Sunday, February 21, 2021

Will blue gas kill Tesla? New emission-free hydrogen manufacturing process can fuel a car

"Blue" gas is just normal hydrogen. Hydrogen can be produced by cracking water or by cracking hydrocarbons such as methane (CH4). The latter is not new. Methane is a component of natural gas and cracking that gas is the normal commercial source of hydrogen

But when it is obtained by cracking methane it becomes "blue" apparently. Why not green?

But the drawbacks of hydrogen cars are well-known -- principally the massive pressure vessel needed to hold the gas. This is no challenge to Tesla

Note also that the energy used to produce hydrogen exceeds the energy that can be recovered from it

Tesla is poised to become a powerhouse in the automobile industry as the world ditches fossil-fuel powered vehicles for their electric counterparts.

However, a new technology comes with the potential to overthrow the Elon Musk-owned company and its battery-driven electric vehicles.

Dubbed blue gas — or blue hydrogen — this clean fuel is made by combining hydrogen production from natural gas (methane) with carbon capture and storage.

The resulting product can be used in electric vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells to produce power with no harmful emissions — only that of water vapour.

Blue gas can propel vehicles some 300 miles (483 km) on a full tank, while Tesla's power system only provides up to 250 miles (402 miles) on a full battery, on average.

This fuel does not need lithium or rare earth elements to use, takes less time to fuel up and lasts longer than battery-powered vehicles — making it a potential 'Tesla killer.'

Parts of the US and the globe are planning to eliminate gas-powered vehicles as early as 2023, in a bid to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

In the UK, for example, the government has announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars which will come into effect from 2030 onwards.

The move is predicted to not only be of benefit to the environment, but also one that will prove a boon to electric car manufacturers like Tesla.

However, the ascendancy of Tesla predicted by industry experts could now be threatened by the headways being made around blue gas.

This is one of the names given to hydrogen gas which is manufactured in a carbon-neutral process — unlike conventional, or 'grey' hydrogen production, in which carbon by-product is released into the atmosphere.

It is produced by one of two processes — dubbed 'steam methane reforming' and 'autothermal reforming' — in which methane and water are converted into hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

The carbon-based product of this reaction is then captured and stored, rather than being dumped into the atmosphere to contribute to global warming.

Instead of giving off polluting exhaust like fossil fuel-powered vehicles, those that run on blue gas emit only water and heat, SpaceCoastDaily reports.

These vehicles possess fuel cells in which the hydrogen is combined with oxygen in a so-called electrochemical reaction.

This produces electricity which can be used to power an electric motor and/or recharge a battery, depending on the design of the car in question.

Blue gas seems like the fuel source the world has been waiting for, but the issues with the innovation is that we will have to wait for it. The fuel is still in its infancy and companies are learning how to move forward with it in a way its customers will want to buy in.

Along with only being in the early phases of development, hydrogen fuel stations are far from widely available at present.


What America can learn from Texas’s green energy failure

The coal-fired generators are the only ones that kept right on working

As millions of Texans remain without power, many are wondering if renewable energy sources are to blame for the crisis that has killed at least 47 people. Not surprisingly, many on the Left and the main stream media are quick to defend green energy. But energy experts say renewable energy is fundamentally a less reliable source than traditional sources such as coal and natural gas and are blaming it for the massive power outages that have crippled the state.

Texas Lt. Gog. Dan Patrick told Fox News’ Laura Ingram last night he wants an investigation into what went wrong to ensure this never happens again.

“I’m angry, like people are angry, and they deserve to be angry. This should never have happened in Texas. We’re gonna’ find out what the hell went wrong, and we’re gonna’ fix it.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board weighed in with this explanation of what went wrong in Texas:

The problem is Texas’s overreliance on wind power that has left the grid more vulnerable to bad weather. Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. Power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and grid regulators on Friday warned of rolling blackouts. Natural gas and coal generators ramped up to cover the supply gap but couldn’t meet the surging demand for electricity—which half of households rely on for heating—even as many families powered up their gas furnaces. Then some gas wells and pipelines froze.

In short, there wasn’t sufficient baseload power from coal and nuclear to support the grid. Baseload power is needed to stabilize grid frequency amid changes in demand and supply. When there’s not enough baseload power, the grid gets unbalanced and power sources can fail. The more the grid relies on intermittent renewables like wind and solar, the more baseload power is needed to back them up.

But politicians don’t care about grid reliability until the power goes out. And for three decades politicians from both parties have pushed subsidies for renewables that have made the grid less stable.

Start with the 1992 Energy Policy Act signed by George H.W. Bush, which created a production tax credit to boost the infant wind industry. Generators collect up to $25 per megawatt hour of power they produce regardless of market demand. The credit was supposed to expire in 1999, but nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program, as Ronald Reagan once quipped.

Dan Kish is a senior vice president for policy at the American Energy Alliance. He has more than 25 years of experience on congressional committees focused principally upon natural resource and energy policies. He says both political parties are responsible for the green energy policies that have failed Texas.

“[Texas] has gone from a relatively small amount of wind, to the nation’s largest producer where they produce 28% of the nation’s wind power,” explained Kish. “But wind is intermittent and you cannot count on it. What we’ve got here is the logical outcome of a stressed system,” Kish added. “Some parts of the system ended up producing a lot more energy to meet the demand, but the wind side of thing basically fell right off the cliff.”

Kish blames poor energy policies on what he calls “soft-headed Republicans” and Democrats who “bought into the idea that American energy production is bad.” He also points to “a slick campaign” by the green energy lobby that has swayed the opinions of many Americans in favor of green energy.

But he said this Texas disaster is a cautionary tale for the rest of the country, “Renewable sources sound good, but at the end of the day, they don’t work. They will drive prices up because you end up making really complicated systems to accommodate for the built in inherent weaknesses of intermittent sources like wind and solar, that only come on occasionally, and must be backed up with other sources.” He explained that because those backup sources are only used part time, the cost to operate and maintain them is more expensive.

In addition, Kish warned that America’s green energy industry is almost wholly reliant on China because it controls the supply chain for batteries, solar panels, and windmills. “It is a cautionary tale of a system that is being messed around with by politicians who I wouldn’t let screw in a light bulb in my house,” Kish concluded.


Let's Review 50 Years Of Dire Climate Forecasts And What Actually Happened

Here are 21 headlines from various news sources regarding dire climate predictions over the last 50 years. Many of the predictions are outrageously funny.

Climate Forecast Headline Predictions
1967 Salt Lake Tribune: Dire Famine Forecast by 1975, Already Too Late

1969 NYT: "Unless we are extremely lucky, everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years. The situation will get worse unless we change our behavior."

1970 Boston Globe: Scientist Predicts New Ice Age by 21st Century said James P. Lodge, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

1971 Washington Post: Disastrous New Ice Age Coming says S.I. Rasool at NASA.

1972 Brown University Letter to President Nixon: Warning on Global Cooling

1974 The Guardian: Space Satellites Show Ice Age Coming Fast

1974 Time Magazine: Another Ice Age "Telling signs everywhere. Since the 1940s mean global temperatures have dropped 2.7 degrees F."

1974 "Ozone Depletion a Great Peril to Life" University of Michigan Scientist

1976 NYT The Cooling: University of Wisconsin climatologist Stephen Schneider laments about the "deaf ear his warnings received."

1988 Agence France Press: Maldives will be Completely Under Water in 30 Years.

1989 Associated Press: UN Official Says Rising Seas to 'Obliterate Nations' by 2000.

1989 Salon: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019 said Jim Hansen the scientist who lectured Congress in 1988 about the greenhouse effect.

2000 The Independent: "Snowfalls are a thing of the past. Our children will not know what snow is," says senior climate researcher.

2004 The Guardian: The Pentagon Tells Bush Climate Change Will Destroy Us. "Britain will be Siberian in less than 20 years," the Pentagon told Bush.

2008 Associate Press: NASA Scientist says "We're Toast. In 5-10 years the Arctic will be Ice Free"

2008 Al Gore: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013.

2009 The Independent: Prince Charles says Just 96 Months to Save the World. "The price of capitalism is too high."

2009 The Independent: Gordon Brown says "We have fewer than 50 days to save our planet from catastrophe."

2013 The Guardian: The Arctic will be Ice Free in Two Years. "The release of a 50 gigaton of methane pulse" will destabilize the planet.

2013 The Guardian: US Navy Predicts Ice Free Arctic by 2016. "The US Navy's department of Oceanography uses complex modeling to makes its forecast more accurate than others.

2014 John Kerry: "We have 500 days to Avoid Climate Chaos" discussed Sec of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious at a joint meeting.

The above items are thanks to 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions.

The article has actual news clips and links to everyone of the above stories


Biden’s Electric Vehicle Mandate Won’t Improve Environmental Outcomes – But Will Raise Energy Costs

Since taking office in January, President Biden has issued an unprecedented number of Executive Orders aimed at undoing President Trump’s signature deregulatory agenda, namely issuing a suite of climate related executive orders including re-entering the Paris Climate Accord, cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline, freezing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and directing the federal government to replace its nearly 600,000 vehicle fleet with electric vehicles (EVs).

Citing climate change as an existential threat, Congressional Democrats have their own green agenda to push electric vehicles, introducing legislation to extend major tax credits for EVs along with credits and subsidies for solar and wind energy. Democrats hope these policies will accelerate their planned transition from gas to electric and eventually, force consumers into electric vehicles. Already, several individual states including California have mandated that residents will only be able to purchase electric vehicles by 2035.

However, like many other environmental policies being advanced as necessary to address climate change, the true impact of policies to advance electrification isn’t being discussed. The truth of the matter is that EVs are not as “environmentally friendly” as their proponents would have you believe – and adoption of a fully electric vehicle fleet would mean higher energy costs and higher sticker prices in a market where new cars are already cost prohibitive for many middle-class families.

Electric vehicles are not “green” simply because they aren’t gas powered. EVs are charged from the electric grid in the respective state you live in. America’s electric grids still get the majority of their power from burning fossil fuels including coal and natural gas. Estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate that more than 60% of total electricity is from fossil fuels, with coal being the second largest source. In addition, even with aggressive policies that push wind and solar, the EIA has estimated that fossil fuels will still be used as our main source of energy well into the future. For these reasons, Americans shouldn’t be misled into thinking that simply because an EV is not directly powered by gas that it is “carbon neutral.”

EVs also pollute the environment through the production of the batteries used to power them, which require mining for critical minerals like cobalt and lithium. Mining and processing of these minerals causes significant air pollution from dust and toxic water pollution. Because it is difficult to get the necessary permits to mine for critical minerals in the United States, much of the production for minerals necessary to make EV batteries happens overseas in countries like China and the DRC, with troubling human rights records where forced child labor is often used for mining.

For all the environmental and human costs of producing EV batteries and the greater strain on the electric grid that charging them creates, you’d think the reduction in emissions would be worth the trade off, right? Think again. One study from the Manhattan Institute estimated that the overall reduction in U.S. emissions from adoption of zero emission vehicles would be less than one percent of the total forecast energy-related CO2 emissions through 2050. In other words, mandating that consumers purchase EVs would have almost no impact on climate change.

Beyond the lackluster environmental impact of EVs, additional strain on the electric grid from charging electric vehicles would almost certainly make household energy costs more expensive. In California, where EVs will be mandated in the next ten years, electric rates are already higher than the rest of the nation. Furthermore, new electric vehicles are on average 45% more expensive to make than gas powered vehicles. If EV mandates pass, how will middle and working class families be able to afford a new car? Unfortunately, many will simply keep driving older cars, which are less efficient and more polluting than new cars on the market.

Finally, the Biden Administration completely fails to take note of the innovative new products like renewable diesel fuel which produce even fewer emissions overall than an electric vehicle. By arbitrarily promoting one path forward, the government is putting its thumb on the lever in a way that will discourage innovation and leave Americans with higher costs and fewer choices.

While reducing emissions and addressing climate change are laudable goals, when climate policies are completely untethered from a true cost-benefit analysis, American taxpayers are fooled about what the tradeoffs entail. Smart policymaking takes into account emissions reductions balanced against how many jobs will be killed, environmental pollution beyond just GHG emissions, how much energy prices will rise, and impacts on quality of life.

As the Biden Administration moves forward with its environmental agenda, it must keep in mind that no source of energy is completely without environmental impact. Policies that embrace a balanced energy mix and encourage innovation are the best way forward.




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