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Archive for the category “transport”

Methanol Fuel Cell

Most people associate fuel cells with hydrogen. But there are several hydrocarbon fuels for fuel cells as well, including diesel, methanol and chemical hydrides.

[] – Fuel cell
[] – Direct methanol fuel cell
[deepresource] – The Methanol Economy With George Olah

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Future of E-Vehicles: Battery or Fuel Cell?

The world’s elites seem to agree that e-vehicles are the future. The remaining question is: what will power them? Batteries or fuel cells. Or put differently: will hydrogen be included in the energy conversion scheme? Trillions of euros/dollars are at stake here.

The video claims that batteries have won. It is however possible to find support for either point of view, see links below.

Comment: our tentative conclusion would be that fuel cells will win because of the storage aspect of hydrogen. After all, the renewable generated electricity will need to be stored somewhere anyway. Why not in hydrogen that can be directly used in cars?

[] – Fuel Cell and Battery Electric Vehicles Compared
[] – Why the Automotive Future Will Be Dominated by Fuel Cells
[] – Majority of automotive execs still believe battery-powered cars will fail and fuel cells are the future
[] – Why hydrogen fuel cell cars are not competitive — from a hydrogen fuel cell expert

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Fuel Cells in Shipping

German language video

Global shipping is a major polluter. Efforts are underway to eliminate the use of oil fuel. A replacement candidate is hydrogen-based fuel cells. Hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is converted into electricity, that drives and elektro-motor and propeller.

[] – e4ships – fuel cells in marine applications
[] – Brennstoffzelle und Schiffe: Sauber auf See

HY4 – World’s First Fuel Cell Hydrogen Plane

On September 29, 2016, the first plane with a fuel cell propulsion took off from Stuttgart airport in Germany.

Empty mass: 630 kg (battery 130 kg, fuel cell 100 kg)
Max. total weight: 1500 kg
Max. speed: 200 kmh
Cruise speed: 145 kmh
Range: 750-1500 km (depending on battery)
Capacity: 4 passengers

[] – HY4
[] – Official site
[] – Das Brennstoffzellenflugzeug wird viersitzig

[] – Hydrogen-powered aircraft

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Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept

Geneva car show presentation of the 2018 Hyundai fuel cell SUV. Range 800 km (500 km probably more realistic). Efficiency fourth generation fuel cell 60%, 9% better than the previous generation. Worldwide distribution as of 2018. 120 kW electromotor. Low temperature starting problems should have been solved.

[] – Dit is Hyundai’s next-gen waterstof-SUV, met 800 km bereik

Van Hool Hydrogen Buses

[] – Hybrid fuel cell bus
[] – Van Hool

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The World of Autonomous E-Vehicles According to Daimler and Bosch

[source] Click to enlarge

Future vision of autonomous e-vehicle driving presented to you by Daimler-Benz and Bosch. A world where vehicles no longer have steering wheels. The person in “car4you” (probably driverless taxi) is absorbed in working, you can have an automated taxi for 19 euro/day, the bus driver has gone fishing, e-bicycles are fast and or parked in elevator structures. Traffic lights still exist although not strictly necessary. Privately owned parked cars no longer exist, they discretely park themselves, only rental cars are parked in designated areas.

[] – Driverless cars could be on road by early 2020s after Bosch and Daimler launch joint venture
[deepresource] – “By 2030 You Won’t Own a Car”

Stuttgart main street as it should become: urban farming, driverless, quiet, odorless e-vehicles. Transport of goods along cables. Real large volume traffic under ground.

According to Der Spiegel the car may have been invented in Stuttgart, but meanwhile the city is suffocating in diesel fumes. In the eighties, Sindelfingen near Stuttgart was the richest community in Europe. It also was the home of Mercedes-Benz and both these facts were likely strongly correlated. The Zebra crossings for instance were made of marble. But meanwhile the view is rising that the car economy is in a cul de sac.

Stuttgart, the car hellhole it is now, situated between steep hills, keeping the smog trapped.

[] – Autostadt Stuttgart – Kill your darlings! (paywall)

Diesel ban for Stuttgart, which will only accelerate the energy transition.

Intel in Autonomous Cars

The traditional car companies should take care that newcomers won’t make if off with the loot. After Tesla, Google and Apple we now have Intel trying its luck with autonomous vehicles:

Mobileye, an Intel Company, will start building a fleet of fully autonomous (level 4 SAE) vehicles for testing in the United States, Israel and Europe. The first vehicles will be deployed later this year, and the fleet will eventually scale to more than 100 automobiles.

About the SAE autonomous driving level system:

  • Level 0: No Automation. That’s you dear reader and your shabby 1985 Ford Mustang GT.
  • Level 1: Driver Assistance. Environment info resulting in some level of steering and/or accelerating/decelerating; the driver is still in charge.
  • Level 2: Partial Automation. The system performs the basic tasks, but the driver is supposed to supervise it all.
  • Level 3: Conditional Automation. System in control. Driver can be requested to intervene.
  • Level 4: High Automation. Sometimes the driver can be requested to intervene, but no hazards if the driver doesn’t.
  • Level 5: Full Automation. The driver just has to step in and can take a nap and still expect to be delivered at the final destination.

[] – Intel … to Build Fleet of 100 L4 Autonomous Test Cars
[] – De 5 ‘levels’ van autonoom rijden
[] – Autonomous long distance drive
[] – Automated driving

The autonomous driving car level system (click to enlarge)

Nuna 9 Revealed

The Delft University has revealed its new model to participate in the Australian Solar Challenge cross continental race in less than two months time.

[] – Nuna9 – A lion in the shape of a solar car
[] – World Solar Challenge
[] – Nuon Solar Team
[deepresource] – TU-Eindhoven Presents Stella Vie

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Electric Flying

Siemens-330LE able to tow a glider into the air

[] – Plane presentation Paris air show
[] – List of electric aircraft
[] – Video provided “top ten”. Only real flying, people carrying, models are referenced here.

[] – Airbus E-Fan

Munich/Germany-based startup. Flying car concept, vertical take-off. Range 190 miles.

[] – Lilium company site
[] – Lilium’s funky ‘jet’ could make our dreams of flying cars come true

First solar-powered plane to fly around the globe. Swiss project.

[] – Solar Impulse

Siemens E-Fusion. Recharge in 5 minutes.

[] – Siemens E-Fusion

E-Genius. Development University of Stuttgart, Germany. Here flying over the Alps from Stuttgart to Italy, reaching 4000m. Return flight 365 km. Energy consumption: 83 kWh or 21€ for the whole trip. Try that with your Volkswagen Golf. Electric flying will cost per mile up to 10 times less than flying on petrol.

[Google Maps] – Trajectory Stuttgart, Germany-Calcinate del Pesce, Varese, VA, Italy
[] – E-Genius

Slovenian plane from 2015. Price: 69,000 euro. Motor weighs 11 kg. Range: one hour or 117 miles.

[] – Alpha Electro

Plane from Denver, Colorado. Flying costs $1,-/hour.

[] – Aero Electric Sun Flyer

Amphibious plane from Finland.

[] – Company site
[] – FlyNano

Fast Charging Your Car With Toyota in 2022


Current e-vehicles use lithium ion batteries. Solid state batteries with higher energy density do exist but they are too expensive for an average car. Toyota however seems to be in a position to produce affordable solid state batteries by 2022. Apart from higher energy density per unit of weight and extra advantage is that these batteries can be charged in minutes.

[] – Toyota set to sell long-range, fast-charging electric cars in 2022

Trucks on H2 Generated by Wind turbines in the Netherlands

In the Dutch province of North-Holland next year several trucks will drive on hydrogen generated by dedicated onshore and offshore wind turbines, equipped with electrolysis devices. Project name DUWAAL. Hydrogen will be piped to the shore for that purpose. Eventually at least 100 trucks should drive on hydrogen from this pipeline network.

One of the participants is E-Trucks Europe. The company reconfigures existing trucks to electric trucks based on a hydrogen fuel cel. E-Trucks Europe has begun to build two dedicated factories in Westerhoven and Lommel (Belgium).

[] – Per 2018 vrachtwagens op waterstof uit windmolens
[] – Diverse doorbraken: nu 4 projecten die er echt voor gaan
[] – Vrachttransport op H2 in 2018 mogelijk door inzet windmolens
[] – Vrachttransport op waterstof eind 2018 mogelijk door inzet windmolens
[] – E-Trucks Europe site

Garbage Truck on Hydrogen in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Garbage collector Cure in Eindhoven is successfully operating a hydrogen-powered garbage truck since November 2013 in the city of Eindhoven in the South of the Netherlands. The truck can drive around for a full day without having to be refueled. The e-truck is a DAF CF FA with a battery-only range of 200 km, but is now equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell range-extender, leading to total range of 360 km.

[] – Waste collection vehicle using a hydrogen fuel cell
[] – Vuilniswagen op waterstof rijdt een jaar succesvol rond voor papierophaling in Eindhoven

[] – Eerste Braantse Waterstoftankstation Geopend in Helmond

Avionics V1

[] – Company site
[] – Is This The Coolest Electric Bicycle You Have Ever Seen?
[] – Avionics V1 is a minimalist electric bike built from raw materials
[] – Avionics V1 is a distinctive & massively powerful retro-styled e-bike

Advanced Batteries

In the light of our previous post about the Opel Ampera E… that car, or its twin the Chevy Bolt rather, has a Lithium-ion battery that weighs 435 kg and contains 60 kWh, if fully charged. That’s an energy density of 0.14 kWh/kg.

Battery Chevy Bolt: 435 kg, 60 kWh, $145/kWh

An interesting question is: how much progress can still be made in making these batteries more compact and energy dense?

The book Advanced Batteries by Robert Huggins gives on page 29 a value for the Maximum Theoretical Specific Energy (MTSE) for these Li/I2 batteries of 0.56 kWh/kg or 4 times the amount realized in the Chevy Bolt battery. In other words, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

[] – Advanced Batteries
[] – Chevy Bolt EV’s Battery Is As Big As A Tesla’s
[] – Lithium-ion battery
[] – Energy Density

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Opel Ampera E (Chevrolet Bolt)

The journalists of German magazine der Spiegel have tested the e-vehicle Opel Ampera E (in the US known as Chevrolet Bolt) and were enthusiastic about the results. They picked up the car in Brussels and drove to the Opel HQ in Rüsselsheim, a journey of ca. 400 km. At the finish they still had 97 km left in their battery, with a total capacity of 60 kWh. The realized range was a result though of a restrained driving style, deliberate slow acceleration and avoiding top speeds at the Autobahn.

The car, produced in Orion, Michigan, is able to recuperate kinetic energy during braking. The price is relatively low: €40,000, if you can get one, because Germans and other Europeans will have to wait until at least the end of 2018, because most available cars will go to e-vehicle Mecca Norway first, where 20% of the new cars are e-vehicles, thanks to government subsidies [*]. The German website through which interested customers could pre-order their Ampera had to close down after two weeks: sold out.

There have been proposals to sell the Bolt on European markets, since Americans aren’t really interested in e-vehicles and certainly not in the Chevy Bolt, but that’s problematic for several reasons. An additional complication is that Opel was recently sold to French PSA. Der Spiegel predicts that customers will prefer the Renault Zoe and BMW i3.

Der Spiegel concludes that the Opel Ampera E is a very “useful” e-vehicle (“alltagstauglich“), but that the marketing strategy is a “tragedy”.

[*] Over the las fews months that figure accelerated to 50%.

A 6 MW offshore windturbine generates on average 144,000 kWh/day or 1.6 kWh/sec. Assume that the turbine rotor completes a 360 degree turn in 6 seconds and generates 10 kWh. The Opel Ampera E needs 60 kWh for 500 km or 8 km/kwh. The average distance a car drives par day in a country like Holland is 34 km, requiring 4 kWh. So an Ampera on average needs to be recharged once in every 14 days. In order to keep the Ampera going for 34 km, the car merely needs less energy than half the turning of the turbine’s rotor. One 6 MW offshore wind turbine can power 36,000 Opel Ampera’s for 34 km each, day in, day out. If the 8 million Dutch car fleet would consist of Opel Ampera’s, 222 wind turbines would suffice. Throughout history about 19,000 churches were built in the Netherlands, almost all “by hand”. Surely the Netherlands is able to build a few thousand 6 MW turbines in a few deacdes, mostly in automated processes, to carry out the energy transition.


Power: 150 kW (204 PS)
Speed: 150 kmh
Mass: 1619 kg

[] – Opel Ampera E, Zu früh gefreut
[] – Autogramm Opel Ampera E, Jetzt reicht’s
[] – Chevrolet Bolt
[] – Opel

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In Tourouvre, Normandy, NW-France the road building company Solas has constructed one km of solaroad, this time for cars, not just bicycles like in the Netherlands. The “photovoltaic road” comes two years after the completion of the solaroad project in Krommenie in the Netherlands.

The French government (#MakeThePlanetGreatAgain) has ambitious plans to construct 1000 km solaroad over the next five years.

[] – Wattway/Colas company site
[] – Smart highway
[] – France announces plans to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels

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SolaRoad Project Still Alive

Space is scarce in the Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, hence the drive to push back water and acclaim new land. But still…

From this background it is understandable that a company by the name of “SolaRoad” came up with the idea to add a new function to bicycle paths: electricity generation via built-in solar cells. The Solaroad is a 73 m bicyclepath, inaugurated in 2014 by the Dutch minister of economic affairs, Henk Kamp. Since then the project has been expanded to include thin film solar cells. Additionally several stretches consist of coating only to study wear. Expected yield: 11700 kWh/year or 70 kWh/m2/year.

In a period of a year 150,000 bicycles passed the Solaroad, leading to considerable wear of the top layer that partially needed to be replaced with better materials.

A competing idea is to cover roads or rail tracks with a solar roof, like has happened in South-Korea and Belgium.

Meanwhile the Solaroad consortium has a solaroad-kit on offer, that is standard stretches of 10 m long bikepaths, aimed at municipalities keen on giving their communities a “green image”. In the province of Groningen a similar bike path has been installed.

The US state of California has signed a letter of intent to have a solaroad constructed there as well.

[] – Dutch Solar Bike Path SolaRoad Successful & Expanding
[] – SolaRoad

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Formic Acid as Car Fuel

Formic acid. Or hydrozine. Chemical formulae HCOOH or HCO2H. Mere mortals know this unpleasant organic fluid from nettles along the road side.

Formic acid (Dutch: “mierenzuur” = ant acid) and nettles

It could however function as a carbon-neutral fuel in the e-vehicles of tomorrow. Emissions: CO2 and water, after formic acid is produced from CO2 first, closing the cycle. The additional advantage is that formic acid can function as a storage medium for intermittent renewable energy. This is perhaps even the largest potential of formic acid.

Formic acid would make heavy batteries with relatively low energy density, high embodied energy and long charging times superfluous. Compared to the best batteries (0.57 kWh/liter) formic acid has a three times higher energy density per weight/volume, namely 2.11 kWh/liter. In comparisson, gasoline has 8.7 kWh/liter. Current formic acid cost is €0.50/liter. Team FAST claims the price could go down to €0.30/liter as a result of economies of scale. Current gasoline price in the Netherlands is €1.50/liter, so formic acid is 30% more expensive than gasoline per kWh. But that doesn’t mean much as global annual production volumes of formic acid is still low (0.7 MT, half in Germany, other half in China). Furthermore conversion efficiencies need to be considered first to make a judgment. Fueling a car would be done in the traditional way, in a matter of minutes at the gas station… umm make that formic acid station.

Students of the Technical University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, organized in “Team FAST”, are working on this new mode of sustainable transport. So far they have a small model working, but the ambition is that by the end of 2017 a bus will be driving on this fuel. The bus will be provided by Eindhoven-based bus manufacturer VDL. The e-bus will be equiped with a trailer, carrying a formic acid “range-extender” to the tune of 400 km.

Work on preparing a bus for running on formic acid

Formic acid is essentially a continuation of the hydrogen fuel cell concept, but with an additional liquid step, with higher energy density.

Where to get formic acid? A chemical reaction, discovered last year by TU/e researchers, enables hydrogen and CO2 to be converted at high speed into formic acid, to be used as fuel and vice versa, for burning hydrogen in the fuel cell, turning it into electricity. Due to the liquid nature of formic acid, hydrogen can be transported easily and cheaply.

[] – Official site FAST, students EU-Eindhoven
[] – Team FAST presents scale model of car powered by formic acid
[] – VDL Bus & Coach and Team FAST build world’s first formic acid-powered city bus
[] – Pictures Team FAST
[] – Formic acid fuel cell
[] – Formic acid
[] – Formic Acid as a Viable Hydrogen Storage Material
[] – De klimaatneutrale mierenzuurbus komt eraan

Hydrogen content in terms of volume and weight. Formic acid is looking pretty good.

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LightYear Solar Car

Youtube text: Introducing the electric car that charges itself with sunlight. Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear announces our mission. Dutch company Lightyear launches four-wheel drive solar-powered car able to drive for months without charging. Currently, all cars of the world combined drive one light year, every year. That is 9.500.000.000.000 km. Every year. Powered by fossil fuels. Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of electric cars so that by 2030, one light year will have been driven electric. To that, we are providing a scalable solution.

[] – TU/e startup Lightyear launches solar powered car
[] – Dutch Startup Puts First Solar Powered Family Car On Market
[] – Dutch Startup Promises a Solar Car For Around $130,000
[] – Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range
[] – Creators of record-breaking solar car launch startup to sell street-legal version

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