|Technologies for strategic goal #1: Reducing Emissions from End Use and Infrastructure. Technologies shown are representations of larger suites. Transportation sector outlined in red. Click to enlarge. Source: DOE|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released the Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) Strategic Plan, which details measures to accelerate the development and reduce the cost of new and advanced technologies that avoid, reduce, or capture and store greenhouse gas emissions.
The CCTP Strategic Plan organizes roughly $3 billion in federal spending for climate technology research, development, demonstration, and deployment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase economic growth. Technologies emphasized for development are hydrogen, biorefining, renewable power generation, clean coal and carbon sequestration, nuclear fission and fusion.
The Plan sets six complementary goals:
Reducing emissions from energy use and infrastructure;
Reducing emissions from energy supply;
Capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide;
Reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases;
Measuring and monitoring emissions; and
Bolstering the contributions of basic science to climate change.
These six CCTP strategic goals focus primarily on mitigating GHG emissions to make progress toward stabilizing atmospheric GHG concentrations. They are not intended to encompass the broad array of technical challenges and opportunities that may arise from climate change. These may include such research areas as: mitigating vulnerabilities and adaptation of natural and human systems to climate change; addressing effects of acidification of the oceans; geoengineering to reduce radiative forcing through modification of the Earth’s surface albedo or stratospheric sunlight scattering; and others. Such topics are important, but they are beyond the scope of this Plan.—CCTP Strategic Plan
The Plan notes that transportation worldwide accounts for a significant share of global energy demand and is among the fastest growing sources of emissions of GHGs, mainly CO2.
In the near term, advanced highway vehicle technologies, such as electric-fuel engine hybrids (“hybrid-electric” vehicles) and clean diesel engines, could improve vehicle efficiency and, hence, lower CO2 emissions. Other reductions might result from modal shifts (e.g., from cars to light rail), higher load factors, improved overall system-level efficiency, or reduced transportation demand.
In the long term, technologies such as cars and trucks powered by hydrogen, bio-based fuels, and electricity show promise for transportation with either no highway CO2 emissions or no net-CO2 emissions.
The current portfolio of Federally-funded technology development programs underway in the transportation arena addresses the “highest priority current investment opportunities” in the transportation arena, according to the Plan.
CCTP outlines several suggestions for future research, including:
Freight Transport. Strategies and technologies to address congestion in urban areas and freight gateways by increasing freight transfer and movement efficiency among ships, trucks and rail in anticipation of large growth in freight volumes.
Advanced Urban Concepts. Studies of advanced urban-engineering concepts for cities to evaluate alternatives to urban sprawl. Such engineering analysis would consider the co-location of activities with complementary needs for energy, water, and other resources and would enable evaluation of alternative configurations that could significantly reduce vehicle-miles traveled and GHG emissions.
Integrated Urban Planning. Concept and engineering studies for large-scale institutional and infrastructure changes required to manage CO2, electricity, and hydrogen systems reliably and securely. Analysis of the infrastructure requirements for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is needed. By being plugged into the power grid at night, when electricity is cheapest and most available, and by operating solely on battery power for the first 10-60 miles, this technology could significantly reduce oil consumption.
Large-Scale Hydrogen Storage. Technologies for large-scale hydrogen storage and transportation and low-cost, lightweight electricity storage including advanced batteries and ultracapacitors.
Advanced Thermoelectric Concepts. Advanced thermoelectric concepts to convert temperature differentials into electricity, made more affordable through nanoscale manufacturing.
Battery and Fuel Cell Systems. Basic electrochemistry to produce safe, reliable battery and fuel cell systems with acceptable energy and power density, cycle life, and performance under temperature extremes.
New Combustion Regimes. Advanced combustion research on new combustion regimes in conventional vehicle propulsion technologies, using conventional fuels as well as alternatives such as cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel where near-zero regulated emissions and lowered carbon emissions can be achieved.