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@yoatman: You are either entirely ignorant of the subject or are wilfully spreading misinformation. You assume zero losses in generation and transmission to arrive at 4 times the efficiency. Of course you have your magic solar array. But are you connected to the grid, or is your claim to energy independence as fraudulent as the rest? You are relying on off setting, and being a welfare charge on others to provide your fossil fuelled power in the night, the early morning with peak draw, and in the winter. The difference is that hydrogen really can provide zero carbon power at all times of the year. You are faking it,. And where is the evidence for your claim that fuel cell cars are high maintenance? Fleets like GreenTomato using tens of Mirai cars reckon that they are as reliable as any other Toyota, and maintenance is cheaper. Contrast that with for instance Tesla, where a small fleet had to give up, as they could not even get the parts reliably from Tesla. So back up your claims of high maintenance for FCEVs, or shut up And stop claiming fossil free independence when you are a freeloader on the grid.
That is not the DOE's take on the costs of hydrogen, nor that of energy authorities in Europe, where the inherent surpluses of a high proportion of renewables in the grid are to be used. Proponents of BEV only approaches ignore that production of hydrogen for steel making, ships, trains and trams together with ammonia production will drive costs at the bulk level down, and there is no way at all that batteres can provide solutions to those industries, That leaves transport to the fuel station as the remaining cost. There are umpteen solutions to that too, in action and prospective. Being able to rule out hydrogen would require perfect foreknowledge of what technologies will work , and a wild guess that betteries are going to hit all their far more speculative targets, with very low costs dependent on 'merely' the use of the present lab top only lithium air batteries and so on. Not fancying a technology does not mean that it is sensible to rule out progress in it. There are far too many possible routes to competitively priced hydrogen for me to go through many of them here, or for any sensible person to rule them out as impossible, and only some of them have to work. But for instance here is Nikola, who use the existing NEL electrolysers and solar arrays, which of course are commodity items: 'Nikola expects the cost of the hydrogen fuel to be about 4 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity to produce, resulting in a retail cost of about $6 per kilogram. Lokke said that is about half of what it currently costs in California. Part of the cost remaining low is because the stations will produce much of their own hydrogen, so transportation costs have been eliminated, as have lifecycle emissions.' Are they going to hit their cost targets? I dunno. But neither do you, and the notion that not only that but all other approaches can be definitively and absolutely ruled out ab initio is absurd, and a gross and somewhat megalomanic inflation. At bus depots reformed hydrogen comes in at something like $5kg, mainly due to the higher volume buses use than the current small FCEV car fleets, So another technology, carbon capture to deal with the remaining CO2 emissions, in any case far lower than the present diesel fleets, is simply being dismissed as impossible with a wave of the hand. I don't know, Toyota don't know, and neither does anyone else how the various technologies will pan out But sensible people and companies work within their limitations, and develop technologies to see which ones work out. Picking 'inevitable' winners in a fit of grandiosity is neither adult nor sensible.
The first Mirai was never intended for volume production, but to aquire expertise to enable cheaper higher volume. That is how responsible companies ramp production of new technology, and Uchiyamada, now Chairman of TMC, was the man in charge of the Prius program, where their hybrids now account for over 11 million cars sold. He has instituted the same methods to methodically increase fuel cell production as he used for the Prius. Back in 2016 here was the plan: ' Toyota will produce about a couple thousand fuel-cell cars this year, but plans to reach production and global sales of about 30,000 units by 2020. That’s four short years away. To achieve that goal, production and component costs will need to be reduced and production processes must be reconfigured for greater scale. Currently, the Toyota Mirai is produced on the company’s famed Motomachi assembly line by a select group of about 13 workers, who do much of the work by hand. Each of those team members must memorize and install 200 or more different parts—in order to gain a deep understanding of the whole vehicle and the unique requirements for assembling a fuel-cell car. As Mirai production volume grows and the company starts building other hydrogen models, those same workers will train an expanded production team.' That sounds to me like a program which is on track, and indeed fuel cell cars have consistently met or exceeded milestone targets, which is why the big boys are expanding production by an order of magnitude. As a physicist and head of the Prius program, Uchiyamada is unlikely to have become arithmetically confused on energy efficiencies and so on, as blogger critics routinely assume. None of this means that Toyota have turned their back on batteries. Since the foundation of TMC they have invested billions in their development, with the aim being the 'Sakitchi' battery named in honour of their founder. They are currently among the leaders in the introduction of solid state batteries, and hoping to show a prototype in time for the Olympics. But a truly practical economic battery for long range BEVs is a tough ask, ex subsidy and mandate, so Toyota are working to the real performance envelope of batteirs, and using whatever technology will do the job. Long range in all weathers at a good price and with longevity is the goal, and hydrogen and fuel cells can do that.
Both Toyota and Hyundai are putting in the capacity right now to ramp PEM fuel cells ten fold. They have the data, and they are committing hundreds of millions, whilst a $1.2 group of companies are committing billions into infrastructure etc, Hydrogen production and infrastructure reduces costs throughout the value chain, from hydrogen for steel, trains, ships and trams to cars, so progress in one helps all the others. But what do Toyota and Hyundai know about drive trains for cars compared to internet bloggers?
I find the notion that fuel cells and hydrogen are in some sort of opposition to the electrification of transport, 'fool cells' as they are termed by fools, absurd. 'The curb weight of the EQC 400 4MATIC is 2420 kilograms (5,335 lbs). The largest proportion omitted is 39% for steel and iron, followed by light-alloys (23%) and polymers, i.e. plastics (18 percent).' So how is it possible to reduce that emission (omission is obviously a typo)? Here we go: Use hydrogen instead of coke to produce the steel! In fact batteries and fuel cells are twin technologies, intimately related. Where the characteristics of batteries do the job, fine, use them. Where fuel cells are needed, often in partnership with batteries, then use them. They are way more effective together than separately and augment and enable each other.
@SJC? I am at a loss to work out why you have made that comment? The article and discussion is on methanol and China. If everything were judged by the glacial pace of infrastructure roll out in the US, then one would imagine high speed rail impossible, instead of in daily operation over thousands of miles of tracks in several countries. I am not sure whether China will choose methanol or hydrogen, but whatever they choose it will roll out fast. Actually, they will probably roll out both, and maybe others like DME.
China is the world's largest producer of methanol, and it also lends itself well to coal to liquiid, so the attraction is not surprising: DME is much more benign in the event of spills etc, but I am not a believer in trying to rule fuels out arbitrarily. Fixes are often possible.
My difficuty with VW's plans is that AFAIK battery costs using anything like current chemistry can't fall far enough to make them other than a subsidy and mandate driven charge on other motorists. So for instance the emission regulations in Europe seem likely to make it uneconomic to produce class A cars, which are the cheapest cars and which use the fewest resources, including of course not having the enormous amounts of energy embodied in big battery long range BEVs. And as for harmful emissions, most of those are now from tire and brake wear, together with road dust. To some extent regen braking will minimise brake wear, but relatively big and heave long range BEVs will do way worse than the little A class cars, especially mild hybrid ones, that regulation and costs seem likely to drive to extinction.
Here is a previous story on this technology: Note: 'Typical specifications would include a 15 – 25 kWh battery pack; a 10 – 20 kW methanol fuel cell system; and a 50 – 80 L liquid tank.' That is a totally different ball game to the ~100KW hydrogen fuel stacks in operation in the Mirai etc.
This is many times as important as BEV cars. It is absurd how much attention (and money) they get.
Installed in shipping these 'fool cells' can reduce GHG emissions and clean up particulates far more than putting huge batteries in BEVs, for all the billions chucked at them.
More details here
Here is the document linked: As MaxedOutMama noted on Seeking Alpha: 'They want everything, and they want it by Nov 28th. A list of all cars made for sale or lease in the US, all complaints, all actions, all arbitrations, etc, the internal docs relating to those. They also want to have all updates that affected the BMS listed and described, with reasoning, owner disclosures, etc. Item 6 is a request for all internal studies, surveys, data etc related to charging history's effect on battery health, shorting conditions, fires, etc, It is a genuine, serious and comprehensive investigation. The noose tightens, and one suspects that this sort of activity will tend to spread across the pond.'
This manages on a far, far smaller battery pack than Nikola intend. I was and am doubtful about that in their design, as I simply do not believe notions that battery prices are falling fast enough to make them likely to be viable. Performance in hill climbs etc may be reduced by not having a massive battery pack, but it seems to me that Nikola may be making the mistake of designing for edge case use, when they could cover 90% of it a lot more cheaply with a smaller pack, and let diesels do the ultra demanding routes. Anyway, that is my take at the moment. Thoughts?
And people thought the Hummer looked butch! I want one as the ultimate Chelsea tractor!
@SJC The Federal Aviation Authority has the final say in China? Strange!
Consideraably longer than the warranties on Tesla car batteries, for all the noise about 'million mile batteries'
They have gone for the sporty look, presumably thinking that they can mor easily get a premium, and of course it is aerodynamically more efficient. I prefer Hyundai's Nexo and the CUV/SUV approach.
I’m looking forward to seeing the specs on the fuel cells etc. I reckon they may have improved the power output from 3.1KW/L to around 4KW/L. OTOH I am not keen on the body style they have chosen, and would not fancy a low long car. Parking a nearly 5 metre long car in Europe or Japan is a pain.
Its disaster relief, not running a typical American home as per usual. 'Potable' means drinkable, not running a dishwasher.
The vast majority of the roads where I live in Bristol England are 20mph. In my view in any case they represent the maximum speed which you can safely drive at on those streets congested with all sorts of obstacles and elements which obscure vision, mainly parked cars on either side of the street., I only push those limits when I am trying to swiftely get past an obsruction on my side of the street, to allow oncoming traffic speedier accesss. In fact, my view would be that 15mph is what is needed to further improve safety, and the objective should not be to get the maximum number of cars to get to their destinations as fast as they like, but to avoid endangering pedestrians and bicyclists, It is lovely to live in a neighborhood which is walkable with low rise dense housing and many small shops.
It is in trucks and other heavy vehicles where the advantages of fuel cells and hydrogen are most pronounced. In my due they are likely to do more to reduce emissions than BEV cars.
From the linked prior article here: 'The all-liquid construction confers the advantages of higher current density, longer cycle life and simpler manufacturing of large-scale storage systems (because no membranes or separators are involved) relative to those of conventional batteries. At charge–discharge current densities of 275 milliamperes per square centimeter, the cells cycled at 450 degrees Celsius with 98 per cent Coulombic efficiency and 73 per cent round-trip energy efficiency. To provide evidence of their high power capability, the cells were discharged and charged at current densities as high as 1,000 milliamperes per square centimeter. Measured capacity loss after operation for 1,800 hours (more than 450 charge–discharge cycles at 100 per cent depth of discharge) projects retention of over 85 per cent of initial capacity after ten years of daily cycling. —Wang et al.' However, antimony is only around as abundant as silver, which ain't good. I could not dig out how much is antimony and how much lead in their technology,
Another great job in the write up by Mike, far more clear than others I have seen for this technology, My view has been that the great bottleneck to a primarily renewables driven economy is storage, and hydrogen and its derivatives are both storable and transportable. So instead of siting solar panels on rooftops in Germany, where sunshine is limited especially in the winter when demand is highest, or being limited by location for wind, this technology especially considering its very relaxed constraints on water purity can be where land is cheap, or at sea even with floating solar and wind. We need to see large working installations to be fully confident and to have a proper handle on costs, but so far as can be seen, it is all good.
It seems Luddites after the panic of Fukushima have now moved on to hydrogen. There are 70 million tons of hydrogen produced and used annually, and have been for decades, most of it having nothing to do with fuelling cars and buses directly but to beneficiate oil, My understanding is that there have been fatalities from aeroplane crashes, so an immediate halt should be called to that industry, and a million or so fatalities in cars mean of course that an order should be put out stopping all use immediately. BTW, the incident mainly referenced was in May.