TESLA to Plans to Build World’s Biggest Battery Factory!

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Re: Tesla blog confirms giga factory, lays timeline

Post by arkmundi » Mar 10 2014 6:11pm

I find motley fool and other stock pundits are cut from the same exact cloth as politicians. Just talking heads. Elon Musk is the real deal, a genius having developed the know-how, savvy and connections to pull off what ever one thought improbable and bring something into the world that had not been there before, to the marvel of us all. I'm sure that as the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Buildings were going up, there were lots of folks predicting their demise. We have to imagine that Tesla was just the foundation and we have yet to see the whole building complete!
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Re: Tesla blog confirms giga factory, lays timeline

Post by dogman dan » Mar 11 2014 7:42am

He's a true genius. But genius doesn't guarantee it's a good stock buy.

Look at Edison, he bet it all on DC, which required generators located close to the load. Tesla worked for him at one point, but got driven away. Then Tesla buried him with AC. But in the end, Tesla died pretty broke.

But if you want to buy into Musk, buy into his satellite launching. That's going good from what I have read.

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Re: Tesla blog confirms giga factory, lays timeline

Post by wineboyrider » Mar 18 2014 6:52pm

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Re: Tesla blog confirms giga factory, lays timeline

Post by wineboyrider » Mar 27 2014 7:19pm

http://gigaom.com/2013/09/24/whats-a-me ... ted-in-it/

Just like LFP said "Tesla is not locked into any chemistry....." and Hillhater's post...LOL
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 16 2014 2:49pm

Fuel Cell Dispatch News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tesla’s Next Big Battle: Electric Cars Vs. Hydrogen Cars
When most people think of green cars, two companies immediately come to mind -- Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) and Toyota (NYSE: TM ). Tesla's sleek electric vehicles fueled the stock's meteoric 340% rally over the past 12 months, while Toyota's Prius remains the best-selling hybrid vehicle on the market. However, Tesla and Toyota are also the top names to watch in a critical new battle over the future of green vehicles -- electric-powered vs. hydrogen-powered cars.

In the past, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has dismissed the idea of hydrogen power for vehicles. During a speech in Munich last October, Musk stated there was "no way" for hydrogen cells to be a "workable technology," and that it was "suitable for the upper stage of rockets, but not for cars." When Musk -- also the CEO of SpaceX -- talks about rockets, people listen.

Yet major automakers like Toyota, Honda (NYSE: HMC ) , and Hyundai have recently invested heavily in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) instead of electric ones. Last November, Toyota showcased its stunning concept FCV at the Toyota Motor Show in Tokyo and again at CES 2014 in Las Vegas in January. Two other FCVs -- Hyundai's Tucson SUV and Honda's FCX Clarity sedan -- are also scheduled to arrive soon.

Regardless of which technology represents the future, the battle for the future of green vehicles will start in Tesla's home state of California. California now requires at least 15% of all new vehicles sold in the state to produce zero emissions by 2025.

So who's right -- Tesla or some of the biggest automakers in the world? Let's take a closer look at three key problems facing the adoption of both electric and hydrogen vehicles today.
Problem #1: The cost

The biggest hurdle in making green vehicles mainstream is the price. The average purchase price for light vehicles in America is currently a little less than $30,000, according to Cars.com. A new Toyota Prius currently costs $24,000 to $30,000.

The cheapest Tesla vehicle, the Model S, costs $85,000. A cheaper vehicle, codenamed BlueStar, could cost $40,000 when it arrives in 2016 or 2017. Customers can claim a maximum tax credit of $7,500 for each electric vehicle purchased. President Obama recently proposed boosting that limit to $10,000.

Toyota expects its hydrogen-powered FCV-R to cost a little less than $100,000 when it arrives in 2015. Although that's still a hefty price tag, it represents a huge discount from earlier fuel cell prototypes, which reportedly cost nearly $1 million to develop. Hydrogen-powered vehicles are eligible for federal tax credits up to $4,000 as "qualified light-duty fuel cell vehicles," but that limit could be lifted to the same level as electric cars as more hydrogen cars reach the market.
Problem #2: The infrastructure

The second main question on consumers' minds is the distance that these vehicles can travel on a single charge. The lack of a national infrastructure for electric charging and hydrogen fueling stations makes these vehicles impractical for long road trips outside certain regions.

There are currently 121,000 gas stations across America. Electric charging stations are quickly catching up with over 22,000 locations, a number that's growing rapidly because it's simple to set up these stations on top of existing power grids.

One of the broadest efforts was NRG Energy's (NYSE: NRG ) eVgo, a $39 per month unlimited electric charging service, which was established via partnerships with gas stations, restaurants, and convenience stores. Each electric charging station is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $250,000 to install.

Hydrogen fuel cells, however, are a different story. Since there's no pre-existing hydrogen cell infrastructure for most commercial or residential buildings, charging stations have to be built from the ground up at a whopping cost of approximately $2 million each. That's why there are only 55 hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S. -- most of them in Southern California -- even though the technology has been around since the dawn of the millennium.
Problem #3: Fuel efficiency

Infrastructure growth seems to definitely favor electric vehicles at the moment, but what about fueling costs compared to regular gasoline and hybrid vehicles? Electric charging services like eVgo charge monthly subscriptions for unlimited charging, so they might be the cheapest option if the owner travels a lot during the month.

But to get a better idea of where hydrogen cars stand, let's compare the cost efficiency of three vehicles -- an average, gas-powered 25 MPG vehicle, Toyota's Prius, and the hydrogen-powered Honda FCX Clarity, which can travel 67 miles per kilogram of hydrogen. Let's assume that water -- a radical new process -- was used to create the hydrogen at a discounted cost of $1.00 to $1.80 per kilogram.

Based on those numbers, it's easy to see why companies continue backing hydrogen as an alternative fuel source. More importantly, it shows that a $39 per month fee for unlimited electric charging might not be worth it after all -- by comparison, $39 in hydrogen could possibly fuel the Clarity for 1,400 to 1,500 miles. However, the cost of hydrogen production still varies widely -- using natural gas to produce hydrogen, for example, costs $3 to $4 per kilogram, nullifying the Clarity's advantage.

Regardless of the cost, hydrogen cars have one key advantage -- the fact that they can be refueled in three minutes, compared to an hour for Tesla's vehicles.

Source: Business INsider.com

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Punx0r » Apr 17 2014 3:29am

I'd be surprised if hydrogen becomes popular. The whole process seems so inefficient. IIRC it's more efficient to burn hydrogen in an ICE than power an EV via fuel cells?

The cost of installing refuelling infrastructure would also be huge.

The only thing going for it is that you can extract hydrogen from fossil fuels. It's wishful thinking that it will be extracted from water.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Joseph C. » Apr 17 2014 7:17am

Punx0r wrote:I'd be surprised if hydrogen becomes popular. The whole process seems so inefficient. IIRC it's more efficient to burn hydrogen in an ICE than power an EV via fuel cells?

The cost of installing refuelling infrastructure would also be huge.

The only thing going for it is that you can extract hydrogen from fossil fuels. It's wishful thinking that it will be extracted from water.
There is a near-zero chance of hydrogen becoming popular. It's still a powerful myth though that I hear people frequently talking about.

You have to separate it from water. After the hydrolysis stage you have already thrown away 50 per cent of the energy.

Then you have to compress it, then you have to transport it to the station. Then you have to transfer it to the station's holding tank, then you have to pump it into the vehicle.

By the end of all that you would be lucky to have 35 per cent of the energy. Then you piss away more energy through inefficiencies in converting chemical energy into motion. By the time the wheels turn you have what 15 per cent of the original energy left? Maybe you might have 20 per cent - Max. That doesn't include the inevitable leaking of the hydrogen out of the tank. Every month you are going to lose a substantial portion of what you have pumped into the tank.

A lithium electric battery on a car like a Tesla will give you about 80 per cent efficiency from charging to the wheels turning.

With a hydrogen car you are driving around a container filled with an extremely flammable gases that has a love for leaking.

I'm deeply suspicious of any proponent of hydrogen as it just makes no sense for any normal transport vehicle.

Edit: This was wrote eight years ago - http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006- ... en-economy

According to the author 1.7 per cent is lost per day through leakage.
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 17 2014 4:02pm

Funny responses. Will keep posting the news and see where it goes! Some more.


Fuel Cell Dispatch News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lowe’s using hydrogen-powered lift trucks at Georgia distribution center
Lowe's Companies Inc. reported that it's begun using hydrogen-powered lift trucks at the company's recently opened regional distribution center in Rome, Ga.

Lowe's, the world's second-largest home improvement retailer, said it's begun using the 157 lift trucks with hydrogen fueling systems after piloting the technology at regional distribution centers in California and Connecticut.

"We anticipate the new [hydrogen fuel cell] technology will provide a payback of 2 1 / 2 years. The fuel cells free up valuable space that would otherwise be dedicated to a room needed to store and charge batteries, which reduces the building’s electrical consumption,” Lowe's said.

Lowes says it takes about three minutes to replenish a lift truck with hydrogen gas from one of six dispensing stations at the distribution center compared to the 10 to 15 minutes typically required to change a battery. Unlike batteries that lose their charge over the course of a shift and degrade the performance of a lift truck, the fuel cell's power stays constant until the fuel is depleted. Fuel cells also are safer to maintain, require less routine maintenance and offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lowe's said. Hydrogen is a clean-energy fuel whose only byproducts are heat and water.

The Rome facility also uses high-efficiency LED fixtures, from the offices and warehouse space inside to the employee parking lots and truck yards outside. The facility northwest of Atlanta is Lowe’s first distribution center to be lit nearly entirely by LED technology.

Lowe's 1.4 million-square-foot Rome facility, which was begun in 2011, opened in April 2013
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 17 2014 4:05pm

Fuel Cell Dispatch News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

News about Low-cost hydrogen forklifts not involving Plug Power…Seriously
Zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell systems soon could be powering the forklifts used in warehouses and other industrial settings at lower costs and with faster refueling times than ever before, courtesy of a partnership between Sandia National Laboratories and Hawaii Hydrogen Carriers (HHC).

The goal of the project is to design a solid-state hydrogen storage system that can refuel at low pressure four to five times faster than it takes to charge a battery-powered forklift, giving hydrogen a competitive advantage over batteries for a big slice of the clean forklift market. The entire U.S. forklift market was nearly $33 billion in 2013, according to Pell Research.

"Once you understand how these forklifts operate, the fuel cell advantage is clear," said Sandia's project manager Joe Pratt.

Refueling hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts takes less than three minutes compared to the hours of recharging needed for battery-powered forklifts, Pratt said. Consequently, forklifts are able to operate continuously for eight or more hours between fills.

Currently, companies using battery-powered forklifts need to purchase three battery packs for each forklift to ensure continuous operation. They also need to set aside warehouse space for battery recharging.

Sandia has worked with the fuel cell forklift industry for several years to help get clean, efficient and cost effective fuel cell systems to market faster. Standards developed by Sandia soon will be published so industry can develop new, high-performing hydrogen fuel systems for industrial trucks.

Department of Energy grant leads to collaboration

Intrigued by the potential benefits of fuel cells over the electric batteries that now power most forklifts, HHC obtained a grant from the Energy Department's Fuel Cell Technologies office and asked Pratt to help improve the design of a hydrogen storage system for fuel cells.

Pratt has spearheaded other Sandia efforts to introduce hydrogen systems into the marketplace. He served as technical lead, for instance, for studies on the use of fuel cells to power construction equipment, personal electronic devices, auxiliary equipment and portable generators. Most recently, he led a study and subsequent demonstration project on commercial use of hydrogen fuel cells to provide power at ports.

For its part, HHC is developing technologies for the fuel cell forklift market and expects cost reductions and performance improvements that will help the market grow. The company is developing a low-pressure hydrogen storage system that can be refueled at standard industrial gas pressures. That should reduce fuel system cost and expand the market to facilities that can't accommodate conventional high-pressure fueling systems.

To solidify the forklift collaboration, HHC sent Adrian Narvaez to Sandia's Combustion Research Facility in California for several months. "Joe and I work together every day on the design, so it's a huge advantage to be able to work on site at Sandia," said Narvaez.

Pratt said: "If hydrogen refueling is short enough to occur during normal downtimes, such as during operator breaks, then a single hydrogen forklift can do the work of three battery packs over the course of 24 hours. That translates into a direct cost savings."

Technical, economic barriers to overcome

Today's hydrogen storage units require high pressure (5,000 pounds per square inch, or psi) to achieve a short refueling time — and high pressure refueling requires an on-site compression system. "That can be a big expense, especially for a small company," Narvaez explained. "If we can provide a storage system that meets the target refueling time at, say, 500 psi, companies can get a break in the up-front costs. Plus, they no longer have to purchase battery rechargers or dedicate space for recharging. Instead, companies can simply purchase and store hydrogen tanks as needed."

Designing a storage system that meets HHC's specifications and can be integrated into a fuel cell power pack required overcoming some key challenges. Among these are identifying optimal metal hydride materials, determining an optimal shape and size for the storage tank and ensuring thermal management to achieve and maintain the temperatures required for fast refueling and supply of the hydrogen.

Work to identify the right metal hydride for the system focused on Hy-Stor 208, a misch metal-nickel-aluminum alloy that meets targets for hydrogen storage capacity, density and thermal conductivity. The material also provides sufficient hydrogen pressure for refueling at an operating temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.

While this type of metal hydride is heavy, the weight acts as needed ballast and thus is a benefit in forklifts. To increase thermal conductivity, the team also explored adding to the metal hydride two forms of expanded natural graphite, flakes and so-called "worms" because of their tubular shape.

Pratt and Narvaez drew on modeling and simulation results from an earlier project led by Sandia engineer Terry Johnson to identify a small-diameter tube as the best design for storing the metal hydride. They then varied several tube characteristics, such as the hydrogen distribution channel and the amount and type of thermal enhancement material used. Next, they conducted experiments to evaluate the effects of these variations on a range of performance parameters, including hydrogen storage capability, refill time, durability, discharge ability and residual capacity at a minimum discharge point.

"As the models predicted, we saw only minor differences in performance when we varied the graphite types. Likewise, the presence or absence of the hydrogen distribution channel had little effect on performance," said Narvaez. "These findings show that this application is not aggressively pushing the performance of the metal hydride storage to the point where these variations would make a difference. In fact, this is good, because it means we can use the lowest-cost solution and still expect good performance."

Using findings from their experiments, Pratt and Narvaez developed an optimized storage-system design.

More incentives to switch to fuel cell technology

During this time, the team also began to conceive of a tube array that would allow efficient thermal management (via water flows around the tubes).

With Sandia's and HHC's design complete, project activity will transfer to Hawaii, where HHC will produce the first prototype metal hydride storage system. HHC will work with Canadian fuel-cell company Hydrogenics, which will integrate the new storage system into its proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power pack, designed to fit into a forklift.

"DOE catalyzed the market for fuel cell forklifts, using industry cost-sharing to deploy more than 500 units through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act," said Pratt. "The private sector recognized the advantages of fuel cell forklifts and deployed more than 5,000 additional units since then without government funding. If successful, the HHC project will lead to lower cost, improved-performance fuel cell forklift systems that will lead to even greater market growth."

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 17 2014 4:06pm

Fuel Cell Dispatch News

Monday, April 14, 2014

FuelCell Sees First Large-Scale Plant Deal in Europe This Year
FuelCell Energy Inc. (FCEL:US), the company that built the world’s biggest fuel-cell power plant, expects to sign its first contract for a megawatt-scale project in Europe this year.

FuelCell built a 250-kilowatt plant in central London to showcase the technology and will complete another one of comparable size within a few months, said Chief Executive Officer Chip Bottone. The company is talking to potential customers there and in Germany and Italy.

FuelCell completed a 59-megawatt project in South Korea in February, the world’s largest facility making electricity with fuel cells. It also built last year a 14.9-megawatt plant in the U.S. for Dominion Resources Inc. The deals suggest growing acceptance of using the technology to generate electricity on a large scale.

“We expect to sign some contracts for megawatt-scale plants in Europe this year,” Bottone said in an interview in London. “We are working on several projects right now.”

Fuel cells use hydrogen or natural gas to generate power and heat through a chemical reaction.

FuelCell has more than doubled in the past year.

The company has said the the long-term sales potential in Europe is about 90 megawatts of projects, said Robert Stone, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in Boston who has the equivalent of a hold rating on the shares.

“Any progress on that pipeline would be welcome news,” Stone said in an interview today.

A megawatt-scale plant costs about 3,000 euros ($4,165) a kilowatt to build, Bottone said. The Danbury, Connecticut-based company is seeking to reduce this by 30 percent, a target it will achieve when it’s making about 200 megawatts of systems annually. It currently manufactures about 70 megawatts a year at its U.S. factory.

FuelCell’s systems typically run on gas and produce energy for campuses, factories and utilities. They use molten carbonate technology, which doesn’t require precious metals or rare-earth elements. Other fuel cell designs require platinum, and companies including General Electric Co. have said that may limit demand.

FuelCell’s power plants emit about a third less carbon dioxide than systems that produce power from burning gas.

Source: BloombergBusinessWeek.com

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Dauntless » Apr 18 2014 1:30am

Dang, so spoiled by the internet am I that I immediately go looking for technical details on Lowes having hydrogen power. I did better than I really expected to.

According to the California Air Resources Board:
Hydrogen-powered forklifts have been favored by major warehouses as an economical solution to materials handling. These forklifts require similar hydrogen dispensing stations as those needed for vehicles.

P&G, Walmart, BMW, FedEx, Coca-Cola, CVS, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, are just a few companies that have incorporated hydrogen-powered materials handling equipment manufactured by PlugPower.
The point is, THIS ISN'T EVEN NEW. Caught all of us by surprise, eh? http://plugpower.com/GenDrive.aspx

Now, I want to know about the fueling station. Obviously it'll be nothing compared to what would be required on 10,000 street corners for cars to run on hydrogen, but it's a start. http://plugpower.com/GenKey/Fuel_GenFuel.aspx But storage of hydrogen gets tougher as the tanks get bigger. The Noble metals are needed to resist corrosion, making a big high pressure tank expensive.

Ah well, I'm not optimistic about hydrogen for mainstream use. But finding its' way into specialty outlets could do us a lot of good. http://plugpower.com/Libraries/Document ... .sflb.ashx

There's even a range extender. You can't build a big enough tank for a hydrogen car to go very far, but a little one in an emergency to bring an electric home would be a good thing. http://plugpower.com/Expansion/RangeExtenders.aspx
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Punx0r » Apr 18 2014 7:50am

speedmd wrote: Fuel cells also are safer to maintain, require less routine maintenance and offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lowe's said. Hydrogen is a clean-energy fuel whose only byproducts are heat and water.
Yes, if you only consider the "tailpipe" emissions. Nevermind the natural gas that was cracked to extract it then the huge amount of energy required to compress, transport and store it.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by wineboyrider » Apr 18 2014 8:37am

Punx0r wrote:
speedmd wrote: Fuel cells also are safer to maintain, require less routine maintenance and offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lowe's said. Hydrogen is a clean-energy fuel whose only byproducts are heat and water.
Yes, if you only consider the "tailpipe" emissions. Nevermind the natural gas that was cracked to extract it then the huge amount of energy required to compress, transport and store it.
When you can just compress the natural gas CNG and burn it and use it for transport without all the significant energy losses..lol :P
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Dauntless » Apr 18 2014 11:14am

The fracking process generally takes no more than 2 weeks, sometimes 2 days, with water that's impure but not LOADED with nasty stuff, just 1/2%. Keep in mind the water comes out of there far worse than it went in. Much of the moaning about fracking is simply untrue, though there's plenty of risk just from careless handling of the waste water afterward. I'm trying to picture what it would take to turn a gas field into the environmental risk of a coal mine producing the same amount of energy. I just can't picture it being possible. Never mind contaimination of the mountain they're digging coal out of, they DESTROY EVERYING, tear the mountain down completely to strip mine then pile the dirt back on again.

The issue with gas is cooling it. You have to cool it before you ever get it out of the ground. Gas from the well is powering equipment there, which I think is really kewl right there. You have to cool it to compress it, cool it to transport it. The big processing plants to ship it overseas are big freezers.

But there's energy used to process any fossil fuel you'll ever use. RENEWABLES are quite dependent on natural gas. Plastics, tires, etc., coming from gases being mixed together that form solids, all made possible by natural gas.

Of course nothing is as convenient as gasoline. Except maybe diesel. . . .

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 18 2014 11:39am

Punx0r wrote:
speedmd wrote: Fuel cells also are safer to maintain, require less routine maintenance and offer the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Lowe's said. Hydrogen is a clean-energy fuel whose only byproducts are heat and water.
Yes, if you only consider the "tailpipe" emissions. Nevermind the natural gas that was cracked to extract it then the huge amount of energy required to compress, transport and store it.
I just cut and pasted the news. :D

But if you have gas, use it. You can make H2 from dirty water. Piss water is real good. :shock:

In places that are fossil energy starved, it may be a different subject all together, if wind and or solar power potential is prevalent. Unless batteries can be charged in short periods of time, distant travel for the masses will be a huge obstacle to overcome. Some onboard / quick fill type fuel may be needed. The cleaner / greener the better.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by RyanT » Apr 18 2014 12:10pm

speedmd wrote: Unless batteries can be charged in short periods of time, distant travel for the masses will be a huge obstacle to overcome. Some onboard / quick fill type fuel may be needed. The cleaner / greener the better.
Or just do a battery swap.

I think the superchargers are good enough even in the present form. After a couple hundred miles of driving I feel like a break anyways. 80% charge in 40 min and it's only going to improve.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Punx0r » Apr 18 2014 1:21pm

Indeed.

Sure you can extract hydrogen from water - at a net loss of energy ;)

The only way I see that being worthwhile is utilising excess baseload electricity generation at night - better to use those power plants to generate usable hydrogen in a lossy process than let them sit idle making nothing but waste. Except that same electrical surplus can be used to charge BEVs overnight... Or go to the root cause and eliminate the surplus in the first place.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by wb9k » Apr 19 2014 9:39am

Folks.....

Hydrogen fuel cells make electricity. A "hydrogen fuel cell" car is nothing more than an electric car that uses a hydrogen fuel cell as a range extender. These cars even have high-voltage batteries on board albeit smaller than average ones. They have to do this because fuel cells cannot generate rated power until their internal temperature is quite high--a process that takes several minutes from the time they are switched on. I don't know of anyone that uses fuel cells without also using batteries in tandem...although I suppose this could be practical with something like a forklift where the user may be willing to tolerate the warmup time required. Good luck getting car owners to wait thirty seconds to drive time let alone the 10 minutes required with the fuel cells I've seen.

So unless we're burning hydrogen in a combustion engine (which has horrible efficiency no matter what we burn in it) a hydrogen car IS an electric car--with a battery and all. This either/or argument that keeps popping up in the medial is just plain silly.
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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 21 2014 7:42am

PEM fuel cells or near instant on. Solid oxide ones take a bit of time, but also come up pretty quickly now days. Agree, they use batteries to supply high current draw and recharge with fuel cell as do many generator systems that use some sort of battery buffer.

Some more news on the FC fork lift front.

Fuel Cell Dispatch News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Look out Plug… Sandia to Design Hydrogen-Powered Forklifts
Zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell systems soon could be powering the forklifts used in warehouses and other industrial settings at lower costs and with faster refueling times than ever before, courtesy of a partnership between Sandia National Laboratories and Hawaii Hydrogen Carriers (HHC).

The goal of the project is to design a solid-state hydrogen storage system that can refuel at low pressure four to five times faster than it takes to charge a battery-powered forklift, giving hydrogen a competitive advantage over batteries for a big slice of the clean forklift market. The entire U.S. forklift market was nearly $33 billion in 2013, according to Pell Research.

“Once you understand how these forklifts operate, the fuel cell advantage is clear,” said Sandia’s project manager Joe Pratt.

Refueling hydrogen-powered forklifts takes less than three minutes compared to the hours of recharging needed for battery-powered forklifts, Pratt said. Consequently, fuel cell-powered forklifts are able to operate continuously for eight or more hours between fills.

Currently, companies using battery-powered forklifts need to purchase three battery packs for each forklift to ensure continuous operation. They also need to set aside warehouse space for battery recharging.

Sandia has worked with the fuel cell forklift industry for several years to help get clean, efficient and cost effective fuel cell systems to market faster. Standards developed by Sandia soon will be published so industry can develop new, high-performing hydrogen fuel systems for industrial trucks.

Intrigued by the potential benefits of fuel cells over the electric batteries that now power most forklifts, HHC obtained a grant from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and asked Pratt to help improve the design of a hydrogen storage system for fuel cells.

Pratt has spearheaded other Sandia efforts to introduce hydrogen systems into the marketplace. He served as technical lead, for instance, for studies on the use of fuel cells to power construction equipment, personal electronic devices, auxiliary equipment and portable generators. Most recently, he led a study and subsequent demonstration project on commercial use of hydrogen fuel cells to provide power at ports.

For its part, HHC is developing technologies for the hydrogen-powered forklift market and expects cost reductions and performance improvements that will help the market grow. The company is developing a low-pressure hydrogen storage system that can be refueled at standard industrial gas pressures. That should reduce fuel system cost and expand the market to facilities that can’t accommodate conventional high-pressure fueling systems.

To solidify the forklift collaboration, HHC sent Adrian Narvaez to Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility in California for several months. “Joe and I work together every day on the design, so it’s a huge advantage to be able to work on site at Sandia,” said Narvaez.

Pratt said: “If hydrogen refueling is short enough to occur during normal downtimes, such as during operator breaks, then a single hydrogen forklift can do the work of three battery packs over the course of 24 hours. That translates into a direct cost savings.”

Today’s hydrogen storage units require high pressure (5,000 pounds per square inch, or psi) to achieve a short refueling time — and high pressure refueling requires an on-site compression system. “That can be a big expense, especially for a small company,” Narvaez explained. “If we can provide a storage system that meets the target refueling time at, say, 500 psi, companies can get a break in the up-front costs. Plus, they no longer have to purchase battery rechargers or dedicate space for recharging. Instead, companies can simply purchase and store hydrogen tanks as needed.”

Designing a storage system that meets HHC’s specifications and can be integrated into a fuel cell power pack required overcoming some key challenges. Among these are identifying optimal metal hydride materials, determining an optimal shape and size for the storage tank and ensuring thermal management to achieve and maintain the temperatures required for fast refueling and supply of the hydrogen.

Work to identify the right metal hydride for the system focused on Hy-Stor 208, a misch metal-nickel-aluminum alloy that meets targets for hydrogen storage capacity, density and thermal conductivity. The material also provides sufficient hydrogen pressure for refueling at an operating temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.

While this type of metal hydride is heavy, the weight acts as needed ballast and thus is a benefit in forklifts. To increase thermal conductivity, the team also explored adding to the metal hydride two forms of expanded natural graphite, flakes and so-called “worms” because of their tubular shape.

Pratt and Narvaez drew on modeling and simulation results from an earlier project led by Sandia engineer Terry Johnson to identify a small-diameter tube as the best design for storing the metal hydride. They then varied several tube characteristics, such as the hydrogen distribution channel and the amount and type of thermal enhancement material used. Next, they conducted experiments to evaluate the effects of these variations on a range of performance parameters, including hydrogen storage capability, refill time, durability, discharge ability and residual capacity at a minimum discharge point.

“As the models predicted, we saw only minor differences in performance when we varied the graphite types. Likewise, the presence or absence of the hydrogen distribution channel had little effect on performance,” said Narvaez. “These findings show that this application is not aggressively pushing the performance of the metal hydride storage to the point where these variations would make a difference. In fact, this is good, because it means we can use the lowest-cost solution and still expect good performance.”

Using findings from their experiments, Pratt and Narvaez developed an optimized storage-system design.

During this time, the team also began to conceive of a tube array that would allow efficient thermal management (via water flows around the tubes).

With Sandia’s and HHC’s design complete, project activity will transfer to Hawaii, where HHC will produce the first prototype metal hydride storage system. HHC will work with Canadian fuel-cell company Hydrogenics, which will integrate the new storage system into its proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power pack, designed to fit into a hydrogen-powered forklift.

“DOE catalyzed the market for fuel cell forklifts, using industry cost-sharing to deploy more than 500 units through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act,” said Pratt. “The private sector recognized the advantages of fuel cell forklifts and deployed more than 5,000 additional units since then without government funding. If successful, the HHC project will lead to lower cost, improved-performance fuel cell forklift systems that will lead to even greater market growth.”

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 21 2014 7:55am

Punx0r wrote:
Sure you can extract hydrogen from water - at a net loss of energy ;)

The only way I see that being worthwhile is utilising excess baseload electricity generation at night - better to use those power plants to generate usable hydrogen in a lossy process than let them sit idle making nothing but waste. Except that same electrical surplus can be used to charge BEVs overnight... Or go to the root cause and eliminate the surplus in the first place.
What form stores energy with 100% efficiency. Sunny / windy every day? Sell back the excess @ 80% loss? You have to do something with the excess power once you have your ev charged up. Make hot water?

"After a couple hundred miles of driving I feel like a break anyways. 80% charge in 40 min and it's only going to improve."

Few hundred miles of driving. LOL Half way there if you can really get that far. How about loaded up van on a cold and snowy night. Adding a few hours charge time to the drive time to get home on a 500 mile work trip is not a reasonable deal. As is now it is for local stuff only.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Punx0r » Apr 21 2014 8:22am

Forklifts seem to quite happy with lead-acid batteries. They're relatively inexpensive, durable and provide ballast.

My memories of working in a warehouse were that the trucks would run for an 8 hour shift on a charge. There was a battery room for charging and swapping batteries but there weren't three batteries for each truck. Quite possibly there was less than one spare for each truck. They don't take that long to charge.

Fuel cell trucks still require an area dedicated to refuelling and storage of the hydrogen tanks.

As before, you could just burn the hydrogen in an ICE truck.

I see fuel cells as an alternative to ICE. They take combustable fuel and turn it into useful work. They make sense for small elecrtronic devices, but for bigger stuff they don't as they don't appear to be any more efficient than an ICE.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 21 2014 9:03am


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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Arlo1 » Apr 21 2014 10:32am

This is a good chart... But I would like to see one from an independent firm. I mean Toyota wants the prius to look good. How many use natural gas to produce electricty? Im about to order 6-7kw of solar and live in a province where our electricity is all from hydro dams that need little or no maintenance.
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speedmd   100 MW

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by speedmd » Apr 21 2014 10:44am

You will have to make your own chart. :lol:

Hydro has some significant issues. I like it, but still has many real issues. IMO we need a swarm approach, and not rely on just one avenue for generation / storage /transport. The best will survive.

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Re: New US ginormous giga batteryplant

Post by Arlo1 » Apr 21 2014 10:48am

speedmd wrote: Hydro has some significant issues. I like it, but still has many real issues. IMO we need a swarm approach, and not rely on just one avenue for generation / storage /transport. The best will survive.
Uhm.... Ok maybe some ecological issues but hydro has powered our province for over 50 years and the rivers never stop so you don't need to worry about storage... I'M going to use the grid as my battery until I get lots of EVs on the road then they will charge off the solar panels other then the one I'm using.
Does your project need a high performance motor drive, battery charger or other power electronics developed? Let's talk!
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