Alternative Fuels

California's new ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.

flickr photo shared by Malingering under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license

Yesterday California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order establishing the state's greenhouse gas reduction target 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 (Executive Oder B-30-15).  This new executive order is another step reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions after the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) which set reduction targets to 1990 levels by 2020. LBNL models predict we're on target to meet the 2020 goals but will need more effort ot meet the ultimate 2050 goals. 

Research in this area demonstrates that to achieve 80% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050 that moving to low-carbon and renewable energy will be important, but also investment in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. Integrated climate protection into planning and land use policies, such as smart growth planning, will also help California meet its targets. Much of the technological innovations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 hinges on the role of electricity to move away from carbon based fuels across economic sectors. And yes, high-speed rail could also be part of the solution

Examining Electric Vehicle Parking

Electric Vehicle Parking

Electric vehicle (EV) public parking has been rolling out in Berkeley but got a boost recently with station installed at both Whole Foods. The city is slated to get more municipal charging stations soon, including a pilot to look at curbside charging stations

There are mixed opinions about EV public parking options, with concerns about location and demand. Researchers are looking at activity models to overcome public perception and be more effective in urban areas. A new article from Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice continues the discourse. "Electric vehicle parking in European and American context: Economic, energy and environmental analysis," by Marta V. Faria, Patrícia C. Baptista, and Tiago L. Farias, applies a methodology for the placement of EV parking to Lisbon, Madrid, Minneapolis and Manhattan. They conclude:

This research confirms that the success of deploying an EV charging stations infrastructure will be highly dependent on the price the user will have to pay, on the cost of the infrastructure deployed and on the adhesion of the EV users to this kind of infrastructure. These variables are not independent and, consequently, the coordination of public policies and private interest must be promoted in order to reach an optimal solution that does not result in prohibitive costs for the users.

The full article can be read here.  


Electric Vehicles: Coast to coast, but will they impact emissions?

This week was a milestone in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure in the US - a father-daughter team completed the first crosscountry roadtrip in a Tesla and it cost them $0 to recharge. What a bargain! Tesla Motors plans to expand their recharching network, so that future continental treks may take a more direct route.  

So as electric vehicles are slowly becoming more mainstream, the question is what impact will they have on greenhouse gas emissions? A paper recently presented at the TRB Annual Meeting looks at regional impacts in California.  Another recent study from NC State questions the impact electric vehicles have on emissions at all. Samaneh Babaee, Ajay S. Nagpure, and Joseph F. DeCarolis ask, "How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?". Their answer: probably not much given the emissions produced by electricity sources.

Friday Seminar - David Brownstone on Fuel Economy Standards

green driving

Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is with David Brownstone of UC Irvine's Department of Economics. He'll present, "Consumer Response to Stricter Fuel Economy Standards."

The impacts of recent changes in Federal light-vehicle fuel economy standards depend crucially on consumers’ response to new vehicles with higher fuel economy and higher prices. Previous studies have primarily relied on stated preference experiments since there was little independent variation in vehicle price, fuel economy, and performance.  The recent introduction of hybrid-electric vehicles has provided some independent variation in these key vehicle attributes, so we use data from the 2009 NHTS data to estimate willingness to pay for light vehicle fuel economy.  We also estimate the “rebound effect” of purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles.  Finally we will comment on the impact of measurement errors and partial observability on previous studies.

The seminar will take place Friday, September 16, 2011 from 4-5 PM in 406 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie Hour preceding it in the library at 3:30 PM. See you there!


Friday Seminar - Joan Ogden on Alternative Fuels

Hydrogen Fuel Apparatus

Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Seminar is with Joan Odgen of the UC Davis STEPS program presenting, "Transitions to Alternative Fuels: Comparing H2, Electricity, and Biofuels":

We analyze and compare alternative scenarios for adoption of new light duty vehicle and fuel technologies that could enable deep cuts in gasoline consumption and GHG emissions by 2050. We also estimate the transitional costs for making new vehicle and fuel technologies economically competitive with gasoline vehicles. We estimate future GHG emissions and gasoline use for the following scenarios:

·  Efficiency—Currently feasible improvements in gasoline internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) technology are introduced.

·      Biofuels—Large-scale use of low-carbon biofuels is implemented.

·      PHEV success—Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) play a major role beyond 2025.

·      HFCV success—Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) play a major role beyond 2025.

·      Portfolio—More-efficient ICEVs+biofuels+PHEVs+HFCVs implemented in various combinations.

All scenarios assume the same total number of vehicles and vehicle miles traveled, but the vehicle mix over time is different for each scenario. We compare each scenario to a reference scenario where modest improvements in efficiency take place and use of biofuels increases but no electric-drive vehicles are implemented. We also explore transition dynamics using a “learning curve” model, and estimate the cumulative investments that would be required to bring new technologies to “breakeven” with gasoline ICEV technologies.  Finally, we suggest future work to better understand transition costs.

The seminary will be this Friday, Septermber 9 2011, from 4-5 p.m. in 406 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie hour before hand at 3:30 in the library. See you there!

DOD Finds Alternative Fuels Save Lives

Fueled and ready to go back to Anaconda.

With almost half of the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan involving fuel convoys, the Department of Defense has found that employing alternative fuels can save lives and avoid injuries. As Sierra magazine reported, soldiers on the ground have found that portable solar generators and battery packs not only reduced the number of dangerous convoys needed, but they also provided quieter, cooler energy and reduced the loads carried in the field. A RAND report earlier this year, however, questioned the benefits to the military of adopting alternative fuels. Next month the Army will open an Energy Initiatives Office Task Force to promote partnerships with the private sector to develop large-scale renewable energy projects on Army land.

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