Cal on February 27th, 2017

Cal on February 27th, 2017

As of January, a total of 274 hydrogen refueling stations were in operation across the globe, almost 30% of which were inaugurated last year.  83 of the 92 stations that were opened in 2016 are publicly-accessible. The others are dedicated to refueling buses and fleets. Currently there are 106 stations operating in Europe, 101 in Asia, 64 in North America, two in South America and one in Australia. 188 of these are publicly-accessible. Plans for 90 future sites worldwide have already been announced.

The Telegraph shows us how filling your fuel cell vehicle with hydrogen works.

A partnership of Royal Dutch Shell and automaker Toyota will build seven fueling stations for hydrogen cars in the US state of California. California’s goal is to have 100 retail sites where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can fill up by 2024. Currently the state has just 25 of these stations. Shell currently operates six hydrogen stations – four stations in Germany and two in the Los Angeles area. Later this month, Shell will operate a seventh near London’s Heathrow Airport in the UK.

A trial is underway in the UK city of London to convert streetlights connected to UK Power Networks’ electricity network in central London into charge points for electric vehicles. The trial in Onslow Gardens s allows two local residents to charge their vehicles from a street light near their front door, and receive accurate bills for their electricity use via their smart phone or computer. This technology avoids the need to build new electricity networks and makes better use of the cables, particularly in the daytime when the lights are switched off.

In the US, VIA Metropolitan Transit of San Antonio, Texas recently announced plans to purchase 270 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. The purpose is to replace aging buses in its current fleet, which are at least 15 years old.

The South America country of Bolivia plans to convert 20,000 vehicles to compressed natural gas (CNG). Since 2010 more than 135,000 vehicles in the country have been converted to CNG, with the majority operating in the transportation sector.


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Cal on February 26th, 2017

Cal on February 26th, 2017

A new report from Business Insider Intelligence examines the transformation of the automobile. Over the next five to 10 years, the integration of the car with the Internet is expected to change the car ownership model, create a new platform for consumers to access content, lead to fully autonomous vehicles, and revolutionize the auto industry. Here are some of the main projects of this report:

  • Over 380 million connected cars will be on the road globally by 2021. Automakers plan to connect to the Internet the majority of the vehicles they sell.
  • Automakers are connecting the vehicles they sell because the connection offers clear business opportunities.
  • Consumers are adopting the connected car faster than expected.
  • Hi tech companies will play a major role in the future of the automotive market. The big question is whether tech companies will eventually manufacture cars themselves (eg. Google, Apple)
  • Fully autonomous cars are just years away. Technological, regulatory, and consumer adoption hurdles still remain, but there have been many strides towards a car that can drive itself from point A to point B with little to no human interaction.

A new report by Lux Research says second generation biofuels are finally starting to replace first generation biofuels. New facilities based on non-food feedstocks and producing new kinds of fuels account for over half of new capacity deployment for the first time in the biofuel industry’s history. The global biofuels industry will grow at a 2.2% annual rate to 67 billion gallons a year of capacity by 2022. First-generation biofuels, which currently hold a 91.5% market share, will continue to dominate but will lose 6% market share, as advanced biofuels see rapid growth.  This period will see a rapid growth of low-carbon and high-performance drop-in biofuels such as renewable diesel. Thermochemical and catalytic technologies will surpass bioconversion processes to make up over half of the new capacity expansion for the first time in the biofuel industry’s history.

India announced the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be powered by solar energy as part of the Indian Railways mission to implement 1 gigawatt of solar power capacity. Work to set up rooftop solar power systems at 300 stations has already started, and soon this number will increase to 2,000 stations.

Electric car sales account for about 5% of all the automobiles in Norway. The country hopes to register 400,000 all-electric vehicles by 2020. Currently there are about 130,000 electric vehicles on Norway’s roads.

Automaker Volvo announced it will introduce its first all-electric cars in 2019. The company plans to deliver vehicles ranging between 100–450 kilowatts (kW) of propulsive power, with battery packs of up to 100 kilowatt-hours. The models will support AC charging up to 20 kW and high-speed DC charging.

Daimler says that as of the end of this year it is converting its Smart brand in North America to all-electric. Currently the Smart cars are the most popular all-electric car sold in the US with 8.5% of all sales in this category.

9 US states now impose fees on electric cars as a way to pay for road maintenance, while another 6 states have legislation under review. The fees are a substitute for the gasoline taxes that, because they don’t buy gas, electric-car owners don’t pay.

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Cal on February 25th, 2017

The market position of the car today is similar to where the smartphone was in 2010 — it’s just taken off and is ready to explode. 

—–   Business Insider IntelligenceTHE TRANSFORMATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE 2016

Cal on February 25th, 2017

Cal on February 23rd, 2017

China’s current Five-Year Plan envisions building seven new nuclear reactors a year between 2016 and 2020. China currently has 36 nuclear reactors in operation, 21 under construction and more waiting to start.

There were only 174 crude oil and natural gas discoveries worldwide last year, compared to an average of 400-500 per year up until 2013, according to research group IHS Markit.  The slowdown in exploration indicates the world is likely to become increasingly reliant on “unconventional” resources such as US shale oil and gas to meet demand for energy in future decades.

Iran has found shale oil reserves of 2 billion barrels of light crude in its western Lorestan province, according to the National Iranian Oil Company. Exploration is also being carried out for shale gas reserves in the area, and the studies were expected to be completed by this October. Iran has proven oil reserves of about 160 billion barrels, almost 10% of the world’s total.

A report from Houston-based consulting firm Graves & Co. reveals the global oil and gas industry has suffered 441,371 jobs lost since the beginning of the most recent downturn.

Saudi Arabia uses about 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil in the summer to meet its air conditioning demands.  The desert kingdom plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace a sizable amount of the oil now burned to produce electric power. This oil could then be diverted to export markets.

The social and economic crisis in Venezuela continues to get worse with many talking about a financial default followed by a societal collapse this year. Should this happen, anywhere up to 2 million barrels per day of crude oil production could be taken from international markets, an amount sure to drive oil prices higher.

Consultants CRU Group say global electric car and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could hit 4.4 million in 2021 and more than six million by 2025, up from 1.1 million last year.

General Motors Co plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in the US in partnership with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc, beginning in 2018. Most of the specially equipped versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will be tested by Lyft in its ride-sharing fleet in several states.

The Argentinian city of Buenos Aires saw the first street race of two driverless electric cars running at speeds of up to 185 kilometers per hour. The cars used sensors and on-board systems to navigate the street circuit whilst communicating with each other to avoid contact. However, this did not prevent one of the cars crashing into a barrier. The organizers of Formula E (all electric) racing hope ultimately to have up to 10 driverless cars racing together, run by teams who write their own software, around city tracks as part of their annual racing series.



h/t Tom Whipple

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Cal on February 23rd, 2017