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Mazda to Provide 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE Vehicles to HyNor; Hydrogen RE Hybrid Tracking for 2008

Mazdah2hyb
The hybrid drive for the Hydrogen RE Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Mazda will provide 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles to Norway’s HyNor project (earlier post) starting in 2008. Mazda Chairman Hisakazu Imaki made the announcement at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The HyNor project is a unique Norwegian joint industry initiative, covering a route of 580 kilometers from Oslo to Stavanger, which aims to demonstrate the real life implementation of a hydrogen energy transport infrastructure. The signing ceremony is scheduled to take place on November 7, 2007 at the Norwegian embassy in Tokyo.

Mazda is highlighting the new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid at the Tokyo show. (Earlier post.) The company is advancing the development of this vehicle and is hoping to commence commercial leasing during fiscal 2008, according to Imaki. The new rotary-engined hybrid doubles the hydrogen fuel range from 100 to around 200 kilometers (164 miles).

Output of the evolved power unit is increased by 40% compared with the RX-8 Hydrogen RE resulting in much better acceleration performance. The hydrogen rotary engine, the core unit of the model, is changed from a longitudinal to a transverse layout and its intake/exhaust resistance and combustion efficiency are improved to yield high output across a wide range of engine speeds.

In addition, Mazda developed a new concept hybrid system to match the new hydrogen rotary engine. The conventional hydrogen rotary engine has problems of low torque and poor combustion efficiency in the low rev range. The hybrid system uses the hydrogen engine to power a generator to produce electricity that powers a 110 kW peak electric motor. The system delivers quick response for driving performance allied with low fuel consumption.

Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid Operating Modes
ConditionPower source
Pulling away from stop Battery power
Regular steady running Hydrogen rotary engine and generator power
Acceleration Hydrogen rotary engine/generator power + battery power
Deceleration Regenerated by motor during braking and engine braking
Stationary Hydrogen rotary engine stops idling unless the battery needs recharging.

Acceleration kicks in the instant you hit the accelerator, creating a dynamic feeling from the synchronized engine and motor power.

The main components of hybrid system—the hydrogen rotary engine and generator, inverter, motor, and lithium-ion battery pack—are controlled to generate electricity, recharge and discharge the battery in accordance with driving conditions.

Comments

John Baldwin

where are they getting the hydrogen from? what does this look like on a co2 well to wheel basis?

gr

We love innovation and diversified energy resources but...

"hybrid system uses the hydrogen engine to power a generator to produce electricity that powers a 110 kW peak electric motor."

Okay... but isn't a Li battery powering the E-motor just a whole lot more elegant? A whole lot? Wouldn't an H2 powered genset recharging batteries accomplish similar goals?

andrichrose

200 miles on a tank its a joke, works out at about 12 mpg if
my caluations are correct

A diesel Nissan quawasy ( something like that, you know the
one that I mean ) recently compleated the drive between
John O Groats and Lands End in England on one tank of
Fuel, 800 miles or so on 58 litres of diesel !

John

@GR
I believe that the hydrogen fueled rotary engine serves as the genset.

@John Baldwin
Not pretty. But auto manufacturers can conveniently write that off saying that their newfangled system is ~40% efficient tank-to-wheels which is ~4x better than current gasoline ICE. They would market it as such and avoid the niggling detail that you are now carrying only 1/4 the energy and barely achieve an acceptable range.

I wonder, what is the peak thermal efficiency of this new rotary engine? The high specific power of rotary designs, not to mention their simplicity, has always made them appealing for use as a genset, IMO. Stirling engine would be ideal from an efficiency standpoint, but I'm pretty sure they have a low specific power.

I would imagine that the use of hydrogen helps solve two of the fundamental problems with the wankel: sealing and an elongated combustion chamber.

The sealing thing is just a guess, though the increased flame front speed of hydrogen (compared to any sort of petrol) allows for a more complete burn.

Perhaps if thermal efficiency reached 40% and ANG was used as a hydrogen stoarge medium, this would be a viable drivetrain.

jack

200 miles on a tank its a joke, works out at about 12 mpg if my caluations are correct

Measuring fuel economy for hydrogen based on volume makes about as much sense as measuring the fuel economy of BEVs that way.

This RX-8 has a range of 164 miles (not 200) on 110 liters of H2 at 5000 psi (350 bar). There are 0.0229 kg of gaseous H2 per liter at that pressure, which means there's 2.519 kg of hydrogen in a full tank. The energy content of hydrogen is 143 MJ/kg, so it takes 360.217 MJ to go 164 miles in this vehicle. That translates into 341,420 BTU for 164 miles, or 2,082 BTU/mile.

On an energy content basis, that is equivalent to a gasoline-fueled vehicle getting 60 mpg or a diesel-fueled vehicle getting 67 mpg.

Not bad for a vehicle which is rated at 19 mpg (gasoline) by the EPA.

George

On an energy content basis, that is equivalent to a gasoline-fueled vehicle getting 60 mpg or a diesel-fueled vehicle getting 67 mpg.

That would be OK if you could just pump liquid hydrogen out of the ground, but you have to make the hydrogen, and that takes energy. More energy than you will get back out when you burn it. We don't know how the hydrogen was made, or how much CO2 was vented in the process. When you make the appropriate correction, it probably would not compare favorably to a gasoline hybrid.

jack

That would be OK if you could just pump liquid hydrogen out of the ground, but you have to make the hydrogen, and that takes energy.

It takes energy to make and deliver gasoline and diesel, George. It takes energy to generate and distribute electricity, George.

More energy than you will get back out when you burn it.

Same for electricity, George. Same for anything, George.

We don't know how the hydrogen was made

Same for electricity, George.

or how much CO2 was vented in the process

Same for electricity, George.

When you make the appropriate correction, it probably would not compare favorably to a gasoline hybrid.

You LOVE the old strawman, George. The fuel cut the energy intensity of that specific vehicle by more than 2/3, George.

You need to put down your BEV pom-poms and let go of your irrational hatred of hydrogen, George. It's rotting your brain.

Now, do you actually have a comment to make that relates to this specific article? If not, we're now well aware of how much you hate hydrogen and how much you love your little electric cars. No need to comment further, George.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Jack, for summing up what I was about to post in respond to George.

Wankel rotary would do better with H2 than with gasoline due to the fact that H2 burns much more rapidly and more completely than gasoline within the wedge-shape combustion chamber of the peculiar Wankel engine. H2 can tolerate very lean air:fuel ratio, which lowers the peak combustion temperature hence lower heat loss. The wedge-shaped combustion chamber of the Wankel allows more heat loss than the piston engine, so reduction in peak combustion temp is of great help. The strategy would be on low power setting to use lean mixture with lambda greater than two, probably closer to 4, in order to get NOx within regulation, while at higher power setting, use stoichiometric mixture to maximize power, and use reduction catalyst to take care of the NOx.

Since the intake side of a Wankel is always cool, there is no fear of premature ignition of the air/fuel mixture upon hitting the hot surface in the combustion chamber as when air/fuel enters the cylinder in the piston engine. This is a distinctive advantage of Wankel rotary engine with respect to H2 fuel over the piston engine.

Some day in the future, fossil fuel supply will run low and will need supplementation with synthetic fuel. With CO2 from exhaust of fossil-fuel power plants, we can synthesize methane from H2 and avoid having to deal with storage and transportation of H2 directly. Howver, upon complete exhaustion of fossil fuels, or global warming forcing a halt in fossil fuel usage, then, there will not be a ready source of CO2 for the synthesis of methane (CH4). In that case, we have better find ways to store and transport H2 efficiently, because H2 is all the synthetic fuel we are going to be able to synthesize efficiently from renewable primary sources of energy.

In the abscence of the source CO2, we could synthesize NH3 via the Haber-Bosch process as an alternative H2 carrier for compact transportation and storage, but that would entail energy loss in the conversion process. NH3 can be combusted directly in ICE engine, or be electrolyzed into H2 for FCV usage. NH3 can be liquefied at room temperature and at only 120 psi, thus allowing H2-vehicles to have a low-cost metallic fuel tank no larger and not much heavier than the gasoline tank at the present.

I hope that would answer your question, George.

GreenPlease

Assuming that 1/3 the energy expended in producing the hydrogen finds its way to the wheels, this vehicle consumes 6246 BTU/mile or 20 mpg gasoline equivalent. Big step forward (sarcasm)

Assumptions:

Efficiency of electrolysis: 66% (common)
Tank to wheels: 50% (dreaming)

The only upside is that we could potentially produce H2 with offshore wind power or a novel form of solar power. Somebody will figure out how to store it (probably aluminum powder, on board water, and chemical oxygen stripping, maybe a novel hydride that can be reformed on the fly)

This brings about an idea: onboard reforming of diesel fuel for use in the Hydrogen Renesis. Figure out a way to do it while keeping the carbon solid and you have and you've got something...

Roger Pham

Greenplease,

Reserve your sarcasm for another occasion!

Fossil fuel to electricity: 33% (national grid)
Grid to wheel in a BEV: ~67%
Combined: 33 x 67= 22%

HT-SOEC to produce H2: 140%
Wind or solar electricity thru the grid: 92%
efficiency of this Mazda H2-car: ~40% spring or fall; 50-60% when engine's heat is used for cabin heating winter.
Combined: 1.40 x .92 x .40= 51% spring or fall
1.40 x .92 x .55= 71% winter

Wind or solar electricity to the grid: 92%
BEV grid to wheel: 67%
combined: .92 x .67= 61%

51%-71% H2-V to 61% of BEV ain't too bad! How do you store wind and solar electricity from the summer for use in the winter?
Battery is not the solution. Hydrogen is! Efficiency of H2 when used in combined heat and power co-generation: 80-90%. Unbeatable!

juha k

Efficiency of 1.4 is not plausible. You have to account for the heat that you lose in your high temperature solid oxide fuel cell (HT-SOEC). You quoted a thermal efficiency of around .45-.5 in earlier post: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/08/toyota-cautions.html

BEVs can achieve efficiency of around 0.8 when using lithium batteries. Li-Ion batteries at around 0.95, motor 0.9 and inverter 0.95.

While efficiencies tell you about losses of primary energy, what really matters is the amount of emissions, (future) cost per mile and reliability of the technology. Both BEV and fuel cell route can have near zero emissions. When it comes to cost, BEV's are getting close with lot of improvements in sight. Counting just improvements due to economies of scale makes BEVs look plausible in near term. Fuel cells, hydrogen storage and hydrogen infrastructure are still pipe end dreams in terms of cost. They might make it, but that remains to be seen. Even if they do, we are quite likely to see plug-in hydrogen hybrids rather than pure hydrogen vehicles, where fuel cell or hydrogen combustion engine is a generator to get extended range.

jack

Assuming that 1/3 the energy expended in producing the hydrogen finds its way to the wheels, this vehicle consumes 6246 BTU/mile or 20 mpg gasoline equivalent. Big step forward (sarcasm)

I didn't realize that gasoline was a natural substance pumped without the use of energy out of the ground directly into a fuel tank. Oh it's not? Then you're playing... Apples and Oranges! If you want to start going back to the well, then you should go back to the well with what you're comparing it to also.

What next - are you going to start measuring the BTU/mile from the well for solar powered EVs? Care to guess what that is? A standard PV is 12% efficient. Forgetting about the inverter and other losses to the plug, a Tesla Roadster will require 5,853 BTU/mile. That's 21 mpg. Might as well be driving an SUV!

Isn't Apples and Oranges fun? Anyone can play. No thinking necessary!

Roger Pham

juha,
1.4 is the electrical efficiency, for example: 1 kwh of wind electricity will result in 1.4 kwh of H2 output. The gain in H2 energy is due to the heat input beside the electrical input. Heat input can use the waste heat of a gas turbine power plant, or from concentrated solar irradiation on a sunny day when the wind is also blowing. The solar spectrum can also be split, with the light band going into PV to generate electricity, and the infrared heat band used to provide the heat in order to boost the efficiency of electrolysis.
.45-.5 is the thermal efficiency required in making the electricity and the heat input, as in gas-cooled high-temp nuclear reactor.

You need to realize that even when the world is relying 100% on solar and wind energy, you cannot depend on these intermittent sources to charge your BEV's, but must have ways to store these energy as chemical fuels to be used to generate electricity to charge your BEV's later when wind or solar output is insufficient or absent.

Thus, any attempt to say that BEV that can be charged directly from solar or wind energy so would be more efficient than H2V is not reflecting deep consideration of the whole renewable energy paradigm. For the BEV that is mostly charged at night, when there is no solar energy output whatsoever, or when the wind is not blowing, your must rely on a power plant consuming H2 to generate your electricity, hence your overall BEV's efficiency will not be any better than H2V even if solar or wind energy is used 100% of the time.

@Jack

I apologize for my poorly composed comparison, I did it on the fly. Had it been fully composed, I would have taken up much more room tracing gasoline back to the refinery, back to the oil tanker, back to the pipe line, back to the well head, back to the geologic forces that formed the oil, back to the organic mass that was the basis for the oil, and then back to the sun.

Somehow I think that BEVs would still win on efficiency.

"1 kwh of wind electricity will result in 1.4 kwh of H2 output."

@Roger
You should write a couple of companies, you are obviously on to something. Mitsubishi Heavy, General Electric, Siemens, Honda, Fuji Heavy, Westinghouse... hell even Lockeed Martin, Boeing, DARPA, you know, anyone interested in getting 1.4 kwh of H2 out of 1 kwh of electricity and would invest billions if it had a shot in the dark...

As for using chemical fuels to deal with intermittent wind and solar, I put forth an alternative: pumped air stoarge. How's that? If we are using solar thermal, excess thermal mass can be stored for use at night.

Don't get me wrong, I think there is some promise in hydrogen. I just don't see it being the "final" solution to energy storage.

Somehow I suspect that natural gas will end up being the best way to store hydrogen...

jack

I apologize for my poorly composed comparison, I did it on the fly. Had it been fully composed, I would have taken up much more room tracing gasoline back to the refinery, back to the oil tanker, back to the pipe line, back to the well head, back to the geologic forces that formed the oil, back to the organic mass that was the basis for the oil, and then back to the sun.

Somehow I think that BEVs would still win on efficiency.

Do you think misplaced sarcasm will help rescue your poor argument? Or do you think the old go-to move (BEVs are the most efficient!) somehow negates the value of what we see in getting 3 times the distance out of a given amount of energy?

Let me clue you in to one of the secrets to happiness in life -- one needn't hate something completely to love something else. You and others would do yourselves a big favor if you would stop with the BEV zealotry and have the courage to admit that both hydrogen and BEVs have upsides and downsides, and that neither is ready for the mass market. And that both are radically more efficient and potentially environmentally friendly than what they will replace (ICEs).

Look around you at the real world for a minute. Take a look at all the people driving 10 mpg jacked up tanks down the road, all by themselves. Do you honestly think they're going to get worked up over the nearly imperceptible differences in efficiency and cleanness between hydrogen and batteries? You're seriously deluded if you think any normal person gives a flip about such things. Performance, range, price, reliability, refueling, convenience. On top of that style. These are the things people care about in vehicles, not about some pissing match about which technology eked out 1 less BTU per 100 miles.

Roger Pham

Anonymous poster: "@Roger
You should write a couple of companies, you are obviously on to something. Mitsubishi Heavy, General Electric, Siemens, Honda, Fuji Heavy, Westinghouse... hell even Lockeed Martin, Boeing, DARPA, you know, anyone interested in getting 1.4 kwh of H2 out of 1 kwh of electricity and would invest billions if it had a shot in the dark..."

Major companies already know about this, and that's why most car mfg's are coming out with FCV's and H2-ICE-HEV. Please kindly read over my postings here and elsewhere in GCC again to see how one can get 1.4 kwh of H2 out of 1kwh of input electricity.

"As for using chemical fuels to deal with intermittent wind and solar, I put forth an alternative: pumped air stoarge. How's that? If we are using solar thermal, excess thermal mass can be stored for use at night."

Please do the math before you get pumped-up about pumped air storage (pardon the pun :).
You'll find that pumped air storage or thermal storage can practically store energy only for hours at a time, up to half a day. Definitely not for seasonal energy storage. Also, how would big trucks, trains, ships etc. run on battery, or pumped air storage, or thermal storage?

@Jack

"Look around you at the real world for a minute. Take a look at all the people driving 10 mpg jacked up tanks down the road, all by themselves. Do you honestly think they're going to get worked up over the nearly imperceptible differences in efficiency and cleanness between hydrogen and batteries?"

Never thought about it that way. Point taken.

@Roger

I've never seen anything to suggest that pumped air storage is only viable short periods of time. If I recall, pumped air losses energy in a logarithmic manner at ~3% per day. Overall efficiency is around 50% which, IMO, is similar to the efficiency of using hydrogen for energy storage, albeit much cheaper (one must think that salt domes are cheaper than exotic steel tanks)

Roger Pham

Any form of compressed air storage requires very large volume at high pressure to store the minuscule energy. At the same pressure and volume, Hydrogen can store 20 times more energy than compressed air. Almost every major car companies are coming out with H2 vehicle. How many major car companies are announcing compressed air vehicle?

George

@Jack
Let me clue you in to one of the secrets to happiness in life -- one needn't hate something completely to love something else. You and others would do yourselves a big favor if you would stop with the BEV zealotry and have the courage to admit that both hydrogen and BEVs have upsides and downsides, and that neither is ready for the mass market. And that both are radically more efficient and potentially environmentally friendly than what they will replace (ICEs).

Jack, you keep claiming that we are BEV zealots, yet you refuse to admit that H2 is not perfect and ultra green. Would you just be honest, for godsake? H2 can't be "just like electricity" in efficiency when it's made *from* electricity using an inefficient process. However green that electricity is, H2 is less green. It simply has to be. If you had any scientific expertise, you would understand this. If you want to claim the efficiency difference is "imperceptible", then you should at least be prepared to explain how this can be without resort to Roger's theoretical marvels that can only be implemented in a world where cost is not a factor. No one is claiming that BEV/PHEV technology has NO downside, we're just trying to get the H2 cheerleaders to be honest. You imply FCVs and BEVs are equally far from market, but that's just not true. PHEVs are now being ramped up for serious mass production. Is the same true of FCVs? If you're going to respond to this, could you please be straight and not do your usual smart-ass dismissal?

George

Roger wrote: You need to realize that even when the world is relying 100% on solar and wind energy, you cannot depend on these intermittent sources to charge your BEV's, but must have ways to store these energy as chemical fuels...

Roger, no one is claiming that the world will ever rely 100% on solar and wind. That is a strawman. There will be nukes, hydro, geothermal, residual fossil... and sources yet to be determined.

jack

yet you refuse to admit that H2 is not perfect and ultra green.

Where exactly did I call H2 perfect or ultragreen? Please point me to that. You're projecting your own zealotry, George.

PHEVs are now being ramped up for serious mass production.

Where? Where's that big PHEV factory, George?

If you're going to respond to this, could you please be straight and not do your usual smart-ass dismissal?

Maybe if you didn't spend half of every post claiming I have s*x with Dick Cheney, am dumber than a rock, and drink the blood of children, then perhaps you'd get a more involved response. But as it stands, I just see someone who is rabid and frothed up and spitting insults and unable to engage in rational discourse.

You confuse my distaste for BEV dogmatism with being an H2 fan. I don't feel the need to start cheering for a given team until they actually start taking the field - and even then. The world is much wider than you think it is, George, and yes, to the average person, the efficiency differences between H2 and batteries is imperceptible. You need to get out and walk around and observe actual people and what they actually care about. The problem with increasing efficiency is the notion of diminishing returns. The cheaper you make the fuel, the less each increment in savings matters.

no one is claiming that the world will ever rely 100% on solar and wind. That is a strawman. There will be nukes, hydro, geothermal, residual fossil... and sources yet to be determined.

Oh, so now you know the fuel mix of the grid 50 years into the future, too? LOL. We could easily run only on sun and wind if we wanted to. It's all about making storage work well and paring down waste.

George

Jack:
Where exactly did I call H2 perfect or ultragreen? Please point me to that. You're projecting your own zealotry, George.

In another thread, you said: Hydrogen hurts the environment? How?

Here again, you simply refuse to acknowledge the issues. As a niche product, great. But as a mainstream auto energy carrier, hydrogen is not as carbon-free or clean as a battery. If you would actually admit to the real energetic and/or pollutant cost of hydrogen production in a real world scenario where costs were a factor, then that would be great, but it just seems like one dodge after another.

Where? Where's that big PHEV factory, George?

Uhh, General Motors, Toyota...

You confuse my distaste for BEV dogmatism with being an H2 fan.

And you confuse my distaste for H2 dogmatism with being a BEV fan. I'm actually not that crazy about BEVs. I plan to buy a PHEV (gasoline) in a few years. At some point in the future, the range extender could be an H2 (or other) fuel cell, and that would be OK with me.

Stan Peterson

@jack,

I like your defense of H2, over BEVs, as an academic exercise. But you asked where are the PHEV factories?

GM Executive VP Bob Lutz has identified Lords town Ohio as the factory that will be, and for which early tooling is on order, so it is being converted to build the Chevy Volt circa the 2010 model year, I believe.

At the same time, he has not identified any plans for a FCEV other than to say R&D continues. I have heard but can't vouch for the rumor that present production cost of the latest generation of experimental FCEV is still in excess of $100k per vehicle.

I believe in trying many avenues and the preferable technology will win out.

Here George is probably correct, the PHEV is winning out among the early contestants for an ICE replacement.

I suspect that it will be the eventual victor too as electricity distribution infrastructure exists, lots of GEN III+ Nukes are in the pipeline to provide power for them, and the substitution for all fossil fuels is just too easy in this way.

Even if there were no cost or efficiency benefits to electrified LDVs, finding a valid substitute for petroleum is an international need felt by all technologically advanced societies, and will prevent petroleum wars.

But there are still niches that H2 will be most appropriate to fill. OTOH, a breakthrough tomorrow might change the presumed answers,and H2 could be the solution.

Roger Pham

Good point, Stan.
George, while hydro and geothermal energy will remain limited, nuclear energy is quite neutral with respect to both H2V and BEV. High-temp nuclear reactor can produce H2 and electricity for BEV with comparable efficiency.
Jack is absolutely right in pointing out that the absolute efficiency issue of H2V or BEV is not as important as other issues such as convenience, customer acceptance, logistic etc...

I would like to further assert that we should focus more on how to halt the use of dirty coal and oil, and accelerate the use of renewable energy and may be SAFE nuclear energy ( if such is not an oxymoron!). Any propulsion technology that can safely exploit clean and renewable energy sources should be equally welcomed. Some degree of variation in efficiency should not be the major issue.

George

Roger, we're in agreement about reducing the use of coal and oil; I'd love to see that. There are a lot of people out there, and even a few on this forum, (not you) that think H2 is the perfect fuel, creates no GHG, no pollution, etc. This view is promulgated in some areas of the media. Obviously, it is incorrect if the hydrogen is created from coal or methane. Even if it is created from clean electricity, as long as we are still generating electricity from coal, anything that uses electricity from any source is causing more coal to be used, electricity being a fungible resource. I think the idea that hydrogen is necessarily pristine is a serious error, so I'm doing what I can to disabuse people of that notion. Ultimately, the technology that can come close enough to the performance and convenience of gasoline at an acceptable cost will predominate; I don't think anyone disputes that.

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