The Anonymous Widower

Which Supermarket Group Will Go For Hydrogen First?

The big supermarket groups need to reduce their carbon footprints.

One area, where they can reduce the amount of carbon-dioxide they emit is in transport.

It is my view that battery-powered articulated trucks will not be seen in large numbers, without a significant improvement in battery and charging technology.

But hydrogen-powered articulated trucks have been developed by Hyundai, as I wrote about in Tesla Has A Rival In New Hyundai Hydrogen-Powered Semi-Truck Concept.

Supermarket groups are surely ideal companies to use hydrogen-powered trucks.

They use a centralised distribution system from large depots, generally using articulated trucks.

Trucks would probably fill-up at the beginning of a delivery run at the central depot, just as they probably do with diesel now.

The only problem would be on long deliveries, where they might need to refuel before returning to the depot.

Surely, the obvious thing to do, would be to install a hydrogen filling station alongside the petrol and diesel at some of the larger superstores.

  • Companies like ITM Power build special hydrogen filling stations, that only need connections to electricity and tap water.
  • Provided the supermarket group has a good corporate deal on green electricity, the hydrogen cost to the group should be the same .
  • This filling station would also be able to fill up their hydrogen-powered vans used for local deliveries.
  • Managers and those, who had a company car could be given ones powered by hydrogen.

The filling station could also be used to sell hydrogen to the supermarket’s customers.

Linked with a How Green Is Your Supermarket? advertising campaign, this could see hydrogen-powered vehicle sales take off!

Would other supermarket groups follow like greedy lemmings?

February 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 3 Comments

Ballard-Powered Fuel-Cell Tram-Buses From Van Hool Now In Revenue Service In France

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Green Car Congress.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Ballard Power Systems announcedthat 8 ExquiCity tram-buses built by Van Hool NV and powered by 8 Ballard FCveloCity-HD 100-kilowatt fuel cell modules have been inaugurated at a ceremony in Pau, France and are now in revenue service in Pau’s Bus Rapid Transit System.

The Van Hool ExquiCity tram buses have the following specification.

  • Two sections
  • Length – 18.6 metres (New Routemaster – 11.2 metres)
  • Width – 2.6 metres (New Routemaster – 2.52 metres)
  • Weight – 18.5 tonnes (New Routemaster – 12.8 tonnes)
  • Passengers – 125 (New Routemaster – 80-87 – More on a 21/38/73 in the Peak)
  • Hydrogen Range – 300 km.
  • Power – 100 kW (New Routemaster – 138 kW)

I have compared with a New Routemaster, as both vehicles are designed as hybrids with a power source charging a battery which drives the vehicle, through a Siemens traction motor.

The Glider buses in Belfast are diesel-electric hybrid versions of the ExquiCity.

Conclusion

I do wonder from looking at the comparison with a New Routemaster, that the ExquiCity could be an interesting way to get 56 % more passengers into 66 % more road space. But it may be more efficient to use two New Routemasters to carry 28 % more passengers in 29 % more road space than the ExquiCity.

It is interesting to note that the Mercedes Citaro bendy buses in London, which were so hated by motorists because they blocked junctions were also eighteen metres long like the ExquiCity.

Obviously, if buses ran on a separated bus way, the length is not a problem.

I do feel though, that a purpose-built hydrogen-powered double-deck bus, will be better for most UK towns and cities.

This article on the BBC is entitled Wrightbus Owner Jo Bamford Says Coming To NI Is Revelation.

This is a paragraph.

Mr Bamford, the son of JCB chairman Lord Bamford, told BBC News NI he has a keen interest in the use of hydrogen to power buses and that was the main reason he got involved with Wrightbus.

Consider.

  • Wrightbus designed and built the chassis for the diesel-electric hybrid New Routemaster.
  • Wrightbus pioneered the low-floor bus.
  • In March 2015 JCB made a strategic investment of £4.9M in hydrogen company; ITM Power.
  • ITM Power built the hydrogen filling station for the ExquiCity tram-buses in Pau.

It looks to me, that Jo Bamford, with some help from his father, has assembled the components for a serious assault on the hydrogen bus market.

 

February 10, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Delivering Hydrogen For Vehicles

In Friday’s copy of The Times, there is an article entitled Hydrogen Lifts Off: An Old Fuel Showing New Promise.

The article talks about Shell’s plans to create a network of filling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

This is a paragraph.

A potential alternative is electrolysis, the method that Shell’s partner ITM Power is using to produce hydrogen at the Gatwick site. There, in a yard behind the refuelling pump, temporary buildings house equipment that purify tap water and convert AC electricity from the grid to DC current. This is used to split the water through electrolysis into hydrogen and harmless waste oxygen, which is vented out.

Note.

  1. Electrolysis is an alternative to the use of steam reforming of methane, which produces a lot of carbon dioxide.
  2. If the electricity is from renewables like solar, wind or tidal, then the hydrogen produced can be considered green.
  3. They is also a quote from Shell, which says that as renewable power gets cheaper and electrolysis more efficient, this will be the standard way to produce hydrogen.

It does seem to me that we could see hydrogen stations all over the place, as each is stand-alone and only needs tap water, an electricity feed and customers.

Who is iTM Power?

iTM Power are a company based in Sheffield.

Read more about them on their Wikipedia entry or their web site.

They claim to have the world’s largest PEM electrolyser factory.

They are also developing a network of hydrogen filling stations.

Currently opened include.

  • Beaconsfield Services Hydrogen Station
  • Gatwick Refuelling Station
  • Rainham Solar Hydrogen Station, Essex
  • Rotherham Wind Hydrogen Station
  • Shell Cobham Services Hydrogen Station
  • Swindon Hydrogen Station
  • Teddington Hydrogen Station

And these are currently planned.

  • Birmingham Bus
  • Birmingham Passenger Vehicle
  • Pau Bus, France

Note.

  1. Some as you can see are to support hydrogen buses.
  2. Some are powered directly by renewable electricity.
  3. Birmingham’s two stations are co-located.
  4. Two; Beaconsfield and Cobham are at motorway service areas.
  5. Pau is probably  to support the hydrogen-powered busway that is being created in the town. There is more on that in this article on rfi, which is entitled Amid Transport Chaos, France Rolls Out World-First Hydrogen Bus Fleet.

It’s looks to me that iTM are working to a sensible plan.

  • They can supply a system for a range of purposes.
  • They can be placed on fairly small sites.
  • They don’t need connection to a hydrogen grid.
  • Is it sensible to put one in for a fleet of buses, trucks or vans first?
  • Systems for buses and other vehicles can be co-located.

I can see in a few years, that everyone will be within sensible reach of a hydrogen filling station.

As the range of a hydrogen-powered car is in the hundreds of miles. it looks to me that the range anxiety of battery vehicles will be overcome.

I don’t drive or have a car, but if I needed one, I’d buy hydrogen over battery, when there was a filling station in my part of London.

 

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 5 Comments

The Times Had A Hydrogen Saturday

The Times had a feature on Saturday about converting our gas grid to hydrogen and especially about using hydrogen boilers in our homes.

I believe that perhaps in ten years, our gas grid will be full of hydrogen and our central heating boilers will be powered by hydrogen.

The carbon emissions saved with be massive

I don’t know about cooking, but my Michelin-starred Scottish friend and chef, says that we’ll all cook on an electric induction hob.

A Large Collateral Benefit?

I think there will be a large collateral benefit.

At present there are only two feasible methods to power a vehicle without producing carbon emissions; battery or hydrogen.

  • Battery vehicles need to be recharged and we need an enormous number of charging stations.
  • Hydrogen vehicles need to be filled up from a hydrogen filling station.

It should be noted that the current Hyundai ix35 FCEV has a range of 369 miles on hydrogen.

But as you have a hydrogen gas supply to your house, could you fit a compressor in your garage to pump up your car’s hydrogen tank, when it needs it?

The technology is well-proven.

The only problem, that I can see, is that how will the Government tax it?

The future’s not orange it’s hydrogen.

 

 

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | 6 Comments

Hyundai, Nikola And Toyota Start To Build The Hydrogen Highway

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Trucks.com.

It is a must-read article.

 

 

November 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tesla Has A Rival In New Hyundai Hydrogen-Powered Semi-Truck Concept

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on designboom.

This is the introductory paragraph.

hyundai has revealed two new hydrogen-powered concepts – a fuel cell electric semi-truck and refrigerated trailer. both vehicles are part of the automaker’s fuel cell electric vehicle 2030 vision, which includes the widespread use of hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology in vehicles.

The concept looks to be aimed at large countries like Australia, Canda and the United States, but surely one scaled to the United Kingdom market, would be a very useful truck.

  • It would be a very efficient motorway cruiser, with those aerodynamics..
  • It would be zero-emission with no pollution, so could operate in cities.
  • The cab could be designed to meet all present and future driver visibility regulations.
  • It might not be liable for extra charges in cities like London.
  • Would battery trucks have enough range?

These trucks will be seen on UK roads in the next few years, as I believe that there is no other way to decarbonise heavy road transport.

Eight-Wheeler Trucks

If I walk two hundred metres from my house to the Balls Pond Road or the Kingsland High Road, the most common truck, that I see is an eight-wheeler heavy truck, that is transporting building materials, cement and spoil to and from the myriad building sites around where I live.

The pictures show typical eight-wheeler trucks working during the installation of the subway at Hackney Wick station.

Note the space under the truck between the front and rear axles. Surely, those clever Koreans can fit all the hydrogen gubbins under and in the truck.

  • Many of these trucks are in large fleets, which return to a depot, that is close to the city centre on a regular basis, so refuelling should be easy to arrange.
  • These trucks would probably need less fuel per day, than a large artic.
  • I doubt they would pay any access charges.
  • As they would be pollution-free, zero-carbon and probably a lot quieter, would they be able to work near sensitive sites like hispitals, schools and transport hubs?

They could be a very good economic proposition in a large city of urban conurbation.

Other Trucks

I also believe that hydrogen would be a sensible fuel for several classes of other trucks.

  • Four-wheel box vans.
  • Refuse trucks
  • Skip lorries
  • Larger vans

Hydrogen buses already seem to be running successfully in several cities.

The Missing Hydrogen Vehicle

I have chatted with black cab drivers in London, about the use of hydrogen as a fuel for taxis. Black cabs are getting larger and I believe that hydrogen could be their ideal fuel.

Conclusion

I believe that hydrogen will play a big part in decarbonising transport in the next few years and especially in urban areas.

November 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cummins And Hyundai To Collaborate For Fuel Cell Technology

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Yahoo.

This collaboration between two big beasts could be good for both companies.

But it is just another sign, that those involved in heavy transport like Rolls Royce MTU are planning for a zero-carbon future.

Many pf these companies are finally responding.

October 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Why Zero-Emission Hydrogen Is The Best Way To Power the Cars of Future

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Robb Report.

This is the sub-title.

Hydrogen can provide longer range, faster refueling times and zero emissions

If you believe hydrogen is the fuel of the future and always will be, then read the report.

It even talks about a hydrogen powered rotorcraft from Alaka’i Technologies.

Looks good technology, but I don’t like the name!

But it can carry five passengers or a thousand pound payload for four hundred miles!

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 2 Comments

Hydrogen Truck Startup Nikola’s Valuation Jumps To $3 Billion With Investment From CNH Industrial

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

This is the first paragraph.

Nikola Motor, an Arizona startup that wants to shake up the trucking world with zero-emission hydrogen and battery-powered semis, is making progress toward a $1 billion fundraising goal to get its technology on the road as CNH Industrial committed to a quarter of that amount.

Note that CNH is the company, that owns Iveco.

If you read the whole article, you will find the following.

  • Nikola Motor have a simple model based on hydrogen-powered trucks and a network of zero-carbon hydrogen filling stations.
  • They are backed by large well-known companies like Bosch.
  • Hydrogen-powered trucks should be lighter in weight than battery-powered ones like the Tesla Semi.

Given the financial backing seems to be flowing to Nikola Motor and the simple business model, I feel the company’s objectives may be attained.

Would Nikola Motor’s Business Model Work In The UK?

Consider.

  • UK heavy trucks may be smaller than some American big rigs, but are very similar, if not the same to those used all over Europe, with the driver’s seat on the other side.
  • Many large users of heavy trucks, deliver goods from a large distribution centre, seaport or airport.
  • The UK’s power network is generally reliable and is increasingly powered by renewable sources.
  • Parts of the UK are developing a hydrogen network.

Because of our electrical grid and hydrogen availability, Nikola Motor’s filling station concept in a densely-populated smaller UK, might be a modified version of that used in the wide-open spaces of North America.

I can’t see any reason why if Nikola Motor’s hydrogen-powered trucks are successful in North America, they wouldn’t be successful in the UK.

A Zero-Carbon Distribution System For A Large Retailer

Retailers like Asda, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco and many others distribute product to their stores by heavy truck, usually from a large distribution centre in the middle of the country.

Tesco even make a lot of fuss about creating less CO2, by moving goods up and down the country by rail.

A Tesco-Branded Train

Because of retailers’ centralised model based on trucks from a distribution depot, using hydrogen-powered trucks, would not require a great change in the method or operation.

  • Diesel traction would be replaced by hydrogen traction.
  • The depot would have a hydrogen filling station, either using locally-created or piped hydrogen.
  • Trucks would leave the depot with enough hydrogen to do a full delivery without refuelling and return to base.

But think of the advertising, if all the company’s heavy trucks displayed proudly that they were hydrogen-powered and emitted no CO2.

As supermarkets are like sheep and follow each others’ good ideas, if it worked for the first company, it wouldn’t be long before several others went down the hydrogen-powered route.

Would Hydrogen P{ower Work With Other Vehicle Fleets?

Many vehicles that I see in London and other large cities are members of large fleets based in those cities.

  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Delivery vans
  • Cement trucks.
  • Refuse trucks.

If cities are going to effectively ban diesel, there are only two alternatives battery and hydrogen.

Some vehicles will be better suited to battery power, especially if they could be charged overnight at the central depot, but other like double-deck buses and cement trucks may be better suited to hydrogen.

Cement trucks could be a niche market, where Nikola Motor could produce a very attractive package of trucks and a filling station.

Conclusion

If Nikola Motor is successful in the next few years, they could prove that hydrogenpowered vehicles are not a novelty, but a serious zero-carbon alternative, that is affordable.

 

 

 

September 4, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hauling With Hydrogen: DHL Adding Fuel-Cell Vans To Its Delivery Fleet

The title of this article is the same as that of this article on Forbes.

This is the first paragraph.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but vehicles powered by the clean fuel are somewhat scarce. In the latest sign that that’s changing, DHL is adding hydrogen fuel-cell vans to its fleet to cut carbon emissions with faster refueling time and longer-range than battery-electric vehicles offer.

The whole article is well worth a read.

Conclusion

This initiative by DHL, like the development of hydrogen-powered double-decker buses for London and Liverpool, is another well-thought out project to move the world towards a zero-carbon and low pollution future.

All three projects are multi-vehicle projects, where fuelling can be done on a centralised basis.

Looking at the large cities of the UK, there must be several large fleets, that could be converted to hydrogen.

  • City buses
  • Royal Mail and other parcel and mail delivery vehicles
  • Taxis
  • Refuse trucks

I can see a range of solutions for providing zero-carbon and low-pollution transport, which vary dependent on the application and fleet size.

Specialised bicycle systems – Locally, I’ve seen bread deliveries, a nappy service and a plumber. There was also an item on the BBC about a hospital using a bicycle for local deliveries of samples, drugs and blood.

One-vehicle electric vehicle systems – Many small busineses, trademen and house-owners have a vehicle that they keep off the road in their premises or garage. A pathway needs to be developed, so that they can exchange their current vehicle for a battery-electric one, which also plays its part in storing surplus electricity. The technology is there, but it needs to be packaged, so people can afford to take that route.

Multi-vehicle electric vehicle systems – This is obvious for companies with lots of delivery vans, but this could be extended to blocks of flats and office developments, where all parking spaces have charging points and service charges could be set to encourage electric car use.

Multi-vehicle hydrogen systems – I’That’s where this article started and I think, this could expand, as the technology of both the vehicles and the hydrogen fuelling improve.

,There could be lots of niches, which a tailored-solution could solve.

The Cement Truck Example

I would love to know how many miles the average cement truck does in a day. But obviously the companies know and calculations would show the size of hydrogen tank needed for a couple of days work in a city like Leeds.

  • Range with a full load wouldn’t be more than perhaps fifteen miles.
  • The return trip would be empty and needs less power.
  • The depot would have a hydrogen fuelling system, Fuelling a hydrogen truck should be no more difficult than fuelling a diesel one.
  • Whilst in the depot, if power is needed to turn the drum and mix the cement, this could be provided by a direct electrical connection.
  • The truck could leave the depot with a full battery.
  • Hydrogen trucks might be used for local deliveries with perhaps diesel hybrid trucks for longer deliveries

I suspect that looking at the system as a whole entity could produce a very good system.

If say it cut carbon emissions and pollution by upwards of fifty percent, would it give the company a marketing advantage.

Perhaps, each building should be taxed for the amount of carbon dioxide and pollution its construction created?

 

 

 

May 30, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , | 9 Comments