|2020/4/9 11:30||Green Car Congress||
Fraunhofer IWKS starts project BReCycle on efficient recycling of fuel cells
A consortium led by the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS and including Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH, MAIREC Edelmetallgesellschaft mbH, Electrocycling GmbH and KLEIN Anlagenbau AG, is developing a closed-loop recycling concept specifically for PEM fuel cells. The “BReCycle” project is funded within the 7th Energy Research Program “Innovations for the Energy Transition” of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Example of a fuel cell stack. Copyright: Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH. Fuel cells, especially polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), are already used in hydrogen-powered automobiles. With the increasing spread of this technology, a larger quantity of this type of fuel cell will have reached the end of its life by 2030 at the latest. Due to the high proportion of valuable technology metals and ecological considerations, an efficient recycling of materials contained in PEM fuel cells is necessary. However, a recycling process tailor-made for fuel cells is not yet available on an industrial scale. The aim of the project is to develop a sustainable process for the processing of fuel cells, with which high-quality material fractions can be generated, especially from the electrode coating, and the polymer membrane can be separated. The valuable precious metals such as platinum and ruthenium are particularly important for the recycling market of fuel cells. General recycling processes for precious metals that are currently in use are also designed for these metals, in which polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells are currently largely processed. Platinum and ruthenium, as well as other valuable and rare metals, are recovered in pyrometallurgical metal recycling processes. However, the pyrometallurgical recycling of fuel cells produces highly toxic fluorine compounds from the fluorinated nafion membrane, which means that a large-format conversion requires very complex waste gas purification. Up to now, there are no recycling processes that can be used efficiently on an industrial scale to sufficiently separate the polymer membranes prior to melt preparation, thus eliminating the risk of hydrogen fluoride formation in the melting process. In addition, base metals such as steel or aluminium are largely lost in the process. The BReCycle project aims to develop a new approach that ensures a high degree of recovery of the raw materials used and is superior in terms of environmental compatibility (especially energy balance) and economic efficiency. At the same time, aspects of product design (Design for Recycling and Design for Circularity) are to be investigated and implemented in order to increase the recyclability of fuel cells and to promote the use of secondary materials in the sense of resource protection and to develop new business models on this basis. The recycling process itself will be designed for complete fuel cell modules as well as for individual components. To this end, a pre-dismantling process will first be developed to remove components such as electrical connections or cables. Electrohydraulic fragmentation (EHF) will be used for further selective comminution. Here, the pre-dismantled assemblies are placed in a reactor filled with water and fragmented material-selectively by means of shock waves (pressure waves generated by electrical discharge). In particular, the platinum-containing, catalytically active layer on the electrodes is to be separated from the plastic. The materials fragmented in this way can then be separated into the material fractions catalyst powder and graphite as well as polymer and metals by simple physical separation processes such as sieving and filtering. For the separation of the polymer membrane from the metal freight, an identification by means of IR sensor technology and corresponding component-selective discharge is tested in the process. The metal fractions obtained can then be efficiently processed using established metallurgical treatment methods. Due to the desired high concentration of the various recyclable materials such as platinum, ruthenium and other metals from the catalytically active layer, a significantly more efficient use of chemicals is required, for example, in a downstream wet-chemical processing. The saving of process steps through the specific treatment of previously separated recyclables results in a significant ecological and especially economic advantage compared to other processes. The project approach aims at a high purity of all generated fractions by material-selective digestion of the product allowing a more effective separation of the fractions. The target fraction is the concentrated precious metal, which can then be recycled. After completion of the project, the knowledge gained will be successively incorporated into the processing procedures for PEM fuel cells at the participating industrial partners. The results of the process development also serve as a basis for further research work in order to be able to establish a take-back and recycling solution including the realization of specific new plant modules. Parallel to this, innovative circular economy business models are to be further concretized together with all project partners in accordance with the knowledge gained and the market situation.
|2020/4/9 11:00||Green Car Congress||
Digital-first process enables Ricardo to deliver vehicle certification remotely
In order to continue the development and testing of future vehicles during the COVID-19 lockdown, Ricardo has implemented a world-first in virtual vehicle certification whereby automaker clients and certification bodies can observe tests via a secure, live 3-way feed to the automation and data management systems of Ricardo’s advanced test facilities. With many customer and independent test facilities temporarily closed due to the implementation of local, regional and national lockdowns associated with the control of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ricardo’s ‘digital-first’ strategy is enabling the company’s advanced emissions test and certification facilities to offer an extremely valuable continued service to clients. Through the virtual vehicle certification service, both customers and independent witnessing bodies are able to observe tests and to validate quality checks that replicate processes—such as checking tire pressures—which would usually be done in person. This enables the witnessing body and client representatives to participate fully in the test and certification via a secure connection, thus removing the need to travel. The client merely needs to arrange shipping of the vehicle to the Ricardo test facility; all other interactions throughout the test and certification process are conducted remotely. The first virtual certification tests were carried out in March 2020 on behalf of a British automaker, and independently witnessed by a European agency. Further tests are now being planned for a wide range of clients and independent witnessing authorities, focusing on both complete vehicle certification and e-machine certification, to be executed remotely via Ricardo’s UK technical centres at Shoreham, West Sussex, and at Leamington Spa in the Midlands. In addition to providing a means for customers to maintain a throughput of crucial vehicle test and certification work during the Coronavirus crisis, the process has significant advantages that are likely to endure beyond the current lockdowns. As a result of completing the review of the facility, the required adherence to test protocols and the resultant overall data pack required for any certification test activity, it has been possible to identify significant elements that can be completed remotely and in advance of testing. Even in more normal circumstances, this new approach may be particularly attractive both to customers and to witnessing authorities, particularly where the additional flexibility might be of value due to time restrictions or schedule congestion. As such, the virtual vehicle certification service is likely to be attractive to clients after the present restrictions are lifted, particularly for those located at distance from test facilities and in different time zones. In addition to the new capability for virtual vehicle certification, the remote accessibility of the Ricardo vehicle emissions test facilities is proving extremely attractive to customers for more general test operations. With customer sites necessarily closed for reasons of social distancing, the configuration of Ricardo facilities enables work to continue safely and efficiently for all concerned. Over recent weeks, there have been a large number of temporary site closures across the automotive sector in compliance with regional and national lockdown regulations aimed at tackling the Coronavirus crisis. Through our investment in remote testing capabilities, Ricardo has been able to quickly adapt our processes in order to be able to deliver business-critical testing requirements for our global customer base during this unprecedented lockdown period. This digital-first approach protects our workforce as well as those of the customer and independent witnessing body, while enabling much-needed emissions testing and certification to continue efficiently and effectively.—Ricardo test operations director Richard Murphy
|2020/4/9 10:30||Green Car Congress||
Volkswagen Group Components and DU-POWER establish JV for flexible quick-charging stations in China
Volkswagen Group Components and the start-up Shanghai DU-POWER New Energy Technical Co., Ltd. plan to form a joint venture to produce flexible quick charging stations in China. Series production of the flexible quick charging stations is currently scheduled to start in the second half of 2020. A comprehensive charging infrastructure is the key to the success of e-vehicles. The planned joint venture with DU-POWER therefore represents a significant milestone as we continue to make progress along the path to electric mobility. The innovative design of our flexible quick charging station has huge potential in China, not least because of the rapid growth of electric mobility.—Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components The electrification of the global automotive industry is a megatrend. As an ambitious high-tech company with a competent technical development core, we will work with Volkswagen to create a solid foundation to support the success of electric vehicles. The partnership for establishing a joint venture in China enables us to collaborate close on the technical aspects of the project to provide flexible, reliable and efficient solutions for the charging infrastructure.—Yong Kang, CEO of Shanghai DU-POWER New Energy Technical Following the conclusion of the requisite approval process with authorities, including merger control, Volkswagen AG and Shanghai DU-POWER New Energy Technical Co., Ltd. will ultimately each own 50% of the shares in the joint venture. The new company will be located in the Suzhou Wuzhong Economic & Technological Development Zone, near Shanghai, China. As previously announced, flexible quick charging stations will also be produced at the Hannover site in future. Production is to begin this year. With compact dimensions, the flexible quick charging station can be installed almost anywhere it’s needed or where a charging infrastructure is not yet in place. When connected to the low-voltage grid, the station becomes a permanent charging point without the additional cost and effort required for a comparable fixed quick charging station. The built-in battery pack can store a buffer of energy meaning that it can be disconnected from the grid. This then eases the strain on the power grid, particularly at peak times. If electricity generated from renewable sources is fed into the charging station and temporarily stored there, the station enables carbon-neutral mobility. To ensure the sustainable use of valuable resources, the charging station is also designed to be able to use old batteries from electric vehicles as energy accumulators in future. The system can charge e-vehicles with up to 150 kW.
|2020/4/9 10:00||Green Car Congress||
Snam and RINA team up to accelerate the development of hydrogen sector
Italy-based Snam, a global energy infrastructure company, and RINA, a global testing, inspection, certification and engineering consultancy services firm, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in the hydrogen sector, in order to realize the significant potential of hydrogen as a fundamental energy carrier. From a presentation given by Faith Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, on hydrogen’s role in tackling energy and climate challenges. The two companies have formed a joint working group to study and test the compatibility of industrial burners and other existing infrastructure already in operation with hydrogen. The group will also begin experiments, analysis and technology scouting in various areas involving hydrogen including production, storage and distribution. This agreement will combine the skills of Snam and RINA to accelerate the introduction of hydrogen as a new clean energy carrier and give further impetus to create an Italian hydrogen value chain. The use of green hydrogen in existing infrastructure will play a key role in enabling the energy transition and achieving climate objectives, whilst also creating new opportunities for economic development, which are now more important than ever. Italy and its companies have the opportunity to pioneer this approach at an international level.—Snam CEO Marco Alverà We are proud to collaborate with Snam to promote the sustainable progress of the energy sector. We believe that hydrogen is currently one of the best options for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. We are delighted to contribute our research and certification skills on hydrogen-compatible materials and our expertise in the field of analysis, studies and tests for storage to this partnership. This agreement demonstrates Snam and RINA’s joint commitment to the common goal of curbing global warming.—RINA CEO Ugo Salerno Introducing hydrogen into energy networks represents the first step for spreading and developing green hydrogen from renewable sources, while reducing its costs. Green hydrogen generated by water electrolysis, a process that takes place without CO2 emissions, has the advantage of being able to use the existing capillary gas infrastructure. In 2019, Snam became the first European company to successfully test the introduction of hydrogen blends into its gas transmission network with a percentage volume of up to 10%. RINA offers specific and unique engineering skills in Italy to support industries in the transition to a wider use of hydrogen. Most notably, it co-owns the first laboratory in Italy (one of the very few in the world) with the University of Calabria, which is capable of performing tests at high pressures (up to 1000 bar) for the storage of gases including hydrogen. According to a recent study (‘Hydrogen Challenge: The potential of hydrogen in Italy’) commissioned by Snam, hydrogen could cover almost a quarter (23%) of national energy demand by 2050 under a deep decarbonization scenario. The biggest potential is in transport, buildings and industrial applications where some players use grey hydrogen today (e.g., refining, high-heat processes). Other key findings of the report include: Long-haul trucking should become one of the first segments to make hydrogen economic. Hydrogen will achieve Total Cost of Ownership parity with diesel by 2030, even without additional incentives. Blending hydrogen in the grid (up to a 10-20% mix) for building heating is another area of wide possible adoption that could take place in the short- to mid-term. Hydrogen will also integrate renewables into the electricity grid: it can provide flexibility, seasonal storage—in collaboration with other storage solution covering shorter balance need (e.g., batteries for intraday balancing)—and alternative energy transportation solutions to the grid. Low-cost hydrogen to break-even before 2030—earlier than other European markets. Given Italy’s strong renewables endowment, “green hydrogen” from them will break even with “grey hydrogen” from natural gas 5-10 years earlier than in many other countries, including Germany. This makes Italy the ideal place to begin the deployment and scale-up of electrolysis for industrial and other uses (especially in cases where breakeven should occur in the next decade). Italy could import hydrogen from North Africa, at cost 14% below domestic production. Italy could employ its existing pipelines to Northern Africa to put solar panels “where the sun shines” more, produce hydrogen locally, and then transport the hydrogen to Italy through the pipes. This could also provide hydrogen exports through Italy into Europe. Italian gas infrastructure supports hydrogen’s potential: Its wide-ranging infrastructure can connect the renewables-rich South with the demand centers in the North, and make possible highly independent, fully-renewable energy systems on Italy’s islands. Hydrogen in Sicily is a cost-competitive way to start decarbonize industry that is hard to decarbonize in other way. 50MW of electrolyzer capacity could initially be built to produce renewable hydrogen leveraging wind and solar lower production costs, which could be transported in (existing) pipelines, used in a local refinery as well as for a hydrogen-fueled train and as part of the local gas grid for household heating. Future expansion could increase the scale of the project to include a 2 GW electrolyzer, the supply of two refineries and the replacement of a significant share of 10-20% of natural gas in household heating. To start the deployment of hydrogen in Italy, industry and policymakers should work together to put a supporting regulatory framework in place and begin deployment. International co-operation will accelerate the uptake of hydrogen across the EU and create a single unified European hydrogen market in the future. Snam is ready and willing to support this transition leveraging its assets, experience, and capabilities to deliver the transition to a sustainable and competitive energy future in Italy.
|2020/4/9 9:30||Green Car Congress||
IHS Markit forecasts 18% drop in global vehicle sales YoY to 73.3M units under extended lockdown scenario
IHS Markit is projecting an 18% drop in global new vehicle sales year-on-year under an extended lockdown scenario to 73.3 million units. Regionally, that breaks out to: -26% US vehicle sales decline YoY to 12.6 million units -17% Europe vehicle sales decline YoY to 17.1 million units -14% China vehicle sales decline YoY to 21.8 million units The US has seen a 30% decline in national registration volume in March 2020 over February 2020. Half of the United States is now seeing a MoM new vehicle registration decline of 25% or greater from February into March. As April unfolds, there will likely be a further decline as more states move to tighter consumer and business restrictions, IHS Markit suggested. IHS Markit said that the 40% chance of an extended lockdown forecast reflects immediate impacts of new containment measures that have been announced globally and expanded within countries already confronting the virus. A stronger economic response in 2021-2023 pushes global growth above 3% annually. A 15% probability of an extended lockdown with ineffective stimulus scenario contains stringent virus-fighting efforts lasting into the third quarter of 2020. Stimulus measures prove ineffective at backstopping crisis and unemployment rates spiral. Recovery begins later and at a much slower rate than anticipated. Global vehicle sales in this scenario collapse by more than 20% to 71.2 million units.