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Think Nordic Developing Hydrogen-Electric Plug-in Hybrid

25 October 2005

Thinkhydrogen
TH!NK hydrogen

Think Nordic, the designer of Ford’s earlier “TH!NK city” electric vehicle, is developing a prototype fuel cell-electric plug-in hybrid vehicle with partner Raufoss Fuel Systems.

Supported in part by a NOK 11 million (€1.35 million; US$1.62 million) grant from the Research Council of Norway, the “TH!NK hydrogen” offers a 300-km (186-mile) driving range—half of that from the grid-charged batteries, and half from the hydrogen fuel cell.

The car is based on the new generation TH!NK city electric car, with a 17.6 kWh Zebra battery from MES-DEA. A 10-kW HyPM fuel cell from Hydrogenics will be placed in a sandwich under the car, and Raufoss Fuel Systems will provide a 700-bar hydrogen storage system for the vehicle.

The TH!NK hydrogen project is split into three phases:

  • 2005: Build one prototype demonstration vehicle.

  • 2006: Build and sell or lease five prototype demonstration vehicle.

  • 2007: Deliver a small series of hydrogen electric cars.

The total budgeted project cost for “TH!NK hydrogen” is NOK 64 million (€8.17 million; US$9.84 million) over 3 years.

October 25, 2005 in Europe, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Heck Think, just bring out that new revision of the Think Car that Ford killed just before its release (& sale of the Company) and sell them here in the U.S.. There is definately a small but interested market.

It's good to know Think is still alive, I thought Ford had made sure they were gone when Ford sold them.

Or throw out the fuel cell and install a nice little 1.2 liter diesel/biodiesel in its place. Look at their schedule, selling a few in 2006 and a "small series" of them in 2007. That means the plug in part will be up and running, folks. With a diesel this car could actually be commercial within two years, rather than having to wait for some future infrastructure. Come on, DO IT!

This same plan was announced by Th!nk Nordic about a year ago. This is how they're keeping the company alive after the collapse of the California ZEV mandate and the severing of Ford's ties. Immediately after Ford left TN claimed to be working on an electric shared-use car for card-rental in urban areas. There doesn't appear to be much of a fire under their bottoms to do anything. Likely less now that they're suckling from an enormous government grant to develop an impractical fuel cell vehicle.

Shirley E makes the most valid point.
I fell in love with the new generation of diesel engines. So quiet, zippy and most importantly simple.
Tho I recon a 15Kw per wheel hybrid charged by such a motor would make things even better without having the high price tag of fuel cell car equipment.

Biodiesel would support a practical market alowing poorer countries with lots of sun like Africa to make a genuine living off GM modified soy in vast fields. Its good stuff.

Sooner or later many countries will have to have hydrogen fuel systems simply because they dont have the climate for good bio fuels or the room for such. One type 4 nuke plant likely can provide all the fuel norway would need.

One nuclear power plant Wintermane? You hardly realize the scale. Consider that Norway's oil consumption was estimated at 171,100 bbl/day:

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/no.html''

1 gallon of gas is about equal to 1 kg of hydrogen in energy, so we'll need 42*171,100 = 7,200,000 kg of hydrogen per day. Given that the well-to-wheel efficiency of fuel cell hydrogen and diesel is equivalent (about 25 %) and it takes about 190 MJ/kg to produce hydrogen from electrolysis we need 1.37 Petajoules/day of electricity. That's 16 Gigawatts of continious power output which is more like 16 nuclear reactors, not one.

If you wanted to do the same thing for the USA you would need just shy of 2000 reactors each producing a gigawatt.

16 gigawatts is one large type 4 reator complex or one small coal plant.

According to the DOE Energy Information Administration: "In 1999 the existing capacity of U.S. electric utilities totaled 639,324 megawatts." Or 639 gigawatts. These aren't spread evenly across the states, but just for simplicity dividing this number by 50 yields about 12.8 gigawatts per state. Average coal plant in 1999 was 0.26 gigawatts in size, average nuclear was 0.94 gigawatts. All this data and more can be found in this document: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/FTPROOT/electricity/0095991.pdf

Odd I lived for years right next to a 2 plus gw power plant called moss landing and that was just a small little gas power plant or so I thought.

Maybe the bugger was bigger then I thought it was...

There one point that many people seem to forget. Less than 30% of the existing power generation capacity is used outside peak hours or specially during deep night hours. For USA, this could translate into 639 324 x 0.70 = 447 526 megawatts available to recharge batteries or produce hydrogen during every deep night hours without new power generating facilities. That is a lot of usable/available power....

The same is more or less applicable to other countries and to Norway.

More constant loads should lower power production cost and eventually lower power cost to the users.

Actauly no remember many plants are exp[ensive to run peak load dealies. Some are jet turbine affairs that cost ALOT to run but can be sped up and shut down at will.

Thats why cal got hosed back when a dozen baseline plants had to go offline at the same time for maintenance and cal had to get alot of power from peak power producers.

For nuclear plants; according to the EIA, in 2003 the United States had about 99 Gigawatts of installed nuclear energy; http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table64n.xls with in the same year, 763 Terrawatt hours of electricity was generated, or 763,000 Gigawatt hours; http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/international/iealf/table27.xls If all 99 Gigawatts of installed nuclear power ran at full efficiency 24hours a day 7 days a week, in one year it would produce about 867,240 gigawatthours of electricity. This suggests that US. Nuclear power facilities generate about 88% of their peak theoretical output, at least in 2003, this percentage is likely higher if you take into account, down time for maintenance/ repair etc… It would suggest that much less power would be available during off peak hours to do things like electrolyze water for hydrogen production, which is apparently not very efficient anyway, or charge parked plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Using United States 2003 data from the same EIA site; http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/electric.html#IntlCapacity (Twh = terrawatthours)

2003 Thermal: (Coal/NatGas) 2,730 Twh = 45% max capacity
2003Hydrolectric: 264 Twh = 38% max capacity
2003 Nuclear: 780 Twh = 88% max capacity

Again, taking into account offline time for maintainance/repair, those percentagese would be higher, this suggests the primary modality of electricy production in the U.S. with enough installed capacity, to be used during off-peak hours is unfortunately thermal (coal and natural gas) so, the only way, using our current energy infrastructure, to charge plug-in vehicles - would be to burn more coal and natural gas.

RN brings up a valid point, in the United States, the only two large electricity producing technologies that also have significant off-peak capacity, are hydroelectric and fossil fuel burning. Between the two, only fossil fuels have sufficient capacity to charge a large number of plug-in hybrids during off-peak hours. This is the fundamental environmental problem as I see it w/ plug-in hybrids in the U.S.- we would simply burn more coal to generate the electricity. One could argue that the coal plant would burn fossil fuels more efficiently than all those cars would w/ ICEs alone. Also there is an argument to be made for decreasing our foreign oil imports in exchage for burning more of our own coal to power the plug-ins, - but you wonder if simply gassifying Coal into diesel would be a simpler, more direct way of doing the same thing.

Plug-in hybrids may be a good option in those areas of the country where most of the electricity comes from hydroelectric sources (sig off peak capacity) i.e. near the hoover dam, or niagra falls. Or perhaps those areas that buy a lot of their electricity from Canada (apparently 60% of their electricity comes from renewable sources)

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