Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Smurf1976 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:02 pm

69.9 for LPG? It's just under $1 around here - think it's about 96.9 or something like that. Normal unleaded petrol is a bit over $1.60 per litre.
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby conklinc » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:43 am

Yeah, one would assume fuel is more expensive in Tassie. If I was paying your costs I'd really have to consider picking up one of the last i-MiEV's around. The thing is, eventually fuel prices will reach that level here on the mainland. It is inevitable.

When we came back in '09 prices were 47.9 and $1.12 on the cheap days. What rankles me is that CalTex and Mobil, Yanqui sourced, pay either no or very little corporate income tax. BP stinks, look at what they did in the Caribbean a few years ago. Shell has been exploiting elsewhere north of Australia for years, and then there is Exxon-Mobil and the Exxon-Valdez catastrophe.

Houston, home headquarters for several Yanqui oil companies . . . ever been there? The air pollution is so bad that school authorities frequently have to hold kids in at lunch time and recess! The heat and humidity exacerbate the problem. Salt Lake City has the same issues, keepgin kids indoors during the winter inversions, yet the state is moving along, approving Rio Tinto's application to expand their Kennecott Copper open pit mine and its smelter . . . the biggest single polluter in the state . . . and sitting at the base of the Oquirrh Mountains, which form the western side of the valley. Hey, the wind blows from the west!

The same thing will happen to Melbourne if the government allows exploitation of the wickedly wet brown coal seams upwind from the city, less than 50 miles away, in Bacchus Marsh. If that happens, all the i-MiEV's, Leafs, Blades and Prius's in the world won't help Melbourne's air.

I digress, I ramble, cuz I breathe.

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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Fri Nov 29, 2013 7:23 am

conklinc wrote:Yeah, one would assume fuel is more expensive in Tassie ...The thing is, eventually fuel prices will reach that level here on the mainland.


Eventually? Its more expensive than that now in rural NSW, and has been for quite a while!
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby conklinc » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:05 am

Gordon,

And what can you do about it. Being rural, probably not much. Just before I retired and moved down to Oz, I noticed that Sam's Club, Walmart's equivalent to Costco Membership Warehouse, had Trojan 6 volt deep cycle led acid golf cart batteries on sale for something like $69.00 each. I clouldn't believe it!

About the same time I discovered a web site that was offering off-the-shelf kits for EV conversion of 80's vintage VW Rabbits and later Geo Metro's (Barinas) The kit was something like $4000, and required either 8 or 12 six volt batteries. The 12 option required beefing up the suspension though. I suspect even the 8 option would too, because anything that old would have a pretty tired suspension anyway. Unfortunately the kit required some mig-welding, so it would be beyond the means of a weekend mechanic without the equipment. The range was said to be something like 35 miles/56 kms. That would have been more than adequate for most of our driving over there . . . we lived 6 blocks from my work, and everything we needed really, was right there in town.

I wish now I'd have gotten my son to help me to put one together. I could bring something like that down here to Oz in a container for around $3000, and not have to convert it to RH drive if it is at least 25 years old, so I hear. :mrgreen: Plenty of old Rabbits around over there, even more Geo Metro's with blown 3 cylinder engines. My son, now a social worker, has a certificate in auto collision repair, so he could do it in his sleep. He's currently dropping a 2.2 litre subie engine into a VW bay window camper. Has a kit to spin the tranny the other way . . . from Sydney . . . to keep from having 4 speeds backwards and 1 forward. :lol:
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Cherokee Solar » Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:50 am

Smurf1976 wrote:Normal unleaded petrol is a bit over $1.60 per litre.


In rural Victoria it has been wobbling around that price for some time now too. Diesel is even more expensive. There are also some supply issues from time to time with diesel. It can become unavailable around here even if you want to pay more.

conklinc wrote:I wish now I'd have gotten my son to help me to put one together. I could bring something like that down here to Oz in a container


I think many kits are still available which bolt up to the bell housing / transmission for all sorts of makes / models? The problem is that most of the vehicles are - as Kurt rightly mentioned in his thread - very old. I thought of adapting an old Suzuki Sierra 4x4 for that purpose. On the positive side, older vehicles are much simpler mechanically and electrically which makes them far more suitable for this purpose and easier to maintain.
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Smurf1976 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:58 am

conklinc wrote:Houston, home headquarters for several Yanqui oil companies . . . ever been there? The air pollution is so bad...

Never been to Houston but pollution generally in the US did surprise me a bit (I've only ever been there on holidays, never lived there). NYC was a lot cleaner than I was expecting in terms of air pollution etc. I mean, a great big city and it's not as though they don't have several power plants in the urban area too (actually there's rather a lot of them in total). But the air was quite a bit cleaner than I was expecting.

LA was another matter entirely however. Sitting on the plane and looking out the window, I could see the smog on the horizon well before I could see any buildings or even land. I'm not sure exactly how far it stretches, but they seem to have managed to create a several hundred km (or miles if you prefer) stretch of constant smog.

The same thing will happen to Melbourne if the government allows exploitation of the wickedly wet brown coal seams upwind from the city, less than 50 miles away, in Bacchus Marsh. If that happens, all the i-MiEV's, Leafs, Blades and Prius's in the world won't help Melbourne's air.


You might be surprised at how much coal was burnt in the Melbourne metro area, and even in the CBD itself, in the past.

Spencer Street power station (melbourne CBD) had a capacity of 120 MW at its' peak from a number of generating units. The older boilers operated from the early 20th century until the late 1960's and they were coal-fired (and with no emissions controls of any note). Originally they used black coal (from NSW) and were in due course converted to run on brown coal briquettes. The last unit in service was somewhat "modern" in design and was a 60MW steam turbine with the boiler running on heavy fuel oil. It operated until about 1982.

Newport "D" power station still operates today, primarily burning gas but it can also run on oil. It's a 500MW plant and it's only a few km from the Melbourne CBD. Prior to that, Newport A,B and C stations were at the same site (the actual power stations were where the sports field is now, right next to the current power station) for most of the 20th century. A and B station burnt coal, C was fuel oil-fired. Some of the "A" station was retired in the 1960's but most of the plant was operating until 1980 when Newport D was commissioned.

The coal-fired units at Newport originally used black coal from NSW, but all manner of things were burnt at Newport amidst various coal shortages. Any coal they could get hold of from anywhere, raw brown coal with oil sprayed over it, green timber, woodchips, bark, tar, old tyres, rubbish and so on. If it could be burnt then at some point they burnt it. It was either that or sit in the dark (literally). In due course the boilers were converted to run on brown coal briquettes.

There was also a coal-fired plant at Richmond (the Country Road clothing company has offices in the old power station buildings now). Originally it was coal-fired but at some point it also used fuel oil. I don't know too much about it, but it was operating until the late 1970's. Richmond, Spencer Street and Newport were collectively known as the "metropolitan thermal stations" for most of their operating lives even though the SECV didn't actually own the Spencer St plant (owned by the Melbourne City Council).

So there's been plenty of coal and heavy fuel oil burnt in the Melbourne area in the past for power generation alone. Much the same in Sydney, Brisbane and to a lesser extent Adelaide and Perth.

Back to the hydrogen powered cars, something I should mention is that a University of Tasmania / Hydro Tasmania partnership did actually develop a conversion kit as such. It was based on the simultaneous use of both petrol and hydrogen in a modified Toyota Corolla with some fancy electronics to make it all work. They had it running quite well, they even participated in an actual car race (Targa) so it can certainly be done. The big issue was loss of engine power running on hydrogen, hence the constantly variable petrol / hydrogen mix with more petrol used when more power is required. It works as a concept though and has been proven in use.
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby conklinc » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:40 pm

The one redeeming factor in Vic electricity generation is that its mostly in Gippsland now and the pollution blows out to sea, not that that is okay, its just that it doesn't affect populated areas. I hear cancer and respiratory issues are prevalent in that area.

Its been windy this year in Melbourne. My wife says she doesn't remember Melbourne being this windy. SE side anyway.

Who funded the U Tassie hydrogen project? Are there any wind projects in Tassie? Baillieu stopped that industry in its tracks by allowing anyone within 2 km to complain and axe development. Two bad people within 2 km of dirty coal plants can't do the same!

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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Cherokee Solar » Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:49 pm

At the Tokyo Motor Show this year, Toyota revealed that they will have a fuel cell vehicle on sale along with their other ICE and hybrid production.

It is not for Australia though due to the lack of refuelling infrastructure.

It is the FCV model and - wait for it - it was estimated to retail for approximately $100,000.

Platinum, is not cheap.
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby Smurf1976 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:56 pm

conklinc wrote:Who funded the U Tassie hydrogen project?

It was a project of the University itself assisted financially by Hydro Tasmania.

The Uni looked after the technical side, Hydro focused on the business side. Technically, they got it all working pretty well. From a business perspective, they went as far as planning the development of hydrogen filling stations and the marketing of hydrogen conversion kits for conventional vehicles.

The reason it didn't really progress any further was economics. At present prices it doesn't stack up financially compared to petrol, so apart from the occasional enthusiast there is no realistic mass market potential for a conversion kit or hydrogen filling stations at this point in time.

A later project developed dual-fuel hydrogen-diesel technology with a view to using it for remote power generation. Eg you have a small isolated grid (eg on an island) and use wind as the preferred source of energy, with surplus wind energy being used to produce hydrogen by electrolysis. This hydrogen is then added to the air intake of the diesel engine and use to reduce the amount of diesel fuel used for power generation when the wind isn't blowing. This project was done by the Uni but primarily driven by the Hydro in a financial sense. There was also some external funding from memory.

There have been quite a few other Utas - Hydro research ventures. Among others, Hydro has an interest in the concept of low friction coatings to reduce energy loss in canals and pipelines and quite a bit of work has been done in this direction. There was also some research being done into capturing the energy from water flowing horizontally, effectively a zero head situation but with a horizontal flow in canals etc. Not sure how that one went.

Are there any wind projects in Tassie?

Woolnorth wind farm (far NW of Tas) has a capacity of about 140 MW and was developed in stages beginning 2002. Musselroe wind farm (far NE of Tas) has a capacity of 168 MW and commenced operation earlier this year. Both were developed by Hydro but it doesn't own them as such - they are privately owned although Hydro Tas is the operator.

On average they produce about 115 MW or 9% of grid electricity in Tasmania.

There is also the renewable energy system / smart grid on Kind Island which uses wind as it's major energy source supplemented by solar and the original diesel power station. It's a complex system, more info is here http://www.kingislandrenewableenergy.com.au

As for the incidence of cancer in the Latrobe Valley, I'll give you the "long" answer to that one even though it's way off topic. :)

To be honest, I don't think it's related too much to the coal as such. A fair bit of it would be due to asbestos - the old Yallourn power stations (A,B,C,D and to a lesser extent E) were full of the stuff to an almost ridiculous extent. With the exception of E station, they were a "range" design which basically meant that the boilers all fed a common steam "range" and the turbines drew from it. That's one hell of a lot of pipes involved, all of them lagged with asbestos, and I'm told by several sources (former employees etc) that at times there was so much dust inside the plant that it was very clearly visible inside. Not only was it on the pipes but it was the actual material used for the walls on part of the plant, it was sprayed on the steel for fire proofing, and workers (unaware of the danger) apparently used to throw the stuff around as a joke (some kind of initiation ritual I think it was - there used to be a similar prank in the paper mills here in Tas but at least having a bucket of wet pulp thrown over you won't do anything beyond making a mess).

Approximately 140,000 people were exposed to asbestos at Yallourn, and plenty have died. The final toll will probably never be calculated, but by most estimates it's easily the single biggest industrial disaster, albeit a very slow one playing out over many decades, in Australia's history. So that would go a long way toward explaining the cancer statistics in the Latrobe Valley.

Yallourn E was of modern design, having two distinct production units each with a boiler, turbine and alternator and no steam connection between them or the rest of the plant. This was the first such plant built in Vic (commissioned 1962) and it's still the way a coal-fired power station is built today. With it's 2 x 120MW units, there was never anything "wrong" with E station as such and the only reason it was closed in 1989 (though actual power generation stopped the previous year) was due to the asbestos riddled nature of the whole site.

Some of the current plants in the Latrobe Valley have asbestos in them, but it's largely contained due to the unitised design (same as E station). Hazelwood and Yallourn W both have some (though it's nothing on the scale of what was at the older Yallourn plants). Not sure about Loy Yang but given that it was being built partly to replace the older Yallourn stations I assume they didn't put asbestos into the new plant. I'd assume that the Morwell plant, which has a complex steam system and dates from the same era as Yallourn C and D, would have quite a bit of the stuff present.

Operating dates and capacity of the old Yallourn plants as follows.

A station (originally 50MW, expanded to 75MW using 12.5MW alternators) 1924 - 1968.

B station (4 x 25 MW alternators) 1938 - 1971 for the boilers, with the turbines being retained to use excess steam available from C and D stations.

C station (2 x 50 MW alternators, 6 boilers each sufficient for 20 MW - basically one of the boilers was a spare given the relatively poor reliability of boilers versus the higher reliability of turbines and alternators. Combined with the ability to move steam between sections of the plant, the extra boiler in C and D stage kept overall output up) 1954 - 1984. There was also a 6MW machine in there too.

D station (2 x 50MW and pretty much identical to C) 1958 - 1986

E station (2 x 120MW each with one boiler as a stand alone system) 1962 - 1988

So the overall period of operation was 1924 - 1988, but it was only 1962 - 1968 that the whole lot was simultaneously in use. Attached is a picture I found on the net (not mine) from the 1960's. From left to right are C, B, A, D, E stations in that order with the mine in the background. The current Yallourn W power station wasn't built at this stage, but it would be well to the right of this lot. The colour of the background masks the smoke to some extent - but there's plenty of it if you look carefully. All the old plants were demolished in the late 1990's.

PS - correction to previous post. Newport C did in fact burn brown coal briquettes.

It's perhaps worth mentioning that for several decades this was the main source of electricity for the whole of Victoria. That was the case even back in the early days with just the "A" station - it ran base load and supplied a big chunk of total demand and continued to do so as it was expanded over the years. But even if it were fully operational today, it would struggle to supply 10% of state's power even on a mild day and with every machine in service (which is impractical given the need for maintenance). Realistically it would manage 7% overall at best, such is the huge extent of demand growth over the years. No way can we continue that growth forever, at least not if it's being fueled by coal, oil or gas.
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Re: Hydrogen powered cars in CA next year

Postby conklinc » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:10 am

Smurf,

Interesting. I'm not advocating total or immediate shutdown of brown coal or other fossil sourced power plants. I realize that would be foolhardy and impractical. OTH, I've heard that over the past 10 years there have been some coal and even gas-fired plants that were planned and scheduled to come into production in the three eastern states that have been shelved/cancelled because of actual reduction in base load needs, thanks largely to solar and wind generation.

I talked with DavidG here locally a few weeks ago and he explained why the big generators are whinging about alternative energy . . . it cuts them out of huge profits during peak time use. He mentioned how the green stuff can cut as much as $450,000 an hour out of their budgeted income during peak energy use times. :lol: No wonder they want to tax the sun! DaveG can correct me here if I need to be. He used to live out Gippsland way. Its not just cancer in Gippsland, either, its respiratory illnesses caused by, . . . well, you know.

It sounds to me like eventually, hydrogen is going to put a curb on the ever-increasing oil/petrol increases, though it may take awhile.

I recall discovering on the 'net a few years ago some sort of small stream turbine unit invented by an Aussie and in commercial. Haven't heard anything about it since. I don't think such a unit would be all that hard to put together, and it could be sized to match stream flow pressure. I suppose the 11 year drought through '09 sort of affected its sale/development here, but right now you could stick one of those almost anywhere in any sizable stream and river here in Vic, assuming it would be legal, which I doubt.

I'm also puzzled by the relatively slow development of coastal tidal and wave action turbine generation. I know they are working on it in England and Scotland, and I know that some private research efforts were going to install such a unit just offshore adjacent to an Indian reservation somewhere in Oregon. I've also heard talk about a project along the eastern Vic coast. I suspect the current government isn't too eager.

Fact is, there is "free" clean energy abounding, we just lack the political will to research it, develop it, and put it into production. Thanks, largely to the fossilized fuel industry, and their hold and influence on political machinations almost world-wide, esp. the western world.

You can see though, that my actual knowledge and familiarity with all this is pretty thin. Yours and others comments are both fascinating and educational.

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