GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been doing a bit of research on BioDiesel and it is very promising. As a result I was hoping that the Volt would have a diesel option but that does not seem to be the case. Instead, we are treated to the fantasy of a hydrogen powered version as an alternative to the ICE. (Hydrogen that is currently made with natural gas).

We can make our own fuel from renewable and environmentally friendly Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) and be totally free of middle east crazies and big oil price gouging.

I hope to hear what other members of GM-Volt (aka. Volt Nation) have to say on this subject.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
This has already been discussed before. Overall there is no reason it could not happen, but the benefits would be minimal compared to FE savings that the RE-EV architecture provides in and of itself. Likely for most drivers it will not be worth the premium.

Also, It's not like there is a lot of WVO out there, most studies say that if we recover all the WVO out there, we would only displace ~2-5 (depending on if you include things like animal tallow) percent of our oil consumption.

In addition, I would never never never put WVO in a modern turbo diesel--to much could go wrong. I would stick with old NA Diesels.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
current processes for making hydrogen from natural gas and then compressing it and getting it into an appropriate container using coal-powered electricity use more power than you get from burning the hydrogen. it's also a pollution-heavy process in and of itself. however, as we develop our energy infrastructure, we can start using renewable energy sources to create compressed hydrogen, and we can also continue to refine the process and clean it up to take care of the pollution problem. ultimately, clean home-generation of compressed hydrogen using solar or wind energy would be the way to go over biodeisel, i think. biodeisel would be much better than ethanol, and cleanly produced hydrogen from renewable energy sources would probably be the best. but that's just best-case-scenario talk. currently biodeisel is more widely available, cleaner, and cheaper than using hydrogen fuel cells.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
3,689 Posts
current processes for making hydrogen from natural gas and then compressing it and getting it into an appropriate container using coal-powered electricity use more power than you get from burning the hydrogen. it's also a pollution-heavy process in and of itself. however, as we develop our energy infrastructure, we can start using renewable energy sources to create compressed hydrogen, and we can also continue to refine the process and clean it up to take care of the pollution problem. ultimately, clean home-generation of compressed hydrogen using solar or wind energy would be the way to go over biodeisel, i think. biodeisel would be much better than ethanol, and cleanly produced hydrogen from renewable energy sources would probably be the best. but that's just best-case-scenario talk. currently biodeisel is more widely available, cleaner, and cheaper than using hydrogen fuel cells.
I agree with you about biodiesel being a good way to go, assuming you use 2nd generation processes (algae and cellulose). Hey, I loved that comment about the vegetable oil. Funny! Anyway, Algae biofuels have the potential to not only power all the world's cars but to provide every drop of energy we use in the world today. Remember, Algae is responsible for most of the world's liquid petroleum. It can be used to produce not only biodiesel and ethanol but food protein as well. Amazing little guys. I feel BEVs will eventually rule the roads but biodiesel can definitely help us get there.

I strongly disagree with your hydrogen plans however. Here's what I just posted in another thread:

For those seriously considering fuel cells it's important to read the following links. They should be required reading and have all the numbers needed to make intelligent comparisons:

http://www.efcf.com/reports/E18.pdf


If you have doubts about those results you can turn to Ulf Bossel's complete analysis (this docked the hydrogen ship and it has not set sail since):

http://www.efcf.com/reports/E21.pdf)


The truth is that hydrogen has nowhere near the efficiency as a BEV system. It's even worse than air car technology efficiency and that is very bad.

There is a very lively (excuse the drama) thread on this forum that talks about and compares many of the options people are talking about these days including hydrogen, air car and BEVs.

http://www.gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15


If you read though to the end you will certainly hear passionate debate on both sides. Some of the posters (me included) have dug their heels in the sand and will probably never be convinced otherwise but to all new readers try to read with an open mind an make your own conclusions.

How much energy a system can store and it's ability to convert that stored energy and the difficulties in storing that energy should be a person's first concern. You cannot, for example, count on high technology to get you out of efficiency losses that are tied to the laws of physics. The compression of real gases and the resulting heat losses can only be minimized but never eliminated. They are a fact of nature and 50 more years of technical advances will not make much of a difference. For example look at the modern ICE. Everyone knows that they have horrible efficiencies of around 40 percent despite a 100 years of refinement. When you are converting energy from one form to another and especially when dealing with heat conversions or working with compressible gasses there are inherent losses. If someone is trying to convince you otherwise please go talk to a physics teacher or maybe check out the following primer on energy by Rick Miley. He has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (MSME) and the lessons are geared at the absolute beginner. Great stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/user/SmileyOil


This will give you the basic tools to analyze different options. The first questions you should be asking are energy and efficiency questions. Then you should be comparing other proposed options. Sometimes a poor efficiency system is chosen like our current petroleum systems. This happened because oil is an amazing liquid (just watch the video by Rick) that stores unbelievable amounts of chemical energy. Most other alternative energy options do not have this luxury. It will take great effort by many scientists and engineers to come up with a workable alternative to oil.

If you can't decide on a clear winner we should continue to aggressively fund all worthy challengers. Some say hydrogen is a smoke screen. I'm not so sure about that and feel it has great promise for some niche markets. When hydrogen supporters do not acknowledge the worthiness of advanced battery technology that should put up a red flag. Ask why. Ask about the energy!

http://www.gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?t=351
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,491 Posts
Cost

As noted earlier there is another thread on this topic, so check that out, but my summary is that it diesel engines are too expensive for an engine that should be used infrequently in an E-REV design.

On the biodiesel side, I believe it has the same problem as ethanol. It competes with food crops and it is an inefficient way of converting sunlight to usable energy. Photo-voltaics are ~15% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity (for the Volt!). Sun to biodiesel is 10 to 100 times less efficient.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
Pick your Powertrain

I believe in the US, the Volt will be designed to use a gasoline powered ICE (probably E85 capable).

In Europe, its cousin the Flextreme is designed with a diesel engine-driven generator.

In China, the Volt was showcased with a hydrogen fuel cell.

The beauty of E-Flex is that a variety of engines can be used to provide the electric power for the battery pack. Depending upon cost, regional preferences, and marketing factors, GM is determining which engine makes the most sense.

For now, however, the first Volt for release in the US will have the gasoline powered ICE. As time passes and GM can devote more time to options, it may be possible to get a diesel or fuel cell option with a future generation of the Volt. It will, however, probably be more expensive than the gasoline option.

I think the key point here is that with time, more options for the engine generator system will be available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I hope that a wider range of engines will available because IMO, for a constant speed generating situation, a small two-stroke diesel would be best suited for the job (though they'd most likely offer a four-stroke if anything). More efficient than gasoline, and I personally don't mind paying the "premium" for D2 because I have a working brain that knows that even with the price gap, it's still cheaper to use diesel due to it's inherent efficiency over gasoline.

With what Texas said, if one uses algae based biodiesel farms, they will not have to compete with food crops. This has already started to become a problem with current ethanol production, though corn based ethanol is a silly waste of resources as far as I'm concerned. Heck, I don't even like ethanol based engines because I hate their inefficiency.

Maybe one day when we figure out the perfect battery (as in high temperature superconduction coils) and the perfect power source (as in nuclear fusion) then all this internal combustion silliness will come to an end. Until then, I think that advancing diesel engine technology and biodiesel production is the best course of action and should take the lionshare of liquid biofuels research.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
Personally I'd like a propane one. If only because propane doesn't turn bad like liquid fuels can if left around too long. It's also still cheaper than gasoline/diesel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
No diesel for the Volt because they want the Volt to appeal to the largest possible mainstream audience. Diesel, Bio-diesel, propane, hydrogen, butterfly ether, monkey spit, etc. are not mainsteam and you can't get them all at every filling station in America. Gasoline you can. That means gasoline has the broadest appeal. At least I believe that it will be E85 capable. IMO, GM has made the correct decision for Volt version 1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
286 Posts
No diesel for the Volt because they want the Volt to appeal to the largest possible mainstream audience. Diesel, Bio-diesel, propane, hydrogen, butterfly ether, monkey spit, etc. are not mainsteam and you can't get them all at every filling station in America. Gasoline you can. That means gasoline has the broadest appeal. At least I believe that it will be E85 capable. IMO, GM has made the correct decision for Volt version 1.
Yea, I know. But you know I'll be hoping a mod is possible for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,544 Posts
Yea, I know. But you know I'll be hoping a mod is possible for it.
Well, in the future a bit and with a lot of money it will. GM is talking already of bringing an E-Flex platformed vehicle to Europe that will probably have a diesel engine in it. It makes sense in Europe because there is diesel available at almost every filling station. So when that vehicle comes out, an engine swap should be possible, but it ain't gunna be cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
Well if they already have the diesel engine available for the E-flex vehicles, or at least they will soon, I don't see why they just couldn't offer it as an option on the Volt along with the other engines when it comes out in two more years.

Alas I suppose you can't eat your cake and have it too...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
636 Posts
Diesel

Not advocating diesel, but virtually any fuel station with three storage tanks, one for each of the three grades of gasoline, could with minimal cost convert one of them to diesel. Example, they could keep the 87 and 91 octane fuels, and replace the 89 octane fuel with diesel. My opinion is that the diesel is needed for commercial trucks, but that is another topic.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top