Natural gas for electric cars? The power has to come from somewhere.
You might be wonderiing what the Tamar natural gas fields have to do with the Better Place electric car technology company, which recently received a big financial boost from the HBSC banking consortium, and now (hopefully) the Chinese auto company to produce another electric car version, the Chery.
How Better Place comes into the picture in this new gas field off the coast of Israel was in Globes: more fuel sources will be needed to provide the electricity needed for projects like Better Place, which will put even more strain on Israel’s already overloaded electric power plants to supply electricity for the country’s increasing power needs, which include future power plants being fueled by natural gas instead of presently by coal and fuel oil.The Globes article notes that Tamar natural gas field are considering developing two more fields offshore from Ashdod and Ashkelon at an estimated cost of $250 million. The purpose is to improve the companies’ chances of winning a natural gas supply contract with Israel Corporation, a 40% stakeholder in Better Place.
The development of natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean has been in progress for several years now, and other companies, including Delek Group Ltd with their Yam Tethys gas field, Noble Energy Inc, and Dor Alon Energy Exploration Ltd, a subsidiary of the Dor Alon Energy in Israel (1988). Dor Alon is a prime competitor of Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group, who is also interested in being involved in the Dead Sea Canal project, which also has energy producing potential through hydro-electric power.
Natural gas production is not without its drawbacks, however, and as mentioned in my previous Green Prophet article: Tshuva’s Yam Tethys Gas Company Wins in Natural Gas but the Environment Loses:
“Studies made by marine biologists indicate that even though natural gas is slightly less polluting than crude oil (no oil spills, for one thing), it still results in significant damage to fish and other marine life due to a number of poisons and toxic substances created during the process of natural gas exploration and production, including methane gas, hydrogen sulfide, and other forms of toxins, including that from damaged gas pipelines, which often occurs due to earthquakes, and other occurrences.”
Globes said that the Tamar gas fields, if drilled as planned, won’t be producing sufficient quantities of Natural Gas until at least 2012, when the Yam Tethys gas fields will already be used up. It also notes that Israel Corporation’s natural needs alone will be as much as 2.1 billion cubic meters, which will take a big chunk out of fuel supplies for companies like Better Place.
Better Place, however, is prepared to store fuel and power up only when there isn’t a heavy load on the grid, like in off peak hours. So it’s not exactly clear if the company will put an enormous strain on the system. Its batteries can actually lighten the load, Agassi says. We’ll have to wait and see.
Image via Joe Watts
More articles on natural gas and Better Place: