Newark, Delaware exploring 'Vehicle to Grid' (V2G) Infrastructure (Why I Am Skeptical of Plug Ins!)

January 25 2009 / by Garry Golden
Category: Transportation   Year: Beyond   Rating: 1

V2G Delware

Political and Industry leaders agree that it is time to re-imagine the Electrical 'Grid' as something 'smarter', more resilient, and open to new forms of energy storage and onsite production.

Utilities are now exploring the idea that electric vehicles (powered by batteries, fuel cells and capacitors) will someday become the new backbone of the world's electricity grids.

The questions are: 'How' and 'What does the 'Energy Web' of Tomorrow look like?'

Do we 'recharge' objects via cords  and wall sockets, or do objects have their own internal power generators that are 'refueled' with high density energy 'packets'?

We are only at the beginning of exploring the future schematics of an 'energy web' infrastructure that  integrates electric vehicles.  But the test programs are starting to scale up!

The City of Newark has approved a small test project led by the University of Delaware's Center for Carbon-free Power Integration (CCPI) to test 'vehicle to grid' systems using plug-in hybirds integrated into the local utility grid. 

Vehicle to Grid (V2G) Energy Storage & Production
(& My Skepticism of Wall Socket Infrastructure)

The V2G vision is a future where electricity-powered vehicles are integrated into the 'two-way' flows of a Smarter Energy Web.   Not only might the electrical grid (or natural gas line) provide the 'fuel' (electricity/hydrogen) for your electric vehicle, but when the grid is strained, your car can feed energy back into the grid.

Vehicles could help to balance the flows of electricity by providing massive amounts of distributed energy storage to various points of the electricity web.  One vehicle powered by a 50kW system (batteries, fuel cells, & capacitors) could generate enough electricity to power 5-10 homes.

It is a simple, elegant idea.  And I am a big fan! 

But I am very skeptical of 'plug in' refueling based on batteries, cords and wall sockets as the backbone schematic.

I see no reason why the 'wall socket' plug in model should be extended into the future when so many new options for energy systems are close to commercialization.

 

Reasons to be Skeptical of Plug-ins - Cost & Convenience
The auto industry is at the beginning of a multi-decade long transition away from liquid fueled combustion engines to electrical drive systems powered by a combination of batteries, fuel cells and capacitors.

Batteries are only the first generation energy storage system for electric vehicles, not the default platform for the future.  Auto makers are hedging their bets on an integrated system that uses next generation batteries, fuel cells, solid hydogen storage, and capacitors.

 

Providing Access to 'Plug In' Infastructure is Not Cheap
Early advocates for plug-ins argued that the 'infrastructure already exists'.  They argued 'Don't believe the hype of hydrogen because we'll have to build new infrastructure'. 'Instead we'll just plug our cars in at night'.  This was the foundation of plug-in movement.

And now it is clear that they were wrong.  Their assumptions were overstated.

Yes, we have an electric grid and wall sockets, but it is not adequate for supporting a nation of electric plug in vehicles.  

Now electric vehicle infrastructure start ups like Better Place are acknowleding that the price tag for extending plug in acces to vehicles via sockets is not cheap. The company estimates the Bay Area alone will cost $1 billion.

My point: We do not have an electric grid system that can absorb plug-ins, and it will cost money to extend 'socket' infrastructure. 

Do we spend billions to connect wall sockets with 'batteries' if they are indeed only a first generation energy storage solution?  It seems short-sighted.

 

'Plugging in' is not Conveinent: Wall Sockets are 20th Century Concept
Have you ever tried to find a wall socket for your dying laptop battery in a crowded cafe?

Or tried to find a wall socket at an airport in between flights?

It's hard when the number of devices greatly outnumbers the number of sockets.

 

Wall sockets are a 20th century concept based on stationary appliances, not mobile devices or electric vehicles. 

What if we re-imagined a future where plugging in seemed antiquated?

The 21st century might be about decoupling the grid from fixed wall socket infrastructure. 

Imagine energy solutions that help break our dependency to the wall socket.

Then, how do we imagine V2G in this future?

 

Exploring Alternatives
Regular readers of The Energy Roadmap will know that I am a long-term believer in solid state hydrogen storage and capacitors as the next generation formats for energy storage.  But other ideas, such as metal based power are important to explore. (More on that later!)

 

We should not overhype the short-term impact of new technologies, nor should we be naive enough to make blanket statements that they will 'never' exist as viable commercial systems.

It is important to recognize that the future will have energy systems that do not current exist today.

 

'Swap out' Packets
The alternative to 'plugging in' and recharging, is solid state energy 'swap out' and refueling.

Recharging requires access to a wall socket grid connection. 

Refueling requires access to energy packets
(e.g. retail shelf sales of high density energy packets, rapid refueling stations)

In the 'recharging' V2G schematic the vehicle must be close enough to connect a cord to the wall socket.

In the 'refueling' V2G schematic the vehicle carries energy packets within its chassis. To bring power to the grid you could use a cord (if you wanted) or simply take out a small, high density packet of energy and 'refuel' a stationary fuel cell connected to the home and/or grid.

 

Confused?!  Recharging vs Refueling = 2 Different Futures

I applaud the Newark test program, but believe we must not fall into the trap of extrapolating old paradigms around new technologies and business models.

Vehicle to Grid is elegant.  But what does the 'grid' of the future look like? 

It's important to imagine something completely different!

What if there are no wall sockets?  

It sounds like a subtle distinction.  But the reality is more profound. 

'Recharging' extrapolates the notion of cords and wall sockets and energy storage (e.g. batteries). In this world the only people who can benefit from objects are those with wall sockets.   This future requires us to plug into the Grid.

'Refueling' (or a 'swap out') future imagines the world where nothing is 'plugged' in.  All objects have their own internal power generators (e.g. fuel cells).  In this future we can expand products to anyone who can buy fuel 'packets' at a local retail store. This future says we carry energy around in our cars and pockets. No need to access a grid.  The grid exists, but is also broken down into 'packets' and sold over retail shelves.

Via PhysOrg and as reported by dozens of other blogs!

Further research

MAGIC Consortorium

 

Related posts on The Energy Roadmap.com

Kleiner invests in Smart Grid startup, ‘Big Grid’ prepares for disruptions ahead
Better Place planning to build out Hawaii’s electric vehicle infrastructure
The future of electricity: A guide to the Smart Grid
Is Detroit asleep at the wheel?
Electric Vehicle Industry goes Global
France to spend millions on electric vehicles

Warren Buffet buys equity in China’s BYD
The Good news? China is investing in electric cars, The Bad news? China is investing in electric cars
Is GM expecting China to extend its grid for electric cars?

Comment Thread (8 Responses)

  1. Interesting Garry. You have a nice site. Some good posts. Don’t get your hydrogen fuel preference over plugins view though. Fact is plugins are already in use and production models are in the pipeline. Hydrogen is not cost effective or efficient yet, and may never beat battery electric, or it could later but that is far from clear yet. Your refuel vs recharge argument is completely lacking if you mean to suggest hydrogen as fuel. Hydrogen could most easily be distributed as electricity with remote electrolysis sites. Even that would cost more than simply upgrading the grid for battery electric. If hydrogen does come in the future, it will be on the back of battery electric. Another point here is the electric transport revolution is occurring in tandem with the Solar PV and Wind revolution. In the more populated sun belt of the USA, we will increasingly have distributed sources of Solar PV, so electric cars can be charged directly from PV at home or at work. Charging rate is not really an issue, since cars are idle an average 97% of the time in the USA. We don’t have to upgrade the grid at all for the first million electric vehicles and won’t really have to upgrade it much after that. Upgrade of the grid has far more to do with better use of electric power in general and better use of wind power (imo).

    Seems to me the market is already choosing the most sensible path and it isn’t hydrogen (not yet anyway). The Prius started that change, but there is far more efficient, far more electric, stuff coming out now. Why the opposition to this?

    Posted by: mds   January 28, 2009
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  2. MDS

    Thanks for reading..

    A few thoughts in response-

    First, honestly, no flaming intended as I know this ‘hydrogen’ debate gets emotional in the comment section. I’m not blind to the challenges. I see an integrated future of energy storage technologies.

    I guess I don’t want us to be distracted by short-term options since this is a multi-decade long transition.

    Batteries and extending the number of wall socket doesn’t make sense. The ratios of cars to plugs would be too high.

    I know plug in advocates argue that the infrastructure is ‘here’ – but automakers are not betting on that. Better Place, and other startups are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to extend the wires to cars. It’s clear for me that we are not going to just buy these cars without extending infrastructure.

    Yes cars are idle most of the time, but they need ‘access’ to a plug. (This is why I argue for Swap out ‘block’ model)

    My question is- How many sockets will we need? How long will the cords be? How does this solve the energy storage problem of electricity?

    In systems thinking there is something called ‘Fixes the Fail’—where incremental changes only delay the downfall of the system’s structure. ‘Swap out’ would be a structural change.

    I do challenge the idea that b/c batteries are available now that they should be our focus. I can’t accept that assumption. China and India are coming online. We need to build around future platforms (integrated), not the past or current tech.

    And the future is integrating batteries, fuel cells and capacitors. It’s mostly Silicon Valley bloggers who hype batteries. I think they are off base, honestly.

    If you read other posts- I think you’ll see a strong case that H2 is coming along nicely around nanoscale advances in catalysis. Non-precious metal catalysts, non-Nafion membranes, solid state storage, et al. Skeptics rarely comment on these advances, and continue to use dated arguments.

    The arguments against hydrogen are the same arguments against electricity. Nobody is trying to break the laws of physics. This is an energy storage medium. But nothing beats chemical bonds. And I have not yet seen a study that shows the growth path of battery cost/performance beating fuel cells. Would love to see that if you have seen otherwise.

    So I think in five years, we’ll be surprised at where H2 fuel cells are in the public conversation. Remember that in 2005 lithium ion batteries hadn’t ‘arrived’ and now they are hot. Why? Nanoscale electrodes and membranes. Why shouldn’t we expect same advances with fuel cells?

    H2 production is, as you’ve pointed out, likely to be distributed. I imagine ‘appliances’ sold over retail channels. Buy your own electrolysis machine (industrial or home sized) or natural gas reformer. I think that market penetration could happen quickly over 10-15 years.

    And ‘swap out’ could go through existing retail shelves. Solid H2 (or metals like zinc) is safer, more dense than batteries.

    The cost of building more wires and wall sockets would be more expensive. Better Place estimates $1 billion for the Bay Area. I say put solid blocks of H2 on retail shelves.

    And, yes, batteries and fuel cells are integrated. That’s my push—is that batteries alone cannot carry the industry forward.

    Again, no flames intended! Glad to have a civil conversation!

    But I think this is a question of embracing incremental vs disruptive strategies. I am naturally oriented towards structural change… less tweaking with existing systems.

    Glad to connect!

    Garry

    Posted by: Garry Golden   January 29, 2009
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  3. Garry, Thanks for your response. I still disagree on several points. You said: “So I think in five years, we’ll be surprised at where H2 fuel cells are in the public conversation.” OK, but this is an assumption and there’s an old applied engineering saying “assumption is the root of all error”. I’m already surprised by recent progress in H2 electrolysis, tanks, and fuelcells, but it’s still not ready for vehicle use, not competetively. (imo) It may never be, or it may happen tomorrow. I was going to refer you to a white paper on battery electric verses H2 at the Tesla site, but looks like they are updating this. The comparison has improved for H2, but I think batteries still have the advantage. MIT made an awesome breakthrough in electrolysis this year, but I think fuelcell efficiency in vehicles is still only 40% or 50% due to voltage level conversion needed. You are assuming H2 is the end game for vehicles. I’m not clear that H2 will ever make sense in vehicles. It may or may not. You mentioned the infrastructure cost of more plugs, but I see this as cheaper and easier than current gasoline refueling infrastructure. E-REVs provide most of the reduction in fuel use while eliminating the need to deal with fast recharge to go longer distances (and of course eliminating the need for a huge battery). New Li batteries in some vehicles are already providing some fast charge capabilities and this will improve. For H2 fueling we’ll need a whole electolysis machine at the end of that electrical cable, not just a plug. Looks to me like a direct plug-in to grid electricity is more likely to be the end game. This makes it possible for us to run our vehicles on nuclear, wind, solar, waves, tidal, geothermal, or bio-electricity. Why would we want to stick with refueling in the long run? Why do the distribution and stocking of energy cartridges, when you can just plug in and charge. This is a very energy efficient way to go as well. If you’d asked me 6 to 8 years ago about a future with batteries, H2 fuelcells, and capacitors in cars I would have said batteries might not be there. “That was then and this is now.” Now I’m saying H2 fuelcells might not be there. The economy should decide, not you or me. I just want to get going with what works now. If H2 makes sense, then it will take over part or all of the vehicle energy storage later. Sometimes you need to make a strategic detour to setup the next play. “I guess I don’t want us to be distracted by short-term options since this is a multi-decade long transition.” Yes, I can sympathize with this. I don’t want to see money wasted on CAFE improvements to ICE vehicles when we can build electric, maybe even hydrogen-electric, vehicles using almost no oil/gasoline. We should start transitioning now. You have decided all of the H2 problems will be solved soon and this will be a better option than battery-electric. I think you could be unpleasantly surprised (technology development tends to be erratic) and I know we can’t wait to get started. I say BEVs and E-REVs now, add hydrogen fuelcells when it makes sense. Keep the H2 and fuelcell research/development funding going. Sound ok? Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. I asked about your view above because I was interested. You gave me a good, well thought out answer. Thank you. I do understand better where you are coming from. I agree with a lot of what you say. If I could mandate all light trucks and cars produced in, and imported to, the USA be 50% EV or E-REV by 2020 and 100% by 2030 then I would. (Look what we did during WW2.) Battery or H2 fuelcell based? Either would be fine by me. Build the one you can sell best.

    Posted by: mds   January 30, 2009
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  4. “For H2 fueling we’ll need a whole electolysis machine at the end of that electrical cable, not just a plug”

    That is not necessarily true, depending of the source and form of H2 used to power the vehicle / fuel cell. As you say for other things, this is “not ready yet”. Assuming the long term source of H2 is electrolysis of water, then at the top level, probably true. Remember that H2 powered / fueled vehicle does not always mean running on liquid or gas compressed hydrogen. It can also use other materials that can be ‘coaxed’ to hold and release hydrogen on demand. So-called ‘solid hydrogen’. Depending on various factors (like energy loss on power lines and electrical distribution), it could turn out to be cheaper to produce the hydrogen [based] fuel at a plant on a site where (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal) energy is produced, then ship the fuel using ‘conventional’ infrastructure.

    Also depending on the infrastructure model used, that electrolysis machine could be at the H2 refilling station, which may be able to take advantage of efficiencies / economies of scale, to do a better, faster, cheaper job of creating the H2 storage, and filling the ‘tank’ faster than even the fastest (current) quick charge batteries. No idea where your 40% to 50% fuel cell efficiency numbers come from, or the voltage level conversions. Fuel cells can ‘stack’ in series just like batteries, to get the desired voltage, and like batteries the size (of a single cell) is somewhat proportional to the maximum power draw. If fuel cells need a voltage level conversion to run the EV, so should the batteries.

    As of today, no portable (transportation) fuel technology is a clear winner, or even has an obvious lead (looking more that a couple of years out). ‘Energy packets’ are generic, and can apply to any of the technologies INCLUDING battery, since one battery ‘refilling’ option is to swap batteries, and charge off-line.

    “Build the one you can sell best”

    Build the one with the least overall environmental, economic, societal cost. With the least long term ‘lock in’. Build the infrastructure to be flexible, to be able to easily adapt to other options that might turn out to be better once the research makes it out of the labs.

    Posted by: mMerlin   February 01, 2009
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  5. mMerlin, “That is not necessarily true, depending of the source and form of H2 used to power the vehicle / fuel cell.” It’s pretty much true if you assume the whole “energy packet” approach is less efficient, which is what I meant. This could be a bad assumption. Another H2 delivery source could turn out to be cheaper. There is no evidence of this right now. Based on what we know right now H2 electrolysis at the end of the electrical line would make the most economic sense. (I’m ignoring H2 from natural gas. This is pointlessly uneconomic. You might as well just use the natural gas directly in cars or to product electricity. No, I don’t want to see natural gas used in light trucks and cars. Pointless diversion from BEVs and E-REVs, in spite of Pickens desire to sell more natural gas.) Certainly I realize we could have gasoline fueling stations convert to H2 fueling stations. They could also convert to direct electric charging stations. I don’t see much difference. We could also just plug in to smart electric meters at home, work, or Wal-Mart and cut out the gas station middleman. In fact, I see that as an almost certainty. Not yet, because I agree, no transportation technology is a clear winner yet, but I see Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs) as an obvious next step, a next step that is already occurring. I see H2 fuel-cells as just another form of battery. Maybe they will provide the “Extended” in “Extended-Range Electric Vehicles”. It might be Zn-air cartridges, SOFC fuelcells, just better batteries, biofuel turbine generators, or who knows what. In the short term the “Extended” will probably be a single-speed optimized flex-fuel generator. The 40% or 50% comes initially from a friend of a friend who works with this stuff. I had initially assumed you could just run them in series and he said “no” it’s a problem. This site also had similar numbers: http://www.teslamotors.com/display_data/twentyfirstcenturycar.pdf Unfortunately, they’ve taken this white paper down and are revising it. I’ve read similar 40%-50% numbers before for use of fuelcells in vehicles. Stationary H2 fuelcell sites do far better. Do you have more recent information on higher efficiencies obtained with portable H2 fuelcells? I’d be interested to learn more. Perhaps I need updating here.

    “Build the one with the least overall environmental, economic, societal cost. With the least long term ‘lock in’.” No flaming intended, but this is too much impractical, over-idealistic talk for me. Billions of dollars is being invested in the tar sands of Alberta and in CTL in the USA, China, and India. We need to provide an economically reasonable alternative right now. Billions of dollars are also going into build up of Li Ion battery production and electric battery based vehicle production. Some are already available to purchase with far more on the way. This cannot be said for H2 fuelcell vehicles. “Build the infrastructure to be flexible, to be able to easily adapt to other options” I see E-REVs as the answer to this. I agree the door to H2 fuelcells in vehicles should be kept open and I think E-REVs do this, as already explained above. Both you and Garry are saying no “technology is a clear winner, or even has an obvious lead (looking more that a couple of years out)”, but are then assuming H2 will be the clear winner. You can’t have it both ways. I respectfully disagree. I’m saying Li Ion batteries in BEVs and E-REVs have an unquestionable lead. (There’s plenty of Lithium and no solid evidence to the contrary.) I’m saying E-REV plug-ins make sense now and they leave the door open for even better batteries, for biofuel, for H2 fuelcells, or whatever will be better in ten years.

    btw If H2 fuelcells are such a great way to go, then why aren’t they being used for storage of wind and solar energy. Why are pressurized air, sodium batteries, lithium batteries, flow batteries, pumped hydro, all being considered over H2 storage? In the stationary storage market H2 does not have the same tank/fuelcell weight problem and has the natural advantage of being viable for long term storage (months). Shouldn’t H2 proponents tackle this problem before trying to bite off the vehicle problem. Doesn’t the failure of H2 to thrive here mean there are problems to this approach before even trying to make it portable? Again, no flaming intended. I’m just making a technical argument. Please show I’m wrong. H2 burns clean and it can be made abundantly from water. An H2 economy would be great if it actually made sense. Fusion power will someday be great, but for 60 years it has been just around the corner and it is still not here. Be very, very careful when you assume a technology solution is just around the corner: maybe or maybe not.

    One last thing: Suggest you and Garry do your own “wells to wheels” analysis for H2 Vehicles compared to BEVs, as was done on the Tesla site before. Hopefully the Tesla site will update this white paper. Will be interesting to see what they’ve revised. Certainly the electrolysis efficiency number needed revising based on the MIT breakthrough.

    Posted by: mds   February 01, 2009
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  6. Garry,

    A little more I wanted to address to your response above. “And, yes, batteries and fuel cells are integrated. That’s my push—is that batteries alone cannot carry the industry forward.”

    I don’t agree when you say “batteries alone cannot carry the industry forward”. Li Ion batteries in E-REVs together with biofuels from jatropha, cellulosic, or algae can easily fulfill all transport needs for a long time into the future.

    “But I think this is a question of embracing incremental vs disruptive strategies. I am naturally oriented towards structural change… less tweaking with existing systems.”

    I think this is a question of embracing incremental AND disruptive strategies verses betting too heavily on as yet unproven H2 technology. Keep the door open with E-REVs and let the market decide how we do the “Extended” part. Large scale use of E-REVs would be a very large structural change, but still allows for easy incremental addition of H2 fuelcells at any time. Simple staged development. I don’t see much of a detour here unless we sit around waiting for H2 breakthroughs to occur.

    Posted by: mds   February 01, 2009
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  7. Wow… ! Lots in there ya’ll…think we’re all on the same page of recognizing limits of speculation based on assumptions.

    Give me a day or two to respond! Lots to think about!

    Garry

    Posted by: Garry Golden   February 02, 2009
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  8. MDS,

    “pretty much true if you assume the whole “energy packet” approach is less efficient”
    With that qualification then, I agree. I am not aware of any numbers to base the efficiency calculations on, so I’ll leave that alone.

    “I realize we could have gasoline fueling stations convert to H2 fueling stations. They could also convert to direct electric charging stations. I don’t see much difference.”
    Conceptionally, I don’t either. Or to battery swap stations, or to any other refueling option for which it turns out that ‘manufacture and distribute’ is a ‘better’ solution than ‘manufacture locally (in the household garage)’.

    “We could also just plug in to smart electric meters at home, work, or Wal-Mart and cut out the gas station middleman.”
    Cutting out the middleman sounds good. However, that solution requires a rollout of new infrastructure to make those smart meters available everywhere, and (I expect) a fairly major upgrade to the electrical grid (plugging in at Wal-Mart is likely to be during peak draw hours. It also does not account for the need for a quick ‘full tank’ when doing longer trips.

    “I see Extended-Range Electric Vehicles (E-REVs) as an obvious next step”
    As far as I am concerned, H2 IS E-REV, as soon as practical H2 storage is good enough to supply the ‘range’ requirement. The wheels are still being powered by electric motors. Have you looked at the ‘skateboard’ chassis? With that, you design your EV without any particular power source, then ‘drop in’ batteries, capacitors, fuels cells, H2 storage, more, singly or in combination to match the best fit for typical use. The ‘best’ combination could be different for neighbors on the same block, because of differences in driving patterns.

    “I see H2 fuel-cells as just another form of battery”
    Sure, fuel cells and batteries are both electron sources.

    “I had initially assumed you could just run them in series and he said “no” it’s a problem” ...
    “recent information on higher efficiencies obtained with portable H2 fuelcells?”
    No I do not have any better information. I also do not know of any reason it should be a problem, or anything in the technology that is different enough to make it a problem.

    “this is too much impractical, over-idealistic talk for me”
    That is quite likely. I figure you need to aim as high as you can, then take the best you can get.
    “We need to provide an economically reasonable alternative right now”
    OK, but I would not want to ‘accept’ an alternative that results in a poor quality ‘lock in’. I don’t want something that is only ‘reasonable’ if amortized over a 20+ year estimated effective life span.

    “are then assuming H2 will be the clear winner”
    Not quite. The raw physics numbers say that H2 should be very good, and H2 actually covers multiple technologies, depending on what works best to store, release, recharge the H2 in a practical and portable form. The conversion of the auto industry to all or mostly EV is going to take some time. Want to make sure that the ‘switch’ does not end up getting locked in (especially early) to another ‘dead-end’. Remember the recent ‘about face’ about corn based biofuels. Turns out that that particular bright idea is not so bright after all. Algae and other crops may make biofuel a valuable option, but corn currently seems to be a bad idea. Make the industry changes so that further changes do not mean starting over again. Like that skateboard chassis. I am assuming that electric motors are currently, and will be for quite some time, the ‘best’ way to move ‘personal transportation’. Where the electrons for the motors come from does not mater at that level. Keep the power source (design, manufacturing, even industry) separate from the vehicle, so that the various ‘electron pumping’ technologies can compete and improve, without lock in. I expect the motors to get better too, but incrementally, while the power sources could have major jumps. The different technologies also [potentially] have different ‘sweet spots’, so several could be viable at the same time.

    “I’m saying Li Ion batteries in BEVs and E-REVs have an unquestionable lead”
    A lead maybe, but as of today, I do not think the “E” in E-REV is really there. None of the EV’s available today have the combination of cost, range, refueling time that typical consumers are willing to accept. In specialty markets, yes, but not the majority of the mobile population.

    “If H2 fuelcells are such a great way to go, then why aren’t they being used for storage of wind and solar energy. Why are pressurized air, sodium batteries, lithium batteries, flow batteries, pumped hydro, all being considered over H2 storage?”
    Those storage case do not NEED to be portable. For those usages, cost per unit of storage, maximum capacity, maximum storage rate, maximum draw rate, operational costs, usable life time, are all much higher on the priority list than portability. That said, I hope that experimentation and analysis is being done for utility scale H2 (and other reversible chemical) power storage.

    “Certainly the electrolysis efficiency number needed revising based on the MIT breakthrough”
    Now who is making assumptions about not yet available technology? That is still lab scale, but does look promising.

    I think part of the problem is the rapid improvements and alternatives showing up in the labs, and the long lead times need to ramp up for a new technology. No one wants to commit the time and money to build the manufacturing for something that has a good chance of being superseded before the plant is even built. Those plants are only viable when they can be amortized over multiple years, with a solid forecast for product demand over those years.

    Posted by: mMerlin   February 04, 2009
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