Saturday, February 28, 2015

Hydrogen Hope or Hype?

In 2003 I wrote a text on energy, sustainability, and fuel cells titled Hydrogen Hope or Hype?  The book showed that Fuel Cell vehicles and hydrogen as a fuel (actually an energy carrier as it is not a primary fuel) for the vehicles was mainly hype.  Time has proven the book correct.  Now there is more news about fuel cell cars and the hydrogen highway.  I still think that this is misguided and will waste tons of money.

The poster child for the waste of money is the hydrogen bus program at AC Transit in the San Francisco Bay Area.  My two blogs on AC Transit called their entire $87.6 million program for 12 buses the biggest Rube Greenberg scheme of our times.

I have been given information under the Public Records Act that confirms the whole project at AC Transit is a gangrene scam and borders on the thermodynamic equivalency of idiotic.  This has been told to the Board of Directors of AC Transit and I am waiting on their action to end this massive BLOOMDOGGLE.

In essence the two Bloom Coffins at AC Transit are unreliable (80% capacity factor for the year versus 97% promised by Bloom) and Bloom fibbed to AC Transit about the dirtiness in CO2 emissions of the PG&E grid that previously served AC Transit’s Seminary site in West Oakland California.  I have given NBC News the real data on CO2 emissions savings for the electricity at the site and NBC will likely report on this in their next episode of Greenwashing by Bloom Energy.

Now the zinger of the Rube Greenberg project.  In October 2014 the Bloom Coffins at AC Transit were 42.6% efficient in converting biogas to electricity.  AC Transit has confirmed the electrons from the coffins are sent to a Proton C30 electrolyzer to produce hydrogen for the 12 buses.  The spec sheet for this device shows the efficiency of electrolysis to be 51.3%.  The hydrogen must then be compressed to very high pressure for storage aboard the buses and another 5% of the energy in the biogas is lost in the compression.  Then the hydrogen is used by the PEM Fuel Cells that power the buses and these cells are at most 50% efficient.   Multiplying all these efficiencies we have 10.4% of the BTUs in the biogas actually getting to the wheels of the bus for propulsion.  

The entire Rube Greenberg project cost taxpayers and ratepayers $87.6 million to propel a total of 12 buses that are hardly driven compared with standard diesel buses.  Had AC Transit bought 12 CNG buses for a total of $3 million approximately 19% of the BTUs in the biogas they buy from Shell Oil at a premium price to ordinary natural gas would have reached the wheels of the bus.  The buses could travel 80% further on the same biogas and they could have saved taxpayers and ratepayers $84.6 million.

Of course there is also the solid waste with sulfur that the Bloom Coffins produce at the Seminary site that AC Transit owns.  The Board of Directors of AC Transit has now been told that unless they end the unpermitted production and removal of this solid waste with sulfur that is in all probability hazardous material, the board is guilty of adversely affecting the health and wellbeing of AC Transit employees as well as the general public.  The General Counsel of AC Transit Ms. Denise Standridge refused to stop creating the unpermitted solid waste and she has been reported to their Board.

Sadly the President of AC Transit, one Mr. Chris Peeples is also a BLOOMDOGGLER and is an ardent promoter of the Hydrogen project that is 100% HYPE.  Here is his bio on the AC Transit site.

Biography:H. E. Christian Peeples was appointed by the AC Transit Board of Directors in November 1997 to fill one of the District’s two At Large positions and was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012.  Director Peeples, a long time advocate for public transit, and AC Transit bus service in particular, has been actively involved in the AC Bus Riders Union, Alliance for AC Transit, Regional Alliance for Transit, Alliance for Sensible Transit, Coalition for A One Stop Terminal, and many other transit groups. He is also active in local community affairs, having served on the Oakland Ethics Commission and community and political bodies.  In addition, he is active in the meetings of the Transportation Research Board (“TRB”), the branch of the National Academies involved in transportation research, and the American Public Transportation Association (“APTA”), transit’s national association. He is a strong supporter of AC Transit’s zero emission fuel cell bus program.  Director Peeples is a graduate of Crown College, University of California at Santa Cruz and Hastings College of the Law.

I take the HY from hydrogen and the PE from Peeples and voila we have HYPE.  The CPUC had Peevey as a president till he got booted.  AC Transit has Peeples as their president and he should get the boot as well.  I told Mr. Peeples and his board that we the people own those Bloom Coffins and we are going to find out what nasty chemicals with sulfur Al Gore, John Doerr, and Colin Powell create there at the Seminary site.   Note the site is called Seminary and all the BLOOMDOGGLING Rube Greenbergs better start praying hard for forgiveness and mercy for their crimes against humanity and nature.