|2019/8/20 14:16||Green Car Congress||
Jumbo and Goodfuels partner to test drop-in Bio-Fuel Oil on offshore decommissioning project
Leading global heavy lift shipping and offshore transportation and installation contractor Jumbo, and commercial, sustainable marine biofuel company GoodFuels, are partnering to test Goodfuels’ marine Bio-Fuel Oil on an offshore decommissioning project. Bio-Fuel Oil has already undergone three years of intensive testing with marine engine manufacturers. The second-generation drop-in Bio-Fuel Oil—a replacement for low-sulfur fuel oil and/or heavy fuel oil (HFO)—is completely derived from forest residue (crude tall oil, CTO) and waste oil (used cooking oil, UCO) products. Bio-Fuel Oil is expected to deliver 80-90% well-to-propeller CO2 reduction versus fossil equivalents, and contains no SOx emissions—all without any requirement for engine modifications. Starting with an initial project, the partnership paves the way for a fossil fuel to renewables energy transition in the offshore support sector— removing infrastructure for fossil fuel production, while simultaneously accelerating the energy transition during that process. Following GoodFuels’ completion of two successful deliveries of sustainable Bio-Fuel Oil in the shipping sector—in tandem with Danish bulk carrier NORDEN A/S and French container line CMA-CGM—this offshore project, alongside Netherlands-based Jumbo, represents a new market opportunity for sustainable marine fuel. In a major signal to the offshore industry—currently transitioning from oil and gas to renewables—this project will see sustainable drop-in Bio-Fuel Oil delivered to Jumbo’s offshore vessel, Fairplayer, ahead of her departure to the North Sea, and will be supplied by GoodFuels’ logistics partner VARO Energy. GoodFuels is part of the GoodNRG Group, which is active under various labels and companies in sales, marketing, trading, R&D and production of truly sustainable fuels for the transport segments for which biofuels is one of the best or only viable long-term alternative. GoodFuels has a partnership with VARO Energy on the distribution and development of speciality blending solutions for Low Carbon Marine fuels for the ARA region. GoodFuels is part of the pyrolysis cluster at the Port of Moerdijk—an EC-funded project with 4 pilot plants, 8 feedstock options, creating 30 value chains. Resources ORNL report: “Understanding the Opportunities of Biofuels for Marine Shipping” ORNL/TM-2018/1080
|2019/8/20 10:00||Green Car Congress||
Researchers develop large-scale, economical method to extract hydrogen from oil sands and oil fields
Canadian researchers have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity. The process can extract hydrogen from existing oil sands reservoirs, with huge existing supplies found in Canada and Venezuela. The process can also be applied to mainstream oil fields, causing them to produce hydrogen instead of oil. Proton Technologies is commercializing the process. The researchers are presenting this work at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Barcelona this week. Goldschmidt is an annual, international conference on geochemistry and related subjects, organized by the European Association of Geochemistry and the Geochemical Society. Oil fields, even abandoned oil fields, still contain significant amounts of oil. The researchers propose injecting oxygen deep into the reservoirs. Gases, coke and heavier hydrocarbons are oxidized in place (in-situ combustion). Targeted portions of the reservoir become very warm. Where necessary, the temperatures are heightened further through radio frequency emissions. Eventually, oxidation temperatures exceed 500°C. This heat causes the nearby hydrocarbons—and any surrounding water molecules—to break apart (thermolysis).Thermolysis, gas reforming and water-gas shift have been used in commercial industrial processes to generate hydrogen for more than 100 years. In this new approach, these processes are controlled through the timing and pattern of oxygen injection and external heating. Separate wells extract the elemental hydrogen, using Proton’s patented Hygenerator. The Hygenerator is a dynamic down-hole device that uses feedback from inside the wells to locate hydrogen. A selective membrane inside the Hygenerator filters the gases, and a pump moves pure hydrogen gas up to the wellhead. The Hygenerator is an adaptation of hydrogen-selective filters used in steam-methane reformers (SMRs). More than 95% of the world’s hydrogen comes from splitting natural gas, above ground, in SMRs. For the new system to work, the membrane must be encased in a robust cartridge system that can be placed into a bendy well, and function for long periods despite high pressures and temperature. This technique can draw up huge quantities of hydrogen while leaving the carbon in the ground. When working at production level, we anticipate we will be able to use the existing infrastructure and distribution chains to produce H2 for between 10 and 50 cents per kilo. This means it potentially costs a fraction of gasoline for equivalent output.—Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies This compares with current H2 production costs of around $2/kilo. Around 5% of the H2 produced then powers the oxygen production plant, so the system more than pays for itself. What comes out of the ground is hydrogen gas, so we don’t have the huge above-ground purification costs associated with oil refining: we use the ground as our reaction vessel. Just taking Alberta as an example, we have the potential to supply Canada’s entire electricity requirement for 330 years (Canada uses around 2.5% of the world’s electricity—around the same amount as Germany, and more than France or the UK). Our initial aim is to scale up the production from Canadian oil sands, but in fact, we anticipate that most of the interest in this process will come from outside Canada, as the economics and the environmental implications make people look very hard at whether they want to continue conventional oil production. The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free. All the other gases remain in the ground because they cannot go through the hydrogen filter and up to the surface.—Grant Strem The technology was developed by Ian Gates and Jacky Wang as the result of an agreement between the University of Calgary and Proton Technologies Inc., which now holds the patent.
|2019/8/20 9:30||Green Car Congress||
UL issues world’s first certification for repurposed EV batteries to Nissan/Sumitomo JV
UL announced that 4R Energy Corporation, a joint venture of Nissan Motors and Sumitomo Corporation focusing on the effective reuse of EV batteries for energy storage systems, is the first organization worldwide to be certified to UL 1974, the Standard for Evaluation for Repurposing Batteries. Outlining how to sort and grade battery packs, modules and cells that were originally made for electric vehicles (EV) and other applications, UL 1974 helps identify a battery’s state-of-health and introduces ratings to determine the viability for their continued use. Through this process, performance-validated “second-life” batteries can be utilized for energy storage systems to provide a safe, reliable, clean energy source. Repurposed EV battery safety and reliability have always been top priorities for our company since we were established in 2010. With UL 1974, our production process has now been certified by one of the world’s leading independent, third-party testing and certification organizations. We are very excited about this milestone, as it helps build customer trust concerning the viability of second life batteries, and will contribute to the further growth of energy storage systems.—Eiji Makino, president of 4R Energy As the EV market continues to grow, there is an increased emphasis on repurposing batteries used in EVs. Concurrent with this is an escalating demand globally for efficient renewable energy resources. Innovative energy storage solutions are expected to become a key component of the electricity grid, boosting reliability and helping to integrate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Anticipating the deployment of second life automotive batteries for energy storage systems, UL initiated a standard development process to address the safety and reliability of repurposing batteries. In October 2018, UL 1974 was published as a bi-national Standard of the United States and Canada.
|2019/8/20 9:00||Green Car Congress||
Empa team develops electrohydraulically actuated cam-less valve train; up to 20% fuel savings at low load
Researchers at Empa have developed an electrohydraulically actuated cam-less valve train that enables completely free adjustment of stroke and timing, while at the same time being robust and cost-effective. The new technology saves up to 20% fuel in typical passenger car low load operating conditions. The FlexWork valve train was mounted on a serial production engine and has been running successfully in test bench operation for several months. Sectional drawing of the FlexWork valve drive. Image: Empa. The valve train is the “respiratory organ” of combustion engines: it manages the aspiration of fresh air and the discharge of exhaust gases (gas exchange). Today, only mechanically driven camshafts are used in series production for this purpose, often equipped with an additional mechanism, some of which are quite complex. This allows the modification of a valve movement pattern given by the camshaft, which is not possible without an increase in friction. At the same time, flexibility is somewhat limited. What is needed—among other things for adaptation to changing fuel properties—are fast valve movements even at low speeds, stroke adaptations and cylinder-selective widely variable valve timing. Patrik Soltic and his team at Empa’s Automotive Powertrain Technologies laboratory, together with hydraulics specialist Wolfgang Schneider, invented and developed an electrohydraulic valve train that is significantly more flexible than today’s series production technology. The valves are actuated hydraulically and controlled electrically via a solenoid coil. As soon as a control current flows, a specially designed hydraulic valve opens, allowing hydraulic fluid to open the gas exchange valve to the desired extent in milliseconds counter to a spring. When the current is switched off, the gas exchange valve is closed again by the spring force and feeds a large part of the hydraulic energy required for opening back into the hydraulic system. The basic principle of the valve train—for both intake and exhaust side—is an asymmetric hydraulic pendulum, which can be described as a mass-spring-system. Hence, the duration for the opening of the gas exchange valves TOpen, that is time from zero lift to final lift, depends on the stiffness k of the gas exchange valve springs and the mass MSystem of all moving components. … The peculiarity of the FlexWork system is that at high engine speeds the valve lift profiles are similar to cam-driven profiles; at low engine speeds, however, opening and closing gradients are very steep.—Zsiga et al. The system achieves a significantly lower energy requirement over a wide operating range compared to camshaft-driven systems. Together with an optimized gas exchange, the fuel consumption of the test spark-ignition engine is about 20% lower than with conventional valve control using a throttle in combination with camshafts in the low-load range typical for passenger cars. By selecting the operating parameters, the opening and closing times as well as the valve lift for each cylinder can be chosen completely unrestricted. This means that each engine operating condition can be varied from cycle to cycle, for example by intelligent load control, by selecting the residual gas quantity remaining in the cylinder (exhaust gas recirculation), or by deactivating unneeded cylinders without the driver noticing. This makes the engine highly adaptable to new renewable fuels: oxygen-containing fuels such as methanol or ethanol, for example, allow more residual gas to remain in the cylinder. Natural gas, biogas and syngas generated from wind and solar power offer increased anti-knock properties, and the valve train can react flexibly to this as well. In addition, alternative combustion concepts can also be implemented comparatively easily, for example homogeneous self-ignition: a fuel-air mixture is ignited at the right moment without ignition sparks by setting the correct conditions towards the end of compression. The mixture is combusted almost without pollution. Another speciality of the system set up at Empa is the choice of hydraulic fluid: instead of using oil as usual, a water-glycol mixture—i.e. engine cooling water—can be used. Due to its physical properties, this medium is very suitable for fast-switching hydraulic systems, as it is very stiff and therefore creates fewer hydraulic losses. This makes the cylinder head completely oil-free, which can allow a cheaper engine oil with extended change intervals to be used for the rest of the engine. As part of the FlexWork project funded by the SFOE, the new valve train was put into operation in a passenger car engine powered by natural gas and derived from a VW 1.4l TSI engine. The required components were manufactured by Empa’s own workshop. The control system for the test engine was developed by the Empa researchers themselves. The valve train has been running on an Empa engine test bench since October 2018 and has already survived many millions of cycles in fired engine operation flawlessly. The FlexWork valve control needs only low-cost components. No expensive, very fast switching valves and no complex sensors are required. Empa is in discussions with engine manufacturers for the transfer of this technology, which is suitable not only for combustion engines but also for compressors. Resources Zsiga, N., Omanovic, A., Soltic, P. et al. (2019) “Functionality and Potential of a New Electrohydraulic Valve Train” MTZ Worldwide 80:18 doi: 10.1007/s38313-019-0086-0
|2019/8/20 8:30||Green Car Congress||
API: total US petroleum demand topped 20.8 mb/d in July, highest since 2005; on-road fuel demand down
Total US petroleum demand averaged 20.8 million barrels per day (mb/d) in July 2019, which represented a 0.9% year-over-year increase and the highest demand for the month since 2005, according to the latest Monthly Statistical Report released by the American Petroleum Institute (API). This was a decrease of 0.9% from June but an increase of 0.9% compared with July 2018—and the highest demand for the month of July since 2005. Year-to-date through July, total petroleum demand averaged 20.4 mb/d, its strongest level since 2007. The increase in demand came as the US continued to sustain world-leading production, which continues to meet virtually all global oil demand growth. Consumer gasoline demand, measured by total motor gasoline deliveries, was 9.6 mb/d in July—a decrease of 1.4% from June and 0.4% compared with July 2018, even as gasoline prices were 3.6% below those of July 2018. Year-to-date through July, gasoline demand fell by 0.4% y/y while regional consumption appeared to vary. Over the same period, demand for reformulated gasoline, which is consumed primarily in urban areas, decreased by 4.2% y/y to 3.0 mb/d. By contrast, conventional gasoline is used more in rural areas and increased 1.6% y/y to 6.3 mb/d. In July, distillate deliveries of 3.9 mb/d fell by 6.2% from a record level in June but also were down by 1.7% compared with July 2018. Cumulatively through July, distillate deliveries were virtually unchanged from the same period one year ago, despite lower diesel fuel prices. About 93.0% of distillate demand in July was for ultra-low sulfur distillate (ULSD). ULSD deliveries decreased by 1.4% y/y in July. The remaining 3.0% was high-sulfur distillate fuel (HSD), which is a heating fuel in the residential and commercial sectors and a marine fuel when blended to upgrade heavy fuel oil. In July, HSD deliveries of 99 thousand barrels per day (kb/d) decreased 14.7% compared with July 2018. Other Highlights from the July 2019 Monthly Statistical Report include: Sustained world-leading crude oil production at a record pace of 12.0 mb/d year-to-date. Jet fuel demand for the month of July reached a new record of 1.8 mb/d. Refining and petrochemical demand for liquid feedstocks, naphtha, and gasoil (“other oils”) was 5.3 mb/d in July, record demand for the month of July. This represented an increase of 2.8% from June and 5.0% above July 2018. With the strength in consumer demand, domestic refineries processed crude oil at their highest utilization rates so far in 2019 (17.6 mb/d of throughput, utilizing 93.9% of capacity) and compensated for lower international demand for US petroleum exports. Consequently, domestic West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices averaged $57.36 per barrel in July, which was an increase of 4.9% ($2.70 per barrel) from June. However, WTI prices remained down 19.2% ($13.62 per barrel) compared with July 2018 ($70.98 per barrel), and US petroleum inventories grew to within 4.1% of the top of the 5-year range.