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Publicly Funded Hydrogen Stations

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by dpeilow, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    #1 dpeilow, Sep 17, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
    Today ITM Power has opened what was described as "The UK's First Public Hydrogen Refilling Station" - see M1 Wind Hydrogen Fuel Station | ITM Power

    This was funded by InnovateUK - i.e. your tax. The great and the good of energy policy makers, strategists and the low carbon crowd were there to slap backs.


    The station has a 225 kW wind turbine connected to one of ITM Power's electrolysers. The electrolysers produce hydrogen from water at a rate of 1kg per 56 kWh of electricity and store this in a 200 kg tank.

    Hydrogen 56 kg.png





    This can be used to compare the amount of electricity needed to fill a Toyota Mirai with an equivalent range EV like the Model S (note, this comparison was done when the Mirai was first announced).

    Mirai-S.PNG






    Now supporters claim that this doesn't matter because the hydrogen can be supplied from the wind turbine.

    The wind turbine is a 225 kW example but there are several in the market with that peak power, so checking a couple of datasheets...


    http://www.endurancewindpower.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Endurance-X29-FINAL-Hi-Res-A4.pdf

    http://www.rm-energy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/RME_WTN225_brochure_final.pdf


    ... you can see that the performance curves are similar.


    At the site in Rotherham, the average wind speed is 6 m/s at 45m.

    Rotherham Wind Speed.png





    Being generous and taking the 40 metre hub height variants of the above turbines, it can be see that at the site (and most of England) the annual energy yield is approximately 400 MWh per year.

    That works out to 1096 kWh per day or enough to generate hydrogen for 3.95 Toyota Mirai fill ups.

    Are we really suggesting that all filling stations be equipped with such a large turbine?

    X-29-225kW-Wind-Turbine-Website-Gallery-6-280x225.jpg



    Now ITM has announced an agreement with Shell to locate electrolysers on 3 of their forecourts. OLEV is funding £1.89m capex for 2 of these. The EU is providing £1.7m for opex support. Strategic Forecourt Siting Partnership Signed | ITM Power

    In the most recent statement on the cost of such an electrolyser, ITM said that a 100 kg / day electrolyser (250 kW) cost £713,243 with an ongoing annual service cost of 5% or £35,662. This is more than capable of generating hydrogen for more than 4 cars a day, but it's tied to the wind turbine. Data I can find for such a turbine would indicate a further £250,000 would be needed for installation of such a size turbine. Update on Hydrogen Cost Structure | ITM Power


    If they maintain that the station is 100% local renewable powered then with 4 cars a day or 1460 cars filling up per year, and assuming a cost of £10/100 miles or £30 to fill, 81% of the revenue would be needed to cover the electrolyser servicing costs alone. Of the £22 left, if it was only used to cover capex costs (ignoring for the moment the site acquisition cost, water cost, staff cost, cost of borrowing and any other overheads), it would take 118 years to amortise the equipment.

    Clearly they need public support.


    ITM claims they are targeting a system that can produce 1500 kg per day at 52 kWh / kg.

    Such a system would need 3.25 MW for the electrolyser operating at 100% capacity. If this were at the same location, you would need 72 such wind turbines to give the annual yield needed for this amount of hydrogen (and an electrolyser with higher peak power). That presentation puts the capital cost at ~£3.3m for the electrolyser and 72 turbines would be £18m.

    One might argue that they could install a much larger wind turbine than 225 kW to feed the site, but interestingly at such a location the output of a large turbine of 3 MW peak power is not much better than that of a smaller one. The average wind speed is too low - there is a reason these things are put on top of hills or out at sea after all.

    ITM talks here about having electrolysers sized for the daily requirement at peak output, so this implies a stable continuous 3.25 MW supply.


    In other words, there is no way that such a filling station could ever be 100% off-grid (or anywhere near it) and thus the very high grid emissions from these vehicles are totally relevant.


    TripleZero.png


    Except the last two sentences are mutually exclusive in any meaningful quantities...



    £7.5m funding was earmarked for this technology Energy Efficiency - innovateuk. 15 stations are supposed to be open this year.
     
  2. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Here's another story about it.. Hydrogen infrastructure expands into Yorkshire | Next Green Car

    * but only 4 of these can be from the on-site generation on average.

    I once heard it said that the whole green hydrogen fuel cell thing can be shown to be a technological cul-de-sac by "schoolboy math". Nothing I've used in this thread is any more than simple arithmetic. Even journalists and bloggers are capable of it. Worse, people in positions to be making funding decisions should be capable of it.
     
  3. Brunel

    Brunel Member

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    I cannot see the logic of hydrogen for cars, but is there a use case for lorries and larger vehicles used for commercial purposes (size of battery, inability to always route via a rapid charger and downtime etc)?
     
  4. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    The trouble is that fuel cells are not hugely powerful for their size and cost. In a passenger car this is less of an issue because the sustained horsepower doesn't need to be much to move a small, relatively aerodynamic object at 70 mph. A 40 tonne brick is a different matter.

    I haven't sat down to work out the size and cost needed, but then I haven't seen many proposals for this either.
     
  5. cezdoc

    cezdoc Member

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    #5 cezdoc, Sep 24, 2015
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    I guess it's a sign of the times - create a pilot project and generate some positive press which paints the benefits in the most optimistic way possible. I don't doubt that the figures don't really add up but I'd prefer to keep an open mind about the possibility of this technology becoming better developed, after all dismissing the hydrogen station & fuel cell concept is a bit like ICE naysayers dismissing BEVs :wink:.

    Here in Aberdeen we now have a fleet of 10 hydrogen buses (Google Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project if you're interested, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post links yet!). The fuel is produced by electrolysis on site at a depo* (I gather there are less environmentally friendly ways of extracting hydrogen), but presumably using grid electricity. Yes there is a lot of public funding, I have no idea what the cost per mile is and no doubt the project entails some "fact finding" holidays for our local councillors, but the buses are quiet and clean and a lot more pleasant to share the road with on the days I'm a cyclist or pedestrian in the city.

    ---

    *update - I haven't found much in the way of technical details in a quick search online. Regarding fuel, a 1MW electrolyser has been installed on site but in another presentation I found there is a picture of hydrogen being delivered by truck. Given that BOC are one of the project sponsors the sceptic in me suspects they are trucking in some (or the majority?) of the hydrogen but this extra detail has been omitted from the press material.
     
  6. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    #6 JohnSnowNW, Sep 24, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
    BC, Canada, also had a hydrogen bus pilot project...the buses were sold off after the end of the program. Probably Aberdeen will do similarly if the majority of the funding is public. Due to the obvious.

    Hydrogen isn't, nor may it ever be, ready for prime time.

    BC Transit's $90M hydrogen bus fleet to be sold off, converted to diesel - British Columbia - CBC News
     
  7. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    No it isn't, and this is the point.

    Physics says hydrogen cannot and will not ever make sense. It cannot become more efficient or even as efficient as the source of energy used to make it.

    The material is out there. It's even on this site.
     
  8. Sirguydo

    Sirguydo Member

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    the thing is it's a way of converting electric into some other form of carbon neutral fuel source . So if all the surplus wind or solar was turned into hydrogen rather than just switching the renewables off then it would make sense lMO .
    It can then be used in commercial vehicles where battery power is impractical .
     
  9. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    Currently, there should be no surplus, and if there is, then the system is broken. A smart grid could send "surplus" power where it is needed. No need to store energy as hydrogen simply because the area of generation is experiencing a surplus. Of course, you could use hydrogen storage + smart grid to do this...but I suspect smart grid + battery storage would be more efficient.

    I have yet to see a practical (could also read it has cost-effective) use of hydrogen in commercial vehicles.
     
  10. Sirguydo

    Sirguydo Member

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    unfotunatly our power system does not work well , hundreds of wind turbines in Scotland but no way to move the power down to where it's needed
    Most of the UK's renewable just there as reserve power as its to expensive to turn off " proper " power stations!!
    large subsidies payed to wind farms for power not used its stupid that's why I said it'd be better to make hydrogen than just turn them off ! :cursing:
     

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