greatly anticipated in Europe, where VW has a solid reputation as a car maker. It is this very reputation of reliability, design, comfort, etc. that buyers expect from VW and allows they to charge a little more for their cars than close competitors (PSA, FORD mainly). It would be poor business strategy to jeopardize this relationship with the customers in order to send out a below-par beta-version of a BEV. Not least because BEVs will be the cars of the future. Combating climate change is a century-long task and therefore not something that hinges on months or even a couple of years. Actually, it is much more important that the 'BEV for the masses, from a trusted supplier' does not disappoint. For a lot op people, the ID.3 will likely be their first experience with a BEV.
Before people start talking about fool cells, let me explain why I have warmed to the idea of hydrogen for long-distance transport. In Europe there is an ambition to get up to 450 GW off-shore wind power from the North Sea betweeen UK and Denmark. It turns out that is may be advantageous to turn part of that into hydrogen out at sea and pipe it to shore in UK, The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, and here's why: At the time of peak production, wind power will produce at lot more than the on-shore electrical power consumption and it is expensive to invest in power cables to transmit 'useless' power to shore and even more expensive to distribute it there. Transmitting an energy flow of e.g. 10 GW is a factor of 2-5 times cheaper as hydrogen in pipelines than through electric cables with the range determined by AC cables in the air - AC cables in the ground or DC cables in the ground. Converting part the the electrical power into hydrogen enables storage in energy quantities and for time scales where batteries cannot compete. For those reasons - but also because they have a great existing hydrogen consumption for heavy industry, at least The Netherlands and Germany are planning larger hydrogen networks, from which hydrogen fuel stations could possibly draw their hydrogen and alleviate at least a couple of major drawbacks of hydrogen as transport fuel
Imagine just 40 hours manufacturing time for that part... And then add on built-in material integrity qualification and it's a game-changer
Sure, batteries and e-motors only work in numerous other applications, not to mention 300,000 e-buses in China (!), so lets delay further by testing whether they might also work in a European bus in a European city..?
6 kg of H2 equates to 235 kWh chemical energy - based on HHV, which is fair when the water comes out as liquid. In case quoted electrical efficiencies are reported as LHV (usually the case to reach a higher numer), the energy content is 200 kWh of chemical energy. Quite a lot. Obviously, the round trip efficiency does not even come close to that of a BEV but for some applications, it may be beneficial. In Denmark there is talk of establishing a hydrogen grid or converting parts of the natural gas grid for hydrogen. At first, the idea seems far fetched but let me explain why: We have a national target of 70% reduction in GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 1990. In order to achieve that, primary energy generation needs to be 100% (>98) fossil-free. For all intents and purposes, this equates to establishing on the order of 5 times our current average electricity consumption as off-shore wind capacity (nameplate capacity). The wind turbines go off shore because nobody wants to live close of an Eiffel-tower size wind turbine, and we have shallow water huge swaths of the North Sea. Now, here's the kicker: It is really, really expensive to bring 'excess' electricity to shore and distribute it there to decentralized electrolysers. It's cheaper to generate hydrogen off-shore when wind output exceeds to-shore electrical capacity. The cost of a HVDC line scales almost linearly with capacity, whereas the cost of a gas pipeline has a high per-mile cost but low per-GW cost. Then on shore, the hydrogen may be used directly, where applicable, or further converted to hydrocarbons. Usage of hydrogen for e.g. trucks has the benefit of not requiring any of the limited non-fossil carbon (CO2).
I'm a pretty loyal BMW costumer but those ridiculous gas-guzzler kidneys on that i4 - an electric vehicle with near-zero cooling demand - is a deal breaker. Holy crap, they're ugly!
EP, Point taken, however, I meant for sites/applications where another source of electricity (electrical grid) is not possible. However, for big diggers that are not easily moved at the end of a shift, you're probably right. They should have their own average-load FCs. The Blue.World HT-PEM methanol cells could be good candidates. Another aspect; the methanol to be supplied has a better chance of being of 100% renewable origin than local grid power, if that were a parameter. What about the Tesla model: Buy an FC+battery-powered machine with the right to purchase methanol at the same price as diesel...
I genuinely applaud these initiatives. Obviously, a few electrical loaders are not going to save the climate but they help with less particle emissions locally and add to general acceptance of battery operated vehicles. Also, this type of vehicles come with a much higher per-tonne price tag, which makes it easier to recover the expenses. Furthermore, many makers do not have their own engine production, making it strategically easier to change drive trains. A lot of these vehicles have a low-to-moderate daily energy output but very high dynamic loads, making them even better suited for hybrid operation. I keep coming back to the GCC story of the Volvo hybrid loader, which replaced a 13-litre diesel with a 3.0 litre + battery system. It even kept the hydraulic drive train but still had massive fuel savings and improved functionality (due to lower centre of gravity and ability to 'anchor' the bucket further back because of smaller ICE package, if I remember correctly). The greatest obstacle for this type of BEVs is charging when away from home. Someone should develop a nice containerized charging station, preferably driven by fuel cells (noise, emissions).
Thank you, Volvo, for your contribution to not only reduce CO2 emissions but also clear up the motorways.
sd, Above a not-that-high percentage of renewable energy (RE) on average, you start getting more than can be absorbed by the grid. As a business case, I doubt it makes sense. As a bridge to the future without fossil fuels - a bridge that takes a long time to build - it is good starting point. This is a grid balancing model that is expected to be used in many places, so getting a reference is vital for all parties involved.