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Sheldon Harrison
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You need to address recharge time as well. Believe it or not, some people make use of the 5 minute recharge/refuel capability, even for LDVs. I look at my own situation and there is no BEV that is available or on the horizon that can do what I demand of my vehicle at any price. For some folks, autonomy has to be no less than 400 EPA miles (or about 300 - 350 real miles under real conditions and full recharge in no more than 10 minutes (even 10 minutes is long enough that some planning starts to become necessary regarding vehicle usage). 300 miles at 75 - 80 mph Interstate Highway is less than 4 hours of driving and can easily be done without a significant stop if tere are no congestion issues.
"Orange County does not much in the way of winter conditions and most transit buses do not need that much range anyway. Note that it took 28 hours for the FC bus to run 350 miles. Also most transit systems do not run much service at night. And Park City, Utah which does have winter conditions seems to be doing just find with their Proterra buses. My comment about half the efficiency was based on the common assumption of using surplus renewable power (which is mostly non-existent) for electrolysis. " My comment was directed at the more general theme of why pursue fuel cell buses vs . battery only buses. It has been documented that many BEV buses, including those with large battery capacities often fail to cover their required route profile owing to 1. climate (very hot,cold etc. precipitation etc.) 2. load 3. terrain The mental gymnastics that is done to pretend that there are no practical advantages to a fleet vehicle being able to operate more or less continuously is amazing. Park City does not appear to be a large agency with a large fleet with correspondingly large and varied needs and is thus, not a good example. How about LA, Chicago, NYC, Toronto, Vancouver, Boston etc. Does the same apply? If you desire very high variable renewables (>60%), the mathematics dictate that there will be periods of large surpluses. It is impossible for batteries to address that market (multi-day storage implying cycling of sometimes single digits per year). Additionally, unlike some, I have no problem with steam methane reforming or biomass based h2 sources because the Proterra buses when they charge overnight invariably charge from thermal sources unless extremely fortunate (hydro, wind) and the comparison then becomes equivalent. Another quick note, if we are just talking about transit use, there is more than enough biomass to provide feedstock for steam methane production.
The Proterra bus will not do 350 miles in winter conditions. The Proterra bus does not necessarily use half the energy. If the Proterra bus cannot make the mileage claimed, it cannot be recharged quickly (as in less than 10 minutes and consequently, you then need more Proterra buses to cover the mssion that one diesel, nat gas or H2 bus can cover). This has been discussed before, if the Proterra bus is charged from any thermal power plant, it is NOT using half the energy compared to steam methane produced hydrogen used in the fuel cell bus.
For the folks who like to talk about H2 from solar and wind directly to batteries. I have a few questions to ask. 1. Will your vehicle always be plugged in somewhere when the sun is shining. Note, humans generally are up and about in the day and sleep at night. 2. Will the wind always blow hard in your neck of the woods at night, every night, reliably throughout the year, irrespective of season? 3. If the answer to the above two questions is No, then will you invest in a separate stationary battery, capable of storing at least 1 week's worth of output to charge your BEV, when available? If you will, how much will it cost for that duplicative investment and what will the cost of your PV power eventually be when you amortize the cost of that battery? 4. If you leave the BEV for 1 month, 2 months etc., especially outside in winter conditions, how much battery capacity remains when you return. Thank you for your response
H2, once produced IS more efficiently transported than electricity. That is not up for debate. It is easy to calculate. It costs around 1% of the energy content of H2 to move it 1,000 or more miles in a pipeline, more in a liquid tanker but nowhere near the average 7% loss in electricity transmission and distribution and even more if you are talking distances greater than 1,000 miles. Even just looking at HVDC transmission and not including distribution, you lose between .5% to 1% of the energy per 100 miles of line. There is no fluid fuel, including hydrogen whose transportation is that energy intensive. This includes the necessary compression for transportation by the way. Even for coal, not a fluid fuel, it gets interesting as distances get farther where rail or barge transportation costs beat direct electricity transmission. I know for example that coal from the Powder River area in Wyoming is shipped as far as Central Florida , almost 2,000 miles as I have seen those trains with my own eyes and I m pretty sure no Wyoming electricity gets to Florida. I will repeat it again and do so loudly. An battery electric dominant system cannot work if you require flexibility in your energy system. You trade efficiency for flexibility which is even more important in an national energy system.
Hydrogen, especially for large volume commercial applications will NOT require a trillion dollar investment. Certainly the investment will be less than overhead electrification on roadways or even mass BEV high speed charging stations for commercial vehicles. It is a fluid fuel, albeit a more difficult one than methane or liquid fuels after all with all the attendant benefits that confers. As the material resource issues of batteries start to rear their ugly head and become increasingly apparent, we are now hearing of 100 MW electrolyzer plans in Germany, coal to hydrogen in Australia, etc. etc. Yes, H2 is inefficient, but it is flexible, comparatively portable and is more efficiently transported than electricity.
The buses will be able to run in northern climes, in the snow, in the heat, on steeply graded roads and they will have lower axle loads and be able to take more passengers all things being equal. In other words, even today they can fully replace diesel or nat. gas units. Until batteries get lighter, these will be issues for such buses. I have read plenty of stories of battery buses not being able to complete their duty cycle because of a hot OR cold day. There is also the issue of battery performance degeneration is real when vehicles are racking up 10,000 or more miles per month. Individual fuel cell buses have already run for over 20,000 hours which equates to well over 200,000 miles if a 10 mph average speed is assumed. Also to be considered are the requirements re charging infrastructure. Centralized H2 refueling will be easier for large fleets than provision of high speed charging for a similar sized fleet. Even today, LH2 can be delivered and dispensed for about $4 - $5 per kg for present small scale transit demo applications.
CCGTs are as you are well aware are two separate heat engines using different heat cycles being Brayton and a Rankine bottoming cycle. Hence your comparison is not accurate. The diesel engine is in fact the most efficient single cycle heat engine operating in practice, being better than 50% for the largest examples. Gas Turbines are not at that level. And even better, when using a similar Rankine bottoming cycle, they match or beat CCGTs in overall thermal efficiency.
A 350 KW charger will NOT allow you to go 230 minutes of travel for 10 minutes of charging under real world, typical conditions, especially at the low ambient air temperatures that you describe . At best, a 100 KWH battery would be able to be fully charged in about 20 minutes and it would allow you at the Interstate limit + 5-10 mph speeds that is typical of travel, about 240 minutes of driving. 5 - 10 minutes of charging gives you between 30 and 70 KWH and this is most definitely not 230 minutes of travel at 75+ mph. I will keep my diesel thank you, that allows 10+ hours of driving for 5 minutes of refueling assuming a realized real range of more than 600 miles per tank at Interstate speeds. I also don't have to "find" something to do like "play games on my phone" or "go to the store" while I refuel because the downtime is low enough that it is not a factor. Believe it or not, many folks don't particularly enjoy "going to the store" and would rather be on their way.
There are truckers out there who drive in teams. One sleeps while the other drives and it is quite common. Hence, 1000 miles is not unreasonable given that there is no long overnight stop. There is also the big question mark over the life of a battery when used in a tractor trailer that undergoes daily fast charging. Remember that 500,000 miles is the lower limit on expected mileage for a semi truck diesel with many easily exceeding 1,000,000 miles.
You realize the example you used is a bad one? It represents a case of people embracing technology that enhances autonomy and freedom (cell phones). Who would not do that? The BEV paradigm on a long trip is an example of the opposite. You are constraining freedom of mobility that is currently the norm. You may argue that some persons will trade that convenience for low running costs etc. but there are plenty of examples of people paying a premium for convenience.
There is a large enough market for such a vehicle (at least 10% of the driving population conservatively) for such a vehicle to thrive. If there is a 10% market, then I guarantee that H2 will be provided for $6 or less per KG, even when made from renewables costing 2 - 3 c per KWH. Note Great Plains wind is at those prices and solar PV in the SW is rapidly approaching those levels. There is an even larger market for a vehicle that gives one the flexibility they now have re long distance travel. I am talking about not having to spend 30 minutes to an hour to charge before one even leaves on their return trip because ready access to an overnight charge was unavailable for any myriad number of reasons. Example, all chargers in use overnight because many persons made the trip simultaneously and multiple vehicles require the charge and you get left out. No chargers available at overnight place of rest etc. etc. Please folks, just think a bit about how people behave currently, especially around holidays etc. Get out some more and observe your fellow citizens when they are taking trips.
Glad to hear another persons take on the need for extended ranges by some folks. You don't have to be in the wilderness to appreciate the ultimate flexibility that extended range along with fast charging/refueling (and by fast I mean fast "not 30 or more minutes which necessitates more planning than we have been spoiled to expect") offers. There are many people who take 300, 400, 500 and more mile trips on quite a regular basis, often travelling at speeds near 80 mph the entire way to expedite their journeys. (I would estimate at least 10% of the population take such a trip at least once a year). We keep trotting out average travel distance by the entire population and forget that the average hides the extremes that may be infrequent but drive the requirement for any technology. I often do 320+ mile trips without even stopping (It is about a 4:45 hour drive which is well within the endurance of many folks, especially if they are in a comfortable vehicle). Every once in a while, a 500, 600 or 700 mile trip will also be taken, again with maybe no more than 20 to 30 minutes of total breaks the entire trip.
This is great news. Only another 30 - 50 additional miles to allow the car to be considered full purpose assuming fast charge progress that allows 15 minutes or less to full. For those saying, 315 miles is not needed by most, I scratch my head. For example, 1. It is 440 miles from Atlanta to Orlando. 2. It is 470 miles from Atlanta to New Orleans. 3. It is 350 miles from Miami to Jacksonville. 4. It is 304 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. 5. It is 370 miles from New York City to Buffalo. Add another 20 or so to include Niagara Falls. 6. It is 410 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis. Every single one of these pairs (and numerous others not mentioned, particularly out West) are commonly undertaken by motorists, especially at holiday time and often in a hurry. The 315 mile Tesla will make none of these trips without a forced stop when traveling at the typical Interstate speeds of 75+ mph. These are trips that can be made in roughly 5 to 6+ hours, trips that do not in any way currently require any more than a 5-10 minute minute gas, stretch leg, grab a snack break to complete. Now, some folks may take it more slowly but that does not preclude catering for to those who require the convenience and flexibility of the current paradigm of which there are more than a few.
This is great news. Only another 30 - 50 additional miles to allow the car to be considered full purpose assuming fast charge progress that allows 15 minutes or less to full. For those saying, 315 miles is not needed by most, I scratch my head. For example, 1. It is 440 miles from Atlanta to Orlando. 2. It is 470 miles from Atlanta to New Orleans. 3. It is 350 miles from Miami to Jacksonville. 4. It is 304 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. 5. It is 370 miles from New York City to Buffalo. Add another 20 or so to include Niagara Falls. 6. It is 410 miles from Chicago to Minneapolis. Every single one of these pairs (and numerous others not mentioned, particularly out West) are commonly undertaken by motorists, especially at holiday time and often in a hurry. The 315 mile Tesla will make none of these trips without a forced stop when traveling at the typical Interstate speeds of 75+ mph. These are trips that can be made in roughly 5 to 6+ hours, trips that do not in any way currently require any more than a 5-10 minute minute gas, stretch leg, grab a snack break to complete. Now, some folks may take it more slowly but that does not preclude catering for to those who require the convenience and flexibility of the current paradigm of which there are more than a few.
Harvey and Roger state something that I cannot understand why so many fail to appreciate. You must live in some bubble isolated from your fellow humans such that you cannot observe very common behavior. There are folks out there, and they are a sizable community (you may not consider them reasonable) who absolutely will not accept having to stop for a half hour after only 3 hours of driving (200 miles). That becomes a royal pain when one wants to get to their destination expeditiously. Believe it or not, there are folks who will drive 400, 500, 600, 700 or more miles and the only stops are brief for bathroom breaks, quick meals etc. that are never longer than 10 - 20 minutes total. Personally, I have gone up to 350 miles without a single stop over a travel time of about 5.5 hours. Any stops on such trips are 5 minute bathroom breaks. Lengthy meal stops "on the road" are not usually undertaken as the preference is to have the meal in the presence of the company one is visiting. Think "Thanksgiving" for example.
Boy, you guys really take things personally. I simply point out that for some folks (10, 20 30%?), the vehicle needs flexible operating characteristics that current and on the horizon batteries cannot provide and you dispute it. I spell out what those vehicles need to meet that criteria and you get upset. A survey came out recently of people's stated requirements indicating exactly as such and we choose to ignore the findings, instead saying folks don't know what they want or need. I ask you to do a simple observation of some of your fellow humans. You know, the ones speeding at 80+ mph along the interstate risking life and tickets, even in the rain and ask yourself how patient do they seem to be. Some of them refuse to even do something as simple as sit down for 10 minutes at a fast food establishment to eat before continuing their journey. They rather eat in the car while they keep moving. I will state this with absolute certainty. "Until BEVs offer the characteristics I pointed out, their market is large, but will always be a fraction of the total market". Will it happen? Who knows if and when. What we do know is that while expensive currently, FCEVs and H2 can technically offer those characteristics today with the added bonus that H2 is a potential storage mechanism of variable renewables that do not come on our schedules.
Kudos to Japan for moving forward with this. Between Japan, Germany, California etc., enough critical mass should be achieved to bring the price of fuel cell and related systems down significantly and initiate a recursive feedback loop of increasing availability. It has already started. The cost reduction curve for fuel cells appears to have the potential to be much steeper than batteries because of some fundamental facts that many care to ignore like the much more modest materials resource requirements for example. Many folks understand that current and on the horizon chemical batteries CANNOT operate and provide the flexibility that a fluid fuel (any that you care to mention, including H2) offers. Particularly devastating is the quick refill capability. For a mobile vehicle that is all about autonomy, this is critical. It allows the use of the vehicle in any combination of usage patterns that is desired without constraint. No need to plan the usage of the vehicle around the recharge limitations. It is one of two reasons the BEV lost out in the first place. I will repeat for the umpteenth time, for a BEV to be a full scale replacement of current fluid fuel technology, either of these needs to occur: 1. The vehicle needs to have a range large enough that recharging time becomes a moot point because the vehicle can typically be used without the constraint of the need for recharging during a typical operating session. For automobiles, I will argue that this number is necessarily about the distance that can be covered in a reasonable day of interstate type driving or about 500 - 600 miles. 2. If such a range is not met, the other possibility is that the charging time is low enough (10 minutes or less) that recharging is not a major "required" time investment. Talking about eating / doing other tasks while recharging does not cut it because not all folks want to be constrained as such. They like the freedom to do as they please and plan their trips without such concerns. To get to option 1, a typical vehicle will need well north of 100KWH storage capacity, 150 - 200 is probably more in the ballpark. For option 2, the required capacity may be relaxed to the 80 - 140 KWH range but the recharge time to full restored range needs to be no more than 10 minutes. Talking about renting a vehicle or using a second, suitable vehicle implies conceding that the BEV is not a full scale replacement. These options, especially renting come with their own costs(transaction time plus upfront cost in the case of rentals) or the extra expense of a second, suitable vehicle if the desire was a single vehicle for all typical needs. A FCEV can technically do all that a gasoline vehicle does with the added benefit of a much shorter supply chain and the potential of being very clean in comparison. The main stumbling block is the current high cost/lack of infrastructure which Germany et. al are attempting to address. It is definitely worth investing in!! Note, by no means am I saying BEVs are not worth investing in as well. It's just that they can't currently and will not likely in the future meet all needs if we desire 100% clean transport, barring some breakthrough not on the horizon.
Interesting study. I keep asking. Who goes on a 30 minute detour to get gas/diesel? I would think most rational folks get gas while they are passing along a route they would be on anyway. I drive a diesel which is even less available than gas and I never drive out of my way to fuel up. I also keep hearing about average miles driven which is meaningless to someone who also requires the vehicle they own to occasionally go 200 - 400 miles a shot. Average does not help you in that situation. Persons, businesses, governments etc. spec out equipment based on the "PEAK" requirement, not the average requirement. Required power, required range, cargo capacity, passenger capacity etc. etc. are all specified based on the extreme usage case. I will again reiterate, more range up to a lower limit of around 350 miles (5 - 6 hours driving and about the maximum endurance for 99% of folks) is an extremely desirable characteristic of an "AUTO" "MOBILE" (autonomy and mobility) in a country as large and with an infrastructure as extensive as the USA. It means one is flexible in their options on how to make their way around the country via road. They are flexible in how far they can travel at a time, where they decide to stop and the routes they choose to follow. Such flexibility is severely limited if one has to wait for at least 30 minutes before one is able to continue.
Boy, this is tireless. Batteries are really, really great, until you need to store a lot of power over long periods. You see, batteries have a fatal flaw in that department. All of their storage capacity is tied up and locked into bonds between the materials of which they are made. It inherently limits their capacity and ensures that they will ALWAYS cost more to store a given unit of energy (if the energy is needed over a long duration) than almost any other storage solution, H2 via cavern, tank or other storage media included. One possible exception being hydride storage which suffers similar problems as batteries. You will never be storing weeks of energy capacity with batteries because the materials alone that make the battery will cost roughly an order of magnitude more than the materials to contain a fluid fuel, H2 included. It is the square versus cubic relationship between a tank where one is concerned primarily with surface area versus batteries, hydrides etc. where we are dealing with cubic material requirements. To make matters worse, batteries tend to require materials that have higher embedded energy and higher scarcity values like lithium etc. when compared with the materials for tanks like steel, aluminum, carbon fibre etc. In a nutshell, Davemart is correct. We will not be running an industrial society on batteries. They are simply not up to the job. Both Japan and Germany understand this. The countries that are less enthusiastic tend to have large fossil reserves (CH4 anyone)
The numbers I reported are my own experience and driving. Don't need DOT to tell me what I did in the last two years. My situation is not unusual. I venture to guess and will put it out there for anyone to refute that at least 10% of drivers out there, especially if you do not live in a bigger metropolis make 5 or more trips per year that are at least 200 miles one way in length. It is hazardous to extrapolate averages in the manner that you do and fail to consider the distributions of the trips that lead to those averages. Examples like many short trips and fewer very long trips as I point out come to mind. As I said, if you are satisfied with continued burning of gasoline/diesel then we can keep going about our business. if we want to move forward to a cleaner, more emission free future, I can state with authority that BEV technology as you advocate cannot do the job in total. Even a Model S, with a nominal 300 mile range is not adequate to do trips (without the pain of at least a 10 - 15 minute stop) like North Florida to Central Florida at 75 - 80 mph for example that are commonly done without any kind of stop whatsoever or the stop is a 5 minute bathroom reliever break. Look, we will see as the roll out occurs. My prediction. Both technologies make inroads with BEVs having the headstart and ultimately with larger market share and FCEVs using nat gas derived H2 initially, catching up later to service the more difficult situation for which BEVs will continue to be weak.
Another thing to consider. I have a 1.2 year old car, live in a medium sized city and do not rack up much in the way of urban miles. About 45% of the total mileage of about 13K is urban and the remaining is long distance. The longest such trip was a drive of about 600 miles, done in a single day with one fuel stop of 5 minutes and a combined meal/bathroom stop of 15 minutes in the same vicinity. The leg following the meal stop was over 300 miles and 5+ hours. This is not unusual behavior for "Road Warriors" out there and they are a decent proportion (5 - 10%) of population. Even accounting for the better efficiency on long trips (45 - 50 mpg versus 35 - 40 mpg) in town, a significant proportion of my emissions will accrue due to the long trips for which the combustion engine in an EREV will be running. These stats are not unusual for anybody who lives in rural or smaller city US where many trips can be taken to nearby (200 - 400 mile) larger cities in the region, especially out West.
I explain why straight 200 mile EVs cannot take over and the discussion switches to EREVs. If we are willing to live with continued burning of some carbon, then fine, EREVs will suffice. If our goals are : 1. Switch to 100% renewables and reduce carbon burden from sourcing energy 2. Provide the same flexibility as gasoline / diesel today Straight EVs will not do it and there is no battery technology on the near or medium term horizon that will allow 5 minute recharging. I anxiously await any development in this area that proves my statement wrong. This does not even consider the issue of power requirements for fast charging at that rate and the cost and installation of such facilities. FCEV and H2 technology today is hindered primarily by the chicken / egg scenario that prevents scale. No fundamental breakthroughs are required to provide similar functionality as gasoline/diesel today. Incremental improvements and refinements, yes such as increased lifespan, dispenser reliability, storage weight and volume etc., will help and I will bet that such would accrue with more experience and scale.
One other thing, H2 production is definitely helped by developments in FCs given the symbiotic relationship between FCs and electrolyzers. They are essentially the same device, just operating in reverse and use similar components. Any reduction in FC price, catalyst requirements etc. will apply to electrolyzers, the only question being the magnitude of the reduction.
I keep telling you guys that there is more to life than cost per mile, if the costs are already reasonably low. The reasons batteries have problems for all use cases should be obvious but some zealots simply fail to see it. I used to be one of those zealots but reality intruded years ago. An EV fast charge is NOT currently fast enough for many usage cases. There are people out there who will NOT accept having to wait around (or find something to do for all of 30 minutes or more) when they want to "Get Somewhere" expeditiously. It really is that simple. The only way EVs fully take over (99.9%) is if there is a true breakthrough and one can go at least 350 miles and have the ability to recharge / refuel fully in 10 minutes or less. Now, if range gets closer to 500 miles, the recharge time requirement can be relaxed accordingly.