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

Proudly South African Hydrogen Breakthrough With Shell’s Backing

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly.

This is the introductory paragraph.

At this time of huge coronavirus uncertainty, the chests of a group of engineers here must surely be bulging with pride following their major Proudly South African world breakthrough that could speed up the global deployment of hydrogen as a competitive universal and environment-friendly energy carrier.

I think it got a bit jumbled in the typing.

Reading the article it does seem that various developments are coming together in South Africa.

  • A much simple electrolyser to produce hydrogen.
  • South Africa’s platinum for catalysts.
  • Large amounts of renewable energy.

The aim is to produce hydrogen at a comparable price with petrol.

This paragraph stands out.

South Africa has the combined solar and wind potential to produce competitive hydrogen, which can meet the world’s new environmental requirements.

The article talks about exporting hydrogen to Japan.

Conclusion

South Africa is a country that needs all the good news it can get.

This looks like it could be some of the best.

But how many other hot countries can take advantage of what looks like a breakthrough in the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen for a fuel?

March 31, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Tees Valley Wins £1.3million Project To Bring Hydrogen Vehicles To The Region

The title of this post, is the same as that as this article on the Tees Valley Combined Authority web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Hydrogen vehicles and refuelling stations will soon be coming to Tees Valley after it was today (February 5) announced that a £1.3million bid to Government had been successful.

The next two paragraphs give more detail.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen welcomed the result of a Government competition that will see two refuelling stations built in Middlesbrough and Redcar, plus a fleet of cars which use hydrogen technology for long-range travel (300+ miles) and fast refuelling capability.

The new refuelling stations could allow cars, buses, bin lorries and even trains to be powered by the super fuel.

This later paragraph details the expected economic benefits.

Figures from a draft report commissioned by the Combined Authority and produced by KPMG suggest that exploiting the opportunities of the hydrogen economy could add up to £7billion to the region’s economy by 2050, with the creation of as many as 1,000 jobs.

These figures seem to say hydrogen is good for the economy and jobs.

March 30, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Rail Research At Birmingham University

In Issue 898 of Rail Magazine, there is an article entitled Full Steam Ahead, which discusses the the work at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research an Education (BCRRE).

Amongst many subjects three are mentioned where I have a big interest.

Aerodynamics

The article says this.

Aerodynamics is also an important area for research, as any reduction in drag and air resistance due to structures will improve the energy efficiency of rail vehicles.

I very much agree with this approach.

I also feel that due to their low noise profiles as they pass by, that Bombardier have applied aerodynamic knowledge, perhaps from their aircraft engineers, to the design of the new Aventra.

Hydrogen Supplies For Hydrogen-Powered Trains

The article says this.

Funding has also been secured from Innovate UK to create a company that can provide the necessary infrastructure needed to support hydrogen trains, including fuelling stations and hydrogen generation facilities.

This sounds very similar to the systems that ITM Power ae deploying for Shell to fuel hydrogen buses, cars and other vehicles.

I hope that there is not too much duplication going on.

Working With Michigan State University And Stadler To Bring Hydrogen Trains To California

Co-operation is always good and especially in rail projects, where the number of trains involved is fairly small.

A Quote From Dr. Stuart Hillmansen of BCRRE

This quote is in the article.

Is is possible to completely decarbonise, by using electrolysis that is powered using renewable energy to create the fuel.

I completely agree with that!

Conclusion

I would hope that the BCRRE develops into a one step shop for the solution of rail related problems.

It does seem that by putting various areas of expertise together, they could be a go-to institution for those that want to built a hydrogen-powered rail service.

February 16, 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

Could New Routemaster Buses Be Converted To Hydrogen Power?

London has a thousand New Routemaster buses.

They are generally liked by passengers and drivers, although some Labour politicians think they should be replaced, because of their association with Boris.

They were introduced in 2011, so with a refurbishment, I suspect that they could be in service for perhaps another ten years.

The big feature in the design is that they are genuine hybrid buses with a small Cummins engine halfway up the back stairs, a battery under the front stairs and electric drive with regenerative braking.

I do wonder though, that because of the electric transmission, that these buses could be converted to hydrogen-powered buses.

It could be a more affordable route to create a thousand new zero-carbon buses for the streets of London or any other city for that matter.

Given that Wrightbus, who built the New Routemasters, is now owned by a member of the Bamford family of JCB fame and the company is reported to be going down the hydrogen bus route, I would suspect that conversion to hydrogen is on somebody’s mind.

 

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

Investors Hit The Gas On Hydrogen Producers

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

The sub headline is.

Hydrogen producers leap on hopes of fossil fuel death.

The article then shows three share price graphs for ITM Power, PowerCell and Ballard Power Systems.

All prices are rising steeply.

A a small investor in the first company, I am pleased and I certainly got that call right!

Note that, the companies are British, Swedish and Canadian respectively.

February 5, 2020 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Green Hydrogen ‘Cheaper Than Unabated Fossil-Fuel H2 by 2030’: Hydrogen Council

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Clean hydrogen derived from renewable energy will be cost-competitive with highly polluting grey hydrogen within 5-10 years, says new report.

Points about or contained in the article.

  • The report is by respected consultants; McKinsey.
  • Currently grey hydrogen produced by steam reforming produces 9-12 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of hydrogen produced, at a cost of $1.5 per Kg.
  • Green hydrogen produced by electrolysis using renewable energy, has a cost of $6 per Kg.
  • In certain parts of the world, like Chile, Australia and Saudi Arabia, with strong winds and sunshine, prices for green hydrogen could drop to $1.20 per Kg.
  • The article also talks about blue hydrogen, where the carbon dioxide is capyured and stored.

I suggest you read the article.

If you can’t be bothered just digest this paragraph.

The report adds that the blue and green hydrogen will be the cheapest options for many types of transport by 2030 — outperforming fossil fuels and battery power. These include long-distance buses, heavy- and medium-duty trucks, taxi fleets, regional trains and large passenger vehicles such as SUVs.

I can also envisage hydrogen being shipped around the world from the three countries named and others to countries like Germany,China and Japan, that need to decarbonise, in massive ships. Powered by hydrogen of course.

 

January 22, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment