Battery-Storage-Projects

Battery-Storage-Projects

EDF’S West Burton B battery storage project in Nottinghamshire, one of Europe’s largest battery storage projects | Credit: EDF

The consultancy predicts that US and China will drive global growth in cumulative energy storage capacity, which should top 740GWh by the end of the decade

Energy storage is poised for a decade-defining boom, with capacity set to grow by almost a third worldwide every year in the 2020s to reach around 741GWh by 2030, according to analyst Wood Mackenzie.

The firm’s latest forecasts for the burgeoning sector released on Wednesday point to a 31 per cent compound annual growth rate in energy storage capacity in the 2020s.

Growth will be concentrated in the US, which will make up just under half of global cumulative capacity by 2030, at 365GWh, the analysis predicts, while front-of-the-meter (FTM) energy storage will continue to dominate annual deployments, accounting for around 70 per cent of global capacity additions to the end of the decade.

The US FTM market is set to surge through 2021 due to significant short-term resources planned before slowing slightly through 2025. Beyond 2025, growth will become steadier as wholesale market revenue streams grow and utility investment is normalised, the report adds.

In particular, utility resource planning in the US is set to take a front seat for deployments over the coming decade, it says, in line with major recent shifts in utility approaches to renewables and storage, with the majority of utilities dramatically shifting planned resources towards renewables and storage due to cost and state-driven clean-energy goals.

“We note a 17 per cent decrease in deployments in 2020, 2GWh less than our pre-coronavirus outlook,” said the consultancy’s principal analyst Rory McCarthy. “We expect wavering growth in the early 2020s, but growth will likely accelerate in the late 2020s, to enable increased variable renewable penetration and the power market transition.”

Just behind the US in energy storage deployment, China is expected to see exponential growth in storage capacity, accounting for just over a fifth of global cumulative capacity at 153GW by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Europe’s growth story, on the other hand, is expected to be slower than its global counterparts, with the UK and Germany continuing to dominate the continent’s FTM market out to 2025, with the markets in France and Italy also opening up.

Wood Mackenzie senior analyst Le Xu emphasized that “storage holds the key to strong renewables growth.”

“The question is whether storage can capture stable long-term revenue streams,” she added. “Low-cost and longer duration storage can increasingly out-compete coal, gas and pumped hydro, enabling higher levels of solar and wind penetration. However, most lithium-ion energy storage systems economically max out at 4 to 6 hours, leaving a gap in the market.”

Parallel-Assembly-12v-Battery

Parallel-Assembly-12v-Battery

Lithium iron phosphate(LiFePo4) batteries are continually sought after in the battery market for their long life and safety. This is seen recently with Tesla’s Model 3 and BYD’s Han series launching with LiFePO4 batteries.

We will explore these pros and cons of LiFeP04 batteries in this article.

Table of Contents

High-Temperatures-Lipo-Battery

High-Temperatures-Lipo-Battery

Aerial photography enthusiasts try to shoot on sunny summer days, but flying under high temperatures for a long time can be a strain for their drones. Continuous flying under higher temperatures can easily cause serious heating of the equipment and may even cause battery failure or explosion and permanent damage to the drone’s equipment.

Factors that affect the work of drones in high temperature

Most drones use lithium polymer batteries, which generate electricity through chemical reactions. High temperatures affect the rate of chemical reactions, which undoubtedly shortens the flight time and life of the battery.

In sweltering temperatures, the air can be thicker. The thicker hot air forces the propellers and motors to work harder to keep the drone in the air and contributes to shorter flight time.

In some cases, once the battery heats up, it will gradually expand as time goes by while slowly emitting chemical substances and toxic smoke. The heat generated may also overheat the electronic equipment or melt wires and plastics.

Definitely take temperatures into account when you want to fly your drone. You can download free apps, like UAV Forecast, to help you make informed decisions before you fly.

We will explore some tips below if you decide to fly your drone in hot temperatures.

When flying a drone in hot weather, pay attention to certain factors

When switching out batteries, wait for the drone to cool down a bit, and take longer breaks between flights.

Reduce jerking your drone around or making sudden turns or stops during flight because high temperature will affect the discharge capacity of the battery and may shorten the service life of the drone.  In short, try to have a smooth flight.

Drones should indicate the operating temperature in their manuals, and it is best not to exceed a certain timeframe for flying under extreme temperatures. Here is a list of the operating temperatures of several drones for you to refer to:

operating temperatures of different drones | Grepow
Source: DJI, YUNEEC, Parrot, Autel Robotics, Skydio

The batteries must be fully charged and placed in a cool place before flying. Do not leave your electronics under direct sunlight.

If your drone is running hot after the flight, place it in a cool place to dissipate heat before storage.

Drone-Battery-lipo

Drone-Battery-lipo

You may have heard that there are restrictions when flying your drone in high temperatures, but did you know that it’s a similar case in low temperatures too?

We will explore some factors to consider if you plan on flying your drone in cold weather.

The impact of low temperatures on drones

Lower temperatures slow down the chemical reaction of LiPo (lithium-ion polymer) batteries, thereby reducing battery capacity, increasing resistance, and shortening the flight time. Drone manufacturer DJI states on its website that the LiPo batteries that power their drones start draining at an increased rate at temperatures below 59℉ (15°C).

It’s important that users read the manuals for their drones before a flight.  The operator temperature of most drones is set at 32 to 104 ℉ (0 to 40°C), so you should avoid flying outside of this temperature range.

To fly a drone in low-temperature, you need to prepare in all aspects.

Measure

Before going out

Plan your day out beforehand and try to finish your flight as soon as possible before it gets too dark. See the weather forecast: if there’s snow, hail, or rain, reschedule your flight as these weather conditions can damage your equipment and drones and very likely cause a crash.

Ensure your batteries are fully charged and have spare ones on hand to switch out.

When going out

Limit direct exposure of your batteries to the cold air. Keep them in their gear or protective equipment instead of just in the trunk of your vehicle.

Take off

When launching your drone, raise the aircraft 10-20 feet from the ground and make it hover for 30-60 seconds. This can increase the temperature of the battery to achieve a warm-up effect. Some apps, such as the DJI GO, allow you to check and monitor the battery temperature.

DJI GO | Temperature | Grepow
Source: DJI

Focus on the battery’s voltage. You should keep the battery’s voltage indicator displayed on your monitor so you can keep track of it.

Check the components. In a cold environment, some parts, like propellers, become more fragile. Therefore, it is necessary to check them more diligently for cracks or damage. You can also consider replacing them with solid carbon fiber blades.

Avoid running out of capacity. Fly until the battery drops to 30-40% of its capacity, and then bring the drone back down. In order to prevent other unpredictable situations from happening, don’t drain your battery completely when flying.

Stop flying immediately if it starts to rain or snow.  Be careful because most drones are not waterproof. Moisture may short-circuit the motor and cause the drone or controller to malfunction.

For you

Don’t forget to keep yourself warm. It is best to wear gloves which can touch the screen because it will be very inconvenient to operate the device with cold and stiff hands.

Wear goggles. When flying in icy or snow-covered weather, your eyes may be damaged due to the greater light reflection. Goggles can avoid this problem.

 

 

 

EV-Battery-3.2v-100ah-200ah-280ah

EV-Battery-3.2v-100ah-200ah-280ah

Global competition for the world’s top spot for the manufacture of rechargeable batteries is getting fiercer as China is stepping up efforts to overtake its South Korean rival in the fast-growing electric vehicle market, Koreainvestors.com reports.

According to market research firm SNE Research on Oct. 5, South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. maintained its market lead with 15.92 GWh of battery capacity supply in the first eight months of this year, accounting for 24.6% of the global EV battery market.

China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) came in second with 15.54 GWh, or 24% of the global market, followed by Japan’s Panasonic, whose market share stood at 19.2%.

Korea’s two other EV battery makers — Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. — ranked fourth and sixth with 6.3% and 4.2%, respectively.

Data showed China’s CATL is swiftly closing in on market leader LG Chem. In July, LG Chem’s market share was 1.3 percentage points higher than CATL’s.

“LG Chem was able to keep its market leader position in the first half as the Chinese EV market shrank due to the coronavirus pandemic. But with the gradual recovery of the Chinese market since July, China’s battery makers are quickly narrowing the gap with their Korean rivals,” said a battery industry official.

Electric vehicles sold in China reached 83,000 units in August, more than half the global EV sales of 163,000 units.

China’s CATL poised to lead global market

CATL, which takes up 50-60% of the Chinese battery market, aims to expand its presence in Europe by building a plant in Germany and forging a partnership with Daimler AG.

Analysts said Chinese EV battery makers, on the back of strong government support, could overtake their Korean rivals in the near future. The Chinese government recently announced that it will extend state subsidies to its battery makers until the end of 2022. Such subsidies were scheduled to be phased out by the end of 2020.

Energy market researcher BloombergNEF predicts Chinese manufacturers will take the top spot in the global supply of EV batteries by the end of this year, leaving their Korean and Japanese rivals behind.

Korean companies are also facing competition from smaller rivals in Europe, where the growing EV market has helped LG Chem and other Korean battery makers gain ground in the global market.

Crowded EV battery market

According to foreign media reports, Northvolt AB, a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer, recently raised 600 million euros (820 billion won) in investment funding, in which German automaker Volkswagen also participated.

With the raised funds, Northvolt is known to be expanding its annual battery production capacity in Europe to 150 GWh by 2030.

Electric vehicle makers are also joining the race.

At its annual Battery Day on Sept. 22, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company will make next-generation batteries for its electric cars in-house to cut costs.

The company said its battery production will rise to 100 GWh a year by 2022, similar to LG Chem’s annual output capacity for this year.

Lithium-Ion-Battery

Lithium-Ion-BatteryThe voltage of a lithium-ion battery is determined by the electrode potential. Voltage, also known as potential difference or potential difference, is a physical quantity that measures the energy difference of electric charges in an electrostatic field due to different potentials. The electrode potential of lithium-ion batteries is about 3V, and the voltage of lithium-ion batteries varies with different materials. For example, a general lithium-ion battery has a nominal voltage of 3.7V and a full-charge voltage of 4.2V; a lithium iron phosphate battery has a nominal voltage of 3.2V and a full-charge voltage of 3.65V. In other words, the potential difference between the positive electrode and the negative electrode of a lithium-ion battery in practical use cannot exceed 4.2V, which is a requirement based on material and use safety.

If the Li/Li+ electrode is used as the reference potential, μA is the relative electrochemical potential of the negative electrode material, μC is the relative electrochemical potential of the positive electrode material, and Eg, the electrolyte potential range, is the difference between the lowest electron unoccupied energy level and the highest electron occupied energy level. So the maximum voltage of the lithium-ion battery is determined by μA、μC、Eg.

The difference between μA and μC is the open-circuit voltage (the highest voltage value) of the lithium-ion battery. When this voltage value is in the Eg range, the normal operation of an electrolyte can be ensured. Normal operation means that the lithium-ion battery moves back and forth between the positive and negative electrodes through the electrolyte, but does not undergo oxidation-reduction reactions with the electrolyte, So as to ensure the stability of the battery structure. The electrochemical potential of the positive and negative materials causes the electrolyte to work abnormally in two forms:

  1. When the electrochemical potential of the negative electrode is higher than the lowest electron and unoccupied energy level of the electrolyte, the electrons of the negative electrode will be captured by the electrolyte, and the electrolyte will be oxidized, then the reaction product will form a solid-liquid interface layer on the surface of the negative electrode material particles. As a result, the negative electrode may be damaged.
  2. When the electrochemical potential of the positive electrode is lower than the highest electron-occupied energy level of the electrolyte, the electrons in the electrolyte will be captured by the positive electrode and oxidized by the electrolyte. Then the reaction product forms a solid-liquid interface layer on the surface of the positive electrode material particles, resulting in the positive electrode may be damaged.

However, the possibility of damage to the positive or negative electrode is due to the existence of the solid-liquid interface layer, which prevents the further movement of electrons between the electrolyte and the positive and negative electrodes, and instead protects the electrode material. That is to say, the lighter solid The liquid interface layer is protective. The premise of this protection is that the electrochemical potential of the positive and negative electrodes can slightly exceed the Eg interval, but not too much. For example, the reason why most of the current lithium-ion battery anode materials use graphite is that the electrochemical potential of graphite related to Li/Li+ electrodes is about 0.2V, which slightly exceeds the Eg range (1V~4.5V), but because of its protective properties, the solid-liquid interface layer prevents the electrolyte from being further reduced, thus stopping the continuous development of the polarization reaction. However, the 5V high-voltage cathode material is far beyond the Eg range of the current commercial organic electrolyte, so it is easily oxidized during charging and discharging. With the increase of charging and discharging times, the capacity decreases and the service life also decreases.

The reason why the open-circuit voltage of the lithium-ion battery is selected to be 4.2V is that the Eg range of the electrolyte of the existing commercial lithium-ion battery is 1V ~ 4.5V. If the open-circuit voltage is set to 4.5V, the output power of the lithium-ion battery may be increased, but it also increases the risk of battery overcharge, and the harm of overcharge has been explained by a lot of data, so there is no additional explanation here.

If you are interested in battery products, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time!
Email: sales@himaxelectronics.com

Life-cycle-of-a-ternary-lithium-battery

With the promotion of energy conservation and environmental protection, more and more environmentally friendly products are being applied to the market. In the battery industry, ternary lithium batteries with many advantages quickly occupied the market, and gradually replace the traditional lead-acid batteries. For the traditional battery, ternary lithium batteries have a long life, energy-saving and environmental protection without pollution, low maintenance costs, charge and discharge completely, lightweight, and so on, the total ternary lithium battery life, how long it will be?

What is a ternary lithium battery?

In nature, lithium is the lightest metal with the smallest atomic mass. Its atomic weight is 6.94g/mol and ρ=0.53g/cm3. Lithium is chemically active and easily loses electrons and is oxidized to Li+. Therefore, the standard electrode potential is the most negative, -3.045V, and the electrochemical equivalent is the smallest, 0.26g/Ah. These characteristics decide that it is a material with high specific energy. Ternary lithium battery refers to the lithium secondary battery that uses three transition metal oxides of nickel-cobalt-manganese as the cathode material. It fully integrates the good cycling performance of lithium cobaltate, the high specific capacity of lithium nickelate, and the high safety and low cost of lithium manganate, which synthesizes nickel-cobalt-manganese and other multi-element synergistic lithium-embedded oxide by molecular level mixing, doping, coating, and surface modification methods. The ternary lithium battery is a kind of lithium-ion rechargeable battery that is widely researched and applied at present.

The life of ternary lithium battery

The so-called lithium battery life refers to capacity decay of nominal capacity with a period of battery use ( at room temperature 25 ℃, standard atmospheric pressure, and discharge at 0.2C)

can be considered the end of life. In the industry, the cycle life is generally calculated by the number of cycles of full charge and discharge of lithium batteries. In the process of use, an irreversible electrochemical reaction occurs inside the lithium battery, which leads to a decrease in capacity, such as the decomposition of the electrolyte, the deactivation of active materials, the collapse of the positive and negative structures, and the reduction in the number of lithium ions inserted and extracted. Experiments have shown that a higher discharge rate will lead to a faster attenuation of capacity. If the discharge current is lower, the battery voltage will be close to the equilibrium voltage and more energy can be released.

life of a ternary lithium battery
Life of ternary lithium battery 

The theoretical life of a ternary lithium battery is about 800 cycles, which is medium among commercially rechargeable lithium batteries. Lithium iron phosphate is about 2,000 cycles, while lithium titanate is said to reach 10,000 cycles. At present, mainstream battery manufacturers promise more than 500 times (charge and discharge under standard conditions) in the specifications of their ternary battery cells. Manufacturers recommend that the SOC use window is 10%~90%. Deep charging and discharging are not recommended, otherwise, it will cause irreversible damage to the positive and negative structure of the battery. If it is calculated by shallow charge and shallow discharge, the cycle life will be at least 1000 times. In addition, if the lithium battery is often discharged under high rate and high-temperature environment, the battery life will be greatly reduced to less than 200 times

The number of life cycles of lithium batteries is based on battery quality and battery materials.

  1. The cycle times of ternary materials are about 800 times.
  2. Lithium iron phosphate battery is cycled about 2500 times.

Grepow has long been manufacturing battery packs, ternary lithium batteries, lithium polymer batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, and so on. The product has a wide range of applications and high quality. Grepow is the world’s top battery manufacturer, which was founded in 1998, over 20 years of experience in battery manufacturing. There are currently 3 self-owned brands “格氏 ACE”, “GENS ACE” and “TATTU”.

In today’s lithium battery market, ternary lithium batteries are the most widely used. They are moderate in terms of performance and low in price. Therefore, the ternary lithium batteries are the most cost-effective.

Low-temperature lithium-ion batteries mainly include low-temperature lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) batteries, low-temperature 18650 batteries, and low-temperature lithium iron phosphate (LiPO4) batteries.  We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Low-temperature lithium polymer batteries

Low-temperature LiPo batteries have the best low-temperature performance especially in smart wearable devices, where the advantages are more prominent.

Performance characteristics

Himax’s LiPo batteries can be made to operate in environments with low-temperatures of -50℃ to 50℃. Under low-temperatures, the batteries can achieve a lower internal resistance and, thus, a high discharge rate. Compared with traditional lithium polymer batteries, Himax’s batteries have broken through the discharge temperature limits of -20℃ to 60℃.

They are able to discharge over 60% efficiency at 0.2C at -40℃ and discharge over 80% efficiency at 0.2C at -30℃. When charged at 20℃ to 30℃ by 0.2C, the capacity can maintain above 85% after 300 cycles. The batteries can be ready for mass production, and they have been widely used in cold climates and military products.

Grepow low-temperature lithium polymer battery discharge curve

Shape advantage

With stacking technology, battery shapes can be widely customized, which allows for more flexibility and space within products. We can also create small and ultra-thin batteries with low-temperature characteristics used in special fields or professional smart equipment.

shaped batteries

Weight advantage

Under the same voltage and capacity conditions, low-temperature lithium-ion polymer batteries and low-temperature lithium iron phosphate batteries are lighter than low-temperature 18650 batteries. However, LiPo batteries are the most expensive in terms of production and manufacturing costs, which is one of the important factors limiting its use in some application areas.

Low-temperature 18650 lithium-ion batteries

Low-temperature 18650 lithium-ion batteries mainly consist of liquid electrolytes. these cylindrical batteries with steel shells have fixed dimensions, which means that their shape and size are fixed as well. The largest capacity is currently 3300mAh, which can only be achieved by a limited number of manufacturers.

Low-temperature 18650 lithium-ion batteries

Characteristics

At temperatures between -40℃ to 60℃, the effective discharge capacity is 40% to 55%, and the effective cycle life is more than 180 cycles.  At temperatures between -30℃ to 65℃ at 0.2C discharge, the effective discharge capacity is above 65%. At 1C rate discharge, the discharge capacity is above 60%, and the cycle life comes out to more than 200 cycles.

At temperatures between -20℃ to 75℃, the effective discharge capacity is more than 80%, and the cycle life is more than 300 cycles.

Due to the fixed performance and size of the battery, there is limited use for this battery, but its production and manufacturing costs are relatively low.

Low-temperature lithium iron phosphate batteries

Low-temperature LiPO4 batteries have two kinds of packaging cases: one is a steel case, which is currently mostly used in new energy batteries, such as energy-storage batteries and new energy vehicle batteries; the other is a soft-pack LiPO4 battery with aluminum plastic film for the outer packaging.

The performance of this battery is basically the same as that of the LiPo battery. However, the low-temperature performance of LiPo batteries is better than that of 18650 batteries. The development of LiPO4-battery technology has not been long, and the requirements for production equipment are relatively high.

CONNECTING-BATTERIES-IN-SERIES---PARALLEL
Series - Parallel Connected Batteries

If you have ever worked with batteries you have probably come across the terms series, parallel, and series-parallel, but what exactly do these terms mean?

Series, Series-Parallel, and Parallel is the act of connecting two batteries together, but why would you want to connect two or more batteries together in the first place?

By connecting two or more batteries in either series, series-parallel, or parallel, you can increase the voltage or amp-hour capacity, or even both; allowing for higher voltage applications or power hungry applications.

Connecting Batteries In Series

Connecting a battery in series is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the battery systems overall voltage, connecting batteries in series does not increase the capacity only the voltage.

For example if you connect four 12Volt 26Ah batteries you will have a battery voltage of 48Volts and battery capacity of 26Ah.

To configure batteries with a series connection each battery must have the same voltage and capacity rating, or you can potentially damage the batteries. For example you can connect two 6Volt 10Ah batteries together in series but you can not connect one 6V 10Ah battery with one 12V 10Ah battery.

To connect a group of batteries in series you connect the negative terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of another and so on until all batteries are connected, you would then connect a link/cable to the negative terminal of the first battery in your string of batteries to your application, then another cable to the positive terminal of the last battery in your string to your application.

When charging batteries in series, you need to use a charger that matches the battery system voltage. We recommend you charge each battery individually to avoid battery imbalance.

CONNECTING BATTERIES IN SERIES

Connecting Batteries In Parallel

Connecting a battery in parallel is when you connect two or more batteries together to increase the amp-hour capacity, with a parallel battery connection the capacity will increase, however the battery voltage will remain the same.

For example if you connect four 12V 100Ah batteries you would get a 12V 400Ah battery system.

When connecting batteries in parallel the negative terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the next and so on through the string of batteries, the same is done with positive terminals, ie positive terminal of one battery to the positive terminal of the next. For example if you needed a 12V 300Ah battery system you will need to connect three 12V 100Ah batteries together in parallel.

Parallel battery configuration helps increase the duration in which batteries can power equipment, but due to the increased amp-hour capacity they can take longer to charge than series connected batteries.

CONNECTING BATTERIES IN PARALLEL

Series – Parallel Connected Batteries

Last but not least! There is series-parallel connected batteries. Series-parallel connection is when you connect a string of batteries to increase both the voltage and capacity of the battery system.

For example you can connect six 6V 100Ah batteries together to give you a 24V 200Ah battery, this is achieved by configuring two strings of four In this connection you will have two or more sets of batteries which will be configured in both series and parallel to increase the system capacity.

If you need any help with configuring batteries in series, parallel or series parallel please get in contact with one of our battery experts. (Article cited: power-sonic.com)

Automotive-Fuel-Cells

Can “oiling” the electrodes of automotive fuel cells prevent their degradation?

Unlike their larger, utility-scale counterparts that run continuously, automotive fuel cells are frequently turned off and on, allowing electrodes to corrode during the off state due to unwanted chemical reactions. The introduction of a specialized catalyst is shown to contain the problem.

A research team at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) employed a catalyst to solve corrosion in fuel cells occurring when hydrogen cars are shut down.

The catalyst, platinum-hydrogen tungsten bronze (Pt/HxWO3), has been demonstrated to promote hydrogen oxidation and selectively suppress oxygen reduction reactions (ORR).

For some chemical insight, W is the chemical symbol for tungsten, and Pt, H and O stand for platinum, hydrogen, and oxygen, respectively. HxWO3 is familiar to chemists as hydrogen tungsten bronze.

 

The Metal-Insulator Transition Phenomena

The project focused on the Metal-Insulator Transition (MIT) phenomenon, which can selectively change materials’ conductivity depending on the surrounding environment. In this study, insulator characteristics were obtained with high oxygen pressure and metal characteristics when hydrogen pressure is high.

Tungsten bronze changes conductivity through the insertion and removal of protons. When the fuel cell is operating, applying the MIT phenomenon of WO3 results in maintaining the H-WO3 conductor state with the insertion of a proton—when the fuel cell is off, mixed air is drawn in, increasing the oxygen pressure. This causes a change into WO3, which stops the unwanted electrode reaction, halting the cathode’s corrosion.

 

When the automotive fuel cell turns off and oxygen rushes in, the MIT Phenomena provides protection against electrode degradation.
When the automotive fuel cell turns off and oxygen rushes in, the MIT Phenomena provides protection against electrode degradation. Image credited to POSTECH

 

Results

The Pt/HxWO3 served as a selective hydrogen oxidation reaction (HOR) catalyst that was imparted by the metal-insulator transition phenomenon. It showed significant results for membrane electrode assemblies, which are defined as an aggregation of electrolytic membranes, anode electrodes, and cathodic poles.

Automotive fuel cells employing the demonstrated catalyst exhibit over twice the durability of conventional commercial Pt/C catalyst materials during fuel cell shut-down conditions.

Professor Yong-Tae Kim, who led the research, commented, “This research has dramatically improved automotive fuel cells’ durability.” He added, “It is anticipated that hydrogen cars’ commercialization may be further facilitated through these findings.”

 

Some Misconceptions About Hydrogen

Hydrogen may be the most abundant material in the universe, and it’s about number ten here on Earth. There are, literally, oceans of it – combined with oxygen to form water. To get the hydrogen gas, what’s used by fuel cells, energy has to be applied to water in electrolysis. Then you get hydrogen and oxygen gasses, which can then combine with oxygen to drive a fuel cell or launch a rocket into space.

In chemistry, as in life, nothing is free, and hydrogen gas is highly flammable.

Even if the thought of a teenage pump jockey at the local fill-up station causing a mini-apocalypse doesn’t fill you with terror, there are other disadvantages to using hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles.

 

The Hindenburg hydrogen balloon disaster.
The Hindenburg hydrogen balloon disaster. Image credited to the Smithsonian

 

Hydrogen’s Inefficiency

Let’s assume H2 gas is obtained from electrolysis powered by renewables. That process is 75% efficient. Then, H2 gas must be compressed, chilled, and transported to the hydrogen station. That process is about 90% efficient. Reconverting the hydrogen to electricity in the vehicle is 60% efficient. The motor driving the vehicle can be though to be 95% efficient.

 

Electric Vehicles

For Electric Vehicles (EV), you lose 5% in the power’s journey to the station, and another 10% for transferring energy to the battery and taking it out again to power the vehicle. The motor, as in the other case, loses 5%.

From 100 watts generated, a full 80 watts are available to move the vehicle. The image below illustrates the calculation. As noted in The Conversation, there are now about five million EVs on the road today, compared to a total of 7,500 hydrogen-powered vehicles. It’s not hard to see why.

As noted in The Conversation, there are now about five million EVs on the road today, compared to a total of 7,500 hydrogen-powered vehicles. It’s not hard to see why.