Hydrogen infrastructure

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Tractor Seabee

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It will be interesting to see if hydrogen fueled ICE's get a foot hold. I can see lots of safety issues with compressed gas and suspect it's a large reason why LNG or LPG (and their infrastructure) have never gained a larger popularity in the US.

I've also been hearing about ammonia fuels, specifically green ammonia. Again, I think the hazards might be their downfall.

I can possibly see many of our natural gas power plants swapping to hydrogen or green ammonia.

That being said, electric cars aren't going to work for everything, so there will need to be some type of fuel for mobile applications. Maybe gasoline and diesel won't be going away quite as soon as our politicians think.

I see the amount of infrastructure required for us to go to all electric vehicles as staggering. You're not talking about a single 30-40 amp charging station per dwelling. The reality is probably the need for 2-3 charging stations per household.
The problem with ammonia is the nitrogen oxide by product. Environment NO NO. See my next post for more info.

Ron
 
  
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3930dave

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That recent live conversation I had covered some big $ #'s attributed to Chevron and Shell wrt. Hydrogen.... inciting my stake in the ground here.....

Low cost fuel cells would be the bees knees, but I see hydrogen in a bridging function for internal combustion. No CO2 output; some NOx though with air combustion, with options to reduce NOx to very low levels.....

Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle - Wikipedia

Rgds, D.
 
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I'm not making this political, because both parties are at fault. But it probably doesn't help when our politicians fail to provide stable leadership or policy positions. Who wants to invest million/billions when the wind is likely to blow from a different direction at each election cycle?

Many countries around the world use natgas to fuel vehicles, including small ones.

As the cleanest burning HC, it made sense. Not that many years ago (5 give/take) a good friend of mine used an ex-BC Highways F150 as his service truck. 4x4 ext cab, always fully loaded with cable, fittings and tools. IIRC, he was around $10CAD/100km running that on natgas. A real bargain, esp. considering gasoline pricing in BC. That truck may have actually been an XL7700 '150.

Rgds, D.

I saw a Peterbilt Fed Ex triple-natural gas powered on I-70.
 
  
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3930dave

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I saw a Peterbilt Fed Ex triple-natural gas powered on I-70.
Regional NG fleets - the expectation is that the fleet owner will pay for compressor stations @ their depot.

UPS runs some here, and I'm sure others do too. Long-haul, retail NG stations aren't common, unfortunately.

I can buy an F250 with a natgas/propane factory prep (for final conversion), but based on availability here today, I'd lean towards propane even though I'd prefer to use natgas.

Distribution..... simple concept, but challenging to duplicate with alt nrg.

Rgds, D.
 
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That recent live conversation I had covered some big $ #'s attributed to Chevron and Shell wrt. Hydrogen.... inciting my stake in the ground here.....

Low cost fuel cells would be the bees knees, but I see hydrogen in a bridging function for internal combustion. No CO2 output; some NOx though with air combustion, with options to reduce NOx to very low levels.....

Hydrogen internal combustion engine vehicle - Wikipedia

Rgds, D.
I would be interested to learn the differences between the requirements of hydrogen for a combustion engine vs. a fuel cell.

My concern isn't the tank so much as the valve/fuel line being the weak link in a high-speed accident.

Even after the other obstacles have been overcome, it will take time for the gov't, insurance companies, and the public to be convinced they aren't riding a high-speed hydrogen bomb. (myself included- see "Louisiana forklift explosion")

I can see this for low-speed, industrial applications and I hope you are right and someone can overcome the issues the others haven't solved.
 
   #16  

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Hydrogen is quite difficult to work with. It has an appreciable rate of diffusion through 1/4" steel due to microcracks. A naked flame is almost invisible to the human eye, and it takes one twelfth the energy of gasoline to ignite it with a spark.

Even if hypothetically cheap blue/green hydrogen were available, transport and use is going to be energetically costly; you need 13.8 MJ/kg (9% of energy content in hydrogen) to compress hydrogen to 200 atmospheres, but in comparison only 1.4 MJ/kg (2.5% of energy content) for methane (natural gas). So you lose 10% or so of the energy in the fuel just to store it. Liquefying hydrogen is even more energetically expensive. These are basic physics issues and not solvable by engineering or more research. It will always be a challenge for vehicles in my opinion. I suspect that that it will be easier to use hydrogen at low pressure to store solar energy instead of a liquid flow battery in a fixed location, but there are a bunch of unresolved issues with electrolysis of the water, and low pressure storage and ultimate use, e.g. turbine, reciprocating engine, fuel cell, or...

Then you need to build the pipelines, which have to be much higher quality because of the aforementioned tendency to leak through steel, not to mention valves and manifolds, and all of the distribution infrastructure, none of which is planned today, and all of which will be pricier than natural gas pipelines, in part because the energy cost to compress hydrogen is so high. We have hydrogen piped around refineries and chemical plants, but that's about it.

You could use hydrogen in fuel cells, or in combustion engines, but the low density of hydrogen means that getting enough fuel into the cylinder is a challenge. Natural aspirated engines only achieve 85% or so of equivalent gasoline engine horsepower. If you use high pressure injection, like a diesel, but with hydrogen, you can get to 120% or so. Like with nature as engines, lubricity of cylinders and valves are an issue.

Bottom line: I wouldn't hold my breath as there are so many unsolved engineering and financing challenges.

All the best,

Peter
 
  
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3930dave

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I would be interested to learn the differences between the requirements of hydrogen for a combustion engine vs. a fuel cell.

My concern isn't the tank so much as the valve/fuel line being the weak link in a high-speed accident.

Even after the other obstacles have been overcome, it will take time for the gov't, insurance companies, and the public to be convinced they aren't riding a high-speed hydrogen bomb. (myself included- see "Louisiana forklift explosion")

I can see this for low-speed, industrial applications and I hope you are right and someone can overcome the issues the others haven't solved.
Unfortunate loss of life ^. Hopefully they can isolate the cause, but with an explosion of that scale, it may be difficult. Myself, starting into hydrogen, I'd prefer it inside an IC engine, than a fuel-cell.

An expression I heard (old Nordic attribution IIRC) years ago resonated with me then, but even more so as I got older. "You can get used to anything, even a Hanging".

A Tesla catches fire, and burns for hours - National News. Gasoline fires hardly rate any coverage, unless a whole refinery goes up - and then, you mostly hear about what the expected short-term spike in gasoline prices will be.....

Lighter-than-air: I like that characteristic of hydrogen and natgas, from a safety standpoint, esp. outdoors in open areas.

What I don't like about propane - heavier-than-air. A much bigger safety risk IMO, than the above 2. A propane depot near where I work had an outdoor fire recently - fortunately only the small (retail/industrial) tanks went up, and not their big bulk ones. Still, $1MM in damage, but amazingly no loss of life or even significant injuries that I heard of.

You're not supposed to store propane indoors...... but how many warehouse forklifts on propane get parked outside all the time ? Back to that Used to a Hanging thing again......

We all drive around modern gasoline vehicles with electric motors driving fuel pumps in the tank, and nobody thinks twice (even the few that know).....

Once a specific risk gets mitigated down to a low enough level in production, it hardly rates as background noise in the general population....... it wasn't all that long ago that lithium batteries in cell phones and laptops were going up in flames, and for that matter, in the cargo hold of an aircraft...... now people pay six-figures to get trendy cars packed full of them......

We Do, Live in Interesting Times......

Rgds, D.
 
  
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3930dave

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Bottom line: I wouldn't hold my breath as there are so many unsolved engineering and financing challenges.

All the best,

Peter
I won't be turning-blue anytime soon :); those are significant points you raise. I do find it interesting that Aberdeen has been running H2 since 2015. Scotland has a storied history of engineering, but OTOH, Scots are not known for throwing money away....

If retail natgas was available every 200 miles or so across Canada and USA, I'd probably buy a factory-prep F250 and convert it. What I do like about that configuration is the range you get for trading off a bit of bed space (I'd retain the factory gasoline tank).

I guess that situation ^ is not much different than considering an EV while living in a remote rural area. I do have natgas at home.... at a total guess, an overnite compressor is likely significantly more $ than a mid-range EV charger.

Rgds, D.
 
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3930dave

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So, already being done.
Hyundai may be in production too (?).

Not to trivialize what Toyota accomplished (reading that, I was wondering if Tesla did any testing in YK :cool:), as they applied serious engineering ergs on that car...... but as we've touched on lightly, the biggest issue with H2 seems to be on the Supply Side.

Performance-wise, I don't see much of an issue launching IC engines on H2. A significant % of gasoline engines are already turbocharged, and even more are DI, so we are moving that direction by default.

Tupolev (sp?) had a plane in the air late '80s IIRC, on H2.

I do expect limited industrial sites to ramp on H2, long before I get retail access.... but I'd love to be wrong....

Rgds, D.
 
 
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