Lifecycle study finds LNG can reduce shipping GHG emissions by up to 21%
Audi unveils AI:ME self-driving EV concept at Shanghai

Northwestern/Princeton study explores air quality impacts of aggressive conversion to EVs

Researchers from Northwestern University and Princeton University have explored the impact on US air quality from an aggressive conversion of internal combustion vehicles to battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs). In a paper published in the journal Atmospheric Environment, they report on the findings from a suite of scenarios designed to quantify the effect of both the magnitude of EV market penetration and the source of electricity generation used to power them.

The exponentially increasing global market share of EVs has prompted research on their efficacy in reducing greenhouse gases, but comparatively little effort has focused on their impact on air quality. This despite evidence that suggests air pollution impacts from the transportation sector exceed those from greenhouse gases.

… The impact on air quality from the adoption of EVs can vary substantially between regions depending on existing transportation type and density, proximity to and type of power generation, and the region’s chemical regime (e.g., NOx-vs.VOC-limited for O3, NH3-rich vs. NH3-poor for PM). For example, states in the western US (WUS) generally produce a larger fraction of their electricity from renewable and/or “emission-free” sources (i.e., solar, wind, hydroelectric, and nuclear) as compared to the eastern US (EUS), where the electricity market is dominated by pollutant and precursor emitting combustion sources (i.e., coal, oil, natural gas, and biomass).

Most studies that have examined the impact of EVs report only changes in the total emissions associated with their adoption, but do not consider their spatial or temporal variation. … Thus to fully account for the complexity of changes to air pollution chemistry, emission changes should be used to drive a chemical transport model (CTM).

—Schnell et al.

In the study, the researchers applied a prototype version of the new-generation NOAA GFDL global Atmospheric Model, version 4,for their simulations.

To fully account for the complexity of changes to air pollution chemistry, the researchers took multiple variables into consideration:

  • Potential electric vehicles adoption rates;

  • Generation of electric vehicle power supply, including the current combustion-dominant mix, combustion-only sources and enhanced emission-free renewables;

  • Geographical locations; and

  • Seasons and times of day.

Among the findings:

  • Summer surface ozone (O3) decreases in most locations due to widespread reductions of traffic NOx emissions.

  • Summer fine particulate matter (PM2.5) increases on average and largest in areas with increased coal-fired power generation demands.

  • Winter O3 increases due to reduced loss via traffic NOx.

  • Winter while PM2.5decreases since larger ammonium nitrate reductions offset increases in ammonium sulfate.

Increasing the fraction of vehicles converted to EVs further decreases summer O3, while increasing the fraction of electricity generated by “emission-free” sources largely eliminates the increases in summer PM2.5 at high EV adoption fractions. Ultimately, the number of conventional vehicles replaced by EVs has a larger effect on O3 than PM2.5, while the source of the electricity for those EVs exhibit greater control on PM2.5.

—Schnell et al.

Schnell

Air quality changes binned at each 10th percentile and averaged over the WUS (left column, west of 100°W) and EUS (right column, east of 100°W) for each EV adoption scenario (colors) shown for (a, b) O3, (c, d) PM2.5 for April-September, (e, f) PM2.5 for October-March, (g, h) (NH4)2SO4, and (i, j) NH4NO3. Schnell et al.

Across scenarios, we found the more cars that transitioned to electric power, the better for summertime ozone levels. No matter how the power is generated, the more combustion cars you take off the road, the better the ozone quality.

—first author Jordan Schnell, a postdoc with the Ubben Program for Climate and Carbon Science in the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern

Particulate matter decreased in the wintertime but showed greater variation based on location and how the power was generated. Locations with more coal-fired power in their energy mix experienced an increase in PM during the summer. Locations with clean energy sources, however, saw reductions.

We found that in the Midwest, the increased power demands of EV charging in our current energy mix could cause slight increases in summer particulate matter due to the reliance on coal-fired power generation. However, if we transition more of the Midwest’s power generation to renewables, particulate matter pollution is substantially reduced. In the Pacific Northwester or Northeast, where there is already more clean power available, EV adoption—even with the current energy mix—will decrease particulate matter pollution.

—Jordan Schnell

The research was supported by the Ubben Program for Carbon and Climate Science and the National Science Foundation (grant number CBET-1848683).

Resources

  • Jordan L. Schnell, Vaishali Naik, Larry W. Horowitz, Fabien Paulot, Paul Ginoux, Ming Zhao, Daniel E. Horton (2019) “Air quality impacts from the electrification of light-duty passenger vehicles in the United States,” Atmospheric Environment, Volume 208, Pages 95-102 doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.04.003

Comments

electric-car-insider.com

Another authoritative argument for the removal of coal from the electric grid energy mix, and for purchasing solar with that EV.

HarveyD

This confirms that more REs and electrified vehicles (BEVs, PHEVs & FCEVs) are required to reduce air pollution and GHGs.

Quebec Hydro will add three (3) more small HPPs to the existing 63 HPPs to deal with population growth and the arrival of many more electrified vehicles. The construction of major HPPs have been delayed for another 5+ years due to current over supply of generating capacities.

Engineer-Poet
Another authoritative argument for the removal of coal from the electric grid energy mix

As if we needed one.

and for purchasing solar with that EV.

That's a non-sequitur.  If you're reliant on solar power for EV charging, what do you do on cloudy days?  What do you do in winter, which happens where most people in industrial societies live?

Nuclear does the job.  CGNP is suing to halt the closure of Diablo Canyon, arguing forcefully that the California decarbonization law forbids the replacement of emissions-free nuclear power with NG and coal.  This is something to keep an eye on.

SJC

aggressive conversion...
There is still a barrier with a perceived risky large capital purchase.
Until it becomes normal mainstream for all your neighbors to buy EVs, adoption rates will not be "aggressive".

Lad

CPUC plans to close the remaining nuclear plant in 2024 and 2025 when the license expires; claiming changes in the costs of renewables, and increasing community local generation, etc. I think a large factor is PG&E wants out of the power generation business, as well as the gas business, in favor of just maintaining the wires, their grid.

It appears in the absence of sun and wind, California imports power from other states as well as using in state natural gas plants. Plans call for huge battery storage to replace these peaker plants and to feather out the power...I'm thinking they will still import power as needed for backup. Although there are no coal plants in the state, who know how the imported power is generated.

HarveyD

High concentration of plastic nano-particles floating in the air, all the way to high mountain areas, is another potential harmful health problem that humanity will have to deal with soon.

It seems obvious that we have been attacked from pollution from CPPs, NGPPs, ICEVs, trains, ships. planes, many chemicals used for farming and pollution from many industries for 2+ centuries and that we may not have adapted enough to survive in good health?

Many species of birds, bees, butterflies, whales and fishes are already having problems to reproduce and survive.

Life expectancy has started to go down in many countries, including USA and the near future does not look very good for China and India.

electric-car-insider.com

Certainly solar is only part of the solution. But if your grid mix is less than ideal, a combo EV/PV purchase moves you closer to the goal, and saves you money.

Payback periods for residential can be as low as 6 years now if you’re a savvy consumer and get competitive installation bids.

Important point is that a consumer can make a personal choice. The aggregate of these personal choices can move the needle on air quality.


HarveyD

I fully agree with e.c.i.c that locally captured/stored solar energy and EV/PV will soon become competitive with CPPs/ICEV, specially where carbon emissions are taxed at $100/Ton. Are people and politicians ready to introduce a progressive carbon emission tax?

May be not (yet) in Ontario, Sask, Alberta, N-B etc.

shuta chantal

Why should we invest so much money on nuclear energy instead of renewable energy. Solar and wind energy must be the future (there is plenty of them) every other source is a waste of time and money.

HarveyD

A usable 100+ kWh battery (or total 125+ kWh) is required for all weather extended range BEVs. That battery pack currently cost $20K to $30+K and raises the average BEV price above the equivalent ICEVs price by about the same amount.

One way to reduce that difference to zero would be to lease the battery and pay for the battery"s lease with (daily/weekly) savings with lower cost electricity.

More REs could be progressively installed where/when required to meet increased demands. Partially used batteries could be used/recycled for lower cost fixed storage units.

More efforts and resources are required to accelerate the mass production of improved quicker charge batteries and associated quick charge facilities.

If we do not do it, China and EU will do it and we will have to try to catch up.

Engineer-Poet
Why should we invest so much money on nuclear energy instead of renewable energy.

Because "renewable energy", taken to mean wind and solar, DOES NOT WORK.  Nobody has ever gotten rid of fossil fuels that way, because the need is for always-on energy which they cannot provide.  The only "renewable" that works is hydro, and we've already used all the good hydro sites.

Solar and wind energy must be the future (there is plenty of them)

There's plenty of BS, but it isn't the future.  As BS is recognized, it has to be replaced with new BS.  There's plenty of uranium, too.  The difference is, uranium works; BS doesn't.

every other source is a waste of time and money.

Complete inversion of reality.  Nuclear power is the only thing which has decarbonized energy sources on industrial scales.  Every "renewable" country has much higher per-kWh pollutant emissions than France, Sweden and Ontario.  Shut up and go away until you've got something that works.

shuta chantal

You said:
"Shut up and go away until you've got something that works"
How ignorant from you. Did I wrote something about working things?
Quoting wind, sun and fresh water as the only source source of renewable energy tells me already the dimension of your ignorance.
You, being a fan of these complex, heavy and inefficient plug ins just confirms it.
So I feel no need to answer you with facts.

And haven't you read?
Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him

HarveyD

NPPs are excellent sources of relatively clean energy if the four main associated issues could be solved:

1) reduce implementation time by 4X to 6X
2) reduce initial installation cost by 5X to 6X
3) select safer sites and improve public acceptance..
4) solved long term spent fuel disposal.

Most REs have none of the above issues and essential storage for 24/7 can be solved with improved energy generation/distribution management. One+ billion EVs with V2G bidirectional units could solve most of the inherent problems associated with a system with 50% to 60% REs .

In addition, excess energy from REs could be transformed to H2 and stored-distributed for small and large FCEVs and fixed FC generators as required..

Engineer-Poet
I feel no need to answer you with facts.

That was obvious from the beginning.  If you cared a whit for facts you'd be taking your cues from Environmental Progress, not Greenpeace.

How ignorant from you. Did I wrote something about working things?

Hah, grammar went out the window.  Cognitive dissonance confirmed.

Quoting wind, sun and fresh water as the only source source of renewable energy tells me already the dimension of your ignorance.

ORLY?  Show me where ANYTHING else is being rolled out in quantity.  Hell, just show me any proof of feasibility.  I'm from Missouri:  SHOW ME.

You, being a fan of these complex, heavy and inefficient plug ins just confirms it.

Complex?  Who cares?  Heavy?  Hundreds of pounds lighter than a Tesla.  And inefficient?  I regularly beat 50 miles per gallon in hybrid mode, and I'm currently averaging over 132 MPG since new.

If every vehicle sold in the USA was a plug-in like mine, the USA would quickly become independent of imported energy.  Carbon emissions would plummet.  IT WORKS.  I'm proving it personally.

I think that's what bothers you:  your greewashing doesn't work, but tech does.  It has debunked your religion and you're all butthurt over it.

shuta chantal

As soon as someone differs from your opinion you have a rage attack and you try to smash him with all kinds of ignorant arguments and innacuracies. You are worse than your president.
Any good scientist can easily see the many fallacies of your posts, like the last one.
I have made my mind some years ago to leave people like you in their own ignorance.
Yes, a fool has many good reasons to have more hope than you.

Engineer-Poet
NPPs are excellent sources of relatively clean energy

You should have stopped right there, AlzHarvey.

if the four main associated issues could be solved:

1) reduce implementation time by 4X to 6X

This is not necessary.  Getting construction time down to 5-8 years is plenty good enough.  For this, getting government out of the way is sufficient; the US once had plants go from permit application to breaking ground in less than a year, and completion in under 4 years.

2) reduce initial installation cost by 5X to 6X

This is not necessary either.  2x will do, and pre-government hostility the US built nuclear plants for less cost than it took to make equivalent coal-fired boilers.  This should surprise nobody, as a coal boiler is a huge affair with lots of craft labor in things like the firebrick, while a LWR is just a big cylindrical steel forging that bolts together to hold water under pressure.

4) solved long term spent fuel disposal.

This is a political problem.  There are several perfectly feasible solutions, but anti-nukes say "NO" to all of them.  But I saved the foulest lie for last.

3) select safer sites and improve public acceptance.

Nuclear energy is THE safest technology for electric generation, bar none.  Gas and petroleum line explosions kill people.  Coal train accidents kill people.  People fall from wind turbines and die.  People fall off solar roofs and die.  Hydro dams fail and kill people downstream; it was just the other year that 188,000 people had to evacuate because a dam in California was at risk.

The total civilian death toll from radiation from commercial nuclear power in the US and Canada is ZERO.  On a net basis, nuclear power saves many lives by displacing more dangerous generation.  The last thing we need is SAFER, we need MORE.  If we could cut cost in half by risking a Three Mile Island every decade, we should do it.

"Public acceptance" would be no problem if it wasn't for the propagandists.  I would just jail every last one of the lying "activists" claiming nuclear energy is dangerous and filing baseless lawsuits to make everything more expensive and complicated, and reform radiation protection standards to be consistent with the science rather than paranoia.

This isn't paranoia, it's just crazy:

Most REs have none of the above issues

It's just the massive OTHER issues, like total unreliability and devastation of endangered species like raptors and bats.

essential storage for 24/7 can be solved with improved energy generation/distribution management.

How do you "manage" sewage lift pumps going off and basements backing up with literal crap by improving management of power that isn't there?  I keep asking you this, and you come back with the same broken record responses, AlzHarvey.

One+ billion EVs with V2G bidirectional units could solve most of the inherent problems associated with a system with 50% to 60% REs .

In a continent which already has too much vehicle traffic, AlzHarvey proposes increasing the fleet to almost 3 per capita!  I've seen crazier things (Mark Z. Jacobson's fraudulent proposal, to name one) but AlzHarvey appears to function as a free-range crackpottery generator.

Engineer-Poet
As soon as someone differs from your opinion you have a rage attack and you try to smash him with all kinds of ignorant arguments and innacuracies.

Awww, did somebody actually QUESTION the junk you were indoctrinated to regurgitate?

You're a helicopter-parented snowflake who cannot stand contradiction, let alone a thorough fisking.

Any good scientist can easily see the many fallacies of your posts, like the last one.

Yet it's so strange that you, who claim to be both more knowledgeable than I and also morally superior, cannot list ONE such fallacy or even a factual error.  Again, SHOW ME.

I have made my mind some years ago to leave people like you in their own ignorance.

Declare victory and run away before anyone dares to say that the emperor is naked.  Too late, that was my opening shot.  All you've been able to come back with is indignant sputtering.  Quite amusing, actually.  It shows just how deeply mis-educated you are.

You are worse than your president.

I certainly hope so!  I would NEVER take all the crap he's taken from ignorant tw*ts like you.

Yes, a fool has many good reasons to have more hope than you.

It must comfort you to believe so, as you are a fool a thousand times over.  Unfortunately, a society buffeted by the whims of fools is doomed to fail.

HarveyD

ASEP is certainly having more and more major problems with critics from other posters. He may not be too unlike DT but he does not seem to know it?

His enduring love for NPPs, regardless of rising high total cost and extremely long construction time and other draw backs , could be justified for 25% to 35% (base load) if he could manage to get enough public support. USA's and Ontario's old NPPs will very soon need major very costly refurbishing. That will further increase energy cost in those markets. A partial switch to REs may be a better lower cost solution.

Engineer-Poet
ASEP is certainly having more and more major problems with critics from other posters.

AlzHarvey doesn't realize he's an 1d1öt and that I am willing to school all 1d1öts in the harsh terms they deserve.

His enduring love for NPPs, regardless of rising high total cost and extremely long construction time and other draw backs

Strange, AlzHarvey.  Those construction times were not so long in the past, and those costs were once quite reasonable.  Uranium did not change.  Steel did not change.  What changed was government.  GET GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE WAY.  China is friendly rather than hostile, and Chinese plants are built on time and on budget.  KEPCO's plants at Barakah are being built under a friendly government and are on time and on budget.  You are having major problems with acknowledging this.

could be justified for 25% to 35% (base load) if he could manage to get enough public support.

That would be easy enough to do if the liars could be shut up with libel suits.  It would be nice to bankrupt the Rockefeller Foundation for various civil and criminal infractions for libelous attacks on the competition to its fossil-fuel assets.  Without all the liars pushing disinformation to the public, the public position would have already shifted a lot more than it has already.

USA's and Ontario's old NPPs will very soon need major very costly refurbishing. That will further increase energy cost in those markets.

Darlington Unit 2 just finished its calendria rebuild.  It will load fuel 3Q19 and restart early 2020.  There are 9 more CANDU rebuilds in the queue.  This maintains institutional knowledge.

A partial switch to REs may be a better lower cost solution.

Darlington, Bruce Point and the other nuclear plants provide energy on demand.  So-called "renewable energy" does not, pushes the cost of providing guaranteed supply onto other sources, increases costs by more than the amount of fuel saved, and effectively forces the use of fossil fuels for backup.  Every political entity which has gone "renewable" has seen rising costs and escalating market distortions to mask the essential failures of wind and solar to provide what customers require and expect, while totally failing to replace fossil fuels.

You know this because you've been told dozens of times, but you deny it.  STOP LYING, ALZHARVEY!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)