DOE to Invest in Advancement of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed its intention to invest up to $100 million over five years in two new DOE National Laboratory-led consortia to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research and development (R&D). This funding is subject to appropriations.

“Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have the potential to enable resiliency, energy security and economic growth across multiple sectors,” says Mark W. Menezes, undersecretary of energy.

“Through these ambitious new initiatives, the Trump administration continues its commitment to all-of-the-above energy solutions, providing a wide variety of clean energy options for both power generation and transportation,” he adds.

One consortium will conduct R&D to achieve large-scale, affordable electrolyzers, which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and can be powered by various energy sources, including natural gas, nuclear and renewables. This R&D will complement and help support large industry deployment by enabling more durable, efficient and low-cost electrolyzers.

The other consortium will conduct R&D to accelerate the development of fuel cells for heavy-duty vehicle applications, including long-haul trucks. This initiative will set a five-year goal to prove the ability to have a fully competitive heavy-duty fuel cell truck that can meet all of the durability, cost and performance requirements of the trucking industry.


Start-Up Unveils New EV Truck at Former GM Ohio Auto Plant

WASHINGTON — Lordstown Motors Corp unveiled its future electric pickup truck at an event on Thursday as the startup seeks to begin producing vehicles at a former General Motors factory in northeastern Ohio.

Lordstown Motors, which hopes to start delivering the electric pickup to customers by January 2021, will face significant competition from other automakers.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was driven on stage in the pre-production Endurance vehicle on Thursday in the politically important state.

“After a heartbreaking day in 2019, to see this kind of a comeback – I hope you see it’s a testament to the confidence the people of this company have in the people of this community,” Pence said. “It’s a nice ride. I’m a truck guy.”

Also on Thursday, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co announced a strategic relationship with Lordstown Motors and said it would acquire new Endurance vehicles for its fleet.

Lordstown Chief Executive Steve Burns said the company would “beat everyone to market” with the first EV truck. Pence said Lordstown has presold 14,000 vehicles.



Lyft: 100% Electric Vehicles By 2030. CleanTechnica: Ya Think?

Lyft published the positive announcement last week that it would be 100% electric by 2030. Naturally, this is significantly uplifting news, since:

Not many companies have committed to 100% electric vehicles by 2030.
Lyft’s business is based around driving, which means this will result in an enormous reduction in air pollution and global heating emissions. (Presuming Lyft continues to grow or at least survives.)
The announcement should inspire other companies to make such commitments.
The announcement should raise broader consumer awareness around electric vehicles and stimulate more EV purchases.
The responses from some members of CleanTechnica senior staff while eating avocado and cheddar cheese wedges alongside our rooftop pool in the center of Los Altos Hills, California, was essentially whoop dee doo.

In other words, that’s an easy commitment to make. Electric cars have gotten enormously more cost-competitive in the past decade. Costs have fallen off a cliff. They are now more or less at the crossover point (depending on which specific vehicles you compare). Even if you expected slower cost drops in the coming decade, you should realize by now that no one in their right mind will be using a non-electric car for a high-mileage job in 2030. You may as well drive electric and burn cash behind the car as you go for a marketing boost, extra social media klout, and personal entertainment.

Still, I’m the optimistic type, and I was very happy to see the announcement for the reasons espoused at the top.


Analysis: Range is a red herring and we don’t need a 500-mike EV

Range is glamorous. And big batteries have a wow factor that appeals both to luxury shoppers expecting excess and to tech-savvy people for the mind-boggling amount of energy packed neatly under the floor.

It’s easy to understand the mindset. The idea of a 400-, 500-, or 600-mile range in an electric vehicle appeals to the same side of the American car-buying psyche that needs four-wheel drive for one day a year, or a high towing rating for pulling a fantasy boat to the dock…someday.

But it’s worth pointing out—and emphasizing—that big batteries aren’t the greenest way to go electric. They might not even be the best way forward to get a lot of people into electric cars.

Efficiency is good and helps EVs go farther with less

First off, let’s not confuse the push for more efficient electric cars with the idea of simply packing in more battery capacity to go more miles. Greater efficiency and squeezing more miles out of a battery is a good thing. Tesla has it mastered, with the Model 3 and Model Y standing as market leaders in how they can do what matters: wring the most miles out of every kilowatt-hour of battery capacity on board.

As the International Energy Agency pointed out this month in an annual report on the EV market, battery cells will continue to make rapid progress in energy density (in kilowatt-hours per weight of your choice). As it noted, increasing the energy density of batteries won’t just reduce the costs of the cars but also will help reduce the battery manufacturing emissions and the life-cycle carbon impact of the cells.

Plug Power Stock Will Soar on Increasing Use of Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The days of the gasoline (or diesel) vehicle are numbered. Everyone seems to be in agreement on that. Gas-powered cars and trucks aren’t going to disappear tomorrow, but they will be replaced. The success of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) reflects the growing popularity of electric cars. But there’s another story in our zero-emission future: hydrogen. As the race toward green vehicles heats up, Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) is positioned to take advantage of its bet on hydrogen. And that means big upside for PLUG stock.

Here’s everything you need to know about this A-rated stock, and why its 136% gain over the past 12 months is just the start of its run.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell vs. Battery Electric Vehicles
Before getting into the details of Plug Power, it’s important to understand why the company’s hydrogen fuel cell technology is important.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate power that charges a battery to provide the driving power. The waste is water. Hydrogen has 10 times the energy capacity of Lithium-ion batteries per pound. That means hydrogen fuel cell technology has a big advantage over battery powered electric cars like those made by Tesla. The vehicles are lighter, since they don’t need a huge battery. They have longer range. And while electric cars can take an hour or more to fully charge, refueling a hydrogen vehicle takes two to three minutes.

NACFE: Existing Technologies Can Reduce Fuel Usage by Nearly 30 Percent

Existing technologies can reduce fuel usage by nearly 30% for regional routes, creating immediate cost savings and air quality improvements, according to the Run on Less Regional Report, recently released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

The report uses data from a demonstration drive with 10 trucking fleets and is the second in a series of tests showing that improving fuel efficiency is within reach for trucking fleets with off-the-shelf technologies. The report focuses on regional haul trucking, which is characterized by distances under 300 miles to and from a base, predictable routes and frequent returns to base, particularly overnight.

Fuel costs are the second-highest operating cost for fleets and while reducing fuel costs provides immediate savings, it also means less air pollution, creating cleaner skies, particularly for low-income communities, which are disproportionately located near highways and major thoroughfares.

The trucking industry has shown itself to be an essential resource, particularly to support health care, the food system and e-commerce, as COVID-19 has changed the face of work and life in our world.

Alliance AutoGas, Roush CleanTech initiate progress

Separated only by a Work Truck Show aisle at the sprawling Indiana Convention Center in March, two strong advocates for propane autogas championed new products, projects and partnerships created to help grow the market in the United States.

Stuart Weidie and Todd Mouw are familiar names in propane autogas circles – Weidie the president of Alliance AutoGas, a Blossman Gas company, and Mouw the president of fuel system supplier Roush CleanTech. Both say the fuel can provide significant operational cost and environmental benefits to those who adopt it.

“I just love the story we have – the versatility of the fuel, whether it’s [transporting] kids, water, serving LAX airport or delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service,” says Mouw, recounting recent Roush efforts to fuel fleet vehicles across industries. “Propane’s there – it can deliver the goods.”

Mouw stood in front of a 2018 Ford F-650 that showcased Roush’s new partnership with McAbee Trucking, a freight shipping and trucking company based in Blacksburg, South Carolina, that delivers packages for the U.S. Postal Service. At the show, McAbee announced plans to purchase eight propane-fueled trucks, with each burning about 6,000 gallons of propane a year, Mouw notes.


ANGI Develops CNG Fleet Fueling Solution

ANGI Energy Systems has developed a CNG fleet fueling solution that is tailored for quick deployment with minimal site costs.

Infrastructure cost is often the most costly and time-consuming step to building a CNG fleet. The cost associated with constructing a CNG refueling station can vary significantly depending on size and application. Given the wide variety of vehicle types, applications and duty cycles, there is no single formula for designing a CNG vehicle refueling station and estimating the associated footprint.

ANGI’s NG75E fueling solution is offered in multiple configurations, to support small- to medium-sized fleets with an affordable first cost and total cost of ownership.

This fully packaged solution is built for:

  • Solution flexibility: This package can be purchased as a stand-alone product in a simplex, duplex and triplex solution. It can also be configured as an integrated FleetPro, or an integrated simplex solution that can greatly reduce construction costs
  • Mobilization: The FleetPro and integrated compressor packages are designed for simple installation and relocation – allowing flexibility for relocation if the fleet needs change
  • Performance: ANGI NG75E offers a range of inlet pressures from 4–13 PSIG and flow rates of 67–100 SCFM giving you up to 48 GGE per hour, per compressor, which is ideal for small- to medium-fleets

The ANGI NG75E is a fully packaged, quick-deployment CNG compressor that allows for simplified installation and operation. At the core of the NG75 packages are JA Becker CNG compressors, designed for lower inlet pressures. This package offers flexibility to small- and medium-sized refuse, vocational, municipal and other fleet operations.

Millions of Gallons of Stale Beer Is One Hangover From Lockdown

In the concert halls, stadiums and bars across the U.S. that have fallen silent during the coronavirus pandemic, an unusual problem has emerged: what to do with the vast quantity of beer that’s gone past its sell-by date.

In March, even before the lockdowns became widespread, about 10 million gallons of beer held by retailers had already expired, according to estimates from the National Beer Wholesalers Association. As thousands of kegs are now being returned to distributors daily, Vanguard Renewables in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is among companies seeking to make use of it by turning the beverage into natural gas for electricity generation. Others will use it to make hand sanitizer, but a great deal of the beer will simply be decanted and dumped.

“This is a tsunami of kegs,” said John Hanselman, chief executive officer of Vanguard, which will take about 60,000 gallons a week to feed expired beer to micro-organisms in biodigestors that release methane, the primary component of natural gas.

Coping with a waste of beer is just one of the many unforeseen knock-on effects of pandemic-related lockdowns that have shut down swathes of the global economy.

Electric car charge points soar to 7.3 million chargers, 60% growth in public chargers

We are getting some new and interesting data about how fast electric car charge points are growing in a new report.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its 2020 EV Outlook report, which includes analyses of several important data points related to electric vehicle adoption, like charging infrastructure.

Charging infrastructure has often been described as the ‘chicken or egg’ problem for electric cars: electric cars won’t be popular until charging is readily available and charging won’t be widely deployed until electric cars are popular.

But it’s not as big of an issue as people think because an electric vehicle can plug into a regular electric outlet and charge – albeit slowly.

Therefore, there already are hundreds of millions of EV charge points in the world that help kickstart EV adoption.

With this said, dedicated EV charge points are still extremely important to accelerate EV adoption by making the ownership experience more convenient.

IEA’s report claims that are now about 7.3 million chargers worldwide as of the end of 2019.

However, most of them are private charge points:

“The infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging continues to expand. In 2019, there were about 7.3 million chargers worldwide, of which about 6.5 million were private, light-duty vehicle slow chargers in homes, multi-dwelling buildings and workplaces. Convenience, cost-effectiveness and a variety of support policies (such as preferential rates, equipment purchase incentives, and rebates) are the main drivers for the prevalence of private charging.”

These charge points mainly enable faster overnight charging for electric cars.

But the report also had good news for public charging stations, which they believe grew 60% last year:

“Publicly accessible chargers accounted for 12% of global light-duty vehicle chargers in 2019, most of which are slow chargers. Globally, the number of publicly accessible chargers (slow and fast) increased by 60% in 2019 compared with the previous year, higher than the electric light-duty vehicle stock growth.”