Renewable Transports - Putting Solar on EV
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Technology for Renewable Transportation is still at the early stage, it doesn't mean we cannot do it. However, many people are objecting this. Guess who. The energy giants, the fossil fuel exporting countries, the energy-hungry countries but not everyone. Just look at the latest COP26 meeting results.
It is similar to how the phrase "Range Anxiety" came from. Some people might want to amplify the effects to stop people from moving forward.
Countries required to import fossil/energy may do the opposite, also those who pay attention to climate change and CO2 emissions.
The Climate Has Changed
"Climate Change", "CO2", "Carbon neutral"….. These phrases had been around for a long time since many of us were still a junior. Most had their children or even grandchildren while the problem worsens with only minor actions. This year, we'd just experienced:-
The hottest June/July of the 127 years of record-keeping in the US.
The coldest stretch days in May in 54 years and coldest day of June for 37 years in Sydney.
The heaviest rainfall in July, Zheng Zhou, He Nan, China with floodings up to 3 stories high in some area,
New York, Germany, India all experienced extreme rainfalls and heavy flooding in last few months.
More and more extreme weather conditions are happening around the globe. If there is something that can help to correct the problem, we should do it. If the changes may hit a wall, it's time to work together to bring down the block. We don't want the problems to drag for another decade(s) with no improvements.
Changes Require Actions and Innovations
We are experiencing a shift in energy usage. Some people are losing their market share, while some might have gained from renewable energies. They want to slow the change while finding a way to co-exist/get out of their profitable investment, then find ways to profit in the new models again.
Home solar was a battleground and an excellent example because many people considered going off-grid 10-15 years ago. Solar feed-in was a brilliant innovation to stop people from going off-grid while managing the excess solar electricity generated. People are getting paid for generating power while paying the electricity network to work and re-distribution. Everyone wins.
The EV's popularity is eroding among the energy giants/exporters. If the cleanest energy from the sun joins in speeding up the progress on the EV market, your vehicle may go "Off-grid." It becomes a significant concern for them. It’s one of the reasons why Hydrogen has been getting so much attention lately. Hydrogen itself is super clean energy. The problem is the way extraction of Hydrogen, how clean and the cost.
Doesn't Happen Overnight, But No Delay
In 2020, the daily production of crude oil alone was 88.4 million barrels <1>. If 1 barrel of Crude oil is roughly equal to 47.3 kg of hydrogen in terms of energy output, the daily hydrogen productions required to replace gasoline (about 40% of crude oil <2>) would be equivalent to 1672 million kg Hydrogen (610 billion kg a year).
The biggest Green Hydrogen production facilities planned estimated maximum yearly production at 600 million kg (1.6 million kg/day, estimate operation earliest by 2025). It's simple math to know that we need "AT LEAST OVER A THOUSAND" of such "Green Hydrogen production facilities" working in max performance to sustain the worldwide gasoline demand of the year 2020 level. Let alone the 60% of crude oil that is not for gasoline conversion and the other fossil fuels, such as Coal, Natural Gas, etc.
Please, be realistic. Hydrogen is a good energy source. It may easily take away our "Range Anxiety" problem on EV. It has a much bigger problem itself and many hurdles to cross to become a viable solution. Those are also the basics like transports, storage, distribution networks, and the energy lost at different stages before reaching a vehicle.
Some Innovative Examples
The production of Green Hydrogen fits perfectly for commercial transport such as planes, vessels, trucks, etc. Overharvesting to include non-green Hydrogen (blue/grey Hydrogen) for the automotive industries is unsuitable for anyone.
If a coal fire power plant can use green Hydrogen harvested by excessive wind/solar energy generated, the benefits are far more significant than going FCEV.
Hanwha in South Korea has shown us a good example. They recycled the wasted Hydrogen they produced to generate power for their factories' usage, to become a circular economy itself, reduce emissions, and act on the climate.
Another example is from the Coal-fired power plant in Delta, Utah, transformed into a Natural Gas mixed "Green Hydrogen" power plant with direct feeding hydrogen generated from the excess Solar power.
It's not perfect, but as good as we get. Using Green Hydrogen directly on electricity generation from a fossil-converted power plant is the most efficient and takes out a vast amount of GHG from the root. It is a great start and an example to everyone.
Keep On Going, We'll Get There
Solar is just a supplement to the EV. It is turbo-charging our EV engine towards Carbon Neutral. Although a pure "Solar Car" is still far reached, the solar enabled/assisted EV is another step we should take.
<1> Google search "daily production of barrel of crude oil", oil production was lower in 2020 than in previous years due to lower oil demand during 2020, the Covid19 pandemic.
<2> Google search "how much crude oil is converted to petrol"