Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Archive for the category “transport”

E-Vehicles 2025 – and the Winner is… Volkswagen!

E-vehicles are mechanically simpler than gasoline/diesel cars.

[] – The great electric car race is just beginning

Autonomous E-Busses in Hamburg, Utah and Finland

The First European Hyperloop Test Facility in the Netherlands

New Dutch hyperloop test facility at the Technical University of Delft. Travelling in near-vacuum, faster than a plane.

[] – Official project site
[] – Hyperloop
[] – Energy Efficiency of an Electrodynamically Levitated Hyperloop Pod
[] – Scaling laws for electrodynamic suspension in high-speed transportation
[] – Hyperloop – an Innovation for Global Transportation? (skeptical)

Hydraulic Air Compressor Demonstrator Project

Hydraulic air compression site in Sudbury, Canada

Modern man is used to power distribution via electricity. There is an alternative though, that was once used in fairly sophisticated places like Paris: pneumatic power distribution. Pneumatic power distribution comes with efficient storage possibilities of excess renewable electricity (CAES). It’s even possible to contemplate skipping intermediate electric conversion altogether and use your wind turbine as a compressor.

A research project in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, wants to (re)introduce pneumatic technology in a mining environment. The pressure is generated via falling water from high altitude (the hydraulic part), in a near-isothermal, energy efficient process.

[] – Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) Demonstrator Project (pdf, p17)
[] – History and Future of the Compressed Air Economy
[] – The Paris Compressed-Air Power Network
[] – Innovation: Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) launch in Sudbury
[] – Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) Demonstrator
[deepresource] – Europe Chases CAES GWh Energy Storage

[Source] The place of CAES in the grand storage scheme

Rumours About an Airbus Hybrid Plane A320neo Successor

Airbus is under strong pressure from European governments to reduce CO2 emissions. Bloomberg reports that Airbus is contemplating designing a hybrid electric-gasoline A320neo successor.

Prime time 2035?

[] – Insiders Say Airbus Wants To Create An Electric Hybrid To Replace The A320neo

World’s First Solar Car Presented in the Netherlands

Lightyear One is a Dutch startup, emerging from the Technical University Eindhoven-based Solar Team Eindhoven, that very successfully participated in several editions of the Australian World Solar Challenge, see links below. The company presented today their first “solar car”, a car that in sunny climates can drive for months without having to be recharged, provided it is parked in the sun and not under trees or under carports. With this condition fulfilled the car can drive ca. 20,000 km in sunny climates, like in most parts of the US or southern Europe, 10,000 km in cloudy Holland, without external charging. Note that in Holland average annual distance driven is ca. 13,000 km.

Data sheet:

– 5 m2 solar cells
– Max range with charged batteries and additional sun: 725 km
– No rear window, camera’s only
– CW-value: less than 0.20
– 4 electric motors in the wheels
– Weight ca. 1000 kg
– 2021 small scale production
– End 2022 1500/year production
– 2024-2025 mass production in Helmond
– Design Lowie Vermeersch (Ferrari e.o., #12 in world car designers ranking)
– Initial price low volume production: 119,000 euro

[] – Lowie Vermeersch
[] – Production site
[] – Eerste zonneauto van Helmondse Lightyear onthuld
[deepresource] – LightYear Solar Car – Update
[deepresource] – Solar Driving – State of the Art
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie
[deepresource] – TU Eindhoven Wins Solar Challenge 2013 (Cruisers)
[deepresource] – Stella Lux (2015)
[] – 2019 edition

Presentation Lightyear One Next Week

[deepresource] – LightYear Solar One Goes in Production
[deepresource] – Stella Lux

Fuel Efficiency of Flying

[] – Fuel economy in aircraft

[] – British Airways is the least fuel-efficient transatlantic airline – and Norwegian the most

KLM to Fund R&D Wing Plane

Dutch national carrier KLM and the Technical University Delft are to develop a pilot into designing a radical new V-shaped aircraft. According to the engineers involved a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% per passenger should be feasible as compared to the Airbus A350, the most modern airplane in the world today. Key are better aerodynamics and less weight. Development is expected to take at least 20 years. A first scaled prototype is expected for October 2019. Earlier Schiphol Amsterdam Airport made the headlines by announcing to develop synthetic fuel for airplanes “out of thin air”.

[] – KLM to fund development of fuel-efficient Flying-V plane
[] – KLM en TU Delft bouwen opvallend vliegtuig in v-vorm
[] – KLM en TU Delft gaan de Flying-V ontwerpen
[] – KLM en TU Delft werken aan V-vormig vliegtuig
[] – KLM Steekt Geld in “Vliegende V” uit Delft
[deepresource] – Amsterdam Airport Carbon-Neutral?

Wind-Powered Mobility in the Netherlands

We’re in the mood for a back-of-an-envelope calculation. Let’s calculate how much offshore wind energy is required if a country like the Netherlands would phase out private car ownership and replace that old mobility model with a new one, namely electric ride sharing, as is being experimented with now in Hamburg.

According to the Dutch government bean counting institute CBS (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek), in 2016 all ca. 8 million Dutch cars drove 118.5 billion km or 13,200 km per car. The average occupation rate is ca. 1,25. So the total amount of passenger-km is 118.5 billion x 1.25 = 148 billion km.

The Volkswagen Moia has a battery of 87 kWh and a range of 300 km. Let’s assume an average occupation rate of 5 passengers for the 7 available seats. That’s 0.29 kWh/km/vehicle or 0.058 kWh/km/passenger.

Now back to the Dutch figures. 148 billion passenger km, driven in Volkswagen Moia’s, with an average occupancy rate of 5 would amount to 148 billion x 0.058 kWh = 8584 GWh/year. The annual output of the currently largest Dutch offshore windpark Gemini is ca. 2600 GWh/year. In other words, the Netherlands would need merely 3.3 of those wind parks to enable the current level of private mobility. Much larger windparks than Gemini are in pipeline, like the 1400 MW Borssele I-V, scheduled for completion in 2021. Together, Gemini and Borssele would suffice.

Obviously more capacity needs to be calculated to compensate for storage losses. But the message is clear: it is very well possible to remain mobile in a climate-friendly fashion after the end of the fossil fuel age.

[] – Hamburg trials Europe’s largest electric ride-sharing service
[] – Forse groei autokilometers
[] – Volkswagen-Ridesharing: Moin, MOIA!
[] – Gemini Wind Farm

Amsterdam Airport Carbon-Neutral?

The Amsterdam Airport CEO knows that the current business model of flying planes on conventional fuel has no future in the light of the renewable energy policy of the European Union, that says that fossil fuels need to be phased out by 2050, thirty years from now. Enter synthetic kerosene, produced with the ingredients: CO2, water and renewable electricity. A German company has been asked to build an installation with which 1,000 liter of synthetic kerosene can be produced per day, as a pilot project, pun intended. Radically new is that the CO2 is sourced from the air, not from industrial processes. As a first step, water and CO2 are converted into hydrogen and CO with renewable electricity. From this mixture, synthetic kerosene can be produced.

Independently, the construction of a plant in Delfzijl, in the Groningen province is planned, that will produce annually 75.000 tot 100.000 ton bio-kerosene, also for aviation purposes. Investment volume 250 million euro. For the moment bio-kerosene costs 2-3 times as much as conventional kerosene. Nothing that can’t be solved with higher air fares.

As an additional benefit, the production of renewable kerosene provides an excellent storage opportunity for renewable electricity.

[] – Schiphol en Rotterdam Airport gaan inzetten op synthetische kerosine
[] – Synthetische kerosine als brandstof voor de luchtvaart (pdf, 58p)
[] – Eerste Europese Raffinaderij voor Biokerosine in Delfzijl
[] – Biokerosine: veel schoner, maar ook veel duurder dan gewone kerosine
[] – Take-off synthetic kerosene production in the Netherlands
[] – Synthetische kerosine is de enige oplossing
[] – Tag: synthetische kerosine

Siemens eHighway

Seven year old Siemens video

It already works for trains and trolleybuses, so why not for trucks as well? Trucks powered by overhead-wires. A test stretch has been build near Frankfurt, on the A5-motorway between Langen and Weiterstadt.

[] – eHighway – Electrification of road freight transport
[] – Germany Launches eHighway Project
[Google Maps] – Location

Sweden apparently has an eHighway as well.

[] – World’s first electric road opens in Sweden

85% Y2Y Growth E-Vehicles in Europe


European car branche organisation reports that in Q1-2019:

EV’s +85%
Diesel -18%
3 in 5 new car’s are petrol, diesel 1/3.
Alternative fuels: 8.5%.
EV’s 2.5%, hybrid 4.6%.

[] – Elektrische Auto’s Populair, Dip Voor Diesel

Supercapacitors as Competitors for Hydrogen and Batteries

Currently the batteries seem to win the race for powering the e-vehicle, despite the facts that the majority of automotive brains say that they prefer hydrogen.

However, there is potentially a third competitor looming at the horizon: super-capacitors. The storage of electricity in Coulomb, rather than chemical form. Charging proceeds in seconds, rather than hours. No need for batteries of 400 kg. They have no degradation and go on and on. The only disadvantage: leaking. A full charge will largely disappear after a month. Driving a car with a charged super-capacitor is like consuming an ice-cream on a sunny day: you gotta lick it immediately.

Nothing is decided yet, though. Breakthrough new materials are required to live up to the theoretical promise. Candidate material: graphene.

[] – Supercapacitors: A new source of power for electric cars?

[] – Energy storage leap could slash electric car charging times
[] – Fancy charging up your electric car in 10 minutes?
[] – In 2011 Elon Musk bets on capacitors rather than batteries
[] – Supercapacitor
[] – Graphene
[] – Coulomb
[] – Graphene-Based Supercapacitors Could Lead To Battery-Free Electric Cars Within 5 Years
[] – Could Ultracapacitors Replace Batteries In Future Electric Vehicles?
[] – Cars that run on supercapacitors could be charged in minutes
[] – A fluke breakthrough could be the missing link for an electric car age

Read more…

First MOIA Ride-sharing Experience in Hamburg

Take your smart phone, start the MOIA app, enter 1 out of 10,000 predefined destinations and press submit. And wait until the MOIA e-van arrives, something in between a bus and a taxi. Price? Think 4.20 euro for 3 km. Price is known in advance, before you commit. Payment via app. Slight detours in order to pick up co-passengers are possible.

At some point in the future, the driver will be phased out, or so is the plan.

Autonomous Driving Update

[] – Audi AI:ME (2019)
[] – Audi AI:me Concept Teased Ahead Of Shanghai Debut
[] – Audi AI:ME is extra groen en zelfrijdend
[] – Audi presenteert eerste zelfrijdende stadsauto, de AI:ME

VW starts level-4 autonomous driving tests in Hamburg with 5 VW-Golf, driver-supervisor included, on a pre-selected 3 km route.


According to Tesla-CEO Elon Musk, all Tesla’s shipped are in principle capable of autonomous driving.


Musk: “autonomous driving is possible in 2020”.


Atmospheric Railway – Aeromovel

It is possible to drive a train on air pressure. The principle dates from the 19th century and was in fact in operation in Britain and elsewhere. Today working examples run in Brasil and Indonesia under the name Aeromovel. It should be noted that air pressure or vacuum can be produced efficiently with wind turbines.

owards the end of the twentieth century the Aeromovel Corporation of Brazil developed an automated people mover that is atmospherically powered. Lightweight trains ride on rails mounted on an elevated hollow concrete box girder that forms the air duct. Each car is attached to a square plate—the piston—within the duct, connected by a mast running through a longitudinal slot that is sealed with rubber flaps. Stationary electric air pumps are located along the line to either blow air into the duct to create positive pressure or to exhaust air from the duct to create a partial vacuum. The pressure differential acting on the piston plate causes the vehicle to move.

[] – Atmospheric Railway

LEF Minimalist Commuting

Price: € 3630,-
Efficiency: 15 Wh/km (67 km/kWh)
Range: 30 km (90 km with 3 batteries)
Battery life: 2000 charges/discharges
Battery price: € 500,-
Speed: 25 kmh

No pedals.

[] – Company site

“Hydrogen-Fuel Cells, not Batteries, Future of E-Vehicles”

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.

[] – KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey 2017

Daimler Wants to be Decarbonized by 2040

Including vehicles, factories, suppliers, ten years earlier as the Paris Accords prescribe.

[] – Mercedes-Benz car factories to become carbon neutral
[] – Künftiger Chef will Daimler bis 2040 zum CO2-freien Unternehmen machen

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