FCEV or BEV – VHS or Betamax?

Fuel Cell Car - Toyota Mirai__  Electric Car - Nissan Leaf_.jpg

The battle for market share between Fuel-Cell Electric vehicles (FCEVs) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) continues with BEVs taking an easy lead in car units sold to date – 300k+ units as opposed to 5k ! This competition for market share reminds me of the video format war between VHS and Betamax in the late 70s !

The pros & cons of FCEVs are that they are quick to refuel, but there are very few hydrogen fueling stations around. They tend to have a longer range before refueling is required than BEVs and there are no emissions except heat & water. One of the first FCEVs to recently go on sale to the general public was the Toyota Mirai – which means ‘future’. The energy density of this car is 5 times higher than current BEVs, so intuitively it seems a better solution. The diversity and scope of FCEVs now also includes passenger trains, buses, vans, and fork lift trucks.

BEVs on the other hand have a lower energy density than hydrogen or traditional petroleum fueled cars. Their range between charges has historically been a limiting factor. Although today’s BEVs have improved dramatically with increased energy densities and longer ranges due to rapid advances in battery technology. The re-charging time has also reduced considerably, but still much slower than fueling FCEVs.

Hydrogen as a commodity has also been used for long term energy storage in the renewable energy industry, and therefore helping with ‘grid balancing’. In addition Hydrogen is a ‘cleaner’ burning fuel reducing the carbon footprint for industry over and above traditional fossil fuels.

In summary FCEVs & BEVs both enjoy zero emissions, and FCEVs can refuel quickly but hydrogen fuel stations are few and far between ! Whereas BEVs take much longer to charge but electric points are comparatively numerous and convenient. Therefore at the moment, as they say in parliament, I think the BEVs “have it” !

Hope you have a great month

All the best

Mike

Quotation corner:

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”.

– Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have”.

– Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

 

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It is not personal but business data !

Preventative Maintenance__#3_   Preventative Maintenance__#2_

Business data is being used in our factories and services industry to decrease maintenance costs. There are two types of maintenance: ‘condition based’ and ‘predictive’. The former tends to be reactive, repairing faults & failures as they occur over time, whereas predictive maintenance is pro-active and relies on performance data.

Predictive maintenance works on real-time anomaly detection algorithms that can pick up tell tale signs of a fault by processing huge amounts of historic and real-time machine behavioural data.

To achieve the optimal balance in maintenance, parts need to be changed at just the right time, before a fault or failure occurs, to avoid further damage and limit the impact of systems downtime and loss of production. Preventative repairs can be scheduled to optimise production or machine output.

Today we have access to so much data, via machine sensors & instrumentation and the ‘internet of things’, which once utilised correctly can be used by the predictive algorithms. This utilisation comes under the banner of ‘data science’, which interprets & processes the data to develop predictive models.

In a nutshell Pedictive Maintenance is a pro-active approach to ensure high machine efficiency & reliability that ultimately saves industry money by the utilisation of performance data.

Hope you have a great month

All the best

Mike

Quotation corner:

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas Edison

“No man goes before his time – unless the boss leaves early”

– Groucho Marx

 

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

 

 

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Supercapacitors Vs Lithium-ion Batteries

 

Electric Car Charging__  Electric Car Charging_#2_

 

A development in supercapacitors based on contact lens technology could potentially allow electric cars to be refuelled as quickly as petrol ones. A Hertfordshire company Superdialectrics had a technological breakthrough in January 2017, and since then, in collaboration with UK universities, have been improving the product.

Present day supercapacitors have a practical capacitance of 0.3 farad per sq. cm, but now 11 to 20 farad per sq. cm is possible since this breakthrough. These figures demonstrate that similar or greater energy densities are now possible with these capacitors and are now considered a valid low-cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries for energy storage.

If this can be brought to the everyday motorist recharging will take minutes instead of hours ! The new low cost supercapacitors could also be used in other areas as well, such as renewable energy systems.

This technological breakthrough has the real ‘capacity’ for re-energising interest in  electric vehicle ownership !

Hope you have a great month

Mike

Quotation corner:

“Laugh and the world laughs with you – snore and you sleep alone.”

– Anthony Burgess

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

– Bil Keane

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

 

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Graphene – discovery to application

Graphene #2_  Graphene #1_

 

Graphene was discovered in 2004 by two professors at the university of Manchester, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, and was hailed as the wonder material that would disrupt many industries. The academics, who have since won the Nobel Prize for their work, produced the material during a Friday night experiment by playing around and using Scotch tape to create ultra thin flakes from a lump of graphite. Graphene was soon proved to be the thinnest material known to scientists – just 1 atom thick, and 200 times stronger than steel, super-elastic and excellent heat and electrical conductivity ! A legend was born !

Subsequently there has been a problem in producing the material cost effectively to make it commercial because production techniques are so expensive. There have been some recent developments though, namely CVD (chemical vapour disposition – a process that grows Graphene on a copper substrate which is then dissolved with acid leaving the material). A more cost effective and higher quality variation on CVD uses carbonic acid between the graphene and copper enabling easy delamination, eliminating the post cleaning process using acids. Another is a chemical & substrate free process using a plasma reactor with methane gas – graphene is produced like flakes of snow !

Potential applications: coating on mobile phone batteries, electrodes on flexible solar panels, heat conductors on LED bulbs, fuel cells, water filtration systems …

It’s a shame that such a fantastic material is subservient to market forces and cannot be fully utilised in our world until high cost of production is overcome.

Hope you have a great month

All the best

Mike

Quotation corner:

“Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.”

– Anonymous

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

– Albert Einstein

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

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Engineering Oversights !

Trains Too Wide !

French Trains Too Wide_  French Trains Too Wide_#2_

In France 341 new trains intended to be rolled out over two years were too wide for the platforms in nearly 1,300 stations because railway network engineers “forgot to go and measure the actual distance between lines and platforms.”

It cost around $68 million to correct the error. The whole debacle brings to mind another notable engineering mistake we made in the UK:

The Bridge That Made People Seasick !

Millenium Bridge Sway #1_   Millenium Bridge Sway #2_

When the Millennium Bridge over London’s Thames River first opened in 2000, it swayed so much that pedestrians would get dizzy and fall down. It reopened in 2002 after undergoing an $8-million repair, and some experts blame the synchronisation of people’s footsteps to the movement of the bridge for the wobbliness.

Must have been an interesting experience during the New Year’s eve celebrations !

Just shows engineers are human and make mistakes – I guess all we can do is reduce the probability of them happening, and limit the losses when they do happen !

Happy & Prosperous New Year

All the best

Mike

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

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Volocopters – Uber high taxis

Volocopter #2_  Volocopter #3_

On Monday 25th September Dubai witnessed the first flight of a volocopter, an autonomous flying people carrying drone ! Dubai wants to become the cornerstone of a flying taxi service – an Uber of the skies no less !

Volocopters have 18 propellers driven by individual electric motors, which means any faults during flights can be isolated without any risk to safety. The motors are powered by nine independent batteries that can be quickly changed. Volocopters have a top speed of 100km/hr, much slower than traditional helicopters, and a flight duration of just 20-30mins and are extremely easy to fly. They are operated with a one hand joy stick that is aided by a flight control system made up of several independent units. Each unit contains positioning sensors that consist of pressure gauges, gyroscopes, accelerometers and magnetometers for all 3 spatial axes – roll, pitch and yaw. Take off and landing and adjustments to altitude are controlled with a thumb button, with semi-autonomous system ensuring landings are gentle.

Perhaps we need these in UK cities as an alternative transport for business to beat our traffic jams and ever increasing congested roads.

Hope you have a great month

All the best

Mike

Quotation corner:

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

Douglas Adams – Author

“On his seventy-fifth birthday a photographer said: ‘I hope, sir, that I will shoot your picture on your hundredth birthday.’ Churchill answered: ‘I don’t see why not, young man. You look reasonably fit and healthy.”

Winston Churchill

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

 

 

 

 

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Bloodhound latest – 200mph test run

Bloodhound #1_      Bloodhound #6_

On 26th October just a few days ago Bloodhound SSC team experienced it’s biggest milestone to date in the development of the world’s first 1000 mph car. At 1pm the Bristol built supersonic car carried out it’s first public tests on the runway at Newquay airport taking the car to 200 mph driven by RAF Wing Commander Andy Green. All the data taken from the test will be processed and analysed to ensure car is record ready for the attempt in 2019 on a special track in Northern Cape, South Africa.

Please see video of actual first test run on link below: (actual footage starts 40 mins in to video !)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FurX-CjOZ6Y

Hope you have a great month

All the best

Mike

Quotation corner:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

William Skakespeare

ps  If you have enjoyed the blog please forward to those who might be interested, many thanks in advance, Mike

 

 

 

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