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Thomas Pedersen
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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.
Excellent! I could imagine containerized methanol fuel cell charging stations for DC/DC charging. Lack of access to electricity at construction sites has to be the largest barrier to adaptation of batteries. Volvo has reported earlier that construction machinery are among the most suited for EV og hybrid operation. This is true even if the hydraulic drivetrain is maintained. Also, EVs and hybrids usually enable a lower centre of gravity, which is also highly beneficial.
If the produced hydrogen is coupled with CO2 to generate methane, the waste heat from the methanation reaction is exactly the energy required to produce evaporate the water. Then the superheating to cell temperature can be done with heat exchange with the produced H2 and O2 with final heating done electrically (minuscule compared to the energy of separation of H2O).
What an, pardon my French, idiotic way to assess tyre wear. Here's a simpler, more reliable one: Find out how many mm of tire is worn off on average (worst case: down to the legal limit) and multiply that by Pi and the diameter of the tyre. Then divide by the number of km/miles driven for a tyre, and viola, you have the per-km tyre wear. You could get that number by dividing the publically available number for miles driven annually for passenger vehicles by the number of tyres sold. It's really a quite simple half-hour desk top study to get right to within 10-20%. It sounds like someone needed an excuse for renting a race track.
Mahonj: There is plenty of reasons to combine the two, such as the roughly 20% loss of energy in either CO2 + 4H2 -> CH4 + 2H2O or CO2 + 3H2 -> CH3OH + H2O However, the first reaction increases the temperature of the products by more than 700 K, so there are opportunities for utilizing this waste heat for something useful, if proper technical and commercial integration can be achieved. In Denmark we have a strong tradition for such 'sector coupling', which raises system efficiency greatly but other regions struggle to convince businesses to accept this hassle and commercial risk, mostly due to business culture and low cost of energy. Low cost of energy enables a lot of great things, however usually at the expense of energy inefficient systems.
SJC_1 I do not disagree. But new and future off-shore wind power delivers kWh's at about half the price of nuclear power from Hinckley Point. Electricity makes up around 75% (+/- 10 points) of the cost of hydrogen from electrolysis.
Could you not have double the 48V battery capacity, current capacity of the wires and end up with 30-40 hp (or is it kW - even better) in a flywheel motor within the gearbox. That should deliver enough "spontaneous" power to thrust these behemoths forward with a 4-cyl, 2.0 litre, 218 hp ICE. 218 hp is plenty for any sensible, sustained speed, and 40 hp "spontaneous" added power for quick accelerations. I have a 325d with 4-cyl, 2.0 litre, 218 hp running on diesel. I routinely get 40 mph average and 50 mpg average on some trips. It's an absolutely marvelous engine with its combination of power and fuel economy. A little extra electrical oopmf to get it fast off the line and you'd have a much more economical car with nearly the same performance and, I would argue, cost to build. Limit max torque to 500 Nm electronically, and they could use the "small" ZF8-speed gearbox (ZFHP51) and same some money better spent on batteries and e-motor.
While this single initiative will hardly lower the global mean temperature by more than one millionth degree by 2100, let's hope the effort will inspire other more energy-consuming sectors within transport to do something similar.
Use solar to phase out coal, not nuclear. The Germans have it backwards! 'The Greens' have blood on their hands (or black lungs). I think Michael Schellenberger makes a good summary of the fight against nuclear and the consequences hereof, and why nuclear is the best option to minimize humanity's imprint/footprint on Nature.
The energy requirement for SOEC (the ones I know about - not the Ceres Power ones) is 3.0 kWh/Nm3 = 33 kWh/kg. That does not include the heat of evaporation. Let's put it at 40 kWh then. What is the cost of cheap solar power (PV) in California? 3-4 cents/kWh? That puts the cost of generating hydrogen at 1-1.5 $/kg, plus plant depreciation, considering maybe 3,000 full-load-hours per year (option to optimize plant size with batteries). But there is also oxygen sales to capitalize upon. Seems like there's a pretty good business case for producing hydrogen for a market that is willing (?) to pay 15 $/kg.
Yoatmon, There's nothing in the article about using hydrogen for urban or intermediate commute. Did you read it? On the contrary, SOEC are well suited to utilize the waste heat from e.g. methanisation of CO2 + 4H2 to produce steam, because SOEC use steam, not water, for electrolysis (for obvious reasons, working at about 700°C). The really neat thing about this is that the energy required to evaporate the water (going from water to hydrogen + oxygen implies going from liquid to gaseous phase, i.e. evaporation) normally comes from electricity with alkaline and PEM electrolysis but that fraction is saved with SOEC. Thus, they're more likely to be used in an integrated production of e.g. power-to-methane. Why would you produce methane, when the US is afloat with it. Well, maybe in the US you wouldn't, but in Europe there is a market for 'Renewable' methane. Normally, to be regarded as 'renewable', both the electricity and the CO2 should originate from 'renewable' sources, such as wind/solar and the CO2 from biological origin, although there is a strong case to be made for allowing the use of CO2 from non-energy producing, yet necessary sources, such as waste, cement, steel, etc. Transportation is probably best done with batteries, but transportation 'only' accounts for 28.9% of US CO2 emissions.
E-P, I guess in the US money still talks... Here on the continent of Greta Thunberg (who I am not much of a fan of), people are getting serious about stopping the use of fossil fuels. In Denmark, at target of 70% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to 1990 (still the benchmark, for some reason) has been politically approved, and all of us in the energy sector are expecting a (-nother) political change to market conditions. Already, upgraded (pure methane) bio-gas enjoys a subsidy-based price of about 5 times the regular price of natural gas. At the moment, it is not allowed to add hydrogen and get 67% more methane, because the hydrogen "is not of biological origin." The real reason, of course, is to keep subsidies from flying out of the government purse. I personally hope they will start demanding a annually increasing percentage of RE-based drop-in fuels in jet fuel to stimulate a market for electrofuels and reduce consumption of fossil fuels in the aviation industry. About the methane upgrading, I suppose you are referring to making methanol instead. Well, they have been doing that as well at the demonstration plant (which I have visited twice), and now they are building an ammonia synthesis demonstrator at the same place. Methanol has some advantages over methane. Logistically, it's easier to move far (without the energy penalty of liquefaction), thereby accessing a global market. With methanol being a precursor for many types of synthetic fabrics, some of those being inflated by several orders of magnitude from cost to sales price, it would seem that the textile industry would be a good first outlet for more expensive, fossil-free raw materials.
Hey E-P, Check out this presentation about ammonia production. I'm not a chemistry major myself, but I know the author and he is serious. The whole company is serious!
E-P, Yes, by simple analysis. However, if/when wind and solar are to supply all of the primary energy, the average load will be 3-4 times the current electricity production. In other words, wind and solar will produce more than 'current, uninterruptible' power consumption. Now, some hierarchy of P2X consumers will establish, based on their CAPEX/OPEX ratio. Nobody believes this is possible in strict competition with fossil fuels any time soon, so getting Denmark off of fossil fuels and on to electricity + electrofuels will require either subsidies - like wind and solar has enjoyed until last year - or 'artificial markets', such as minimum requirement for drop-in fuel in jet-fuel and/or gasoline and diesel. For Denmark: Aviation fuel: 6,000 MW electrolysis capacity by the same metrics as in the article, assuming some conversion efficiency from hydrogen to jet fuel. Gasoline: 9,000 MW Diesel: 18,000 MW Current average electricity consumption: approx 3,500 MW I do not believe we can find the room for enough wind and solar to replace current gasoline and diesel with electrofuels, let alone find non-fossil carbon sources for it. Priority should be given to long distance flights. The 'new' element in this project is to drive the electrolysers directly from wind turbines, rather than the grid. Generally, behind-the-meter power costs about one third than grid power - even less if you're a private consumer and also pay both electricity tax and VAT (on top of all the others). Transporting as much wind and solar power through the electricity grid as I mentioned above would require very costly expansion of the power grid. Thus the consensus among the big players around the North Sea is that most of the electricity from all those extra wind turbines should not touch the grid before it gets used to produce hydrogen. PS: New off-shore wind farms around Denmark operate at about 60% average capacity.
Only 30% NOx reduction? Count me unimpressed! Seeing as conventional marine diesel engines are tuned for maximum efficiency = high NOx, I would have thought they could do better. Not least considering how NOx was their downfall in the US. It's a quite simple operation to install a catalyst using AddBlue on a ship (much, much simpler than in a car, which is why VW and Mercedes both spent €1-2 billion to do so) and routinely achieve >90% reduction.
Quite clever implementation of hydrogen tanks :-) Compact and allows escaping hydrogen to vent up and out unimpeded.