Energy production, storage, and future technologies

GRtak

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Tell me again how you would get hydrogen sulfide (the second gas) without the hydrogen?
You are assuming that the process will remove all the hydrogen at once. If there is a failure early in the process, all sorts of nasty is coming out.
 

Spectre

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You are assuming that the process will remove all the hydrogen at once. If there is a failure early in the process, all sorts of nasty is coming out.
We already have all sorts of nasty, including hydrogen sulfide gas, seeping/escaping from old oil fields. I would rather go ahead and extract useful materials from them while reducing the nasty crap that's, again, already escaping.
 

GRtak

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We already have all sorts of nasty, including hydrogen sulfide gas, seeping/escaping from old oil fields. I would rather go ahead and extract useful materials from them while reducing the nasty crap that's, again, already escaping.
Old oil wells are supposed to be capped, why would they leak if they were capped? Hmm, maybe this new process will leak after being capped too.
 

Spectre

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Old oil wells are supposed to be capped, why would they leak if they were capped? Hmm, maybe this new process will leak after being capped too.
Because people are idiots and remove the caps? And there's really old oil fields (pre-WW2) that weren't capped or their primitive caps weren't maintained, things like that.
 

GRtak

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Because people are idiots and remove the caps? And there's really old oil fields (pre-WW2) that weren't capped or their primitive caps weren't maintained, things like that.
First, the old wells are not emitting that much.

But once the wells become pressurized from injecting O2, and then From the heat generated, they will have the potential to spew tons of gasses. That is the danger.

What stops the old hydrogen wells from being uncapped by idiots?
 

Spectre

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First, the old wells are not emitting that much.
You might be surprised, there's a big brouhaha over ongoing seepage from the old wells in Southern California. Among other things, they're having fun with radon. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...on_Final.pdf&usg=AOvVaw12V5P4gcPDU6j7MPbc6D1y

In one neighborhood I lived in, there were several uncapped 1930s-1950s wells in several peoples' backyards and nobody could figure out whose responsibility it was to cap them.

But once the wells become pressurized from injecting O2, and then From the heat generated, they will have the potential to spew tons of gasses. That is the danger.
So when you're done, depressurize the well and run the exhaust through various catalytic converters, problem solved.

What stops the old hydrogen wells from being uncapped by idiots?
Older wells were sometimes only capped by a screw-on fixture - literally a version of a pipe cap. Modern permanent caps have bolts, locks, adhesives, etc. They might be able to get it off but they're going to really have to work at it, unlike the old ones.
 

GRtak

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https://nikolamotor.com/press_relea...ttery-cell-technology-at-nikola-world-2020-67


Nikola Corporation to Unveil Game-Changing Battery Cell Technology at Nikola World 2020

  • Technology encompasses world’s first free-standing / self-supported electrode with a cathode that has 4x the energy density of lithium-ion
  • Achieves 2,000 cycles
  • Cell technology expected to cost 50% less to produce than lithium-ion
  • Could drive down the cost of hydrogen and double the range of battery-electric vehicles worldwide
  • Nikola will share IP with all other OEM’s around the world that contribute.




PHOENIX, AZ November 19, 2019 - Nikola Corporation is excited to announce details of its new battery that has a record energy density of 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. The Nikola prototype cell is the first battery that removes binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell. It is also expected to pass nail penetration standards, thus reducing potential vehicle fires.

This battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from 300 miles up to 600 miles with little or no increase to battery size and weight. The technology is also designed to operate in existing vehicle conditions. Moreover, cycling the cells over 2,000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance.

Nikola’s new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. While conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants.

This month, Nikola entered into a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery engineering team to help bring the new battery to pre-production. Through this acquisition, Nikola will add 15 PhDs and five master’s degree team members. Due to confidentiality and security reasons, additional details of the acquisition will not be disclosed until Nikola World 2020.

“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world,” said Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company. “We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world.”

“Nikola is in discussions with customers for truck orders that could fill production slots for more than ten years and propel Nikola to become the top truck manufacturer in the world in terms of revenue. Now the question is why not share it with the world?”
said Milton.

Nikola will show the batteries charging and discharging in front of the crowd at Nikola World. The date of Nikola World will be announced soon but is expected to be fall of 2020.



Points include:


  • Nikola’s battery electric trucks could now drive 800 miles fully loaded between charges
  • Nikola trucks could weigh 5,000 lbs. less than the competition if same battery size was kept
  • Nikola’s hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks could surpass 1,000 miles between stops and top off in 15 minutes
  • World’s first free-standing electrode automotive battery
  • Energy density up to 1,100 watt-hours per kg on a material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on a production cell level including; casing, terminals and separator -- more than double current lithium-ion battery cells
  • Cycled over 2,000 times with acceptable end-of-life performance
  • 40% reduction in weight compared to lithium-ion cells
  • 50% material cost reduction per kWh compared to lithium-ion batteries

Due to the impact this technology will have on society and emissions, Nikola has taken an unprecedented position to share the IP with all other OEM’s, even competitors, that contribute to the Nikola IP license and new consortium.
 

GRtak

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https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/11/19/business/heliogen-solar-energy-bill-gates/index.html

Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough

A secretive startup backed by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough aimed at saving the planet.


Heliogen, a clean energy company that emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday, said it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius.


Essentially, Heliogen created a solar oven — one capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you'd find on the surface of the sun.

The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon-emitting corner of the economy that has been untouched by the clean energy revolution.


"We are rolling out technology that can beat the price of fossil fuels and also not make the CO2 emissions," Bill Gross, Heliogen's founder and CEO, told CNN Business. "And that's really the holy grail."


Heliogen, which is also backed by billionaire Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, believes the patented technology will be able to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. Cement, for example, accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.


"Bill and the team have truly now harnessed the sun," Soon-Shiong, who also sits on the Heliogen board, told CNN Business. "The potential to humankind is enormous. ... The potential to business is unfathomable."

Unlike traditional solar power, which uses rooftop panels to capture the energy from the sun, Heliogen is improving on what's known as concentrated solar power. This technology, which uses mirrors to reflect the sun to a single point, is not new.


Concentrated solar has been used in the past to produce electricity and, in some limited fashion, to create heat for industry. It's even used in Oman to provide the power needed to drill for oil.


The problem is that in the past concentrated solar couldn't get temperatures hot enough to make cement and steel.


"You've ended up with technologies that can't really deliver super-heated systems," said Olav Junttila, a partner at Greentech Capital Advisors, a clean energy investment bank that has advised concentrated solar companies in the past.




Using artificial intelligence to solve the climate crisis



That means renewable energy has not yet disrupted industrial processes such as cement and steelmaking. And that's a problem because the world has an insatiable appetite for those materials. Cement, for instance, is used to make the concrete required to build homes, hospitals and schools. These industries are responsible for more than a fifth of global emissions, according to the EPA.


That's why the potential of Los Angeles-based Heliogen attracted investment from Gates, the Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder who recently surpassed Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos as the world's richest person.


"I'm pleased to have been an early backer of Bill Gross's novel solar concentration technology," Gates said in a statement. "Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel."

While other concentrated solar companies attacked this temperature problem by adding steel to make the technology stiffer and sturdier, Heliogen and its team of scientists and engineers turned to artificial intelligence.


Heliogen uses computer vision software, automatic edge detection and other sophisticated technology to train a field of mirrors to reflect solar beams to one single spot.


"If you take a thousand mirrors and have them align exactly to a single point, you can achieve extremely, extremely high temperatures," Gross said, who added that Heliogen made its breakthrough on the first day it turned its plant on.


Heliogen said it is generating so much heat that its technology could eventually be used to create clean hydrogen at scale. That carbon-free hydrogen could then be turned into a fuel for trucks and airplanes.


"If you can make hydrogen that's green, that's a gamechanger," said Gross. "Long term, we want to be the green hydrogen company."




'No-brainer'



For now, Heliogen is squarely focused on solar. One problem with solar is that the sun doesn't always shine, yet industrial companies like cement makers have a constant need for heat. Heliogen said it would solve that issue by relying on storage systems that can hold the solar energy for rainy days.


Now that it has made this breakthrough, Heliogen will focus on demonstrating how the technology can be used in a large-scale application, such as making cement.


"We're in a race. We just want to scale as fast as possible," said Gross.


After the large-scale application, Soon-Shiong said Heliogen would likely be ready to go public.
There is a bit more at the link, but that is the bulk of it.
 

Spectre

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Every single bird that flies through the area is going to vaporize, just like all the other solar furnaces.

This doesn't even look like all that much of a breakthrough. They're combining a slightly better solar furnace setup with basically a sort of battery. I'll be impressed if they can scale it to the real world.

https://nikolamotor.com/press_relea...ttery-cell-technology-at-nikola-world-2020-67


Nikola Corporation to Unveil Game-Changing Battery Cell Technology at Nikola World 2020
This isn't directed at you personally: Oh, look, it's the latest game changing battery cell technology announcement we get every few years that will be kicked around for a while then vanish without a trace when it turns out to not work in the real world.

Absolutely wait about five years then check back to see if anything came of this. I'm still waiting for the amazing zinc-air battery revolution I was promised in the early 90s, for example.
 
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GRtak

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Glass buildings kill more birds a year in the US by a large margin.


I am cautiously optimistic for the battery breakthrough. We are due, but it may still have some technical hurdles to overcome.
 

Spectre

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Glass buildings kill more birds a year in the US by a large margin.
Yes, but the birds there die by impact. Solar furnaces kill birds by converting them into FLAMING FLYING TORCHES. It is anything but a quick or merciful death in many cases.

On a more strictly pragmatic front, solar furnaces require a *lot* of water to keep the reflectors clean. Since we usually put the things in deserts, you may begin to see one problem.

I am cautiously optimistic for the battery breakthrough. We are due, but it may still have some technical hurdles to overcome.
Yeah, I'll believe it when I see them out in public in reasonable numbers. We've had so many "breakthroughs" that amounted to naught.

Not unrelated reading from MIT Technology Review: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/534866/why-we-dont-have-battery-breakthroughs/
 
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GRtak

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That article has a few errors in it.

First, A123Systems is still around, but they did go through bankruptcy. The battery they didn't come through on, they still make.

The EV1 range for lead acid batteries was wrong, and it was switched to NiMH with a longer range.

The article also notes that the Nissan and GM Li-Io powered cars have a range under 100 miles. The only GM car I am aware of at the time was the Volt, it is a hybrid and a large pack does not make sense. Not sure about the Nissan car(s).


Yes, cleaning mirrors uses water. We have discussed it before. Water can be collected and recycled.
 

MWF

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These are all just problems for which solutions have to be found, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying.

In the words of JFK, "We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
 

GRtak

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One more thing to point out. Just recently, the range on the Bolt was increased.due to an improvement in the chemistry or the Li-Io cells. Apparently the pack weight stayed the same too.
 

Spectre

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Yes, cleaning mirrors uses water. We have discussed it before. Water can be collected and recycled.
Except when cleaning solar panels/reflectors, a *lot* of it tends to evaporate off during the cleaning process due to the heat of the panel or reflector. They require a more-or-less regular influx of more water to do the cleaning.
 

Spectre

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You do know that this process can take place at night?
Except that if you put this thing in a desert, you may often be unable to. In California's high desert, it often does get below freezing at night. So, you'd just made big ice sheets instead of cleaning the reflectors/panels that night. Whoops.
 

narf

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Even in the high desert temperatures don't go from "it's too hot, we're boiling all the water!" to "it's too cold, we're freezing all the water!" in an instant :roll:

Do you have figures on how much water is consumed, compared to other forms of electricity generation?
 

Spectre

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Even in the high desert temperatures don't go from "it's too hot, we're boiling all the water!" to "it's too cold, we're freezing all the water!" in an instant :roll:
No, but it can be pretty damn fast. I'm not even in a real desert area and we had a 40F temperature drop over the course of thirty minutes not three weeks ago. Sun goes down in a desert, it can get real cold real fast, faster than it does here.

Do you have figures on how much water is consumed, compared to other forms of electricity generation?
I have some, but it seems there's some ambiguity between sources and different ways of reporting it - assuming the plants report it at all, which many do not. There is also the absurd claim that solar uses zero water, but the more honest making the claim put an asterisk next to it and footnote that they mean "In direct power production, not including water used for cleaning." Thermoelectric is usually going to use more than photovoltaic, as you have to clean the reflector panels *and* you're generally involving boiling water in the tower.

One point of information: https://www.kcet.org/redefine/fact-check-how-much-water-does-solar-power-really-use

This is what the government thinks water use is like: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/63011.pdf

This is an interesting discussion from a maker of a solar panel wash product that is supposed to reduce water consumption: http://www.polywater.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Intl-blog-Water-Use-IndiaCA.pdf

And a paper from the UCS pointing out the challenges in identifying what what each power type is consuming versus withdrawing: https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2014/08/ew3-freshwater-use-by-us-power-plants.pdf


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Unrelated: Hyundai finds they can't make enough HFC cars as demand seriously outstrips supply. https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/hyundai-fuel-cell-hydrogen-sales-growth/
 
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