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rdhauser
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A Hydrogen Economy

Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:43 am

Fun article in "Vox". A guy (Evan Johnson) has a small research lab/business working on ways to use hydrogen. The article chronicles Johnson's plan. I found the plan just very clever in several areas. The developments he has in place already are really impressive. However, as the article says, our industrial history is littered with impressive developments that didn't make it so we'll just have to see. He's doing his work up here in the northwest in Redmond. I'm not holding that against him for the moment ;)

Here's a linkhttps://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/16/16926950/hydrogen-fuel-technology-economy-hytech-storage
Dick
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Levenkay
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:26 pm

It is interesting, all right. The article goes on for page after page about the benefits of having a supply of hydrogen, which nobody contests, and drops in one or two sentences alluding to achieving an order of magnitude improvement in the electrolysis process via secret sauce catalysts. It should be completely straightforward to test the claim: instrument one of these electrolyzers with lab-quality power-measurement, and compare the energy it consumes during a test run to the volume of hydrogen produced.

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RegGuheert
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:43 pm

Interesting article. Thanks!

Some things that caught my eye:
Vox wrote:Johnson boasts that his electrolyzer can produce hydrogen at about three or four times the rate of electrolyzers with similar footprints, using about a third the electrical current. That represents a stepwise drop in costs.
So this guy is claiming to have a 9X to 12X improvement over commercially available products. Let's look at what a commercial product achieves in terms of efficiency today:
GinerELX wrote:In testing at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the efficiency of the stack ranged from 95% to 75% at current densities exceeding 30 kA/m2.
Since the theoretical efficiency limit for electrolysis of water is 120%, the biggest POSSIBLE improvement over today's commercially-available solutions is 1.26X to 1.6X. In other words, there is no possibility to improve them by 9X to 12X.

Regarding trucks, the following claims are made:
Vox wrote:HyTech’s offer to that market is pretty remarkable: it claims that its ICA can improve the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine between 20 and 30 percent,...
Vox wrote:The cost of transforming a dirty diesel engine to a relatively clean one: around $10,000 installed, which HyTech estimates will pay itself back in nine months through avoided fuel and maintenance costs.
If they can save even 20% of the fuel used, that would be a huge win, and could be very successful. Where does the hydrogen come from? If they are generating it on-board, then this sounds quite attractive.

Edit: I see that it does:
Vox wrote:A small, onboard electrolyzer produces more than enough.
The last question then becomes what happens to the truck's warranty?

I also like the idea of storing the hydrogen as part of a hydride, but the article implies that compression is a huge energy waster. I agree it wastes energy, but even without the compression, modern high-efficiency electrolysis uses nearly 50 kWh per kg of H2:
GinerELX wrote:These exceptional efficiencies correspond to an energy consumption of less than 50 kWh per kilogram of hydrogen produced and are essential in building a compelling economic business case for the technology.
That much electricity will take a BEV approximately 200 miles. By comparison, fuel-cell vehicles will go about 1/3 that far on 1 kg of H2.

It's good to see people taking a fresh look at things. While some things don't seem to add up the truck idea looks like a really good one since the H2 and O2 are generated on-board. If even one of his ideas works out, it would be great!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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RegGuheert
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:27 pm

Regarding the energy storage product, SES, he says the following:
Vox wrote:On the downside, though he has substantially increased end-to-end efficiency relative to hydrogen competitors, Johnson still hasn’t quite matched the efficiency of batteries. He says the SES is about 80 percent efficient at this point. At least when they are new, traditional lead-acid batteries are around 90 percent and lithium-ion batteries are around 98 percent or higher, though all batteries degrade over time. (Johnson expects SES efficiency to continue rising as he develops new materials for his electrolyzers and fuel cells — he thinks 85 or 90 percent is within reach.)
If he can achieve 80%, that's HUGE. Long-term storage of energy is important.
Vox wrote:On the upside(s), the SES will last much longer than a battery, through more than 10,000 charge-and-discharge cycles, relative to around 1,000 for a li-ion battery. That would make its lifespan closer to the lifespan of a typical solar panel, allowing the two to be more conveniently paired.

Unlike batteries, which cannot be fully charged or discharged for fear of degradation, the SES can go from 100 percent capacity to 0 and back without damage.
The battery in the Enphase AC Battery is already capable of 10,000 full cycles, so none of this is new.

What IS interesting with hydrogen storage is the ability to use a smallish hydrolyzer and electrolyzer combined with a large storage capability to allow for low-cost, long-term storage. Batteries cannot do that affordably.

I'll be first in line to purchase such a system with a 4 MWh storage tank (or metal hydride or whatever) if the efficiency is above 80% and the price is reasonable.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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rdhauser
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:26 pm

Thanks RegGuheert for taking the time. Great review.
Dick
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2018 White SV with Cold Weather Option 3/16/18

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IssacZachary
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:48 am

I've thought about putting one of these in the trunk:

http://www.fuelcellstore.com/fuel-cell-stacks/high-power-fuel-cell-stacks/horizon-5000watt-fuel-cell-h-5000

But I just couldn't justify the cost. :(
2013 SL 50,000 miles.
12 bars until 44,300 miles on June 2, 2017. :D
11 bars current. :)
The Nissan Leaf is the fourth best long distance car for highway driving. >>Best Long Distance Cars<<

SageBrush
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:55 am

Do you guys really not recognize a shill ?
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Car is now enjoying an easy life in Colorado
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RegGuheert
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:51 am

SageBrush wrote:Do you guys really not recognize a shill ?
He could be, and I have called him out on the electrolysis efficiency claims.

Beyond that, I see him pointing out a lot of the drawbacks as well as the promise of hydrogen that we have discussed here. That's the right place to start in my book. For instance, he acknowledges the near-unity round-trip efficiency of Li-ion batteries, something that several here (and elsewhere) have not been able to acknowledge, even with measured data staring them in the face.

Combustion chemistry is, like much of chemistry, very poorly understood. As such, it is not possible to refute his claims of improved efficiency of a diesel engine hrought the injection of small amounts of hydrogen and oxygen without measuring the actual engine. He is claiming he will come out with that product in two months, so we should have some more information within a year or so.

As far as storing hydrogen as a hydride of *something*, how can we know if someone has come up with a new idea here or not? There are certainly a LOT of chemicals out there, so it's possible some things have not been tried. I don't see it as out of the realm of possibility.

Finally, theoretical round-trip efficiency for hydrolysis followed by fuel cell recombination is !00% (120% for the electrolysis and 83% for the fuel cell), so claiming 80% round trip efficiency, while far from the current state-of-the-art, is not inconceivable.

As I've stated for years, hydrogen has a huge benefit over batteries for long-term storage in terms of resource utilization. If he can address the storage and the efficiency problems and do it for a reasonable price, I'm all for it.

I'm even more interested when someone offers solutions for homeowners rather than for utilities.

I see no harm in taking a wait-and-see stance on these items. It's no skin off my back if some or all of them don't pan out. After all, most new technologies end up in the trash heap of history.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

SageBrush
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:47 pm

Shill was probably too harsh a judgement, but VOX published fluff journalism.
Harder to guess OP's motivations
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Bought off-lease Jan 2017 from N. California
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GRA
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Re: A Hydrogen Economy

Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:47 pm

There's lots of articles announcing major improvements in the efficiency of electrolysis on GCC, but as they're all lab results I rarely bother to post them. I'd love to see something like this succeed (and the other techniques as well), and will await events with hopeful skepticism (skeptical hopefulness?), as I do with pretty much all announcements of cost and/or performance breakthroughs by startups.
Last edited by GRA on Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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