EVs Could Help Coal Demand

I know how it sounds but McKinsey says with fast enough adoption of EVs demand for juice will jump so high it will even stimulate coal demand. Of course, it's all hypothetical but it's a nice irony I thought.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooooh, think of the marketing campaigns...

Tesla - EVs subsidized by coal

Coal is the new Green

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The irony of this hypothetical scenario makes my heart happy. EVs are only as green as the power that charges them. I snarkily suggested in another thread some time ago that we should just make a coal-fired car, and stop all this middle-man-battery nonsense. 

Not that I want to wreck the earth. Only that I'd love to bring some common sense and practicality to some of the environmental crusaders who seem to reside somewhere other than on planet earth.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

You folks are all assuming that the current iteration of the EV - a machine with batteries for energy storage feeding current through a Converter and then into drive wheel motors - is the final solution.  I don't think so.  

Let's take a look back through the history books.  Way back in I think 1903 a Swiss company called Oerlikon Electrogyro developed a trolley car for the city of Bern that had an intermittent pole pick-up arrangement.  the trolley car would pull up to the stop and, while the pax were loaded and unloaded, a man would hop off the back and raise a pole to a short length of bare electric cable suspended just over the stop.  The power would flow down to a motor that spun a maranged-steel flywheel. Once spun up (figure 40 seconds), the pole would be pulled down and stored, and the streetcar would trundle down the line to the next stop using the flywheel to generate current and operate the car truck motors, where the process would be repeated.  

That streetcar system thus required only these very short lengths of charged overhead wire; the rest of the time, the car could run freely until it ran out of juice, which was set up to not happen as there would be a stop within range.  This very primitive system worked like a charm.  It was a bit too labor intensive for the refined tastes of the Swiss, who after some decades dismantled the system and sold it to the city of Dakar, Senegal, where labor was readily available to man the rear pole, and cheap enough. I lost track of it after that but for all I know it is still in operation.  It was simple, very rugged, basically indestructible. 

Now, what would be the more refined, aesthetically appealing version of this system that would pass muster with the effete snobs that control budgets?  OK, how about a streetcar with a capacitor bank to absorb the charge and let the car run through the city center without overhead wires.  Yup, that is exactly what they do in some German cities where the historic medieval centres are not to be defaced with wires.  In true Germanic fashion, having a man do the wire engagement is so passe; instead, a slider engages with the wire guides up top, so the recharge is fully automated.  Works just fine. 

So one approach is capacitors, and another is flywheels.  Will batteries become the final, optimal result?  Probably not.  I see batteries as purely an interim arrangement, and other, more flexible, concepts overtaking batteries soon enough. And if flywheels become more refined, then they are perfect energy storage devices, with spin-down times of 4 months making time-of-day charging irrelevant.  If you put a giant flywheel in each town and charge it up using hydropower for example, you have this big energy sink that you can tap into any time.  If your auto is driven with a composite flywheel, you can charge it at a service station using welding cables with solid core plugs to plug in and pass huge currents, spinning up in less than a minute - and now ready to go for another 500 miles. When your power cost drops to one cent a mile, hey who needs gasoline? 

Will Elon Musk and his batteries be the final solution?  Probably not.  Musk is the current technology disruptor only because of his outsize personality and the vast gobs of cash thrown at him.  That does not mandate that his batteries are the optimal solution. The next one is sitting in the wings, and will be out soon enough. 

And PS:  coal is usable for conversion directly into both diesel and gasoline; it makes a very pure diesel fluid through the well-known Fischer-Tropsch  process.  The Germans ran their army on the stuff for an entire war; works fine.  Also makes great aviation gasoline. Just saying. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
typing errors
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Way back in I think 1903 a Swiss company called Oerlikon Electrogyro developed a trolley car for the city of Bern that had an intermittent pole pick-up arrangement.

In fact it was later, in the fifties (1953-1959). The Gyrobus was in service in Yverdon (Switzerland), Kinshasa (Congo) and Gent (Belgium).

http://photo.proaktiva.eu/digest/2008_gyrobus.html

 

The concept of charging the bus at busstops is now being tested  in Geneva (but with a battery powered bus instead of a flywheel bus).

"The energy is collected along the route at some dedicated bus stops (every 3rd or 4th bus stops) while people are disembarking and embarking. Thus, there is no impact on the timetable. The automatic electric connection is made from the top within 1 second while the bus is stopped at the bus stop. Than charging is made at high power (400 kW on the demonstrator) during the 15 seconds the door remains open. At the terminal, the battery is topped up within 3–4 minutes. "

https://new.abb.com/news/detail/2694/ABBs-innovative-flash-charging-technology-goes-live

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

You folks are all assuming that the current iteration of the EV - a machine with batteries for energy storage feeding current through a Converter and then into drive wheel motors - is the final solution.  I don't think so.  

I am under no illusion that the current EV will be the final "solution". I only to bring soberness to the invention that many are naively assuming will soon bring about the death of fossil fuels. I guess they may someday do just that, but for now, EVs are mostly reliant on fossil fuels for charging. It might be greenER, but it's not green.  

Let's call it BREEN. :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Rodent said:

I am under no illusion that the current EV will be the final "solution".

What the current series of EV's do accomplish is dramatically extend the number of miles that can be extracted from a gallon of fuel.  Thus they have the potential, as they become more widely adopted, of sharply limiting actual liquids fuel burn.  As pricing is determined at the margins of consumption, a drop of say 4 MB/D should have a dramatic corresponding drop in the price of crude oils. And as has been pointed out by Mr. Edwards in other columns, that in turn will have a predictable displacement effect on the highest-cost fuels.  Where will those high-cost fuels be from?  Canadian Tar Sands? Brasilian deepwater drilling?  Venezuela?  Russian Arctic? One thing is for sure: somebody's ox is going to get gored.

Now you have to add to this the dramatic push to electrify the world's transit (bus) fleets.  The Chinese are determined to be world leaders in the fabrication and sales of these electric buses, and are putting vast numbers of them on the road. I don't have the actual numbers but I vaguely recall a figure of 5,000 buses a week (!). Considering that the average transit bus running on diesel achieves at best about 2 mpg, those buses are making some serious inroads into fuel demand. 

Will super-capacitors play a role?  Sure, the super-capacitor is perfectly suited to accepting a very high rate of charge, thus can accept 100% of regenerative braking with aplomb. Super-capacitors can be paired with battery banks, or run stand-alone.  Maxwell Technologies is a leader in this type of capacitor  (they even have a super-capacitor 12-volt starting battery for 16-liter diesels:  1,800 cold cranking amps even at 40 below zero. Sets you back $1,000 each). Fit super-capacitors to a bus with an overhead charging slot and you have a trackless, wireless bus with some range and capable of very fast stop-charging.  And no batteries. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

What the current series of EV's do accomplish is dramatically extend the number of miles that can be extracted from a gallon of fuel.  Thus they have the potential, as they become more widely adopted, of sharply limiting actual liquids fuel burn.  As pricing is determined at the margins of consumption, a drop of say 4 MB/D should have a dramatic corresponding drop in the price of crude oils.

Is this quantifiable? This reduction in fuel usage to recharge a battery vs. burning fuel in vehicles themselves? Like a percentage? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, Rodent said:

Is this quantifiable? This reduction in fuel usage to recharge a battery vs. burning fuel in vehicles themselves? Like a percentage? 

Sure is. For a crude number, look at the relative mpg. numbers supplied by the EPA guys.  But as a rough number, it starts to look like a 30% gain.  What you are cutting out is idling time at stops (traffic lights, stalled traffic) and more gentle engine load at starts and grades. That adds up fast. 

Again, if society really wanted to chop fuel burn, it would start blasting tunnels through the mountains.  That was not done in the past as fuel was cheap enough and the costs were on the backs of the operators, not the taxpayers that would be paying to build the tunnel.  Governments were more fiscally conservative in the old days.  Cheers.

PS: to see EV autos take off in popularity, the aftermarket guys can introduce a snap-on "trailer" with a small 3-cyl Kubota diesel mounted transverse and face-coupled to a generator, then hooked up to the charge port via a flex cable.  When you run on a long trip, you connect that portable generator to the unit car and flow power into the battery pack.  When you don't need the indefinite range, you un-snap the generator pack and it provides standby power for your house. My design has this as a direct-coupled unit, not a hinged or hitched trailer, so it drives as if the car were two feet longer.  The unit has two trailing wheels so not to overload the rear suspension.  What stops this is that the manufacturers (Tesla) have jimmied that power port to not operate if the car is in gear.  But some smart computer whiz will sort out a code override so you can do it.  Who needs a Tesla charger?  You bring your own!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing can help coal demand because wind and solar are now cheaper than coal. Since the beginning of 2018, more than 90% of new installed capacity in the US has been wind and solar, without counting solar rooftops.

Coal is uneconomic and uncompetitive versus wind and solar, it's a dying industry. 

Evs won't be powered by coal but by wind and solar in the coming decade, as wind and solar gain more and more importance.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please include offsetting fuel volume to generate the electricity for EVs.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 5/28/2018 at 6:19 PM, Jan van Eck said:

What the current series of EV's do accomplish is dramatically extend the number of miles that can be extracted from a gallon of fuel.  Thus they have the potential, as they become more widely adopted, of sharply limiting actual liquids fuel burn.  As pricing is determined at the margins of consumption, a drop of say 4 MB/D should have a dramatic corresponding drop in the price of crude oils. And as has been pointed out by Mr. Edwards in other columns, that in turn will have a predictable displacement effect on the highest-cost fuels.  Where will those high-cost fuels be from?  Canadian Tar Sands? Brasilian deepwater drilling?  Venezuela?  Russian Arctic? One thing is for sure: somebody's ox is going to get gored.

Now you have to add to this the dramatic push to electrify the world's transit (bus) fleets.  The Chinese are determined to be world leaders in the fabrication and sales of these electric buses, and are putting vast numbers of them on the road. I don't have the actual numbers but I vaguely recall a figure of 5,000 buses a week (!). Considering that the average transit bus running on diesel achieves at best about 2 mpg, those buses are making some serious inroads into fuel demand. 

Will super-capacitors play a role?  Sure, the super-capacitor is perfectly suited to accepting a very high rate of charge, thus can accept 100% of regenerative braking with aplomb. Super-capacitors can be paired with battery banks, or run stand-alone.  Maxwell Technologies is a leader in this type of capacitor  (they even have a super-capacitor 12-volt starting battery for 16-liter diesels:  1,800 cold cranking amps even at 40 below zero. Sets you back $1,000 each). Fit super-capacitors to a bus with an overhead charging slot and you have a trackless, wireless bus with some range and capable of very fast stop-charging.  And no batteries. 

Great. Seems like electric is the way to go. I have seen this difference between oil and electricity in Railways. There are still some engines which use oil (diesel) and some use electricity. The electric ones remain silent , more clean and small. You will notice them only when they blow horn. While the diesel ones are louder and throw smoke (sometimes a lot when driver picks up). But i still see diesel ones being used for freight transport and electric ones for passenger transport . Might be related to difference in horsepower.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, sudhir said:

Great. Seems like electric is the way to go. I have seen this difference between oil and electricity in Railways. There are still some engines which use oil (diesel) and some use electricity. The electric ones remain silent , more clean and small. You will notice them only when they blow horn. While the diesel ones are louder and throw smoke (sometimes a lot when driver picks up). But i still see diesel ones being used for freight transport and electric ones for passenger transport . Might be related to difference in horsepower.

 

Horsepower is not a problem. In Swtzerland we use electricity for both, passengers and freight transport and the country is not a flat one. Even if we have a lot of tunnels there are still some sloppy tracks to go up and down. 90% of the power for the railways come from hydroelectricity. By 2025 it should be 100% renewables. Many dams have been built by the national railway company since they decided to electrify the rail network in the 1920's.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 5/28/2018 at 1:49 PM, Jan van Eck said:

What the current series of EV's do accomplish is dramatically extend the number of miles that can be extracted from a gallon of fuel.  Thus they have the potential, as they become more widely adopted, of sharply limiting actual liquids fuel burn.  As pricing is determined at the margins of consumption, a drop of say 4 MB/D should have a dramatic corresponding drop in the price of crude oils. And as has been pointed out by Mr. Edwards in other columns, that in turn will have a predictable displacement effect on the highest-cost fuels.  Where will those high-cost fuels be from?  Canadian Tar Sands? Brasilian deepwater drilling?  Venezuela?  Russian Arctic? One thing is for sure: somebody's ox is going to get gored.

Now you have to add to this the dramatic push to electrify the world's transit (bus) fleets.  The Chinese are determined to be world leaders in the fabrication and sales of these electric buses, and are putting vast numbers of them on the road. I don't have the actual numbers but I vaguely recall a figure of 5,000 buses a week (!). Considering that the average transit bus running on diesel achieves at best about 2 mpg, those buses are making some serious inroads into fuel demand. 

Will super-capacitors play a role?  Sure, the super-capacitor is perfectly suited to accepting a very high rate of charge, thus can accept 100% of regenerative braking with aplomb. Super-capacitors can be paired with battery banks, or run stand-alone.  Maxwell Technologies is a leader in this type of capacitor  (they even have a super-capacitor 12-volt starting battery for 16-liter diesels:  1,800 cold cranking amps even at 40 below zero. Sets you back $1,000 each). Fit super-capacitors to a bus with an overhead charging slot and you have a trackless, wireless bus with some range and capable of very fast stop-charging.  And no batteries. 

Yep. Our Hybrid will be replaced by a PHEV in about 3 years. The electric range will just about cover the wifes daily commute. The charging will be overnight but effectively offset against the output from 5KW of solar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gas demand more than anything, people tends to forget that electricity have to be generated, and if you country doesn't have a full geothermal hydro nuclear tidal grid, then you are using oil coal and gas

The cost of a solar powerplant that produces 800MW and gots an installed capacity of nearly 7600MW is enough to buy a gas turbine and enough fuel for like 100 years, and the solar powerplant will be dead after 20 years if a hail storm doesn't destroy it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 6/20/2018 at 10:02 PM, Sebastian Meana said:

Gas demand more than anything, people tends to forget that electricity have to be generated, and if you country doesn't have a full geothermal hydro nuclear tidal grid, then you are using oil coal and gas

The cost of a solar powerplant that produces 800MW and gots an installed capacity of nearly 7600MW is enough to buy a gas turbine and enough fuel for like 100 years, and the solar powerplant will be dead after 20 years if a hail storm doesn't destroy it.

That calculation is very lop sided. 800MW continuous equivalent  from 7600MW of solar is what you would get from the Southern UK so thats far lower than anything you would get  anywhere in the USA and much of Canada. 

If you are going to invest in GW's of solar then the best place in NA is the SW of the USA - its dry, demand peaks in summer, and the land is semi desert so dirt cheap. Infact panels can be deployed in such a way that the land can still be used for rough grazing and they make a nice sunshade for the few  livestock that can graze it😀. In Nevada annual solar production per KW of capacity is approx 1600kwh. So you only need 5GW to get 800MW equiv output. 

Solar panels are rated to take hail stones 25mm wide at 50mph on a flat surface. Once that surface is inclined it can take considerably large stones so the hail argument is nonsense. 

Panels last much longer than 25 years - they just slowly degrade over time. The degradation rate for monocrystalline solar is about 0.36% per annum. Panels build in the 1960's and 1970's are still operable today. 

Anyway lets price these options over a 50 year life span:

Solar 

First 25 years

5000MW Solar Farm installation -  $4500m 

O&M Costs $1450m (inc Land Rent)

Replacement of Panels (At 0.36% degradation rate per year) $450m 

2nd 25 years

O& M Costs $1450m +10%

Replacement of Panels (At 0.36% degradation rate per year) $450m +10%

Total + $8490m 

 

Gas CCGT

First 25 Years

Installation of 900MW (no unit can operate 24/7 for 25 years) $900m

Gas purchase at $5 (mmbtu) $2988m (this is the price industrial users are paying before the USA builds all those LNG terminals and it joins the global price for NG 😀)

O&M costs $500m

2nd 25 Years

Installation of 900MW $900m

Gas purchased at $5 (MMbtu) $2988m

O&M costs $500m

Total $8776m 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, NickW said:

That calculation is very lop sided. 800MW continuous equivalent  from 7600MW of solar is what you would get from the Southern UK so thats far lower than anything you would get  anywhere in the USA and much of Canada

If you are going to invest in GW's of solar then the best place in NA is the SW of the USA - its dry, demand peaks in summer, and the land is semi desert so dirt cheap. Infact panels can be deployed in such a way that the land can still be used for rough grazing and they make a nice sunshade for the few  livestock that can graze it😀. In Nevada annual solar production per KW of capacity is approx 1600kwh. So you only need 5GW to get 800MW equiv output. 

Solar panels are rated to take hail stones 25mm wide at 50mph on a flat surface. Once that surface is inclined it can take considerably large stones so the hail argument is nonsense. 

Panels last much longer than 25 years - they just slowly degrade over time. The degradation rate for monocrystalline solar is about 0.36% per annum. Panels build in the 1960's and 1970's are still operable today. 

Anyway lets price these options over a 50 year life span:

Solar 

First 25 years

5000MW Solar Farm installation -  $4500m 

O&M Costs $1450m (inc Land Rent)

Replacement of Panels (At 0.36% degradation rate per year) $450m 

2nd 25 years

O& M Costs $1450m +10%

Replacement of Panels (At 0.36% degradation rate per year) $450m +10%

Total + $8490m 

 

Gas CCGT

First 25 Years

Installation of 900MW (no unit can operate 24/7 for 25 years) $900m

Gas purchase at $5 (mmbtu) $2988m (this is the price industrial users are paying before the USA builds all those LNG terminals and it joins the global price for NG 😀)

O&M costs $500m

2nd 25 Years

Installation of 900MW $900m

Gas purchased at $5 (MMbtu) $2988m

O&M costs $500m

Total $8776m 

Well the Topaz Solar farm has an installed capacity of around 550MW and an average capacity factor of 25% (and the Ivanpah solar facility has a capacity factor of 20%) so it generates around 145MW in average, how much is consumed due to the duck curve? very likely less than 10% unless is stored either in batteries or in pumped storage

If we want to generate 800MW with solar panels then we are going to need around 4000MW in installed capacity

Each solar panel without any subsidizing it cost around 1.2 dollars per W, a 315W solar panel cost 450 dollars, supposing, you have to only buy the solar panels it will cost around $5715m, and remember, that's the cost of only the solar panels, not the installation, land acquisition, maintenance, or the AC to DC converters, or even storage, let's say that he end cost is around $11000m

Gas price in the US is around 3U$S a MBtu, which is around 160 dollars a metrical ton, taking in mind a CCGT H class gas turbine with efficiencies around 63 to 67% have a heat rate of 5790kJ/kWh that's around 100 grams per KWh or around 84 tons per hour, and 740.000 tons a year at a price of 119 million U$S a year

Taking in mind that the cost of a CCGT powerplant is going down with the improvements from 1000U$S/kW to 700U$S/kW and possibly less in the future 700M U$S is a quite reasonable price so start

So if we take down the  cost of the powerplant we have 10300 million $ to spend on natural gas at a 119 million each year that's 86 years

the thing is that with the increased competence between nuclear, coal, gas, oil, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, and wind+pumped storage the most possibly thing is that Oil & Gas will become cheaper, less profitable but cheaper

The only clean energy thing that's enough portable and it's power capabilities don't depend on geography (like wind, solar, tidal, hydro, and geothermal) and can be as cheap as fossil fuels is Nuclear, ruskies are planning the Brest-1200MW reactor that with will cost 2.8 billion dollars, will have a lifespan between 60 and 80 years, and if the temperature is increased to use Supercritical Steam turbines then that 1200MW will convert to 1650MW

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sebastian Meana said:

Well the Topaz Solar farm has an installed capacity of around 550MW and an average capacity factor of 25% (and the Ivanpah solar facility has a capacity factor of 20%) so it generates around 145MW in average, how much is consumed due to the duck curve? very likely less than 10% unless is stored either in batteries or in pumped storage

If we want to generate 800MW with solar panels then we are going to need around 4000MW in installed capacity

Each solar panel without any subsidizing it cost around 1.2 dollars per W, a 315W solar panel cost 450 dollars, (Thats the retail price for domestic installations. If you want 5GW the price drops substantally) ) supposing, you have to only buy the solar panels it will cost around $5715m, and remember, that's the cost of only the solar panels, not the installation, land acquisition (very little in semi desert) , maintenance, or the AC to DC converters, or even storage, let's say that he end cost is around $11000m

Gas price in the US is around 3U$S a MBtu, (thats the wellhead price - not delivered to the end user)which is around 160 dollars a metrical ton, taking in mind a CCGT H class gas turbine with efficiencies around 63 to 67% (if you run them at a constant optimum output) have a heat rate of 5790kJ/kWh that's around 100 grams per KWh or around 84 tons per hour, and 740.000 tons a year at a price of 119 million U$S a year

Question - what do think will happen to US Gas prices when all those LNG plants get built? 

Taking in mind that the cost of a CCGT powerplant is going down with the improvements from 1000U$S/kW to 700U$S/kW and possibly less in the future 700M U$S is a quite reasonable price so start EIA estimate costs falling to $900/KW by 2050

So if we take down the  cost of the powerplant we have 10300 million $ to spend on natural gas at a 119 million each year that's 86 years

the thing is that with the increased competence between nuclear, coal, gas, oil, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, and wind+pumped storage the most possibly thing is that Oil & Gas will become cheaper, less profitable but cheaper

The only clean energy thing that's enough portable and it's power capabilities don't depend on geography (like wind, solar, tidal, hydro, and geothermal) and can be as cheap as fossil fuels is Nuclear, ruskies are planning the Brest-1200MW reactor that with will cost 2.8 billion dollars, will have a lifespan between 60 and 80 years, and if the temperature is increased to use Supercritical Steam turbines then that 1200MW will convert to 1650MW

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 5:08 PM, Marina Schwarz said:

I know how it sounds but McKinsey says with fast enough adoption of EVs demand for juice will jump so high it will even stimulate coal demand. Of course, it's all hypothetical but it's a nice irony I thought.

same McKenzie who told AT&T to scale back on cell tower construction in 80th as there only be ~900K phones by 2000? Or McKenzie of Enron and Valeant fame? (just kidding, same buggers).  

On this instance I may agree though - coal is responsible for 39% of electricity production (same as in 1985); if you start using less oil - you'll need more juice and not when sun is shining. Don't see it happening soon, though. People can be fooled for sometime, but time is running out and we see articles critical of Silicon Valley darling (TSLA) in mainstream media as well as candid discussion on stupidity of green claim of EVs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, well, you know how nobody gets it right all the time. Same goes for being wrong all the time I guess. But yes, the issue of where will all the electricity come tends to not receive a lot of attention in the renewables vs fossils in EV debate.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody seen the note from McKinsey & Co?  The article linked to in Mining.com simply had one vague sentence about the impact of EVs on coal use, "Even coal would get a bump from EVs says McKinsey."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites