EV to save the planet? Maybe not ...

Clem_Dye

Well-known Member
There was an article in the print version of the Daily Telegraph today which claims that if all of Europe switched to EV it would only reduce climate change by 0.4%, because of the reliance on fossil fuels for just about everything else. Are EVs the automotive equivalent of smart meters, I wonder, promising much, but delivering little?

Clem
 

IronGiant

Moderator
It's not just about total emissions, it's about reducing inner city emissions/air pollution.
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
What will replace fuel duty? The motorist gets fleeced at the pumps at present which funds the government's coffers to the tune of £millions. In order to attract low Co2 models e.g. city cars and EVs, the government sold the deal by reducing road tax to, in some cases, nothing. To fund this, they increased the tax on vehicles costing over £40k. Therefore, who or what will fund the infrastructure for charging and further down the road, the disposal of the batteries?

I'm sure we will all have to eventually embrace EVs and possibly even self-drive vehicles but it's a long way off. The infrastruture simply isn't there yet and energy has to come from somewhere.

Your average gas boiler probably pollutes more than a modern ICE vehicle. Ships that carry all all the cheap Far-Eastern manufactured electronic gear chuck out all sorts and that's not to mention the plane that takes you on your family holiday.
 

domtheone

Distinguished Member
Just a stepping stone (EV) anyway.

Fully expect better tech within a decade or so.

Like has been said, motorist hardly the biggest cause anyway. Even though we’re fleeced like we are.
 

mikeysthoughts

Active Member
It's not about just one single solution, it's the cumulative effects of many changes. 0.4% is better than 0.0%, no?

That's not to mention the significant reduction in air and noise pollution.

The UK recently managed to go for a record time (over a week) without coal for power generation. These changes come together, it's just sad that they're probably too little to late according to the latest forecasts.
 

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
Ships that carry all all the cheap Far-Eastern manufactured electronic gear chuck out all sorts
Although emissions on ships have been regulated and limited for at least as long as cars and many now have SCR fitted and a lot of Adblue to feed them :)

Most ships engines are simply very big diesels. They are electronically controlled (valve and fuel timing etc) with each engine tested for emissions on test cycles and certified.

LNG (methane) is also becoming popular as a fuel and others are coming along like methanol and ethanol. Hydrogen is on the cards (big challenges amplified by the scale of ships) and also fuel cells (fuel feed LNG although other hydrocarbons are being tried including diesel - the actual cell needs hydrogen rich fuel and the rest is burnt to oblivion at very high temperatures).

The emissions per distance travelled on ships is second to none due to large volumes and weight of cargo carried per engine involved and the distances involved.

Sorry about that - end of lesson about ships :)
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
There was an article in the print version of the Daily Telegraph today which claims that if all of Europe switched to EV it would only reduce climate change by 0.4%, because of the reliance on fossil fuels for just about everything else. Are EVs the automotive equivalent of smart meters, I wonder, promising much, but delivering little?

Clem
Could you indulge in the logic a bit more? Transport emissions are currently at 27% of total in the EU? Genuinely curious!
Greenhouse gas emissions from transport
 

Clem_Dye

Well-known Member
Sorry, I posted from memory. Reduction of pollution is clearly a big plus point if we go EV, but I still think that the article makes a valid point. Moving to EV alone will only make small overall dent.

Clem
 

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
still think that the article makes a valid point. Moving to EV alone will only make small overall dent.
Whilst I don’t disagree with the point in isolation, there are those with that view all over the world doubting there is any point in making any reductions at all. Here for example our federal government (hopefully only for another 48 hours :thumbsup:) support new coal mines and coal power stations and have that similar view. Add all these tiny reductions together and it is significant.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Hydrogen would offer quicker fillups and no heavy batteries which age.
With electricity and water there is a plentiful supply.
There would still be some batteries for regenerative braking but they would be much smaller.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
Hydrogen would offer quicker fillups and no heavy batteries which age.
Indeed but it has other challenges that have been discussed in various threads when you let the public loose with it in their cars. In terms of safety in use in a car (and storage and filling) compared to petrol (or LPG for that matter) it is worlds apart.

It also needs a heavy(ish) fuel cell and that operates at interesting temperatures too.

Then there is a challenge to produce the stuff. Electrolysis from water (Tomorrow’s World many moons ago IIRC showed this in its infancy) was so last century and needs huge amounts of power. Brown coal is a good source but the process is mega expensive and produces masses of CO2. There is only so much you can use in soft drinks :) carbon capture is of course a thing around the world but generally it isn’t allowed or in place at the moment in sufficient places to support large scale hydrogen production.

Japan is trying to buck the trend that’s for sure but they or “somebody” need to take the next step in large scale hydrogen production. They are in the process of doing that although it is using Australian brown coal to produce hydrogen here to transport it to Japan to feed that country’s plans to use it as fuel for vehicles and power generation.

Batteries are here and now and mostly their carbon footprint is under control (yes I know thee are strong arguments that is a major issue for batteries). Car manufacturers probably don’t want to sink money into hydrogen production - it is on a national government scale really. Once the fuel is in plentiful supply they can produce more vehicles - the designs and tech is basically ready to go. The safety issues are ironed out on the vehicles so that side of it is relatively easy for vehicle manufacturers.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Basically we have to choose the lesser of evils.
 

Delvey

Distinguished Member
Basically we have to choose the lesser of evils.
Exactly.
Even EV, the actual process of extracting the raw materials, transporting it and creating the final product produces quite a bit of emissions. I am aware the same applies to oil, and obviously the EV will produce zero emissions (if charged by renewable energy) over its life cycle.
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
Just a small factual correction with no inference of opinion. That figure you quoted appears to be from the EEA and not the EU as the tables suggest they include countries such as Turkey.
Aha, fair point!

Sorry, I posted from memory. Reduction of pollution is clearly a big plus point if we go EV, but I still think that the article makes a valid point. Moving to EV alone will only make small overall dent.

Clem
Having seen pieces like this in the past, such small reductions are usually a result of making some other assumptions such as no-one outside the EU would buy an electric car and assuming the current level energy in the National Grid stays constant - neither of which are realistic assumptions. There is a general point that emissions reductions needs to be about far more than just buying an electric car though, sure.
 

Delvey

Distinguished Member
Be interesting why @Desmo found Hydrogen funny
It has already replaced Diesel in trains in Germany, and will be coming to the UK in a few years. California has quite a lot of hydrogen fill up stations
No recharging, no waiting for a charge point to be free, most abundant element on the planet.
The only downside at the moment, is it uses a lot of energy to manufacture
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Agreed.
From what I have seen the energy density is higher, much lower weight. There is the refill time but more of a filling station model than charging points.
I know people are working on solar catalysis so we will see how it goes.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
....it uses a lot of energy to manufacture
and that energy can come from any source. Like wind, for example. It doesn't even need a constant wind to work, since the H2 is compressed and stored by the same power source that creates it. So, that can happen in abundance when there is enough wind, with delivery to the vehicle occurring at any time afterwards - wind or not. Likewise "spare" (overnight) capacity in, say, nuclear power supplies. etc.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Or hot air from board meetings?
Sorry, a number of directors at work are world class producers.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
What about the servicing costs for hydrogen in private cars, and the need to replace the fuel tank/lines every 10 years or so (I’m assuming this is not just FUD similar in nature to the bull about BEV batteries only lasting 5 years etc). Will owners be prepared for these sognificant costs of ownership or does it simply mean the cars become uneconomic to maintain at 10+ years?

On top of that is the infrastructure costs needed to make hydrogen a viable fuel source. This last bit need not be a complete deal breaker, after all the same could have been said about petrol and diesel, but it’s still a significant barrier to roll out.

I can see the benefit of H2 for HGVs and public transport, but it still needed a significant investment in infrastructure for it to be viable. For example, my in-laws run a livestock haulage business in a rural area, but how would they get fuelled as a local H2 station would just not be viable for the volume of HGV traffic in the area. Or would they be expected to make an 100 mile round trip journey to the nearest large conurbation to refuel?
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
I think that is getting ahead of things.
 

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
The Hyundai Nexo is available in the UK. No idea where you fill it though!!

Infrastructure would roll out no differently to petrol and diesel stations really. Production is a challenge - the investment is significant as Japan is demonstrating with their plans to produce hydrogen from brown coal here in Australia and ship it to their shores. Queensland has given solar production a go too although they have moved away from electrolysis in the old sense of the word (blasting huge amounts of electricity through water) by adding a bit of chemistry.

Queensland delivers first “solar hydrogen” exports to Japan, backs pilot plant | RenewEconomy

Anyway the fact these are for the Japanese market where they are planning hydrogen use more on the scale we are talking about, indicates production is probably the biggest hurdle nowadays.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
A different method will have to be found given the high amount of CO2 brown coal produces.
 
Carbon emissions are a red herring.
I'm not against electric powered vehicles, I think there are some good reasons to move away from fossil fuels eventually, but I don't believe that at the current rate of technological development that they will be a sustainable or affordable or practical option within this century. IMO it's a technology that will come later in the future and will work very well when it does, but right now I.C.E vehicles work just fine and we should be happy that they do.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
What about nitrous oxides?
 

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
A different method will have to be found given the high amount of CO2 brown coal produces.
Sure but carbon capture sequestering underground (at sea usually) is permitted and that is how Victoria will deal with the excess CO2 after as much as can be is sold for carbonated drinks. I agree though it is a factor to think about when deciding the best hydrogen production methods.

Shoving CO2 underground hopefully never to be seen again is yet another discussion that simmers around the world in terms of whether it succeeds or even counts to reduce effects on global emissions/warming etc or not.
 

outoftheknow

Well-known Member
What about nitrous oxides?
From burning which fuel? Diesel emits heaps of nitrous oxides but catalytic converters are designed to sort that out. Adblue (urea) is part of that if selective catalytic reduction is in use.

If the diesel has sulphur in it, SOx are also an issue. Vehicle diesels are very low in sulphur so not such an issue. Fuels on say ships though have had higher levels of sulphur for years but the maximum levels of sulphur in emissions have been reduced over the years. From next year the fuel must have under 0.5% sulphur. Or SCR/scrubbers or other technology must be in use to reduce emissions to below the now very low maximums permitted.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member

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