The Anonymous Widower

Big London Hospital Was Close To Running Out Of Oxygen

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

With COVID-19 and all those ventilators and CPAP devices, this sounds like a tragedy about to unfold.

I also remembered a story told to me by a friend, who used to be the Chief Pharmacist at a London hospital.

Oxygen was one of their problems, as the tanks were in a small yard with gates opening on to a busy street, about two hundred metres, away from the hospital.

The problem was that illegal parkers would block the gates, so that delivery couldn’t be made.

Knowing my physics and the reliability of deliveries in parts of London, I thought on-site electrolysis might be a better idea. So I consulted my bible.

There on page 760, it is all described how water can be split into two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen by electrolysis.

ITM Power are the experts on electrolysis, so I sent them an e-mail and asked if they could make an electrolyser, that produced oxygen instead of hydrogen.

The reply came swiftly and confirmed, that they could make an electrolyser that supplied oxygen. They also said, that the oxygen was of a high purity.

Just Connect Electricity And Tap Water

All these electrolysers would need is supplies of electricity and tap water to create hydrogen and/or oxygen.

No trucks would be needed to deliver tonnes of liquid gases, which can be rather dangerous to move around city streets.

ITM Power’s hydrogen electrolysers are starting to appear in filling stations, so they can refuel hydrogen-powered vehicles.

One could be installed in a hospital to provide a continuous stream of pure oxygen, which could be piped into the current oxygen delivery system.

What To Do With The Hydrogen

The hydrogen electrolysers produce oxygen as a by-product, which I suspect is just vented to the atmosphere!

But you can’t vent large amounts of hydrogen to the atmosphere, as it is an inflammable gas!

However, you could do either of the following options.

  1. Connect it to a hydrogen fuel pump to refuel hydrogen vehicles.
  2. Inject the hydrogen into the gas main, as is regularly done with hydrogen produced by surplus renewable electricity.

I prefer the first option, as it could mean that health-care could start to use hydrogen-powered ambulances, that are zero carbon and pollution-free.

Perhaps not an appropriate saying for the industry, but it would genuinely kill two birds with one stone.

 

 

 

April 3, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Batteries Come Of Age In Railway Construction

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

It is very much a must-read article on the subject of constructing and repairing railways in a zero-carbon manner.

These are some extra comments of mine!

Smaller And Lighter First

This is a paragraph from the article.

Smaller and lighter equipment is getting the treatment first – the batteries and motors can be smaller. Volvo Construction Equipment has already supplied its first electric compact loader, to a customer in Germany.

Volvo seems to be busy creating electric loaders.

Size Appears To Be No Limit

This extract shows how a large dump truck can go electric.

If a 25-tonne excavator is not big enough, how about a Komatsu HD605-7 off-highway truck, which weighs 51 tonnes unladen and has a payload of 63 tonnes? Kuhn Switzerland, working with Lithium Storage and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), has converted this 111-tonne gross vehicle weight monster into an electric vehicle.

Out came the 23-litre, 778hp (578kW) diesel engine and in went a synchronous electric motor rated at 789hp (588kW) electric motors. An additional 120kW motor is fitted just to power the hydraulic systems. The battery was a challenge – the four large packs have a combined rating of 700kWh and weigh 4.5 tonnes.

Do you get much bigger than 111 tonne, nearly 600 kW and a 700 kWh battery pack?

Regenerative Braking

The article also says that in some applications, vehicles go up and down a route and can charge the batteries using regenerative braking on the downhill run. In one application batteries only need charging every three days.

Rail Application Of Off-Road Equipment

The article says this.

While an eDumper may be too large to use on the railway, it does show what can now be done. Between JCB’s mini-excavator and eMining’s dump truck, there is room to battery-power almost any item used on the railway today.

I would suspect that there are a lot of companies, including giants like Caterpillar, JCB, Komatsu. Volvo and others working to produce electric versions of their successful products.

What About The Workers

The article says this.

These new machines are only the tip of the ‘electric’ iceberg. As pressure mounts to cut carbon emissions and to protect workers from harmful fumes, there will be more to come.

Health and safety will lead to a big push towards electric, as electric vehicles are pollution, carbon and fume-free, with a substantial noise reduction.

Hydrogen Will Have A Part To Play

This statement is from the Wikipedia entry for ITM Power.

In March 2015 JCB made a strategic investment of £4.9M in ITM Power.

Why would a construction equipment company invest in a company, that makes equipment that generates hydrogen to power vehicles?

  • It is known, that the Bamford heir has purchased Wrightbus and intend to make hydrogen-powered buses for the world.
  • JCB have built their own diesel engines, so are they building their own hydrogen engine?
  • JCB make tractors and I believe a hydrogen-powered tractor may be more than a niche market.
  • Is it possible to build a hydrogen-powered JCB?

Buy any of these products and you get a gas station in the price.

To deliver hydrogen, all you need to do is connect it to the water and electricity mains and switch on.

If you’re using it to power rail or site construction equipment, the gas station could be on wheels, so it can be moved from site to site.

Conclusion

This is the writer’s conclusion.

It seems that ‘battery is the new diesel’. It will be fascinating to see how this sector develops over the next few years.

I don’t disagree, but would add, that I feel that JCB are the elephant in this room!

March 15, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EU Announces ‘Clean Hydrogen Alliance’ For Launch In The Summer

The total of this post is the same as this article on Euractiv.

The title is probably fairly clear, but the article is well worth a read.

March 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Mobility: Coming Soon to a Bus or Truck Near You?

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on Green Tech Media.

The article is a must-read and makes these points.

  • Hydrogen could have a significant impact on the transportation sector, even though sales of fuel-cell cars have been minuscule to date.
  • More than nine million passenger fuel-cell vehicles could be built.
  • In the short term hydrogen could be used for buses and heavy trucks.
  • There are only 17,000 hydrogen vehicles worldwide.
  • In 2019, there was a 246 percent increase in hydrogen vehicles.
  • Hydrogen-powered garbage trucks are being tested in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK.

Overall there seems to be a lot of growth and enthusiasm for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

 

March 8, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen Refuelling In East Lothian

This article on Daily Business is entitled Hydrogen Refuelling Station Boost For Emission-Free Cars.

Hydrogen is coming!

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

BRP-Rotax Reveals Hydrogen-Powered Snowmobile

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on H2-View.

This would appear to be s good example of the use of hydrogen-power, as it is both non-polluting and silent.

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

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