WHY? HYDROGEN BATTERIES
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WHERE TO START? - Most electric heavy goods vehicles such as long distance trucks, can simply bolt on a kit of parts and be able to travel 700 miles between refuelling stops - using the standard hydrogen battery in multiples. They are stackable for theoretical 1,500 mile endurance. The same cartridge could service small boats and light aircraft.
The reason we should all embrace the eventual move to Hydrogen as a fuel for life, is to save the planet cooking from fossil fuel over exploitation We can no longer afford to ignore climate change in the rush for riches, over circular economics.
How best then to utilise this abundant energy carrier? For many applications, we are proposing that hydrogen is close coupled to fuel cells to make a battery. Many of you will not have heard of a 'Hydrogen Battery,' because it is a new concept.
What are the advantages of a Hydrogen Battery? Why not stay with pumping compressed hydrogen gas into a fixed onboard gas tank in trucks, aircraft and boats?
At first sight it is not obvious what the advantages are. Indeed, to many experts entrenched in conventional thinking, it might seem like a complication we could do without. But we do need a Standard as a Solution for a more Secure (future) mobility and energy infrastructure, with better managed National Grids. Here's why :
1. Hydrogen on its own is just a gas. It cannot supply electricity. We store hydrogen as compressed gas or a liquid. Whatever the storage medium, hydrogen needs to be connected to a fuel cell to be useful in terms of supplying electrical energy.
2. Couple a hydrogen tank to a fuel cell in a convenient package for handling, and suddenly hydrogen is a portable energy pack, or battery cartridge, superior in energy storage to the best lithium batteries.
3. A standard cartridge format allows us to handle the portable energy packs easily, and makes manufacturing easier and cheaper. We liken this to AAA, AA, C and D dry cells that we rely on as being standard sizes for many of our everyday devices. The only difference is the size. Vehicle batteries are much larger. You cannot clip one in and out like a popular dry cell. Mechanical handling is necessary.
Imagine how complicated life would be if every electrical device had a different battery size. There would be thousands of designs - much the same as with electrical goods like phones and computers. It will be the same for cars, hundreds of different packs designs, voltages and capacities.
With the range of standard battery casings for many appliances, the chaos is reduced to just five patterns. By standardizing the case they come in, different chemistry can be used, but the convenience remains. Even here, multiples increases voltage and wattage.
A standard energy cartridges for vehicles, offers a similar level of convenience for vehicle OEMs and for energy companies. It's so simple it hurts. Simplicity is the key.
4. The proposed Hydrogen Battery is voltage adjustable and stackable. Meaning it caters for most electric vehicle formats. Each battery incorporates a fuel cell stack matched to the capacity of the gas storage medium.
5. The same cartridge may contain lithium batteries, voltage adjustable and stackable. Meaning that it is possible to swap between lithium technology and hydrogen technology in between service exchanges. Ideally, and eventually, voltages would become standardized to make the power electronics cheaper to produce.
6. A Hydrogen Battery in a depot, like a Smart Services Station, can be used for load levelling, supplying electricity back to the grid. Hydrogen as a stored gas cannot.
7. Where the lithium or hydrogen cartridges are identical for handling purposes, they may be stored in a Smart Service Station to provide near instant refuelling for aircraft at airports, and cars and trucks at motorway services. Cartridge exchanges are just a couple of minutes for land vehicles.
8. Any vehicle that is compatible with a standard cartridge, avoids the need for potential customers to choose between lithium or hydrogen technology. With this system they can have both interchangeably - at the flick of a switch. Now that is what we call added value.
9. A chain of Smart Service Stations at selected locations, could supply all the transport energy needs for any country. No more kerosene, diesel or petrol pumps needed.
We hope the nine points above explain why we think that standardizing energy cartridges for transport and green energy for domestic and industrial use, is important.
Not so much right now, but thinking ahead to a future where it is uncertain what fuel or chemistry variables may occur. We need to keep the wheels of industry turning, marine and air deliveries, delivering.
Right now it is all me, me, me. Utilities need to start thinking as to their responsibilities to society, as do the automotive, marine and aviation world. It is not me, me, me. It should be us, us, us - in a sustainable global society.
DUAL PURPOSE - The same service station that provides freshly charged 'green hydrogen' batteries, doubles up as an energy store for the national grid of the country concerned. Why put in load levelling stations that only have one function?
WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN ?
We can confirm that it is not high on the UK agenda. The system needs champions with vision, far beyond conventional thinking, projecting to a future starved of cobalt and lithium.
The importance of future proofing the automotive industry against competing energy formats cannot be overstated, as demonstrated by the recent challenge by Nikola, versus the Tesla lithium battery semi.
Our system offers the advantages of the Nikola and Tesla trucks, with the added value that if these amazing vehicles were compatible, they might use either hydrogen fuel cells or lithium batteries. Energy wasted competing against one another, means more greenhouse gases.
There are of course advantages to both systems, but that will change as lithium and cobalt raw materials become harder to mine.
Investment in this concept is needed for 3 stage development, taking concept to prototype. Funding might be by way of a mix of grants, private equity investment, and partnerships.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL - Well, very nearly. As part of this project we need to define the physical dimensions of the pack, so that it can be stacked to provide electrical energy for all trucks, and around 90% of cars that at present use lithium battery packs.
WHAT IS IN A HYDROGEN BATTERY ?
A Universal battery cartridge is designed to service any suitable electrically propelled vehicle, including buses, cars, vans, and long haul trucks.
Hydrogen cartridges can contain gas at 700 bar, or liquid hydrogen in combination with a matched bank of fuel cells. The gas version will give 270+ miles per exchange in a typical family car, like the Toyota Mirai. It is anticipated that a liquid hydrogen version will have a significantly longer range of around 470 miles.
The safety cartridges are stackable for vans and trucks, offering 1,000 mile ranges on long haul vehicles using the high-pressure gas example and 1,750 mile ranges on liquid hydrogen. Please note that these are only estimates until the concept is proven.
THE ART OF COMMERCIAL PREDICTION - In the 18th century, Dr Samuel Johnson (famous for his dictionary) slapped down Dr James Boswell’s predictions of high-speed stagecoach travel with the words: “Fie, sir – twenty miles in one hour upon a coach? No man could rush so fast through the air and continue to draw breath!” That may have been a reasonable view at the time, but is now seen as absurd.
Ed Bryant said that if this were 1890, it would take an inventor to predict the automobile, and it would take a real visionary to predict highways and gas stations. But it would take a science fiction writer to predict the traffic jam.
Make of that what you will, nobody could have predicted the current uses for the mobile phone in stealing personal data for controlling lives and selling products or services, via what is effectively blackmail, in the lack of competition and choice. You either give up your personal details and put up with the invasion of privacy, or cannot use the services that are now essential in modern living. Get used to it. Big business is not about to change tack without state intervention - and the state is not about to intervene to upset big business. Meaning, that what is an advantage to curbing rising temperatures, may not accord with current investments, so faces an uphill struggle for reason, though in years to come ....
Cartridge exchanges take just a couple of minutes at dedicated rapid, smart service stations. Spent cartridges are refilled automatically, cyclically, with hydrogen and stored until requested by other vehicles passing through the station forecourt.
The system provides additional storage for mismatched load-levelling of solar and wind generated electricity in remote regions, for use in cities in other regions. The service stations can return electricity to the grid when demand requires.
The proposed system is compatible with Pay As You Drive (PAYD) technology. This makes the purchase price of an EV much lower than other systems. You pay for energy and cartridge depreciation at every fill up.
Hydrogen powered electric buses are becoming very popular. With exchange refuelling using high pressure gas cartridges, or liquid hydrogen cartridges, coaches and trucks might have unlimited ranges. We hope this is a topic of discussion at the forthcoming UN COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland in November 2021.
IS THIS AN IPCEI ?
The IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) instrument makes it possible under specific conditions to address market failures for larger cross-border integrated projects for hydrogen and fuels derived from hydrogen that significantly contribute to achieve climate goals.
On the 8th of July 2020, the Commission issued a "Hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe," in which they announced the creation of a European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, and various actions to support strategic investments in clean hydrogen.
This was designed to support schemes scaling up production and design, including market rules and infrastructure - and to promote research and innovation in hydrogen technologies.
We wonder if the proposed standardization of hydrogen energy cartridges might qualify as an IPCEI, and if so, if Alliance members may wish to consider working in a consortium to develop such concept?
JULY 2015 - Two electric aircraft crossed the English Channel, just a day apart. The performance of the Airbus E-Fan could be doubled using hydrogen batteries.
If accepted as a way forward, the concept is set to disrupt much of the automotive world, mainly those who fail to react in sufficient time to move with the times.
There is likely to be a period of cheap oil as Saudi Arabia and Russia vie to capitalize on their fossil fuel reserves, but ultimately, diversification is where efforts are most likely to reap rewards in the long term, as hydrogen becomes competitive price wise and compatible with conventional battery technology.
WORLD HYDROGEN CONGRESS 22 SEPTEMBER 2020
The World Hydrogen Congress is the leading annual meeting place for senior executives working in the field of hydrogen production, transportation, distribution, storage, policy and end use applications.
The global energy markets are in transition led by the technological disruption of renewable energy power, digital technologies and the need to decarbonize the power generation, mobility and heat energy markets in the face of the rapidly evolving climate change reality. Hydrogen is a rapidly growing solution to decarbonizing power generation, energy storage, cost efficient drive-trains and most especially; industrial heat markets.
APRIL 2020 - China is promising more subsidies to shore up plunging electric car sales amid the coronavirus pandemic but set limits that exclude Tesla’s made-in-China model.
Companies engaged in the production of batteries and components for electric vehicles (EVs) are enjoying a bull run in China, as they hitch a ride with the first Tesla electric car to roll off the company’s Shanghai assembly. A series of events leading up to the unveiling of Tesla’s Model 3 in April 2020 fuelled investors’ interest in Chinese parts suppliers, including the companies that build charging stations, and even the miners of the lithium used in battery packs.
As hydrogen begins to look like an attractive alternative to conventional batteries, OEMs that opt for hydrogen compatible platforms will not have to choose between energy mediums, if they are of the proposed Universal design.
If we want a practical solution for the next 50 years, to begin within the next 10 years, hydrogen has many obstacles to overcome, where battery exchange recharging by swapping packs is already making headway in China and India, and is sure to become more popular as a way of instantly recharging EV's and also load levelling generation from solar and wind electricity. One potential solution under development is a Dual Fuel service station where energy packs can include hydrogen as the storage medium. With such a system, instead of competing with batteries, hydrogen interests can work alongside battery concerns to build a comprehensive transport infrastructure.
A - Z INDEX OF SPONSORS AND ASSOCIATES
A - Z INDEX OF SPONSORS AND ASSOCIATES
CHANNEL HOPPER - Electric ferries and river boats like the proposal above, could supplement solar and wind power, with hydrogen batteries to boost performance and reduce transit times, with refuelling at each end of a journey - but also with renewable performance of around 10 knots in reserve. Many fleet operators are now looking to hydrogen as a long term solution. Hydrogen batteries could be stacked for such endeavour.
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