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Electric and Alternative Vehicle Fuels


Very Interesting in the suggestion it proposes to capture dissolved CO2 from seawater.

Interesting in that it does not have all the technology necessary for the solution to be implemented.

Interesting that a similar conversion process to produce methanol from atmospheric captured CO2 is much closer to technical completion and development?

Very very interesting that the prospect of the solution provides one more reason to keep things just the way they are. IE keep on burning fossil fuels because one day we will have a solution to keep everything (ICE vehicle industry) just as it is. No Change!
(Excuse the Cynicism. It is worth pointing out that while a prospect that may be a step in a lower carbon future, such projects also offer an excuse to put off action applying solutions we can access now.)

The most interesting of all aspects is the energy conversion or efficiency balance. The project accepts there currently is no large scale commercial solution for extracting CO2 from seawater or certainty on how to manage the byproducts such as chlorine. Hence the economics, scale and overall conversion efficiency of the technology are all speculative. The end point is a floating production facility that can deliver 1.7t of product per hour. It is assumed this figure only applies when the sun shines.

This is not all that significant an output, given the world consumed approx 4,600 million tonnes of oil in 2017. Approx 70% of this goes into producing light and medium weight distillates. IE mostly diesel, petrol, aviation and domestic heating fuel (kero).

It would be very very interesting if the report was able to present a comparison with more direct alternatives for the use of collected solar energy in battery or direct hydrogen powered systems. The proposed technology creates hydrogen as a primary step, and hydrogen used in a fuel cell is 3-4 times more energy efficient than methanol used as a vehicle fuel. It would seem much more effective to export the captured solar energy as hydrogen directly than export it as a heavier and less effective carbon based fuel?

For anyone with a love of statistics, data or suffering insomnia, the following may prove useful.


A very interesting article regarding Nissan’s electric vehicles.

Whilst I personally would not touch a Nissan with a barge pole, it appears that their Leaf cars are performing well and the batteries even better.


An article regarding rare earths mining and processing in Australia.

I was really amazed when reading the caption under the first photo that parts for electric vehicles can be simply dug up in the NT. Sure saves on manufacturing costs.



Another article regarding research into producing kerosene and methanol from CO2 and water.


Another great solar powered project @Fred123. Not since WW2 and the large scale conversion of coal and gas to liquid fuel has there been such effort/interest in the synthesis of hydrocarbon fuels.

Commercialised targets at scale are:
20,000litres per sq kilometre of solar per day,

Or 200litres per hectare per day,

Or 2litres per 100sqm per day.

The average Aussie home might be able to produce 14l - 30l weekly from a typical roof top system?

It would seem that the project team realise there is a limit to what is practical. The researchers target of air travel as the prime user hopefully also realises the industry is very fuel cost sensitive.

Two interesting positives from the work.

Firstly it demonstrates the potential to sequester carbon from the environment using the technology and pump it back into old oil reservoirs as a stable liquid hydrocarbon!

It might provide a very high gross income per hectare when compared with traditional agricultural values for desert, although we are missing some basic data on the corresponding capital investment required. Assuming it can get close to current refinery gate pricing (est $0.90 per litre) and 300 days of sunshine annually, $54,000 per hectare.

It needs all the solar energy collected from an average Aussie house roof top for a full day to capture and convert just a few kilos of CO2. This demonstrates the size of the task of reversing all the excess carbon in the environment using conventional chemistry and science.

Compared to a forest on the same land it is up to 100 times more effective. Although trees which are under $3.00 ea here abouts as tube stock are lower capital and need no new technology.


I don’t see the value in this kind of technology. We would be better off getting rid of burning fuel tech rather than prolonging its life. The sooner the supply and distribution systems switch over to non polluting energy sources the better. There are many costs in burning fuels on top of the GHG consequences that we don’t need to keep suffering. This kind of sequester and burn again approach just keeps putting those particulates and VOCs back into the air forever.


A couple of articles on hydrogen. It’s really tricky stuff to handle, it seems:


Hopefully the Chinese find why some EV are prone to spontaneous combustion. If they find the reason why, it could improve the safety of EV or hybrid systems in the future.


The ins-and-outs of charging:


Hydrogen, it seems, has only a niche role in transport:

It’s the efficiency thing.


Another article regarding recharging electric vehicles in public places.

The one thing I have yet to see in any of these type of articles is who pays for the electricity, and by what means.


Solar storage batteries: Tesla Powerwall and 17 others put to the test

Lamp Posts!

They aren’t that common around here. Although the dog’s might find it convenient if there were a few more. Err, ummm, zap! Perhaps not? :wink:

Payment, no different to any contactless system using a phone or CC. All Inclusive of utility service, metering, and billing charges plus Govt road user tax (read fuel excise equalisation tax) plus gst plus CC fee. Electricity optional, although for every $25 spent you get 30mins free parking? Importantly when was the last time any of us managed to find a street park in the main shopping areas of any of our major centres?

What odds Westfield, Wilson etc are already sizing this up and going to strategically install chargers all over their retail centres and car parks when the opportunity arrives? Although Wilson will probably add the cost benefit of charging with extra margin on top of the parking fee!

This a sign private enterprise can see an opportunity to offer more than a service. It is also one to control the market. Street side parking and charging could also likely be a great money spinner for local councils.

A further reality will be that charging at home will be impractical if the car is away most of the day. Some might suggest that plugging your car in while at work to use the solar PV feedin from home should be the go (minimal cost or free?). Others might suggest this is closer to socialism than capitalism? Who gets to install and operate the charging points will likely decide.


Orion Shopping Centre in Springfield Qld has dedicated charging stations in the basement car parking facility, next time I am around there I will try to remember to take a photo to post here. They also have large solar panel installations to help offset electricity consumption.

There is some discussion that you will be able to offer the stored power in your car to others who want to buy it. This is particularly applicable if you charge at home from renewable sources. When you get to work you plug in your car and it adds some of the ‘unneeded’ power back into the grid or directly to the business. On some models you can already designate an amount of kWh you can give up.


It looks as if that is the future trends the grid becomes even more of an essential utility like the main roads and national highways and NBN?

Something no one would ever think of selling into private ownership where there is no opportunity for direct competition.

Oops, wait, it is already happening? :flushed:

Not connecting is a choice, but perhaps not a competitive option.
Perhaps in delivering energy by moving your car around, you can bypass the grid as suggested. Power for sale a bit like yesterday when the icemen competed in your street to deliver block ice for the ice box?


Already being envisaged by some:


I must be missing something. Where did the article on P2P electricity trading mention the role of the network owner? Doesn’t all this depend on them cooperating? Won’t they want a commission?

There was mention of a microgrid. Is that a private local network? What if you need to go further?


Microgrids are small scale networks (most would be private) that join a few users together. If you want to go further you can have both a microgrid and a connection to the larger mainstream network. It is just a matter of setting up the connections so that both or individual circuits are supplied at any one time.

As the article explains p2p can also be set up. It is being trialled by the larger players eg AGL and Origin but they would want to remain involved as they want to profit from the use of power. It doesn’t always need their involvement but if you wanted national sharing then there is a need for a cooperation between State networks at least and any privately owned networks.

Not all trading needs to be done by the larger network eg if you have excess energy stored in your car battery you could hook into a household system to supply power or charge their battery system as long as they have the ability to draw from the source. From a BBC article:

"But the carmaker Nissan is hoping to go a step further.

At the Nissan Technology Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, a number of the company’s electric Leaf models are lined up alongside a bank of chargers. But these cars aren’t just drawing energy from the grid; they’re also putting it back.

The system is called Vehicle to Grid, or V2G. The Japanese company is developing it in partnership with the Italian power firm Enel and is already operating a small trial hub in Denmark.

Electric cars are, in effect, energy storage devices, and because they spend much of their time parked up not doing anything they can help smooth out the peaks and troughs in energy demand.

“Basically, we can consider the car as a battery with wheels,” says Maria Laura Corallini, the engineer in charge of the V2G project.

“You can use the energy storage capability in the battery to provide specific services back to the grid.”

The system uses software to regulate the charging level of multiple vehicles.

When the grid needs extra power, it can draw very small amounts from each individual vehicle. When energy is abundant, it can top them up again. Users will get paid for the electricity they provide.

If thousands of cars are connected together, then the amount of energy given back to the grid can be substantial, and it can be varied on a second-by-second basis.

Ms Corallini calls it “a virtual power station”.

It is a complicated system, and Nissan has been testing it on a small scale at Cranfield for more than a year.

Initially the plan is to sell it to businesses that operate large fleets, although the company says it will also introduce a residential version. Other organisations are also experimenting with the technology.

Not everyone agrees that V2G makes commercial sense, however. The chief technical officer of Tesla, JB Straubel, for example, has suggested in the past that he doesn’t see it becoming a viable solution, largely due to its cost and complexity.

Some experts have suggested it could accelerate battery degradation, although Ms Corallini insists the reverse is true, because the car is maintained in an optimum state of charge.

A recent study by researchers at Warwick University came to a similar conclusion, suggesting V2G technology could increase battery life by up to 10%."

Some other articles on selling or using excess or stored power:


Thank you for your explanation but I still don’t know how network charges would affect the cost effectiveness or ultimate usefulness of P2P electricity transfer. There are so many ‘good ideas’ that don’t come with costing.


It would depend on implementation eg stringing a wire between houses to share 12 or 24 v power supply or if it needed to be 240 v and thus a truly licenced installation. If charging stations were built with the ability to also accept power as well as deliver then the cost could be very small to add power to a network either local or national. There is always a cost but some would be very small in comparison to others. Even nationally if the cost was shared between all consuming entities the cost per user could be quite low in comparison to the cost of the actual power consumed.

A version of p2p sometimes operates in small communities ie someone has a generator, the rest of the community run power leads to the generator and pay an amount for the fuel and maintenance. This shares the cost but all benefit from the power supplied. I have witnessed this in operation. While it isn’t what a lot of us would accept, when it is a choice of some lights and a radio or living by firelight they often choose the former rather than the later, the benefit outweighs the cost.

Are there other types of networks that could be used as examples of cost and benefit, well at least in computer terms you could look at LAN, WAN, and the internet as a whole. They all deliver benefits, they all cost, but for the most part we would say it is mostly to our benefit. I think that the maintenance cost of a national power p2p network would keep the network infrastructure working but the benefit of shared power and not having to rely on a single or very few sources of that power could have vast benefits for our populace. Looking at 2013 power bills for Qld the cost of transmission and distribution are about 52% of the bill, for Victoria it is about 30%, NSW about 60% from


Electricity Price Increases

Another article regarding the rollout of electric vehicle fast charging networks across Australia.

Has anyone actually seen or heard what the charging costs actually are?

I suppose if the recharging sites are located away from existing food and drink retailers, it may provide an opportunity for the operators to also provide refreshments for customers whilst they recharge at airport style rip-off pricing.