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More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

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More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Zoomup on Jan 17, 2020 7:45 am

Well I never. Haven't we said so for years? Ministers are catching on at last, bless 'em.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-7894719/UK-electricity-network-needs-upgraded-cope-rising-EV-demand.html

Z.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by davezawadi on Jan 17, 2020 9:09 am

I wonder if someone has actually read my posts here and now has realised the problem? Amazing!

I estimate the cost of distribution only for electric vehicles could be £100 billion. Add 10 more 2-3 GW nuclear power stations and we get to £300 billion. Talk about unafordable public expenditure, and all for some kind of "virtue signalling".
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 9:54 am

A universal switch to electric  vehicles is just fantasy without huge investment. 

Ask the guy at the motorway services. Apart from actually getting enough chargers installed apparently  the customers don't want stop, so they are installing drive through coffee shops on the slip roads to humour them, despite the danger of congestion backing up onto the motorway. 

Andy Betteridge 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by John Peckham on Jan 17, 2020 10:07 am

Perhaps I am getting this wrong? You buy a public asset at a knock down price, you don't invest in the improvement and maintenance of your now private asset that you own, you extract as much cash as you can from the company. The asset decays and starts to fail and then you have a few options.

1. Give the now knackered asset back to the government, or better still sell it to them. Government spends huge amounts of tax payers money upgrading the asset. Buy the upgraded asset back and repeat cycle.
2. Go to the government and ask for a huge amount as a grant of tax payers money to invest in your company. Spend 80% of that money on the asset and pocket 20% as dividends and fees. Repeat cycle.
3. Go to government and ask for a huge increase in tariff as an emergency measure and use Smart meters to ration demand.

Well that's the network sorted now what about the generation of electricity to pipe through the new network?

 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by mapj1 on Jan 17, 2020 10:18 am

I agree it is good that folk are waking up to the fact that some engineering is needed, and that some of our electrical infrastructure is a bit creaky already, without adding a significant extra load, quite a lot of it is more than 50 years old.
I am not sure of your price estimates. Given that car tax (vehicle excise duty) brings in 6.5 billion /year (ref. here ) and fuel taxes currently bring in about 28 billion/year  ( ref. here ).
Taking your numbers, then we need infrastructure that will last a few decades to make it worthwhile from the treasury perspective, and that assumes make owning an electric vehicle roughly the same cost to the end user as a traditional one, at the moment a significant incentive to use an electric vehicle is that it is much cheaper.
Equally new generation projects seem to be costed in price per MWhr generated, which makes immediate comparisons a bit hard when we do not know how long they will last.

an example of confusing reporting These 'strike prices'  are always a bit off compared to the retail price - even a high £100 per MW/Hr is only 10p per retail unit (kwH).
regards Mike

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 10:21 am

Are electric cars actually being bought as second cars by people who have shared access to a petrol or diesel car for quick getaways and long trips?

Andy Betteridge 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by OMS on Jan 17, 2020 11:32 am

Sparkingchip:
Are electric cars actually being bought as second cars by people who have shared access to a petrol or diesel car for quick getaways and long trips?

Andy Betteridge 

 
To some extent, yes

I've been looking at an all electric VW lease deal - and the deal would also give me up to a certain amount of miles or days in a larger, non electric or hybrid vehicle. So basically, I use my all electric day to day, and then drop it off and pick up a bigger hybrid for those longer journeys  - family holiday perhaps

It's actually quite a good deal if I buy into it via a French VW dealership (Brexit notwithstanding)

Regards

OMS
The trap we've fallen into is to believe that a thousand incompetents properly organized can do the job of a few dozen outstanding people

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 12:52 pm

Will technology move on quickly with EVs never becoming main stream?

Hydrogen could be an alternative  but is still reliant on lots of electricity being available. 

Andy Betteridge 

 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by OMS on Jan 17, 2020 12:56 pm

Storing hydrogen is an absolute nightmare - it leaks through pretty well everything

Do we really want several thousand bombs all lined up nicely and travelling at 80mph, just waiting for the inevitable shunt ?

Regards

OMS

 
The trap we've fallen into is to believe that a thousand incompetents properly organized can do the job of a few dozen outstanding people

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Roger Bryant on Jan 17, 2020 1:55 pm

A better solution may be to produce methane from the hydrogen which consumes CO2 (Sabatier reaction etc) giving a closed CO2 cycle. Methane is somewhat easier to handle than hydrogen although it still will not liquify at normal temperatures.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by davezawadi on Jan 17, 2020 3:22 pm

Hopefully someone is also counting all the fossil fuel needed for large construction projects as an electric bulldozer or scraper has yet to be invented. Then there is the concrete (cement) and steel and every other material one can think of except wood. Then there is the huge amount of lorry transport needed to move all the materials to site, no electric ones there either. Adding up all this fossil fuel cannot amount to anything much different to that used by the original liquid fueled cars, particularly when the construction of all those electric vehicles is included.

I also notice that the original article wants to have massive storage available to cover the time when the wind is not "friendly" enough, or the windmills fail or whatever. More massive construction.

There are a number of big windmills along the river Severn near Avonmouth and one of these has been broken for some time. Recently a huge mobile crane (1000 tons capacity) and a fleet of lorries carrying its accessories has arrived and has been slowly assembled next to the windmill to lower something heavy from the 250 - 300 feet it is high. The recent windy weather has prevented much happening, probably too dangerous as a good gust could easily tip the whole lot over during a lift, despite the huge counterweight. This maintenance must be costing a huge sum, and from info. from a friend who works for another turbine company, new projects are off the table because of lack of profitability.

The economic problem is thus exposed, and also the extremely dubious idea of electric everything to "save the planet". It appears that we cannot reliably build ONE nuclear power station on budget and extended timescale, so how do we manage to build all these others, and all the new pylons to carry the electricity, and dig up all the roads to reinforce (replace) all of the low voltage distribution?

This "smart  charger" idea is also dead before it starts, because in all cases the charger is built into the car and most do not have the smart charging power control built in. Like smart meters they are basically useless because there seems to be no one tasked with designing the whole system before we start, otherwise vehicles themselves would be class 2 appliances and much easier for the rest of us! The whole electric economy idea needs serious engineering input NOW before it is too late and the whole lot fails at enormous cost. I suggest a good place to start would be some of us Engineers who understand the challenges, rather than a load of politicians who don't, and stopping the propaganda from the BBC and others that the world is going to end. It certainly will for this country unless some sense is used by those who should know a great deal better than to promise the undeliverable. However they will find a way to blame the Engineers when it all goes wrong!

Take note!
David CEng etc.
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by davezawadi on Jan 17, 2020 3:38 pm

There are two problems with that Roger, and both of them are the reaction kinetics involved. Electrolysis to produce Hydrogen is not very efficient, although it might make Oxygen cheaper to industry, and producing methane from Hydrogen and presumably carbon dioxide from the air is terrible. Burning hydrogen in an IC engine is also probably only 30-40% efficient so you loose out on energy use at every stage. The energy density of hydrogen (even if liquid) is much less than hydrocarbon fuels, and making hydrogen liquid uses huge amounts of energy. Hydrogen is also very dangerous in that it is explosive in almost all mixtures with air, so a minor accident could easily turn into a serious firestorm, for example when a few litres of liquid hydrogen is poured onto the ground by mistake at the pump. A single low energy spark and the whole lot would go bang badly. One occasionally sees lorries carrying compressed hydrogen on the road. It has a nest of cylinders, not one big tank, and carries gas only, all to reduce the danger if there is an accident. The quantity carried is a tiny fraction of the cylinder weight, probably only 1-200 kg total in 20 tonnes of cylinders (painted bright red of course).

There was a news item today about Glasgow turning "carbon neutral" in 10 years. It will be an economic disaster even if it ever gets anywhere, although talked up a lot by the BBC. I suggest independence for Scotland next week and then we all stand back and have a good laugh! (slightly tongue in cheek).
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Roger Bryant on Jan 17, 2020 3:48 pm

I was thinking more using direct solar energy in the desert regions to generate the hydrogen. There are various proposals around for this however as OMS says transporting hydrogen is a problem. This was my next thougt step to convert solar energy into something more transportable and storable.
Nuclear is fine for baseload generation but a storable form of energy is also needed.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by mapj1 on Jan 17, 2020 3:50 pm

I am not wishing to disagree that some silly decisions are taken, but there is also some interesting engineering going on because of despite that.

Newer really big earth moving kit is already moving or moved to be diesel electric, (traditionally it is/was diesel hydraulic) and has been making a transition for a decade or so, so at least the electrical drive train and controls is already a solved problem. Just replace the genset with a big enough battery...

Small stuff has been around for  a while hire one if you like

As of early last year, there were actually some interesting experimental attempts at all electric digger and an all electric dumper truck I'd be the first to agree this is very low TRL stuff, pretty experimental and the thing that is amazing is more that it can be done at all, not that is is particularly well done, yet.

Electric ferry running since Nov 2018  more here 
regards Mike

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by mapj1 on Jan 17, 2020 4:12 pm

hydrogen leaks may be an issue when you store it at 600 atmosphere pressure like ICI do - it probably makes more sense to pipe it at lower pressures for use as required, as we do for domestic gas today, rather than for applications that need us to each have a large store.
Those of us old enough to remember the old coal derived 'town gas' are recalling a mix of about 60/40 hydrogen and carbon monoxide, so both quite explosive and very poisonous. One thing that was not a problem of the day was leaks from the lead or black iron pipes, or at least no more of a problem than it is now with methane  - but the key thing is that the street pressure is only a fraction of a bar, and at the meter it used to be further regulated down to a pressure equivalent to blowing bubbles in a few inches of water.
Leaks from high pressure H2 lines can actually self ignite in air which is very nasty in a confined space, especially as in bright light the flame is hard to see until you are nearly in it.
regards Mike

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by davezawadi on Jan 17, 2020 4:33 pm

On the electric front for big equipment Mike, I agree that electric is possible and is in fact used for mining dumpers and the biggest diggers, either diesel electric or mains. However these machines are very powerful, a typical CAT 200 tonne dumper has a 1500HP diesel and the big excavators take several MW. The diesel electric drive means that no transmission is required and maximum power is available at any speed, particularly up the haul road to the mine top.
In diggers huge power is needed because both large forces and very rapid movement are required and a dumper may often be filled by only 1 to two bucket fulls at 50 or 60 dumpers an hour. There are pictures of some on you tube along with some equipment failures which are pretty dramatic, as well as some crushed smaller vehicles when they got in the way!
In reality these kind of things can never be battery powered, partly because they often run 24/7, and the battery weight would ruin the payload capability and charging would have to take only a minute or two, or perhaps swap batteries a few times a day.

The push to electrify the railways is also slightly difficult to understand, I remember the 125 trains when they started between Bristol and London. They did the non-stop journey in one hour to the minute, which was much better than the present service, but diesel electric of course which was much tidier on the eye when not on the train.

 
Regards David CEng etc.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 4:59 pm

Is hydrogen really difficult to make, store and use?

 Andy Betteridge 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 5:10 pm

There is already a trial of injecting hydrogen into a natural gas grid.

That is probably a better bet than trying to swap parts of the grid completely over to hydrogen as availability will be limited.

Andy Betteridge 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Roger Bryant on Jan 17, 2020 5:20 pm

There are some interesting big toys out there.

As this 110T 590 kW dumper is bringing material down using regen braking the energy balance is quite good:

https://electrek.co/2017/09/17/electric-dumper-truck-worlds-largest-ev-battery-pack/

There are also some more conventional trucks around that I see underway sometimes:

https://electriccarsreport.com/2019/06/camion-transport-and-migros-test-the-eactros-electric-trucks-in-switzerland/


 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Chris Pearson on Jan 17, 2020 5:56 pm

John Peckham:
Perhaps I am getting this wrong? You buy a public asset at a knock down price, you don't invest in the improvement and maintenance of your now private asset that you own, you extract as much cash as you can from the company. The asset decays and starts to fail and then you have a few options.

1. Give the now knackered asset back to the government, or better still sell it to them. Government spends huge amounts of tax payers money upgrading the asset. Buy the upgraded asset back and repeat cycle.
2. Go to the government and ask for a huge amount as a grant of tax payers money to invest in your company. Spend 80% of that money on the asset and pocket 20% as dividends and fees. Repeat cycle.
3. Go to government and ask for a huge increase in tariff as an emergency measure and use Smart meters to ration demand.

Well that's the network sorted now what about the generation of electricity to pipe through the new network?

Is that a cross between PFI in the NHS and Flybe?

Actually, I was getting a bit nervous about Flybe 'cos I have bought a ticket for Mrs P to fly home from Paris next month. Why you might ask, as their competitors have done, should the Government give them favourable terms? Well, they say, in effect, that Flybe's short haul routes are part of the infrastructure.

Remember BEA?

 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by AJJewsbury on Jan 17, 2020 6:14 pm

Well I never. Haven't we said so for years? Ministers are catching on at last, bless 'em.

I don't know about ministers, but at more regional levels I suspect the big plan does recognise that simply replacing all the existing vehicles with electric isn't going to be entirely practical or desirable. I know my local transport authority's plans are many faceted - including reversing the traditional planning and land use zoning systems to get the places people need to often travel between physically much closer together - then encouraging non-motorized transport (walking, cycling), much improved public transport of course, then electrifying where they can the vehicles that remain. It's very early days still, but you might have noticed some of the policies having an effect already - fewer out-of-town supermarkets get permission these days, so there's an increase in "local" stores, road space reallocation away from cars towards bikes and pedestrians, and of course new charge points. Naturally there's lack of co-ordination with national government policies often inadvertently working against the regional plans, but that was ever the case in politics individual problems tend to get sorted eventually.

Far be it from me to suggest that people have been keeping a bit quiet about the plans for the major reduction in the number of cars for fear it would discourage the necessary R&D in electric vehicles, but ....

    - Andy.

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Chris Pearson on Jan 17, 2020 6:36 pm

AJJewsbury:
Far be it from me to suggest that people have been keeping a bit quiet about the plans for the major reduction in the number of cars for fear it would discourage the necessary R&D in electric vehicles, but ....

Right now TPTB in Southampton are making a right old mess of getting to work (which I do there only once a month). It appears that a whole lane is being given over to cyclists. Very worthy no doubt, but it won't change the behaviour of most commuters from the suburbs and certainly not from further afield. In this respect, carrots might work, sticks do not. 😕

ETA: right now, the M27 is being "upgraded" to smart, presumably to make it easier to join the traffic jams in the city. 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Roger Bryant on Jan 17, 2020 6:58 pm

AJJewsbury:
- including reversing the traditional planning and land use zoning systems to get the places people need to often travel between physically much closer together - then encouraging non-motorized transport (walking, cycling), much improved public transport of course, then electrifying where they can the vehicles that remain. It's very early days still, but you might have noticed some of the policies having an effect already - fewer out-of-town supermarkets get permission these days, so there's an increase in "local" stores, road space reallocation away from cars towards bikes and pedestrians, 

    - Andy.

 
Louvain la Neuve in Belgium is an interesting example of this. Built in the 1970s as a university town the centre is pedestrians and bikes only. The railway station and car parking is hidden away underground.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louvain-la-Neuve

 

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by MHRestorations on Jan 17, 2020 10:33 pm

Right now TPTB in Southampton are making a right old mess of getting to work (which I do there only once a month). It appears that a whole lane is being given over to cyclists. Very worthy no doubt, but it won't change the behaviour of most commuters from the suburbs and certainly not from further afield. In this respect, carrots might work, sticks do not. 😕


ETA: right now, the M27 is being "upgraded" to smart, presumably to make it easier to join the traffic jams in the city. 
 

 

At the risk of going slightly off topic (although still related to environment)...TPTB in southampton are blazingly incompetent. Every set of traffic lights is phased perfectly to cause chaos. The new cycleway you speak of has made the junction to the antelope retail park an accident waiting to happen.

I have noticed electric charging points appearing at a few locations around the city, but only in 2s or 3s, no doubt due to the lack of capacity on the network.

A chat with SSE when they were at our local substation (6,600 to 230/400), not the big one... they said they're seeing a lot of outages now caused by overload on the local network. All those lovely new housing estates.. tagged onto a network that's essentially seen only 'essential maintenance' in 25 years... it's not going to be pretty :(

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by Sparkingchip on Jan 17, 2020 11:44 pm

Monday morning I drove down the Heads of the Valleys road in South Wales, the part that is completed is a joy to drive along, although having said that the whole journey is a pleasure once you get off the M5. 

Whilst driving and parking are being restricted in many places there are actually some really good new and improved roads being built along with new filling stations, I went into a brand new filling station today, complete with the  obligatory Greggs counter and Costa vending machine as well as the mini supermarket.

Andy B

Re: More Car Charging Juice Needed Humphrey? Yes Minister.

Posted by kfh on Jan 18, 2020 12:15 pm

We should not forget the £30 billion + Vat that the government currently get from the road usage tax, sorry fuel duty. What is going to fill the gap?

Locally the centre of the local city is filling up with cafes, pubs, clubs and resturants to replace shops and the parking is expensive. The few people that live in the centre complain about the late night noise. Meanwhile the three out of town retail/entertainment parks appear to be doing well but you really need a car to get there as all the public transport is geared to getting you to/from the centre of the city. Most people I talk to do not bother with the city centre as there is a limited range of shops and the cost of parking. I  see reports that changes are proposed to the planning laws to allow easier change of use in town centres to encourage a better mix of housing/retail/offices but I have to think it is too late. 

So whether or not the energy infrastructure will cope is perhaps not the biggest problem. Certainly locally the provision of shops, medical facilities, roads, power and sewage facilities are very far down the list when planning is given for new estates. Many are in relatively rural locations again requiring most people to have cars to get anywhere.

I currently have a field and stables so perhaps I should be planning to get  horse again 😊? Although I do live next door to a substation and my low Ze may give me some "priority" when compared to others if I can ever afford an electric vehicle. Though the  way that I am going it will be a mobility scooter. ☹




 

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