London's buses too would have been electric from early in the 20th century if the people in charge of the company hadn't been fraudsters rather than business people. How many thousands of lives would that have saved?
Story is available on the site below, but you can only read the start unless you are a subscriber:
* Solar firm wants to expand in Germany, other markets
* Company aims to be profitable in Germany in two years
By Vera Eckert
FRANKFURT, May 23 (Reuters) - German solar battery maker sonnen has secured 60 million euros ($71 million) in funds from Shell Ventures and existing shareholders to expand at home and abroad.
Shell Ventures, a unit of the Anglo-Dutch oil major that has been boosting its investments in solar and other renewables, was a lead investor in the latest funding round, sonnen Chief executive Christoph Ostermann told Reuters.
"With this money, we can get started on important investment plans, especially in the United States and Australia," he said, adding that existing shareholders also contributed extra cash.
"We also want to invest in broadening our sonnen community and our virtual power plant (VPP), and expand our offering of grid-related services," the sonnen CEO said, adding that the firm aimed to turn a profit in Germany in two years.
The company provides battery storage systems to households with rooftop solar panels and links up home-produced electricity to other solar users in Germany, Europe's biggest solar market.
The company -- which also operates in Italy, France, Australia, Austria, Britain and the United States -- provides hardware and software to customers seeking more independence from power markets dominated by big utilities generating most of their electricity from fossil fuels.
So far, sonnen has sold 30,000 batteries worldwide with combined capacity for 210 megawatts. This only equates to a small fossil-fuel power plant but it has potential to expand as storage becomes cheaper and generation becomes less centralised.
The company has teamed up with grid companies to help iron out imbalances in transmission networks by aggregating battery owners to operate as a single "virtual" power plant.
In 2016, sonnen received 76 million euros from investors, including China's Envision. Ostermann said the 76 million euros plus the latest funding round would cover investment for the next two years.
"It is important for us to have leg room, as we are a growth company and need to develop," he said.
Other sonnen investors include Germany's eCapital and MVP, Dutch firm SET Ventures, Czech company Inven Capital, and GE Ventures, a unit of U.S. firm General Electric.
The investment from Shell, which operates in 140 countries, would help sonnen expand into new areas, Ostermann said.
The company boosted turnover by 65 percent to 65 million euros in 2017, outpacing growth in German solar battery sales of 30 percent, Ostermann said, adding that a stock market listing (IPO) was a possibility but was not on the immediate horizon.
($1 = 0.8480 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert Editing by Edmund Blair)
Yes Hardboy, early electric cars were around in relatively small numbers for about 70 years before ICE vehicles became dominant... and it looks like ICE cars will have lasted 100 years before being replaced by electric... or maybe hydrogen... or both.
PS. If you go to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart you can see a 120 year old electric Porsche... looks more like a carriage though.
I've just watched a documentary with the above title on PBS. A bit simplistic, but very good at showing the pitfalls of current technology and the range of options still being researched. It turns out things haven't changed that much since I knew the market 35 years ago. Trying to find a battery which offers greater power per weight than the traditional lead acid battery is easy enough; but finding one which is safe & stable is another matter. Things have improved a lot, but the old problems are still there.
One thing they highlighted was someone who had developed a lithium ion battery with a solid electrolyte, which makes far safer and more stable. Of course the electrolyte is a kind of plastic which comes from a fossil fuel source.
For anyone interested in the future options available for electricity production it is worth viewing. (Probably 60 minutes + adverts.)
One thing I did not know was that in the early days of the motor car, battery power & petrol power were running pretty equal (till some guy called Ford won the contest for patrol) and there were recharging stations all over New York.
I think with high SPs across the 'portfolio' I'm going to opt out of auto re invest for time being.
With the cash I might have looked for some high yielding Oil co - but will have to think elsewhere - got too much in Shell /BP
After the stock market crash when everything was cheap then I set everything to re invest dividends, but as time as gone on and things aren't so cheap I set to hold in account and let them accumulate until one of my holdings has a bad day and is looking good value.
iii is good for this as you get trading credits.
The royal wedding was grand, indeed. Meghan was a vision of loveliness if ever there was one - and the way she looked at Harry - now that's a woman in love. He's a very lucky man. They make a lovely couple and I hope they have a long and happy life together.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Lupo. That's something to be proud of in this day and age.
Hardboy, hadnt seen the Ceres announcement, there is a lot of activity, including in UK. I remember riding on a hydrogen FC bus in UK in early 2000s, this has been developing for a long time. It is happening now with lots of EU and Govt funded initiatives designed to push development and drive down costs, but Im sure still far from economic and may not win, battery buses and other options are being pushed and may win out. They needs govt intervention because there is no way for manufacturers to monetise the benefits- cleaner air, less health effects, less CO2 etc. so there is no case to invest otherwise.
This FCH JU funded initiative was launched on 25 January 2017 and the 125m scheme is set to deliver 144 hydrogen fuel cell buses and associated refuelling infrastructure in nine cities and regions across Europe.
Transport for London (TfL) tendering bulk procurement of hydrogen fuel cell buses, in partnership with the cities of Aberdeen and Birmingham. The supply chain for FCEB is maturing with many OEMs entering the market, including: Van Hool, New Flyer, Man, Solaris, VDL, Wrightbus, Skoda, Proterra, APTS, Hyundai, Toyota, EvoBus (Daimler) and Ursus.
Engie SA is helping build a small, self-contained power grid on Semakau Island off Singapore to demonstrate the usefulness of hydrogen gas in converting intermittent power from solar panels and wind turbines into stored fuel that can generate electricity days or even months later, when the need is higher.
Blending H2 into natural gas grids, many trails proposed. This is fairly easy and note that the old towns gas was typically 30-50 Mol% hydrogen which was no issue (the toxic CO was what people gassed themselves with).
Major oil companies are doubling down on gas stations, refineries and processing plants, betting on a once-unloved part of the energy business to shore up profits and expand their customer bases.
BP PLC plans to open thousands of gas stations in new markets such as Mexico and India over the next three years. Exxon Mobil Corp. is investing heavily to expand its petrochemical operations, which make products like plastics and the basic ingredients for all sorts of household goods. In November, Royal Dutch Shell PLC started work on a massive petrochemical complex in Pennsylvania -- its first big new plant in the U.S. since the 1960s.
Companies are expected to add 7.7 million barrels a day of new refining capacity by 2023, according to the International Energy Agency. In petrochemicals, it estimates investment in the U.S. alone over the next five years will add 13 million tons a year of new capacity to produce ethylene, the main component of plastic.
American refining, in particular, is booming. Surging shale production has provided plentiful, cheap oil close to the country's petrochemical heartland around the Gulf Coast. Fuel demand is expected to rise. All those dynamics helped drive Marathon Petroleum Corp.'s agreement to buy rival Andeavor last month for $23 billion, a deal that would create the country's largest refiner.
As smaller refiners consolidate, the world's major oil companies are promising that investment in their so-called downstream businesses -- and restructuring efforts they are simultaneously pursuing to improve efficiency -- will add billions of dollars to earnings. The focus on downstream grew amid a period of lower oil prices and concerns over long-term oil demand. Cheaper crude -- the primary feedstock for refining -- boosted margins and profits. Oil companies' "upstream," or oil exploration and development, meanwhile, was suffering from lower prices.
"Upstream at some point was not making money," said Tufan Erginbilgic, head of BP's refining and retail arm. That gave his unit a fresh imperative to "really significantly contribute to group performance, because we have to."
Today, higher crude prices pose a risk that margins from refining won't be as strong as they have in recent years. And all the new investment in capacity could end up swamping the market, analysts warned.
"It remains to be seen the way demand is going to shape up," said Jonathan Leitch, research director at Edinburgh-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Big companies say the downstream investment is worth it -- no matter where crude prices head. Executives say that integrating the oil they produce with refining and retail businesses can maximize profits, and help steady finances amid the sometimes-wild swings in crude.
Investor pressure also has mounted on the major oil companies to start positioning for an age when fossil fuels may no longer power the world's fleet of passenger cars. Executives are betting their big petrochemical plants can offer diversification. According to the IEA, petrochemical production is expected to be the biggest driver of oil demand growth in the coming decades.
Gas stations, too, are promising new growth. They offer access to emerging markets, where demand for fuel is expected to be especially robust. A geographically wide network of branded, retail outlets also could create new opportunities where the industry now sees threats -- such as electric charging stations.
Last year, Shell bought one of Europe's biggest electric-vehicle charging companies, New Motion. It has teamed up with a group of car manufacturers to install more than 500 fast-charging points at existing Shell stations, across 10 countries in Europe over the next two years.
The rise of electric vehicles is "a reality, and an opportunity," Shell's downstream director, John Abbott, told analysts in March. "We are adjusting our offer to meet this new demand."
BP started its push before oil prices collapsed in 2014.
And did you see today's announcement by Ceres that they have signed a deal with a Chinese Engine manufacturer to power Chinese Buses with fuel cells. (That's an oversimplification of the deal, but it again points that commercialisation of fuel cells are getting closer.)
I'll agree with you that H2 has many disadvantages, as do gasoline and diesel ICEs, Battery Electric Vehicles and other alternatives. I doubt H2 will the successful route for road transport but as the technologies of production, on-board storage and fuel cells develops maybe it could win out over BEVs.
As for experts on hydrogen, I'm not sure that the piece you copied was written by one, but it does give some sort of overview.
I am not in any way an expert on Hydrogen - that said there are experts out there and I found this on the internet:
"Disadvantages of Hydrogen Energy
While hydrogen energy has a lot of admirable benefits, its not really the outright preferable, clean and cheap energy source for most governments and companies. In gaseous state, its quite volatile. While its volatility gives it an edge over energy sources in terms of accomplishing numerous tasks, it equally renders it risky to use and work around. Some of the disadvantages of hydrogen energy include:
Hydrogen energy is expensive
Electrolysis and steam reforming, the two main processes of hydrogen extraction are extremely expensive. This is the real reason its not heavily used across the world. Today, hydrogen energy is chiefly used to power most hybrid vehicles. A lot of research and innovation is required to discover cheap and sustainable ways to harness this form of energy. Until then, hydrogen energy would remain exclusively for the rich.
One of hydrogen properties is that it has a lower density. In fact, it is a lot less denser than gasoline. This means that it has to be compressed to liquid state and stored the same way at lower temperatures to guarantee its effectiveness and efficiency as an energy source. This reason also explains why hydrogen must at all times be stored and transported under high pressure, which is why transportation and common use is far from feasible.
Its not the safest source of energy
The power of hydrogen should not be underestimated at all. Although gasoline is a little more dangerous than hydrogen, hydrogen is hugely flammable and frequently makes headlines for its potential dangers. Compared to gas, hydrogen lacks smell, which makes any leak detection almost impossible. To detect leaks, one must install sensors.
Tricky to move around
Its a daunting task to transport hydrogen brilliantly due to its lightness. Oil can be transported safely because its mostly pushed through pipes. Coal can conveniently be transported in dump trucks. Hydrogen also presents challenges when considering moving it in large quantities, which is why its mostly only transported in small batches.
Hydrogen energy cannot sustain the population
Despite the fact that hydrogen is bountiful in supply, the cost of harnessing it limits extensive utilization. As you realize, its quite challenging to disrupt the status quo. Energy from fossil fuels still rule the world. There is also no framework put in place to ensure cheap and sustainable hydrogen energy for the normal car owner in the future. Even if hydrogen were to become cheap right now, it would take years to become the most used source of energy since vehicles themselves and service stations would need to be customized to conform to hydrogen requirements. This would require massive capital outlay.
Its a fact that hydrogen energy is a renewable resource because its abundantly available and its impacts hugely neglected. However, hydrogen companies will, in real sense, need other forms of non-renewable energy such as fossil (coal, natural gas, and oil) to separate it from oxygen. We may be able to minimize over-reliance on fossils fuels when we embrace hydrogen energy, but it will be daunting to get rid of it from the system."
Electricity meets well less than 1/3 the worlds energy needs and that's a massive gap for renewables alone to close.
One of the main benefits of H2 is for longer-term storage... hugely longer than the few days that batteries can or are likely to provide.
And as HE said electrolysis can be used to generate large quantities of the stuff... and Solar thermal can create high-temperature electrolysis... an efficient method of H2 generation and also the CO2 generated can be used to CO2 to further generate power before it is sequestered.
If you look to both China and Japan they have large and long term projects into making use of H2 and it is likely to play a large part in powering industry even if it doesn't end up powering all vehicles.
Alstom signed a 10 year deal with Canadian company Hydrogenics to supply FCs. The German demo train Corada iLint wasreported to use 8x35kW units (they show bigger units in their catalogue so not sure why so many small units, maybe more controllable).
Siemens have also signed up with Ballard to develop a hydrogen FC train, based on a 200 kW unit with German Govt funding targetting 2021 deployment.
"In order to separate the atoms of the hydrogen and oxygen and actually generate hydrogen fuel, fossil fuels are needed. "
Not strictly true. H2 can be produced by electrolysis of water using electricity from renewable sources, solar wind etc. or by conversion of biomass, (wood, straw etc).
That said most hydrogen is currently produced from fossil fuels. But then most electricity to recharge battery electric vehicles is produced from fossil fuels. Power generation emits a lots of NOx, CO2, SOx, particulates etc. Most H2 production also emits similar emissions depending on the process used, so Battery Vehicles have many of the same benefits and drawbacks as FC Vehicles. FC NOx emission from membrane FCs used in vehicles is (I believe) much lower than the cleanest ICE.
CO2 can be sequestered (pumped into a suitable geological structure) but that isn't cheap or efficient. The only really carbon free routes to H2 or Battery EVs are renewables, or nuclear.
From the internet:
"Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells. In order to separate the atoms of the hydrogen and oxygen and actually generate hydrogen fuel, fossil fuels are needed. This completely defeats the purpose of an alternative energy source. If we ran out of fossil fuels we would no longer be able to produce hydrogen energy."
List of Disadvantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Nitrogen Dioxide Emission. Critics of hydrogen fuel cells argue that although these cells do not emit carbon after burning, they give out nitrogen dioxide and other emissions. ...
Storage Issues. ...
High Cost. ...
Highly Flammable. ...
Climate Change Aggravation.
Hydrogen train initiative (below), probably a lot better route to eliminating diesel loco's than electrifying all routes. Hydrogen distribution relatively easy, you know where the trains are going so can cover with limited number of refuelling stations. Fairly easy to package bulky and heavy hydrogen storage cylinders or cryo storage on a train. Cryo would be a good fit for trains due to high volume needed, but liquid H2 supply in UK is I believe still very limited so I guess high pressure gas would have to be used. Unclear whether H2 is a better option than battery for trains, it would seem easy to provide rapid recharge points along the route, either whilst stationary or for a short electrified section. I imagine Alstom will be getting Govt or EU funding support.
I am less convinced that hydrogen will be competitive for road transport against battery vehicles, the size and weight of the storage and overall cycle efficiency from fuel to propulsion (including either road hauling from bulk supply or compression of on-site electrolysis, but that technical race is not yet decided.
French train manufacturer Alstom is set to become the first company to bring hydrogen trains to the UK with its plans to convert an existing fleet.
The company said the move was the first substantive industry response to calls by the Government for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040.
Alstom will convert a fleet of Class 321 electric trains by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells to power them. The fuel cell on the trains will produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen to create water.
The electrical energy is then intermediately stored in batteries and the train is powered by an electrical traction drive. The only exhaust is steam and condensed water.
Alstom will carry out the work at its site in Widnes, Cheshire and will also partner on the project Eversholt Rail.
The move will be welcomed by the Government after Rail Minister Jo Johnson called in February for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040.
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"Off the coast of Western Australia, a battle between mega giants is unfolding. The combatants involve the world's biggest semi-submersible platform, the longest subsea pipeline in the southern hemisphere, and the largest floating facility ever built.
They're all there for the same reason: natural gas - and they're hoping to start drawing it up this month.
As several countries begin to move away from coal as an energy resource, this alternative fossil fuel, which produces 50% less carbon dioxide for every unit of energy generated, is increasingly in demand in our energy hungry world.
Consumption is forecast to rise to 177 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or 5,012 billion cubic metres by 2040, up from 124tcf in 2015, says the US Energy Information Administration.
That's why Shell's gigantic Prelude platform - which is 488m (1,600ft) long and displaces roughly as much water as six aircraft carriers - is competing with Japanese firm Inpex for access to gas in the Browse Basin.
Although they are working on separate gas fields, those fields are connected. Shell and Inpex are essentially vying for the same resource.
"The way I describe it - I have a slide I present to clients and I have a picture of two people drinking out of the same milkshake," says Saul Kavonic, an analyst at energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Prelude is a true behemoth. The largest vessel the world has ever seen, it has been designed not only to collect gas from sub-sea well heads, but also liquefy it on board at temperatures of -162C.
As a liquid, the gas takes up significantly less space, making it easier to transport around the world on ships. This liquefaction would usually be done after piping the gas onshore, but Prelude can do the job herself - something never achieved on such a scale before.
Some serious technology is involved in making this happen. Prelude has high-capacity pumps that can draw 50 million litres of water from the sea every hour to help cool down the natural gas. Once liquefied, it is then stored in massive storage tanks with a volume equivalent to 175 Olympic swimming pools.
And this all has to keep going even through the worst imaginable weather. Prelude's hefty mooring chains are designed to survive Category 5 cyclones.
While Inpex has opted for sending its gas onshore for liquefaction, it also has a huge offshore semi-submersible platform to extract water and impurities from the gas first. And nearby, there is a floating storage and off-loading facility called Venturer.
However, both projects have been beset by delays and spiralling costs, which may be why neither company was prepared to talk to the BBC for this feature.
The pressure to start drawing gas first is obviously intense.
The race for Browse Basin gas has even ignited competition on an international scale. Australia may overtake Qatar to become the world's top exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) once Ichthys and Prelude production is in full swing.
But will any future vessel match or even exceed the scale of Prelude?
Mr Kavonic says the fossil fuel industry isn't likely to try to build one any time soon.
"We need new projects to meet demand [for gas] in the early 2020s," he explains. "We needed projects to be sanctioned last year and that didn't happen, we only saw one."
That single project will be built by Italy's oil and gas giant Eni. A floating facility off the coast of Mozambique, it will have a slightly smaller capacity than Prelude - 3.4 million tonnes of LNG per year versus Prelude's 3.6 million. The capacity of Ichthys will be much bigger, at 8.9 million tonnes.
"There's so far no [other] similar projects under the radar," says Jean-Baptiste Dubreuil from the International Energy Agency.
Without more projects for gas production, industry watchers worry that, in about five years' time, demand for natural gas could outstrip supply.
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