AllCell Receives $460K Li-ion battery manufacturing grant Through Illinois Energy Plan
FDK and Asahi Kasei establish joint venture for Lithium-ion capacitors

Pike Research forecasts fuel cell vehicle cumulative sales to cross the 1M mark in 2020 with $16.9B in annual revenue

The fuel cell vehicle (FCV) market is now in the ramp-up phase to commercialization, anticipated by automakers to happen around 2015. According to a new report from Pike Research, commercial sales of FCVs will reach 1 million vehicles by 2020, with a cumulative 1.2 million vehicles sold by the end of that year, generating $16.9 billion in annual revenue.

Pike Research’s analysis indicates that, during the pre-commercialization period from 2010 to 2014, approximately 10,000 FCVs will be deployed. Following that phase, the firm forecasts that 57,000 FCVs will be sold in 2015, with sales volumes ramping to 390,000 vehicles annually by 2020. While these latest figures represent a downgrade from Pike Research’s previous FCV forecasts, published in the first quarter of 2010, the firm expects a step change in FCV production levels to occur in 2015.

Early sales will be focused on areas where infrastructure investments have been or are being made, such as the United States (primarily California and the New York City region); Germany; Scandinavia; Japan (mainly Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka); South Korea (primarily around Seoul); and Shanghai, China.

The largest market for FCVs will be the Asia Pacific region, which will account for more than half of total worldwide sales in 2020, according to Pike. The most rapid growth, however, will come in Western Europe, where sales with increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 53%.

The limiting factor for the FCV market will be the availability of hydrogen infrastructure. If current plans for station construction are delayed or abandoned, the rollout of FCVs will be similarly pushed back.

—Pike Research senior analyst Lisa Jerram

Early adoption is likely to be focused in Japan, Germany, and California, where there is significant fueling infrastructure planned. Transit buses have also been used as a test bed for fuel cell technology, though they lag somewhat behind cars in the timeframe for commercial viability. Transit fuel cell buses offer zero emissions and low noise operation, as well as greater fuel efficiency than internal combustion engines. Pike Research’s projections are for commercially viable transit buses to follow that of light-duty vehicles (LDVs), with this market more dependent on subsidies or incentives for adoption than the car market.

Based on the current state of battery-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and conventional hybrids, Pike believes that light-duty fuel cell cars will not see true demand until the following conditions are met:

  • Costs are significantly reduced;
  • Market conditions or regulations place a premium on zero tailpipe emissions or non-petroleum-based fuels; and
  • Hydrogen infrastructure is scaled up to meet the demand of drivers.

These conditions will likely have to happen simultaneously; this is not an “either/or” set of conditions. The major exception to that ultimatum is cost. Should fuel cell vehicles reach cost parity with diesel-hybrid models, demand could be significantly higher, thereby spurring greater investment in infrastructure.

...In the first two ears of early commercial production phase, deployments will likely be more supply-driven than demand-driven. Consequently, up to 2016, the FCV market will probably only be in the tens of thousands. Pike Research anticipates this phase will resemble the current controlled rollout of BEVs. Automakers will initially be conservative with production numbers as they determine true consumer demand. After the initial rollout, however, production numbers may see a dramatic uptick based on demand.

—Fuel Cell Vehicles

Pike Research’s report, “Fuel Cell Vehicles”, analyzes opportunities and challenges in the development of commercially viable fuel cell cars, buses, and trucks. The report provides an examination of the key market drivers and barriers for FCV development in the face of competition from incumbent internal combustion engine vehicles and new plug-in electric vehicles. The report includes a status update on the progress of fuel cell R&D toward meeting commercial technical and cost targets for cars and buses. The report also covers key countries’ policies promoting development and adoption of FCVs, strategies and plans of major industry players, and discussion of the vehicle segments and drivetrain configurations under development.

The report forecasts global pre-commercial deployments of LDVs and buses through 2014, global commercial sales of LDVs and buses from 2015 through 2020, and potential revenue from fuel cell LDVs from 2015 through 2020.

Comments

Roger Pham

@Bob Wallace and Arnold,
Your numbers for H2 are outdated. New high-pressure electrolyzer are 85% efficient and does not need to compress the H2. It'll take less than 40 kWh of electricity to make 1 kg of compressed H2. It can supply the H2 already compressed. FCV like the HOnda FCX Clarity gets about 70% efficiency tank to wheel.

A PV panel surface area of about 10,000 Meter square can fillup about 70 FCV's daily, with each needing 3.5 kg of H2 for each fillup. 10,000 m^2 is only 100 m x 100 m, the size of a large parking lot. (~the length of a football field x the length of a football field).

With the price of PV panels dropping real fast, the gov. of China estimated that within a few years, solar PV electricity will be competitive with coal-fired generated electricity. Soon, there will be PV panels on every roof top.

With the low-cost solar PV's as the main energy source feeding the future H2 fillup stations, we can be sure that FCV's will run primarily on renewable solar energy. Pure and simple! H2 as fuel is the best way to overcome the intermittency of solar and wind energy. With PV panels everywhere storing excess solar energy as H2, the Hydrogen Economy will become inevitable.
"Mark my words, you may smile, but it will come!"

Arne

@Roger,

Do you have a source for that 85% efficient high-pressure electrolyzer? Because you can not create energy for free. High pressure gas represents energy, and that energy has to come from somewhere.

70 customers per day is not enough to economically run a gas station. I think you're looking more at 700 or 7000 customers a day.

Your calculation for PV area needed for a refuelling station are very optimistic.

To supply 70 vehicles with 3.5 kg hydrogen per day @40 kWh/kg you need 10,000 kWh per day, or 3.6 million kWh per year. In a sunny region each kW of solar power generates about 1500 kWh per year. You will need a 2.4 MW solar power installation to generate that amount of energy. An average system has about 50 W/m2 of landarea (you failed to account for lost space between the rows of pv panels). So 2.4 MW requires an area of about 50,000 m2. And when assuming a more realistic 700 customers per day, you'll need about half a square km per gas station. Where do you want to place that many panels in a built-up environment where most of the customers of that refuelling station happen to live?

A city like Los Angeles probably serves more than a million customers per day. That would mean 1500 of these hydrogen stations and a total land area covered in PV panels of a few hundred km2.

No, that dream is not going to work I'm afraid. Solar panels will have to be placed in the desert where there is reliable sunshine and no shadow issues from high-rise buildings and trees.

Arne

Roger,

Furthermore, it appears that your 40 kWh/kg is on the optimistic side too. This nrel report from September 2004 states that the Avalence Unipolar Alkaline high pressure electrolyser requires 56-60 kWh per kg. I have not been able to find any recent updates to this figure and have to assume it is still valid today.

So the real energy cost of producing high pressure H2 is at least 40% higher than your estimate.

If I correct for this difference, the land area needed for a 700 customers/day refuelling station increases to about 2/3 of a km2. And for a large city you're looking at 1000 km2.

HealthyBreeze

@Roger,

Fuel Cells' problem is that they are competing with various near term incremental lithium battery improvements for who stores the KwH. FC and Batteries both output kilowatt hours, but for the FC to do it, they need large high pressure tanks, delicate FC membranes that can foul, and FC don't produce power very quickly, so they still need batteries of super capacitors for sudden acceleration or regenerative braking.

When you count the whole FC system, the purchase cost, bulk, mass and comparative range doesn't look nearly as favorable compared to the batteries we will see in the same time window.

Now, given that batteries being charged from coal power plants OR PV panels would lose far less energy than H2, and that H2 pencils out to have few if any meaningful advantages compared to batteries...I suspect FC will always be a technology receeding towards the horizon.

Bob Wallace

"1 How spendy wll h2 be when they supply it at the pump.."

Per mile it's going to be more expensive than electricity supplied at the outlet. Making hydrogen from electricity is a lossy process. Then you've got to add in the additional infrastructure to turn water into hydrogen, store, and dispense the hydrogen.

Cheaper than fossil fuel is not good enough when there is another significantly cheaper option on the market.


"2 How much fuel can the vehicle carry?"

Range might be a place where FCV will excel over EVs, at least for some number of years. But since the transition away from petroleum will almost certainly be a gradual one, those who frequently need to drive longer distances will have ICEV/PHEV options. Later, when we have 200 mile range EVs and <20 minute, 80% charging, range will not be an issue.

"3 How cheap will the car be... they already KNOW they can reach 50k per car by 2015"

EVs are already about $20k cheaper and manufactures state that prices will drop over the next few years as production levels grow. We could see an EV between $20k and $25k by the time a $50k FCV comes to market.

"4 How long does it last... they already have fuel cells that last 60000 hours of use... thats a bloody lot.. they have fuel cells for cars that already last 7000 hours... In simple terms by 2025 they will have fuel cells that outlast the car."

FCV might win the lifespan race. If ultracapacitors grow in ability to hold power it will be a tie. Industrial electric motors should already be able to give one 300,000 miles.

I'm not sure that having a engine/motor system that outlasts the rest of the car is going to be a big selling feature. People aren't likely to pay a premium up front in order to get a propulsion system that they can pull out of their 15 year old 'tired dog' and implant into a new sled.

IMO the big danger for FCVs is that EVs will be established prior to FCVs getting to the point where EVs are today.

By 2015 there's going to be a lot of Level 2 and Level 3 infrastructure in place and almost no hydrogen fueling outlets. FCVs can only win a significant part of the market if they offer much lower than EV costs per mile and I don't see that possible.

Those who need lots of range will be able to buy a good ICEV for less than half the price of a FCV and the price difference will more than cover the price of fuel difference.

I've got nothing against FCVs nor any vested interest in EVs, I just don't see the economics working for FCVs.

Bob Wallace

The discussion of how much real estate it would take to produce hydrogen for FCVs is a bit off track.

The power for EVs is likely come more from wind than solar (at least until solar drops significantly more).

EVs are great enablers for wind farms. Most people are going to be very comfortable with late night charging. The average ~33 mile per day driver will need to charge their 2012 Leaf about 1.5 hours per night. That means that large fleets of EVs can sit plugged in at night waiting for increases in wind farm output.

EVs will create an off-peak market for wind, one that will create profits for wind-electricity at a time when it is often being sold for almost nothing or curtailed (turbines shut down).

Hydgrogen production could also be a off-peak user like EVs but it would mean creating much more production capacity and storage. That would be a major cost at the pump booster.

Available solar is going to be a lot more valuable as it is happening during peak hours. Hydrogen will have to compete against other demands for power in order to produce during peak hours.

The bottom line is that hydrogen is likely to pay more for the electricity it uses than are EVs. A further cost wedge....

DaveD

@Roger,

Before you start "agreeing with A D", you might want to see his other posts on ABG which include gems like this:

"Many will have a 2 cars set at home along with a small boat, motorcycles and scooters, personnal airplanes, stock cars for the weekend fun, hydrogen powered home. Even some will buy for themself small ufo for visiting other planets."


I'm just sayin... :-)

Bob Wallace

Let's consider EV/ICEV prices for a moment...

I set up a spreadsheet, using these values:

Loan - 4%, 5 years. Gas $4/gallon. Electricity $0.08/kWh. $100/year for oil/filters. Gas, electricity and oil/filters increasing at 4% per year. 12,000 miles annual driving. Did not include insurance which would slightly favor the EV. A 4% annual increase is likely to be 'kind' to gas and off-peak charging might be less.

OK, comparing a generic EV and a generic $20k, 40MPG ICEV one finds that if the EV could be purchased for $26k the monthly payment plus fuel/charging costs would be roughly equal for the first five years.

After the vehicles are paid off the EV becomes $110 less to drive per month and that number rises over the years as gas becomes more expensive. At the end of 12 years it will have been ~$10k less expensive to own the EV.

FCVs have a tough road ahead of them, assuming battery prices drop as expected.

FCVs will have to meet or better the cost of EVs and they will have to provide fuel for the same or less than electricity and the cost of building the infrastructure is going to have a big impact on the price of hydrogen.

If range is the only advantage FCVs have over EVs it won't help FCVs much as one will be able to purchase a much less expensive ICEV if they frequently drive more than EV range.

Roger Pham

@Anne,
I appreciate your fact checking. Let me show you my sources of fact and my calculation:
Let's choose most of California as a starting location:
according to NREL website:
http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/old_data/nsrdb/redbook/atlas/serve.cgi
the annual average insolation per M^2 per day is 5-6 kWh for a flat plate tilted South at the same angle as latitude. Let's pick 5.5 kWh/M^2 x 0.2 efficiency of PV panel=1.1 kWh per M^2 of PV panel area per day.

At 10,000 kWh/day to fill up 70 FCV's, then, the required surface of solar PV would be less than 10,000 M^2. Assuming an average household has 3.5 persons and two FCV's which require fillup once per week, and each household can devote 100 M^2 of South-facing roof area for solar PV's. So, an H2 station that can fill up 70 FCV's per day can serve almost 500 FCV's, or 250 households. EAch average household can provide ~100 kWh DC electricity per day, so multiply by 250 will get us 25,000 kWh of electricity daily.

What the above means is that, after making enough H2 (10,000 kWh) to fill up the 70 FCV's daily, those 250 households with solar PV's can set aside 15,000 kWh daily for their own electrical requirement of 60 kWh/day per household (15,000/250=60). This is clearly a reasonable average daily household electrical consumption.

Regarding the 85%-efficient high-pressure electrolyzer, look at this link:
http://www.accagen.com/p-electrolyzers.htm

wintermane2000

You forget the fuel cell cars will be getting the same subs the evs are getting both on the car side as well as on the factory that makes the fuel cells and makes the cars AND on the companies that supply the h2 AND on the companies that run the stations... just as with evs...

That will drop the 50k pricetag a good bit. And these guys have bigger pockets and a bigger wartchest then most nations.. so they likely will further sub the first million fcevs to get things snowballing.





Bob Wallace

$7.5k off a $50k car doesn't bring it down to under $30k.

And why would car companies take a huge loss on FCVs when they haven't done so for EVs?

Bob Wallace

Roger - apparently Accagen sold out to a company called Morphic. Morphic doesn't have any meaningful info on their site.

I can't find anything on line about an electrolyzer up and running, just some repeats of Accagen's 2007 claim.

Do you have any information about units currently in operation?

Arne

@Roger,

The average pv panel is not 20% efficient, but more like 15%. Furthermore, you fail to account for the spacing between the panels. Look at this picture of a solar farm. You see the spacing between the rows? That is the area these pv panels are going to occupy.

Your 5.5 kWh per day average insolation is meteorological data and can not be used 1:1 to calculate pv system yield. It fails to account for inverter losses, high temperature losses (a standard crystalline pv panel will lose ~0.5% of its rated capacity per degree C above 25 panel temperature), dirt etc. According to this page that explains calculating expected PV system yield. They take 78% as the maximum usable from the theoretical insolation. So ~4.5 kWh/day usable sunlight.

Even the average US family most certainly has not 100 m2 of perfectly south facing roof available. Not even almost-south facing roof. And you have to account for shading issues (trees, other buildings, chimneys etc). A roof is rarely 100% available.

Roger Pham

@Bob Wallace,
Thank you for your contribution regarding the viability of BEV/PHEV in storing of excess night-time wind electricity.
With day-time charging of BEV/PHEV at the work place, excess wind and solar electricity can also be captured as well. All that's needed is a networked car that will be told when there will be excess renewable electricity to start charging. The future indeed looks bright for Green vehicles, indeed. With both prices of batteries and PV panels plummeting, the near-future mass adaptation of renewable energy will be inevitable.

The discussion should not be about whether FCV or BEV or PHEV, as they all will have important roles in the transportation scheme. Instead, we should come up with idea about what to do, how fast, and how soon to embrace all forms of Green Electric Vehicles.
Wintermane2000 brought up a good point regarding this. The gov. can be brought in as a partner in further accelerating the pace of renewable energy deployment. We have not time to waste. Global warming is accelerating rapidly.

There are many companies offering high-pressure electrolyzers. The following links are some of them:
http://www.avalence.com/technology/default.htm
http://www.fuelcellmarkets.com/itm_power_Hydrogen_Electrolysers_Fuelling/products_and_services/3,1,2611,17,28543.html
http://www.fuelcellmarkets.com/itm_power_Hydrogen_Electrolysers_Fuelling/products_and_services/3,1,2611,17,28547.html

Roger Pham

@Anne,
All your points are valid.
However, my projection is for 2015 and beyond, not the present. Hence, the 20% PV panels efficiency will be expected as an average by 2015.
As for inverter losses, transmission losses, and dirty panels all will have to be figured in, true. To address this, then, 250 houses won't be able to produce 25,000 kWh/day, but rather ~20,000 kWh/day, in which 1/2 can be devoted to FCV fueling. Wind electricity will help with the rest, and it, too, can be stored by the H2 refueling stations. These H2 stations will also have FC generators to provide backup electricity for calm nights when neither sun nor wind are available.

Also, as Bob Wallace has mentioned, PHEV's and BEV's can also help store excess wind electricity as well.

Also, 100 M^2 is quite a large surface area for an under-average size house or older houses, though, for a 200 m^2 house which is the average size of newer houses in California surburban areas, 1/2 of roof area can be devoted for solar PV. Smaller size house can have the back patio, or car port, or front porch cover, or garage roof covered with solar PV. The garage area is not computed in the size of the houses in the USA.

I've just oversimplified the whole analysis to get the big picture across, that renewable energy alone can replace fossil fuels for the most parts, using near-term technologies. Thanks for the additional insight into the whole picture.

Bob Wallace

"The discussion should not be about whether FCV or BEV or PHEV, as they all will have important roles in the transportation scheme."

But that is what we are discussing, whether FCV will be a player. Pike Research says one million FCVs on the road by 2020. I'm not seeing it.

At one time I thought hydrogen was the answer for getting away from petroleum, but then batteries got significantly better and we are promised much improved batteries over the next few years. If batteries drop in price a bit more and if they can give us 200 mile ranges, then batteries win. At least that's my analysis.

I'm assuming that we'll use a combination of EVs and PHEVs, with PHEVs being used mainly in larger vehicles such as larger pickups which need to haul or tow large loads. EVs/PHEVs are likely to reach a level of affordability long before FCVs can.

The "fuel" for electrics is almost certainly is going to be cheaper and more convenient. Unless someone figures out how to make hydrogen significantly cheaper than it can be made with electricity, then electricity wins. Even 100% efficiency doesn't make it when you consider the cost of hydrogen infrastructure.

EVs/PHEVs are likely to get 'established' and they will only be knocked out of their place by FCVs if FCVs can offer a significant economic advantage. FCVs would have to get considerably cheaper than EVs and operation would have to drop considerably below $0.02/mile.

Now, there may be some place down the road where fuel cells will become cheap enough to replace the ICEs in PHEVs. They might not run off hydrogen but some sort of biofuel. Or batteries might improve enough to move everything to electricity. I can't see that far ahead....

Bob Wallace

Roger - your electrolyzer links. I'm up in the middle of the night dealing with a cold, so my head is not working well. But, that said, I don't see efficiency data, I don't see hydrogen cost numbers.

I see what looks to me to be some expensive equipment that's going to need electricity and water inputs in order to produce hydrogen.

It may be that they have identified a market niche, delivery fleets, which need range not available with today's batteries. Possibly they can beat the price of diesel.

But I don't see any indication that they can beat the price of using the electricity directly in a very efficient electric motor.

Reel$$

"Because you can not create energy for free. High pressure gas represents energy, and that energy has to come from somewhere."

While this has been true there are lots of peer-reviewed papers saying the opposite today. Most from lattice metals infused with deuterium or H2. This phenomenon will not go away and is being developed commercially in many locations - notably Italy.

"It is known experimentally that the amount of heat produced per reaction can be over 1000 times the energy released by any known chemical reaction. The power ensities (measured in watts per cubic centimeter of the metal) occasionally exceed those in fission nuclear power systems." Conf. Condensed Matter Nuclear Science

http://www.iscmns.org/iccf14/ProcICCF14a.pdf

This research is getting a lot more attention these days and of course, if commercialized in a simple steam boiler - will obviate most other sources of energy.

DaveD

Interesting discussion guys, with lots of good data from all sides vs. insults from everyone.

Reel's last comment made me think of something: I can't believe we're so advanced that we split atoms and now we're moving towards fusing them! But then you ask yourself: "Cool, so how does that create electricity?". "it just boils water to create steam to spin a turbine?!? Really???"

Yep, welcome back to the 1800's. LOL

The next breakthrough for society will be when we figure out a more efficient mechanism for actually producing the energy.

A D

To
Posted by: Roger Pham | October 09, 2011 at 11:34 PM
only.

Thanks for these electrolyzers links. It's even better that i thaugt. Many here are just looking to protect their jobs in every each ways they can, one trick is negating any other options then what they have to say since a long time. Few will say something new and gets a lot of approvals, that's is coming because most folks just protect their jobs and are negating anything that is not there jobs. If folks here are just here to chat and blog about energy then if we find energy then chatting and blogging will be impossible because we find the energy. So most bloggers negate a breakthrou because for blogging we have to assume that the breakthrou is not yet discovered, all that to protect the job of blogging here for the forseable future.

The proof that hydrogen electrolyzers are a major energy breakthrou is that some argue with fake science almost religiously against it. It's because they invoke god to not close down this website that consist of finding energy breakthrous. If we find the breakthrous then the game is changed and it ends. This is how an empty head think.

Arnold

http://avalence.com/Articles/PressH%26FCLJan05.pdf

January 2005

"Avalence says its unorthodox approach translates into lower equipment
costs. Even with the same electrolysis efficiency of typically 70-75% as
other electrolysis technologies, Avalence figures its investment cost can be
5% less because of the absence of power conditioning equipment."

And later in the article


"But as pressure increases, the bubbles become smaller, and efficiency
increases again, typically about 2% better at 2,500 psi than at 250 psi. At
pressures greater than 2,000 psi, the overall efficiency is about 10-15%
higher than what is achievable with conventional electrolyzers teamed with
compressors, says CEO Moss."

And from here (over my head)
http://fuelcellmarkets.com/itm_power_Hydrogen_Electrolysers_Fuelling/products_and_services/3,1,2611,17,28547.html

"System Efficiency
4.9 kWh/Nm3
(dependent on system
configuration)"

Bob Wallace

AD - would you please not engage in this sort of behavior?

"Many here are just looking to protect their jobs in every each ways they can,"

I, for one, have no job to protect (I've been retired for many years) and I've never earned a penny from blogging/posting.

Some of us disagree with you. If you think you're right then furnish ample facts. If you've got facts then I'll swing over to your side of the discussion. But if you push your position via insult I'm going to assume you've got nothing.

Now, how are the hydrogen electrolyzers linked even better than you thought? Roger was talking about 85% efficiency and the Avalence is apparently 70% - 75%.

At 75% you're tossing away 25% of the electricity that could have been put directly into EVs and you've created an additional level of infrastructure which will be added into fuel price.

For FCVs to push EVs out of the market they will have to be significantly cheaper to purchase and operate. Based on what we know right now about turning water into hydrogen FCVs are losing that part of the battle.

Roger Pham

@Bob Wallace,
85%-efficient electrolysis is confirmed by at least 1000 hrs of testing by Quantum Sphere:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/03/quantumsphere-n.html
From now to 2015 is 4 years away...more advancements to come!

Look at the FCV issue at this angle: Solar PV panels are getting cheaper and cheaper, soon, we will have more solar electricity than we can consume in the day time. We will then have to store it away...in what form? Battery costs hundreds of dollars per kWh of capacity. Compressed H2, on the other hand, costs only a few $ per kWh of capacity, and can be charged/discharged tens of thousands of times without loss of capacity...With stored H2, what are you gonna do with it? FCV, of course. FCV's are so energy-efficient that you only need ~4kg on board, the equivalent of 4 gallons of petrol to drive almost 300 miles. If and when ICE-HEV will get to that level of efficiency, then ICE-HEV can run on H2 as well.

Existing-tech ICE-HEV like the Prius 3 with nearly 60 mpg if driven carefully, or the soon-to-come Prius C with ~65 mpg expected mpg can carry a 2-kg tank of H2 for 120-mile city driving. For long-distance driving, the same 2-kg H2 tank can carry NG that can provide 360-mile of driving range for the same volume. People will want to fill up with H2 for city driving because the H2 will be dirt-cheap, while NG filling is another option for those who don't want to fill up so frequently. However, put a donut/coffee shop on the H2 filling station, and people can stop by to fill up with H2 and fill themselves up with coffee or donut at the same time, while catching a few newspaper headlines before heading to work.

Meanwhile, batteries will get cheaper also, so we can expect more and more BEV's and PHEV's to take market shares of ICEV's, and to be charged during the day time to take advantage of the excess solar PV output in the near future, and of course, at night, to take advantage of excess wind electricity. Smart grid and networking will be the key to enable all these developments. The future of renewable energy is bright.

Bob Wallace

Let's try a "best case" for the FCV analysis...

Let's assume that the hydrogen will be made in the same neighborhood as the car lives. Zero transportation costs.

We start with 100kWh of renewable electricity and lose 25% in conversion to H2. That brings the "effective electricity" down to 75kWh. Then use Roger's number "the HOnda FCX Clarity gets about 70% efficiency tank to wheel". This means that about 53kWh are left in usable energy.

OK, now in the same neighborhood we hook an EV to the grid. We lose about 10% of the 100kWh to battery charging inefficiency, leaving us 90kWh. Then the EV is about 90% efficient, battery to wheels leaving us 81kWh usable energy.

The hydrogen route is going to need purchase about 155kWh of electricity in order to end up with as much applied power as the EV's 100kWh. That makes "fuel" prices for the FCV 55% higher plus the infrastructure costs.

(Someone check my math, please, so I don't lead us astray.)

Bob Wallace

Roger put up his "85%" while I was typing my "best case", so let me update...

100kWh and 85% efficient water-> hydrogen conversion along with 70% efficient FVC means that 59.5kWh gets to the road as opposed to 81kWh for the EV. About 140kWh entering the FCV chain vs. 100kWh for the EV.

Hydrogen is going to have higher input (electricity and water) costs and infrastructure costs.

For FCVs to gain significant market share it will necessary for their purchase price to drop well below the price of EVs.

With 200 mile range, <20 minute, 80% recharging for EVs I don't think a 300+ mile range for FCVs will be a market driver. Most people rarely drive over 200 miles per day and a 500 mile day could be done in one additional short stop with an EV.

--

Don't underestimate the convenience of 'plugging and leaving' with EVs. No need to visit the hydrogen station.

And V2grid is likely to make the economics for EVs even sweeter.

--

I doubt that we will have more solar power than we can use down the road. We might overbuild to a small extent in order to cut down on peak-peak problems, but at the point the market does not want to pay for more solar input, we'll stop installing solar.

If solar becomes the cheapest way to generate electricity then we'll likely build a lot of it, shut off our dispatchable sources when the sun is out and we might find it cheapest to store some for other parts of the day. Cheap solar along with cheap wind could force fossil fuels and nuclear off the grid (with the exception of older, paid off plants).

Hydrogen fuel cells might become a viable way to time-shift electricity generated with wind and solar. But, again, you've got an inefficiency handicap over using batteries. Give up 10% going in and about 2% going out. That's even harder for hydrogen to match.

The infrastructure of a hydrogen electrolyzer plus storage plus fuel cell is going to have to be significantly cheaper than batteries.

The comments to this entry are closed.