If you register, you can do a lot more. And become an active part of our growing community. You'll have access to hidden forums, and enjoy the ability of replying and starting conversations.

Hydrogen Motive Power

Discussion in 'Diesel & Electric Traction' started by 30854, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Fascinating reading (well, for the likes of me at any rate!), so many thanks for posting that link. I was surprised to note the midday max evidently not being matched by a corresponding trough during the hours of darkness. The basic conclusion of the study (unsurprisingly) confirms that, on the widest scale, our planetary wind patterns are driven by the heat of the sun.

    (At this point I'd best put my hands up and admit to being a space sciences nerd on the QT. This report is more usually something I'd be perusing with regard to the atmospheres of other planets and moons in our solar system).

    The thing to note, is that the report (perfectly reasonably, given it's scope) confines it's study to the instantaneous correlation between wind patterns and electricity consumption, which on the whole, are favourable to wind generation. What it doesn't mention - and doesn't claim to take into account - is the entire issue of grid-level storage. I mention this, not as any criticism of a most detailed study, but with regard to it's implications for the switch to clean energy. Neither, obviously, does it's scope extend to tidal or hydro generation, both of which are as relevant to the wider decarbonisation process.
     
  2. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,186
    Likes Received:
    1,898
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Lo!
    Green energy tariffs often 'misleading'
    'Many "100% renewable" electricity tariffs use energy generated by fossil fuels, which is then "offset" for a small price'

    Patrick
     
  3. DcB

    DcB New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Surrey
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    An update on Alstom's UK plans, still no firm UK orders. But they are pushing green hydrogen generation with wind turbines. https://www.londonreconnections.com/2021/hydrail-breezes-in-the-uk/
    They have also sold 12 Hydrogen trains to SNCF in France for tests.
    Batteries are needed to give a boost when starting.

    Toyota have also said they will be involved with Hydrogen trains, they have an updated road car, but had a setback when James May will be selling his as there are only 12 refill points in the UK, compared to 30 in France and over 100 in Germany. Opel will also produce a Hydrogen van, but not a RHS version for UK.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  4. DcB

    DcB New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Surrey
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
  5. Martin Adalar

    Martin Adalar New Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    5D
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    The problem with hydrogen is the transmission of the energy to where it is needed: it is very wasteful to use electricity to make hydrogen and then use a fleet of diesel lorries to carry that hydrogen to where it is needed and then use that hydrogen to create electricity somewhere else to turn a driving wheel. Battery power is not environmentally friendly either because to get lithium you either need a massive opencast mine in China or you dredge the bed of the oceans causing all sort of destruction of eco systems.
     
  6. DcB

    DcB New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Surrey
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    There is a green hydrogen production project using off peak wind power intially in Aberdeen. This could be sent by electric train or truck to the Midlands to be used in the SVR project.
    There is now video of the SVR hydrogen/battery project (posted in general rail chat alternatives to coal thread).

    Also alternatives to lithium for batteries being developed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  7. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Agreed, though precious little is less environmentally friendly than kerosene, petrol, or diesel and that's not counting crude oil spills. The horrid truth in energy, as anything else, you get nowt for nowt.

    If you take a trawl back through my ramblings on this thread [most specifically post #34], I've covered much of this previously. The issue which really needs a weather-eye keeping on it is "greenwash", specifically watching for the use of "weasel terms" e.g. 'blue hydrogen', or worse yet, 'brown hydrogen', either of which completely negate any notion of the H2 thus produced being in any sense environmentally better than fossil fuels (and significantly less than, say, animal dung!).

    Re: Batteries, though your point is valid, it applies specifically to lithium batteries (No sh*t, Sherlock!). Lithium, certainly, is currently the dominant tech, but by no means the only one. Can't speak to Chinese supplies, though much of the substantial Andean deposits are in the form of dried lake beds and very much on the surface. The main issue here, I suspect, will be the rapid and mysterious development of a sequence of coups and a resultant need for military "support" of regional governments.

    Here be lithium:

    -1x-1.png
    [Image courtesy about bnef.com]
     
  8. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,143
    Likes Received:
    576
    Location:
    Kidderminster/ Edinburgh
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    Another issue is that lithium is widely used in the nuclear industry for a number of things.
    Currently there's a lot of research into using sodium in batteries. Of course if that's possible, then it can be easily obtained from seawater.
     
  9. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Just as that other oft-quoted bogey, cobalt, is used in all petroleum product production, where it can't subsequently be recovered for recycling. Further to that, economically driven considerations have already reduced the requirement of batteries for cobalt by several orders of magnitude.

    The current industry buzz concerns 'solid state' batteries, proven tech, large scale production of which is on the cusp of economic viability right now (quite possibly that will need to read ' became economically viable last month', if you're reading this for the first time later in 2021 - it really is all moving that fast!)

    The particular battery tech I'm inclined to watch still lies a fair bit further down the road. Keep an eye out for updates on Carbon-ion tech. Of all battery developments I've stumbled across thus far, this sounds the most promising by a country mile. AFAIK, it's nowhere near production-ready, but the potential is somewhere north of game changing.

    Worth recalling that energy density (encompassing size and weight) is just one parameter and where physical space occupied or weight aren't the key limiting consideration (e.g.grid-scale storage), other battery architectures, indeed other storage mechanisms, will be more appropriate. The practical upshot of this is that by no means all storage of energy with the potential for conversion to usable electricity will require scarcer, more expensive resources. When considering large (e.g. grid) scale static storage, liquid metal batteries (think 'container size' here) are one to be aware of.

    A useful name (and welsome beacon of sanity) in regard to all this fast-moving, frequently contradictory info being pumped at us from all directions is MIT Prof. Donald Sadoway. If you see his name or work cited, it's a safe assumption you're well clear of 'tin-foil hat territory'.

    At the risk of stating the bloomin' obvious, energy storage is merely one facet of optimising performance. Reducing avoidable losses is every bit as important. Remember when rheostatic motor control was consigned to the history pages with the introduction of thyristor "chopper" control? The sheer amount of research in recent years has been mind-blowing and by no means confined to ever improving control firmware and it's associated coding. To offer just one example: hysteresis losses in motor windings have been drastically reduced by replacing the established circular section with a 'half-hexagon' (i.e.trapezoid) section.

    We live in exciting times, folks!

    [Edits made, with apologies, due to the vagaries of the spiel chequer]
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  10. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    5,674
    Likes Received:
    3,383
    You produce the hydrogen by electrolysis at times when generation capacity exceeds demand. You can do that at the generation site, such as a windfarm out at sea, and then transport the hydrogen to where it is needed; but why not let the Grid carry the surplus electricity to somewhere near where the hydrogen will be needed and produce it there? At a time of low demand for electrical energy the Grid should have enough capacity.

    Apropos battery chemistries; I remember someone at the then BR research establishment at Derby muttering about sodium-sulphur as a possible replacement for diesel engines for shortish distances. That seems not to have been adopted because of safety issues with nasty materials on moving vehicles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium–sulfur_battery
     
    Allegheny likes this.
  11. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,186
    Likes Received:
    1,898
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    In the last 24 hours the minimum gas output was 8.4GW, at no point lower than 30% of the grid. There isn't surplus non-fossil generation, and so any electrolysis at any time is effectively using fossil fuel, and will be for some time to come.

    Hydrogen production and use is inefficient conversion of energy, 3w for every 1w delivered from the hydrogen cell. You'd do better to burn the gas in the loco?

    I've no problem with developing and testing the technologies but don't agree with any large scale use or production - a case of 'come back when we've doubled solar and gas supply' but even then the answer to most rail questions will be to wire it.

    As an aside Roger Ford did a theoretical re-tractioned version of DP2. The batteries ran out at Newcastle. The hydrogen version ran out at Grantham.

    Patrick
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Am I correct in assuming the figures you quote are for the UK, Patrick? I'd greatly appreciate any source link you could supply, please.

    There are so many (sometimes seemingly conflicting) stats out there, it's frequently not easy to tell if one's directly comparing "like for like". Add to that the differing methodologies for incorporating verifiable baseline raw data, even assuming no inherent bias (which experience shows isn't always a safe assumption!) and the phrase 'farting against thunder' leaps to mind.

    I've not seen the Ford article you mention, but it sounds like interesting reading. Without knowing the variables employed, it's impossible to argue he should've been able to make it to Donny, though with OHLE firmly in place, the obvious question is why anyone would feel the need to play thus with a superannuated prototype design in the first place! :)

    Howard
     
  13. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    3,186
    Likes Received:
    1,898
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Somerset
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    GB rather than UK, the national grid in real time at https://gridwatch.co.uk/?oldgw= . It's a great resource breaking down demand and different supply with data going back over the previous year. Happy browsing!

    The 3x figure was in a mag from a couple of months back that has just gone out for recycling, sorry.

    It's in Modern Railways, and is tongue in cheek. As a young engineer he worked on the Deltics and DP2, and so whenever an illustration or comparison is needed he uses DP2 as the example. In a sense it's quite useful in illustrating the current benefits and limitations of the new technologies.

    Patrick
     
    johnofwessex and 30854 like this.
  14. DcB

    DcB New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    181
    Location:
    Surrey
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Current thinking seems to be overhead electrification is the way ahead for mainlines (shame the West mainline project overspent) and hydrogen and battery for slower rural lines to replace diesel.
    It does seem from the article above, for the UK railway tests green hydrogen from the Aberdeen wind farm project will be used.

    "Hydrogen for these trains is produced by two wind turbines powering a 5MW electrolyser. Whilst pricey to operate, this method is much more environmentally friendly than the fossil fuel method, and it provides the purest hydrogen. Alstom built a mobile refuelling station, which has proven useful for demo trips to other lines and countries"

    It's possible Alstom will allow it's mobile refuelling station to be used for the SVR 08 shunter project and further converted EMU tests later this year? Otherwise BOC who are also involved with the windfarm might have something similar?.
    The factor again is cost and compromise where BP and others could deliver "blue" hydrogen cheaper than truly green hydrogen.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  15. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    If one totally ignores the environmental impact of producing H2 in a process still reliant on a hydrocarbon source. For those unclear on all these novel definitions:

    BP said Thursday it was working on plans for a major facility which could generate as much as 1 gigawatt of "blue hydrogen" by 2030. So-called blue hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced using natural gas, with the CO2 emissions generated during the process captured and stored. Sourced from CNBC 18 Mar 2021

    And for any of those with a curious or plain masochistic streak:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cn...-a-huge-blue-hydrogen-facility-in-the-uk.html

    Of course, all processes involve losses. That's straightforward universal and unavoidable entropy. Where questions need answering concerns the by-products and overall efficiency of the entire production process. If the only by-products of concern are CO2 and this is readily and cost effectively stored, although still looking at hydrocarbons as the key raw material, with the proviso that honesty is employed in the costings case (something the fossil fuel industry hasn't been conspicuously noted for over the years), such tech might be justifiable as a purely interim measure.

    This is a far more in-depth analysis (a downloadable .pdf file):

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...FjALegQICRAC&usg=AOvVaw2KceVSXEIRX-BLB6ON1-mC

    Where I certainly harbour doubts is the whole vexed issue (and definition) of carbon capture. The whole "smoke and mirrors" tactics, too often employed by those arguing for "carbon offset" or meaningless fluff concerning a "carbon market" have been shown to be a fig-leaf by industries doing their damndest to squeeze the last penny from their environmentally damaging activities. It's now a question of credibility, independantly backed up by solid science.

    Edited due to sausage fingers (no such thing as 'missors'!)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
    D1039 likes this.
  16. 45045

    45045 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    40
    One thing I have not seen on green hydrogen production from water. What and how do they dispose of the waste streams?
     
  17. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    "Green" hydrogen production involves no harmful by-products and is the reason for other, environmentally less (or un)sound bandwagon jumping, from the brown and blue hydrogen brigades.

    Following on from earlier posts, concerning the viability of H2 production, I clocked this on one of my regular 'trawls'. Although I've not yet got my head around the process linked below, the economic case made is obviously highly significant, so here it is:

    https://newatlas.com/energy/h2pro-cheap-hydrogen-electrolysis/

    [\Change of subject] SVR Class 08 Project

    One development on the SVR I've not yet seen mentioned on our forum is the conversion of a class 08 to hydrogen power. I'll confess to being a tad surprised a design with mechanical transmission was chosen, but if this project goes according to plan, it bodes well for the longer term future.

    http://railnews.mobi/news/2021/04/23-volunteers-launch-conversion-of-first.html

    I wish the young group involved every success. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

    Edited due to me being ignorant! :Banghead:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  18. Dunfanaghy Road

    Dunfanaghy Road Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2019
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    726
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Alton, Hants
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    What waste? Product = hydrogen; byproduct = oxygen. Smells good to me :D.
    Pat
     
  19. Kje7812

    Kje7812 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,143
    Likes Received:
    576
    Location:
    Kidderminster/ Edinburgh
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    Yes I am an active volunteer
    08s are diesel-electric, not diesel-mechanical. The smaller BR shunters were mechanical transmission.
     
  20. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Messages:
    6,561
    Likes Received:
    6,809
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Brighton&Hove
    Heritage Railway Volunteer:
    No I do not currently volunteer
    Those coupling rods have had me fooled for years .... Shows you how much notice of diesel shunters I took! OP edited accordingly, though I still wish the team well.
     

Share This Page