With the backdrop of the current hurricane season putting increasing public focus on global warming (in the UK, Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution criticized what he termed U.S. “climate loonies” for ignoring the issue), the US Department of Energy has released for comment its strategic technology plan for new advanced technologies that avoid, reduce, or capture and store greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan is not a blueprint for new and focused R&D; it provides “strategic direction” and organizes about $3 billion in federal spending for climate change-related technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment. It also takes a “long-view” in which a near-term timeframe is defined as 10 to 20 years from the present.
The plan is decoupled from targets or mechanism—it is a broad technology roadmap. The technologies developed under this Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) would be used and deployed among the US partners in the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development that was announced earlier this year (the Vientiane Pact).
The plan sets six complementary goals: (1) reducing emissions from energy use and infrastructure; (2) reducing emissions from energy supply; (3) capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide; (4) reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases; (5) measuring and monitoring emissions; and (6) bolstering the contributions of basic science to climate change.
The CCTP adheres to three broad principles:
Given the many attendant uncertainties about the future, the whole of the individual R&D investments should constitute a balanced and diversified portfolio.
Ensure that factors affecting market acceptance are addressed. In order to enable widespread deployment of advanced technologies, each technology must be integrated within a larger technical system and infrastructure, not just as a component. The CCTP’s portfolio planning process must be informed by and benefit from private sector and other non-federal inputs, examine the lessons of historical analogues for technology acceptance, and apply them as a means to anticipate issues and inform R&D planning.
The anticipated timing regarding the commercial readiness of the advanced technology options is an important CCTP planning consideration. Energy infrastructure has a long lifetime, and change in the capital stock occurs slowly. Once new technologies are available, their adoption takes time. Some technologies with low or near-net-zero GHG emissions may need to be available and moving into the marketplace decades before their maximum market penetration is achieved.
The plan notes the important role of the transportation sector. In 2003, the U.S. transportation sector accounted for 39 % of total CO2 emissions, with the highway modes accounting for more than 82% of that.
For near-term research on light-duty vehicle technologies, the CCTP highlights work organized under the auspices of the FreedomCAR Partnership program, focusing on: materials; power electronics; hybrid vehicles operating on gasoline, diesel, or alternative fuels; high-efficiency, low-emission advanced combustion engines, enabled by improved fuels; and high-volume, cost-effective production of lightweight materials.
Specific goals for the light-duty research include:
An electric propulsion systems with a 15-year life capable of delivering at least 55 kW for 18 seconds and 20 kW continuous at a system cost of $12/kW peak.
Internal combustion engine powertrain systems costing $35/kW, having peak brake engine efficiency of 45%, and that meet or exceed emissions standards.
Electric drivetrain energy storage with a 15-year life at 200 Wh with discharge power of 25kW for 18 seconds and $20/kW.
Material and manufacturing technologies for high volume production vehicles, which enable/support the simultaneous attainment of 50% reduction in the weight of vehicle structure and subsystems, affordability, and increased used of recyclable/renewable materials.
Internal combustion engine powertrain systems, operating on hydrogen with a cost target of $45/kW by 2010 and $30/kW in 2015, having a peak brake engine efficiency of 45%, and that meet or exceed emissions standards.
Research areas for heavy-duty vehicles, organized primarily under the 21st Century Truck Partnership, include: lightweight materials; aerodynamic drag; tire rolling resistance; electrification of ancillary equipment; advanced high-efficiency combustion propulsion systems (including energy-efficient emissions reduction); fuel options (both petroleum and non-petroleum based); hybrid technologies for urban driving applications, and onboard power units for auxiliary power needs.
Specific heavy-duty research goals include:
By 2007, commercially viable 5 kW, $200/kW, diesel-fueled, internal combustion engine auxiliary power unit.
By 2010, a laboratory demonstration of an emissions-compliant engine system that is commercially viable for Class 7-8 highway trucks, which improves the system efficiency by 32% (37% by 2013) from the 2002 baseline.
By 2012, the goals include advanced technology concepts that reduce the aerodynamic drag of a Class 8 tractor-trailer combination by 20%.
Research on transit buses and other urban-driving heavy vehicles focuses on: hybrid-electric propulsion; weight reduction; and advanced combustion engine concepts to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
A specific goal of the work is the development by 2012 of heavy hybrid propulsion technology that achieves a 60% improvement in fuel economy, on a representative driving cycle, while meeting regulated emissions levels.
Fuels research encompasses the development of new fuel blend formulations that will enable more efficient and cleaner combustion and the development of renewable and non-petroleum-based fuels that could displace 5% of petroleum used by commercial vehicles.
Longer-range approaches include:
Hydrogen systems and infrastructure.
Studies of advanced urban-engineering concepts for cities to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
Concept and engineering studies for large-scale institutional and infrastructure changes required to manage CO2, electricity, and hydrogen systems reliably and securely.
Advanced thermoelectric concepts to convert waste heat from combustion into power.
New combustion regimes and fuels designed to achieve very high efficiencies, near-zero regulated emissions, and reduced carbon emissions in conventional vehicle propulsion systems.
To view and comment on the CCTP draft Strategic Plan, visit the CCTP website at: www.climatetechnology.gov. The public comment period will close on Wednesday, November 2, 2005. The completed Plan is expected in 2006.