[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
National Academies issues interim report on overcoming barriers to PEV deployment
May 22, 2013
The National Academies has issued a pre-publication version of an interim report on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment. A final, comprehensive report will be published in late summer 2014.
Given recognized technical, social, and economic barriers to widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles), Congress had asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to commission a study by the National Academies to address market barriers that are slowing the purchase of electric vehicles and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure. As a result, the National Research Council (NRC)—a part of the National Academies—appointed the Committee on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment.
EPA proposes adding renewable diesel and naphtha from landfill biogas and butanol pathways to RFS
May 21, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a proposed rulemaking for modifications to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) program. The proposal also includes various changes to the E15 misfueling mitigation regulations (E15 MMR), ultra low sulfur diesel survey requirements as well as other technical amendments.
The proposed rules include various changes related to biogas, including changes related to the revised compressed natural gas (CNG)/liquefied natural gas (LNG) pathway and amendments to various associated registration, recordkeeping, and reporting provisions. It also adds new pathways for renewable diesel, renewable naphtha, and renewable electricity (used in electric vehicles) produced from landfill biogas.
California ARB 2013 research project to characterize ZEV market; assessing future market potential
May 18, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) 2013 research plan includes a project that will comprehensively characterize the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) market, with the ultimate goal of increasing consumer purchases of ZEVs.
The proposed project will investigate the factors that influence sales of ZEVs in California (e.g., price, vehicle range, infrastructure). The project is intended to support the planned upcoming mid-term review of California’s Advanced Clean Cars program (earlier post), coordinated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Researchers propose evaluating alt fuel efficiency based on energy rather than volume; impact of ethanol on vehicle efficiency and GHGs
May 17, 2013
|Relative changes in vehicle energy efficiency (VEE) (km/MJ) on ethanol/gasoline blends over those on gasoline for different blending levels. Credit: ACS, Yan et al. Click to enlarge.|
In a policy analysis in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Exeter and Oxford argue that, due to the increased emphasis on alternative fuels with drastically differing energy densities, vehicle efficiency should be evaluated based on energy rather than volume.
With that as a premise, they go on to show that the efficiency of existing vehicles can be both positively and negatively affected by ethanol content, ranging from −15% to +24%. As a result, they conclude, uncertainties in the net greenhouse gas (GHG) effect of ethanol, particularly when used in a low-level blend with gasoline, are considerably larger than previously estimated. Standard deviations increase by >10% and >200% when used in high and low blends, respectively.
Obama Administration launches $200M competition for three new manufacturing innovation institutes; WBG power electronics, lightweight metals and digital manufacturing
May 09, 2013
The Obama Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The effort is part of President Obama’s proposed $1-billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country. (Earlier post.)
The Department of Energy will lead one of the new institutes on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing” for wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) (DE-FOA-0000683). The Department of Defense will lead the other two, focused on “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing” and “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation”.
California Energy Commission adopts $100M investment plan for 2013-2014 for green vehicles and fuels
The California Energy Commission unanimously adopted the 2013-2014 Investment Plan Update to support the development and use of green vehicles and alternative fuels. The update sets funding priorities for the approximately $100 million in annual state funds under the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology (ARFVT) Program, created by Assembly Bill 118.
Funding priorities through the ARFVT Program support fuel and vehicle development to help attain the state’s climate change policies. In addition, the program funds projects that assist in fulfilling Governor Brown’s Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Action Plan, with a target of installing enough infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs by 2020, and a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roads.
Euro Parliament Environment Committee approves 147 g CO2/km target for light commercial vehicles by 2020; caps van speed
May 07, 2013
Members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved a draft law setting out rules for achieving a 147 g CO2/km (235 g/mile) target for new light commercial vehicles by 2020, down from 203 g/km (325 g/mile) today—i.e., a 27.6% reduction. The vote was 53 to 4 with 1 abstention.
The committee also proposed indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in a range of 105 to 120 g/km (168 to 192 g/mile) from 2025. The committee also voted to limit electronically the top speed of vans to 120 km/h (75 mph).
Reports highlight ongoing advances in vehicle technology, consumer demand for fuel efficiency in US and Europe
May 02, 2013
|4-cylinder engines and hybrid vehicles as a percent of cars sold in the US. Source: CFA. Click to enlarge.|
Two separate reports highlight the ongoing improvement in vehicle technologies and the growing trend toward consumers purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles in the US and in Europe. In the US, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released an analysis—“On the Road to 54.5 MPG: A Progress Report on Achievability”—of the response of consumers and automakers as both begin to experience the effects of the newly adopted federal fuel economy standard.
In Europe, a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) found that the average car sold in the EU in 2012 was 9% more fuel-efficient than the average three years before, due to improved technology and an increase in the share of diesel cars.
Latest status report finds California fuel providers continue pacing ahead of requirements of Low Carbon Fuel Standard; sufficient credits to meet full 2013 obligation
May 01, 2013
According to the latest status report on the progress of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (CA-LCFS) (earlier post), regulated parties in the LCFS—oil producers, importers and other fuel providers—continued to exceed the required reductions in carbon intensity specified by the standard. (Earlier post.)
Companies achieve LCFS compliance when credits equal deficits. According to the new report, from 2011 through Q4 2012, cumulative credits generated under the LCFS total 2,835,662 metric tons of CO2e, while cumulative deficits total 1,550,698 metric tons CO2e, for a net excess of 1.285 million credits (metric tons of CO2e). If all are available for use, the bank of excess credits represents about half of what is needed to cover the 2013 obligation.
Former president of Shell Oil calls for aggressive action on alternative fuels to break oil monopoly on transportation
April 30, 2013
John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Company and founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy (CFAE), is joining the Fuel Freedom Foundation (FFF) Advisory Board. Fuel Freedom is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to opening the fuel market to allow alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas and electricity fairly to compete with gasoline at the pump. CFAE’s mission is to educate citizens and government officials about pragmatic, non-partisan affordable energy solutions.
“The purpose and the focus [of FFF] is exactly in line with what I promoted as president of Shell and subsequently as the founder of CFAE,” Hofmeister said to Green Car Congress. “From [these organizations’ standpoints], the reason we have to get away from doing nothing is that the public doesn’t fully appreciate or understand the situation it faces with respect to fuels’ futures.”
Euro Parliament committee approves new 95 g/km CO2 target for cars; super credits and a switch to WLTP
April 25, 2013
The environment committee of the European Parliament approved a draft law setting out a new CO2 target for cars of 95g CO2/km (153 g/mile) by 2020, down from 130 gCO2/km (209 g/mile) in 2015. The draft also sets indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in the range of 68-78 g/km (109-126 g/mile) from 2025.
These emission limits are the average maximum allowed for car makers registered in the EU. Makers producing fewer than 1,000 cars a year should be exempt from the legislation, said the MEPs. Car makers would therefore have to produce, in addition to older, heavier or polluting models, enough cleaner ones to achieve a balance of 95g en 2020, on pain of penalties.
IEA: carbon intensity of global energy supply has barely changed in last 20 years; “window of opportunity in transport”
April 18, 2013
|The ESCII, along with projections for three scenarios. To meet 2DS targets, the index needs to decline by 5.7% by 2020, and 64% by 2050. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
In a fairly bleak assessment of global progress towards low-carbon energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that, despite a few bright spots such as the rapid expansion of renewable technologies and the growth of hybrid and EV sales, the progress is far below that required to achieve a 2 °C pathway—i.e., to hold warming to 2 °C as outlined in the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP) 2 °C Scenario (2DS). The assessment came in an annual report to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).
To illustrate this inertia, the report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, introduced the Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII), which shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on average, to provide a given unit of energy. The global energy supply became 6% cleaner from 1971 to 1990,in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. Since 1990, however, the ESCII (2010 = 100) has remained essentially static, changing by less than 1%. In 1990 the underlying carbon intensity of supply was 57.1 tCO2/TJ (2.39 tCO2/toe); in 2010 it was 56.7 tCO2/TJ (2.37 tCO2/toe).
EPA annual US GHG inventory shows 1.6% drop in 2011 from previous year; transportation CO2 down 1.1%
April 16, 2013
|Total US greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in 2011. Click to enlarge.|
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 18th annual report of overall US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions showing a 1.6% decrease in 2011 from the previous year. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather, EPA said.
GHG emissions in 2011 showed a 6.9% drop below 2005 levels. Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2011 were equivalent to 6,702 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
President’s FY2014 Budget boosts DOE vehicle technology spending 75% to $575M; $282M for advanced biofuels
April 10, 2013
President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal submitted to Congress provides $28.4 billion in discretionary funds for the Department of Energy, an 8% increase above the 2012 enacted level. Among the direct transportation-related highlights of the department’s budget proposal are $575 million for advanced vehicle technologies research, an increase of 75% over the enacted 2012 level; $282 million for the next-generation of advanced biofuels research; and the $2 billion Energy Security Trust to transition cars and trucks off of oil. (Earlier post.)
Other highlights include more than $5 billion (+5.7% over the 2012 enacted level) for the Office of Science for basic research and research infrastructure; $615 million to increase the use and decrease the costs of clean power from solar, wind, geothermal, and water energy; $365 million in advanced manufacturing research and development; and $147 million in research and development of smart grid investments, cybersecurity for energy control systems, and permitting, sitting, and analysis activities.
ACEEE report recommends steps toward international alignment of heavy-duty vehicle efficiency standards
April 05, 2013
A new report published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends the international harmonization of fuel efficiency and/or greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses.
Foundational steps toward such alignment would include a common set of test cycles and test payload weights, which would serve to define universal measures of vehicle performance. This in turn would permit a standardized calculation of cost-effectiveness of technology improvements as a function of regional conditions. This would also allow comparison of vehicles in a range of driving conditions, and in particular would allow buyers to estimate performance over their own duty cycles, the report suggests.
Hansen paper emphasizes importance of retention and expansion of nuclear power for health and climate reasons
April 04, 2013
|Mean number of deaths prevented annually by nuclear power, 1971-2009. Credit: ACS, Hansen et al. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute has found that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. The estimated human deaths caused by nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 were far lower than the avoided deaths: 4,900, or about 370 times lower than the result for avoided deaths.
Projecting ahead, on the basis of global projection data that takes into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, Hansen and Kharecha also calculated that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420,000−7.04 million deaths and 80−240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by mid-century, depending on which fuel it replaces. Large-scale expansion of unconstrained natural gas use would not mitigate the climate problem and would cause far more deaths than expansion of nuclear power, according to their analysis, which is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
US EPA proposing allowing high-octane, higher ethanol content fuels as part of Tier 3 regs; E30 as example
April 03, 2013
As part of the proposed Tier 3 rulemaking on vehicle emissions and gasoline sulfur content released last week (earlier post), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to allow vehicle manufacturers to request approval for an alternative certification fuel—such as a high-octane 30% ethanol by volume (E30) blend—for vehicles they might design or optimize for use on such a fuel.
Higher octane fuels can lead to higher compression ratios which in turn can lead to more efficient gasoline engines and reduced fuel consumption. With turbocharged gasoline engines, there is a double benefit: higher compression ratios and increased boost. (Earlier post.) Having approval for such a high octane certification fuel would, the EPA proposed in the Tier 3 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
EPA proposes Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content and vehicle emissions; harmonized with California LEV III
March 29, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed long-anticipated Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content; evaporative emissions; and tailpipe emissions from all light-duty vehicles (LDVs, or passenger cars), light-duty trucks (LDT1s, LDT2s, LDT3s, and LDT4s) and Medium-Duty Passenger Vehicles (or MDPVs).
With a proposed start in 2017, the Tier 3 program is also harmonized with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Emission Vehicle (LEV III) program—enabling automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The Tier 3 proposal is also aligned with and designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as EPA’s program for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light-duty vehicles starting in model year 2017.
DOE launches Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative; awards $23.5M to 5 more manufacturing R&D projects
March 26, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), which will focus on growing US manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting US competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide DOE’s future funding decisions.
As a part of its increased focus on manufacturing research and development, DOE also awarded $23.5 million to 5 innovative manufacturing research and development projects. This new funding for advanced manufacturing—as well as the $54 million invested in 13 projects during the first round of selections in June of 2012 (earlier post)—is to serve as a ground floor investment in CEMI.
PCAST suggests 6 key components for climate change strategy to President Obama; adaptation and mitigation
March 23, 2013
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a letter to President Obama describing six key components the advisory group believes should be central to the Administration’s strategy for addressing climate change. The letter, responding to a request by the President last fall for input, calls for a dual focus on mitigation and adaptation.
President Obama established the current PCAST in 2010 as an advisory group of leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President; one of the members serves as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology (the Science Advisor). PCAST’s charter is to advise the President on matters involving science, technology, and innovation policy, including, but not limited to, policy that affects science, technology, and innovation, as well as scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, and other topics.
California ARB considering regulations for alternative diesel fuels; focus on biodiesel
The staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is holding a public meeting on 23 April in Sacramento to discuss regulatory concepts for establishing fuel requirements for alternative diesel fuels (ADF), including biodiesel, renewable diesel and other emerging diesel fuel substitutes.
ARB’s goal is to conduct public meetings leading to the development of a regulatory proposal for consideration by the Board this fall. Staff anticipates the regulatory concepts would involve new alternative diesel fuel provisions, as well as amendments to the existing diesel fuel regulation to accommodate the new ADF requirements and to update outdated provisions. This effort is not directed at other existing transportation fuel programs, such as those for compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, hydrogen, or electricity.
Study finds technology cost of achieving European 2020 LDV CO2 targets more than offset by resultant fuel savings
March 19, 2013
|Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge.|
A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2 regulations for vehicles (95 g/km for cars and 147 g/km for vans) will be more than offset by the resultant fuel savings. The technical and macro-economic study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, focuses on light-duty vehicles.
The project is taking a phased approach. This first report (Phase I) examines only the impact of improving the efficiency of fossil-fueled vehicles, in which efficiency gains are delivered by the improvement of the internal combustion engine vehicle, including lightweighting, engine downsizing and hybridization. The Phase II report, to be presented mid-2013, examines the impact of the gradual penetration of advanced powertrains, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with increasing levels of indigenous energy resources, such as electricity and hydrogen.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
SMART: working for a systems-based approach to sustainable mobility; Alcoa Foundation support for practical solutions in Beijing and Detroit
One of the key messages of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project (earlier post) is that deep cuts in transportation petroleum consumption and emissions are dependent on combined reductions across three factors: vehicle fuel consumption (modes); fuel carbon intensity (fuels); and vehicle use (service demand). In other words, while vehicle and fuel technologies clearly play a major role, so does demand reduction and the development of smarter, sustainable transportation systems. Of 9 reports from the TEF project, four deal with reducing transportation demand.
SMART (Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation), a project of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and TCAUP, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is in its ninth year of working on the problem highlighted by the demand-reduction elements of the TEF project—catalyzing systematic and fundamental transformations of mobility / accessibility systems by uncovering a set of “tipping points” along with integrated (not single-fix) solutions guiding the evolution of such systems.
GAO report finds DOE not actively considering any applications for Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program
March 16, 2013
A new review of the status of US Department of Energy (DOE) loan programs by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, as of 29 January 2013, DOE was not actively considering any applications for using the remaining $16.6 billion in loan authority or $4.2 billion in credit subsidy appropriations available under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
The ATVM loan program was established in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to provide up to $25 billion in loans for projects to produce more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles and their components. The fiscal year 2009 continuing resolution provided the ATVM loan program with $7.5 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. DOE has made five loans worth $8.4 billion and used $3.3 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. Loans awarded were:
President Obama calls on Congress to establish $2B Energy Security Trust for advanced transportation research, funded by oil and gas royalty revenues
March 15, 2013
|Click to enlarge.|
In an speech at Argonne National Laboratory today, President Obama called on Congress to establish a new Energy Security Trust (EST) to invest in critical, breakthrough research focused on developing cost-effective transportation alternatives. The President had referenced the concept of the EST during his State of the Union address earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The President’s proposal sets aside $2 billion over 10 years and will support research into a range of technologies such as advanced electrified vehicles, biofuels, fuel cells, and domestically produced natural gas. The mandatory funds would be set aside from royalty revenues generated by oil and gas development in Federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), already included in the administration’s five-year plan.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
Mayor of London proposes $1.4B cycling plan for the city; “Crossrail for the bike”
March 07, 2013
Among other features, the plans would create a “Crossrail for the bike”—a route that will run for more than 15 miles (24 km), very substantially segregated, from the western suburbs, through the heart of London, to Canary Wharf and Barking. It would use new Dutch-style segregated cycle tracks along, among other places, the Victoria Embankment and the Westway flyover. It is believed to be the longest substantially-segregated cycle route of any city in Europe.
Study finds that increased vehicle travel and decreased occupancy have undercut the impact of improving fuel economy over last 40 years
March 06, 2013
A new study by Dr. Michael Sivak, Director, Sustainable Worldwide Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), has found that from 1970-2010, an increase in vehicle distance travelled in the US, coupled with a decrease in the number of occupants in the vehicles, combined to undercut the impact of advances in vehicle fuel economy during that period.
From 1970 to 2010, vehicle distance travelled in the US increased by 155% (from 1.674 trillion km to 4.260 trillion km); however, because vehicle load (i.e., occupants carried) decreased by 27% (from 1.9 to 1.38 persons), the occupant distance travelled increased by 84% (from 3.182 to 5.867 trillion km). Sivak found that while the vehicle fuel economy of the entire light-duty fleet improved by 40% (from 13 mpg US to 21.6 mpg US, or from 18.1 l/100km to 10.9 l/100km), because of the decrease in vehicle load, the occupant fuel economy only improved by 17% (from 24.8 mpg US to 29.8 mpg US, or 9.5 to 7.9 l/100km).
Shell to build LNG units in Gulf Coast and Great Lakes regions; two additional LNG for transport corridors in North America
March 05, 2013
Shell and its affiliates will build two additional small-scale natural gas liquefaction units to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel for marine and heavy-duty on-road customers in North America. Pending final regulatory permitting, these two new liquefaction units are expected to begin operations and production in about three years.
These two units will form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. This decision follows an investment decision in 2011 on a similar corridor in Alberta, Canada. (Earlier post.) Shell is also working to use natural gas as a fuel in its own operations.
GFEI report finds improvements in average new LDV fuel economy lagging pace required to cut 50% fuel use for new cars worldwide by 2030; policy focus should be on emerging markets
Worldwide, light-duty vehicle (LDV) fuel economy is not improving fast enough to cut average fuel use by 50% for all new cars by 2030, according to a working paper issued by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI). (Earlier post.) Of particular concern for the GFEI is a lack of progress among non-OECD countries.
The analysis, an update of an earlier work using data from 2010 and 2011, found that the global average for light-duty vehicle fuel economy was 7.2 l/100 km (32.7 mpg US mpg) in 2011—an improvement of 1.8% per year from 2005 when the average was 8.0 l/100 km (29.4 mpg US). In the first edition of the report, published in 2011, the main finding highlighted that global fuel economy had improved by an average of 1.7% per year between 2005 and 2008. While the pace of improvement has slightly accelerated between 2008 and 2011, it lags behind the required 2.7% annual improvement rate that had been required to reach the GFEI target of a 4l/100 km (58.8 mpg US) global average by 2030 for new cars.
EEA report suggests road charges for heavy-duty goods vehicles should reflect varied health effects of pollution in different countries
March 04, 2013
|Air pollution externalities of 12–14 ton HGV on highway (Euronorm III) in euro cents. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) suggests that new road charges for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs or lorries) should reflect the varied health effects of traffic pollution in different European countries. This means charges should be much higher in some countries compared to others, according to the (EEA).
The amended Eurovignette Directive (2011/76/EU) relating to the charging of HGVs for use of major European motorways prescribes that from 2013, Member States may include air pollution costs in any charging structure for roads under the Trans‐European Network (TEN-T) and for comparable domestic motorways. The revenue from such schemes should be invested in sustainable transport, the Directive states. However, adoption of road user charges depends on a decision by individual countries.
EIA: cellulosic biofuels will likely remain well below EISA targets
February 26, 2013
|Planned cellulosic biofuel production by 2015. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.|
US Commercial-scale production of cellulosic biofuels reached about 20,000 gallons in late 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA estimates this output could grow to more than 5 million gallons this year, as operations ramp up at several plants. Additionally, several more plants with proposed aggregate nameplate capacity of around 250 million gallons could begin production by 2015, EIA said.
However, although cellulosic biofuels volumes are expected to grow significantly relative to current levels, they will likely remain well below the targets envisioned in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). EISA set a target level of 500 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels for 2012 and 1 billion gallons for 2013, growing to 16 billion gallons by 2022.
MIT study finds fuel economy standards are 6-14 times less cost effective than fuel tax for reducing gasoline use
February 21, 2013
In a study published in the journal Energy Economics, MIT researchers have found that a fuel economy standard is at least six to fourteen times less cost effective than a fuel tax when targeting an identical reduction in cumulative gasoline use (20% by 2050). The researchers also found that a binding fuel economy standard, combined with a cap-and-trade (CAT) policy, increases the cost of meeting the GHG emissions constraint by forcing expensive reduction in passenger vehicle gasoline use, displacing more cost-effective abatement opportunities.
The impact of adding a fuel economy standard to the CAT policy depends on the availability and cost of abatement opportunities in transport—if advanced biofuels provide a cost-competitive, low carbon alternative to gasoline, the fuel economy standard does not bind and the use of low carbon fuels in passenger vehicles makes a significantly larger contribution to GHG emissions abatement relative to the case when biofuels are not available.
California ARB to hold public workshop on new GHG and emissions standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public workshop on 11 March to discuss proposals for several regulations and regulation amendments related to on-road heavy-duty vehicles.
At this workshop, staff will be soliciting input on proposals multiple proposals: a new regulation to harmonize with GHG emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles that US EPA adopted in 2011; amendments to ARB’s existing Heavy-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Reduction Regulation to align with the proposed new GHG regulation; a new set of optional oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards for heavy-duty vehicle engines more stringent than the current 2010 model year standard; and amendments to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to Limit Diesel-fueled Commercial Motor Vehicle Idling to expand compliance responsibility.
California ARB proposing amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet regulation to ensure adequate hydrogen fueling infrastructure
February 19, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will conduct a public hearing in June to consider adopting amendments to the Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) Regulation with the intention of ensuring an adequate hydrogen refueling infrastructure to support the introduction and growth of hydrogen-fueled vehicles.
In January 2012, the Board adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) regulatory package adopted in January 2012 (earlier post)—a combination of the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations (for criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions) and the technology-forcing Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) that pushes manufacturers to produce ZEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in the 2018 through 2025 model years. In addition, the ACC program included amendments to Clean Fuels Outlet (CFO) requirements that will assure that ultra-clean fuels such as hydrogen are available to meet vehicle demands brought on by amendments to the ZEV regulation.
Senators Sanders, Boxer propose legislation to institute GHG price on large stationary sources and remove support for fossil fuel industries
February 15, 2013
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would set an escalating fee on greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources to fund investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies and also provide rebates to consumers to offset increases in energy prices. The legislation also proposes numerous actions against financing and support for fossil fuel industries.
The proposal was drafted as two measures, the Climate Protection Act—which sets the carbon price and finance programs for sustainable technologies—and the Sustainable Energy Act—which ends federal support for fossil fuel companies and research and extends tax incentives for renewables. Among the financing provisions of the legislation are:
SAE CRP: growing high level of confidence that R1234yf can be used safely; “disappointment” with departure of Daimler, BMW and Audi
February 11, 2013
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team, formed last year to review relevant research and testing to finalize the risk assessment of the use of the low global warming potential R1234yf in mobile air conditioning systems (earlier post), met face-to-face during the week of 4 February 2013. SAE reported that as the CRP team continues to review relevant research and testing to finalize the risk assessment, the high level of confidence that R1234yf can be used safely in automotive applications continues to grow.
This review—the fourth such—was launched in October 2012 after Daimler in September announced that findings from its internal investigations raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems and said that it would not use this chemical in its products. (Earlier post.)
EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan sees likely increase in tropospheric ozone, with more difficulty in attaining NAAQS in many areas
February 10, 2013
Among the many climate-related vulnerabilities that can impact its mission, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites a likely increase in tropospheric ozone pollution as potentially making it more difficult to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in many areas with existing ozone problems. The analysis comes in a draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan that the agency has released for public comment.
In the plan, EPA examines the different ways in which its programs are vulnerable to a changing climate and how it might adapt to continue meeting its mission of protecting human health and the environment. Every program and regional office within the EPA is currently developing an Implementation Plan outlining how each considers the impacts of climate change in its mission, operations, and programs, and carrying out the work called for in the agency-wide plan.
Energy 2030 outlines steps to double US energy productivity by 2030; spend $166B a year to net savings of $327B
February 07, 2013
The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a set of recommendations—Energy 2030—designed to double US energy productivity by 2030. The Commission was created in 2012 to identify solutions for increasing US energy productivity and aid in jumpstarting the economy.
To achieve the Commission’s goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030 with currently available technology and design practices, households, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments will need to invest about an additional $166 billion a year (in real 2010 US dollars) in building improvements, energy efficient vehicles and industrial equipment, and energy saving transportation systems, according to the report. This investment would both reduce the amount of energy needed to run the American economy and the price of energy for US consumers, lowering overall energy costs by some $494 billion a year, according to the analysis.
California Governor’s Office releases 2013 ZEV action plan; 1.5M ZEVs on CA roadways by 2025
California Governor Jerry Brown’s Office and state agencies issued a 2013 Zero-emission Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan. The Action Plan follows on Governor Brown’s Executive Order (B-16-2012) released March 2012, which set required milestones for state government to enable 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roadways by 2025. (Earlier post.) The Action Plan details concrete actions that state agencies are taking to help accelerate the market for plug-in electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.
For the purposes of the executive order and action plan, ZEVs include hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). They also address light-duty passenger vehicles and heavier vehicles such as freight trucks and public buses.
SAE High Octane Fuels Symposium: Is a new high-octane fuel a pragmatic pathway for higher engine efficiency in the US? (part 2)
February 06, 2013
As highlighted at the 2013 SAE International High Octane Fuels Symposium (HOF) last week, high octane fuels—combined with optimized engines—are viable enablers to higher efficiency operation. When ethanol is used as the octane enhancer, there is an added benefit due to the latent heat of vaporization of that fuel. (Earlier post.)
As articulated by Dr. Jim Szybist from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one vision of a high-octane ethanol fuel infrastructure and distribution system could include a standardized high ethanol/high octane fuel with ethanol content probably in the E20-E50 range. Refiners would continue to produce two high volume products in the gasoline boiling range: the Exx BOB (Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending) would have a low octane requirement (e.g., RON ~85), and be inexpensive for refiners to produce. Gasoline or E10 BOB would be premium-grade fuel for total coverage of legacy fleet.
EV Everywhere Blueprint outlines DOE technical and development goals for EVs for 2022
February 01, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint, which describes plug-in vehicle (PEV) technology and deployment barriers, and provides an outline for DOE’s technical and deployment goals for electric vehicles to 2022. DOE will pursue these targets in cooperation with a host of public and private partners.
President Obama announced the DOE “Clean Energy Grand Challenge” in March 2012 with the goal of enabling US companies to be the first in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) that are as affordable and convenient for the average American family as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years. In September 2012, DOE requested public comment on an EV Everywhere Initial Framing Document. (Earlier post.)
EPA proposes 2013 standards for RFS; cellulosic biofuel at 14 million gallons
January 31, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). The proposal comes shortly after the DC Circuit Court vacated the EPA’s 2012 cellulosic biofuels standard for the RFS. (Earlier post.)
The cellulosic biofuel standard for 2012—vacated by the court for being too high given the reality in the market—was 8.65 million gallons. (Earlier post.) Congress, via EISA, had originally thought to have 500 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels by 2012. The standard proposed by the EPA for 2013 is 14 million gallons.
DC Circuit court vacates 2012 cellulosic RFS standard, affirms 2012 advanced biofuel standard
January 27, 2013
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled this week in a case (#12-1139) brought by the American Petroleum Institute (API) against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (earlier post), and vacated the 2012 cellulosic biofuel RFS standard while affirming the 2012 advanced biofuel standard.
API had filed the lawsuit with the DC Circuit Court challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for what API called “unachievable” requirements for use of cellulosic biofuels in the 2012 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). EPA’s 2012 rule requires that refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel must use 8.65 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels despite a lack of commercial supply of the fuel—a requirement that the API at the time called “divorced from reality.”
DeCicco: Transportation GHG reduction policy should focus upstream on fuel supply rather than downstream on choice of fuels in vehicles
January 25, 2013
In a new working paper, Prof. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan argues that to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, the proper policy focus should be upstream in sectors that provide the fuel, rather than downstream on the choice of fuels in the automobile.
More specifically, he suggests that other than supporting fundamental R&D, programs to promote alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) “are not currently warranted for climate protection. In addition to managing travel demand and improving vehicle efficiency, the implied climate policy priority is limiting net GHG emissions in fuel supply sectors.” The paper is available from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
EU launches clean fuel strategy; EU-wide standards of equipment and binding targets for infrastructure
The European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and insufficient, the EC said.
Clean fuel adoption is being held back by three main barriers, the EC said: the high cost of vehicles; a low level of consumer acceptance; and the lack of recharging and refueling stations. Refueling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles; vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand; and consumers do not buy the vehicles because they are expensive and the stations are not there. The Commission is therefore proposing a package of binding targets on Member States for a minimum level of infrastructure for clean fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas, as well as common EU wide standards for equipment needed.
Nations agree on global, legally binding treaty on mercury emissions: Minamata Convention on Mercury
January 19, 2013
At the conclusion of the International Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC5) meeting in Geneva (earlier post), nations agreed on a global, legally-binding treaty to prevent mercury emissions and releases. The Committee, chaired by Fernando Lugris of Uruguay, will present the Convention text to the UNEP Governing Council for adoption next month.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury—named after a city in Japan where serious health damage occurred as a result of mercury pollution in the mid-20th Century—provides controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted. These range from medical equipment such as thermometers and energy-saving light bulbs to the mining, cement and coal-fired power sectors.
Final session on international mercury convention this week expected to culminate in agreement; UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2013 finds industrial source Hg emissions may be rising
January 13, 2013
The fifth and final session of negotiations on the establishment of an international mercury convention—International Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC5)—is taking place this coming week in Geneva. The session is expected to culminate in the adoption of a new convention by the 147 states attending the session to reduce mercury emissions and releases to the air, water and land.
Mercury (Hg)—the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure—is very volatile and highly toxic to humans and animals when inhaled or ingested. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that 1,960 tonnes of mercury arising from human activities are currently emitted annually into the atmosphere, generated mainly by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM)—the largest single anthropogenic source globally—and coal- or lignite-fired power plants. This heavy metal is persistent and is dispersed throughout the world by atmospheric transport. Apart from contaminated sites, the mercury pollution detected today is often found in locations very far away from its original source.
Proposed 5th edition of Worldwide Fuel Charter introduces new Category 5 for fuel efficiency and emission control
January 09, 2013
The proposed new 5th edition of the Worldwide Fuel Charter (WWFC5), which is available for comment through 28 February, introduces a new Category 5, which the Committee adopted to distinguish markets with highly advanced requirements for fuel efficiency as well as for emission control. The proposed WWFC5 provides automaker and engine manufacturer proposed recommendations for the quality of market gasoline and diesel fuel.
For gasoline, Category 5 raises the minimum gasoline research octane number (RON) to 95. For diesel fuel, this category establishes a high quality hydrocarbon-only specification that takes advantage of the characteristics of certain advanced biofuels, including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and biomass-to-liquid (BTL), provided all other specifications are respected and the resulting blend meetes defined legislated terms.
NHTSA proposes new minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles
January 08, 2013
As required by the bipartisan Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA), the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed minimum sound standards for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The proposed standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, would fulfill Congress’ mandate in the PSEA that hybrid and electric vehicles—including passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, low speed vehicles (LSVs), and motorcycles—produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.
Senate version of “Fiscal Cliff” legislation includes 12 energy tax extenders; boost for algae
January 01, 2013
Among the many extensions specified in the amended version of a House bill (H.R.8) passed by the US Senate on New Year’s Day by a vote of 89 - 8 to avoid the across-the-board increase in taxes currently called for by the “fiscal cliff” are a number for energy tax benefits.
The amended bill, now called the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” and next to be considered by the House, contains 12 extensions outlined in Title IV of the bill, ranging from extension of production credits for Indian coal facilities to benefits for alternative fuels (including algal biofuels) and plug-in vehicles. The Sections are:
TU Dresden study on external costs of automotive transportation in Europe calls for internalization of the high external costs; raising user prices to change behavior
December 26, 2012
|Average external costs from cars per 1,000 vkm by country. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study from Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) commissioned by the Greens/European Free Allianace (EFA) in the European Parliament concluded that the cars used within the EU-27 externalize up to about €373 billion (US$493 billion) per year (high estimate) of costs on to other people, other regions and other generations. The low estimate is external costs of €258 billion (US$341 billion).
The study focused on the larger environmental costs of car traffic (plus accident costs not covered by insurance)—i.e., air pollution; noise, upstream and downstream effects (covering all effects before and after the actual trip is performed); smaller other effects (land use, separational effects etc.); and climate change (focused on avoidance costs rather than damage costs). Neither infrastructure costs (area purchase, construction, maintenance, demolition, administration of infrastructure) nor congestion costs were included.
EC awards €1.2B from NER300 “Robin Hood” mechanism for 23 renewable energy projects; 5 advanced biofuel projects targeted for €516.8M
December 20, 2012
The European Commission awarded more than €1.2 billion (US$1.6 billion) funding to 23 highly renewable energy demonstration projects—including five advanced biofuels projects with maximum combined funding of €516.8 million (US$687 million), or 43% of the total—under the first call for proposals for the NER300 program.
Funding for the program comes from the sale of 300 million emission allowances from the New Entrants Reserve (NER) (hence the name) set up for the third phase of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The funds from the sales are to be distributed to projects selected through two rounds of calls for proposals, covering 200 and 100 million allowances respectively.
Frost & Sullivan consultant suggests European EV success will require radical lightweighting plus enabling legislation
December 17, 2012
|The 400 kg (curbweight) Aixam quadricycle, with a 400cc two-cylinder diesel, is an example of the size and weight needed in future city vehicles, Meilhan suggests. Click to enlarge.|
Significant vehicle weight reduction and an accompanying change of enabling regulations and norms is the way forward in the quest to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, according to Paris-based Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan.
The car of the future is a small city car, but not necessarily electric, Meilhan suggests. The future of electric vehicles (EVs) depends on regulations from governments and the European Union, incentivizing the consumer to buy them. Legislations for taxing weight size and engine power will help produce and sell such a car. Making parking even more expensive for regular cars will help. Other incentives for small cars, such as being allowed to drive in bus lines, as practiced in Norway, would certainly improve the business case for EVs.
Global Commercial Vehicle meeting continues calls for global regulatory harmonization on fuel efficiency and emissions reduction
December 16, 2012
European, North American and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers continue to call for global cooperation and regulatory harmonization to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the road freight sector, according to a summary of the recent 10th Global Commercial Vehicle meeting posted by the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).
More specifically, the assembled chief executives of manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines agreed on the need to expand the application of the UN ECE’s world-wide harmonized heavy-duty certification (WHDC) procedure for engine exhaust emissions; the importance of global diesel fuel specifications; the development of globally harmonized fuel-efficiency test procedures; and the promotion of harmonization of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.
USDA awards $10M in grants to spur production of biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products
December 15, 2012
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $10 million in research grants to spur production of biofuels, bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs. Vilsack highlighted the announcement with a visit to Michigan State University, a grant awardee.
The long-term goal for the research projects, which were selected through a competitive process, is to implement sustainable regional systems that materially deliver liquid transportation biofuels to help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act goal of 36 billion gallons per year of biofuels by 2022.
ARB issues solicitation for zero-emission off-road equipment projects
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) issued a grant solicitation for demonstration projects on zero-emission off-road equipment. ARB expects that up to $1 million will be available for this solicitation, although funding could be increased to a maximum of $5 million depending on the availability of state funds. The potential number of projects selected for funding is expected to be two, but up to five projects may be selected, the agency said.
The solicitation was issued under AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program’s (AQIP), Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects and is intended to fund technologies on the cusp of commercialization with the potential for significant targeted reductions in criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emission reduction co-benefits. The solicitation is open to local air districts or other California-based public agencies that demonstrate the requisite technical and administrative expertise.
EPA tightens national annual PM2.5 standard to 12 µg/m3
December 14, 2012
In response to a court order, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health (primary) standard at 12 µg/m3. The outgoing annual standard is 15 µg/m3, which has been in place since 1997. (Earlier post.)
The ruling has no effect on the existing daily primary standard for fine particles (35 μg/m3) or the existing 24-hour health and environmental (primary and secondary) standards for coarse particles (PM10), which have been in place since 1987 and remain unchanged at a level of 150 μg/m3.
SAE project update on R-1234yf refrigerant
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team was recently established to perform an updated engineering review—the fourth such—of usage of the low global warming potential (GWP) R-1234yf refrigerant in vehicles. (Earlier post.) The group has been regularly meeting to review and share test information completed since the close of the original CRP1234-3 in 2009. The previous study concluded that R-1234yf is a safe and acceptable alternative refrigerant for mobile air conditioning systems that can be used to meet new environmental and consumer needs. (Earlier post.)
The new CRP team began by conducting a detailed review of the original Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and chose to expand the trees to ensure that newly-identified information and testing from each of the OEMs is incorporated. This study has highlighted concerns with relying on one test to be reflective of real world collisions across vehicle applications.
Asian Development Bank providing $300M towards replacing 100K gasoline trikes with E-Trikes in the Philippines; $300M for major road upgrades in Chhattisgarh, India
December 11, 2012
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $300 million towards a project that will replace 100,000 gasoline-burning tricycles in the Philippines with electric tricycles, or E-Trikes.
About 3.5 million gas-fueled motorcycles and tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, typically serving as short-distance taxis, with the average tricycle driver earning less than $10 a day. E-Trike drivers will save upwards of $5 a day in fuel costs, and the new E-Trikes have the capacity to carry more passengers. E-Trike drivers saw their daily incomes more than double during a pilot program in Metro Manila.
New petroleum refining lifecycle model finds the variability in GHG emissions from refining different crudes as significant as magnitude expected in upstream operations
December 09, 2012
|Comparison of GHGenius, JACOBS, TIAX, and the new PRELIM gasoline greenhouse gas (GHG) estimates using base case estimates and variations from the scenario analysis. Credit: ACS, Abella and Bergerson. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at the University of Calgary (Canada) have developed the Petroleum Refinery Life-cycle Inventory Model (PRELIM). PRELIM uses a more comprehensive range of crude oil quality and refinery configurations than used in earlier models and can quantify energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with detail and transparency the better to inform policy analysis, the duo suggests.
Using a scenario analysis to explore the implications of processing crudes of different qualities in different refinery configurations, and with a focus on oil sands products, they found differences of up to 14 g CO2eq/MJ of crude, or up to 11 g CO2eq/MJ of gasoline and 19 g CO2eq/MJ of diesel (the margin of deviation in the emissions estimates is roughly 10%). Put another way, “the variability in GHG emissions in the refining stage that results from processing crudes of different qualities is as significant as the magnitude expected in upstream operations”, they found.
EIA Energy Outlook 2013 reference case sees drop in fossil fuel consumption as use of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls; projects 20% higher sales of hybrids and PHEVs than AEO2012
December 05, 2012
|Transportation sector gasoline demand declines. Click to enlarge.|
The US Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case (the Early Release), which highlights a growth in total US energy production that exceeds growth in total US energy consumption through 2040.
Among its many findings, the Reference case suggests that US primary energy consumption will grow by 7% from 2011 to 2040 to 108 quadrillion Btu. However, energy use per capita declines by 15% from 2011 through 2040 as a result of improving energy efficiency (e.g., new appliance standards and CAFE) and changes in the way energy is used in the US economy. Further, the fossil fuel share of primary energy consumption falls from 82% in 2011 to 78% in 2040 as consumption of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls, largely because of the incorporation of new fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles.
DOE to award $120M to team led by Argonne National Lab for joint research hub on batteries and energy storage; 5-5-5 goal
November 30, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. (Earlier post.) The award, based on results, is renewable for another 5 years.
The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D capabilities of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance, targeting electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid. The goal, said Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, is “5-5-5. We will develop batteries that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within 5 years. Factors of five are what we need to transform transportation and the power grid.”
Singapore introducing stiff new feebate scheme for low carbon cars
November 29, 2012
Singapore will implement a new Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEV) on 1 January 2012, providing rebates to qualified new cars, taxis, and imported used cars with low carbon emissions, and imposing an equivalent surcharge on higher emitting vehicles. This new scheme will replace the existing Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) scheme that will expire on 31 December 2012.
Under CEV, all new cars, taxis, and imported used cars registered from 1 January 2013 with low carbon emissions of less than or equal to 160g CO2/km will qualify for rebates of between S$5,000 and S$20,000 (US$4,097 to US$16,389), which will be offset against the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) payable.
Audi takes aggressive stance with diesel in the US; four new models and new 3.0L diesel engine; challenge to policymakers
Audi of America is taking a more aggressive stance with diesel in the US, both in terms of product offerings and in policy. In his press presentation at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Scott Keogh, the president of Audi of America, officially announced the addition of A8, A7, A6, and Q5 TDI diesel models to the Q7 and A3 TDI already on sale in the US. (Earlier post.) The new models, as well as the 2013 Q7 TDI, will feature an all-new 3.0L diesel engine, more details of which will emerge closer to launch.
During his talk, in which he referenced the “bold bet” Audi of America made three years ago with the introduction of the first A3 and Q7 TDI models, Keogh also strongly emphasized the fuel savings benefits of current diesels; touched briefly on the sustainable potential of the combination of more advanced engine technology and cleaner—including bioengineered—fuels; and challenged state and federal policymakers to open HOV lanes to diesel, rethink how the miles per gallon metric is calculated, ratchet up diesel research, and make the tax on diesel equal to gas.
EEA: Traffic pollution still harmful to health in many parts of Europe
November 27, 2012
|Trend in emissions of air pollutants from transport in EEA-32: PM2.5, CO, SOx, NMVOC, NOx. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
Transport in Europe is still responsible for damaging levels of air pollutants and a quarter of EU greenhouse gas emissions, despite some progress in reducing the impacts from transport. Many of the resulting environmental problems can be addressed by stepping up efforts to meet new EU targets, according to the latest report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The EEA’s annual report under the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) assesses the environmental impact of transport across Europe. There have been some improvements over recent years, although these can be partly attributed to reduced economic activity during the recession. As the economic climate improves, the new EU transport targets should focus efforts to further reduce environmental impacts, the report says.
First status review of California LCFS finds regulated parties exceeding the standard; compliance production cost about 0.1 cents/gallon
November 20, 2012
A status review of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) (earlier post) for the period of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 by Dr. Sonia Yeh at the Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis and Julie Witcover found that regulated parties in the LCFS—i.e., oil producers and importers to California—exceeded the standard in 2011 and the first quarter (Q1) of 2012 by a substantial margin.
The report, the first in a series of periodic status reports of the LCFS, found that regulated parties generated 1.58 million credits (tonnes CO2e reduction) in the first 15 months, nearly double the amount of deficits (0.78 million), for a net surplus of 0.80 million credits to exceed the required reduction level by about 0.8 million tonnes CO2e. Companies relied on ethanol to generate 86% of the credits.
DOE to award $11M to 20 new Clean Cities projects for alt fuel cars and trucks
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=807 about $11 million to 20 new projects to help states and local governments to develop the infrastructure, training, and regional planning needed to help meet the demand for alternative fuel cars and trucks, including vehicles that run on natural gas, electricity, and propane.
Through the Department’s Clean Cities initiative, these projects address a range of community infrastructure and training needs, such as providing safety and technical training for fleet operators, mechanics, first responders, and code officials; streamlining permitting and procurement processes; and helping public and private fleets integrate petroleum reduction strategies into their operations. Projects include:
CARB releases summary of results of first CO2 cap-and trade auction; CPUC proposes how to use the revenues
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released the results of California’s first quarterly auction under the cap-and-trade program. One allowance permits the release of one metric ton of carbon dioxide. Of the 23,126,110 allowances offered for the Current Auction (2013 Vintage), 23,126,110 were sold with a settlement price of $10.09 (auction reserve price was $10.00). The “Vintage” is the year they can first be used for compliance. Of 39,450,000 allowances for the Advance Auction (2015 Vintage), 5,576,000 were sold with a settlement price of $10 (same reserve price).
The settlement price is the lowest accepted bid price above reserve price or before allowances are sold out. For the 2013 Vintage, the maximum price was $91.13; mean price was $13.75; and median price was $12.96.
Study identifies social policy as important factor in national environmental performance
November 19, 2012
|Theoretical flowchart linking SP to HREP. * Indicates motivation to act environmentally for the benefit of the valued object: other human beings (voting and political actions). Credit: ACS, Kerret and Shvartzvald. Click to enlarge.|
A country’s social policy (SP) plays an important role in explaining differences in the environmental performance (EP) of countries, according to a new study by Dorit Kerret and Renana Shvartzvald at Tel-Aviv University.
The paper, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, tries to unravel factors that explain national differences in EP by using quantitative data to examine factors affecting the EP of a broad sample of country-wide data. To avoid the variability of performance measures encountered by previous studies, Kerret and Shvartzvald proposed three categories of EP indicators: human-related EP (HREP) (related to environmental health harm); ecology-related EP (EREP); and global-related EP (GREP). They used the EP Index (EPI) as a measure of outcomes.
World Bank report examines likely impacts and risks associated with a 4 °C global warming within this century
A new report commissioned by the World Bank, and prepared by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics, provides a snapshot of recent scientific literature and new analyses of likely impacts and risks that would be associated with a 4 °C global warming within this century. The report—Turn Down the Heat—attempts to outline a range of risks, focusing on developing countries and especially the poor.
The report is not a comprehensive scientific assessment, the authors note; one such is slated to be forthcoming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013–14 in its Fifth Assessment Report. The World Bank report focused on developing countries, while recognizing that developed countries are also vulnerable and at serious risk of major damages from climate change.
EPA denies waiver of Renewable Fuels Standard
November 16, 2012
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has not found evidence to support a finding of severe “economic harm” that would warrant granting a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The decision is based on economic analyses and modeling done in conjunction with the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE).
In August, in light of drought conditions affecting the country, governors from several states requested a waiver of the national volume requirements for the renewable fuel standard program (RFS). EPA said that while it recognizes that this year’s drought has created significant hardships in many sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers, its analysis made clear that Congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met. Further, it found, waiving the RFS would have little, if any, impact on ethanol demand or energy prices over the time period analyzed.
SAE begins 4th cooperative research program on R-1234yf refrigerant after Daimler raises safety questions and balks at use
November 09, 2012
In October 2012, a fourth SAE International Cooperative Research Program (CRP) was launched by the automotive industry to further analyze the safety of the new low global warming potential (GWP) mobile air conditioner refrigerant, R1234yf. The participants in the 2012 R-1234yf CRP include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
The action comes after Daimler in September announced that findings from its internal investigations raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems and said that it would not use this chemical in its products. (Earlier post.)
EC rolls out CARS 2020 action plan for European auto industry
November 08, 2012
Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, introduced the EC’s CARS 2020 Action Plan aimed at reinforcing the European automotive industry’s competitiveness and sustainability heading towards 2020. The anticipated action plan comes at a time when the automotive industry is facing particular pressure due to a strong decline of the EU market and structural overcapacities. It is the first deliverable of the New European Industrial Policy outlined in an earlier communication.
This Action Plan is based on four pillars: investing in advanced technologies and financing innovation; improving market conditions; enhancing global competitiveness; and investing in human capital and skills and softening the social impacts of restructuring. With this strategy, the Commission intends to support the active role the automotive sector will play in seeking to reverse the declining share of industry in Europe from its current level of around 16% of GDP to as much as 20% by 2020.
CMU/Ford study assesses optimal mix of conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles for minimizing GHG and cost
October 31, 2012
|Breakdown of (a) equivalent annualized life cycle cost and (b) life cycle GHG emissions for four independently cost-optimized vehicle designs. Traut et al. Click to enlarge.|
In a new study, a team from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering set out to determine the optimal mix for the fleet of mid-size personal vehicles in the US—while maintaining current driving patterns—with the goals of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) or cost. They also addressed the question of GHG or cost reduction with and without a workplace charging infrastructure.
Their study, they suggested in a paper analyzing the best possible outcomes and published in the journal Energy Policy, is a step towards understanding what should be incentivized by policy makers.
CMU study finds small battery PHEVs and gasoline hybrids the least-cost policy solution to reducing gasoline consumption
October 29, 2012
In an new study analyzing the cost-effectiveness of policies subsidizing electric-drive vehicle battery capacity and charging infrastructure installation to reduce gasoline consumption in the US, Scott Peterson and Jeremy Michalek of Carnegie Mellon University found that, under a wide range of scenarios, the least-cost solution is for more drivers to switch to low-capacity plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) or gasoline-powered hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Comparing the subsidy necessary to achieve lifetime cost parity with the least-cost option for each vehicle class in the base case, they found that the maximum cost per gallon saved for increased all electric range (AER) is 5%–40% less than the minimum cost per gallon saved when installing charging infrastructure, depending on vehicle class. Looking forward as battery prices decrease and the AER resulting in maximum life-time cost savings increases, the relative value of plugging in multiple times throughout the day will also decline, they suggest. Their paper is available online in the journal Energy Policy.
California Energy Commission selects 7 biofuel companies for almost $27M in funding
October 18, 2012
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has selected seven companies as proposed recipients for $26,896,373 in Round 2 of awards from a solicitation released under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) to provide funding for the development of new, California-based biofuel production facilities that can sustainably produce low-carbon transportation fuels.
Maximum funding available for this grant solicitation, which was issued in January, was $37.69 million; the Energy Commission reserved the right to increase total funding under this solicitation by up to an additional $30 million. The Commission released Round 1 of the proposed awards in March. Of the seven Round 2 proposed award recipients, two produce diesel substitutes ($8,641,723); two produce gasoline substitutes ($9,664,657); and three produce biomethane ($8,589,993).
EC proposes capping use of crop-based biofuels to 5% in meeting target of 10%; ILUC factors included
The European Commission has proposed limiting the use of crop-based biofuels to meet the 10% renewable energy target of the Renewable Energy Directive to 5%. This is to stimulate the development of alternative, second-generation biofuels from non-food feedstock, such as waste or straw, which emit substantially less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and do not directly interfere with global food production.
Also, for the first time, the estimated global land conversion impacts&mdash Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) factors—will be considered when assessing the greenhouse gas performance of biofuels. The proposal sets out indirect land-use change (ILUC) factors for different crop groups. Under the new rules, the estimated emissions from ILUC factors are to be included in Member States’ and fuel suppliers’ reporting of greenhouse gas savings under the Renewable Energy Directive and in the Fuel Quality Directive respectively.
USDA awards Penn State $10M to develop biomass supply chains for liquid transportation and aviation biofuels in Northeast
October 16, 2012
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Pennsylvania State University a five-year research grant valued at roughly $10 million to develop biomass supply chains for the production of liquid transportation and aviation biofuels in the Northeast.
The NEWBio Consortium will focus on the non-food biomass sources of willow, miscanthus and switchgrass, which can be grown on former strip mines and marginal floodplains. Through an integrated research, education and Extension approach, the consortium will address the entire biofuel production spectrum, including crop genetic development, harvesting, storage and processing techniques and sustainable production systems. The biomass research will develop sustainable production practices to improve yield by 25% and reduce costs by 20%.
GAO: US government obligated $1.3+ billion in 39 battery and energy storage initiatives from FY 2009-2012; fragmented but not duplicative
October 15, 2012
In a recently published report (GAO-12-842), the US Government Accountability office (GAO) identified 39 battery and energy storage initiatives with a variety of key characteristics that were implemented across six federal agencies: the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD); the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the National Science Foundation (NSF); the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
These initiatives, which obligated more than $1.3 billion from fiscal years 2009 through 2012, supported a variety of technologies, uses, advancement activities, and goals, according to the report. In addition to these obligations, DOE supported about $596 million in direct loans. Several types of recipients were eligible for funding, such as private industry, universities, and federal labs, through contracts, grants, and other mechanisms.
Daimler balks at use of low GWP R-1234yf refrigerant, citing new internal safety findings; wants to continue using R-134a (updated)
September 25, 2012
Daimler announced that findings from a new internal investigation have raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems. Due to the new findings of this study and the high safety demands at Mercedes-Benz, Daimler says that it will not use this chemical in its products. The company stated that it therefore wishes to continue to use R-134a refrigerant in its vehicles.
Over the last several years, the automotive industry has been tracking to replace the mobile air conditioning (MAC) refrigerant R-134a, which has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,430, with the lower-GWP refrigerant R-1234yf (GWP = 4). In 2009, for example, a two-year Cooperative Research Program conducted through SAE International to investigate the safety and environmental performance of R-1234yf concluded that it could can be used as the global replacement refrigerant in MAC systems and could be safely accommodated through established industry standards and practices for vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing, and service. The report was the third SAE report to evaluate the new refrigerant. (Earlier post.)
TfL Board approves production order for 600 new hybrid buses for London
The Board of Transport for London (TfL) approved a production order for up to 600 of New Bus for London vehicles over the next four years. (Earlier post.) This will create the largest fleet of hybrid buses in Europe, according to TfL.
The 600 buses represent a 200% increase in the current hybrid bus fleet which is set to grow by a further 180 vehicles already on order. When the final batch of new bus for London vehicles is delivered in 2016, more than 1,000 hybrid buses will be in service on the streets of London.
OECD paper presents and analyzes policies and programs to foster market growth of green cars
September 24, 2012
|Timing and sequencing of energy technology policy. Source: OECD. Click to enlarge.|
While alternative fuel vehicles can potentially provide an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and threats to air quality and human health; enhancing the energy security of countries; and providing governments with new sources of economic growth and competitiveness, there are a number of specific barriers retarding the development of the market, according to a detailed policy paper newly published by the OECD as part of its “Green Growth” series. (The OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development formed in 1960 when 18 European countries plus the US and Canada joined forces to create an organization dedicated to global development. Today, the OECD has 34 member countries.)
Given the specific barriers, suggests author Andrea Beltramello, there is a role for government to support the development and diffusion of green vehicles, including through policies to strengthen the markets for green cars. However, he writes, the use of targeted policy intervention raises a number of challenges related to the timing and level of support; the choice of appropriate policies and fuels/technologies that should be supported, and the inherent risks.
Congressional Budget Office estimates US federal policies promoting EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles will cost $7.5B through 2019; little or no impact on gasoline use and GHG in the short term
September 21, 2012
|Tax credits and gasoline prices necessary for various electric vehicles to be cost-competitive with conventional vehicles at 2011 vehicle prices. Source: CBO. Click to enlarge.|
The nonpartisan US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that federal policies to promote the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles, some of which also support other types of fuel-efficient vehicles, will have a total budgetary cost of about $7.5 billion through 2019.
In a new report examining the effect of federal tax credits on the plug-in market, the CBO finds that tax credits for buying electric vehicles—which account for about one-fourth of the policy cost—are likely to have the greatest impact on vehicle sales. The report also finds that while tax credits for EVs will have little or no impact on the total gasoline use and greenhouse gas emissions of the nation’s vehicle fleet over the next several years, the credits can affect future gasoline consumption and emissions if future revisions to the CAFE standards are influenced by current sales of electric vehicles and expectations about future sales.
IEA technology and policy reports outline paths to halving fuel used for combustion-engined road transport in less than 40 years
September 20, 2012
|IEA fuel economy readiness index status, 2010. Source: Policy package. Click to enlarge.|
Two new reports—one on technology, the other on policy—released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) outline pathways to improve the fuel efficiency of combustion-engined road vehicles by 50% by the middle of the century, saving as much as four-fifths of current annual global oil consumption.
One report, Technology Roadmap: Fuel Economy for Road Vehicles, describes the technologies needed (such as high-pressure fuel injection and wast heat recovery systems) to achieve a much more efficient road-vehicle stock by 2030, while the second, Policy Pathway: Improving the Fuel Economy of Road Vehicles, describes the policy packages, made up of fuel economy labeling, standards and fiscal policies, that can help deliver improved fuel economy. New propulsion systems requiring new fuels, such as plug-in electric vehicle systems and fuel cell systems, are beyond the scope of this technology roadmap and are treated in separate roadmaps.
ICCT study finds European biofuel mandates without consideration of iLUC have a substantial probability of increasing net GHG emissions
September 18, 2012
A new study by Dr. Chris Malins of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) finds that without including indirect Land Use Change (iLUC) factors (or some other effective iLUC minimization approach), European biofuel mandates are unlikely to deliver significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions benefits in 2020, and have a substantial probability of increasing net GHG emissions.
In contrast, he found, the implementation of iLUC factors is likely to significantly increase the carbon savings from EU biofuel policy. With iLUC factors, it is likely that most permitted pathways would conform to the Renewable Energy Directive requirement for a minimum 50% GHG reduction compared to fossil fuels.
Nearly $50M in research funding awarded by NSF-Led National Robotics Initiative to develop next-generation robotics
September 15, 2012
The National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with NASA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), awarded just under $50 million to grantees around the country for the development and use of robots that cooperatively work with people and enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety. These agencies have also issued a new joint solicitation to fund an additional 25-40 awards.
These mark the first round of awards of the Obama Administration’s National Robotics Initiative (NRI) launched with NSF as the lead federal agency just over a year ago as part of the president’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Initiative. (Earlier post.) Each federal agency announced its awards Friday morning; NSF itself is announcing 31 of the awards totaling nearly $30 million.
California ARB holding hearing on adopting amendments to LEV III to support compliance options using new Federal GHG regulations
September 14, 2012
The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) will conduct a public hearing on 15 November in Sacramento to consider adopting amendments to the Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV III) greenhouse gas emissions standards, and additional minor revisions to the LEV III criteria pollutant and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations, approved by the Board earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The objective of the rulemaking is to follow through on the commitment made to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by ARB Chairman Mary Nichols in 2011 and in Board Resolutions 12-11 and 12-21 to propose for adoption appropriate language to accept manufacturer-demonstrated compliance with the new final national passenger motor vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for MYs 2017–2025 (earlier post) as an option to achieve compliance with California’s separate but aligned regulations for those model years.
UCLA/UC Berkeley law schools release policy paper on actions required to stimulate long-term, mass-adoption of electric vehicles; leveraging California
September 10, 2012
The environmental law centers at UCLA and UC Berkeley Schools of Law today released a new policy paper on industry actions and federal, state, and local policies needed to ensure that California catalyzes mass adoption of electric vehicles by 2025, with the goal of building a long-term market in the US.
At stake, the paper argues, is the future of the electric vehicle market. California accounts for 11% of the national market of annual new car sales, and well as more than 20% of conventional hybrid vehicle (i.e., non-plug-in) in the US. “With such a significant market share and volume of cars, California can help launch a sustainable and more robust electric vehicle market, with the country and world benefitting as a result” the paper—“Electric Drive by ’25: How California Can Catalyze Mass Adoption of Electric Vehicles by 2025”—suggests.
UK Government creates Energy Storage R&D Center for electric and hybrid vehicle batteries
September 05, 2012
The UK Government is creating a new “UK Energy Storage R&D Centre” for the advancement of electric and hybrid vehicle batteries. Co-funded by Government (£9 million, or $US14.3 million) and industry (£4 million, or US$6.4 million), the £13-million (US$20.-million) center will capitalize on the growing electric and hybrid vehicle battery market, which has been estimated to be worth £250 million (US$398 million) for the UK by 2020.
The center is the latest move by Government to secure future growth opportunities for the UK’s automotive sector, building on its £400-million (US$636-million) commitment over the next four years to supporting electric cars and other ultra-low carbon vehicles.
India adopts National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020; 6-7M electrified vehicles by 2020, total investment up to $4.1B
August 30, 2012
India’s National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) has adopted the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 (NEMMP 2020), which is the mission document for National Mission for Electric Mobility (NMEM). The NEMMP 2020 lays the vision, sets the targets and provides the roadmap for achieving significant penetration of electric vehicles (including hybrids) in India by 2020.
The NEMMP 2020 has set a target of 6-7 million units of new vehicle sales of full range of electrified vehicles, along with resultant savings of liquid fuel of 2.2 – 2.5 million tonnes to be achieved in 2020. This will also result in substantial lowering of vehicular emissions and a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3% to 1.5% in 2020 as compared to a status quo scenario.
NHTSA and EPA issue final CAFE/GHG rule for MYs 2017-2025; 40.3–41.0 mpg for MY 2021, estimated 48.7–49.7 mpg for MY 2025, 163 gCO2/mile for MY2025
August 28, 2012
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the final rule for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for MYs 2017-2025 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. (Earlier post.) These rules represent the continuation of a harmonized and consistent National Program. (Earlier post.)
Consistent with its statutory authority, NHTSA developed two phases of standards in this rulemaking. The first phase, from MYs 2017-2021, includes final standards that are projected to require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, a range from 40.3—41.0 mpg US (5.84 to 5.74 L/100km) in MY 2021. The second phase of the CAFE program, from MYs 2022-2025, includes standards that are not final, due to the statutory requirement that NHTSA set average fuel economy standards not more than 5 model years at a time.
California state fleet reduces petroleum consumption 13% compared to 2003
The California state fleet has reduced its petroleum consumption by 13% compared to a 2003 baseline, according to a state progress report. Key to this reduction has been the development and implementation of a plan that has improved the State fleet’s overall use of alternative fuels, the reduction of unneeded fleet vehicles, and reducing unnecessary vehicle miles traveled.
In 2003, the state fleet consumed 38,559,715 gallons of petroleum-based fuel (gasoline and diesel), according to the report. In 2010, the fleet consumed 33,509,180 gallons of petroleum fuel (-13%) as well as 3,793,904 gallon of alternative fuels, comprising:
MIT study suggests carbon tax could help reduce US deficit, lower other taxes, reduce emissions
August 27, 2012
A new report from MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change suggests that a tax on carbon emissions could help raise the money needed to reduce the US deficit, while improving the economy, lowering other taxes and reducing emissions.
In the report—Carbon Tax Revenue and the Budget Deficit: A Win-Win-Win Solution?—John Reilly, co-director of the Joint Program and co-author Sebastian Rausch, now at ETH Zurich University, calculated the impact a carbon tax starting at $20 per ton would have using a national economic model that details energy, taxes and household incomes. They found that the tax would raise $1.5 trillion in revenue, which could then be used to reduce personal or corporate income taxes, extend the payroll tax cut that expires this year, maintain spending on social programs—or some combination of these options—while reducing the deficit.
Survey of California plug-in vehicle owners highlights charging behavior
August 22, 2012
|California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebates by vehicle type through July 2012. Source: CCSE. Click to enlarge.|
Californians own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), roughly 35% of all plug-in vehicles in the United States. As of July 2012, approximately 1,000 new plug-in vehicles are being sold in the state every month. The more than 12,000 PEVs provide both consumer and environmental benefits, according to a new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). CCSE conducted the survey in support of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).
The study surveyed more than 1,400 PEV owners in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in early 2012. Owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. The study found that owners drive their cars an average of 26 miles per day and charge their vehicles primarily at night.
Worldwatch: Fossil fuel subsidies continue to outweigh those for renewable energy; international pledges on reform unfulfilled
|Estimated consumption subsidies, industrial and developing countries, fossil fuels and renewables. Source: Worldwatch. Click to enlarge.|
Fossil fuel subsidies continue to far outweigh support for renewable energy, according to new research conducted for the Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Signs Online service. Although independent reporting on these subsidies has increased, global efforts to move forward with subsidy reform have been hindered by a variety of causes, leaving international pledges unfulfilled.
Total subsidies for renewable energy stood at $66 billion in 2010 (a 10% increase from the year before); the total value of global fossil fuel subsidies is estimated at between $775 billion and more than $1 trillion in 2012, Two thirds of the renewable energy subsidies went to renewable electricity resources and the remaining third to biofuels.
Federal Appeals Court vacates EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held in a 2-1 opinion that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had overstepped its authority with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), and, as a result, vacated the regulation (USCA Case #11-1302). CSAPR (also called the Transport Rule) was finalized in July 2011 and replaced and strengthened the requirements of the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ordered EPA to revise in 2008. (Earlier post.)
Carried long distances across the country by wind and weather, power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) continually travel across state lines. The rule was intended to improve air quality by cutting SO2 and NOx emissions that contribute to pollution problems in other states. (The so-called “good neighbor” provision.)
RFF papers explore differing outcomes of higher gasoline taxes on public transit and rural areas
August 12, 2012
Economists view higher gasoline taxes as one solution to reducing gasoline consumption and thus air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and reliance on oil, while at the same time providing revenue to the government for highway repair and construction. While in general, higher gasoline taxes can reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and gasoline consumed, households vary in their ability to reduce their use of gasoline and mitigate the negative welfare impacts of higher gasoline prices, note Resources for the Future (RFF) post-doc researcher Elisheba Spiller and her colleagues in a pair of discussion papers exploring two different outcomes of higher gasoline taxes.
RFF is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research—rooted primarily in economics and other social sciences—on environmental, energy, natural resource and environmental health issues.
6 shipping carriers become inaugural participants in Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index
August 09, 2012
Six shipping carriers have become the inaugural participants in the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index (ESI), an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port. Developed through the International Association of Ports & Harbors’ World Ports Climate Initiative, the ESI program is the first of its kind in North America and the Pacific Rim.
The web-based ESI program, already underway at 14 European ports, offers immediate and significant clean air benefits by rewarding vessel operators for voluntary engine, fuel and technology enhancements that reduce emissions from ships beyond the regulatory environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).