Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “transport”

Electric Motor Teardown

If you are as old as me, you will have lived through an era where mobility was characterized by the smell of petrol, by mechanical concepts like gear box, clutch, starter, oil pump, carburetor. The mechanical design of a car has become a lot simpler, promising much more reliability, durability, longevity, requiring much less maintenance and tinkering. The regular oil change has gone. Expect batteries to provide service for more than 1 million km.

Here is a video where somebody takes a VW-ID4 e-motor apart. Happy learning.

Heineken and ZES Start Electric Inland Shipping

Beer brewer Heineken has started an electrified inland shipping shuttle service between the Heineken plant in Zoeterwoude and container terminal Moerdijk (with access to international shipping), on a ten-year contract with Zero Emission Services (ZES), that will provide the batteries with the size of containers, as well as the battery charge, that is 2 containers with 4 MWh in total. Range per container of 2 MWh: 60 km or 2-4 hours of sailing.

ZES has the ambition to provide a nation-wide service network of its battery-pack for short-distance shipping at 20 locations. ZES is backed by heavy-weights like ING, Engie, Port of Rotterdam and Wärtsilä.

The intended ZES container battery charging network. Note the hubs in Germany along the Rhine, the busiest river in the world. It won’t be long and ZES could contemplate to invest in a wind park of its own, just like other corporations like Dutch Rail and Google have done. 15 minutes operation of a 15 MW wind turbine suffice to bring a “Heineken ship” from Rotterdam to Zoeterwoude. Perhaps it is an idea to lay a cable on the bottom of the Rhine river and supply charging stations along that river until Switzerland.

[] – ZES corporate site
[] – Heineken biertransport elektrisch over water
[] – Heineken wil zijn bier klimaatneutraal vervoeren
[] – Containers vol met accu’s vervangen diesel in de binnenvaart: ‘Hier gebeurt echt iets voor milieu en klimaat’

The Netherlands has a very dense system of waterways and is particularly suited environment for companies like ZES to operate in. The route shown here could very well match that of the Heineken containers.

This is the ship “De Alphenaar” from 2019, that has been retrofitted for electric propulsion. The ship has place for 52 containers. Depending on the destination of the trip, more containers can be stacked onto the deck. The beauty is that since the ship needs to be loaded anyway, the crane to load these battery containers into the ship is present anyway for the regular cargo. This is precisely the reason why battery replacement system could work with shipping, where it failed (in Israel) with cars.

[] – De binnenvaart gaat elektrisch, dankzij Bon Jovi

De Alphenaar isn’t the first inland vessel to go electric. Already in 2017, the Bon Jovi made a start to get the Dutch inland fleet of 6500 vessels, the largest in Europe, electrified. The Bon Jovi also operates for Heineken; 12,500 containers annually or 600 million bottles. But that ship stils had 2 192 kW diesel generators, that were used to produce the required electricity, in order to gain experience with electric propulsion. Now the time is ready to go really green with batteries.

[] – Heineken verricht doop nieuw duurzaam containerschip van Nedcargo in Rotterdam

Solid State Battery Last 20 Years

A solid-state battery is a battery technology that uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte, instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries.

While solid electrolytes were first discovered in the 19th century, several drawbacks, such as low energy densities, have prevented widespread application. Developments in the late 20th and early 21st century have caused renewed interest in solid-state battery technologies, especially in the context of electric vehicles, starting in the 2010s.

Materials proposed for use as solid electrolytes in solid-state batteries include ceramics (e.g., oxides, sulfides, phosphates), and solid polymers. Solid-state batteries have found use in pacemakers, RFID and wearable devices. They are potentially safer, with higher energy densities, but at a much higher cost. Challenges to widespread adoption include energy and power density, durability, material costs, sensitivity and stability.

Solid state batteries allow the body of the car to be used as a battery.

[] – Solid-state battery

[] – BMW and Ford Invest in Solid-State Battery Startup for Future EVs

Ford and BMW are investing $130 million in solid-state battery startup Solid Power in a push to reduce the cost and increase the range of their future electric vehicles. Ford initially contributed to an earlier investment round in 2019, and both automakers have joint agreements to use the technology in upcoming electric vehicles that will arrive by 2030.

[] – Can Japan and Toyota win the solid-state battery race?

Read more…

BYD Blade Battery Breakthrough

BYD of China has introduced a lithium-iron-phosphate blade-shaped battery, that should replace conventional cylinder-shaped batteries. The BYD e-platform 3.0 promises advantages on energy density (and hence range, now up to 900 km), charge time (135 km range in 5 minutes), safety, cost, longevity (3000 cycles or 1.2 million km) and environment (elimination of cobalt).

With breathtaking down-to-earth specs like these, it can be foreseen that the public will flock en masse to e-vehicles, replacing the green avant-garde that had more high-minded environmental motives to support the mobility transition.

Well, what-ever it takes to get the job done.

An avalanche of e-vehicle adoption will trigger an avalanche of demand for green power generation. The average daily distance driven in NW-Europe is about 34 km (Netherlands). A 900 km range means an average visit interval to the charging station of 26 days. This results in beneficial storage consequences; it isn’t exactly seasonal storage, but it is much longer than pumped hydro capacity of basins high in the mountains of Norway.

[] – BYD Blade Battery set to revolutionise EV market
[] – BYD next-generation EV platform: Up to 600 miles, 800V charging, optimized efficiency
[] – Lithium iron phosphate battery
[] – BYD Auto

The BYD blade configuration even offers structural reinforcement to the car.

Maersk Methanol-Fueled Container Ship by 2023

7 years earlier than previously planned, Danish shipping company Maersk will have the world’s first carbon-neutral ship in operation, fueled by methanol.

Ship builder: Hyundai
Propulsion system: MAN Energy Solutions
Size of ship: 172 m
Cargo ship: 2100 TEU
Energy source methanol: solar
Renewable methanol producer: European Energy
Location of pv-power generation: Southern Jutland, Denmark
Location of power-to-methanol facility: yet to be decided
Annual e-methanol volume: 10,000 tonnes
Area of shipping operation: Baltic

[] – Maersk signs shipbuilding contract for world’s first container vessel fueled by carbon neutral methanol
[] – Maersk secures green e-methanol for the world’s first container vessel operating on carbon neutral fuel
[] – Corporate site

Read more…

DHL Express Buys 12 Electric Eviation Alice Planes

The German parcel delivery company DHL Express, owned by Deutsche Post, has ordered 12 “Alice” electric planes from the Israeli manufacturer Eviation and will operate them in the US.

Range 815 km, payload 1200 kg. First flight are to be commenced by the end of 2021. By 2024, all 12 planes will be operational.

[] – DHL krijgt 100% elektrische vliegtuigen
[] – Deutsche Post
[] – Eviation Alice

Italy’s E-Vehicle Market is Booming

The first six months of 2021 have marked a period of yet exceptional growth for electric mobility on a global scale. Europe is leading the charge, and Italy – the continent’s fourth largest market – is now on the verge of reaching double-digit market share for plug-in vehicles, following consistent monthly growth and quarter-end peak registrations.

[] – Italy’s EV Market More Than Quadrupled In The First Half Of 2021!

Norway At 84.7% Plugin EV Share In July

[] – Norway At 84.7% Plugin EV Share In July

Autonomous Driving in France First?

[source] Imagine all the lines in this map of French motorways and routes nationale to become virtual railway lines, offering high frequency public transport, offered by companies with self-driving vans. This could very well be the unintended (?) consequence of government efforts to make autonomous driving possible. Rather than being a new gadget, autonomous driving could largely kill the privately owned car; not because of some Green Stalin forbidding private car ownership, but because a large segment of the public will snub private car ownership, because it has found a cheaper, more comfortable alternative.

France could very well be the first country in Europe and the world to present a complete regulatory framework for making autonomous driving happen. Planned start date: September 2022.

Germany did adopt new regulations regarding autonomous driving last May, but failed to offer a complete regulatory framework, especially on the liability issue.

[mobile-interieur-gouv-fr] – For the first time in Europe, the Highway Code and the Transport Code are adapting to the arrival of automated driving vehicles on the roads of France
[] – France first EU country to adapt its highway code for self-drive cars
[] – German Autonomous Driving Act Is Only the Next Step to Self-Driving Cars for Everyone

Volkswagen Moia. This people transporter still has a driver, but he could be phased out eventually, thanks to autonomous driving.

Charging a Car Battery in 5 Minutes

German language video

German battery giant Varta plans to enter the lucrative market for e-vehicles and claims to have a battery, with which a car battery can be charged within 6 minutes. If that were the case, the victory of the battery over alternative power forms, like hydrogen, would almost be certain.

Varta is not alone, competitors in the rapid-charging segment are Tesla and the Israeli company StoreDot. StoreDot expects market introduction of their “5 minutes product” by 2024; the company can point to cooperation with BP, Samsung and Daimler, as well as the large Chinese battery company EVE Energy. The architecture of the new battery is relatively simple and based on nanotechnology. Existing production lines for lithium-ion-batteries can be retrofitted.

It looks as if the battery technology will be a few years ahead of the required charging infrastructure, able to deliver 150 kW or more. Perhaps it would be a good idea to bury new power lines next to highways, to cope with the to be expected strong increase in demand for electricity for transport purposes. Build charging stations along the highway, replacing gasoline fuel stations. This would eliminate the need to have hundreds of thousands of charging points, littered all over the country. In this way, the conventional grid could be kept separate from the “highway grid”.

[] – Vartas Batteriezelle für E-autos soll in 6 Minuten geladen sein
[] – Varta steigt in die E-Mobilität ein
[] – Introducing V3 Supercharging
[] – StoreDot belooft een oplaadtijd van 5 minuten

UK Considering Highway Overhead Powerlines

Overhead power lines for trucks on the A5, south of Frankfurt.

Lorries powered by overhead electric cables could run on Britain’s motorways as part of a push to ‘decarbonise’ road freight. A trial scheme has been proposed for a 12-mile stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, which would receive £2million of government funding and could be operational by 2024.

Highway overhead power lines make perfect sense, not in the least because there will be no NIMBYs around, to protest against these stealth power lines, a major problem, especially in Germany. Also, from an energy efficiency point of view, this is excellent. Sending electricity from wind turbines or solar panels directly towards e-engines, can happen almost without losses. Trucks merely need small batteries to bridge the distance between warehouse and highway; no need for massive amount of charging stations either. All it takes is the electrification of the existing national highway system

[] – The truck that thinks it’s a tram! Lorries could run on overhead power lines motorways in latest green bid to ‘decarbonise’ road freight
[] – Electric road
[] – Trolleytruck
[] – Im Oberleitungs-Lkw über die A1: Erstaunlich unspektakulär
[] – Elektro-Highway im Vollbetrieb

Another example in Germany: the A1, north of Hamburg.

Example in Sweden. In all cases mentioned, Siemens plays a major part.

Recycling and Old EV-Battery

Deutsche Welle documentary:

Lithium-ion batteries have enabled us to build electric cars that let us drive around without burning fossil fuels. But how green are these batteries actually? And where do they end up once they’re spent?

LightYear One Solar Car to be Built in Finland

The world’s first solar car is going to be produced in Finland, not in Helmond, the Netherlands, a setback for the VDL group in Eindhoven. This car, with several m2 integrated solar panels, adding about 13,000 km2 “free solar km” in a meteorological gray country like the Netherlands, is a brainchild of a group of students from the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. VDL is still in the race to produce the first solar car for the mass market in 2024.

[] – Helmondse zonneauto wordt gebouwd door Finse Valmet: Lightyear passeert VDL Nedcar
[deepresource] – Our Lightyear One posts

Read more…

US Order for 200 Swedish 19-Passenger e-Planes

Heart Aerospace Hangar in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Two US companies have ordered 100 battery e-planes each at the Swedish Heart Aerospace company. The planes could be operational by 2026.

Data: 19 passengers over 400 km. Charging time: less than 40 minutes. Battery: 600 kWh or 0.1 kWh/km/passenger. The author of “wattisduurzaam” fears this is too good to be true, but why not? A single person in a car “burns” a comparable 1 kWh on 10 km, so why can’t a small 19-person plane represent the equivalent of 19 cars? And then there is this:

[deepresource] – e-Genius Update

Data from 2015 and a 2-seater e-Genius plane, crossing the Alps at 4000 m: 365 km, 43 kWh. That’s 43/365/2 = 0.06 kWh/km/passenger. This German plane from 2015 has a better efficiency than the (bigger) Swedish plane.

[] – Voorwaardelijke order voor 200 elektrische 19-persoonsvliegtuigen

Germany Finally Falling for its Own Products

Until recently, Germany preferred to manufacture and sell e-vehicles, rather than drive them. Thanks to a federal subsidy, this is now changing. The fact that e-vehicles accelerate much faster, could be a beneficial factor as well, as Germans are generally intrigued, if not obsessed, with speed, horse-power and acceleration of their liebstes Kind (“most beloved child”).

More in general, e-mobibility is taking Europe by storm, illustrating that world-wide, the renewable energy transition is progressed most in the “Old Continent”, as Americans prefer to call us, suggesting that Europe is lagging behind America.

The data suggests otherwise.

Recently, Donald Rumsfeld died.
Of old age.
RIP Donald.

[] – Verdoppelter Elektroauto-Zuschuss kostet Bund knapp zwei Milliarden

H2Ships – Fueling Ships With Hydrogen Powder

The goal of the Port of Amsterdam project H2Ships is to make a copy of an existing 20 m long ship run on hydrogen. That in itself isn’t new. What new is that hydrogen will be provided in powder form, chemical formulae NaHB4 or sodium-borohydride. NaHB4 can be stored at ambient conditions for a very long time, like detergent, providing all the requirements for seasonal storage. And best of all: the energy density of NaBH4 is 9 kWh/kg, which comes close to gasoline. In our view, NaBH4 is one of the most promising options for seasonal hydrogen storage, including for transportation (minus perhaps aviation).

NaBH4 could be produced in large quantities in the desert of Northern Africa or Arab countries with PV-solar, locally converted into hydrogen and merged with Sodium and Borium and shipped to Europe. No need for hazardous high pressures and/or cryogenic temperatures.

[] – H2Ships project site
[deepresource] – Our sodium-borohydride posts
[deepresource] – More Solar Price Erosion – Abu Dhabi 2 GW, 1.24 Eurocent/kWh

Add some sodium-borohydride to ultra pure water and watch how the hydrogen is released.

Cambridge-UK Autonomous Shuttle Trial

Youtube text:

Aurrigo, which has been hugely instrumental in the development of ‘first and last mile’ transport solutions, will become the first firm in the country to undertake testing of a custom-made autonomous vehicle capable of carrying passengers on a main road surrounded by other traffic, including cars, lorries, vans, bikes and pedestrians.

Able to seat 10 people outside of social distancing restrictions, the three shuttles will take passengers from the Madingley Road Park and Ride site to and around the University of Cambridge’s West Campus.

The trial is part of an Innovate UK and Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)-backed project, led by Aurrigo with Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and Smart Cambridge all working together to explore how autonomous technology could be used on the public transport network.

VW Into Solid State Batteries

Volkswgen and its US-Battery partner Quantumscape have announced to build a 1 GWh solid state battery pilot plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Eventually its capacity will be expanded to 20 GWh, that is 400,000 cars with batteries of 50 kWh each.

After 30 years of trial-and-error, there is finally a product that has significant advantages over Lithium-Ion technology:

  • rapid charging in a matter of minutes
  • increased lifespan, typically exceeding that of the car
  • higher energy density of 0.5 kWh/kg, hence lower weight of the battery pack; resulting in ranges of over 1000 km
  • cost advantages

[] – Company site
[] – Solid-state battery
[] – QuantumScape and Volkswagen Sign Agreement to Select Location for Joint Venture Pilot-Line Facility
[] – VW-Feststoffakkus aus Salzgitter

800 km Range with Methanol Fuel Cell

All videos German language

Regarding powering cars: batteries vs hydrogen… batteries won, right?

Well, not so fast. It is true that batteries have a far higher efficiency than hydrogen fuel cell, so if you have a spare kWh electricity lying around, you better pump it directly into your car battery, rather than going via the hydrogen detour.

The point is: that electricity isn’t always readily available. And how about that super cheap solar electricity from the desert, at 1 cent/kWh? How to get that kWh from the Sahara to Germany? High-voltage power lines? And even if you have those in place, the sun doesn’t always shine in the Sahara either, certainly not at night. Difficult.

That’s where storage comes in. Most people think of pure hydrogen, but that’s not the only storage possibility. A deceased Hungarian engineer by the name of George Olah has been promoting the idea of the methanol economy later in his professional life. His prime selling point over the hydrogen economy is that the simple liquid methanol is far easier to handle than hydrogen. The energy density of methanol is a considerable 6.1 kWh/kg or 4.8 kWh/liter, which makes it suitable for transportation purposes.

A retired Audi engineer by the name of Roland Gumpert has built a car prototype with a methanol fuel cell, achieving a range of 800 km or more, see videos. And a refill merely takes 3 minutes, not hours like with batteries, where legacy petrol stations can be reused, rather than having to litter your country with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new charging poles.

The purpose of this post is not to decide between one form of storage or another, but as a reminder that there are many storage options.

[] – Ohne Ladekabel in nur 3 Minuten getankt: Damit packt dieses E-Auto 800 Kilometer
[deepresource] – The Methanol Economy With George Olah
[deepresource] – Methanol Economy Update

Read more…

DPD E-Truck Futuricum with 760 km Range

Swiss package deliverer DPD has electrified a Volvo diesel truck and managed a spectacular range of 760 km per charge, battery 680 kWh, the largest in the world so far. Volvo was so impressed that they took a majority stake in the Swiss club DesignWerk, specialized in these kind of transformations. An annual 75 ton CO2 are avoided.

[] – DPD Switzerland: deliveries by electric truck

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