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Good discussion. Henrik's suggestion of long-haul trucks using autonomous vehicles and recharging every couple hours is quite interesting (I need to read GCC more). For ECI's last post -- first, long haul trucking with H2 is definitely possible from an energy storage perspective. DOE recently did the calculations and found there's plenty of space on a long-haul trucks using the space where diesel tank previously sat, and the space under the side rails behind the cab. They found it's even doable with 350 bar H2 to get similar range as a 200 gallon diesel truck (their paper is being presented at the EVS conference this summer if you're interested). There are also plenty of other medium and heavy duty vehicles where operators need flexible daily range and may have difficulty charging. The size of this non-electrifiable (is that a word?) segment is still unclear, but we know it exists. Second, agree that CNG is more "likely" for long-haul trucks but we need to separate what's more likely and what "needs" to happen. If we dismiss this segment then we, de facto, dismiss climate change goals. Other than renewable H2 or maybe AVs with charging every 200 miles, I don't see a solution.
Henrik/ECI - My question remains: what about medium and heavy duty vehicles? Long-haul trucks go a 1000 miles or more per day through rural regions and there's no way to electrify those miles (unless you install inductive roadway charging). They also account for about half of the diesel use in the U.S. You can't tell me that we can electrify these vehicles. It would help to move this conversation forward if we all agreed that there's a place for EVs, but there are some vehicles/application in which EVs are unfeasible.
Henrik - I'm with you that EVs are a great solution for most applications. But my question is: how many application/trips are NOT suitable for EVs? That's where people who only focus on EVs get it wrong, in my opinion. 2 degrees warming means 80% reduction in economy-wide GHGs relative to 1990 levels 2050. Agreed? Because some sectors are nearly impossible to decarbonize (e.g., agriculture) we may need even greater reductions in other sectors like transportation. After looking at lot of medium and heavy duty use data (like VIUS and Fleet DNA from NREL) I am totally unconvinced that we can get to 80% in the transportation sector with EVs alone, aside from having some technology that seems farther fetched than affordable fuel cells (like inductive charging). In particular, long-haul trucking is a major fraction of the 50B gallons per year of diesel. What are we going to do about those trucks? I'm open to suggestions.
Henrik - your post is misleading. What matters is the marginal increase in weight per increase in range, not the absolute weight for today's cars. The fact is that adding batteries penalizes you a lot more than adding a little extra composite material for H2 tanks for a given size vehicle. Limiting climate change to 2 degrees means ALL vehicle categories need to be decarbonized, not just the smaller, urban ones in which EVs are currently used.
Well said Davemart! I only read ECI's posts when I need a good laugh.
Oil companies had a large exodus from biofuels two years ago. Now, it's USDA, DoD, private equity, and large industrial companies that provide the capital funding for advanced biofuels. In general the DoD seems more interested in PR than in actually establishing a new industry which is too bad given the leadership's seemingly good intentions. We'll see if this announcement has any legs. Just to add to SJC's calculation... 100 MGY is 10% of California's biofuel consumption not petroleum consumption.
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May 12, 2012