Energy production, storage, and future technologies

prizrak

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car being faster to charge than he can eat lunch.
That pre supposes that you have the ability to charge while doing something else. As an example I went to fill up the X this am and popped over to the drive through for a coffee. Both of those things combined were under 15 minutes, (with most of the time being in the queue of cars to get to my order) that’s not something you could replicate with a fast charger. *

*This assumes no charger at home for obvious reasons.

Charging times are a massive drawback to EVs at this point, there is no getting around that.

Comparing the power density of a battery with the power density of hydrogen - you'll have to include the tank (high pressure or looooow temperature containers aren't exactly paperweight...) and fuel cell in the comparison. The Mirai has about 5kg hydrogen capacity, with an 87.5kg tank and a 56kg fuel cell stack. Taking those two into consideration it drops the hydrogen system energy density by 30x compared to just the hydrogen itself. Still denser than a battery, but not by that much.
However consider that increasing size of storage tank on an HFCEV adds only a fraction of weight that it would for a BEV, since you also have to keep in mind that those batteries require cooling and insulation for the cells to mitigate thermal runaway.
 

narf

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That pre supposes that you have the ability to charge while doing something else. As an example I went to fill up the X this am and popped over to the drive through for a coffee. Both of those things combined were under 15 minutes, (with most of the time being in the queue of cars to get to my order) that’s not something you could replicate with a fast charger. *

*This assumes no charger at home for obvious reasons.

Charging times are a massive drawback to EVs at this point, there is no getting around that.
Park, plug in, get coffee.

However consider that increasing size of storage tank on an HFCEV adds only a fraction of weight that it would for a BEV, since you also have to keep in mind that those batteries require cooling and insulation for the cells to mitigate thermal runaway.
Space is another limitation here, the 5kg tanks for the Mirai occupy 122.4l of net space already, plus wasted space around the big cylindrical tanks - a traditional gas/diesel tank can be shaped to fit snugly into gaps.
Store more via higher pressures? Need a heavier tank. Store more via more tanks than the two onboard the Mirai? Need more space.

Same holds for power, the Mirai comes with 114kW. Want more? You'll need a bigger fuel cell, and the current one already occupies quite a lot of space.



As for overall weight, the Long Range RWD Model 3 is 125kg lighter than the Mirai, has twice the power, more range, seats five, and offers more boot space.
 

MWF

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And unlike the Mirai goes like shit off a greasy stick.
:burnrubber:
 

narf

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And unlike the Mirai goes like shit off a greasy stick.
:burnrubber:
That's the Performance you're thinking of, to be fair it is about one MWF heavier than the Mirai due to the second motor AWD system... but has more than thrice the power, and still about the same range.
 

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I was weighed at the doctors last week. For years I struggled to top 70kg.

I knocking on the door of 90 these days!! Gulp.
 

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Just in time to follow the above discussion, here's an interesting breakthrough if it proves out.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-scientists-hydrogen-gas-oil-bitumen.html

Scientists extract hydrogen gas from oil and bitumen, giving potential pollution-free energy

Scientists have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen (H2) from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity; hydrogen is regarded as an efficient transport fuel, similar to petrol and diesel, but with no pollution problems. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. Interestingly, this process can be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil.

Hydrogen powered vehicles, including cars, buses, and trains, have been in development for many years. These vehicles have been acknowledged to be efficient, but the high price of extracting the Hydrogen from oil reserves has meant that the technology has not been economically viable. Now a group of Canadian engineers have developed a cheap method of extracting H2 from oil sands. They are presenting this work at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona.

"There are vast oil sand reservoirs in several countries, with huge fields in Alberta in Canada, but also in Venezuela and other countries" said Dr. Ian Gates, of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Calgary, and of Proton Technologies Inc.).

Oil fields, even abandoned oil fields, still contain significant amounts of oil. The researchers have found that injecting oxygen into the fields raises the temperature and liberates H2, which can then be separated from other gases via specialist filters. Hydrogen is not pre-existing in the reservoirs, but pumping oxygen means that the reaction to form hydrogen can take place.

Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies which is commercializing the process says "This technique can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen while leaving the carbon in the ground. When working at production level, we anticipate we will be able to use the existing infrastructure and distribution chains to produce H2 for between 10 and 50 cents per kilo. This means it potentially costs a fraction of gasoline for equivalent output". This compares with current H2 production costs of around $2/kilo. Around 5% of the H2 produced then powers the oxygen production plant, so the system more than pays for itself.

The economics of the process is favorable according to Grant Strem "What comes out of the ground is hydrogen gas, so we don't have the huge above-ground purification costs associated with oil refining: we use the ground as our reaction vessel. Just taking Alberta as an example, we have the potential to supply Canada's entire electricity requirement for 330 years (Canada uses around 2.5% of the world's electricity—around the same amount as Germany, and more than France or the UK). Our initial aim is to scale up the production from Canadian oil sands, but in fact, we anticipate that most of the interest in this process will come from outside Canada, as the economics and the environmental implications make people look very hard at whether they want to continue conventional oil production. The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free. All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface".

The technology was developed by Ian Gates and Jacky Wang as the result of an agreement between the University of Calgary and Proton Technologies Inc., which now holds the patent.

Professor Brian Horsfield (GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam) said: "The research is highly innovative and exciting. It's an adaptation of some 1970's fire-flood production concepts, but tuned to a modern day perspective. Declining oil field production infrastructures now stand to get a new lease of life. Extensive field testing will be crucial in assessing how the system works on industrial scales and over time"
If this pans out, there's your initial source of cheap, easily made hydrogen. You can reuse much of the existing infrastructure and you can reuse old currently useless (watered out/no longer producing) oil fields and such. We have lots of those in North America, and there's no shortage of them in the Middle East.
 

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Thanks! That was quite informative, not that I was expecting anything less from you. :mrgreen:

We have fairly quiet natural gas powered buses here, so the diesel noise is rather a non-issue at least in this region.
I forgot about those, they're not common in Germany and I can't remember seeing any in China. Many European Diesel buses are actually nice and quiet; beats me why that isn't the case in the US... a greater tolerance for noise and a lower one for cost, I suspect. Anyway, as long as you have an efficient supply of LNG, those buses must be a great alternative.

There is a major bus line right next to my home and since they converted to NG vehicles several years ago, I cannot hear them any more except in the middle of the night when all is quiet and still and I have my windows open. But when it's that quiet you can hear a Tesla's tire noise, so that's not really an objection.
Sweet!

1. No electrical power due to a power system problem? (Whether that be due to someone nailing a power pole, construction, regional power blackout, etc.) Batteries only last so long and the buses I've seen deployed in SF have strictly limited reserves
That would easily be solved by installing larger batteries. The bus line that runs in front of my former Shanghai home was diverted for several months because the council (or whatever the CCP term for that is) was completely rebuilding a street on its route. I may have seen one or two breakdowns during that time, but never experienced one myself and, of course, I have no idea what the reasons for those breakdowns were. Apart from that, the buses ran everything on battery power quite nicely and that includes powerful a/c units.

2. No real flexibility
As above: put in larger batteries. But at that point, an LNG bus might already be more cost-effective.

3. Trolley buses cannot be used for major evacuations. In natural (and not-so-natural) disasters, city buses are often pressed into service evacuating people to a safer part of the country. Can't do that with trolley buses, and we seem to get natural disasters on a regular basis.
This now makes me wonder how they did it in Shanghai when the odd typhoon hit and low-lying areas were evacuated. With journalism in the PRC being what it is, you don't even get that sort of information, only an endless litany of numbers that reads like some CCP official's report to his superiors. I guess there was a sufficient supply of conventional buses with sufficient range and flexibility because the electric ones (battery and trolley) were used only in the centre of town.

4. There are also issues with the overhead power lines sparking and causing fires (as Matt has noted)
My road in SH was lined with trees and to this day I wonder how on earth none of those that kept touching the catenary ever caught fire. :-? The tension must have been really low.

there's issues with caternary-type power systems not being usable if you get freezing rain encapsulating the wires
When the tension is low, as it probably has to be for buses because you can't keep a large enough area around the lines clear for high tension, that's true. But now I wonder how the Russians dealt with that problem; theirs not being a country known for a lack of cold weather. Did they build their trolley bus catenary to a standard that did allow higher tension, did they simply put up with the failures or..? @prizrak?

something I get to see every time we get an ice storm in Dallas, as there's an incline the local Dallas Area Rapid Transit or DART trains (which run off overhead power and have a battery reserve) have to try to climb to go on their way. Let's just say that after a few trains stack up waiting for a depowered train to try to crawl up the bridge and fail, they shut down the line until the ice melts.
Another one that makes me wonder what's done differently over here in Europe. As per Wikipedia, DART uses the very common (in light rail systems) tension of 750V and your reference to it is the first time I've heard of icing shutting down a line this way.

Of course, if you live in tornado country, there's always the fun problem of the tornado removing the overhead power lines. Which just happened last month in the Dallas tornado; they're going to have to shut down the line for permanent repairs later this month IIRC.
That's the biggest issue as far as I can tell. It may be a regional one, but every region needs its own appropriate mass transit system. Catenary may well survive the wind speeds of a typhoon, but not those of a tornado.

DART considered trolley buses when they were trialing natural gas ones and these were some of the issues that they cited in deciding to go with more natural gas buses. Given our recent city-slashing tornado and the road chaos that ensued, I tend to think they were more correct than not.
Point very much taken. Trolley buses obviously work well in certain areas and on defined routes, but not in/on others. If pollution can be better reduced by introducing another technology, that's what should happen.
 

prizrak

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I wonder how the Russians dealt with that problem; theirs not being a country known for a lack of cold weather. Did they build their trolley bus catenary to a standard that did allow higher tension, did they simply put up with the failures or..? @prizrak?
Honestly I don't remember it has been a long while, I can tell you that Seattle has trolleys and also does get rather chilly in the winter and somehow is doing fine. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Seattle isn't that cold in winter when compared to much of the US. Average December temperatures are around 40F according to Wikipedia due to its coastal location.
 

GRtak

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Just in time to follow the above discussion, here's an interesting breakthrough if it proves out.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2019-08-scientists-hydrogen-gas-oil-bitumen.html



If this pans out, there's your initial source of cheap, easily made hydrogen. You can reuse much of the existing infrastructure and you can reuse old currently useless (watered out/no longer producing) oil fields and such. We have lots of those in North America, and there's no shortage of them in the Middle East.

This sounds a bit sketchy to me. From your link:

The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free. All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface".
What happens to seep out in the future?
 

Spectre

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I forgot about those, they're not common in Germany and I can't remember seeing any in China. Many European Diesel buses are actually nice and quiet; beats me why that isn't the case in the US... a greater tolerance for noise and a lower one for cost, I suspect. Anyway, as long as you have an efficient supply of LNG, those buses must be a great alternative.
I know that we get some imported Euro diesel buses (mostly used as tour and charter buses). If they're the same ones as currently used in Europe, they're quieter than ones we've gotten in the past but I wouldn't call them quiet. The DFW contingent that went to Ringmeet this year had a diesel 7-series rental IIRC; two have commented to me that the thing was surprisingly loud and rattly. The diesel Jags we've gotten in the US aren't as quiet as Euro reviews seem to think they are either, and they have the same exhaust, etc. See the video I posted upthread - most of the time here, tire noise is louder than engine noise on the street and it's very rare to hear a diesel, even the latest gen diesels from Europe, that isn't obviously louder than its petrol counterparts.

Also, just a tech note - our buses and vehicles so fueled run on compressed natural gas (CNG) not liquefied natural gas (LNG). CNG is stored at ambient temperature and high pressure, while LNG is stored at low temperature and nearly ambient pressure. The cryogenic nature of LNG is a big no-no for road vehicle use. But yes, we have lots and lots and lots and lots of natural gas available to us.

That would easily be solved by installing larger batteries. The bus line that runs in front of my former Shanghai home was diverted for several months because the council (or whatever the CCP term for that is) was completely rebuilding a street on its route. I may have seen one or two breakdowns during that time, but never experienced one myself and, of course, I have no idea what the reasons for those breakdowns were. Apart from that, the buses ran everything on battery power quite nicely and that includes powerful a/c units.

As above: put in larger batteries. But at that point, an LNG bus might already be more cost-effective.
I read an article a couple years ago about how this was proposed for the San Fran trolley buses, but they found that they were already using the physically largest batteries that could be fitted to the buses in use there at the time as well as being almost the highest capacity that could be fitted. Austin was looking at that a few years ago too and they came to the conclusion that there just wasn't enough reserve power available in a commercial bus for the service required.

This now makes me wonder how they did it in Shanghai when the odd typhoon hit and low-lying areas were evacuated. With journalism in the PRC being what it is, you don't even get that sort of information, only an endless litany of numbers that reads like some CCP official's report to his superiors. I guess there was a sufficient supply of conventional buses with sufficient range and flexibility because the electric ones (battery and trolley) were used only in the centre of town.
Or, being China, they possibly just dumped them off at the edge of the evac area and told them they were on their own.

My road in SH was lined with trees and to this day I wonder how on earth none of those that kept touching the catenary ever caught fire. :-? The tension must have been really low.

When the tension is low, as it probably has to be for buses because you can't keep a large enough area around the lines clear for high tension, that's true. But now I wonder how the Russians dealt with that problem; theirs not being a country known for a lack of cold weather. Did they build their trolley bus catenary to a standard that did allow higher tension, did they simply put up with the failures or..? @prizrak?
IIRC from some of the discussions about the DART trains' issues, I believe it is possible to fit a pantograph that can do some ice clearing, but the downside is that it wears quickly and is hard on the power lines themselves. Beyond that, I have no idea.

As for the fires, it's not just the trees that may be around the route, but also sparks from the catenary/pantograph interface that are occasionally generated - those can be blown into nearby vegetation and ignite it.

Another one that makes me wonder what's done differently over here in Europe. As per Wikipedia, DART uses the very common (in light rail systems) tension of 750V and your reference to it is the first time I've heard of icing shutting down a line this way.
The next time it happens and I'm around, I'll try to go take video of the train struggling up the incline on batteries (and usually failing). It's pretty funny to watch if you're not one of the people on the train and you're sitting in a nice warm car. :p

I'd guess there's a service car or some sort of rig that could be used to break the ice off the lines, but that doesn't immediately help if you have a train that's already out on the lines and stuck.

That's the biggest issue as far as I can tell. It may be a regional one, but every region needs its own appropriate mass transit system. Catenary may well survive the wind speeds of a typhoon, but not those of a tornado.
Catenary definitely doesn't survive well when the tornado is throwing these things (among others) around like a child throwing toys out of their pram.



That is a multiton rooftop air conditioning system, one of several that had formerly been on top of an office building. The recent tornado threw some of these up to a couple km away and through the area of the DART train - and that was off of just one building, so there was plenty more heavy debris being flung around.
 

Spectre

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This sounds a bit sketchy to me. From your link:

What happens to seep out in the future?
Same thing that happens to seep now? Seep happens even if we don't exploit the resource and leave it alone - see the tar balls that have been washing up on California beaches since before mankind started drilling for petroleum, also the La Brea tar pits.

Even today, every so often a farmer or hunter will go out to a remote area, light a smoke, and suddenly the area explodes due to a naturally occurring previously unknown natural gas seep. So, yeah, not really much of a change as it is going to happen anyway; in fact, seep is reduced when we do exploit the resource. Only with the hydrogen removed, it might be a bit less explosive.
 

prizrak

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Seattle isn't that cold in winter when compared to much of the US. Average December temperatures are around 40F according to Wikipedia due to its coastal location.
It's similar to NYC and we have plenty of power outages out on Long Island* in the winter after big snow storms.

*The island itself houses four counties Kings (Brookklyn), Queens, Nassau and Suffolk. The latter two are not part of NYC itself, and unlike NYC boroughs, have their power lines overhead as opposed to buried in the ground.
 

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Same thing that happens to seep now? Seep happens even if we don't exploit the resource and leave it alone - see the tar balls that have been washing up on California beaches since before mankind started drilling for petroleum, also the La Brea tar pits.

Even today, every so often a farmer or hunter will go out to a remote area, light a smoke, and suddenly the area explodes due to a naturally occurring previously unknown natural gas seep. So, yeah, not really much of a change as it is going to happen anyway; in fact, seep is reduced when we do exploit the resource. Only with the hydrogen removed, it might be a bit less explosive.

Yes, things seep out, the real question is, WHAT will seep out.
 

GRtak

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Less volatile than what's leaking out now. Removing the hydrogen from hydrocarbons helps a lot that way.
It is not the volatility that bothers me. There is a chemical reaction(s) taking place, what is being produced by that? I would assume that since oxygen is involved, and heat is produced, there will be some carbon monoxide. Burping out a bunch of carbon monoxide is not good for anything that breathes.
 

Spectre

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It is not the volatility that bothers me. There is a chemical reaction(s) taking place, what is being produced by that? I would assume that since oxygen is involved, and heat is produced, there will be some carbon monoxide. Burping out a bunch of carbon monoxide is not good for anything that breathes.
Not entirely sure about that being the product - depending on temperatures (IIRC) it might be CO2, in which case you have more plant food. Related: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth
 

GRtak

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Not entirely sure about that being the product - depending on temperatures (IIRC) it might be CO2, in which case you have more plant food. Related: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth
Or it could become a cloud and...

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/gas-cloud-kills-cameroon-villagers

Gas cloud kills Cameroon villagers


Or, it could be a different gas altogether,

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/12/chin-d31.html

Gas explosion turns Chinese villages into “a death zone”
 

Spectre

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Tell me again how you would get hydrogen sulfide (the second gas) without the hydrogen?
 
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