CHOICE membership

Electric and Alternative Vehicle Fuels


Two more optimistic view points.

Firstly on the options for economically sustainable alternate battery technology.

The University of the West of England has produced a report on battery sustainability for the European Commission that finds widespread current battery systems include raw materials that prompt severe environmental and social issues.

The upside may be increased investment in developing battery technologies that do not require resources commonly obtained from ecologically risky sites in countries with political uncertain futures.

Secondly based on current battery technology, a forecast BEV costs could be cost comparable with traditional ICE power as early as 2025.


Until there is a lifetime value or cost assigned to the environment, in the areas where it is not directly protected, the investment dollar/ROI, demand, and consumer need for lowest cost appear likely to override sustainable outcomes?


Some attitudes surprise me. Comments on this NRMA Facebook post show that, to some, it’s all political or a lefty latte-sipping thing. There’s real hostility, which amazes me.

Name a technology that has no impacts. We live in an uncertain universe, but we need to go forward. That means choosing in the absence of certainty. Market mechanisms are far from perfect, but they’re generally pretty good at making such choices. You’ll need to come up with some pretty persuasive arguments to justify intervening in market.

If you truly want information, then you’ll need to decide what information you want. Vague hand-waving is redolent of delaying tactics developed for the tobacco industry and exploited by others ever since.

Once you’ve decided what exactly you want, bearing in mind that making unreasonable demands is one of the tactics mentioned above:

  • is it already available;
  • is it reasonable to demand and;
  • is it rational to demand?

Are all battery materials mined in the places on which you concentrate, or are you cherry-picking for effect?
You seem to have a problem with batteries, so what technology do you favour?


I never said that any technology has impacts. Each technology has different impacts which in balance have different overall impacts. What I said was that we shouldn’t be jumping to one particular technology over another without fully understanding what the imapcts are and how the overall balance looks for each technology.

It is unfortunate that you have tried to link any posts made to the tobacco industry mister-meaners. The emerging technologies have nothing to do with the tobacco industry, neither do my views. If one read the above posts, lithium ion technology comes with its own problems. Many which are ignored by the main stream media and advocates of the technology

I have no problems with battery technologies, but if and when I chose to embrace a battery technology for our and future generations, I want to make sure that in balance, the overall impact of the technology is at a minimum. I am yet to be convinced that the ramping up of mining associated with Li-ion batteries ( lithium and associated metals) and their manufacture is the least cost (environmental, social, financial and economic) solution. No one to date has been able to provide evidence and I am yet to find any myself.

The link does not deal with the future world demand for lithium nor associated metals used on Li-ion batteries. I have provided links which provide such information. The link is an Australian perspective and not a world wide one like the above World Bank link.


If you can’t say what will set your mind at rest, then how can anybody help you?

As is stands, the market has made choices based on available information. As usual, we’ll just have to live with it.


Facts and evidence…rather than relying on glossy marketing materials by industry employed advocates and battery manufacturers.

The market hasn’t made the choice, the mining and battery industry has. Their decisions will be based on a number of things, but highly unlikely to be based on the minimum overall cost which balances impacts associated with cradle to grave.

Only time will tell if the industry’s decision was the right one for the consumer, environment and world at large. By this time, the train will have well and truly left the station and we will be forced to live with the consequences.


An article regarding a breakthrough in producing hydrogen.

And an article regarding a new reactor which converts CO2 into O2.


An interesting article regarding research into turning CO2 into methanol.


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.