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BS: Electric vehicle questions

frogprince 11 May 09 - 02:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 04:46 PM
robomatic 11 May 09 - 05:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 05:18 PM
dick greenhaus 11 May 09 - 05:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,petr 11 May 09 - 08:03 PM
dick greenhaus 11 May 09 - 08:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 May 09 - 11:14 PM
Gurney 12 May 09 - 01:45 AM
Gurney 12 May 09 - 02:47 AM
Peace 12 May 09 - 02:48 AM
Gurney 12 May 09 - 03:35 AM
Naemanson 12 May 09 - 04:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 May 09 - 12:09 PM
dick greenhaus 12 May 09 - 12:24 PM
pdq 12 May 09 - 03:11 PM
frogprince 12 May 09 - 05:12 PM
frogprince 12 May 09 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,petr 12 May 09 - 06:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 May 09 - 07:14 PM
dick greenhaus 12 May 09 - 08:40 PM
GUEST,petr 12 May 09 - 10:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 May 09 - 10:56 PM
Desert Dancer 12 May 09 - 11:20 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 13 May 09 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,petr 13 May 09 - 11:26 AM
pdq 13 May 09 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,petr 13 May 09 - 02:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 09 - 02:17 PM
pdq 13 May 09 - 02:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 09 - 02:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 09 - 03:31 PM
pdq 13 May 09 - 06:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 09 - 07:35 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 13 May 09 - 11:34 PM
kendall 14 May 09 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,petr 14 May 09 - 11:57 AM
dick greenhaus 14 May 09 - 12:11 PM
pdq 14 May 09 - 12:23 PM
frogprince 14 May 09 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,petr 14 May 09 - 05:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 May 09 - 08:11 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 15 May 09 - 02:27 AM
Keith A of Hertford 15 May 09 - 05:35 AM
Keith A of Hertford 15 May 09 - 05:42 AM
JohnInKansas 15 May 09 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,petr 15 May 09 - 03:04 PM
Big Phil 15 May 09 - 03:21 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 16 May 09 - 02:07 AM
McGrath of Harlow 16 May 09 - 07:35 AM
semi-submersible 16 May 09 - 08:07 AM
stevi 16 May 09 - 03:17 PM
pdq 17 May 09 - 01:13 PM
JohnInKansas 17 May 09 - 01:35 PM
pdq 17 May 09 - 01:37 PM
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Subject: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: frogprince
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:54 PM

Hybrids are under discussion already. I've just been thinking about some issues that I haven't been hearing addressed in regard to the purely or primarily electric rides on the horizon. GM at least keeps talking of 40 miles on a charge. What about the majority of the year in northern areas where you need a heater and defrosters running? Isn't that going to cut down the range substantially? Under what conditions are the engineers & promoters projecting a 40, or whatevr. mile range?


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:46 PM

Batteries are large and expensive. Natural Resources Canada, in an overview, say that current vehicles are limited to 100-200 kilometers on a charge. They must be recharged often- plugging into usually coal-fired electricity sources- and the batteries must be replaced after 400-500 charges.
"The final goal is to build light-duty battery-electric vehicles that will offer acceleration and speeds that are similar to conventional vehicles. To achieve broad consumer acceptance, battery-electric vehicles will likely need to have a driving range of close to 300 kilometers (180 miles) between recharging and a battery life of 5 to 10 years." (180 miles on Alberta hwys. barely gets me to the next city).
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/fuels/electric.cfm?attr=8

Heaters and defrosters of course take energy; I have seen nothing on energy needed at 30 below, not uncommon in Alberta in the winter.

frogprince, I can't see that 40 miles on a charge does any good; A round trip to the supermarket (no other stops) for me is over 20 miles round trip, and to drive from the south end to the north end of the city is more than 40 miles.

I think it will be a long wait.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: robomatic
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:05 PM

Some comments:

1) The key issue for electric-only propulsion is electric energy storage. Right now the affordable, mass-producible electric batteries are both heavy and not energy-dense compared to a tank of hydrocarbon fuel.

2) Electric propulsion is the most practicable way of recovering energy via braking. (This can also be done via pneumatic propulsion). The Prius has manufactured this successfully, but it can be made more energy efficient by further battery improvements or using energy storage via supercapacitors. There has been reporting of a major improvement in the ability of Lithium Ion batteries to charge much more quickly which could advance this part of the field and make supercapacitors unnecessary.

3) Why not hook up a small diesel motor to an electric generator, this should result in greater savings since a smaller horsepower motor running at optimal rpms should be more efficient than the current gasoline engines.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:18 PM

Diesel limited to certain stations, must be sought out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:41 PM

" Why not hook up a small diesel motor to an electric generator, this should result in greater savings since a smaller horsepower motor running at optimal rpms should be more efficient than the current gasoline engines."

That's what's meant by a plug-in hybrid Most use gasoline engines, but a small diesel would be even better. In the US, a mjor problem with diesels is that fuel standards are too slack to permit use of some of the newer low-emission diesels.

One problem that's not discussed enough is the environmental cost of supplying electricity to plug0ins or all-electric vehicles. The electric motors don't pollute, but most power plants certainly do--most run on coal, and run at a low efficiency at that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:04 PM

China is leading in the construction of new, cleaner, less-polluting coal-fired plants (NY Times, today's online edition), while U. S. plants continue to be outdated and inefficient. US plants do not use the high steam temperatures of the new Chinese plants (of course China has a lot of old plants too, but they have started on replacement, which the US has not).

Even so, as dick greenhaus suggests, the advantage of plug-in or rechargeable battery vehicles is not much of a step forward, and in the short run would increase coal-fired emissions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:03 PM

my thoughts are: low mass vehicles - if you use something like carbon fibre rather than steel (which the Rocky Mountain institute proposed).

combined with some kind of plug-in serial hybrid engine like the Volt-
which would use a small ICE engine to charge a battery.

But then the battery technology still has to improve.

As for the fuel, bio-diesel from Algae may be the best option as a renewable carbon-neutral fuel. Since algae can be grown in non-arable land - even in seawater and can produce orders of magnitude more oil per acre than say say canola, or soybean. Its not there yet but is doable.

on a slightly different tack though why not work toward developing
PRT systems, personal rapid transit in densely populated cities.
see this link here


The problem with changing the transportation industry from gas to electric is that this will not do anything to alleviate the traffic density problem of adding thousands of cars to a city each year.

On the other hand if you have a grid network of stations of elevated (very light) rail electric powered pods (made for 3-4people) which could take you anywhere on the grid directly without stopping, it might just displace the need for cars for much of the population.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 May 09 - 08:20 PM

There's been much too much fudging about what means "clean": It's well within present capabilities to reduce emissions such as carbon monoxide, sulfur compounds and nitrogen compounds from a coal-fired operation. There's NO known way to eliminate the CO2 that's the result of burning carbon compounds. Probably the most promising approach--still a long way off--is to genetically engineer bacteria or algae that consume CO2. But then you'd have to deal with the vastly increased volume of those microrganisms, which could easily produce a macro problem.

Unless there's a major breakthrough in solar or nuclear fusion technology, the only sensible approach would be to reduce energy use. Ideas like a network of rail travel combined with easy rental of short-range vehicles located at stations might work, but would require massive re-education.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:14 PM

We have let our N. Am. rail network drift; the cost of modernizing its infrastructure is so large that politicians and taxpayers throw up their hands in defeat.
I would like to see a firm program to start to upgrade the rail network, but it will mean cutting costs elsewhere. For geographically large countries like the US or China, the costs are unimaginable. Smaller centers still have to be serviced by truck.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Gurney
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:45 AM

There was an English attempt at an electric 'car' about 35 years ago which had a charging engine, but it was a Stirling E.C.E. engine, not a I.C.E.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Gurney
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:47 AM

There were also a couple of London 'buses which were powered by flywheels running in partially evacuated chambers. I can't remember how they were 'run up.'

Hope someone can come on with a serious critique of Lithium-Ion cells. My experience with them hasn't been good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Peace
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:48 AM

They'd require one helluva long extension cord, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Gurney
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:35 AM

I tried to Google a picture of the Stirling-charged electric I remember, but most of the hits were about Dean Karman, the Segway man, who has repeated the concept. (He thinks he invented it, seemingly.) THAT looks better! I could live with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Naemanson
Date: 12 May 09 - 04:31 AM

There is a group in Japan, Tetsuan Dash, who have an electric car that uses minimal batteries. It is a tiny van with a solar cell array on the roof. As long as the sun is shining they can drive. They have a popular TV program which usually includes a segment where they are driving the car around rural Japan. I saw an episode of they the time they got to the other side they were crawling but they were still moving.

I've been trying to get my wife to get on line and contact them for more information on how they did it She's Japanese). No luck so far but maybe when we get to our summer vacation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:09 PM

Electric vehicles have been around since the 1890s in North America (also Europe; Bugatti etc.), and were OK during the horse and buggy days.
Hybrids were made during WW1 (and perhaps earlier, I haven't checked thoroughly).

A 2-passenger 'Stanhope' design of 1903 claimed 17 mph and 50-mile radius. $1650 (a lot in today's dollars).

Studebaker made electric cars before they went to gas in 1911-1912.

Even limousines were produced. Many companies and many experiments with battery technology of that day.

Detroit Electric produced cars until 1939, over 12000 cars and over 500 trucks. Edison contributed two prototypes to Ford in 1914.

Woods (Chicago) produced a hybrid gas-electric, 1916-1918; $2700.

Fascinating story-
Electric cars


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:24 PM

not electric, but I still like the old energy-saving proposal for British Railways:

install a lawnmower attachment on one side of the locomotive, and burn the clippings to power the train. For the return trip, you mow the other side.

By that time, the grass on the other side has regrown enough so that you can repeat the process.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 12 May 09 - 03:11 PM

A truly fascinating site you found there, Mr. Q.

I really like...

Dudley Bug 1915 Menominee Electric Mfg. Co, Menominee MI. A 2-seat runabout, about 100 made.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: frogprince
Date: 12 May 09 - 05:12 PM

Come along with me, Christine,
In my Dudley Bug Machine...


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: frogprince
Date: 12 May 09 - 05:51 PM

"17 mph and 50-mile radius." I'm sure the new ones coming out will go quite a bit further than that, if you don't mind limiting yourself to 17 mph. : ).


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 12 May 09 - 06:35 PM

dick - there ARE ways to be carbon negative..

when my father was growing up in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia in ww2
he said the Germans had cars & trucks that ran on wood, actually woodgas. They burned wood in a low-oxygen environment and ran the car on the resulting woodgas..

Im not saying we should make vehicles like that, it takes too long to get going, but here in British Columbia we have 15million hectares of dying pine-beetle damaged trees. This is an area the size of the Canadian maritime provinces or the United Kingdom, and those trees are going to give off co2 as they rot. Now if we were to pyrolize the wood and use the woodgas for baseload powerplants or even in combined cycle gas turbines, the other byproducts are tar and charcoal, the tar can be used and the charcoal can be buried on agricultural land as biochar.
The stored carbon in the biochar will stay in the ground for centuries and improve the soil. A similar thing can be done with agricultural waste.

Of course the issue with electric vehicles is not just how far you can go before re-charging, but if you are recharging with electricity from a coal power plant its not doing much to reduce the carbon footprint, since the biggest culprit with c02 emissions is coal power.
(In canada at least) cars and trucks account for about 23% of the emissions vs heavy industry 59% I will try to find the source.

There are some promising biofuel and biotech possibilities that may make a big difference - for instance electromethanogensis or microbes that make methane from electricity which would be an excellent solution for storing renewable (solar/wind/tidal etc) energy as methane. We already have an infrastructure for dealing with methane and it isnt as difficult to store as say hydrogen. According to the article energy recovery is around 80%.

Another is fungus that makes diesel and can consume cellulose also very common.

Algae as a biofuel has a yield per acre 40x as much as canola or other crops. So theoretically if you could bury the non-oil part you would carbon negative..


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 May 09 - 07:14 PM

Older Germans and eastern Europeans still remember the terrible stench that came from those wood and coal-fired vehicles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 May 09 - 08:40 PM

petr-
sorry, but any time you burn a carbon-containing sobstance--including woodgas--the carbon is converted to carbon dioxide (or carbon monoxide, if you starve the combustion.) If you burn biofuel, the net result is a zero increase in CO2--the problem arises when we burn fossil fuels.

If you can store the combustion products, there would be no problem (except for those of storage space and energy consumed in producing absorbent compounds).Fuels such as methane produce less CO2 per BTU produced solely because aome of the energy produced results from oxidation of the hydrogen in the molecule--coal contains virtally none, oil has some and methane has more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 12 May 09 - 10:45 PM

you are correct dick,if you are talking about burning but if you pyrolise the wood you end up with charcoal and bury it as biochar it becomes carbon negative with the added advantage of improving the soil.
(the resulting woodgas would still be carbon neutral)

also if you get carbon monoxide as a byproduct - that is a fuel
you can add things to it to make gasoline.

in fact one method of collecting solar energy - uses a technique of stripping an oxygen atom from c02 see turning carbon dioxide into fuel
If this can be developed it certainly would be carbon negative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 May 09 - 10:56 PM

A few points-
French experiments seem to show that "usage of ethanol at 100% can reduce carbon dioxide by 70% relative to standard gasoline."
"Carbon dioxide emission results are very dependent on certain economic hypotheses in terms of evaluation of by-products and the prcess used to obtain the fuel..."
http://ec.europa.eu/research/agriculture/pdf/biofuels_en.pdf

Ethanol has many disadvantages, including much higher cost than gasoline, food-fuel competition at high production levels, Cold starts difficult.
Biofuel production by expansion of crop fields and/or harvesting of forests for wood is destructive to the environment.

Coals do have hydrogen- Approx. 3x1010 tons of hydrogen in the world's recoverable coal reserves.
See "The Use of Sulfur to extract hydrogen from coal," Justino and Schobert, Pennsylvania State Univ.
"A conceptual process is presented in which sulfur is converted to hydrogen sulfide by reaction with coal, the hydrogen sulfide in turn is converted to the desired hydrogen and to sulfur, and the sulfur is recycled through the reactor. The by-product is a good quality coke, but may also have other applications as a carbon material."
[Many coals are rich in sulfur].
Interesting article-
http://www.engr.psu.edu/h2E/Professors/Dr._Schobert,_Harold/Hydrogen%20from%20coal.pdf


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:20 PM

Biofuels better for electric cars (than directly in the tank), from ScienceNOW Daily News (Science magazine):

"Biofuels work better if you don't put them directly into your car. That's the conclusion of a new study that shows that ethanol derived from corn and switchgrass allows cars to drive farther and emit less greenhouse gases if these crops are converted to electricity for powering electric vehicles rather than pouring the ethanol into the gas tank.

Biofuels are widely considered a better environmental alternative than fossil fuels. Even though they release carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned, the same amount of CO2 is reabsorbed as the next crop of plants grows. What hasn't been well-understood is whether it's better to convert crops to ethanol that can be burned in conventional internal combustion engines or to burn the crops to generate electricity that can power electric vehicles."


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 13 May 09 - 07:33 AM

We need a better battery. If you didn't have to carry all that weight around.....

My requirements are for a vehicle with a minimum range between daily charges of 170 miles (550 miles if we are talking of a maximum daily mileage), top speed 70 mph for motorway driving (legal), ground clearance of 6 inches minimum, estate car size internal capacity.

No I've not seen one either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:26 AM

battery technology certainly has been improving.. but
another option would be to use ultracapacitors -(which could recharge & discharge rapidly) EESTOR is one of the companies that is talked about a lot - however talking is all that's happening lately.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:36 AM

"...another option would be to use ultracapacitors..."

Well, if the voltage is high enough, the capacitor will instantly eletrocute anybody who touches a "hot" wire and ground at the same time. Considering the IQ of some folks working in auto shops, you could expect a lot of dead people from "ultracapacitors" if they are used to power cars.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:09 PM

I had a quote from 1870 or so about how some US engineer invented something called gasoline and just how dangerous it will be to use, transport & store..


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:17 PM

Another name for super... is Double-layer capacitor.
They are being used in some locomotives and diesel trucks as well as many small devices.

The U. S. Government National Renewable Energy Laboratory is among the institutions working on their development. Lockheed-Martin aerospace is another.
Small ones are used in digital cameras to power the zoom lens.
Ultracapacitors

The ZENN Company of Canada claims to be developing an electric car without batteries that plugs in to recharge; they claim 80 mph and 250 miles on a charge.   EEstor of Texas is developing the storage unit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:33 PM

Some more interesting reading about...

                                                                supercapacitors and electric cars


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 09 - 02:59 PM

For some reason, my link to the article about the ZENN car did not print.


"Considering the IQ of some people working in shops..."-
requirements in Alberta (and most states and provinces) to practice as an automotive service technician:

High school diploma, including math, science and language arts,
Four-year apprenticeship, including 8 weeks technical training each year (Five accredited institutions in Alberta).
An examination is required for certification for all provinces.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 09 - 03:31 PM

?? I checked, and the link was properly closed off. The unrelated discussion gets it, but dunno why. Not my day, I guess.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 13 May 09 - 06:11 PM

"...requirements in Alberta (and most states and provinces) to practice as an automotive service technician..."

That has nothing to do with what I said.

The factory-trained technicians at some top auto dealerships are some of the brightest people I have ever met. There are few and they are surrounded by "grunts" who park the cars, wash them, prep the cars for service, even change the oil and radiator fluid before the tech even sees the car. They may have no idea about the inner workings of the car.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 09 - 07:35 PM

pdq- that's slander on well-trained mechanical technicians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:34 PM

Hydrogen will be the fuel of the future. It can be burned in an internal combustion engine or in an electric fuel cell. In either case the only residue produced is water. Hydrogen can be produced by ionization of water with electricity generated from emission free sources such as tides, wave action, ocean currents, solar, wind, and hydro. It can be produced and stored at a time unrelated to demand. (when the wind blows). This is all proven and existing technology. The biggest problems after the production of the hydrogen is its storage and transportation because it is under great pressure as a liquid, and it is highly explosive. Technology could overcome these problems if there was a desire to do so. However the big oil and the auto producers have shown little interest in diverting from the petrol that has made them rich. Someday government will force them to change or roll over and die. My hope is to see a change start sooner rather than later!


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: kendall
Date: 14 May 09 - 08:14 AM

I understand that at this point, hydrogen fuel is like gold in the ocean. It's there alright, but it costs more to get it than it's worth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 14 May 09 - 11:57 AM

sandy mclean, when I read the Hydrogen Economy a few years ago as well as a number of other books on the subject (Smelling the land) I was all excited about the potential of hydrogen.

For instance, planes can fly on hydrogen, and in liquid form - because the energy density per kg is 3x more than aviation fuel -planes could theoretically fly 3x as far. But there's been talk about hydrogen planes since the 70s and only a couple of experimental planes were built but that's it.. Because there is no infrastructure - the US military requirement is that planes need to be able to re-fuel anywhere..

The other point is that hydrogen is simply a storage medium - it doesnt want to exist on its own, you need to make it. One way is steam reforming from methane which releases c02. Another is electrolysis which is really only something like 35% efficient.
So if you are simply using it as a battery - there are better options such as pumping water uphill, compressing air (75% efficiency), flywheels 80% etc..

While fuel cells are also great - platinum is far more scarce and expensive than lithium.

YOu also mentioned storage & transportation - it is hard to contain - there is always some leakage and costs energy to compress & liquify. Pipelines are difficult though not impossible (Germany has some hydrogen pipelines dating from the 1930s)

One possible potential use that might change the infrastructure situation is using hydrogen in superconducting transmission cables -
(Scientific American had an article a couple of years ago) This would minimize electricity loss to resistance, and also the hydrogen would have a dual use - of cooling the cables as well as storage of energy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 May 09 - 12:11 PM

Re Biofuels-
There are a lot of biofuels possible: wood, biodiesel,ethanol, methanol etc. Ethanol, it seems to me, is an extremely wasteful choice (a least in terms of Btu per Acre per Year_


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 14 May 09 - 12:23 PM

Plain and simple: the cars of the future will be powered by whatever is practical and cost-effective.

People are losing their jobs and their houses right now. They don't have the luxury of worrying about ozones holes or carbon footprints. They need somthing that gets them home from the grocery store or back and forth from work.

Sane people will not be spending $32,000 for new hybrid (or anything with alternative power) that takes 20 years to pay back the initial cost by fuel savings.

Talk about pollution can get a bit silly since we have stopped forest fires almost completely. When Europeans arrived in North America (Australia also), fires were burning across the continent. Massive carbon emissions if you want to look at it that way. The Central Valley (as it is now known) in California was known by native people as "land of 1000 smokes".

If carbon being dumped into the atmosphere is really important, it is down greatly from ancient times.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: frogprince
Date: 14 May 09 - 01:15 PM

One thing I haven't heard mentioned regarding hydrogen as fuel: in severe cold, would you be able to avoid a real risk of the exhaust filling up with ice? Would the vapor be hot enough to consistenly clear the pipe before condensing and freezing? Or has this been addressed effectively a long time ago?


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 14 May 09 - 05:25 PM

pdq - carbon down greatly from ancient times? because there's less forest fires? kidding.

Trees are carbon neutral - the c02 absorbed while growing is released when it burns...

Not so for the fossil fuels - ever since we've been mining coal and petroleum.. That's co2 stored for millions of years suddenly being released.

Oh and the reason the British started using coal is because the forests were mostly cut down and charcoal for iron smelting was very expensive.
(And the forests had been cut down all over Europe as well)


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 May 09 - 08:11 PM

Here's another option on the way, using compressed air as a power source - On the road with the Airpod air-powered car (Guardian May 14th 2009)

..."While Negre's air cars have similar carbon emissions to electric cars (it all depends how the electricity to power the pumps that fill their air tanks is generated), he argues that air-power is a superior technology. "Compared to electric cars, air-powered cars cost a fraction of the price to buy, they don't need expensive batteries to be replaced every five years or so and crucially they take only a fraction of the time to recharge."


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 15 May 09 - 02:27 AM

What the hydrogen allows us to do is convert kinetic energy that must be used right away into potential energy that can be stored. Hydrogen can not be created but it can be used as a storehouse.   Except for fusion which is another subject the hydrogen is only a storage vessel for energy created by another means. As Kendall says it is very expensive but that is only because large scale production facilities are not in place. There has to be demand to increase supply and supply to create demand. A chicken and egg paradox.
As for being used by planes it is the fuel of the Space Shuttle, but I am sure that someone will point out that the shuttle is not a plane at launch but a rocket. At re-entry and landing it is a plane but unpowered. (a glider) Spacecraft of the future will probably use a planes lift to climb to the upper atmosphere before firing rocket thrusters to gain orbit but that is too much rocket science for me.
Fuel cells can and will power autos of the future with zero emission as long as the hydrogen is produced without any combustion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 May 09 - 05:35 AM

pdq, burning trees, as any biofuel, merely returns the CO2 absorbed during its life.
If regrowth is allowed there is no carbon added to the atmosphere.

Fossil fuels removed their carbon millions of years ago, cooling the planet in the process.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 15 May 09 - 05:42 AM

Sorry Petr, missed your answer and repeated it.
Hydrogen is great but you need electricity to make it.
Vastly more would have to be generated.
Most of our electricity comes from fossil fuels and that can not be changed in time to save us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 May 09 - 07:01 AM

From "View Source" for Q at 13 May 09 - 02:59 PM

<a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0416/p13s01-sten.html" Zenn car </a>

is missing the > required to separate the href from the display text:

<a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0416/p13s01-sten.html"> Zenn car </a>

Zenn car

Guest,petr, who says:

my thoughts are: low mass vehicles - if you use something like carbon fibre rather than steel

apparently has not looked at the miniscule amount of steel in the toy autos being sold today. One might think they were attempting to make "stealth vehicles invisible to radar" from the amount of plastic (and fiber) components.

A problem that must be considered is that:

a. very large amounts of energy must be stored on the vehicle, at minimal weight.

b. the stored energy must be in a form that can be released from storage very rapidly, to propel the vehicle.

c. it must be (very nearly) IMPOSSIBLE for the stored energy to be released "all at once."

The "all at once" release of a large amount of stored energy is called by the technical term "AN EXPLOSION," or in less technical terminology "H**y SH!*, WH*T THE F!!!K MADE THAT HOLE IN THE GROUND?"

Given the current state of manufacturing art for the Lithium batteries some are proposing for autos, and the very large number of recalls reported by the US CPSC due to "flaming failures" of the tiny (relatively) batteries in computers, phones, cameras, etc., one must suggest that anyone putting a few hundred pounds of these things all in one place should provide very credible fault analyses and a good insurance policy for the users.

Although it looks good on paper, and compressed air can contain fairly dense stored energy, there are a couple of thermodynamic principles that suggest that most of the stored energy is not efficiently recoverable in useful ways for propulsion or other "engine-like" processes. The overall "efficiency" from compression through utilization in an engine-like device is not really as impressive as is implied by some advocates. A failure of the containment for significant amounts of compressed gas is, however, very efficient at making large holes in the ground.

Supercapacitors must operate at high voltage to be very efficient, and must contain at least "square yards" of conductors spaced tiny fractions of an inch apart. With known "defects per square inch" applied to the large surfaces, and tiny gaps between parts charged to high voltages, the likelihood of failure - and the spectacular results when one occurs - should give one pause regarding the reliability and safety in mass usage.

While many people are working very hard at finding answers, each of the "proposed miracles" needs its own devils-advocate to find all of the potential/possible difficulties before the sales departments get too much involved with foisting it on the public. There are, unfortunately, a lot more salesmen than analysts.

Several fields of engineering use a multi-step process:

1. An FMA - failure modes analysis - must be performed to find all the possible ways that a thing can fail and to assign a "probability" that each failure might occur.

2. An FMEA - failure modes effects analysis - must be subsequently performed to find, for each failure that can happen, all the possible ways in which the failure can affect the device, and assign a probability of each possible effect for each time the failure occurs.

3. Only after the first two steps, one does the FMECA - Failure Modes Effects Criticality Analysis - to determine which failures, producing what effects, have a particular probability that someone will be killed (or that there will be an instance of another "critical effect").

I don't see this kind of "standard practice" in any of the news about "super energy storage" for "green transportation;" although if someone is doing it they'd probably keep it quiet rather than create panic among the people.

[The results often look a lot worse than they really are to those who don't fully understand their meanings.]

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:04 PM

sandy mclean - while I'd be all in favour of hydrogen economy and vehicles that run on fuel cell but - (Steven Chu the national science advisor in a recent technologyreview article -points out the problems
currently you get hydrogen from reforming methane (which loses valuable energy and still releases c02) second there is no reliable and inexpensive storage mechanism, third the fuel cells are not there yet, and you need a distribution infrastructure. That's 4 major developments that have to happen to make it viable.

and thanks for your points JohninKansas,
the carbon fibre vehicle I mention is Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Inst) concept car, designed to reduce vehicle weight much more existing cars. Although it doesnt seem to interest the auto industry much.

Keith - Im not entirely sure we cant replace electricity from fossil fuels. There was an MIT geothermal heat mining study that proposed a more ambitious method of getting geothermal energy and not just in the western US. Granted it means drilling much deeper say 2-3 kilometrers but oil drilling technology can go even deeper.
It has to be cheaper than a nuclear plant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Big Phil
Date: 15 May 09 - 03:21 PM

Here is the transport that does not use enrgy at all. For all the treehuggers and plastic shoe brigade.

http://www.horses.co.uk/

Phil*


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 May 09 - 02:07 AM

But petr,
Fuel cell powered buses will be in place for the Vancouver Olympics using technology developed and proven by Ballard.
Reforming methane is far from being the only way of producing hydrogen. However that method would reduce, not increase greenhouse emissions because methane is a much stronger geenhouse blanket than is CO2.
Ballard Bus


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 May 09 - 07:35 AM

Horses don't use energy?


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: semi-submersible
Date: 16 May 09 - 08:07 AM

Dennis the Elder in the other recent Hybrid thread asked about electrical energy conversion efficiencies. I've seen them discussed in an Electric Vehicle group. If I recall correctly you may retain some 85% of your input energy after transferring it to the battery and taking it out again to drive the motor. Line loss (power plant to house electrical meter) averages about 10%, I've heard. Has anyone seen a comparable figure for plant-to-gas-tank fuel shrinkage, and waste or leakage for other forms of energy storage?

If photovoltaic solar panel supply is beginning to catch up to demand, prices should fall rapidly soon. But what I'm looking forward to is solar film rugged or renewable enough to drive on, so exposed road surfaces generate power. That would probably be a plastic solar film, with only 1-5% efficiency, but there are a lot of square meters of paved road in sun every day.

No matter how renewable the power supply, it cannot meet endlessly growing demand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: stevi
Date: 16 May 09 - 03:17 PM

Not read every post in detail but why not a car using modern li-on battery technology using two batterys. Solar collectors on board to recharge a second battery to switch over automatically when battery one reaches discharge then recharges the other battery and so on. Ok during the day i here you say! Or petrol stations stations can become battery change over stations pull in and change over your battery rather then fill the tank. Should be able to get the range that way!
At night when the sun is gone use the battery change over method if they at spaced within a certain distance of one another. How long does ot take to change a battery?
Only drawback could be with the change over method we may be generating a bigger carbon footprint in recharging the batterys at the stations. Could use solar energy to do that though!

Steve


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 17 May 09 - 01:13 PM

"Trees are carbon neutral - the c02 absorbed while growing is released when it burns..."

I have a bachlors degree in Biology with a minor in Conservation and that statement seems strange to me.

Perhaps you are assuming that the usual fate of a tree is to burn. It isn't that way.

Most trees die and are attacked by a huge number of organisms, usually starting with insects, and eventually are returned to the soil as compost, providing nutrients to the next generation of plants.


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 17 May 09 - 01:35 PM

pdq -

If you consider the entire cycle, when the tree dies, it's frequently consumed by insects and microbes, but the it's not over until the bug farts - and completes the cycle.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Electric vehicle questions
From: pdq
Date: 17 May 09 - 01:37 PM

Hmmm...so, are bug farts "carbon neutral" too?


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