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Old 5th December 2017, 09:50   #1
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Default Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

The predominant theme for Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show 2017 was "Electrified Vehicles"(Click here to read the report).

Fuel cell is a key technology within the electrified vehicles space. Toyota is betting big on this technology and to demonstrate how Japan is moving towards a "Hydrogen Society", the company had organized a short visit to see the Yokohama Wind Power Plant (locally know as Hama Wing).

A challenge for hydrogen powered vehicles is that their total carbon footprint is no way smaller than that of the fossil fuel powered vehicles. This is because the source used to generate hydrogen is not usually clean. There have been attempts to make Hydrogen from renewable energy and the image below depicts how civic agencies in Japan are thinking of building a Hydrogen Society:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-hydrogensocietyoutline.png

The Toyota Mirai is one of the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be sold commercially. Read this report on the car by fellow Mod bblost – (Click here).

Yokohama Hydrogen Generation using Wind Power

Hama Wing is a collaborative project installed and operated by municipal residents, businesses and the local government. As a showcase of renewable energy in Yokohama City, which attracts the attention of many city residents, Hama Wing generates electricity from the wind that blows through the Yokohama Port.

The Hama Wing dominating the Yokohama port skyline is adjacent to a US military base. Photography is restricted, and one can't take pictures of the sea from Hama Wing as the military ships are clearly visible from this facility:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-001_1_hama_wing.jpg

Manufactured by Vestas (Denmark) with a rated output of 1,980 kW, standing 78 m tall and with a blade diameter of 80 m, the Hama Wing is quite impressive. Here’s an overview:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page001.jpg

Here’s a look at the layout of the facility. It's a surprisingly small area and yet very educational for spreading awareness about renewable energy amongst the local population:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-001_11_layout.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2017 at 09:53.
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:50   #2
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We started our tour from a panel board that displays key real time (& aggregate) metrics about the power generated using wind power, and some vital info about Hama Wing. A similar display board is also installed in a local park of the city for residents to know more about Hama Wing:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-7explain.jpg

The Hama Wing - It's really tall . The strong winds blowing through the Yokohama port move the blades that in turn produce power:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-8hama.jpg

What about the days when there is no wind blowing through the port? Or there is some issue with the blades? To account for those days, recycled batteries from Toyota Prius cars help in stabilizing the power generation (the unit with doors open):
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-9batt.jpg

180 end-of-life, recycled Prius batteries have been used here which have a combined output of 150 kWh:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-11battclose.jpg

Details of the power stabilization system:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page002.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2017 at 09:52.
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:51   #3
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We move on to see the next unit where Hydrogen is produced using electrolysis:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-12hydrogen.jpg

Electrolysis of water is basically decomposition of water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The decomposition is done using the electricity that is generated by the Hama Wing:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-electrolysis.png

A look inside the unit:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-14diagram.jpg

The hydrogen generated is stored in this tank. This tank can store up to 2 days worth of hydrogen supply:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-15tank.jpg

More details of the unit:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page003.jpg
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page004.jpg

Several private companies and civic agencies have partnered to support Hama Wing:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-13companies.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2017 at 09:52.
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Old 5th December 2017, 09:51   #4
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Hydrogen from the storage tank is compressed using a 4-stage compression process, from 0.4 MPa to ~45 MPa:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-1pump1.jpg

A truck that stores hydrogen and can go to the vehicle to tank it up!
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-2truck.jpg

The truck can refuel up to 6 forklifts:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-3filling.jpg

Refuelling is as easy as inserting the pipe...and done!
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-5fill.jpg

This fuel cell forklift can also be used as an inverter / power source and can supply electricity for various uses. Note the white power socket with a flap towards the left-middle panel under the seating area of the forklift:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-6inverter.jpg

Another view of the refuelling truck:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-6truck.jpg

Details of the compressor & refuelling truck:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page005.jpg

Details of the fuel cell forklifts:
Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy-environment_002page006.jpg

Disclaimer: Toyota invited Team-BHP to Japan. They covered all the travel expenses for this event.
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Old 5th December 2017, 10:02   #5
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Technical Stuff. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th December 2017, 11:33   #6
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Amazing write-up sir! I have been a vocal supporter of fuel-cell based transportation in this forum as well as others! It holds tremendous promise in terms of ease of shifting from conventional fuel-pump system to hydrogen filling stations! Toyota is definitely on the correct path.

Electrolysis can be done by solar power as well, and also from other renewable sources! Let us hope that this also comes to the forefront as a viable alternative to conventional modes of transportation!

And the pictures are amazing!That is one big windmill. Nowadays, there are even bigger ones being deployed!
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Old 5th December 2017, 12:01   #7
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Thanks for the thread. I have always thought that going electric using batteries might have problems when its scaled to replace nearly all the vehicles.

Good to see that hydrogen based fuel cell technology is still seeing lots of development. I just read about http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/15/wo...les/index.html. With renewable sources and improvement in electrolysis, hopefully fuel cells will pick up. Storing the gas at high compression makes it difficult relative to the gasoline we have today.

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Old 5th December 2017, 12:43   #8
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Many thanks for the report, Khan_Sultan! Am rating it a full 5 stars.

Based on what I've read & understood so far, I don't think hydrogen will come to cars in a big way as pure electric power will. Hydrogen is expensive to store, expensive to transport, is less efficient and there is simply no infrastructure. Even in the land of tree-huggers (California), owners are crying (link to report). The single largest advantage of hydrogen cars over EVs is that you can fill them up quickly. But it's only a matter of time before we see faster charging for EVs & more manufacturers offering battery swaps. Not to forget, EV driving ranges are significantly increasing every year.

Generating hydrogen from water electrolysis is good, but I don't believe it's possible for mass production, at least not for most countries.

I frankly feel that Toyota focussed too much on hydrogen fuel-cells and missed the boat on EVs. Of course, Toyota is hugely resourceful and will thus catch up quickly.

P.S. Oil companies will support hydrogen in a big way due to obvious reasons.

Last edited by GTO : 5th December 2017 at 13:23. Reason: Adding point
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Old 5th December 2017, 12:50   #9
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Thanks for the wonderful write up. As always, very informative.

So basically this project does- wind to electricity to H2 to electricity. Not sure what level of losses happen during this conversion. Would be an interesting topic to discuss and deliberate, particularly on the cost benefit of having the complete infrastructure in place for this sort of an output.

But quite impressed that all these big companies have come forward with this initiative and they have actually set up a working ecosystem.
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Old 5th December 2017, 21:55   #10
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Many thanks for the report, Khan_Sultan! Am rating it a full 5 stars.

But it's only a matter of time before we see faster charging for EVs & more manufacturers offering battery swaps. Not to forget, EV driving ranges are significantly increasing every year.

Generating hydrogen from water electrolysis is good, but I don't believe it's possible for mass production, at least not for most countries.

I frankly feel that Toyota focussed too much on hydrogen fuel-cells and missed the boat on EVs. Of course, Toyota is hugely resourceful and will thus catch up quickly.

P.S. Oil companies will support hydrogen in a big way due to obvious reasons.
Faster EV charging helps, but hydrogen has a place for larger applications such as rail, local power stations, etc. Fuel cells are getting much much better quickly. There's a strong future for this type of energy production.

Generating hydrogen is currently inefficient, but recent research into converting seawater has been promising. That means literally anyone near the sea can make fuel. The idea is to use excess electricity, such as when it's super sunny, and "store" this in the form of hydrogen - I think this is crucial for making wind and solar viable as the only forms of power we use. Yes, you could store in a battery, but hydrogen is portable. A solar plant producing hydrogen on the coast of Kutch could provide electricity at night to Bikaner or Nagpur, for example. There is also the argument that waste hydrogen from industrial processes can be used - hence developing good fuel cells is a must. In that situation you are literally producing electricity or mobility from nothing.

As far as Toyota and EV is concerned, there is almost no worry for them. They are building electric cars with hydrogen as the power source. Battery technology is sort of open source - even you and I can build a Tesla battery using 18650 cells from LG or any other supplier - there are hundreds of videos on YouTube. Since Toyota already knows electric motors, software, braking, etc they can simply swap one source for another and in a matter of weeks produce a full electric car. Their argument for hydrogen is the whole "hydrogen economy" concept. Personally, I'd love to have a small fuel cell + solar in my country house and never have grid access, for example. Things like this are mind boggling when it comes to the possibilities. Your car could power everything! The recent hurricane in Puerto Rico which knocked out 80% to 90% of their power supply shows how having this sort of solution will help. De-centralise and reduce dependence!

As far as oil companies are concerned, they're all saints, aren't they? How could we doubt their intentions ever?

If anyone here wants to contact me to discuss this sort of stuff, feel free. This is my current favourite topic in the world!
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Old 6th December 2017, 09:47   #11
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Default Re: Building a Hydrogen Supply Chain using Renewable Energy

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
..............The single largest advantage of hydrogen cars over EVs is that you can fill them up quickly. But it's only a matter of time before we see faster charging for EVs & more manufacturers offering battery swaps. Not to forget, EV driving ranges are significantly increasing every year.

Generating hydrogen from water electrolysis is good, but I don't believe it's possible for mass production, at least not for most countries.

I frankly feel that Toyota focussed too much on hydrogen fuel-cells and missed the boat on EVs. Of course, Toyota is hugely resourceful and will thus catch up quickly.

P.S. Oil companies will support hydrogen in a big way due to obvious reasons.
Being in the same industry line, I would like to share my view. Compared to EVs, hydrogen not only will reduce "Lag" time of charging, but also eliminates need of battery. Of-course, it will be replaced with cylinders but those are well designed. Also, no need to maintain them as battery packs need to, with reducing efficiency. It is similar to LNG which gets transferred from Vapour--> Liquid --> Vapour phases from end to end utilisation.

For Japanese, after Fukushima incident, need of alternate Power source was required and reliability on Solar/ wind power doesn't seem to be either fast or reliable for them. They see Hydrogen source as in a big picture which is not limited to run only automobiles but to fulfil the need of household as well. The very first pic of khan_sultan's post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carmayogi View Post
Faster EV charging helps, but hydrogen has a place for larger applications such as rail, local power stations, etc. Fuel cells are getting much much better quickly. There's a strong future for this type of energy production.
===========
As far as oil companies are concerned, they're all saints, aren't they? How could we doubt their intentions ever?

If anyone here wants to contact me to discuss this sort of stuff, feel free. This is my current favourite topic in the world!
Very well said @carmayogi. Oil companies indeed are in favour of hydrogen by many reasons but the main reason is that they can use their existing infrastructure to source the hydrogen.

Last edited by GTO : 6th December 2017 at 10:29. Reason: typos
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Old 6th December 2017, 10:14   #12
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I read somewhere that it takes around 40Kwh to produce 1 kg of hydrogen and this is equivalent to 1 gallon (3.2 lts) of gasoline. Now hydrogen in fuel cell is 2 to 3 times more efficient than gasoline. So what it needs is a cheaper source of power and improved hydrogen synthesis.

If you could produce hydrogen closer to the power source, it would take care of transmission losses (but added transportation costs). If you consider the cost of batteries, their maintenance and recyclability, its not that great of a difference.

Atleast public transportation systems can scale well and be easier to run with the use of hydrogen in near future.

Last edited by srishiva : 6th December 2017 at 10:16.
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Old 6th December 2017, 18:49   #13
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Quote:
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I read somewhere that it takes around 40Kwh to produce 1 kg of hydrogen and this is equivalent to 1 gallon (3.2 lts) of gasoline. Now hydrogen in fuel cell is 2 to 3 times more efficient than gasoline. So what it needs is a cheaper source of power and improved hydrogen synthesis.
Hydrogen is already more efficient than gasoline and added to that, any electric vehicle does not 'idle' in a traffic jam, you may only be using 1 or 2 kilowatts to run the a/c, music and lighting, so that adds to the in-use efficiency.

The current issue is that, if you put x amount of kilowatt hours into a battery, you get about 95% of that useable, assuming you don't store it for months or years. If you put the same x amount of kilowatts into electrolysis to produce hydrogen, you get enough hydrogen to produce only about 55%. This number has to constantly improve for people to begin to value hydrogen via electrolysis vs battery storage.

As I said earlier, hydrogen can also be produced from waste, so we need to build a world that runs on both waste and freshly produced hydrogen (through electrolysis). This would justify fuel cells being the main source of power for our future.
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Old 7th December 2017, 10:53   #14
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Hydrogen system:

Three options

1. High pressure gas.
2. Liquid Hydrogen.
3. Low pressure for, say, hydride storage.
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Old 7th December 2017, 14:25   #15
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Thanks for bringing this topic and introducing us Hama Wing. It is amazing to see technological demonstration of the concept. Indeed, Electricity production is going to increase exponentially in the coming years, particularly those from renewable sources. The biggest wind turbine we have today already produces close to 10 MW. 10 MW by a single wind turbine .

I have worked closely with people who research this field extensively, according to them, the viability of Hydrogen as a medium to store energy is challenging, because of one important reason "Safety". It is literally carrying a bomb in your boot.

Scientists are exploring alternative solutions to store the surplus electrical energy of future in chemical forms. One such alternative to Hydrogen is Methanol. Methanol is relatively safer and can be stored just like Gasoline.

We can produce Methanol from Hydrogen and CO2. Electricity + Water --> Hydrogen + Oxygen, Hydrogen + CO2 --> Methanol. This completes the reverse of combustion, a sustainable cycle of carbon. Methanol can be also used directly in certain types of fuel cells so they can cater to hybrid cars of future (EV+Fuel Cells). Methanol can be converted to olefins and that opens a plethora of opportunities as alternative feed stock to petrochemicals.

Nevertheless, there is a loss at every stage of transformation, it is better to use electricity as electricity than to store it. Novel electricity distribution networks would rather be an effective way and crazy concepts are getting published in this direction. One such example is that EVs can be powered wirelessly on the go, from under the road that would increase their range to infinity. In another example someone (I guess Amazon) has proposed drone based charging of EVs on the go. Hope we will get some breakthrough soon.

Last edited by Thermodynamics : 7th December 2017 at 14:47.
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