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Green hydrogen fans have lots to cheer about these days as one huge mega-project after another takes shape, but there is also some interesting activity bubbling up on the small end of the scale. With that in mind, let’s check out a new modular, off-grid, above-ground, rainwater harvesting, solar powered hydrogen fuel station over in Australia. Wait, doesn’t the US have one of those, too?

Keeping It Above Ground

Above ground is the keyword here. Electric cars get props for having nothing coming out of their tailpipes, and they also have this extra benefit of not contributing to the LUST problem, which for some reason nobody talks about. However, people should be talking about it, because LUST is a big problem — for gasmobiles, that is.

That’s LUST, as in Leaking Underground Storage Tanks. When you pull into your local gas station, all of your gas does not come out of that little thing sticking up out of the ground. It comes from a storage tank below the surface. Not all of them leak, of course. However, there are a lot of them, and some of them leak into the ground, potentially impacting people who depend on underground aquifers for drinking, which EPA estimates includes about half the US population.

Here in the US, in 1984 Congress finally passed a law requiring corrective action for old leaking underground tanks for petroleum and other hazardous liquids, setting standards for new ones, and tasking EPA with creating a program to deal with the whole mess. Since then the law has been strengthened and expanded, but the problem persists.

Though EPA calculates that 37 states closed about 90% of their problem sites over the past 20 years, 544,000 underground storage tanks remain. They require constant monitoring, correction, and removal if necessary, and a quick stroll through the Intertubes reveals plenty of holes in the program.

“Addressing the LUST sites remaining to be cleaned up continues to be a high priority for EPA and our state, territorial, and tribal partners,” EPA recently wrote, by way of introducing the idea that a backlog of cases remains, even as new ones pop up.

Above-Ground Modular Green Hydrogen Refueling Station To The Rescue

One obvious solution to the LUST problem is to store your hazardous liquids above ground, where you can keep an eye on them. Another part of the solution is to store only the minimum necessary to fulfill near-term needs, and that’s where green hydrogen comes in.

For those of you new to the hydrogen topic, most of the world’s supply of hydrogen is produced by pulling it out of natural gas, which is why hydrogen fuel cell cars get the stink-eye from advocates for climate action. They have zero tailpipe emissions, but they drag a long tail of fossil energy baggage behind them.

Green hydrogen from renewable resources could solve that problem. It used to be a pie in the sky idea, until recent years when the cost of wind and solar power began to sink like a stone. That set the stage for electrolysis, which refers to systems that apply an electrical current to water, and out bubbles the green hydrogen.

That opens the door for hydrogen fuel stations that can store green hydrogen in above-ground tanks. Add a water storage tank and perhaps throw in a battery for additional energy storage, and everything you need is out in the open air.

That finally brings us to the latest news about green hydrogen fuel stations. The firm Hydrogen Fuels Australia has just dropped word that plans for a new hydrogen fuel station are under way for the Melbourne suburb of Truganina, which will give it bragging rights to the first ever off-grid modular green hydrogen production and fuel station in all of Australia.

“Founded on environmentally sustainable and ‘low impact’ concepts, H2FA’s operation uses its own electrolysis assets (in island mode) to convert renewable power into green hydrogen,” explains the company, emphasizing that this is a modular, off-grid system and not a grid-connected system.

The sustainable element includes rainwater harvesting to supply the electrolysis system.

The Global Green Hydrogen Technology Network Is Growing

H2FA also emphasizes that the site is not a one-off. It will serve as an R&D center to fine tune the technology and scale up the green hydrogen production end of things.

The project also demonstrates how the international knowledge base and supply chain is pivoting into green hydrogen.

Partners in the project include Australia-based Skai Energies along with Nilsson Energy of Sweden to manage the site’s microgrid, with Green Hydrogen Systems of Denmark providing the electrolyzers, and the US firm Plug Power supplying power to the site.

If you’re not surprised to see Plug Power in the green hydrogen mix, join the club. CleanTechnica first took note of Plug Power back in 2010, when it was pitching hydrogen fuel cell forklifts to the masses. That was before the green hydrogen industry began to emerge. Now that it has, Plug Power is still eyeballing all sorts of hydrogen-fueled mobility devices, but apparently it has also come to realize that green hydrogen production is a money maker.

A 750-kilowatt solar array will power the electrolysis system at the Truganina site. The initial plans call for 60-90 kilograms of green hydrogen daily, eventually ramping up to 3,000 kilograms. H2FA calculates that will provide enough to fuel over 100 vehicles daily.

More Modular, Renewable Hydrogen Fuel Stations For The US

If all goes according to plan, the new H2FA fuel station will be up and running next year. The company is already planning to expand the concept across Victoria and the rest of Australia, too.

So, what about the US? Although hydrogen fuel cell passenger cars have struggled to find a foothold in the market, a growing number of auto makers are eyeballing the long haul truck field and other heavy duty uses. Quick refueling, long range, and high power are the basic benefits.

The US Department of Energy, for one, is a huge fan. Earlier this month Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced that hydrogen will be the first area of focus under the Energy Department’s new Earthshots innovation initiative, modeled on the successful Moonshot and Sunshot programs.

The Earthshots initiative follows on the heels of a growing movement among hydrogen stakeholders in the US to pump up interest in green hydrogen as a decarbonization pathway, and not just for mobility purposes. In one especially noteworthy development that should send shivers up the spines of natural gas stakeholders, the powerhouse legacy firm Mitsubishi has come up with a new gas turbine for power plants that is specifically designed to integrate green hydrogen with natural gas on an incremental basis, until sufficient supplies are available for 100% green hydrogen operations.

Yikes! Hopefully those green hydrogen power stations will do a better job under climate impacts than natural gas power plants. Natural gas was supposed to be a cleaner “bridge” fuel to deep decarbonization, but for one thing its cleanliness is in question, and for another thing it doesn’t seem up to the task of providing power on a reliable basis during hot spells as well as cold ones.

Looking at you, Texas. In an interesting twist, earlier this year Texas launched a project to explore the development of a regional hydrogen hub, leveraging its considerable wind and solar resources, so perhaps help is on the way.

Follow me on Twitter @TinaMCasey.

Image (screenshot): Courtesy of Hydrogen Fuels Australia.


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See & test drive your favorite EVs at Drive Electric Earth Month, all April

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See & test drive your favorite EVs at Drive Electric Earth Month, all April

It’s that time of year again, time for events across the country to show off electric vehicles at Drive Electric Earth Month.

Drive Electric Earth Month is an offshoot of Drive Electric Week, a long-running annual tradition hosting meetups mostly in the US, but also occasionally in other countries. It started as Drive Electric Earth Day, but since not every event can happen on the same day, they went ahead and extended it to encompass “Earth Month” events that happen across the month of April. It’s all organized by Plug In America, the Sierra Club, the Electric Vehicle Association, EV Hybrid Noire, and Drive Electric USA.

Events consist of general Earth Day-style community celebrations, EV Ride & Drives where you can test drive several EVs in one place, and opportunities to talk to EV owners and ask them questions about what it’s like to live with an EV, away from the pressure of a dealership.

This month, there are 180 events registered across the US and 2 in Canada (including one online webinar about things to consider when purchasing an EV). Events have already started, with a smattering happening over the last few weekends, and the bulk of them this weekend, April 20-21.

Here’s a sample of some of the still-upcoming events this month:

  • Phoenix Ride and Drive in Phoenix, AZ – Wells Fargo will be giving away an EV, along with ride & drives. April 20, 8am-12pm.
  • SpaceCoast EV Earth Day in Melbourne, FL, at the American Muscle Car Museum, the largest solar-powered auto museum in the world. Displays include a custom electric camera car for cinematography, the Bricklin 3EV prototype, and NASA’s Apollo Moon Buggy. April 20, 10am-2pm.
  • Electrify Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, with EV and e-bike test rides and presentations on green tech like heat pumps. April 20, 10am-4:30pm.
  • PUD Energy Block Party in Everett, WA, which currently has 47 vehicles registered as attending and includes something called a “Truckstravaganza.” April 27, 11am-2pm.
  • Salem Kicks Gas in Salem, MA with a large variety of EVs on display and test drives from local dealers, along with e-bike and other battery-powered outdoor equipment displays. April 28, 1pm-4pm.

Each event has a different assortment of activities (e.g. test drives won’t be available at every event, generally just the larger ones attended by local dealerships), so be sure to check the events page to see what the plan is for your local event.

These events have offered a great way to connect with owners and see the newest electric vehicle tech, and even get a chance to do test rides and drives in person. Attendees got to hear unfiltered information from actual owners about the benefits and trials of owning EVs, allowing for longer and more genuine (and often more knowledgeable) conversations than one might normally encounter at a dealership.

And if you’re an owner – you can show off your car and answer those questions for interested onlookers.

To view all the events and see what’s happening in your area, you can check out the list of events or the events map. You can also sign up to volunteer at your local events, and if you plan to show off your electric car, you can RSVP on each event page and list the vehicle that you plan to show (or see what other vehicles have already registered).

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Kia EV5 GT leak reveals sporty electric SUV design

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Kia EV5 GT leak reveals sporty electric SUV design

A new Kia electric SUV is getting the GT treatment. Images leaking out of China are giving us our first look at the Kia EV5 GT trim.

Meet Kia’s new EV5 electric SUV

Kia officially unveiled the EV5, its new compact electric SUV, at the Chengdu Motor Show in August. Branded as a family-friendly SUV, the EV5 features Kia’s new “Opposites United ” design.

You can see several elements pulled from Kia’s larger EV9 like the redesigned “Tiger Face” grille, which replaces the signature “Tiger Nose.” It retains the EV9’s boxy, rugged look but in a smaller package.

Aimed at millennials, Kia designed the interior for more than getting from point A to point B. Kia considered it an additional “room” to live in.

It also includes Kia’s next-gen connected car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) with dual 12.3″ display screens and a 5″ climate control display.

At 4,615 mm long, 1,875 mm wide, and 1,715 mm tall, the EV5 will rival Tesla’s top-selling Model Y (L – 4,760 mm, W – 1,921 mm, H – 1,624 mm).

Kia-EV5-GT-leak
Kia EV5 electric SUV (Source: Kia)

Kia launched the EV5 in China at around $20,000 (149,800 yuan). Powered by a 64.2 kWh BYD Blade battery pack, the base EV5 features up to 329 miles (530 km) CLTC range. The long-range, 88.1 kWh battery pack model is good for up to 447 (720 km) CLTC range.

In Australia, where the EV5 is imported, it will cost around $46,000 (70,000 AUS). An entry-level Air trim is expected to undercut the Tesla Model Y in the region, which starts at around $43,160 (65,400 AUD).

Kia-EV5-GT-leak
Kia EV5 battery options and range (Source: Kia)

Kia EV5 GT leak reveals new sporty electric SUV design

We are getting our first look at the Kia EV5 GT after leaked images from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Tech (MIIT) released official images and specs of the vehicle.

As you can see, there are not many differences on the outside. There is added black trim on the lower front bumper. However, other Kia GT vehicles also include subtle visual differences. The big difference maker is in the performance.

The EV5 GT will feature a dual motor system, with a 215 hp (160 kW) front and 98 hp (73 kW) rear electric motor, for a combined 313 hp output.

Although the final details have yet to be revealed, the EV5 GT is expected to have 0 to 60 mph capabilities in under 6.5 seconds.

Kia’s new electric SUV is not the only one getting the GT treatment. All of Kia’s new EVs, including the EV2, EV3, and EV4, are expected to gain a GT trim.

Kia's-EV2-video
Kia EV lineup from left to right: EV6, EV4, EV5, EV3, EV9 (Source: Kia)

They will join the EV6 GT, which packs 576 hp for a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.2 seconds. Kia put the EV6 GT up to the test against a Ferrari Roma and Lamborghini Huracan Evo Spyder RWD and beat both off the line.

Earlier today, we got our first glimpse of the low-cost EV2 out testing in public. The EV2 is expected to be Kia’s cheapest EV with starting prices around $15,000 (20 million Won). You can watch the video here.

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Podcast: Tesla layoffs, all-in on Robotaxi, shareholders vote, and more

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Podcast: Tesla layoffs, all-in on Robotaxi, shareholders vote, and more

On the Electrek Podcast, we discuss the most popular news in the world of sustainable transport and energy. In this week’s episode, we discuss Tesla’s massive round of layoffs, Elon Musk putting Tesla all-in on Robotaxi, important shareholders vote, and more.

The show is live every Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Electrek’s YouTube channel.

As a reminder, we’ll have an accompanying post, like this one, on the site with an embedded link to the live stream. Head to the YouTube channel to get your questions and comments in.

After the show ends at around 5 p.m. ET, the video will be archived on YouTube and the audio on all your favorite podcast apps:

We now have a Patreon if you want to help us avoid more ads and invest more in our content. We have some awesome gifts for our Patreons and more coming.

Here are a few of the articles that we will discuss during the podcast:

Here’s the live stream for today’s episode starting at 4:00 p.m. ET (or the video after 5 p.m. ET):

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