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Aviation LA traffic-jam

Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Andrew

25

80% Cuts In Transportation Sector Petroleum And Emissions: How Do We Get There?

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March 19th, 2013 by
 
President Obama showed the strong national leadership on energy policy many have been looking for yesterday, calling for the establishment of a $2 billion Energy Security Trust fund and ordering all federal agencies to factor climate change into all project reviews.

Supported by Transportation Energy Futures (TEF) project and nine-part study undertaken by the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Argonne National Laboratory, the Obama Administration envisions reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US transportation sector a whopping 80% by 2050.
LA traffic-jam

Greening Transport: Modes, Fuels & Service Demand

DOE, "Transportation Energy Futures"

“Transportation Energy Futures”
Image Credit: Department of Energy

“Transportation is an engine of our economic strength, but it also represents a key challenge for the future of US energy use,” NREL Senior Analyst Austin Brown was quoted in a press release.

“Transportation accounts for 71 percent of total US petroleum consumption and 33 percent of our nation’s total carbon emissions. It presents significant opportunities to cut oil dependence while taking a bite out of greenhouse gas emissions. The finding that there are many options increases our confidence that a clean transportation solution is possible in the long term.”

According to TEF project researchers,

“It was found that energy efficiency improvements and measures to reduce transportation demand, without compromising service, have the potential to stop – or reverse – the growth in national transportation energy use, making it possible for competitive renewable energy supplies to provide an increasing share of energy.

An Inclusive Approach to Reducing Transport Energy Use, GHG Emissions

DOE, "Transportation Energy Futures"

“Transportation Energy Futures”
Image Credit: Department of Energy

Achieving a reduction in US petroleum use and GHG emissions of such magnitude requires taking an inclusive approach focused on realizing three principal aims, according to TEF project researchers:

  • Increase fuel economy for all types of vehicles
  • Reduce use of transportation while providing comparable service
  • Expand use of low-carbon fuels, including biofuels, as well as electricity and hydrogen

Making the transition to clean fuel and zero-emissions vehicles and modifying the demand for transportation are two of the nine focal points of the TEF study.

Fuels

  • Infrastructure expansion required for deployment of low-GHG fuels, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen, and natural gas.
  • Balance of biomass resource demand and supply, including allocations for various transportation fuels, electric generation, and other applications.

Transportation Demand

  • Opportunities to save energy and abate GHG emissions through community development and urban planning
  • Trip reduction through mass transit, tele-working, tele-shopping, carpooling, and efficient driving
  • Freight demand patterns, including trends in operational needs and projections of future use levels.

Three primary, partially overlapping strategies were investigated in light of consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure:

  • Stopping and reversing growth in transportation sector energy use through efficiency improvements and demand management
  • Expand use of biofuels
  • Increase use of hydrogen and electricity from renewable energy

Reversing the Trend

DOE, "Transportation Energy Futures"

“Transportation Energy Futures”
Image Credit: Department of Energy

When it comes to stopping and reversing the trend of rising energy use in the transportation sector, TEF project researchers see changes to the built environment, strategies to decrease personal travel, improvements in energy efficiency, and replacing truck freight with more energy-efficient rail and marine modes as holding the greatest potential.

Pushing the limits of energy-efficient vehicles and switching to cleaner fuels, particularly in the non-LDV (Light Duty Vehicle) segment – truck, marine, pipeline, rail, and off-road equipment – are seen as key to averting projected increases in energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Secondly, using more in the way of biofuels from sustainably-harvested biomass “could supply significant shares of the markets for jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel if DOE (Department of Energy) biofuels technology goals are met,” according to the TEF report authors.

With regard to increasing use of hydrogen and electricity from renewable energy in the transportation sector, TEF authors concluded that

“Strong policies and incentives may be needed to overcome consumer cost and range concerns, address automaker production and deployment issues, and encourage energy suppliers to rapidly build infrastructure. Recognizing that uncertain consumer acceptance and fueling infrastructure development may create significant investor risks, the full transition from conventional vehicles could easily take 35-50 years.”

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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.



  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    Two updates from the Hyundai Motor Company:

    “First Production Hyundai Motor Co.ix35 Fuel Cell
    Vehicle Prepped for Geneva Motor Show”:

    “Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by hydrogen. A fuel cell stack converts
    the hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor. The only
    emission generated by the ix35 Fuel Cell is water. Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell
    boasts drivability and performance similar to that of the [gasoline powered]
    ix35.”

    “Currently the ix35 is being produced for fleet operations and many European
    cities already placed orders. Copenhagen, Denmark has requested fifteen ix35
    Fuel Cell vehicles to further their plan to be carbon-free by 2025 and Skåne,
    Sweden has requested two.” http://ow.ly/jX6rh

    • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

      Technical data published in “Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell
      News media release 5th March 2013″:

      “The ix35 Fuel Cell is equipped with a 100 kW [136 hp] electric
      motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h
      [99.4 mph] . Two hydrogen storage tanks, with a total capacity of
      5.64 kg [12.4 lbs. of compressed hydrogen], enable the vehicle to
      travel a total of 594 km [369.0 miles] on a single [hydrogen-
      storage-tank fill-up], and it can reliably start in temperatures as
      low as minus 20 degrees Celsius [minus 4.0º Fahrenheit]. The energy is
      stored in a 24 kW lithium-ion polymer battery, jointly developed
      with LG Chemical.” http://ow.ly/jX6GX

  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    Technical data published in “Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell
    News media release 5th March 2013″:

    “The ix35 Fuel Cell is equipped with a 100 kW [136 hp] electric
    motor, allowing it to reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h
    [99.4 mph] . Two hydrogen storage tanks, with a total capacity of
    5.64 kg [12.4 lbs. of compressed hydrogen], enable the vehicle to
    travel a total of 594 km [369.0 miles] on a single [hydrogen-
    storage-tank fill-up], and it can reliably start in temperatures as
    low as minus 20 degrees Celsius [minus 4.0º Fahrenheit]. The energy is
    stored in a 24 kW lithium-ion polymer battery, jointly developed
    with LG Chemical.” http://ow.ly/jX6GX

  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    Two updates from the Hyundai Motor Company:

    “First Production Hyundai Motor Co.ix35 Fuel Cell
    Vehicle Prepped for Geneva Motor Show”:

    “Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by hydrogen. A fuel cell stack converts
    the hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor. The only
    emission generated by the ix35 Fuel Cell is water. Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell
    boasts drivability and performance similar to that of the [gasoline powered]
    ix35.”

    “Currently the ix35 is being produced for fleet operations and many European
    cities already placed orders. Copenhagen, Denmark has requested fifteen ix35
    Fuel Cell vehicles to further their plan to be carbon-free by 2025 and Skåne,
    Sweden has requested two.” http://ow.ly/jX6rh

  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    By mid-century, 87% of cars will need to be full ZEVs,
    i.e. GHG-free at the tailpipe over entire vehicle lifetime.
    http://ow.ly/jpEvK

  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    I find the discussion between Bob Wallace and Otis 11 very interesting.

    The exchange is focused primarily on (pluggable) electric and hybrid
    vehicles, comparing fuel efficiency – e.g. electric and gasoline – at
    present and in foreseeable future developmental scenarios.

    There are a number of economic projections I have difficulty following.
    I know little about automotive engineering and associated economics.

    I believe though there are factors which need to be added.
    Technological development should or must take place in a cohesive
    political framework.

    It is meaningful to combine PHEV engineering with energy policy.

    It is meaningful to combine PHEV engineering and energy policy with
    environmental protection policy and so forth.

    (It is meaningful to combine PHEV engineering, energy policy
    and environmental protection policy with attempts to come to grips
    with climate change and to integrate all of this with the impact
    of climate change on global societies as well as worldwide flora
    and fauna.)

    We can consider various kinds of product life cycles: energy life
    cycles and vehicle-type life cycles seem to be obvious choices as
    starters.

    In order to power a PHEV there must be access to some kind of
    electric power source.

    In conventional terms electricity storage applying some kind of
    highly efficient, high energy-capacity automotive battery might
    be one choice. In the case of hybrid vehicles burning gasoline,
    diesel, methanol, etc., a conversion of chemical energy into
    electrical energy takes place. For non-hybrid EVs some kind of
    external charging station or electric-power socket is the usual
    choice.

    In conventional terms non-hybrid EVs depend on natural-gas-, oil-,
    or coal-fired power plants.

    In conventional terms I would think internal combustion engines
    or fossil-fuel-fired power plants define the beginning life phase
    & intermediate life phases of energy conversion, that is a
    sequence of characteristic energy losses and energy consumptions
    yielding the final product electricity for utilization in PHEVs or
    EVs. The vehicle’s electric-powered motor defines the automotive
    energy conversion from electrical energy to mechanical energy.
    Hybrid vehicles convert breaking energy back into electrical energy
    for recharging a battery.

    In a broad sense, I believe Fossil-Fuel-to-Wheel defines the
    general conventional energy life cycle for vehicles.

    Enter center stage fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV), in
    particular hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (H2EV).

    Maybe someone would like to pick up discourse at this point.

    I welcome additions, meaningful changes and constructive
    criticism.

    • Bob_Wallace

      First, I don’t care whether the end result is battery powered EVs or hydrogen powered FCEVs or some other yet to be invented alternative to oil fueled vehicles. The important issue for me is that we quit using oil based vehicles as quickly as possible.

      Shortest term, what could make an immediate difference, is to make all new vehicles either PHEVs or EVs. Many households with two or more cars could use a limited range EV and use a PHEV for longer trips.

      I can’t think of anyone who couldn’t do their driving with a PHEV. If you simply have no access to electricity then they drive just like a gasmobile. With regenerative braking.

      That would cut our oil use by around 80%. Since about 50% of all American driving is done with cars five years old or newer we could see a 40% or better cut in fuel usage in about five years. Since the average lifespan of US cars is about 12 years we would see a very significant drop in oil use in a decade to decade and a half.

      If what we need to do is to largely eliminate our CO2 output by 2030 we would be well on our way by 2025 with personal vehicles.

      I read as much as I can find on battery technology development. It seems to me that there are numerous developments making their way through the labs and toward production. I’m guessing that we are short years (well less than five) away from EVs that will drive around 200 miles per charge and accept a 90% recharge in less than 20 minutes. That would make EVs fully usable for all day, long distance driving.

      No guarantee. But a strong assumption.

      Once EVs start to see in volume their prices should fall to or below that of gasmobiles. EVs don’t have the hundreds of unique parts which must be designed, manufactured and assembled. They just have a bunch of identical battery cells and a rather simple electric motor.

      Hydrogen is a potential winner, but I doubt it will get to market early enough to avoid long range, affordable EVs from dominating the market.

      Once EVs are what most people purchase a new technology would have to be, in some way, cheaper or more convenient to cause market shift. I don’t think FCEVs can be fueled as cheaply or as conveniently as EVs. The only thing that might make FCEVs the winner is if long range batteries do not appear.

      Them is my guesses….

      • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

        I agree that it is important that “we quit using oil based
        vehicles as quickly as possible”. It seems that the State
        of California has been on that path for several years.
        I would hope that other states follow California’s
        regulatory example adding at the state level incentives
        which are offered at federal & sometimes at local levels:
        http://bit.ly/m5NwA

        I would add that phasing out use of oil as fuel as
        quickly as possible is essential to reverse the
        accumulation of GHG in the atmosphere which
        impacts climate change effects on plant life, crops,
        wildlife and human populations.

        The idea that a PHEV can fill gaps in the availability
        of alternative fuel infrastructure is probably
        essential in any transition from use of oil to use of
        sustainable fuels.

        Essential, too are the use of “full” ZEVs, vehicles
        which emit no GHGs at the tailpipe.

        Advanced battery technology must surely be added
        to the list of green technologies for vehicles and for
        developing smart grids. Leveling out fluctuations in
        electric power generated by wind turbines is an
        important application that electric storage can
        fulfill.

        I favor the use of hydrogen fuel-cells in vehicles
        because the technology can easily lend itself to
        energy storage in electric power grids.

        I will attempt to address issues of fuel efficiency,
        vehicle range, etc. at another time.

  • igrowcorn

    The investment for hydrogen fueling is a far greater gamble than EV charging, with wind energy falling in cost with every new wind farm, the market will go to hybrids and electric.

  • Bob_Wallace

    We could get there quite easily by requiring all future manufactured cars to be either EVs or PHEVs. Just putting everyone into a PHEV with a 40 mile electric range would cut our personal transportation petroleum use to about 20% of what it now is.

    • Otis11

      Very true… but instead of doing that, wouldn’t it be better to mandate an efficiency standard? We run into a bunch of problems with past laws that did not anticipate a new technology… Require efficiency, not certain technologies.

      But on that, I think we should have a fuel efficiency standard of 30 mpg-e this year with a 5 mpg-e increase for the next 15 years… Then let the technology games begin!

      • Bob_Wallace

        Perhaps we could mandate all new vehicles get at least 50mpg, but that would only cut our personal transportation oil use by about 50%. Given that we are now in the mid-20s.

        PHEVs with 40 miles of electric range would cut our oil use by 80%. That’s technology we have in hand. If we wanted to do something drastic right now we have something that would work.

        • Otis11

          True, but if your mandate for efficiency causes every car to be a HEV, making them PHEVs only makes sense.

          And if they changed the standard to truly effect a vehicle’s rating, the all electric range would drastically increases a vehicles MPG-e rating. Say the average person drives 45 miles per day, so for a PHEV with 20 miles of range, you get MPG-rating = 0.44*MPG-electric + 0.56*MPG-gas. Where a PHEV with 45 miles range gets an overall rating of MPG-rating = MPG-electric.

          Since MPG-electric >> MPG-gas, this would accomplish your same goal without hampering future technologies.

  • S.Nkm

    I don’t know where that traffic jam photo comes from but it’s very clearly fake, with the same cars photoshopped all over.

    • ab

      Have you been on the highways in the last few decades?

    • Otis11

      It’s actually not – That’s the Paris Traffic Jam of 1980.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Naw. Enlarge that photo a few times and take a look. Someone has cloned in a bunch of the same vehicles in the same positions.

        But I have to say that I’ve been in some traffic jams that must have looked like that one….

  • http://twitter.com/JonRanger1 Jon Ranger

    It might interest Clean Technica readers that:

    - for 2020 BMW & Toyota announce mass-market introduction of
    fuel-cell powered vehicles/cars (fuel-cell system,
    hybrid-adapted electric drive, hydrogen tank),

    - for 2017 Daimler, Ford & Nissan-Renault announce mass
    production of 100,000+ fuel-cell electric drive vehicles
    including cars and

    - for 2013 Hyundai is geared up to manufacture 1.000 fuel-cell
    electric drive ix35 cars.

    No announcements by GM or Chrysler have been reported
    to Clean Energy Partnership (CEP).

    Source: CEP at http://ow.ly/jdepo

    • Bob_Wallace

      If we see significant improvements in EV batteries in the next 2-3 years those fuel-cell vehicles will never be produced.

      Hydrogen simply cannot compete with electricity on a cost basis. It starts with an approximate 40% cost handicap due to the energy lost in converting water to hydrogen. Then you’ve got to add in the infrastructure costs for manufacturing and distributing the hydrogen.

      A FCEV is likely to cost twice as much per mile to operate as an EV.

      • Otis11

        Well, maybe. While I agree with you in the long run, in the next 2-5 decades it’s all about which one has the most significant break throughs the soonest.

        We may find ways to make hydrogen more efficiently – and there’s little reason it couldn’t be made at home, making the distribution infrastructure costs miniscule.

        At the same time, a significant break through in energy density, recharge rates or cost could wipe out any need for fuel cells.

        Should be interesting, but worth pursuing both IMO!

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m all for researching just about everything. One never knows what might be discovered.

          There’s a chance that we might figure out fusion in the next couple of decades and then all this renewable energy stuff is going to look quaint….

          • Otis11

            Haha, true, true… but still useful. I’m not sure what fusion would cost $/kwh… =-P

  • Ross

    Why the loving on H2FCV? That’s going no where and the more established EVs are the less likely it’s going to get.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s to keep a few fans happy,. Just like spending money researching nuclear reactors and clean coal. Put a little money into those very unlikely endeavors in order to keep their supporters from tantruming.

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