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Thread: Thought for how EVs can decrease CO2 in a number of different ways

  1. #1
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    Thought for how EVs can decrease CO2 in a number of different ways

    Just a thought or three here about how EVs can drastically cut down CO2 emissions indirectly

    There's three fronts of "attack" that EVs can lower emissions

    Front 1

    Decreased number of oil refineries and refinery products.

    Gasoline and diesel make the lion's share of profits from oil refineries. Oil refineries also make other precursor chemicals for polymers
    In order for the refineries to exist and be profitable, they have to switch to making other products, such as plastics, waxes, asphalt tar, and even carbon dioxide for that matter. Refineries still have to make a profit so they will increase the price of the "other products" to maintain the profit.

    Increasing those prices makes plant/renewable based polymers more economically feasible (locking CO2 in place).

    Front 2

    Making the grid more predictable and level.

    Currently most EV owners charge during "off-peak" hours which means they are using more nuclear energy in the mix (at least in the US). Having a leveled off grid usage allows engineers to design a grid with a minimal amount of peak demand. This allows more of the grid to be nuclear and hydroelectric. Currently hydroelectric is used for peak usage, but if there are no peaks, it can be used for baseline generation. This also means that the equipment does not have to be over sized so it can operate at peak efficiency

    Front 3
    Old EV batteries are cheap energy storage for wind and solar energy

    Currently, at least from my understanding, wind energy fluctuates and needs buffers to ensure a stable amount of energy to be input into the grid. Solar only works when there is sunlight. This is mainly handled by lead acid batteries which are costly and do not have a long lifespan. Old EV batteries could provide wind and solar energy with a cheaper alternative in order to release the energy as needed. The costs of wind and solar are decreasing (due to old EV storage batteries), while the price of coal and natural gas increase.

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    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    Good points, Dan. A nit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan5 View Post
    Front 3
    Old EV batteries are cheap energy storage for wind and solar energy

    Currently, at least from my understanding, wind energy fluctuates and needs buffers to ensure a stable amount of energy to be input into the grid. Solar only works when there is sunlight. This is mainly handled by lead acid batteries which are costly and do not have a long lifespan. Old EV batteries could provide wind and solar energy with a cheaper alternative in order to release the energy as needed. The costs of wind and solar are decreasing (due to old EV storage batteries), while the price of coal and natural gas increase.
    No, actually. There's almost no battery storage of grid-scale power. The primary storage technology is pumped-storage hydroelectricity; the U.S. has about 21,500 MW of pumped-storage. That's about 253,000 Model S 85kWh batteries! Most of the dips and wiggles of non-dispatchable generation (including wind, solar, and run-of-river hydro) are managed using fossil generators, which can be ramped up and down to manage system voltage, often automatically (clever devices fitted onto generators that respond to variations in system voltage).

    Which isn't to say that old EV batteries don't have a role, but rather that the role will be to let fossil plants operate at their peak efficiency points, rather than ramping (not displacing lead-acid batteries).

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    Thanks Robert, I was reading some papers about using lead acids for wind generation, which looked pretty lousy from a life-time (less than 1 year and only stores 1000 kw for $250). That is a good point though, EV batteries allowing fossil plants to operate at most efficient is always good.

    My way of thinking is if there are enough "used" EV batteries to turn some non-dispatchable into dispatchable so that batteries can be used to manage system voltage instead of having fossil fuel plants do the ramping. This is decades off though, just because of the shear amount of EV batteries needed.

    At least for me, this is my plan:
    If decide my scrap my Model S, or I upgrade the battery to some 300 kwhr, and Tesla no longer wants the used 85 kwhr one, I'l take it and hook it up to a solar system and have a pseudo off grid system. That way when the sun is not shining or I need an extra "boost" I have it. If enough people do this, the grid demand would drastically decrease, to the point where fossil fuels would no longer be needed (except to handle dips).

    My ideal situation is that hydro (no need to store it since the US 24 hr load would for all general purposes would be constant) and nuclear provide a baseline, people use solar with retrofitted EV battery back-ups. It's probably alot more complicated than I'm thinking it is (LCA's and computer programming are my expertise, not electricity and powerline distribution)

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    Senior Member strider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan5 View Post
    At least for me, this is my plan:
    If decide my scrap my Model S, or I upgrade the battery to some 300 kwhr, and Tesla no longer wants the used 85 kwhr one, I'l take it and hook it up to a solar system and have a pseudo off grid system. That way when the sun is not shining or I need an extra "boost" I have it. If enough people do this, the grid demand would drastically decrease, to the point where fossil fuels would no longer be needed (except to handle dips).
    I've thought about this as well. The only wrinkle is that you're likely going to be charging that 300kWh battery in your car at night when the sun isn't shining. So in order to run off the grid you'll need a lot more capacity at your house than 85kWh. Yes, you could still use the grid and if enough folks are charging EVs at night then that become baseline power and we do get better but being off-grid w/ an EV that can't be charged during the day is a tough one.
    Twilight Blue Roadster 2.5 - #1098 / Grey Model S Performance - #1459

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    Strider, I don't plan on charging 300 kwhr overnight, or even a full 85 kwhr battery pack for that matter during the day. On a peak day my spec'd out system is enough to provide all the power for the house and 90 miles of driving a Tesla. (That's my daily commute).

    Without solar my last year bills and without the Model S were
    lowest- $20 for October, and highest $220 for August.

    I believe I may be able to eek out more than enough store during low use and use during high use during the low use months, despite not having alot of sun during those months.

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    Lets say you do NOT want your new solar array to be hooked to the grid since <11 cent per kwh constant rate offers insufficient incentive. Having made that decision, you are then asked: "how much lead-acid storage can you afford?" My reply to the solar professionals is: "None. I will apply the DC power directly to a pair of BEVs and dump the excess to a bank of electric water heaters."

    "Whoa!?" is the reply, "we can't handle this concept. Sure your array voltage is right in the 350 to 400 volt range of your BEV's DC input but we have no controllers for this. Likewise, even if you series your water heaters to 440 volts (DC) and only connect them when the BEVs are OFF, either/or, we again have no controllers that are set up to do this.

    So we are at a standoff here. Hasn't anyone been here, done this??
    --

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    Senior Member strider's Avatar
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    Someone would have to build a DC charger that accepted a DC input and I don't think such a thing exists. I also don't think the market for such a thing is very large because, as I stated above, nearly everyone charges at night when Solar isn't producing. So convincing someone to build such a thing will be tough. It could be an option for commercial applications that are used during the day but if it's cloudy you may not be able to produce enough to run straight DC charging, etc.

    My suggestion, if you live on a hill, is to do w/ the big boys do and use stored hydro. Pump water uphill into a tank all day w/ solar and then spin a turbine at night to generate the electricity you need. It's a pretty efficient system, no batteries required, and uses off the shelf stuff. When supply is greater than demand the controller will shunt power to the pump instead of the grid or batteries. When the reverse happens water will be let out to handle the load.
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