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Cellulosic biofuel technology developer Iogen Corporation and Raízen, one of the world’s largest producers of sugarcane ethanol, have begun production of cellulosic ethanol on schedule at Raízen’s newly expanded Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.
Raízen broke ground on the $US100 million “biomass-to-ethanol” expansion just over one year ago. The new facility will convert biomass such as sugar cane bagasse and straw into 40 million liters (10.6 million gallons US) per year of cellulosic biofuel. It will also be the first large-scale commercial implementation of Iogen Energy’s cellulosic ethanol technology, which the company developed and has extensively proven in its Ottawa demonstration facility.
Pedro Mizutani, Raízen’s Executive Vice President, said that continuous commercial production will commence with the upcoming 2015 harvest season. Raízen has already announced that, given a success at Costa Pinto, it intends to deploy Iogen Energy’s technology in seven more Raízen sugar cane mills.
We plan to be producing up to 1 billion liters [264 million gallons US] of cellulosic biofuel from bagasse and cane straw by 2024.—Pedro Mizutani
Raízen is a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Brazilian ethanol company Cosan SA. Raízen produces more than 2.2 billion liters [581 million gallons US] of ethanol annually, 4.5 million tons of sugar, and has installed capacity of 934 MW of electric energy derived from sugar cane bagasse. The company has more than 5,200 service stations for retail fuel distribution in Brazil, more than 900 convenience stores, 60 fuel distribution depots, and aviation fuel businesses in 58 airports in Brazil.
Researchers from Rice University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have developed a computational methodology to support the experimental exploration of potential high-capacity metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in on-board storage of natural gas. The advantages to using MOFs as a storage medium are many and start with increased capacity over the heavy, high-pressure cylinders in current use.
In a paper in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry C, they report identifying 48 materials with higher predicted deliverable capacity (at 65 bar storage, 5.8 bar depletion, and 298 K) than MOF-5—the currently best available for the natural gas storage application. The best material identified by the researchers has a predicted deliverable capacity 8% higher than that of MOF-5.
MOFs are nanoscale compounds of metal ions or clusters known as secondary building units (SBUs) and organic binding ligands, or linkers. These linkers hold the SBUs together in a spongy network that can capture and store methane molecules in a tank under pressure. As the pressure is relieved, the network releases the methane for use.
Due to their high porosities, high surface area, and tunable chemistry, MOFs are regarded as a promising class of nano-porous materials. Potential applications of MOFs include drug delivery, sensing, purification, catalysis, and gas storage. In the gas storage application, in particular, MOFs appeal as a competitive alternative to other materials, such as zeolites, because of their potentially higher performance and adjustability. Computation predictions have extended the number of potential MOFs to > 100, 000.
From a practical point of view, one can only synthesize and test a small fraction of all possible MOF materials, and computation predictions are useful for suggesting promising sets of MOFs to synthesize. Existing prediction methods focus on simulation of the self-assembly process, placing known SBUs into candidate periodic networks. A limitation of these methods is that only pre-existing linkers are considered, with little or no exploration of the space of possible organic linkers. We here develop a de novo evolutionary algorithm to explore the composition and configuration space of linker molecules to optimize methane deliverable capacity in predicted MOFs.
Since the linker, SBU, and topology can all vary, the chemical search space is nearly infinite. This poses a fundamental problem for the current methods of library generation, which are all based on brute force enumeration, as the number of compounds grows exponentially with length and branching structure of the linkers. The vast majority of these potential have poor methane delivery performance. Thus, it is desirable to efficiently sample the part of the MOF composition space with favorable materials properties. We tackle this issue by using an evolutionary algorithm to rapidly explore MOF linker composition space, among MOFs with high predicted methane deliverable capacity.—Bao et al.
One of 48 metal organic frameworks discovered through an algorithm developed at Rice to explore compounds that excel at storing methane. Here, molecules known as secondary building units (top left) and organic binding ligands, or linkers (top right) can be used in a chemical process to produce the metal organic framework seen at bottom. Courtesy of the Deem Research Group. Click to enlarge.
The team led by Rice bioengineer Michael Deem used a custom algorithm not only quickly to design new MOF configurations able to store compressed natural gas with a high “deliverable capacity,” but also to design ones that can be reliably synthesized from commercial precursor molecules. The algorithm also keeps track of the routes to synthesis.
The program adhered to standard DOE conditions that an ideal MOF would store methane at 65 bar (atmospheric pressure at sea level is one bar) and release it at 5.8 bar, all at 298 kelvins (about 77 degrees Fahrenheit). That pressure is significantly less than standard CNG tanks, and the temperature is far higher than liquid natural gas tanks that must be cooled to minus 260 degrees F.
Lower pressures mean tanks can be lighter and made to fit cars better, Deem said. They may also offer the possibility that customers can tank up from household gas supply lines.
The Deem group’s algorithm was adapted from an earlier project to identify zeolites. The researchers ran Monte Carlo calculations on nearly 57,000 precursor molecules, modifying them with synthetic chemistry reactions via the computer to find which would make MOFs with the best deliverable capacity.
Our work differs from previous efforts because we’re searching the space of possible MOF linkers specifically for this deliverable capacity. We’re very keen to work with experimental groups, and happy to collaborate. We have joint projects underway, so we hope some of these predicted materials will be synthesized very soon.—Michael Deem
The researchers hope to begin real-world testing of their best MOF models.
Yi Bao, a graduate student in Deem’s lab at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, is lead author of the paper. Co-authors are Richard Martin and Maciej Haranczyk of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cory Simon and Berend Smit of the University of California-Berkeley. Deem is chair of Rice’s Department of Bioengineering and the John W. Cox Professor of Biochemical and Genetic Engineering.
The DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences, supported the research. The researchers utilized the National Science Foundation-funded DAVinCi supercomputer administered by Rice’s Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.
Yi Bao, Richard Luis Martin, Cory M Simon, Maciej Haranczyk, Berend Smit, and Michael W Deem, “In Silico Discovery of High Deliverable Capacity Metal-Organic Frameworks,” J. Phys. Chem. C, Just Accepted Manuscript doi: 10.1021/jp5123486
Johnson Controls is supplying the Lithium-ion battery pack for the Hybrid Range Rover (earlier post), announced in 2013. Production of the cells and complete battery systems is underway at Johnson Controls’ manufacturing facility in Holland, Michigan.
The Range Rover Hybrid powertrain features three driver-selectable modes and combines Land Rover’s popular 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The hybrid system, including lithium-ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor weighs less than 120 kg (282 lbs). Fuel consumption is 6.4 l/100 km (36.7 mpg US) on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions of 169 g/km.
The Hybrid Range Rover vehicles are being made at Land Rover’s advanced manufacturing center in Solihull, England.
The EU must continue to allow the use of lead-based batteries in vehicles as they are essential for the needs of future generations of European cars, according to the automotive and automotive battery industries in Europe. Lead battery and car manufacturers have requested that the current exemption for lead-based batteries within the ELV Directive’s wider ban on lead in light-duty vehicles is maintained for at least another eight years.
The comments are part of the formal submission made by the industry group to EU regulators who concluded the public consultation phase of the review of the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive this week. Following the consultation the Commission is expected to release its opinion in the first half of 2015.
The recommendation by EUROBAT, the European, Japanese and Korean car industry associations (ACEA – JAMA – KAMA) and the International Lead Association (ILA), is backed by a series of studies on the technical benefits of lead-based batteries and their sustainability, which includes their 99% recycling rate in Europe and the general availability of the natural resources used to make up the battery.
Part of the evidence submitted to the EU Commission is a study—A Review of Battery Technologies for Automotive Applications—which found that there are at present no alternatives, either technically or economically, to lead-based batteries for the SLI (Starting – Lighting – Ignition) function in vehicles. This means lead-based batteries are essential in virtually all conventional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, hybrid vehicles (mild, micro and Plug-in-HEV, PHEV) and full electric vehicles.
All hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles equipped with high-voltage, advanced rechargeable battery systems also utilize a second electrical system on 12V level for controls, comfort features, redundancy and safety features. This electrical system is in all cases supplied by a 12V lead-based battery, the groups said.
The study also concludes that lead-based batteries will remain the only viable mass market energy storage system in automotive applications for the foreseeable future. Their low cost and unparalleled ability to start a car engine at cold temperatures sets them apart in conventional and basic micro-hybrid vehicles, and as auxiliary batteries in all other automotive applications.
Three additional studies also highlight the positive sustainability and environmental credentials of lead-based batteries that are an excellent example of the EU circular economy in action. The studies show:
At the end-of-life, lead-based batteries have a 99% collection and recycling rate in a closed loop system, making lead-based batteries the most recycled consumer products in the EU.
Using lead batteries in start-stop or micro-hybrid systems can result in emission savings of between 700-1600 kg CO2 equivalent over a vehicle’s lifetime.
The high recycling rate means that the environmental impacts of lead-based batteries, compared to the overall environmental impact of a vehicle, is negligible.
There are no current or future resource availability issues with metals used in lead-based batteries.
The review. A Review of Battery Technologies for Automotive Applications assessed in depth the performance profiles of the automobile battery technologies currently in use:
Conventional vehicles, including start-stop and basic micro-hybrid vehicles are equipped with a 12V lead-based battery, which is required to start the engine and supply the complete electrical system, and can also be expected to provide start-stop functionality, as well as the entry class of braking recuperation and passive boosting.
Due to their excellent cold-cranking ability, durability and low cost, 12V lead-based batteries remain the only battery technology tested for the mass market that satisfies the technical requirements for these vehicles. This is expected to be the situation for the foreseeable future.
Hybrid vehicles, including advanced micro-hybrid, mild-hybrid and full-hybrid vehicles rely on the battery to play a more active role, with the energy stored from braking used to boost the vehicle’s acceleration. In full-hybrid vehicles, the stored energy is also used for a certain range of electric driving.
Several battery technologies are able to provide these functions in different combinations, with nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries coping best as requirements increase, due to their fast recharge, good discharge performance and life endurance. At high voltages, lead-based batteries are so far limited by their more modest recharge and discharge power and capacity turnover.
In plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles, high voltage battery systems (up to 100 kWh for commercial vehicles) are installed to provide significant levels of electric propulsion.
Lithium-ion battery systems remain the only commercially available battery technology capable of meeting requirement for passenger cars according to EV driving range and time, due to their high energy density, low weight, good recharge capability and energy efficiency. Other battery technologies (nickel-metal hydride, lead-based etc.) cannot deliver the required level of performance for these applications at a competitive weight.
For commercial applications, harsh environments and heavy duty vehicles, high-temperature sodium nickel chloride batteries are a competitive option.
EUROBAT, the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, acts as a unified voice in promoting the interests of the European automotive, industrial and special battery industries of all battery chemistries. Its more than 40 members represent more than 90% of the automotive and industrial battery industry in Europe.
Toshiba Corporation has supplied a Li-ion battery traction energy storage system (TESS) to Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. TESS stores traction energy generated by decelerating trains as they enter a station and releases it as needed when trains accelerate from the station. The system is planned to operate from 22 December.
Toshiba’s TESS is installed at Unga station on the Tobu Urban Park Line, and utilizes Toshiba’s SCiB rechargeable Li-ion batteries to store regenerated power. SCiB offers a high degree of safety, a wide state-of-charge (SOC) range and stable operation at low temperatures. Toshiba’s calculates that its TESS offers a battery capacity ten times that of typical traction energy storage systems. The SCiB system also employs the company’s proprietary charge-discharge control technology, which takes full advantage of the wide SOC range of the SCiB cells.
The TESS system has rated output of 1000 kW; capacity is 387 kWh. Rated Voltage at the vehicle contact line is 1500 V; rated voltage at the battery is 607 V.
At Unga Station, regenerative traction energy from train deceleration is stored in the TESS for supply as needed when trains are accelerating from the station, facilitating stable electricity supply.
In addition to supporting stable supply, the system can also be optimally configured to support other applications, including traction energy loss prevention and peak demand power management.
Going forward, Toshiba intends to proactively expand marketing of traction energy storage systems and other products that facilitate efficient energy use of energy, to railway companies in Japan and overseas.
The sixth in a series of reports on peak motorization in the US by Dr. Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) finds that distance driven per GDP reached its highest values in a broad plateau from the early 1970s through the early 1990s, and then decreased steadily. By 2012, the value of this measure decreased by 22% from its absolute maximum, which was reached in 1977.
Sivak suggests that some of the factors that likely contributed to the recent decline in the value of this measure are the decreased amount of personal transportation; decreased contribution to GDP of truck transportation; and the increased contribution to GDP of data services, information processing, and e-commerce.
The amount of fuel consumed per GDP peaked in the early 1970s, and then decreased by 47% by 2012. The relatively steep decline in the value of this measure reflects the added contribution of the improvement in vehicle fuel economy from the 1970s on.
In the previous five reports in this series, I examined recent changes in the number of registered light-duty vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans), and the corresponding changes in distance driven and fuel consumed. The units of the analyses were both the absolute numbers and the rates per person, per driver, per household, and (where appropriate) per vehicle. The main finding of those reports was that the respective rates all reached their maxima around 2004. I argued that, because the onsets of the reductions in these rates preceded the onset of the recession (in 2008), the reductions in these rates likely reflect fundamental, noneconomic changes in society. Therefore, these maxima have a reasonable chance of being long-term peaks as well.
The present report examines the relationship between road transportation and economic activity since the end of the Second World War. The two measures of interest were distance driven per inflation-adjusted GDP and fuel consumed per inflation-adjusted GDP.—Sivak 2014
Michael Sivak (2014) “Has Motorization in the US Peaked? Part 6: Relationship between Road Transportation and Economic Activity” (UMTRI-2014-36)
Teijin Limited is opening the second production line for LIELSORT, an innovative separator for lithium-ion secondary batteries (LIBs) to meet the increasing market demands. (Earlier post.) Operations will begin on 24 December.
Teijin produces two types of LIELSORT separators. One is a polyethylene-based material coated with the highly heat-resistant meta-aramid Teijinconex; the other is coated with a highly electrode-adhesive, oxidation-resistant fluorine-based compound. Teijin Lielsort Korea Co., Ltd produces both types, which are sold by Teijin Electronics Korea Co., Ltd, a wholly owned sales company for LIELSORT separators.
The new production line will double the LIELSORT production capacity to respond to the expanding demand for coated separators. LIELSORT is used widely in globally bestselling smartphones and tablets. The line will also accelerate the development of a new type of LIELSORT that Teijin is currently working on to achieve both higher heat resistance and adhesion for improved LIB safety.
Teijin utilized its expertise in polymeric chemistry to develop the first technology for simultaneously coating both sides of LIELSORT. It also developed a high-speed coating technology that is five times faster than conventional coating. Both technologies enable more efficient production.
Teijin, which is working to establish LIELSORT as the de facto standard for next-generation LIB specifications, targets LIELSORT sales revenue of ¥2 billion (US$16.9 million) by 2020.
A team of researchers from Purdue University’s Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, or C3Bio, has developed a process that uses a bimetallic Zn/Pd/C catalyst to convert lignin in intact lignocellulosic biomass directly into two methoxyphenol products (phenols are a class of aromatic hydrocarbon compounds used in perfumes and flavorings) leaving behind the carbohydrates as a solid residue.
Lignin-derived methoxyphenols can be further deoxygenated to propylcyclohexane—a cycloalkane. Cycloalkanes are important components of not only traditional vehicle fuels such as gasoline and diesel, but also jet fuels, such as Jet-A/Jet-A1/JP-8.
The leftover carbohydrate residue is hydrolyzed by cellulases to give glucose in 95% yield, which is comparable to lignin-free cellulose.
In addition, the hemicellulose fraction of the biomass is hydrolyzed in the same step of lignin conversion, with easy separation of the resultant xylose. That xylose fraction can be selectively dehydrated to furfural and subsequently to other furfural-based chemicals or fuels in a biorefinery.
Mahdi Abu-Omar, the R.B. Wetherill Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical Engineering and associate director of C3Bio, led the team.
We are able to take lignin—which most biorefineries consider waste to be burned for its heat—and turn it into high-value molecules that have applications in fragrance, flavoring and high-octane jet fuels. We can do this while simultaneously producing from the biomass lignin-free cellulose, which is the basis of ethanol and other liquid fuels. We do all of this in a one-step process.—Prof. Abu-Omar
Plant biomass is made up primarily of lignin and cellulose, a long chain of sugar molecules that is the bulk material of plant cell walls. In standard production of ethanol, enzymes are used to break down the biomass and release sugars. Yeast then feast on the sugars and create ethanol.
Lignin acts as a physical barrier that makes it difficult to extract sugars from biomass and acts as a chemical barrier that poisons the enzymes. Many refining processes include harsh pretreatment steps to break down and remove lignin, Abu-Omar said.
Lignin is far more than just a tough barrier preventing us from getting the good stuff out of biomass, and we need to look at the problem differently. While lignin accounts for approximately 25% of the biomass by weight, it accounts for approximately 37% of the carbon in biomass. As a carbon source lignin can be very valuable, we just need a way to tap into it without jeopardizing the sugars we need for biofuels.—Prof. Abu-Omar
The process starts with untreated chipped and milled wood from sustainable poplar, eucalyptus or birch trees. The catalyst is added to initiate and speed the desired chemical reactions, but is not consumed by them and can be recycled and used again. A solvent is added to the mix to help dissolve and loosen up the materials. The mixture is contained in a pressurized reactor and heated for several hours.
The team also developed an additional process that uses another catalyst to convert the two phenol products into the high-octane (RON > 100) hydrocarbon fuel suitable for use as drop-in gasoline.
The processes and resulting products are detailed in a paper published online in the RSC journal Green Chemistry. The US Department of Energy funded the research.
In addition to Abu-Omar, co-authors include Trenton Parsell, a visiting scholar in the Department of Chemistry; chemical engineering graduate students Sara Yohe, John Degenstein, Emre Gencer, and Harshavardhan Choudhari; chemistry graduate students Ian Klein, Tiffany Jarrell, and Matt Hurt; agricultural and biological engineering graduate student Barron Hewetson; Jeong Im Kim, associate research scientist in biochemistry; Basudeb Saha, associate research scientist in chemistry; Richard Meilan, professor of forestry and natural resources; Nathan Mosier, associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Fabio Ribeiro, the R. Norris and Eleanor Shreve Professor of Chemical Engineering; W. Nicholas Delgass, the Maxine S. Nichols Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering; Clint Chapple, the head and distinguished professor of biochemistry; Hilkka I. Kenttamaa, professor of chemistry; and Rakesh Agrawal, the Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering.
The catalyst is expensive, and the team plans to further study efficient ways to recycle it, along with ways to scale up the entire process, Abu-Omar said.
The US Department of Energy-funded C3Bio center is an Energy Frontier Research Center. It is part of Discovery Park’s Energy Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue.
Purdue Research Foundation has filed patent applications and launched a startup company, Spero Energy, which was founded by Abu-Omar to commercialize the process.
Trenton Parsell, Sara Yohe, John Degenstein, Tiffany Jarrell, Ian Klein, Emre Gencer, Barron Hewetson, Matt Hurt, Jeong Im Kim, Harshavardhan Choudhari, Basudeb Saha, Richard Meilan, Nathan Mosier, Fabio Ribeiro, W. Nicholas Delgass, Clint Chapple, Hilkka I. Kenttämaa, Rakesh Agrawal and Mahdi M. Abu-Omar (2015) “A synergistic biorefinery based on catalytic conversion of lignin prior to cellulose starting from lignocellulosic biomass,” Green Chemistry doi: 10.1039/C4GC01911C
Zemin Tian, Yingjia Zhang, Feiyu Yang, Lun Pan, Xue Jiang, and Zuohua Huang (2014) “Comparative Study of Experimental and Modeling Autoignition of Cyclohexane, Ethylcyclohexane, and n-Propylcyclohexane” Energy & Fuels 2014 28 (11), 7159-7167 doi: 10.1021/ef501389f
Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reached a new all-time high in 2013, according to the annual report “Trends in global CO2 emissions”, released by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Joint Research Centre (JRC). This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies over the past ten years. However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2%) than on average in the last ten years (3.8% per year since 2003, excluding the credit crunch years).
This slowdown, which began in 2012, signals a further decoupling of global emissions and economic growth, which reflects mainly the lower emissions growth rate of China. China, the USA and the EU remain the top-3 emitters of CO2, accounting for respectively 29%, 15% and 11% of the world’s total. After years of a steady decline, the CO2 emissions of the United States grew by 2.5% in 2013, whereas in the EU emissions continued to decrease, by 1.4% in 2013.
The report is based on recent results from the joint JRC/PBL Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), the latest statistics on energy use and various other activities.
In 2013, global CO2 emissions grew to the new record of 35.3 billion tonnes (Gt). Sharp risers include Brazil (+ 6.2%), India (+ 4.4%), China (+ 4.2%) and Indonesia (+2.3%).
The much lower emissions increase in China of 4.2% in 2013 and 3.4% in 2012 was primarily due to a decline in electricity and fuel demand from the basic materials industry, and aided by an increase in renewable energy and by energy efficiency improvements.
The emissions increase in the United States in 2013 (+2.5%) was mainly due to a shift in power production from gas back to coal together with an increase in gas consumption due to a higher demand for space heating.
With the present annual growth rate, China has returned to the lower annual growth rates that it experienced before its economic growth started to accelerate in 2003, when its annual CO2 emissions increased on average by 12% per year, excluding the credit crunch years. In 2013, the Chinese per capita CO2 level of 7.4 tonnes CO2/cap just exceeded the mean EU28 level of 7.3 tonnes CO2/cap, which is 50% above the global average. It is still less than half than those of the United States of 16.6 tonnes CO2/cap, which has one of the highest per capita emissions.
In terms of CO2 emissions per 1000 US$ of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), China is declining, yet still scoring high with 650 kg CO2 per 1000 US$ of GDP. In comparison, China’s emissions per 1000 US$ of GDP are almost twice those of the US (330 kg CO2/1000 US$) and almost three times those of the EU (220 kg CO2/1000 US$).
This is due to a relatively high, although steadily declining, energy intensity of the sectors contributing to GDP growth. China started to take new measures to improve energy efficiency and to make a fuel shift away from coal, including coal consumption targets, an increase in hydropower and structural changes.
Transport. The consumption of oil products increased by 1.7% in 2013, of which three-thirds was used in the transport sector and the remainder mainly by refineries and the manufacturing and building industries in almost equal shares.
According to national statistics, in 2013 total oil consumption in transport increased somewhat by 0.5%, relative to 2012 levels. This is in contrast to most preceding years since 2007, in which annual oil consumption decreased by 2.2% on average, mainly due to the increased energy efficiency of vehicles over time.—Trends in global CO2 emissions
Biofuel use for transport increased by 7.3% in 2013, increasing its share in transport fuels by 0.3 percentage points to 4.7%. Global biofuel production has been growing steadily from 16 billion liters in 2000; 100 billion liters in 2011; and 113 billion liters in 2013.
Current fuel ethanol and biodiesel use represents about 3% of global road transport fuels and could be expected to have reduced CO2 emissions with a similar percentage if all biofuel had been produced sustainably. In practice, however, net reduction in total emissions in the biofuel production and consumption chain is between 35% and 80%. These estimates also exclude indirect emissions, such as those from additional deforestation. … Thus, the effective reduction will be between 1% and 2%, excluding possible indirect effects. Large uncertainty in terms of GHG emission reductions compared to the fossil fuels is driven by both the complexity of the biofuel pathways and the diversity of the feedstock, nevertheless, in the near future the advanced biofuels (lignocellulosic, algae) are expected to deliver more environmental benefits. —Trends in global CO2 emissions
Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced a set of proposals to transition Washington to cleaner sources of energy and to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limits adopted by the state Legislature in 2008. The proposals build on a comprehensive executive order issued by the governor in April.
Cap-and-trade. The proposed “Carbon Pollution Accountability Act” (CPAA) would create a new, market-based program that sets an annual limit CO2 emissions; major emitters will need to purchase “allowances” for their emissions. Each year, the number of available allowances will decline to ensure emissions are gradually reduced. The Governor’s office projects that the program will generate about $1 billion in the first year, and more thereafter, which will be used for transportation, education, tax relief for working families and other purposes.
The CPAA will affect the relatively small number of businesses that generate 85% of Washington’s CO2 emissions. The governor’s proposal was informed by recommendations from his Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce, which included representatives from business, labor, health care, utilities, at-risk communities, governments and others.
Cleaner transportation options for consumers. Nearly half the state’s CO2emissions comes from cars, trucks and other transportation sources. For electric vehicles, Inslee will request legislation to:
Extend the existing tax incentives, exempting sales tax from the first $60,000 of the purchase price of electric, natural gas, propane and hydrogen vehicles. Set to expire next summer, this exemption is considered the single most important factor for future success of electric vehicles in the state.
Create an EV infrastructure bank to provide financial assistance for the installation of publicly accessible high-speed charging stations. The bank would be funded by an existing fee on electric vehicles, and administered by the public-private partnership office at WSDOT.
Require urban cities and counties to adopt incentive programs to encourage the fitting of new structures and the retrofitting of existing structures with rapid charging stations for electric vehicles. This bill helps solve the garage orphan problem of condo and apartment residents who are great candidates for EV ownership due to their shorter trips in a dense urban environment, but for whom owning an EV is not yet practical because they can’t conveniently charge at home.
In addition, Inslee proposed to provide a toll and ferry fare credit to EV owners who buy a “Good to Go” or “Wave to Go” pass.
Further, the state Department of Ecology will request legislation to allow Washington to adopt a zero emission vehicle program that incentivizes the sale of ZEVs, including plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Inslee has also asked the Department of Ecology to draft a clean fuel standard rule and to solicit review and comments from legislators, stakeholders and the public. An economic analysis performed for the Office of Financial Management shows a clean fuel standard could be designed in a way that has no significant economic effects.
However, the governor said before initiating formal rule making, “I want to allow time for feedback from the legislative and public review phases. I also want to see what proposals and progress are made as the legislative session unfolds.”
If a decision to pursue a rule is made at a later date, the process would require development of a formal proposed rule and an extensive public review process.
Sustainable transportation planning. WSDOT is implementing a five-part action plan to reduce carbon emissions that come from cars, trucks and other transportation-related sources. The plan includes an assessment of technical and financial needs of local communities, guidance related to land use and transportation planning, and adoption of a long-term statewide multimodal transportation plan for strategic investment in providing people with more transportation options.
To develop the necessary information for the statewide plan, the Governor has approved the Department of Transportation’s funding request to purchase and implement modeling software, allowing the state to better analyze rural and urban areas to identify the most cost-effective project investments that will relieve congestion for commuters and enable freight to get to market more quickly.
Clean energy industry funding. Inslee is requesting $60 million for the state’s Clean Energy Fund to help research institutions, utilities and businesses develop and deploy new renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. During the 2013–15 biennium, the $40-million Clean Energy Fund leveraged $200 million in matching funds from private industry partners.
The governor has also proposed funding for other technology development efforts, including a new research building at the Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy Technologies and additional test beds at the Clean Energy Institute, both at the University of Washington.
To promote the use of solar energy in the state, the Washington State University Energy Office is drafting legislation to expand the state’s successful incentive program to allow more parties to join while more effectively targeting incentives.
Lower energy costs through greater energy efficiency. The governor is proposing several initiatives that will allow businesses, government, farmers and homeowners to lower their energy costs by increasing their energy efficiency.
Inslee is also proposing several capital budget investments, including weatherization projects that will cut energy costs for thousands of low-income homeowners and energy efficiency projects on public buildings that will capture savings for state taxpayers.
Clean technology development and climate science. Inslee proposed investments to support the engineering and science work at the University of Washington:
Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy Technologies: predesign and design of a new research building to house the Center, to include the chemical engineering, material science and engineering and bioengineering departments. ($6.6 M, capital budget)
Clean Energy Institute: construction of test beds to support moving new clean energy materials and technologies from development to market, including research and training, scale-up and characterization, and systems integration. ($12 M, capital budget)
Climate Impact Group: to provide impartial knowledge, data, tools, and technical advice to identify and reduce climate risks to the residents, communities, economies and resources of Washington. ($0.98 M, operating budget)
Washington Ocean Acidification Center: to continue coordination and research to understand, monitor, and adapt to increasingly acidic waters, and their effect on shellfish and fish. ($1.55 M, operating budget). (Separate funding is provided to DNR to continue funding the related work of the Marine Resources Advisory Council ($150 K, operating budget).)
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (earlier post) delivers up to 64% lower CO2 emissions than the equivalent B 180 gasoline model (when charged with hydroelectricity), according to Mercedes-Benz and TÜV Süd. The 132 kW B Class Electric Drive has a range of some 200 km (124 miles). TÜV Süd has awarded the electric-drive Sports Tourer the environmental certificate in accordance with ISO standard TR 14062 based on a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the B-Class Electric Drive.
Over its entire life cycle, comprising production, use over 160,000 kilometers (99,419 miles) and recycling, the B-Class Electric Drive produces emissions of CO2 that are 24% (7.2 tonnes – EU electricity mix) or 64% (19 tonnes – hydroelectricity) lower than those of the B 180, despite the higher emissions generated during the production process.
This is due primarily to the efficiency of the electric motor, which gives rise to significant advantages during the use phase. One key factor here is the energy management system: the optional radar-based regenerative braking system, for example, ensures the optimal recuperation of braking energy back into the battery. This further enhances the efficiency of the drive system and enables even greater ranges.
CO2 emissions during the use phase depend upon the method used to generate electricity. In 160,000 kilometers of driving use, the new B-Class Electric Drive (NEDC combined consumption from 16.6 kWh/100 km) produces 11.9 tonnes of CO2, assuming use of the EU electricity mix. When electricity generated by hydroelectric means is used to power the electric vehicle, the other environmental impacts relating to electricity generation are also almost entirely avoided.
For CO2 emissions, and likewise for primary energy requirements, the use phase represents a share of 53% and 59% respectively.
As a comparison, the B 180 (NEDC combined consumption 5.4 l/100 km) emits 23.8 tonnes of CO2 during the use phase.
The fact that we are able to integrate the electric motor and batteries into a perfectly normal B-Class does not only mean that we can assemble the Electric Drive alongside the other B-Class vehicles on one production line, but almost more importantly means that our customers do not have to make any compromises at all in terms of spaciousness, safety or comfort. The B-Class Electric Drive is an important milestone along our journey towards emission-free driving.—Professor Dr. Herbert Kohler, Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG
B-Class Electric Drive. The electric B-Class was developed by Mercedes-Benz in collaboration with Tesla Motors; the car uses a Tesla drive system. (The battery for the predecessor model of the smart fortwo electric drive, for instance, also comes from Tesla.)
The electric motor delivers maximum torque of more than 340 N·m (251 lb-ft)—approximately equivalent to the torque from a modern, naturally aspirated three-liter gasoline engine. The B-class takes 7.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. In the interests of optimizing the range, the top speed is electronically limited to 160 km/h (99 mph).
Steel/ferrous materials account for around half of the vehicle weight (51.4%) in the new B-Class Electric Drive, followed by polymer materials with around 17% and light alloys (12.8%) as the third-largest group. The shares of other materials (primarily glass and graphite) and non-ferrous metals stand at 5.9% and 5% respectively. Precious metals make up around 4%. Service fluids comprise around 2.4%. The remaining materials—process polymers and electronics—contribute about 1.5% to the weight of the vehicle.
The polymers are divided into thermoplastics, elastomers, duromers and non-specific plastics, with thermoplastics accounting for the largest proportion, at 11%. Elastomers (predominantly tires) are the second-largest group of polymers, at 3.6%.
The material mix is markedly different that the gasoline version of the B Class. As a result of the alternative drive components, the proportion of steel in the B-Class Electric Drive is around 8% lower, for example, while the shares of light alloys and non-ferrous metals are each approx. 3% higher and the share of precious metals is approx. 4% higher than for the gasoline variant. The share of service fluids is almost 2% lower, due to the absence of fuel.
The Honda FCV Concept (earlier post) will make its North American debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The Honda FCV Concept made its world debut in Japan on 17 November, followed by an announcement that Honda will provide FirstElement Fuel with $13.8 million in financial assistance to build additional hydrogen refueling stations throughout the state of California in an effort to support the wider introduction of fuel-cell vehicles. (Earlier post.)
The next-generation Honda FCV is intended to provide significant gains in packaging, interior space, cost reduction and real-world performance, including an anticipated driving range in excess of 300 miles (483 km).
The Honda FCV Concept showcases the styling evolution of Honda’s next fuel-cell vehicle, anticipated to launch in the US following its introduction in Japan, which is scheduled to occur by March 2016. The interior takes advantage of new powertrain packaging efficiencies delivering even greater passenger space than the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, including seating for up to five people. As the next progression in Honda’s dynamic FCV styling, the Honda FCV Concept features a low and wide aerodynamic body with clean character lines.
The original Honda FCX became the first EPA- and CARB-certified fuel-cell vehicle in July 2002. The FCX also was the world’s first production fuel-cell vehicle, introduced to the US and Japan in December 2002. Additional Honda fuel-cell vehicle firsts include:
The Honda FCX was the first fuel-cell vehicle to start and operate in sub-freezing temperatures (2003).
The FCX was the first fuel-cell vehicle leased to an individual customer (July 2005).
With the FCX Clarity, Honda was the first manufacturer to build and produce a dedicated fuel-cell vehicle on a production line specifically made for fuel-cell vehicles (2008).
Honda was the first manufacturer to create a fuel-cell vehicle dealer network (2008).
Sandia National Laboratories and Linde LLC have signed an umbrella Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) they expect to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy and industrial technologies, beginning with hydrogen and fuel cells.
The CRADA will begin with two new research and development projects to accelerate the expansion of hydrogen fueling stations to continue to support the market growth of fuel cell electric vehicles now emerging from the major auto manufacturers. The first will focus on performance-based design for hydrogen stations. The second focuses on safety aspects of the NFPA code.
Performance-based design. A recent Sandia study, funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), determined that 18% of fueling station sites in high-priority areas can readily accept hydrogen fueling systems using existing building codes. (Earlier post.)
The development of meaningful, science-based fire codes and determinations, such as those found in that study, shows that focusing on scientific, risk-informed approaches can reduce uncertainty and help to avoid overly conservative restrictions to commercial hydrogen fuel installations, Sandia researchers said.
Continuing down this path, the first project in the Sandia/Linde CRADA will be demonstrating a hydrogen fuel station that uses a performance-based design approach allowable under the National Fire Protection Association hydrogen technologies code, NFPA 2. The project will include support from the DOE.
California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program states that Linde expects to open new fueling stations in late 2015.
NFPA 2 provides fundamental safeguards for the generation, installation, storage, piping, use and handling of hydrogen in compressed gas or cryogenic (low temperature) liquid form and is referenced by many fire officials in the permitting process for hydrogen fueling stations.
Sections of NFPA 2 are typically not utilized by station developers, as they instead have focused more on rigid distance requirements for fuel dispensers, air intakes, tanks, storage equipment and other infrastructure. We know we can get hydrogen systems into more existing fueling facilities if our risk analyses show how they meet the code. This will help boost the developing fuel-cell electric vehicle market significantly.—Sandia risk expert and fire protection engineer Chris LaFleur
The project, LaFleur added, will provide a foundation for the hydrogen fueling industry to implement the performance-based approach to station design and permitting, leading to sustained expansion of the hydrogen fueling network. The pilot demonstration, she said, will provide clear evidence that a performance-based design is feasible.
Safety. The second project currently taking place under the new CRADA focuses on safety aspects of the NFPA code and entails the modeling of a liquid hydrogen release.
With Linde’s help, we’re developing a science-based approach for updating and improving the separation distances requirements for liquid hydrogen storage at fueling stations.—Chris LaFleur
Previous work only examined separation distances for gaseous hydrogen, she said, so validation experiments will now be done on the liquid model.
Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility, for years considered a pre-eminent facility for studying hydrogen behavior and its effects on materials and engines, is a key element of the research.
This focus on improving the understanding of liquid hydrogen storage systems, LaFleur said, will result in more meaningful, science-based codes that will ensure the continued expansion of safe and available hydrogen fuel to meet fuel cell electric vehicle demands.
This CRADA work is aligned with Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Research and Station Technology (H2FIRST), an EERE project established earlier this year, and builds on over a decade of DOE investments in developing meaningful codes and standards to accelerate hydrogen and fuel cell markets in the US.
On Nov. 17, Toyota became the latest to unveil a fuel cell electric vehicle—Mirai (earlier post)—in the US. Last week, Linde opened the first fully certified commercial hydrogen fueling station near Sacramento with support from the California Energy Commission.
Scania is undertaking intensive research into various types of electrification technologies that could replace or complement combustion engines. Inductive charging is among the options the company is exploring and would enable vehicles wirelessly to recharge their batteries via electrified roads.
Now, for the first time in Sweden, Scania and the Stockholm based Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) plan to test the wireless charging technology in real-life conditions. Starting June 2016, a prototype for a new Scania plug-in hybrid bus (based on Scania Citywide Low Entry) will go into daily operation in Södertälje as part of a research project into sustainable vehicle technology.
As part of the field tests, a Scania citybus with an electric hybrid powertrain will go into daily operation in Södertälje in June 2016. At one of the bus stops there will be a charging station where the vehicle will be able to recharge wirelessly from the road surface in 6 to 7 minutes sufficiently for a complete journey.
The project will be run through a jointly-operated Scania/KTH Integrated Transport Laboratory research center.
The Swedish Energy Agency will provide 9.8 million SEK (US$1.3 million) for the project’s realization. Other stakeholders include Södertälje Municipality, Stockholm County Council and Tom Tits, the tech-oriented museum for children and youths.
The main purpose of the field test is to evaluate the technology in real-life conditions. There is enormous potential in the switch from combustion engines to electrification. The field test in Södertälje is the first step towards entirely electrified roads where electric vehicles take up energy from the road surface.—Nils-Gunnar Vågstedt, Head of Scania’s Hybrid System Development Department
To build an infrastructure and convert bus fleets to vehicles that run exclusively on electricity would provide many advantages. With a fleet of 2,000 buses, the city could save up to 50 million liters (13 million gallons US) of fuel each year—resulting in a decrease in fuel costs by up to 90%.
Apart from induction, Scania’s research and development department is looking at different technology options, including the take-up of energy from overhead electrical wires or from rails.
Our customers have different needs and prerequisites when it comes to switching to more sustainable transport. Therefore we don’t want focus on just one technology. Instead we are continuing research in different areas.—Nils-Gunnar Vågstedt
DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $60 million in funding for 22 new projects aimed at detecting and measuring methane emissions and developing localized thermal management systems that reduce the energy needed to heat and cool buildings. The projects are funded through ARPA-E’s two newest programs: Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) and Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA).
Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) – $30 Million. ARPA-E’s MONITOR program focuses on reducing methane emissions associated with energy production to build a more sustainable energy future. The program plans to provide $30 million to support 11 project teams in developing low-cost, highly sensitive systems that detect and measure methane associated with the production and transportation of oil and natural gas.
An example of a selected MONITOR project: Bridger Photonics will develop a light-detection and ranging (LiDAR) system capable of rapid and precise methane measurements resulting in 3D topographic information about potential leak locations. A novel near-infrared fiber laser will enable long range detection with high sensitivity and can be deployed on a range of mobile platforms to survey multiple sites per day. This mobile LiDAR system will dramatically reduce the cost to identify, quantify and locate methane leaks compared to currently available technologies.
Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA) – $30 Million. ARPA-E’s DELTA program will develop localized heating and cooling systems and devices to expand temperature ranges within buildings. The program plans to provide $30 million to support 11 project teams in developing technologies that can regulate temperatures focused on a building’s occupants and not the overall building. This localization of thermal management will enable buildings to operate in wider temperature ranges while still ensuring occupant comfort, which would dramatically reduce the building’s energy consumption and associated emissions.
An Example of a selected DELTA project: Syracuse University will develop a near-range micro-environmental control system transforming the way office buildings are thermally conditioned to improve occupant comfort. The system leverages a high-efficiency micro-scroll compressor in a micro vapor compression system, whose evaporator is embedded in a phase-change material. This material will store the cooling produced by the micro vapor compression system at night, releasing it as a cool breeze to make occupants more comfortable during the day. This micro-environmental control system could save more than 15% of the energy provided for heating and cooling.
The average US household will spend about $550 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014, as annual motor fuel expenditures are on track to fall to their lowest level in 11 years, according to projections by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Lower fuel expenditures are attributable to a combination of falling retail gasoline prices and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks that reduce the number of gallons used to travel a given distance.
Household gasoline costs are forecast to average $1,962 next year, assuming that EIA’s price forecast, which is highly uncertain, is realized. Should the forecast be realized, motor fuel expenditures (gasoline and motor oil) in 2015 would be below $2,000 for the first time since 2009, according to EIA’s December 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
The price for US regular gasoline has fallen 11 weeks in a row to an average $2.55 per gallon as of 15 December, down $1.16 per gallon from its 2014 peak in late April and the lowest price since October 2009. Gasoline prices are forecast to go even lower in 2015. Gasoline prices are falling because of lower crude oil prices, which account for about two-thirds of the price US drivers pay for a gallon of gasoline.
EIA’s latest STEO forecasts that Brent crude oil prices will average $68 per barrel (bbl) in 2015, with prices up to $5/bbl below that annual average early in the year. The forecast for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil spot prices averages $63/bbl in 2015. However, the current values of futures and options contracts show high uncertainty regarding the price outlook.
WTI futures contracts for March 2015 delivery traded during the five-day period ending 4 December averaged $67/bbl. Implied volatility averaged 32%, establishing the lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval for the market’s expectations of WTI prices at the expiration of the March 2015 contract at $51/bbl and $89/bbl, respectively. Last year at this time, WTI futures contracts for March 2014 delivery averaged $96/bbl and implied volatility averaged 19%, with only a $30/bbl spread between the corresponding lower and upper limits of the 95% confidence interval.
Increases in fuel economy are also contributing to lower motor fuel expenditures, as cars and trucks travel farther on a gallon of gasoline. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the production-weighted fuel economy of cars has increased from 23.1 miles per gallon (mpg) for model-year (MY) 2005 cars to almost 28 mpg for MY2014, an increase of about 21%. Similarly, the fuel economy for trucks has increased 19%, from 16.9 mpg to 20.1 mpg in the same time frame.