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Almagnus1

How the electric car dies

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So some make Canuks have finally figured out how to make a CO2 scrubber that makes gas.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/06/carbon-engineering-liquid-fuel-carbon-capture-neutral-science/

Here's the way I see this working:

Couple this with a farm to grow a plant like hemp, sugar cane, or something else that will generate the biomass to burn (and thus, the carbon), burn it and feed the gases into this scrubber, and combine with water.  The entire operation can be more efficient if you were to use sugar cane, make alcohol out of the sugar cane, burn the left over biomass, then burn the resulting alcohol (or mix in enough stuff so that you have E85 and sell that).  Couple with CO2 scrubbers attached to coal plants, in cities (as that'd help with smog), and you have a better way to harvest CO2 to turn back into fuel, essentially creating a system that would allow for cleaner burning gas cars (as you aren't burning the impurities with the fuel) that's not putting a heavy load on the power system (like electircal cars do).

If crude oil ever gets costly enough, I can definitely see a market for this technology taking off.

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Not sure it would kill off electric cars, though. Despite their current faults, electric cars will eventually be more viable. It's the electrolysis that's the problem with creating synthetic hydrocarbons. Having to use more energy to create the fuel than you get out is inefficient still, and will be for longer than electric cars. You need a renewable energy source to start with, so you might as well just use that same source and direct it straight into cars. It's why plants are so good at what they do despite it being practically the same thing (though hydrocarbons instead of carbohydrates), they do it all efficiently with just sunlight. Sure, plants take up potentially more space than a CO2 fuel factory could, but as you say you could just burn biomass and save yourself a step. Not to mention the issue of water use, considering freshwater is becoming scarcer in many parts of the world, you're then potentially upping the costs if desalination of seawater is brought into the equation.

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10 hours ago, Doro said:

Not sure it would kill off electric cars, though. Despite their current faults, electric cars will eventually be more viable. It's the electrolysis that's the problem with creating synthetic hydrocarbons. Having to use more energy to create the fuel than you get out is inefficient still, and will be for longer than electric cars. You need a renewable energy source to start with, so you might as well just use that same source and direct it straight into cars. It's why plants are so good at what they do despite it being practically the same thing (though hydrocarbons instead of carbohydrates), they do it all efficiently with just sunlight. Sure, plants take up potentially more space than a CO2 fuel factory could, but as you say you could just burn biomass and save yourself a step. Not to mention the issue of water use, considering freshwater is becoming scarcer in many parts of the world, you're then potentially upping the costs if desalination of seawater is brought into the equation.

If you, for example, do this in the US South you'd ideally work this facility into a desalination plant (using the heat to boil water) and just take in sea water, boil it, sell the left over salt, and use that instead of the local water.  It makes sense if you're looking at sugar cane as pulling in the ocean water instead of using the ground water wouldn't stress the local water system... and you're maybe 10-20 miles inland if that for most of the prime sugar cane growing areas.

So tying it all together, not only are you possible exporting power, but one sugar cane farm/plant can produce e85 (alcohol based fuel), gasoline, sell the sea salts generated from ocean water desalination, and possibly export water to boot.

The reason why electric cars even exist at the scale they do is because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_incentives_for_plug-in_electric_vehicles#Federal_government .  The problems they face is you need a lot more difficult to work with materials (like Lithium) that ordinary gas powered vehicles don't.  It's a lot like the light bulb "problem"... while the florescent bulbs are more energy efficient than the incandescents (and the LEDs beat both), the florescent bulbs have mercury, and both LEDs and florescent bulbs are made with heavy metals, so from an entire picture, it actually is more energy efficient to use incandescents when you factor in the energy needed to manufacture and properly dispose of the alternatives because the incandescent bulb is just so simple.

This ties back into the electric car, as you've got to do something with the batteries when it comes time to dispose of the car... rather than sticking it in the compactor like you can with just about any gas or diesel powered vehicle.  Then you have the operational expenses which pushes more load onto the power grid (as you are pushing a ton of power into the car compared to the average electrical appliance), so there's a lot of infrastructure that must be built to support electric vehicles.   So while we are slowly doing just that, if the government support for the electric vehicles in the US were to end... I doubt that the electric vehicle market would survive.

To better highlight this issue, (simply put) there aren't enough range and as many charging stations to make it across the desolate parts of the US Southwest without having to do a crap ton of route planning and make sure you have charging stations where you're going to - and you also have to wait around long periods of time (like more than 15 minutes) until you have sufficient charge to proceed onto the next leg of your sojourn.  Unlike how it works with a gas powered car which is where you weigh the remaining range for your fuel against how far away the next bit of civilization is, and gassing up doesn't take all that much time nor effort.  Until that trip is proven to be as thoughtless with electric vehicles as it is with gas powered ones, most Americans aren't going to see them as anything more than a impractical novelty vehicle as their range and ease of use is far inferior to what we can already do with gas powered vehicles.

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I don't see the electric car death any time soon. The push to go electric has been subsidized in many countries for the past 20 years. I read the article linked and don't feel its a viable solution. Recombine CO2 just to release it again. This won't solve any immediate problems with fuel emissions. Even the notion of not producing anymore CO2 isn't really plausible, using the processes mentioned in the article. It would mean the whole total worlds population would have to instantly switch over and nothing happens in this modern era in less than a generation. The push for electric has in this last decade, made huge strides in energy efficiency and reinvented the fuel cells several times. The notion of a battery being a maintenance nightmare is outdated thinking and here is why.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene

Already cell phone companies are making Graphene batteries and soon will replace Lithium altogether. One thing unique about the Graphene battery is it will charge itself if left alone unaided by any power source. Graphene sheets one atom thick are already being produced on manufacturing scale. It is the strongest possible atomic structure known, so it has many uses beside giving and receiving power to and from multiple sources. Also the structure's design is self repairing. The main source atm for Graphene is Graphite which the earth has in a large abundance. It is inert and doesn't degrade or oxidize like many other metals or fuel sources.

I watched a video about two years ago where a man, made the impossible. He created a perpetual motion device powered by a home made Graphene battery. Made the battery with items found in any home, besides the Graphite. Ya it isn't an infinite running device like in the sense of billions of years but the power source could last for a human life virtually unaided.

The batteries are easily rechargeable. I Imagine, since the atomic structure itself creates energy, there may be a way to collect this into a capacitor and maybe never need a charge at all. This ofc being engineers can find a model that offers the best efficiency of the Graphene arrangement.

Back to the article linked. Its advertised as Carbon free fuel. Which it exactly isn't. It requires carbon. Imo just sounds like a pretty name to say we are using CO2 to make fuel that releases CO2 as a byproduct. CO2, water, and electricity. It wasn't by chance they are promoting this and saying btw our electricity is from a renewable resource. Hydro electric damns are nice for free energy at the cost of the water shed that powers them. This is a well known fact on several fronts. Even the article states this. " Still, even at $100 per ton, there aren’t enough CO2 buyers right now. So the company decided to make a carbon-neutral liquid fuel," So they found a efficient process to do something good for our world and changed into a profit scheme. No one said ever...

Graphene is the future: Power sources. It will eventually replace all plastics. Also I wager, we will see it to replace sheet metal for all of the transportation's we use commonly today. Superconductors are already being made from Silicon-Graphene layering. I expect to see in the near future, computer processors being made using Graphene as well. It is extremely light weight and stronger than anything ever made by man previously.

Now, if the world could stop preventing progress due to big business interests, this stuff could be in use everywhere in a generation and not need a pseudo sales pitch to make it a reality.

 

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5 hours ago, Splay said:

Back to the article linked. Its advertised as Carbon free fuel. Which it exactly isn't. It requires carbon. Imo just sounds like a pretty name to say we are using CO2 to make fuel that releases CO2 as a byproduct. CO2, water, and electricity. It wasn't by chance they are promoting this and saying btw our electricity is from a renewable resource. Hydro electric damns are nice for free energy at the cost of the water shed that powers them. This is a well known fact on several fronts. Even the article states this. " Still, even at $100 per ton, there aren’t enough CO2 buyers right now. So the company decided to make a carbon-neutral liquid fuel," So they found a efficient process to do something good for our world and changed into a profit scheme. No one said ever...

Well, the biggest problem with alternate gas sources is that crude oil is still too cheap, so no one's going to move towards an alternate fuel source until that changes.  The other issue is that if the governments try to go too hard for the green technologies they end up royally screwing up their economy (which is one of the things crippling California IIRC).

However, the bigger problem with all of this is that it's just cheaper to get it from burning stuff and trapping the smoke, then working with the leftover stuff than it is to pull it from the air.  While I'd imagine you'd probably have better success is some of the more smog filled areas, it's still a problem that it's going to take more energy to pull it out of the air than it will to just plant more trees (the natural CO2 scrubbers).

What I think you're missing, though, is that if it becomes cheap to, say, generate gas from crops (instead of crude oil production), that's going to be far greener (overall) because oil processing is a very, very dirty business.

 

5 hours ago, Splay said:

Graphene is the future: Power sources. It will eventually replace all plastics. Also I wager, we will see it to replace sheet metal for all of the transportation's we use commonly today. Superconductors are already being made from Silicon-Graphene layering. I expect to see in the near future, computer processors being made using Graphene as well. It is extremely light weight and stronger than anything ever made by man previously.

And the biggest problem with graphene is manufacturing it en masse.

It's like how amazing quantum computers are... and yet they only exist in the research labs because they're extremely hard to keep working.

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The biggest advantage of electric cars is they don't have exhaust gasses and make less noise. If everyone in cities drives electric, that has a huge impact on air quality and ambient noise. And you can charge at home thus never going to a gasstation when you only drive smaller parts in a city. That is why in my opinion ICE's are fighting a lost battle for at least a certain part of the automotive market

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6 hours ago, Thrabath said:

The biggest advantage of electric cars is they don't have exhaust gasses and make less noise.

On this part we agree....

6 hours ago, Thrabath said:

If everyone in cities drives electric, that has a huge impact on air quality

You're offsetting the car's polution with whatever the power source is, and unless you're talking about using a nuclear reactor, almost all of the other types of power are either worse in production, or worse in operation.  With nuclear, the current thinking is that they'd use a series of reactors where one would use the waste of another so you mitigate the nuclear waste problem and better extract energy from it, in addition to using other types of radioactive fuel beyond uranium. 

6 hours ago, Thrabath said:

and ambient noise.

This has actually caused problems because electric cars are too quiet... which means people are MORE likely to be hit by an electric because it's harder to hear it coming.

6 hours ago, Thrabath said:

And you can charge at home thus never going to a gasstation when you only drive smaller parts in a city.

Do you actually own and operate an electric car?

From talking to the owners of those cars at work, you basically have to leave it plugged in 24/7 when you're not using it... or you don't have enough charge when you ready for work, and you have to modify your home to get the proper charge plugged in as they generally don't work off of the wall outlets (at least, not if you don't want them charging for a week).  There's a reason why the office installed a bunch of chargers for electric cars, as that was needed to make them viable for the commuters...  but they don't need to make the same concession for the gas powered vehicles.

Until we start seeing fast charging stations start to exist (and by fast charging, I mean charged in 10 minutes or less), and spread everywhere with the proper connection to the power grid, it's still a pipe dream.

6 hours ago, Thrabath said:

That is why in my opinion ICE's are fighting a lost battle for at least a certain part of the automotive market

For a smaller country (like those in Europe) the range issue is mitigated because they're so tiny.  For a larger country, (like the US) or one where the climate would cause the batteries to get too cold to work correctly (like Canada in the winter), I'm not seeing it work.  There's still several fundamental issues that need to be solved otherwise the battle is optimistically even for the electrics at best.

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On 9/17/2019 at 6:20 PM, Almagnus1 said:

 

Yeah, I meant air quality in cities; Though they still need to find something for tire wear, since that is probably one of the main sources of bad air quality/ particulate matter coming from cars.

Also true about noise, lack of noise had advantages and disadvantages.

I don't have an electric car, but I'm responsible for the cars at my work (around 85 cars). Those range from a VW Polo to a Peugeot 5008 in size and everything and model in between. We have a couple of electric cars (Renault Zoe.... f.e. ;) ) which has an 'interesting' range. And I hear and see that it takes a little more planning/preparation, but in the Netherlands for just normal travels there aren't any real issues. I've got 4 or 5 collegues that asked if I can find another collegue for their car so they can go for a Model 3; We don't have those yet, but the range of the Model 3 standard Range Plus is said to be ~320 km; That should normally be enough.

And yeah, it needs modification at places, but the TCO (and range) is lower. With cars that have a 300+ range the fiscal stimulation makes the TCO lower, but when I see the developments I think those aren't needed in a couple of years. We are telling collegues that in 2022/2023 EV's are probably the only option for a new car, because of total costs and they are good enough for trips in the Netherlands.

 

And it's region-bound, that's true. The big question will be, will our electricity network and will accu-capacity develop quick enough.

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The biggest issue with electric cars is many people cant charge them up at home, it is not an option so they are not an option.  Until you can charged them up in seconds like a petrol car then they work for a large percentage of people.

I only wish all the subsidies that have been put into electric cars and all the money spent putting up charging stations had been spend on getting hydrogen fuel cell cars on the road and putting fueling stations around the country as well 

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9 hours ago, Thrabath said:

Yeah, I meant air quality in cities; Though they still need to find something for tire wear, since that is probably one of the main sources of bad air quality/ particulate matter coming from cars.

I wouldn't be surprised, as I know you can definitely build up patches that can be extremely dangerous immediately after the start of a rain storm (like soak you to the bone rain, not this half-assed cloud sitting on the ground mist rain).

9 hours ago, Thrabath said:

I don't have an electric car, but I'm responsible for the cars at my work (around 85 cars). Those range from a VW Polo to a Peugeot 5008 in size and everything and model in between. We have a couple of electric cars (Renault Zoe.... f.e. ;) ) which has an 'interesting' range. And I hear and see that it takes a little more planning/preparation, but in the Netherlands for just normal travels there aren't any real issues. I've got 4 or 5 collegues that asked if I can find another collegue for their car so they can go for a Model 3; We don't have those yet, but the range of the Model 3 standard Range Plus is said to be ~320 km; That should normally be enough.

And yeah, it needs modification at places, but the TCO (and range) is lower. With cars that have a 300+ range the fiscal stimulation makes the TCO lower, but when I see the developments I think those aren't needed in a couple of years. We are telling collegues that in 2022/2023 EV's are probably the only option for a new car, because of total costs and they are good enough for trips in the Netherlands.

To put things in perspective, the Netherlands claims about 41.5k km^2, while the state of Texas (where I'm currently living) covers an area of about 696k km^2.  I think that's part of the issue here is that taking trips in the US that's 1.1k km one way (as that's how far my parents are from me) is completely doable with my WRX (which is not the most gas efficient vehicle on the road), but I'd have severe range anxiety if I were try that with an electric car.  It takes me roughy 3-4 hours just to leave the state of Texas if I can hold ~136 km/h (85 mph) most of the way to Lousiana.  That's about the fastest you can go on the Interestate in Texas without the cops taking issue with you, traffic permitting that is.  If I had the capability to, say, go 120 mph (~193 km/h)  I'd do that... but that's pretty reckless unless you're in a controlled environment and you have a vehicle that is well maintained and capable of doing so.  The Germans should know about what I'm talking about, especially with what's needed to maintain their Porches to drive as fast as I've heard they can go on the Autobahn.

That's part of the problem with the US is that the country is just so freaking huge that many Europeans simply don't understand the distances involved, as many of the states (especially in the west) are on par with the average European country size.

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totally true, my brother and sister-in-law are currently in the usa and are covering a larger distance in just 2 weeks than I normally do in 2 years ;)

I live almost in the centre of the Netherlands, I just checked on google maps, 95% of the netherlands is within 150km, the furthest is 250km for a single trip; So a 3 hour-drive at most. And yes, people forget that and that's also one of the main reasons why American cars just don't sell that good in western Europe and Japanese cars do/did; It's not the price, it's the way we use cars that is different

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