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DOE Releases Draft (for Comment) of Strategic Plan for Greenhouse Gas Reduction

24 September 2005

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:

  1. Given the many attendant uncertainties about the future, the whole of the individual R&D investments should constitute a balanced and diversified portfolio.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Cctp_overview
CCTP Roadmap for Climate Change Technology Development and Deployment for the 21st Century, with transportation technologies highlighted. With some overlap, “near-term” envisions significant technology adoption by 10 to 20 years from present, “midterm” in a following period of 20-40 years, and “long-term” in a following period of 40-60 years.

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.

Resources:

September 24, 2005 in Climate Change, Emissions, Fuel Efficiency, Hydrogen, Policy, Research | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

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The idea that this year's hurricane season can be linked scientifically to "global warming" is straight out of Bizzaro world.

But, hey, in today's world of emotional rhetoric, who needs facts?

You've been listening to too much Rash Limberger.

Careful scientists are only saying that there is the possibility that the warmer than usual ocean temperatures MAY have increased the power of the Hurricanes.

After all, they ARE "heat engines".

I am merely commenting on the statement in the article:
"current hurricane season putting increased public focus on global warming" which implies a direct correlation between the two, as well as the subject of the article, which implies that we have some sort of control over the event.
Yes, all weather systems are heat engines. I am stating that,considering the fact that there have been worse hurricane seasons in decades previous, the connection to this year's hurricane season and the hypothesis of man-made global warming is not well substantiated. If we see increased severity of storms over the next few years, then we'll have something to talk about.

I am merely commenting on the statement in the article:
"current hurricane season putting increased public focus on global warming" which implies a direct correlation between the two, as well as the subject of the article, which implies that we have some sort of control over the event.
Yes, all weather systems are heat engines. I am stating that,considering the fact that there have been worse hurricane seasons in decades previous, the connection to this years hurricane season and the hypothesis of man-made global warming is not well substantiated. If we see increased severity of storms over the next few years, then we'll have something to talk about.

Oops, sorry for the double post!

I've looked at parts of the plan but I don't see tough timelines like
1) a coast to coast route with hydrogen refuelling stations by year 2010
2) a 100+ megawatt working coal station with 90% emissions capture, also by 2010.

Tough targets will make clear what works and what doesn't. In other words no pain no gain.

I'm sensitive to statements like "If we see increased severity of storms over the next few years, then we'll have something to talk about" because I see them used elsewhere as a delying tactic. This may not be your intention, but as I say it is my sensitivity.

It very much seems to me that if evidence continues to roll in, across the board, which is "consistent with" global warming, that is sufficient cause for action. This can certainly be a measured response, comensurate with available evidence.

But I have this image if what happens when we wait for the ultimate proof ... a couple scrawny old men in a dry dusty room. They’re clutching warm Budweisers. It is hot and winds howl outside the broken-down tract home. One says “Nobody can PROVE this is global warming”

BTW, I think we are basically screwed, because those "old men" (now young and partisan) have deadlocked our response.

The climate scientists over at Real Climate tackle this specific issue in a post: Hurricanes and Global Warming - Is There a Connection?

Katrina was the most feared of all meteorological events, a major hurricane making landfall in a highly-populated low-lying region. In the wake of this devastation, many have questioned whether global warming may have contributed to this disaster. Could New Orleans be the first major U.S. city ravaged by human-caused climate change?

The correct answer—the one we have indeed provided in previous posts (Storms & Global Warming II, Some recent updates and Storms and Climate Change)—is that there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming.

For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible. We only have one Earth, and it will follow only one of an infinite number of possible weather sequences. It is impossible to know whether or not this event would have taken place if we had not increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as much as we have. Weather events will always result from a combination of deterministic factors (including greenhouse gas forcing or slow natural climate cycles) and stochastic factors (pure chance).

Due to this semi-random nature of weather, it is wrong to blame any one event such as Katrina specifically on global warming—and of course it is just as indefensible to blame Katrina on a long-term natural cycle in the climate.

Yet this is not the right way to frame the question. As we have also pointed out in previous posts, we can indeed draw some important conclusions about the links between hurricane activity and global warming in a statistical sense.

[...] In the same manner, while we cannot draw firm conclusions about one single hurricane, we can draw some conclusions about hurricanes more generally. In particular, the available scientific evidence indicates that it is likely that global warming will make—and possibly already is making—those hurricanes that form more destructive than they otherwise would have been.

[...] climate science can help us understand how human actions influence climate. The current evidence strongly suggests that: (a) hurricanes tend to become more destructive as ocean temperatures rise, and (b) an unchecked rise in greenhouse gas concentrations will very likely increase ocean temperatures further, ultimately overwhelming any natural oscillations.

Scenarios for future global warming show tropical SST [sea surface temperature] rising by a few degrees, not just tenths of a degree... That is the important message from science. What we need to discuss is not what caused Katrina, but the likelyhood that global warming will make hurricanes even worse in future.

The post itself contains useful explanations and analysis, and references to the literature.

I have read the "Real Climate" article; overall very interesting. However, one must accept that the scientists over at "Real Climate" are proponents of the hypothesis of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. There is nothing wrong with this, of course. Whenever there is a relatively nacent scientific hypothesis offered, "camps" of scientists tend to form, for and against. I'm just pointing out that there is a bias.

The article, grossly summarized, says this:

1)A study suggests that hurricane strength is connected to sea-surface temperatures.
2)Our models, that stipulate anthropogenic global warming, show an increase of SST, thus possibly, increasing the intensity, if not the frequency, of ocean storms.

So if you accept the hypothesis of man-made global warming, storms may become more severe.

The problem that I see is that people are accepting anthropogenic global warming as fact, and are rushing to give government more power to control commerce, industry, and personal behavior to stop this "problem". It is far easier to give power away than to take it back, thus this could cause a grave problem in and of itself.

To those of you that are snippy with me,sorry. I say that expecting consistent and dependable empirical evidence does not make me a partisan, it makes me a scientist.

To those of you that are snippy with me,sorry. I say that expecting consistent and dependable empirical evidence does not make me a partisan, it makes me a scientist.

As it happens I have a background in science, medical engineering, and environmental monitoring. It strikes me that those disiplines call on us to do what thinking creatures have always been required to do: make the best posibile decision from available data.

This stuff is as old as time itself. If you reach a fork in the trail and one side as lion tracks, you take the other. You don't demand that everyone wait until it is absolutely proven that the lion is not on the trackless side.

Partisans who push the demand for absolute proof are asking us to suspend our very ability to reason.

When it comes to 9/11 or a so called WMD, no need for a shred of credible evidence, shred the constitution and send our military off to illegal wars that increase terrorism. But when it comes to dramatic global increase in CO2 due to human consumption of the very fossil fuels we go to war over, we have to wait until there's absolute proof that it's changing our climate before we take collective preventative measures.

Anyone else get the feeling we've been led down a very dangerous path?

The burden of proof is now on the global warming skeptics to prove that manmade CO2 emissions are not increasing the intensity of hurricanes.

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One of my favorite quotes about Leadership is attributed to Rosalynn Carter. It's really one of the best definitions of a leader I've ever found: A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.

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