65kWh per kg is, to my understanding, about what some of the smaller scale PEM electrolyzers get. I believe that the relatively large scale alkaline electrolizers use about 55 kWh per kg of hydrogen produced. I have seen claims that more recent tech is down to about 50 kWh per kg however I don't know if there are any commercial products out yet with that kind of performance. Also I have read that the goal is to get electrolyzers down to 45 kWh per kg of hydrogen. Only time will tell if this is an achievable goal.
However, lets consider a moment if they could produce hydrogen for $1.14 per kg. This price would no doubt make it competitive with liquid transportation fuels but what about electrical generation. My back of the envelope calculations based on best case efficiencies for PEM fuel cells put the fuel price for electricity generated by hydrogen using a PEM fuel cell at somewhere between 5 and 6 cents per kWh. You need to add to that the levelized cost per kWh for the fuel cell and I don't know what that might be. Still given the trajectory of battery prices it looks like these would give hydrogen as a form of electrical storage very stiff competition.
In the MIT Tech review article, one of the references in support of the 25 to 30 cents per kWh current cost for solar+storage is a pv-magazine article that forecasts that by 2030 the cost of storage from Powerwall like units will dive from current levels to about 5 cents per kWh. Another recent study I read predicts that by a similar time period the levelized cost of electricity from residential rooftop solar systems will decline to 4 cents per kWh in most of the U.S. If both predictions pan out, then cost of residential stored solar electricity (including an 80% round trip efficiency) would be 10 cents per kWh and the net cost of residential solar+storage (assuming that about half the electricity is used as it is produced and the other half is stored in the battery unit) is about 7 cents per kWh, low enough to be economical even with fairly high fees to remain connected to the grid to use as backup.
"What’s more, the price of energy from SolarCity panels plus the Powerwall, in terms of cents per kilowatt-hour, is 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour or more, according to multiple analyses..."
That price is low enough in Hawaii and other similar sites, and very this may be the only option for people in Hawaii who wish it install solar on their roof (and California is not that far behind).
Is solar+storage expensive today? Absolutely! But it was not that many years ago that solar alone cost what solar+storage costs today. If the cost for solar+storage continues on the same trajectory as solar alone which according to multiple analyses it will, than in 10 years it will be cost effective in many parts of the U.S.
But the PHEV is not a half solution. The PHEV10 if using pyrolysis gasoline (made from cellulose) and renewable electricity does not directly consume any fissile fuel and its GHG emissions are all upstream, in the production of the vehicle and the energy indirectly used in the production of the fuel. Also the GHG emissions from this vehicle is only 25% of the future tech ICE vehicle consuming conventional gasoline, so the PHEV10 is at worst a 3/4 solution. Its lower cost makes it a much easier sale to the majority of people who may wish to reduce their GHG emissions but are unwilling to pay more to do so.
In addition, even a modest range PHEV can help increase the proportion that variable renewables in the electric mix.
This report from Argonne National Laboratories "Cradle to Grave Lifecycle Analysis of U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle-Fuel Pathways: A Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Assessment of Current (2015) and Future (2025-2030) Technologies" is far from a ringing endorsement of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a economic means to reduce GHG emissions.
Of all the future technology pathways presented, the one that yielded the lowest levelized cost per mile and lowest cost per ton of avoided GHG emissions was the PHEV10 using pyrolysis gasoline + renewable electricity, though this pathway does not achieve the lowest GHG emissions per mile (that is the BEV210). On these cost measures, the PHEV35 using pyrolysis gasoline + renewable electricity matches the FCV using hydrogen from SMR+CCS.
(This story should have a familiar ring to those on this board)
Beamreach Solar (known as Solexel for the last nine years) has a new lightweight photovoltaic module, a new CEO, and a new business plan to go along with its new name and the $240 million in venture capital it has spent so far.
The first time the company unstealthed in 2012, it was focusing on its thin-silicon technology and looking to mass-produce 35-micron-thick high-performance, low-cost monocrystalline solar cells using a lift-off technology based on a reusable template and a porous silicon substrate. The startup hit an NREL-certified cell efficiency of 21.2 percent in 2014 with its back contact cell.
Solexel aimed to ship 20-percent-efficient photovoltaic modules at a cost of $0.42 per watt by 2014.
That didn't happen.
The newly christened Beamreach is still a PV cell manufacturer, but the company's initial product is a bit of a pivot. It's going after the (almost-a-cliché-by-now) "underserved" commercial and industrial rooftop market with a lightweight, easy-to-install module. We spoke with the company in advance of its product unveiling at Intersolar Europe this week.
Mark Kerstens, newly promoted to the role of CEO at Beamreach, told GTM the system "is much lighter than...a conventional system, thanks to the use of thinner front sheet glass (2 mm instead of more commonly used 3.2 mm), the use of a composite material for the frame and the integrated mounting structure...and, most importantly, the adhesion method to the low-slope commercial rooftop surface. As a result, there is no need for the use of heavy ballast (pavers, patio blocks, etc.)...or roof penetrations."
Kerstens added, "This light weight can be achieved both with third-party-sourced cells (such as the front-contact PERC cells that we’re using in the product that we’re planning to start shipping in 3Q16), as well as with our proprietary back-contact monocrystalline silicon cells."
He noted, "The Beamreach product uses four diodes instead of the more commonly used three-diode configuration. The two bottom rows of the panel are each on their own diode -- this reduces the impact of row-to-row shading. We anticipate deploying intra-module electronics in products that are targeting the residential market (e.g., building-integrated solar tiles and shingles) in 2017."
Going commercial, addressing soft costs
Beamreach's module economics and performance goals might have been convincing in 2007, but today, when First Solar, the thin-film solar leader, has manufacturing lines in Malaysia producing panels below $0.40 per watt at more than 16 percent efficiency, Beamreach needs to differentiate, rather than take on FSLR, China Module Inc. or SunPower head-on.
Can light weight make the difference in commercial solar?
The startup claims that up to 40 percent of today’s commercial roofs cannot support conventional PV panels, "resulting in a massive untapped commercial market for solar power."
A report from the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium backs that up: "In 4 selected sub-segments, over 339 million sq. ft. of commercial building roof space in New York state is potentially limited to
I just posted an article on the BLDP board where Morgan Stanly predicts the installed cost of residential solar + storage will drop 40% by 2020 causing an explosion in installations in places like Australia where they predict 1 million homes will have installed these systems by 2020 (up from 2000 today).
Australian utilities are underestimating the disruptive potential of solar-plus-storage technology, according to a new report from investment bank Morgan Stanley.
The report estimates that solar and storage technology will be adopted four times more quickly in Australia than the country’s utilities expect.
Morgan Stanley estimates battery storage will grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020 or as high as two million homes by 2020 in its most optimistic estimate.
Australia is often viewed as a “proving ground” for solar-plus-storage that could provide valuable lessons for deployments in other markets.
Rooftop solar penetration in Australia is among the highest in the world, with about 13% of homes in the country hosting solar panels on their roofs. In 14 postal codes in the country, more than half of residences have rooftop solar, according to a recent report from the Australian Climate Council
And, like another closely watched market, Hawaii, the country has revised its net metering policies.
Solar feed-in tariffs (FIT) are being phased out in Australian states with some of the highest levels of solar power penetration, like New South Wales and Victoria.
The combination of lower FITs and rising electricity rates — up between 75% and 125% in the past seven years — is creating a ripe market for combining storage with new and existing rooftop solar arrays, GTM Research noted earlier this year.
While many utilities in Australia downplay the potential of storage, the Morgan Stanley report says storage installation costs are likely to fall by 40% within two years. And falling storage costs will likely trigger wider adoption, creating a tipping point in the market by 2018 that would usher in a period of rapid deployment.
“We think most incumbent utilities downplay the earnings risks from solar and battery take-up, and the market has not yet priced in the retail and wholesale market effects,” the Morgan Stanley analysts wrote, according to RenewEconomy. “We think the impact of solar and batteries will play out in a slow and steady fashion over time until reaching a tipping point in the next few years, showing up as unexpected drops in electricity demand) and lower average wholesale electricity prices and caps (which reflect volatility).”
"I am a big believer in evolutionary improvements."
I agree and would contend that most improvements are of this sort. The real question I have is how much will the vehicle integrated PV add to the cost of the Prius. If it adds only a couple hundred dollars it may be worth it, otherwise not.
If I had the choice, I would go with PV covered parking and integrated charger over PV on the vehicle roof.
The new Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid will gain additional electric driving range with a rooftop solar panel that helps recharge the battery.
Stretching nearly the entire length of the roof, the solar cells can charge the lithium-ion battery pack when the car is parked, and can boost efficiency by as much as 10 percent, though Toyota did not provide specifics.
When the car is being driven, the solar panels also supply power to accessories such as air conditioning, power window and interior lights.
Initially the new technology will be offered only in the Europe and Japan versions, where it is named the Prius PHV.
Koji Toyoshima, chief engineer of the Prius plug-in, told Automotive News that Toyota aims to introduce the panels in the U.S.
The United States roadblock has to do with meeting stringent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations.
Toyota hasn’t been unable at this point to laminate the photovoltaic cells in a resin that won’t shatter during a rollover crash, however, the roof panels meet safety standards in Japan and Europe.
Toyoshima said engineers are working on a solution so that it can introduce the solar panels to the U.S. version, dubbed the Prius Prime.
“We would like to introduce this, at least in the lifetime of the current model,” the chief engineer said at the car’s Japan debut. “It should be possible to do a lot of charging this way in places like California or Arizona.”
The automaker has been working on solar roof technology for several years, as the Nikkeinewspaper reported the secret development in 2009.
If the solar does panel make it to America, the Prime wouldn’t be the first Prius to boast free electrons from the sun. The third generation Prius had an optional solar roof, but it only powered the ventilation fan when the car was parked.
" The biggest threat is the all electric car for the time being..."
I would rather think that the biggest threat is the plug-in hybrid. BNEF in their latest report states that the price of batteries is down 70% from 2010 and will decline another 60% for current prices by 2030. If this pans out, a PHEV with an intermediate plug-in range like that of the Prius Prime would carry a premium of just a few hundred dollars over the full hybrid counterpart. Interestingly, just today HybridCars had an article stating that Toyota is indicating that they may need to expand their offering of PHEVs to meet emissions requirements being implemented by different countries.
There is also a Forbes article out reacting to this article. It claims that the author may have read too much into the words of the German government official. The person at Forbes believes the official was saying that to meet the 2050 emissions targets that Germany would have to go all electric by 2030, not that such a move was in the works. We need to stay tuned to this story to see how it plays out.
The last bit of the article got truncated:
It looks like Germany is about to become the first major country to set an official deadline for a ban on gas-powered cars. India recently confirmed that it is evaluating a scheme for all its fleet to be electric by 2030 and both the Dutch government and the Norwegian government are discussing the possibility to ban gas-powered car sales and only allow electric vehicle sales starting also by 2025.
But while the Netherlands and Norway are fighting over the technicalities, a senior government official in Germany confirmed they will impose a mandate for all new cars registered in the country to be emissions free by 2030.
The mandate will be part of Germany’s pledge to cut carbon dioxide output by 80% to 95% by 2050.
Update: It looks like the official in question, State Secretary of Economy and Energy, Rainer Baake, was misquoted and that he says that a mandate by 2030 will be necessary to achieve the emission goal without specifying if or when the zero emission mandate will be implemented – we will update if Baake release a statement.
A zero emission mandate has been expected since Germany joined the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance, which aims at making all passenger vehicles emission-free by 2050, in December last year.
The news comes a day after Daimler, an important automaker in Germany, announced its electric mobility plan to introduce new electric powertrains across all its brands.
The Environment Ministry confirmed that the transport industry is lagging behind in its plan to reduce carbon emission across all sectors in the country and that its emission levels remain virtually unchanged since the 1990s.
In April, Germany officially announced a new incentive and investment program to accelerate the adoption of electric cars in the country. The most important incentive is a €4,000 discount for all-electric vehicles. Following the announcement of the program, Tesla issued a complaint claiming that the government and German automakers purposely set up the program to exclude Tesla in favor of local manufacturers.
Germany has a fleet of about 45 million vehicles including only about 150,000 hybrids and 25,000 all-electric vehicles. It’s important to note that the new mandate will be for new registration and that it takes about 20 years to replace a whole car fleet.
While the new incentives program will help increase sales in the short term, the mandate’s role is to encourage automakers to expand their zero-emission offering. It could mean another push for fuel cells, but based on what German automakers have been discussing lately, including VW’s planned battery factory and Daimler’s latest mobility plan, it looks like battery-powered vehicles are about to shine in Germany.
At the same time, Excelon is going to close two Nuclear plants in Illinois because they cannot complete in the deregulated merchant power market. Unfortunately it looks like unless something changes, Nukes can only compete in regulated cost of service markets, and not in unregulated markets.
Given the high operating temperatures for SOFC, one must wonder about the startup time and cold temperature performance of these vehicles.
Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap
Solar will become the cheapest source to produce power in many countries over the next 15 years, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That’s cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions.
A limited number of solar projects in sunny and solar-friendly places like in Mexico have already gotten to that ultra-low four cent cost this year. But those projects have been able to optimize costs by building at huge scale, across miles of land, and selling power to utilities. By 2040, even the generally more expensive process of installing solar panels on residential rooftops could be that cheap. At the same time, large scale utility solar projects could even drop into the range of three cents per kilowatt hour.
The low cost of solar will encourage solar panel installations to the point that solar could account for 43% of all the new power generation added worldwide between now and 2040, says the report. That’s enough solar projects to represent $3 trillion of new investment. A little over a third of these solar projects will be small in scale (like on a home roof), and two thirds will be industrial scale for utilities and other bid businesses.
By 2040, 15% of the world’s electricity will come from solar panels, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Each year, people and businesses will invest nearly $135 billion into solar energy infrastructure.
At the same time that the cost of solar drops, wind power will also become cheaper. Together, the low costs of these clean energy technologies will be enough to outpace new energy production from fossil fuels. While the price of coal and natural power will stay low, and drop by about a third over the next couple of decades, “cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world’s power systems,” says the report.
Renewables will overtake natural gas as the dominant source of electricity generation in the U.S. in 2031, even without subsidies as wind and solar costs plunge, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis showed.
This U.S. shift will be driven by $745 billion in investments in renewables through 2040, outstripping the projected $95 billion that will be spent on building new fossil-fuel plants, said Elena Giannakopoulou, lead economist at BNEF. Solar and wind capacity will become cheaper than gas or coal without any incentives after 2020.
“This is a huge transition of the U.S. system,” Giannakopoulou said in a June 10 telephone interview. “The crossover is not really far into the future.”
The transition to greater use of cleaner technologies in the U.S. follows a global trend albeit at a slower pace. Renewables will become the dominant source for power on the planet in 2027 as India, China and other countries go straight from coal to wind and solar, she said. The global shift will be helped by $7.8 trillion in renewable spending through 2040, almost quadruple the investments in fossil fuels over the same period, according to BNEF.
Declining costs will help spur renewable investments, primarily in onshore wind and both utility-scale and rooftop photovoltaic panels, Giannakopoulou said. Total U.S. electricity demand will decline by 9 percent over the 25-year period.
By 2040, renewables will account for 44 percent of U.S. power generation from 14 percent in 2014. Gas generation will slip from 33 percent to about 30 percent in the period. Coal’s share will drop by almost two-thirds to just 12 percent.
The forecast assumes wind and solar subsidies, such as tax credits, are used to support projects through 2020. “Post 2020 we turn off all of the support scheme subsidies and we let technologies compete on an economic basis,” Giannakopoulou said. “In our analysis, by 2030 this is going to be the case everywhere.”
A lot of people are staking a lot of money on the value of energy storage, but nobody agrees on how much it’s worth or how much we’ll need.
That value is becoming clearer thanks to a new study by MIT energy systems researcher Jesse Jenkins and two colleagues, published in the journal Applied Energy last month. They modeled a grid based on the demand and generation profiles of Texas, and tested the optimal energy mix for 2035 under varying carbon emissions limits and amounts of short- and long-duration storage.
The results show where storage plays the most valuable role -- and where it’s less relevant.
Previous studies have examined the value of storage for specific uses, like avoiding expensive substation upgrades in congested parts of the distribution network, or providing an alternative to costly and carbon-intensive peaking power plants. Others have started from a desired penetration of wind and solar power and worked backward to figure out how much storage would be needed to make the system work. The goal of the new study, Jenkins says, is to determine the system-wide value of energy storage.
“We’re trying to look at generalizable applications beyond specific locations with network constraints, which is probably a niche market [in which] storage is going to be really valuable in the short run,” Jenkins said on a recent episode of The Interchange podcast (available to Squared subscribers). “If you really wanted widespread penetration of storage, it would have to be viable without some of those more niche applications -- like network deferral -- and would really have to compete in the rest of the generation mix.”
The storage you need for the grid you want
Where does storage compete on its own terms? Not everywhere.
The researchers found that it’s possible to meet stringent greenhouse gas limits without any energy storage. The energy mix in a no-storage scenario requires high levels of nuclear, though, so regions that are unwilling or unable to develop those assets will need some storage after all.
As the level of storage increases, it allows greater penetration of renewable sources by helping to balance the ups and downs of variable production. In the scenarios with less stringent greenhouse emission constraints, additional storage lets wind and solar eat into nuclear's share of generation. When the emissions constraints tighten, the natural gas has to go. Storage is most valuable when the emissions limits are most stringent.
Different types of storage also help different types of renewables. The short-duration storage, which acts as a stand-in for the lithium-ion technologies that hold a charge for a couple hours, work better with a higher amount of solar energy.
That symbiosis has a limit, though. If solar production exceeds a certain threshold, short-term storage won’t be able to hold the surplus energy for long enough to be of use.
“You have a wider peak to lop off and move into the afternoon, and then you might want to be able to absorb energy over a longer period of time because that excess solar comes not just over an hour or two hours, but maybe over four or five,” Jenkins noted.
Wind might build up a lot of excess production when there isn’t much demand, like in the middle of the night. That calls for longer-duration storage, like pumped hydro, to hold onto the electricity for up to 10 hours until the grid can use it.
It's worth noting a few limitations of the study. The authors employed green field modeling -- meaning they built the Texas grid from scratch. In the real world, of course, there are different costs associated with shutting down plants early. Alternatively, places that have already invested heavily in renewables might see lower costs associated with expanding them.
The study adopts price estimates for clean energy technologies from the Department of Energy, but it's possible that real prices fall faster than those predictions.
Lastly, the study does not examine network values for storage, such as relieving stress on congested transmission and distribution lines. That's because, as Jenkins noted, he's interested in the broader value of storage beyond highly localized benefits. That said, storage for peak load reduction is cheaper than new transmission or distribution infrastructure, and will play an significant role in storage growth in the near term.
"That’s going to be the niche that storage scales up in over the next couple decades, because it’s really a high-value opportunity for storage, and, given current storage costs relative to the system-wide value that I’m looking at in this study, storage really needs that kind of additional revenue to make economic sense outside of policy supports," Jenkins said.
The future grid takes shape
The modeling, taken together with previous work by Jenkins and others, suggests three key archetypal energy sources needed for a cost-effective low-carbon grid: a flexible, zero-carbon baseload; fuel-saving, variable renewables; and a highly flexible source that can ramp up on demand for peak events.
The baseload needs to operate most of the time, but must be able to scale down in response to daily or weekly trends in usage and renewable generation. Natural gas can do that, but not in a carbon-constrained world (unless carbon capture and storage becomes feasible sometime soon).
Hydro performs this function, in the locales where it exists. Where that’s not an option, producers may need to start running their nuclear plants on a more flexible basis -- not flipping them all the way on and off, which is costly and impractical, but modulating them to run at a capacity factor between 60 percent and 90 percent. This kind of load-following is already common practice in France, Germany and Spain, Jenkins says, but is rare in the U.S. outside of the Pacific Northwest (the Columbia Generating Station does this to respond to seasonal variations in hydro generation).
The renewables category operates with no fuel costs, so it can displace more expensive electricity production and bring down the price of the system overall.
The peaking assets must be able to jump in at the rare times when supply isn’t meeting demand to avoid outages. Oil or gas plants have done this, but they can’t stick around with rigorous emissions constraints. Demand response and storage can play a valuable role here, Jenkins notes.
For energy storage providers, the message is clear: greenhouse gas emissions targets are good for business.
98% of new generation capacity installed in Q1 2016 was solar or wind. At the same time electricity demand is expected to decline by about half a percent in 2016. These results will be the rule, not the exception for at least the next 5 years so it is inevitable that solar and wind will take an increasing share of production as time goes on.
Those power to gas projects are and will be mostly in Europe. There may be a smattering of small projects in the U.S. but most storage will be battery, with smart hot water heaters and ice storage (for commercial air conditioning) also doing will. Residential battery storage installations are already exceeding 1 MWh per quarter and growing at over 100% a year. They say that battery storage is about where PV was in 2005.