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The world’s first hybrid electric tram, using hydrogen as its main power source, is now operating on a 136-year-old railway in the Chinese city of Tangshan. It will be operating in more cities in China as well as abroad. Having three carriages with 66 seats, the tram can run for 40 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour after being refilled with 12 kilograms of hydrogen.

France’s Pragma Industries says its pedal-assist electric bicycle is ready for sale in Europe. Powered by hydrogen, the e-bike has a 100 km (62 mile) range and a recharge time of just 2 minutes. (See photo above.)

The Hydrogen Council says hydrogen may supply almost 20% of global energy by 2050. Oil and gas producers such as Shell are increasing their investments in the fuel, anticipating wider use in vehicles as environmental laws tighten worldwide. For hydrogen to be successful, it will require significant investment in pipelines, storage facilities and manufacturing plants.  It can be stored and handled similarly to gasoline and diesel and hence is attractive to oil firms. The Hydrogen Council is made up of companies like Toyota, BMW, Shell, Anglo American, and Engie SA.

OPEC believes a larger-than-expected boom in electric vehicle sales could cause global crude oil demand to peak and flatten out in the late 2030s.  If a quarter of the world’s cars have batteries, global oil demand would reach a plateau of about 109 million barrels a day during the second half of the 2030s, the organization said in its annual World Oil Outlook.  However, OPEC’s main projection is for oil consumption to increase for decades to come as the global electric car fleet grows at half that pace. It sees fossil fuels accounting for 74$ of world energy use by 2040. The study said:

“It is highly unlikely that electric vehicles will penetrate the passenger car segment with this strength in less than 24 years. Nevertheless, several countries have publicly stated their intention to achieve an even higher share of electric vehicles in new sales.”

OPEC’also sees the possibility that mass adoption of car-sharing services such as those offered by Uber and Lyft could eat away at oil demand as private car ownership declines. In China, rapid growth of these services could shrink the car fleet and cause oil demand from cars to peak in 2035 and then fall marginally over the next five years. That would mean oil use from the car fleet would be 11%  lower than OPEC’s base case, which sees more modest growth in sharing and no peak in Chinese demand. In North America, wide adoption of car sharing and ride-hailing technology would accelerate the decline in oil demand, resulting in a 7% drop to 6.3 million barrels a day by 2040.

General Motors announced plans to launch a new family of electric vehicles in 2021. The automaker is developing an all-new electric vehicle platform that will accommodate multiple sizes and segments, to be sold by different GM brands in the United States and China. Last month GM said it planned to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 and wants to be selling 1 million electric vehicles a year by 2026. The company is working to cut the cost of its lithium-ion batteries to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour from $145 per kilowatt-hour by 2021, which would bring the overall cost of EVs much closer to comparable gasoline-engine models.  The new batteries would hold more energy and charge quicker and would have a range of more than 300 miles (483 km).

Daimler, which owns Thomas Built Buses in the US, says it will begin selling an electric school bus in that country with a range of 100 miles beginning in 2019. Thomas currently is the dominant manufacturer of school buses in the US, with a market share about 40%. The e-bus seats 81 children and is powered by a 60 kWh battery. Fleet operators who need longer range can opt for additional battery packs.

The US state of Oklahoma now as 121 compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations. CNG currently sells in the city of Tulsa for between $1.55 and $1.65 per gasoline gallon equivalent. Gasoline ranges from $2.29 to $2.59 per gallon while diesel costs $2.76.

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Cal on November 17th, 2017

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China’s largest oil company Sinopec, one of that country’s top banks, and its sovereign wealth fund agreed to develop a $43 billion natural gas project in the US state of Alaska.

When will we reach peak oil demand?  Royal Dutch Shell and Norway’s Statoil predict crude oil demand could reach its high as soon as 2025 or 2030. However, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. say peak demand is not in sight, and OPEC’s demand forecast is in line with that of the International Energy Agency, which argues that global oil demand will grow slowly past 2040.

In Turkey, construction for the Turkish Stream pipeline designed to transport Russian natural gas moved into official Turkish waters. Turkey wants to capitalize on its geographic position by becoming an energy bridge between Central Asian and Middle East suppliers and the European market.

Crude oil explorer Tullow Oil said it expects to produce between 85,000 and 89,000 barrels of oil per day from its fields off the coast of Ghana in West Africa.

Alstom said it will build 14 hydrogen fuel-cell trains for the Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony in Germany. The trains will replace the diesel trains. The hydrogen for the trains will be provided by the Linde Group.

Italy announced it will phase out coal in electricity generation by 2025, and significantly boost the share of renewables in total energy and electricity consumption. Italy plans to have 28% of its total energy consumption supplied by renewable energy sources by 2030, compared to 17.5% in 2015. The 28% target should be reached with around 50% of newly installed capacity coming from PV solar. The government expects electricity production from PV to increase from 23 terrawatt-hours (TWh) currently to 72 TWh by 2030. Wind power is expected to see an increase from 25 TWh to 40 TWh, while hydroelectric power will see its contribution remain steady at 50 TWh.

New Zealand says it expects to be run on 100% renewable energy by 2035, Currently renewables (mostly hydro) provide 80% of the country’s energy.

The first truly autonomous cars may be here— vehicles that cruise the public streets with no one sitting behind the wheel to take over in case of emergency. Waymo says that it has driverless cars on the roads in the US city of  Phoenix, Arizona, with nobody in the front seats.

At a petrol station in the Norwegian city of Dal, 30 minutes north of Oslo, owners of the next generation of electric cars will within months be able to charge their battery in as little as 10 minutes — about one-third the time it now takes.

Every new or refurbished house in Europe will need to be equipped with an electric vehicle recharging point, under a draft EU directive expected to come into effect by 2019. Moreover, by 2023, 10% of parking spaces in new buildings in the EU will have to have recharging facilities. Meanwhile, Norway and the Netherlands plan to completely phase out vehicles with petrol engines by 2025.



with h/t Tom Whipple

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Cal on November 14th, 2017