This is the surprisingly outspoken result of a global survey among top automotive executives, as reported by KPMG. The key reason why large scale application of car batteries will fail is because of infrastructure constraints.
[assets.kpmg] – KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey 2017
Tomorrow, a new service will start that can be seen as a prelude towards a national car robot, aka public autonomous driving, cashing in on the new possibilities of location aware mobile smart phones. In Hamburg, Volkswagen will start a fleet of initially 100 MOIA’s (see video), with drivers included, that will be able to pick up people from 10,000 unmarked designated stops, distributed over 200 km2, delivering transport-on-demand for a price of 1 euro/km. The vans have a range of 300 km on a charge of 87 kWh, sufficient for a shift. The fleet is to be expanded to 1,000 e-vans eventually. In Hannover, a similar test on a smaller scale is already underway. The current competing regular bus-service operates with 1327 stops.
A Spanish company called Zero2Infinity prepares to revolutionize the way satellites can be brought into orbit, in a very low-cost and environmentally friendly way: rocket + balloon = rockoon.
Bloostar is a launch vehicle currently in development, intended to compete in the small satellite launch market. It is based on the rockoon concept: the first stage of the ascent is conducted by the use of a high-altitude balloon up to 30 km (19 mi), where the rocket platform is ignited and detached from the balloon to insert the payload into orbit. The design is intended to be capable of delivering a 140 kg payload to a 200-km low Earth orbit, or a 75 kg payload to a 600-km sun-synchronous orbit
In a thinly veiled swipe against Jeff Bezos, the Spanish assert:
From the public to the gurus of aerospace, most people still think that Space will remain the realm of a few superpowers, large defense contractors and the odd billionaire…
It could get very crowded up in the skies.
[zero2infinity] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Zero 2 Infinity
[twitter.com] – Bloostar
[vimeo.com] – Bloostar, the New Space revolution
[zero2infinity] – Bloostar, the physics
[space.com] – Zero 2 Infinity Gets 3D-Printed Engine Part for Bloostar Launch Vehicle
[spacenews.com] – Zero 2 Infinity conducts first flight test of Bloostar balloon-assisted launcher
First test March 2017
Airbus and Boeing killer? The idea behind hyperloop: transport against low energy cost due to movement within a near vacuum environment.
First 30 meters are meanwhile reality.
Dutch politics warming up for first European hyperloop The Hague-Duesseldorf:
[wikipedia.org] – Hyperloop
Robert McConaghy created the first flying stirling engine powered aircraft in August 1986. The Beta type engine weighed 360 grams, and produced only 20 Watts of power. The engine was attached to the front of a modified Super Malibu radio control glider with a gross takeoff weight of 1 kg. The best published test flight lasted 6 minutes and exhibited “barely enough power to make the occasional gentle turn and maintain altitude”
The main argument against using a Stirling engine in an aircraft was its weight. But with the rise of new strong and lightweight materials, conditions could change.
[wikipedia.org] – Airbus (formerly EADS)
[wikipedia.org] – Stirling Engine
[freepatentsonline.com] – Stirling Engine for an Emission-free Aircraft (EADS, 2016)
[patents.google.com] – Stirling engine with flapping wing for an emission-free aircraft (EADS, 2011)
[uspto.gov] – Solar thermal aircraft (2004, Lawrence Livermore)
[banggood.com] – Aircraft Hot Air Power Generator Innovative Stirling Engine
Few people realize that a century ago, electro-vehicles were relatively more popular that today. Reason: they didn’t smell, were not noisy, didn’t vibrate and the road infrastructure didn’t allow for high speeds and long range anyway, so nobody complained about speeds of 24–32 km/h or 15–20 mph and short range (50–65 km or 30–40 miles). On top of that, many people were grid-connected, where gasoline stations were still rare.
What have you been smoking, a car made from beets and flax? Meet the Lina, a car designed and constructed by students of the University of Eindhoven.
Embodied energy: 20% of your average conventional sedan made of aluminium.
Weight: 683 pounds (300 kg).
Drive train: electric
Range: 60 km
Topspeed: 55 kmh
London, Shell eco-marathon 2017
[source] PLA honeycomb structure plate material Lina
Formic acid = hydrogen 2.0.
You can drive on hydrogen, but only under insane pressures like 700 bar in cylinder shapes. With formic acid, the hydrogen comes as a liquid, under ambient conditions, that can be stored under the passenger’s seats. Formic acid is inflammable and can’t explode. To normal humans formic acid is known from nettles that grow in the wild. Formic acid or hydrozine (HCOOH) can be produced from hydrogen and CO2. Emissions: water and CO2. That is, an amount of CO2 equal to the amounts you have to put into formic acid in the first place, so carbon neutral. A ruthenium catalyst is essential.
Note: the bus drives on batteries, not on a fuel cell. The formic acid merely serves as a “range extender”, it is not powerful enough yet to power the bus entirely by itself. With 300 liter formic acid the range gets extended by 80-300 km, depending on city/long distance travel (flywheel?). In this way the battery can be a lot smaller. A sedan could drive 250 km on 50 liter formic acid. “Well-to-wheel” efficiency is 33%, where a regular hydrogen car scores 25%. In contrast to hydrogen fuel stations, a regular gasoline station can be retrofitted for formic acid for an amount of ca. 35,000 euro (hydrogen 5 million).
[volkskrant.nl] – Deze stadsbus in Eindhoven rijdt nu op mierenzuur – en dat is behoorlijk revolutionair
[bbc.com] – Ant power: Take a ride on a bus that runs on formic acid
[deepresource] – Formic Acid as Car Fuel
[wikipedia.org] – Formic acid
[deingenieur.nl] – Mierenzuur is Brandstof voor de Transportsector
[thefactoryfiles.com] – Elektrische Stadsbus Rijdt 200 Kilometer Op Een Tank Mierenzuur
[deondernemer.nl] – Lex Hoefsloot (CEO Lightyear) in Werkverkeer: ‘Ik zoek nog een investeerder’
[deepresource] – 2015 World Solar Challenge Award Ceremony Closing Video
[deepresource] – Solar Challenge 2015
[deepresource] – TU Delft Wins Solar Challenge 2013
[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)
For obvious reasons, the Belgians have been pushing hardest for a revitalization of the IJzeren Rijn (Iron Rhine) railway between the Antwerp Harbor and German Ruhr-area industrial heartland. The Germans had a prudent approach, but the Dutch were least enthusiastic in cooperating with a project that would create an outright competitor with their own existing railway-lines between Rotterdam and Germany. Now the Germans are changing attitude and offer to take the lead in revitalizing the old railway-line. And there is a reason why even the Netherlands should reconsider its position. And that reason is the zinc-plant in Budel-Schoot and its potential to become a renewable energy fuel source, see previous post.
[deepresource] – Nyrstar – The Next Royal Dutch Shell?
A new proposal for revitalization of the Iron Rhine can be best accomplished using the 3RX-tracé, the ‘Rhein-Ruhr-Rail Connection’ (3RX), from Antwerp, via Mol and Hamont to Roermond and Venlo and finally to Viersen. It would be just as good as revitalizing the historic Iron Rhine, but at half the cost.
[nnieuws.be] – IJzeren Rijn : ‘Duitsland bereid overleg over 3RX-tracé te trekken’
[atv.be] – Opnieuw beweging in het dossier van de ‘IJzeren Rijn’
[mobielvlaanderen.be] – 3RX Feasibility study alternative Rhein – Ruhr Rail Connection (dec 2017)
[n-va.be] – Ook Duitsland nu gewonnen voor 3RX-tracé (IJzeren Rijn)
[wikipedia.org] – Iron Rhine
[wikipedia.org] – Zinkfabriek (Budel)
[statista.com] – The largest zinc smelters worldwide in 2017
Korea Zinc – 1,183
Nyrstar – 1,019 (Budel 350)
[gemeenteraad.weert.nl] – IJzeren Rijn: resultaten 3RX-studie (jan 2018)
Solar Team Eindhoven will present its latest solar car in July and participate in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October 2019. Here a student of the TU Eindhoven in discussion with dr Peter Harrop.
[tue.nl] – ‘We want to show that solar cars are the solution in the energy transition’
[worldsolarchallenge.org] – World Solar Challenge Australia 2019
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar One Goes in Production
[engadget.com] – It’s too early to write off hydrogen vehicles
Our comment: we are uncomfortable with these huge batteries too. Our educated guess: batteries for light-weight 2-3 wheel vehicles for the shorter distances like commuting/local traffic and hydrogen for larger vehicles like multi-person on-demand transporters, trucks, trains, ships, planes.
A 2016 British study can give us an idea of how the car is being used. Results: most trips are rather short, with 95% less than 25 miles and 66% less than 5 miles. However, if you add all journeys below and above 25 miles, the results is about 50-50. The number of all trips, short or long, has declined over the past 12 years.
Combining the data, perhaps a compromise solution for future transport architecture could be: private ownership of a cheap, light-weight vehicle for 1-2 persons, like the Carver in the previous post, for the short distances, that still comprise 95% of all trips and do the rest with public transport, like bus and train and later autonomous driving vehicles. A range of 100 km would suffice for that purpose and allow for relative light batteries.
The Carver presented at Top Gear in 2011 was the gasoline version, of which at least 500 were produced and sold for 42,000 euro. In 2015 there were Chinese plans to produce the vehicle, didn’t happen. Now an e-version is out, produced in the country of origin, Holland.
Range: 90 km
Battery: 5.3 kWh
Weight: 330 kg
Top-speed: 185 kmh, formula-1 feeling comes included
(Just kidding, that was the original Carver One like the one in the Top Gear video, the e-version does merely 45 kmh in order to keep it in the scooter range; in some Asian countries 60 kmh will be possible, according to local legislation. There is no inherent design limitation to a speed of just 45 kmh, it is just that the producers want to market this vehicle as a scooter first, with lower legal admission hurdles)
Storage: 75 liter
Average Dutch commuting distance: 34 km. Dutch holidays: 6 weeks, which leaves 46 working weeks = 230 working days or 7,820 km. Efficiency: 90 km/5.3 kWh = 17 km/kWh. Yearly commuting electricity consumption: 7820/17 = 460 kWh. In grey, rainy Holland the relationship between a solar panel peak-Watt and yearly yield = 0.85. A standard 280 Watt panel produces per year 280 x 0.85 = 238 kWh. In other words, in order to produce the electricity to keep a Carver going for commuting, you merely need TWO solar panels extra on your roof!
It is high time that we draw conclusions from the simple fact that the average occupation rate of a car is merely 1.25. These standard 5 seats are massive overkill and so are the 1200 kg or so that the average 5-seat car weighs (in Europe, do not get us started about the US).
Vehicles like these could be a serious alternative to autonomous vehicles. The Carver could be autonomous too. Perhaps the passenger seat should be dropped for more battery capacity.
[carver.earth] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Carver (automobile)
[autorai.nl] – Carver keert terug, ook in Nederland!
[autoblog.nl] – Carver One keert terug, bouwt fabriek in Friesland
[of.nl] – Carver opent assemblagefabriek in Leeuwarden
[carver.earth] – Jobs at Carver
[pinterest.com] – Carver One images