March 31, 2007
New Atlas Details More Than 3.5 Trillion Tons of Possible CO2 Storage Capacity in US and Canada
|Primary sources of stationary CO2 emissions in the US and Canada. The color of the dots indicates the type of source, the diameter, the magnitude of emissions release. Click to enlarge.|
The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships have identified carbon storage capacity in the US and Canada of more than 3.5 trillion tons. That’s approximately 900 years of storage for stationary CO2 emissions generated at today’s rate of 3.8 billion tons per year.
The results are detailed in the new Carbon Sequestration Atlas of the United States and Canada, which is available online.
US emissions of CO2 from such stationary sources in 2004 were approximately 3.4 billion tons. Another 2.5 billion tons came from small sources not subject to capture, including transportation.
|Different types of available sinks. Click to enlarge.|
Created by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Atlas was developed jointly with the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships, and the National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographical Information System (NATCARB). Its main purposes are to:
Provide an overview of the lifecycle of CO2 through the capture and sequestration processes.
Summarize the DOE’s activities in sequestration research and development.
Present information about the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships' activities.
Emissions of CO2 have increased from an insignificant level two centuries ago to more than 30 billion tons worldwide today. If no effort is made to reduce CO2 emissions, yearly release from the United States could increase by one third from 2005 to 2030, according to DOE.
The Office of Fossil Energy supports a number of carbon sequestration initiatives including a vigorous research and technology development program. The atlas will aid these efforts by providing maps and information at both national and regional levels, including:
CO2 stationary emission sites, such as powerplants, refineries, and other fossil-fuel-consuming industries.
Geologic formations suitable for permanent CO2 sequestration.
Capacity estimates of CO2 storage in these various geologic formations.
DOE formed the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership program, which draws from seven distinct regions in the United States and Canada, in 2003 as a response to the geographic differences in fossil fuel use and sequestration potential. Funded through the National Energy technology Laboratory (NETL), the program consists of government agencies, universities, and private companies—more than 400 organizations, including 40 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 3 Indian Nations.
The atlas is being published in both static and interactive versions. The interactive version, a frequently updated resource, is located at the NATCARB website. The NATCARB project is funded by NETL and maintained by the University of Kansas Geologic Survey; project data is maintained and enhanced locally at the Regional Partnership level.
The static version of the Atlas is available for viewing and is downloadable today at the NETL web site. The same information will be available in printed form in May 2007. Both versions will be updated every two years.
Swedish Researcher Forecasts Peak Oil Between 2008 and 2018 Based on Analysis of Giant Field Production
|The higher-end standard case forecast. Click to enlarge.|
A researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden has developed a forecast model for global oil production based heavily on a field-by-field analysis focusing on giant oil fields—a giant field being one which will ultimately produce more than 500 million barrels (0.5 Gb) of oil.
In his worst-case scenario, global oil production may peak next year; the best-case scenario indicates peaking in 2018.
Although giant fields represent only about one percent of all oil fields in the world, they account for more than 60% of total production. The trend is heading downward when it comes to new giant-field discoveries, both in terms of the number of fields and the volume of the fields located.
The first giant was discovered in Peru in 1868 and one of the latest was discovered in 2003 in the deep-water outside Brazil. The majority of the largest giant fields are found around the Persian Gulf—Saudi’s Ghawar being the largest in the world—and are more than 50 years old.
Fredrik Robelius developed a model based on historical production, the total exploitable reserves of the giant fields, and their rate of decline. The model assumes that oil fields have a constant rate of decline, which Robelius has verified by studying a number of giant oilfields where production has waned. His analysis shows that an annual rate of decline between 6 and 16% is reasonable.
|Global liquids production in million barrels per day (Mbpd) for all scenarios, with the best case scenario adjusted to fit an annual demand growth of 1.4%. Click to enlarge.|
To be sure that the future production of a field will wind up inside the interval of the model, Robelius used both pessimistic and optimistic estimates. Then he combined the results from the model with field forecasts for deep-water production, new finds, oil sands in Canada, and heavy oil in Venezuela to construct his forecasts.
A comparison with oil production forecasts from the IEA and EIA reveals an extreme difference in future production levels. Production in IEAs reference case continues to increase to 2030, which is the last reported year, and at that time the level is 116 Mbpd. In the analysis by EIA, future oil production is projected to increase to a level of 123 Mbpd, which is reached in 2030. In contrast the most optimistic result, which is the demand adjusted best case scenario, from the analysis performed here shows a peak in 2018 at a level of 93 Mbpd. Although only speculative, the analysis of IEA and EIA might not fully integrate the role of the giant oil fields in future oil production.
Giant Oil Fields—The Highway to Oil: Giant Oil Fields and Their Importance for Future Oil Production; Robelius, Fredrik (2007)
Marathon Prepping E10 for Florida, Tussling with State
Fueling Station. Marathon Petroleum is preparing to introduce E10 blends throughout Florida, but is deadlocked with state regulators over technical standards.
The issue arises from vapor volatility in ethanol blends. In extreme cases it can cause vapor lock in car engines, causing them to stall. Florida follows the industry standard set by the American Society for Testing Materials. Marathon says ASTM’s standard for E10 sets too high a bar and prefers another set of standards that certifies the ethanol and the gasoline separately, before blending.
Marathon wants the state to modify the standard so its fuel would comply. The Houston-based company points to other states where regulations have been modified to suit E10 suppliers. Among them are Arkansas and Louisiana, which have climates similar to Florida’s.
Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says it is unwilling to tweak state regulations until it gets more scientific data to satisfy a fuel vapor issue, which officials fear could cause vehicles to stall in hot weather.
“We are at an impasse,” said Jay Levenstein, deputy commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Suzuki Car Sales in India to Overtake Those in Japan
Nikkei. Demand for passenger cars in India is likely to push Suzuki Motor’s new-car sales in India past those in Japan in fiscal 2007.
Sales in Japan for the automaker are dropping, down 2.7% on preceding 12 months to 594,000 units. Suzuki blamed the decline on cuts in minivehicle output implemented to boost production of cars for export.
Suzuki’s Indian subsidiary, Maruti Udyog Ltd., saw sales surge 22.6% to 571,000 cars during the same period.
Maruti is ramping up its range of product offerings in India to include larger vehicles, and plans to increase its dealerships by 50% by 2010. Last month, a second Indian plant began producing 100,000 units per year of the Swift model. By 2010, Suzuki plans to have production capacity in India of 1 million cars per year.
Pulp Mill Proposes Biomass Gasification Project to Replace Natural Gas; Hydrogen Generation a Possibility
|The HydroMax reactor and the two stages of processing. Click to enlarge.|
Diversified Energy Corporation and Evergreen Pulp have formed a partnership and submitted a proposal to pursue a project to replace natural gas usage at the pulp mill with syngas produced on-site by the gasification of low-value excess wood fines using HydroMax gasification technology. (Earlier post.)
Using an iron/tin molten metal based reactor, the HydroMax system produces both carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) in separate and distinct streams from the reactor. In addition to providing fuel for heat and power, the syngas can be used in Fischer-Tropsch processing for fuels and chemicals, or to deliver a hydrogen stream for subsequent purification and use.
The HydroMax process begins with a molten iron/tin (FeSn) bath heated to 1,300° C. Steam is injected into the bath, and is then thermo-chemically split resulting in H2 gas (released) and oxidized iron. In the second step, after the iron is oxidized, steam injection ceases and a carbon source (here, the biomass) is injected into the reactor. Carbon has a high affinity to oxygen and reduces the oxidation of Fe to its pure form and produces a CO-rich syngas which is released for use.
Diversified Energy says that the HydroMax technique can deliver gasification systems at up to 50% the cost of traditional systems and with 80+% efficiency.
We are excited to move towards the implementation of this green technology that could eliminate our dependency on natural gas and produce biomass hydrogen for fuel cells at the same time. Through such projects, we endeavor to do our part in supporting California as a leader in the field of renewable fuel development.—David Tsang, CEO of Evergreen Pulp
The Diversified Energy-Evergreen Pulp proposal is for the Public Interest Energy Research Natural Gas (PIER-NG) Program, a part of the California Energy Commission. The program is seeking research, development, and demonstration of technologies capable of replacing natural gas usage with renewable resources.
The focus of the state solicitation is on biomass-to-gas and/or hybrid projects specifically addressing industrial and commercial process heating or combined heat and power needs. The state is expected to make an award this Spring, with project execution occurring over a period of 36 months.
Diversified Energy Corporation is the prime contractor for the program, providing program management and the gasification technology. Evergreen Pulp, the largest kraft pulp mill is the US, is acting as the host for the project at their kraft pulp mill in Eureka, CA.
A PIER-NG program award would allow Diversified Energy to take HydroMax from its several bench-scale tests and extensive analyses and modeling to a larger-scale test deployment.
The two companies have also discussed activities beyond the initial PIER-NG demonstration. This broader relationship could include installation of a full-scale HydroMax system capable of generating enough high-Btu syngas to replace all of the natural gas consumed at the Eureka, CA plant. This would make Evergreen Pulp the first US pulp mill to run its operations entirely fossil-fuel free.
Diversified Energy is also developing the Centia process to turn virtually any lipidic compound—e.g., vegetable oils, oils from animal fat and oils from algae—into aviation fuel or other high-value fuels. Centia integrates a sequence of three thermocatalytic-reforming processes that are either extensions of current commercial processes or based on recent laboratory breakthroughs. Centia can also be used to make additives for cold-weather biodiesel fuels and holds the potential to fuel automobiles that currently run on gasoline. (Earlier post.)
March 30, 2007
BMW Emphasizes Improved Efficiency of New 4-Cylinder Engines; Gasoline Direct Injection and Diesel
|New 2.0-liter diesel with Variable Twin Turbo and 2,000-bar injection. Particulate filter is the cylinder at left rear. Click to enlarge.|
At its recent Innovation Day 2007 in Germany, BMW emphasized the role its new families of four-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines will play in increasing fuel economy while still delivering power and performance. BMW views its diesels in particular as a core technology in its strategy to reduce CO2 emissions.
The new gasoline direct injection engines and the next-generation diesel engines, already being applied in new models, all offer lower weight, more power, greater fuel economy, and optimized emissions. In addition to the various improvements and modifications within the different engines, BMW is also adding auto stop start, regenerative braking, electrical power steering and improved on-demand ancillaries control to reduce fuel consumption. (Earlier post.)
|BMW High Precision Injection cutaway. Click to enlarge.|
High Precision Injection gasoline engines. The new series of four-cylinder gasoline engines features second-generation direct fuel injection: BMW’s High Precision Injection, allowing lean burn operation of the engine throughout a wide range of engine speed thus helping to significantly reduce fuel consumption in everyday traffic despite increases in engine power.
Applied in the new 120i, the engine offers a 14% reduction in fuel consumption to 6.4 l/100km (37 mpg US) compared to its predecessor, while increasing power by 15 kW. The engine in the new 118i decreases fuel consumption by 19% to 5.9 l/100km (40 mpg US) while increasing power by 10 kW.
BMW introduced High Precision Injection for the first time in the 225 kW/306 hp straight-six power unit with Twin Turbo technology featured in the BMW 335i Coupé. (Earlier post.)
The HPI engines can operate in lean-burn mode (lambda >1) throughout a wide operating range. Piezo-injectors positioned directly next to the spark plugs support stratified charging and combustion, with the exact composition of the fuel:air mixture varying from one layer to the other.
Within the common fuel rail, the high-pressure pump generates 200 bar of pressure for the four injectors delivering fuel to the combustion chambers. The piezo-injectors allow up to six injection processes in each operating stroke.
The piezo-injectors form a stable, conical injection jet within the combustion chamber. The jet-guided process ensures a much faster and more efficient fuel/air mixing process in the direct vicinity of the spark plug, without any loss otherwise caused by fuel resting on the walls of the cylinder as in wall-guided injection.
This provides exactly the right conditions for a stratified cylinder charge characteristic of lean burn operation: various, intersecting zones of differently composed fuel-air mixtures forming within the combustion chamber. In the process the share of fuel in the mixture decreases consistently with an increasing distance from the spark plug, a rich, ignitable fuel/air mixture being maintained only in the direct vicinity of the spark plug. As soon as this richer mixture is ignited, the leaner layers further away from the spark plug will also start burning in a clean, smooth and consistent process.
This serves to maintain fuel-efficient lean burn operation throughout a very wide range of engine speeds and loads.
To support lean burn operation with a stratified cylinder charge, BMW redesigned the cylinder to support the positioning of the piezo-injectors. A highly efficient charge cycle within the cylinders is ensured by conventional valve drive with two overhead camshafts and roller-type drag arms optimized for minimum friction. Compared with engine variants featuring VALVETRONIC, this type of valve management allows a significant increase in engine speed by 800 rpm to 7,000 rpm.
To maintain a beefy torque curve throughout the entire engine speed range, both camshafts come with double-VANOS for infinite adjustment of valve opening times. In order to build up high torque as soon as possible at low engine speeds, in turn, the engine also incorporates a special intake system with variable manifold length (DISA technology).
The new lean burn engine comes with a main catalyst close to the engine itself and storage catalysts further down the line to reduce NOx emissions. BMW is initially introducing its new family of four-cylinder gasoline HPI engines only in the European markets.
Four-cylinder diesel. BMW’s new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesels offer an all-aluminium crankcase; variable turbine geometry or variable twin turbo technology in the most powerful variant; third-generation common rail fuel injection, and diesel particulate filters placed close to the engine.
The variable twin turbo technology—also referred to as multistage turbocharging—gives the top-end unit maximum output of 150 kW/204 hp, making this the first all-aluminium diesel engine in the world to develop output of more than 100 hp per liter.
The distinction between the power and torque offerings of the three variants lies in the specific modification of the injection components and the turbocharger system. Developing maximum output of 105 kW/143 hp and peak torque of 300 Nm/221 lb-ft, even the basic version of the new diesel outperforms its predecessor by 15 kW/20 hp and, respectively, 20 Nm/15 lb-ft.
The most powerful version of the new engine develops maximum output of 150 kW/204 hp, 30 kW/41 hp more than the formerly most powerful four-cylinder diesel from BMW—and at 400 Nm/295 lb-ft, the engine’s peak torque is up by 60 Nm or 44 lb-ft. The middle engine in the four-cylinder diesel range is a 130 kW/177 hp power unit developing maximum torque of 350 Nm or 258 lb-ft.
Increased fuel efficiency accompanies the increased dynamics. Fuel consumption in the entry level 118d is down by approximately 16% versus the former model to 4.7 l/100km (50 mpg US) despite an increase in power by 15 kW to 105 kW/143 hp. The new BMW 120d, in turn, comes with an increase in output by 10 to 130 kW (177 hp) and an improvement in fuel economy of the same magnitude, the engine now making do with just 4.9 l/100km (48 mpg US).
The cylinder head with its intake ducts is a new design. The intake ducts are positioned at the side and designed as a spiral and tangential manifold. To reduce emissions to an absolute minimum, the spiral duct is electronically variable in an infinite process.
With their larger diameter, the valves facilitate the gas charge cycle and are now positioned upright, facing vertically into the combustion chambers. This avoids the need for extra cavities on the piston surface, which no longer requires separate valve pockets. The turbulence duct, in turn, gives the fresh air flowing into the engine a swirl motion improving the internal mixture formation process.
While the basic engine operates at an injection pressure of 1,600 bar and solenoid valves serve to supply the fuel in appropriate doses, the two more powerful engines inject diesel fuel at a pressure of 1,800 and 2,000 bar respectively through four piezo-injectors. The most powerful version of the new diesel is the first engine ever to use piezo-injectors operating at 2,000 bar.
To make the combustion process even more efficient, both the shape of the combustion chambers and the trough at the bottom of the piston have been modified and the compression ratio reduced to 16:1. Fuel is injected in up to three doses for each operating stroke of the engine.
|The variable twin turbo unit (left). Click to enlarge.|
The Variable Twin Turbo made its debut in the six-cylinder diesel featured in the BMW 535d. The turbocharger unit in the Variable Twin Turbo comprises one small and one large exhaust gas turbocharger. The smaller turbocharger becomes active at low engine speeds just above idling. At higher speeds the larger turbocharger then also cuts in, developing extra power in the process.
This process eliminates lag, developing noticeable thrust and momentum even when the driver barely presses down the accelerator pedal. A turbine control flap distributes the flow of exhaust gases variably to the two turbochargers.
New engine electronics ensure smooth management in the transition phase between the two turbochargers and optimum interaction of the two units with one another. This sophisticated control concept coordinates the complete system of turbines, the turbine control flap, bypass and wastegate as a function of the engine’s operating conditions.
The lower-powered units each feature one exhaust gas turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. An electric step motor serves to adjust the turbine blades with supreme accuracy and minimum delay to the respective operating conditions and running requirements.
To keep the periphery of the engine as clear-cut and uncluttered as possible, the feed pipe for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is integrated in the cylinder head. The EGR valve is positioned on the hot side of the engine, the EGR radiator features a bypass serving to limit the emission of harmful substances while the engine is warming up. All versions of this new engine generation come with a diesel particulate filter fitted close to the engine as standard.
Kansas Governor Signs Carbon Sequestration Bill
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a bill that provides incentives for the underground sequestration of carbon dioxide.
Among other things, the bill provides incentives by allowing any carbon dioxide capture, sequestration and utilization property and any electric generation unit which captures and sequesters all carbon dioxide and other emissions to be exempt from all property taxes for a period of five taxable years following completion of construction or installation of the property.
EPA Issues Guidance on Urea SCR for Diesel Emissions Control
The EPA has issued guidance on emission certification procedures for on-road diesels that use selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology for NOx reduction. This guidance enables automakers, for the first time, to adapt the technology to light- and heavy-duty vehicles in the US.
The specific area of concern is the use of a reducing agent (e.g., AdBlue) injected into the exhaust gas upstream of the catalyst. Without the reducing agent, the efficiency of the SCR catalyst drops to zero and NOx emissions can increase substantially. Many automakers, however, are looking to such urea SCR solutions as the near-term solution for meeting Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions regulations for diesels.
The guidance letter is not a ruling—it does not establish a final certification process, but rather reflects the agency’s current thinking and direction.
The letter focuses on specific regulatory requirements that can impact the certification and implementation of SCR for light-duty and heavy-duty diesel vehicles and heavy-duty diesel engines: Allowable Maintenance and Adjustable Parameters.
Allowable maintenance. Under existing regulations, emission-related maintenance can not occur before 100,000 miles of use (150,000 miles for medium- and heavy-duty engines) or before 100,000 mile intervals thereafter. Because the SCR catalyst in a urea SCR system does not function without the use of a reducing agent, EPA believes that the 100,000-mile interval applies to the SCR catalyst and all of the associated hardware, including but not limited to, the reducing agent, the reducing agent storage tank, the dosing valve, and all lines and hoses.
The problem with that from the OEM’s point of view is their inability to equip vehicles with storage tanks of sufficient size to allow for that 100,000-mile interval. The regulatory fix to this is for OEMs to request a change to the scheduled maintenance interval, based on the technological necessity of a new maintenance interval. EPA opened the door for that with the guidance letter, and suggested that “It may be appropriate for EPA to approve an industry-wide scheduled maintenance change, as we have done previously in similar situations.”
Adjustable parameters. Emissions certification testing is done across a range of parameters that can be (a) physically adjusted and (b) affect the emissions outcome. EPA is considering an SCR system that requires a reducing agent to meet the definition of an adjustable parameter—i.e., without the reducing agent, the NOx control fails.
This means that we have the authority to test an SCR-equipped vehicle with varying levels of reducing agent in the storage tank, or, theoretically, without any reducing agent at all. If the vehicle is capable of meeting the NOx standard without any reducing agent, we would not consider the SCR system to be in violation of the standard. However, if the vehicle exceeds emissions standards without reducing agent in the tank, we expect that we would deny the certification because the design will be considered unacceptable. If the manufacturer can prove to EPA that their SCR system design will not run out of reducing agent in-use and thus not exceed the emission standards, we may determine that the design is acceptable and approve certification of the vehicle design.
EPA then divides its acceptance criteria for urea SCR systems into two categories: vehicle compliance and reducing agent availability and accessibility.
Vehicle compliance. There are five different categories for vehicle compliance, and manufacturers must satisfy all five:
- Driver warning system
- Driver inducement
- Identification of incorrect reducing agent
- Tamper resistant design
- Durable design
Reducing agent availability. EPA will review each manufacturer’s plan for reducing agent availability and accessibility, with particular emphasis on the following procedures:
- Reducing Agent Available at Dealerships
- Reducing Agent Available at Truckstops
- Back-Up Plan
The EPA also wants to see public eduction plans from each manufacturer. The agency also calls for the establishment of an industry-wide reducing agent quality standard and specifications. SCR systems will need to be designed to operate using the general range of commercially available reducing agents. The agency also notes the importance of having a clear and unambiguous industry-wide identifier, regardless of any brand name.
DaimlerChrysler, with its focus on AdBlue urea SCR systems, was very pleased to have the guidance in hand.
Mercedes-Benz welcomes and supports the EPA’s announcement on Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) guidelines, which represent a critical next step for the future acceptance of diesel vehicles in the US market.—Dieter Zetsche, CEO DaimlerChrysler
Mercedes will offer BLUETEC diesel-powered versions of its M-, R- and GL-Class sport- utility vehicles in the United States beginning in CY 2008. The BLUETEC SUVs will use AdBlue injection with SCR.
Biden Introduces Bill Focused on Li-Ion Battery Development for EVs and Plug-Ins
US Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has introduced legislation that would significantly increase US investment in the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
“The American Automobile Industry Promotion Act of 2007” (S.1055) authorizes $100 million a year for five years to advance the technology—double the amount of the current budget request from the Administration.
Specifically, Biden’s bill would support the development of advanced electric components, systems and vehicles, by providing funds for battery research to national laboratories, small businesses, and institutes of higher learning.
The bill will also establish, through a competitive selection process, an Industry Alliance of private,US-based, for-profit firms whose primary business is battery development. The Industry Alliance would be an advisory resource on short and long term battery technology development.
The proposed program would have four major areas of focus:
Research & Development. R&D efforts would include battery technology; high-efficiency charging systems; high-powered drive train systems; control systems and power train development, including cooling and control systems that seek to optimize battery life, while reducing petroleum consumption, and greenhouse gas production; and nanomaterial technology for battery and fuel cell systems.
Demonstration. The bill would provide funding for demonstration, testing and evaluation of hybrid electric vehicles for many different applications including military, mass market passenger and SUV vehicles.
Education. Support for an educational curriculum in secondary, high school, as well as higher education institutions that focuses on electric drive systems and component engineering.
Testing. The program would work with the EPA to develop testing and certification procedures for criteria pollutants, fuel economy, and petroleum use in vehicles.
In addition to research and development for lithium-ion batteries, the bill also sets a national standard for biodiesel and expands tax credit eligibility for consumers who purchase diesel vehicles.
Specifically, the bill expands the emissions requirements to qualify for a tax credit for various weight diesel vehicles, increasing the number of American-manufactured diesel vehicles that qualify. This provision will expire in four years, at which time vehicles will be required to meet the more stringent emissions standards. In particular, Daimler Chrysler produces a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel that will qualify under the new requirements.
Odyne and FAB in Sales and Marketing Agreement for PHEV Systems
Odyne Corporation, a developer of advanced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology for trucks and buses, and FAB Holdings, a system integrator and service provider for alternative fuel storage vehicles, have signed a strategic sales and marketing agreement.
FAB Holdings will have exclusive rights to distribute and install Odyne’s propulsion systems in California, Nevada and Arizona. FAB will also repair and maintain Odyne’s propulsion systems for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
FAB is North America’s largest supplier of complete compressed gas fuel storage systems to the transit industry and has strong relationships with OEMs of heavy duty vehicles, a key target market for Odyne.