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I have just watched a very informative video on YouTube in which Robert LLewelyn interviews someone involved in developments at National Grid. There were some fascinating facts and insights in this presentation and I thoroughly recommend it as a summary of the state of the art review of the current status of renewable energy generation and some thoughts on future prospects. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONp8dismI-Q
Just came across an interesting website called rechargenews.com. This site carries various stories including one on hydrogen generation from waste. It is entitled
‘Greener-than-green hydrogen to be produced at same cost as grey H2 at world’s largest facility’ if anyone else is interested to follow it up.
Clearly there is much activity in the hydrogen fuel field at present.
I have followed a number of articles lately which examine the problem of so called grid balancing as we increase the use of renewables and phase out gas poser stations (which can currently be used to cover any shortfalls). With the rapid development of battery technology battery storage has been proposed as one feasible method.
The use of hydrogen is also appearing increasingly in press reports and many of the major oil companies are said to be actively researching this field. On a related note, the production of hydrogen using generation from wind power (when excess is available) using electrolysis and then storing this for later use in electricity generation from fuel cells has been offered as another way of grid balancing.
John, your point about the rarity of lithium is well made but I know that work is under way (could be ~10years in development) to replace this with less environmentally sensitive alternative. I will try to find a reference. On another topic I note that a German company is now operating to 100% recycle electric vehicle batteries. Previous recycling by smelting has led to sacrifice of some elements to recover others. This seems to be a promising development. Some details at https://www.duesenfeld.com
I have just heard that Samsung have developed a new solid state Li ion battery with an energy density of 900 Watt hours per litre. This compares to current technology producing 200-400 Wh per litre. Even better the batteries are smaller, lighter can be charged more often and will be cheaper to produce. Scale up to production levels is expected to take 2-3 years. A technology of this type will allow BEV’s with longer range to be produced at lower cost with the prospect of reducin range anxiety and moving the market away from combustion engines more rapidly.
Charging infrastructure remains an issue but longer range may mean overnight charging at home becomes all that is needed for many people. As we move on from the current crisis a major investment in charging points is also a worthwhile investment in our national development. If air travel is to be much reduced perhaps the investment planned for Heathrow expansion could be diverted for this purpose.
Meanwhile it seems that China is moving rapidly to BEV adoption in urban areas driven at least in part by the need to deal with very serious air pollution. A number of Chinese companies are producing or developing BEV’s and a major effort is under way to provide chargers in urban areas. One very advanced design was recently featured on the Fully Charged YouTube channel but there are no current plans to market it in Europe. The MG crossover EV currently being sold in the UK is also produced in China. European car makers with the possible exception of Renault appear to be moving very cautiously into this market. Could this be because of the major investment which they have made in ICE production plants?
One could argue that Hydrogen is no more dangerous than a tank full of petrol – which also has explosive potential and higher energy content.
This article from the World Economic Forum gives some interesting facts about hydrogen production and comparison of various methods which could be used. Hydrogen would definitely have the advantage of quick refueling compared to battery charging.
True David so even more necessary for us to be active.
The link below is to an interesting (well I thought so) use of hydrogen to provide a portable means of generating power using fuel cells.
If this link produces a notice telling you to try again later just click where is says learn more (or wait a bit).
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Rick.
I have a suggestion that each of us takes one of the alternative methods for sustainable clean electricity generation and researches it with a view to reporting findings to the group.
An interesting statement John. I assume that this is on a global basis. It would be interesting to know if UK emissions are similar in nature.