The production dream of clean, green, hydrogen may be coming of age, by providing the infrastructure to make the transition to zero emission mobility with load levelling. This is something the FCH Joint Undertaking might like to take a look at for the EU. The UK could be a pilot, as could any European country or State in the USA. But before any of that may take place, patent cover is necessary, to protect investors, where the present system of innovation grants does not include for environmental entrepreneurs who are not on the approved list of institutions and companies. The patent system, though flawed and expensive during the filing process, with potentially unrealistic time to recoup investment, is the only legal equalizing leveler against institutionalised discrimination aimed at obtaining know-how (virtually) free from under capitalized organizations.
EV ENERGY SUPPLY INFRASTRUCTURE
Climate change has finally reached tipping point, such that Government all around the world are looking to escape from the shackles of IC engines and fossil fuel pollution. This has prompted statute in the UK aimed at encouraging zero emission vehicles and renewable electricity, that translates to electric transport, at the current level of technology, where nothing else comes close to providing a solution to the quest for zero emission transport.
Example statute in the UK, aimed at breaking reliance on fossil fuels for transport, such as the Climate Change, Energy and Automated & Electric Vehicle Acts, are designed to push the transition to renewable energy generation and low carbon electricity supply.
But that is not enough. The parts of the equation that are missing in the supply of energy for zero emission (electric) vehicles, is the ability to provide sufficient electricity to rapidly charge battery electric vehicles in a way to prevent surges in demand, and an adequate hydrogen supply network to refuel fuel cell powered vehicles, especially larger vans and heavy goods vehicles, that present more of a challenge in terms of quantity of energy required at each energy transfer, whether electrical or gas.
STATE OF THE ART
What is proposed is to install hundreds of thousands of fast charging points along street kerbsides and in car parks to provide electricity at the point of demand for 'plug-in' charged vehicles. But in the numbers needed to displace petrol and diesel, internal combustion engines (ICE), as the main drivers, the National Grid will be unable to cope at peak charging times, with the increase in demand by electric vehicle operators, without building many more generating stations, that will be idle during off-peak troughs in supply, and will thus be uneconomical to operate.
The current solution to this dilemma, is battery storage load-levellers. The idea being to charge these large batteries with off peak electricity, to then feed that stored electricity into the grid when electric vehicles plug in, in large numbers, for example, after the journey to work, or after returning from work. The same being after delivery rounds are completed by van drivers.
Taking petrol/diesel service stations as an example of the mechanism by which liquid fuel is provided to ICE vehicles, it would be nonsensical to suggest providing a fuel pump to every street (kerbside) parking space, or every car park space in supermarkets (for example). The logistics of that hypothetical scenario are absurd. But that is what plug-in EV charging equates to.
The other proposal is to pipe hydrogen, using the existing gas mains and additional pipes. An alternative being to transport high pressure and liquid hydrogen by specially adapted trucks, much the same as gasoline and diesel are transported today to service stations by fuel tankers.
Nobody is suggesting high pressure or liquid hydrogen refuelling at kerbsides on the streets. Here, service stations (of sorts) are suggested.
But are these methods an efficient way to provide a mix of energy alternatives, where extant car and truck makers, as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), are undecided on any electricity or hydrogen supply mix or method, or indeed the mix of fuel cell or battery vehicles they intend supplying to market, buy way of a standard or mobility plan, that may be adopted, but these same OEMs are looking to the utilities to provide such a solution in a volatile market, with Governments looking on, also seeking solutions by way of giving grants for research and development, with increasing budgets, aimed at accelerating development to beat the climate tipping point, as per the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C, decided during the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP).
For these reasons we have what is termed "Range Anxiety" and "Infrastructure Insecurity." Because there is as yet no defined plan or energy supply strategy to provide the clean energy mix we need to transition from fuels that pollute our atmosphere with greenhouse gases and our lungs with carcinogenic particles, to clean (zero emission) fuels. Instead, what we have is a confused and confusing situation where the OEMs, Utilities and Governments have not agreed on anything. But are most urgently chasing the optimum blend of technologies, to meet their new targets to beat back global warming.
The major issue for hydrogen acceptance as a passenger car fuel is the current lack of fueling facilities.
HYPOTHETICAL UK BASED EXAMPLE
UK based example means supplying energy for 25 million low carbon vehicles before 2050, a considerable logistical challenge. If we are to provide enough charging points to cope with an all electric
2040, such as to avoid 'Range Anxiety' or 'Infrastructure Insecurity,' we will need to install around 280,000 units per year for the next 22 years. That is 767 charging points a day, based on the assumption that one in four cars will be charging at any one time in 2040 and not the full
25 million vehicles. There will not be a charging point for every car, but realistically,
the UK is never going to install 767 plug-in stations every day.
The ultimate solution may not be accepted or acceptable to stakeholders in one clean sweep, where traditionally technology improvements creep along at an evolutionary pace, driven by thousands of small advances, primarily as marketing ploys to secure sales.
Petrol/diesel filling stations using pumps as the delivery mechanism, from underground storage tanks, were not invented side by side with the ICE automobile. They followed the increase in numbers of cars and trucks, by way of a more convenient way of supplying these fuels, to replace the tin cans and funnels used previously.
For this reason there may not be one immediate solution, but a series of improvements in technology that may be applied in stages, requiring more than one patent application to be able to cover the spectrum of devices to provide an effective system.
What is needed is a smarter way of implementing transitional change, that might still give investors the protection they need to warrant switching from usually safe fossil fuels, oil wells and prospecting for oil, as viable investment opportunities, to prospecting for technology that will support the ambitions of United Nations members, for sustainable supplies of cheap and clean energy, as per Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 7, 11 and 13.
We are not considering hydrogen or (lithium) battery based energy supply, we are considering both energy mediums. With hydrogen potentially the winner in the longer term, but with lithium or other rechargeable battery chemistry, interchangeable with hydrogen fuel cell energy supply.
That may sound like an impossible objective, but it is possible via a series of inventive steps, that as mentioned above, may not all be covered in this one patent application, but by a series of patents for each invention, designed such that they may be filed at suitable intervals in time, as stand alone innovations, but, that when optionally combined and adapted (or improved) may form a versatile energy supply infrastructure that allows OEMs space to breathe and time to adapt with a higher degree of future proofing, and Utilities the energy supply mechanism that Governments are looking for, where there is scope to encompass present and future means of powering our vehicles, all in the quest to beat climate change, and create a Circular Economy that is sustainable, as a legacy for future generations to come.
MAIN COMPONENTS OF THE SYSTEM, STAND ALONE OR IN COMBINATION
SMART CARTRIDGE OR ENERGY PACK
The system which may comprise several separate patent applications and Claims to achieve, comprises of the identification and formulation of an mobile energy storage Cartridge or Pack of a suitable physical size as to be compatible with a large number of existing van and truck chassis, such as to fit above, within or on the underside of the vehicle, or in any other practical way to be incorporated.
The Cartridge is to incorporate convenient handling points and connectors and electrical and electronic devices to overcome compatibility issues between competing OEM vehicles, where voltage supply and current load is variable, for example between 350 and 800 volts as the supply pressure.
The Cartridge is to be able to contain lithium or other chemical battery storage medium, to contain the energy, or alternatively, to contain hydrogen storage cylinders and a fuel cell stack, together with monitoring and temperature and ventilation control apparatus, within the same physical dimensions.
The Cartridge is also to be able to contain battery and hydrogen energy storage methods in combination as an alternative or option, with each combination able to be identified by energy supply businesses/operatives/operators, by suitable means, typically using bar codes.
The Cartridge is to incorporate hydrogen connectors for either compressed gas or liquid gas for the hydrogen variant, to be quickly connectable and suitable for both automatic vending and roadside servicing where manual operation may be required.
The Cartridges are to be capable of being stacked in every sense of the word, electrical, gas and liquid, to form combinations and to give different energy capacities, such as to increase the range of heavier vehicles in particular.
LOADERS & CONNECTORS
To compliment the invention of a versatile mobile Energy storage and supply Cartridge, compatible loaders with connectors that are capable of making electrical, gas and/or fluid connections, are a design feature of the loaders, including the ability to stack cartridges and couple and connect, to increase the energy supplied by multiples of the number of stacked Energy Cartridges .....
Although (in the UK) there is a requirement to provide hydrogen for trucks and fast charging for other EVs, via the Automated and Electric Vehicle Act 2018, the high cost of land in cities and towns presents an obstacle. Especially where the mix of fuel sources is as yet undefined. It is anticipated that other countries will enact, or promote similar policies or statute, once a workable business model has been established.
By way of popularizing and catering for the increasing number of EVs, all demanding near instant energy exchanges, and to complement the invention of a versatile energy supply Cartridge, we need Smart Service Stations that can supply hydrogen and electricity cost effectively, from the same Station as a convenient dual-fuel facility, so enabling the use of land area with a smaller footprint, so as to be commercially viable for operators.
At the moment there are few service facilities for EVs in terms of hydrogen supply in Europe. The numbers and locations are so few, it is a non-starter for anyone thinking of buying a hydrogen powered truck, because operators would be unable to drive the routes they used when their vehicles were diesel powered. By way of example, at the time of composition of this present document, the UK had just 14 hydrogen filling stations. The US has 48, 43 of those being in California.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that for every one million hydrogen cars, the U.S. will need 200 hydrogen stations. The EIA estimates that if the country were to have 10 million hydrogen vehicles, which is the stated goal of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) state mandates, the U.S. will require 2,000 retail hydrogen fueling stations.
But it is the deliveries of heavy goods that keeps the wheels of commerce turning, in addition to cars and larger vans, hydrogen being seen as necessary to provide longer ranges for commercial vehicles, where lithium batteries simply cannot provide the energy storage for such distances and loads, to replace diesel as an equitable fuel option for trucks.
LOAD LEVELLING & SMART BILLING OR PAY AS YOU DRIVE (PAYD)
To complement the design of a Versatile energy storage Cartridge, that is quickly detachable and mobile as an energy transfer unit, the Cartridges may be identified by barcodes scanners or chip readers, such that the number of Cartridges and the chemical and physical characteristics of each of the Cartridges in service at any one time, anywhere in a country operating such a system, may be monitored to be able to calculate capacity of the system, so creating a Smart infrastructure that also allows load levelling of a National Grid and billing at points of sale.
The Smart billing and monitoring system may be used to supply energy from stored energy in Cartridges that are held in compatible Smart Service Stations, to the Grid.
PATENT CLAIMS -
EV ENERGY SUPPLY INFRASTRUCTURE
To be filed in the UK as 4 separate priority patent applications with appropriate Claims as and when a strategic partnership or other advantageous (collaborative) opportunity presents ....
If you are interested in forming a consortium for Horizon Europe calls, we will share this IP with the consortium members. Alternatively, if recognised as an IPCEI, the patents will be published and licensed open source.
Emerging technologies for a climate neutral Europe
GREEN NEWS APRIL 2021 - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed that they spent over 300 million euros ($362 million) on green credits last year in Europe, most of which went to Tesla. The FCA part of the group bought more than $362 million worth of CO2 credits last year in Europe alone. Indeed, the company committed to spending about $2 billion in credits between 2019 and 2021. Money that could have been invested better in their future and products.
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