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RegGuheert
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:27 am

I'm going to pull our off-topic discussion from the H2 fuel stations thread into this thread:
GRA wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:That's a completely different story than fuel cells, which no one has yet learned how to mass produce.
Yes, fuel cell mass production will be the key to their costs making the next major step down, which is exactly where the companies which are producing FCEVs are devoting much of their R&D - Toyota certainly is. Other R&D areas are reducing or eliminating Pt and increasing both power density and longevity. So far, every succeeding generation of FCEVs deployed has seen these last three areas improve by 50% or more (about 100% for power density) compared to the immediately preceding generation. Those curves will start to flatten soon, if they haven't already.
Listing only areas where fuel-cell technology is progressing paints a rosy picture, but completely misses the big picture. The big picture is that fuel cells are deficient as a transportation fuel in many areas. Until all, or nearly all, of those deficiencies are overcome, fuel-cell vehicles will have little to no chance of taking market share from BEVs. But several of these deficiencies CANNOT be overcome. Let's try to list these many areas of deficiency:

- Because of the chemical reactions required to hydrolyze and recombine the water, the round-trip energy efficiency is low: below 50%. This compares with current Li-ion battery round-trip energy efficiency of 98%. The impact is that H2 FCVs require more than twice as much renewable electricity generation as BEVs.
- H2 FCVs cannot be refueled at home inexpensively. In addition to the over 2-to-1 increase in generation required, H2 FCVs require complex, unreliable equipment costing in the 100s of thousands of dollars. This compares with BEVs, which can be cheaply and efficiently refueled at home using reliable, off-the-shelf equipment which costs about $1000 installed. This single fact will virtually eliminate demand for H2 FCVs for homeowners.
- H2 is extremely expensive to make using hydrolysis, resulting in the cost of H2 fuel exceeding US$9.00/kg. This cost is nowhere near being competitive and has to compete with BEV fuel costs which are near the cost of purchasing less than half as much electricity as an H2 FCV requires per mile. In other words, there will never be a crossover for fuel costs.
- H2 FCV refueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent while most BEV refueling infrastructure equates to simple grid extensions.
- According to Toyota, the technology does not yet exist to mass-produce fuel cells.
- Fuel cells are very expensive to manufacture. On top of that, the DOE reports that per-kW manufacturing costs for fuel cells are not coming down:

Image

OTOH, costs of batteries are coming down faster than government projections.
- H2 FCVs do not offer the performance of BEVs. It seems likely that even low-end BEVs will have higher performance than high-end FCVs. The exception could be the application of H2 fuel cells as a range extender for a BEV.
- The range of BEVs has now surpassed that of H2 FCVs. This gap in range capability is likely to only increase as time goes on due to the difficulty of carrying additional H2 fuel.
- H2 fuel is carried on-board at very high pressure. In addition, H2 tends to make the its container brittle over time, particularly when stored at high pressure. Massive explosions are possible when a high-pressure containment vessel is damaged in an accident.
- H2 fuel has the widest range of flammability of any gas. While it dissipates rapidly in the atmosphere once released, there is a potential for ignition until it does dissipate. Indoor leaks or releases could be very dangerous.
- Electrolysis of water consumes fresh water. That could pose a real problem in many areas of the fresh water is a very limited resource.

I used to believe that H2 would find some applications as a vehicle fuel, and it HAS made some inroads in forklifts, but Li-ion battery technology has advanced so rapidly in the recent past that it seems unlikely that H2 can compete in more than obscure short-term storage applications such as transportation. That would leave H2 to possibly serve in the role of providing long-term energy storage (beyond a week or so) because it can offer efficiencies over batteries in terms of resource consumption over BEVs in those roles. GRA has provided an article about H2 in this application immediately above this post. It will be interesting to see if this approach has long-term merit. I have to wonder if any form of long-term storage will ultimately be too costly in terms of overall resource consumption to make it unattractive except in locations far from the equator. Countries like Germany may not have sufficient renewable resources to feed their economies without massive improvements in energy efficiency. Unfortunately, fuel cells fall on the wrong side of the efficiency equation.

There are some here who have imagined that if/when H2 is used for long-term storage applications that it will then become a cheap form of vehicle fuel. There is a major problem with this idea: H2 is an INEFFICIENT vehicle fuel, so fewer renewable resources and infrastructure will be required to fuel a BEV fleet than an H2 FCV fleet. The only exception may be in very cold temperatures in which a heat pump does not offer better efficiencies than a resistive heater. But even then H2 FCVs only approach the efficiency of BEVs seasonally. During the other months, H2 FCVs will waste H2 that could otherwise be stored for wintertime heating applications.

It seems quite clear that batteries will be used to address the vast majority of short-term energy storage that will be required in the future, including for transportation.
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

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:21 pm

RegGuheert wrote:I'm going to pull our off-topic discussion from the H2 fuel stations thread into this thread:
GRA wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:That's a completely different story than fuel cells, which no one has yet learned how to mass produce.
Yes, fuel cell mass production will be the key to their costs making the next major step down, which is exactly where the companies which are producing FCEVs are devoting much of their R&D - Toyota certainly is. Other R&D areas are reducing or eliminating Pt and increasing both power density and longevity. So far, every succeeding generation of FCEVs deployed has seen these last three areas improve by 50% or more (about 100% for power density) compared to the immediately preceding generation. Those curves will start to flatten soon, if they haven't already.
Listing only areas where fuel-cell technology is progressing paints a rosy picture, but completely misses the big picture. <snip rest>

Well, no. I've stated my view of the big picture many times, which obviously disagrees with your view of same, and simply can't be bothered to repeat it all again for absolutely no reason. Anyone who wishes to may find previous rounds of this same argument numerous times upthread.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:26 pm

Back at the end of December I wrote this:
In the case of fuel cells, I believe the next major step change will come when they can go to limited-rate mass production instead of the current low-rate very hands-on methods currently required, analogous to a shift from low-rate initial Model 3 production with lots of rework required to Model 3s rolling off the line by the thousands with only spot checks needed before being put onto trucks for delivery to dealers.

Via GCC:
Report: Toyota to cut costs of fuel cell cars’ core technologies by >50% for new model in 2020; cut by 75% by 2025
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/01/20180119-toyota.html

. . . While production for of the Mirai, Toyota’s first mass-produced fuel cell model has grown steadily since its introduction in 2014, the car remains pricey at about $63,000 [GRA Note: In Japan] and has sold only a little more than 5,000 units.

Plans call for reducing the cost of the fuel cell system and other components further after the next-generation model is launched, cutting those costs by three-quarters around 2025. Toyota targets annual sales of over 30,000 vehicles globally, including more than 10,000 in Japan.

According to the Nikkei report, Toyota plans to reduce the cost of the fuel cell system and other components further after the next-generation model is launched, cutting those costs by three-quarters around 2025. . . .

Toyota will market battery-electric vehicles toward short-distance drivers; hybrids, plug-ins and fuel cell cars will be promoted for long-distance use.

As Toyota's a very conservative company when it comes to announcing new developments and prices (Tesla being at the opposite end of the spectrum), the above implies that Toyota has developed the methods needed to move into limited-rate mass production of stacks, i.e. 25-50k/yr. Still needed for success are similar reductions in the cost of H2 and fueling infrastructure, and considerable growth of the latter.
Last edited by GRA on Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:48 pm

Via GCC:
Volvo Can’t Make Up Its Mind, Says It Might Launch Fuel Cell Vehicle In 10 Years Or So
https://insideevs.com/volvo-cant-make-mind-says-might-launch-fuel-cell-vehicle-10-years/

Volvo signed-up for electrification and committed to only electrified new models (hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric) to be made from 2019 on, but now that doesn’t mean that hydrogen fuel cells will not be included. As it turns out, the Swedish company left in reserve a 20 kW hydrogen fuel cell range-extender project that it prefers over the gasoline engine.

    “Volvo Group’s research and development company, Powercell, has confirmed it has completed a pre-study with its parent company and is planning a 20Kw hydrogen fuel cell range extender that will be fitted to the brand’s XC90 hybrid and will maintain the battery at its optimum capacity to provide full power at all times.”

There are no plans for introduction yet, but according to the Volvo vice president of sales and marketing Bjorn Annwall, in ten years it can’t be ruled out:

[list]“You should never say never when it comes to technologies,”

“I think fuel cell is interesting but for the next 10 years it’s batteries. But a fuel cell is essentially a liquid battery, so at some point maybe.”

“What’s the right way of packing fuel cells into a package, what’s the right battery management system. There’s still a lot of potential.”

“It’s not very different, you can just replace the batteries with a fuel cells. It’s not like its two different lanes, right? They are similar drive systems,”

“So maybe if we get some breakthrough in fuel cells, maybe it won’t be that hard to incorporate that into the path we are on right now, but I don’t see that happening in the next five years. But you should never say never. . . .”
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

WetEV
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:44 am

GRA wrote:
WetEV wrote:As for biofuels:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430252/

"If as predicted we look to use biofuels to satisfy twenty percent of the growing demand for oil products, there will be nothing left to eat. To grant enormous subsidies for biofuel production is morally unacceptable and irresponsible.”

Which is why I look to biofuels from algae in sea farms as most likely to be the only sustainable large-scale method that will not reduce food production, and there's absolutely no guarantee that they'll work out all the problems that will be required.


Biofuels From the Ocean. A Really Great science fiction story.

Well, almost. Lots of plot holes. Of the "Ringworld is Unstable" type of plot holes.

What percentage of the near shore ocean, the bays, sounds and such, would be covered by algae farms?
(looks like more than a lot more than 100% of the sheltered waters)

Or is this somehow going to be done in open ocean?
(wow)

How would all other things that would eat this algae be prevented from doing so?
(???)

What would this do to the fish, whales, and such living in the ocean?
(I can guess, can't you?)

Has this ever been done on a acre sized scale on the ocean?
(Yes, I know it has been done in a pond and a test tube. In a sealed bioreactor, works well at high cost. Not so good in a pond, algae get viral infections, invasions of unwanted other algae and other microorganisms.)

I don't see how such a plan is even close to being practical, unlike BEVs.
WetEV
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2012 Leaf SL Red (Totaled)
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GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:05 pm

WetEV wrote:
GRA wrote:

Which is why I look to biofuels from algae in sea farms as most likely to be the only sustainable large-scale method that will not reduce food production, and there's absolutely no guarantee that they'll work out all the problems that will be required.


Biofuels From the Ocean. A Really Great science fiction story.

Well, almost. Lots of plot holes. Of the "Ringworld is Unstable" type of plot holes.

What percentage of the near shore ocean, the bays, sounds and such, would be covered by algae farms?
(looks like more than a lot more than 100% of the sheltered waters)

Or is this somehow going to be done in open ocean?
(wow)

How would all other things that would eat this algae be prevented from doing so?
(???)

What would this do to the fish, whales, and such living in the ocean?
(I can guess, can't you?)

Has this ever been done on a acre sized scale on the ocean?
(Yes, I know it has been done in a pond and a test tube. In a sealed bioreactor, works well at high cost. Not so good in a pond, algae get viral infections, invasions of unwanted other algae and other microorganisms.)

I don't see how such a plan is even close to being practical, unlike BEVs.

I completely agree, it's not close to being practical any time soon if ever, which is why I don't think biofuels are likely to make up a large share of land or water transport, only that it would take something like that to make them capable of doing so. Fortunately they don't have to, as the only transportation area that I think they'll be essential is long-range aviation, and that requires far smaller volumes that can likely be handled by current and near-term techniques without significantly affecting food production. For example:
European Parliament endorses proposal for 12% share of energy from renewable energy in transport by 2030; 10% advanced biofuels
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/01/20180122-ep.html

. . . In 2030, each Member State will have to ensure that 12% of the energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources. The contribution of first generation biofuels (made from food and feed crops) should be capped to 2017 levels, with a maximum of 7% in road and rail transport. MEPs also want a ban on the use of palm oil from 2021.

The share of advanced biofuels (which have a lower impact on land use than those based on food crops), renewable transport fuels of non-biological origin, waste-based fossil fuels and renewable electricity will have to be at least 1.5% in 2021, rising to 10% in 2030. . . .

As implied above, I believe land transport should be the last transportation area to use biofuels. I expect most regional air trips (<500 miles) to be shifted to high-speed rail (or even Hyperloops, if we want to talk sci-fi) or autonomous cars/buses.

Rail will be electrified along routes that have the necessary traffic density (e.g. the Bos-Wash corridor) to support the infrastructure, while routes that don't have that can switch to fuel cells if electrification (by overhead wire or third rail) isn't cost effective. Water transit will probably need to be fuel cells except for short trips (ferries etc.), unless biofuels make the needed volume breakthrough. Remaining regional aviation will be either biofuels or fuel cells, maybe even batteries for local use, depending on how things develop.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:10 pm

Via GCC:
Report: Wuhan to build itself into a “hydrogen city”
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/01/20180122-wuhan.html

. . .The city will advance hydrogen production, storage and transport, and improve hydrogen infrastructure, along with a hydrogen energy industrial park gathering more than 100 fuel cell automakers and related enterprises, according to the plan as reported by Xinhua.

The city will build up to 20 hydrogen fueling stations from 2018 to 2020 to support approximately 3,000 hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.

Wuhan is targeting 3 to 5 “world-leading” hydrogen enterprises and 30 to 100 hydrogen fueling stations by 2025; annual production value of hydrogen fuel cells will exceed $15.6 billion. . . .

We'll see how close they come, but that last number in particular seems unlikely anytime soon.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:38 pm

Via IEVS:
Mercedes Exec: World Will Drive Hydrogen Not Battery Electric By 2040
https://insideevs.com/mercedes-exec-world-drive-hydrogen-2040/

Several automakers in India, including Mercedes-Benz, are pushing back against the country’s plan to force the auto industry to all-electric by 2030. . . .

Mercedes-Benz India managing director and CEO Roland Folger said:

    “By 2040, the whole world will be driving home hydrogen cars. To me, the whole plan to go electric nationwide looks like a rushed with idea.”


Mercedes has publicized that a nationwide electrification of the automotive industry in India is not viable. The belief is that it doesn’t have the guaranteed potential for commercial success and the technology is far from where it needs to be to overtake ICE cars. Not to mention significant concerns regarding the lack of infrastructure. . . .

    "Can the government invest hundreds of billions of dollars into setting up charging stations and associated infrastructure? If not, then who will foot the bill? Definitely not the private sector. If at all government manages to raise funds, is it worth the effort in terms of meeting the key objective of bringing down pollution?”

Folger also went so far as to say that the move to electric vehicles would create problematic power demands, which would lead to the need for more power plants and increased pollution. He explained:

    “Yes, with the current coal-based power generation model, this would be more polluting as demand for electricity will jump manifold. Or do we have the finances to upgrade all our old thermal plants? Or can we go completely off polluting coal plants? If yes, what is the cost that such a plan will entail? . . .”

Have at it. While the claims about H2 obviously require that the cost of both fuel cells and H2 be reduced to the point where they are competitive, which is no more than speculation at this point, the concerns about India's lack of electric generating capacity and infrastructure strike me as valid. There's no way that they can go all-electric by 2030. Every country or region which has or is thinking about banning ICEs already has a universal electricity transmission and distribution system in place, or else (China) has the money and the ability to override anyone who gets in the way so they can do it fairly quickly. India lacks both of these, as well as generating capacity, and they'll be stuck with coal for decades even if they build nothing other than renewables from this point on. Even many of India's cities have large areas without electric service now.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:21 pm

Via GCC:
Information Trends: ~6,500 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been sold globally; more than 50% in California
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/02/20180208-it.html

. . . More than 50% of these vehicles were sold in California . . . Of the remaining countries, the bulk went to Japan which is at the forefront of hydrogen station deployments.

Among automakers, Toyota has been the most successful, accounting for more than 75% of the sales. Moreover, hydrogen fuel cell vehicle sales in 2017 were more than double the total sales in the previous years.

Hydrogen infrastructure is coming along steadily, albeit slowly, said Naqi Jaffery, the lead author of the report. In northeast US, hydrogen station buildout is gathering momentum, giving automakers a second market in the US.

According to Jaffery, a respectable hydrogen fueling ecosystem will not be ready until 2020. The slow buildout of the hydrogen stations has given an opening to battery electric vehicles whose sales are rapidly gaining ground.

Jaffery, who is bullish on the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, said battery electric vehicles will be short-term beneficiaries of the movement towards zero-emission vehicles. However, as the hydrogen infrastructure evolves, fuel cell vehicles will pick up traction.

By 2021, at least 11 automakers will have rolled out hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Other entrants in this space include Tata Motors, Pininfarina S.p.A. (owned by Mahindra & Mahindra) Riversimple and the RONN Motor Group.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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RegGuheert
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Re: Hydrogen and FCEVs discussion thread

Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:22 pm

GRA wrote:Via GCC:
Information Trends: ~6,500 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been sold globally; more than 50% in California
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/02/20180208-it.html

. . . Jaffery, who is bullish on the future of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, said battery electric vehicles will be short-term beneficiaries of the movement towards zero-emission vehicles. However, as the hydrogen infrastructure evolves, fuel cell vehicles will pick up traction.
This is a pure statement of faith which completely ignores the fact that H2 FCV vehicles have nothing going for them which can help them replace ICEVs, let alone BEVs.
By 2021, at least 11 automakers will have rolled out hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, including Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Other entrants in this space include Tata Motors, Pininfarina S.p.A. (owned by Mahindra & Mahindra) Riversimple and the RONN Motor Group.
Look for these companies to fall far behind those who are embracing BEVs today. Some will likely never recover.

What's sad is that some people believe the idea that H2 FCVs are somehow the endgame. What's even sadder is that some of these people are CEOs of major automobile manufacturers. It's too bad they don't have someone working for them who is willing/able to stand up and tell them what the reality is.
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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