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Turbulence ahead for the supersonic renaissance

The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which sets internal standards and practices governing civil aviation worldwide, wrapped up its 11th triannual environmental committee (CAEP/...The Trump administration’s push to fast track supersonic development just had a mid-air collision with environmental realities.  Turbulent times lie ahead for commercial supersonic manufacturers.
Published 2019.02.17: Blog Post

Benchmarking the growth of zero-emissions trucking

In my last blog entry, I argued that the super credits system proposed by the European Commission to spur the adoption of zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV) puts the incentives in the wrong place...The European Council, Parliament, and Commission are currently negotiating CO2 standards for trucks, and in particular, on the thorny topic of ZLEV incentives. Will it be a benchmark or super credits...
Published 2019.01.22: Blog Post

If we use livestock feed for biofuels, what will the cows eat?

Around one-third of all biodiesel produced in the U.S. is made from waste feedstocks like used cooking oil, animal fats, and inedible corn oil. But few waste feedstocks are really wastes; none of...“Waste” biodiesel from corn oil probably drives up corn production and could have resulted in 500 thousand extra tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2017.
Published 2019.01.10: Blog Post

Real-world NOx emissions from remote sensing: An update of the TRUE rating

Earlier this year the Real Urban Emissions initiative (TRUE, funded by the FIA Foundation and C40 Cities) completed a project using remote-sensing technology to measure nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions...We recently finished collecting, cleaning up, and crunching the numbers from a real-world emissions measurement campaign in London using remote sensing. And we've updated the TRUE rating that...
Published 2018.12.17: Blog Post

U.S. airlines on track to meet one carbon goal, even without government leadership

In 2009, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade association for cargo and passenger air carriers, set three goals for the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions...Airlines are expected to achieve their goal of an average improvement in fuel efficiency of 1.5% per year.
Published 2018.12.17: Blog Post

Put soot-free transport in your NDC

Climate news these days is downright depressing. Global CO2 emissions hit their highest level ever in 2017 and show no signs of peaking. Global average warming is now at 1 degree C and likely to...Soot-free transport will deliver black carbon reductions, which can help achieve the near-term cooling needed to meet a 1.5˚ C target. Climate negotiators in Poland this week ought to bring it into...
Published 2018.12.12: Blog Post

Can India Leapfrog First-Generation Biofuels?

Earlier this year, India approved a sweeping update to its National Policy on Biofuels, which lays out an ambitious plan to substantially increase domestic biofuel production. Unlike the Renewable...India’s biofuel policy update discourages food-based fuels, focusing instead on increasing production of second-generation biofuels made from wastes and inedible energy crops.
Published 2018.12.11: Blog Post

What you don’t know can hurt you: European vacation edition

In our recent transatlantic airline fuel efficiency study update, we compared the fuel efficiency of 20 airlines with routes between the United States and Europe. Most of the transatlantic routes in...Finding the lowest carbon flight for a specific trip is more complicated than simply choosing the most fuel-efficient carrier.
Published 2018.12.10: Blog Post

The low-ILUC loophole could allow business-as-usual palm oil imports for biodiesel in Europe

The European Commission’s recast Renewable Energy Directive to 2030 (RED II) includes a provision to phase out the contribution of biofuels produced from feedstocks that are high-ILUC risk by 2030....The EC will will soon decide on criteria for classifying high- and low-risk indirect land use change (ILUC) biofuels under the RED II. If the Commission gets it right, this provision could make a...
Published 2018.12.03: Blog Post

Fixing the broken super credits scheme of the proposed HDV CO2 standards

We are entering the final stretch of one of the most important races of the EU to decarbonize transport. If everything goes according to plan, in about four months the EU should become the sixth...If super credits are here to stay, we can at least try to make them better by getting buses out of the scheme and accounting for freight activity.
Published 2018.12.03: Blog Post

Decarbonizing aviation through low-carbon fuels will be beyond difficult

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) appears to believe that the international aviation industry can meet its steep carbon targets under the Paris Agreement almost entirely through...It's unlikely that the aviation industry can meet its steep carbon targets almost entirely through the use of low-carbon fuels.
Published 2018.11.15: Blog Post

Failure to Launch: Why Advanced Biorefineries Are So Slow to Ramp Up Production

A common refrain is that advanced biofuels are just a few years away from commercialization—a claim that has been made for much longer than just the past few years. The U.S. EPA’s Renewable Fuel...Despite claims that advanced biofuels are just a few years away from commercialization, existing projects struggle to reach their nominal capacity.
Published 2018.11.13: Blog Post

Short-term barriers to energy cropping

All stages of advanced biofuel production face challenges, and an essential step to reliably scaling them across the transportation sector and beyond is ensuring the availability of feedstocks....An essential step to reliably scaling advanced biofuel across the transportation sector and beyond is ensuring the availability of feedstocks.
Published 2018.11.08: Blog Post

Renewable gas is a distraction for Europe

There’s no room for natural gas in a fully decarbonized future. But the European gas industry argues we should continue using natural gas infrastructure and vehicles because the European Union’s (EU...The European gas industry argues we should continue using natural gas infrastructure and vehicles because the European Union’s gas supply can be transformed to a fully renewable resource by 2050. Is...
Published 2018.11.01: Blog Post

Kinks in the pipeline: A survey of downstream alternative jet fuels challenges

We often hear about how biofuels and other alternative fuels will be needed to decarbonize the aviation sector in the long-run. How easy or difficult will this be to achieve? There are already some...Although touted by some as necessary to decarbonize the aviation sector, logistics are still an issue for alternative jet fuels.
Published 2018.10.31: Blog Post

IMO: More efficient container and general cargo ships are on the horizon, but don’t pick on the small guys

On October 26, 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) tentatively agreed to make some new ships more efficient in what will be an important step towards implementing the organization’s...IMO has tentatively agreed to make some new ships more efficient, but that’s on hold to address equity concerns. What does this mean for emissions and for further efforts to reduce climate pollution...
Published 2018.10.29: Blog Post

Can alternative jet fuels crowd out demand from the road sector?

In the aviation industry’s vision of the future, neatly laid out by the International Civil Aviation Organization, airlines can meet all of their obligations under the Paris Agreement through simple...Proponents of alternative jet fuels often ignore the reality that many other sectors have laid claims to limited bio-resources as part of their own decarbonization strategies
Published 2018.10.24: Blog Post

Is the Renewable Fuel Standard enough to spur progress in advanced biofuels? Probably not.

Production of cellulosic biofuel is expected to fall nearly 7 billion gallons short of meeting the statutory Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume for this type of advanced biofuel in 2018, which has...Government grant and loan guarantees, not the Renewable Fuel Standard, have been essential in spurring progress in the cellulosic biofuel industry.
Published 2018.10.18: Blog Post

Bioenergy can solve some of our climate problems, but not all of them at once

Bioenergy has become a popular decarbonization strategy—so popular that policy makers and researchers in several sectors are claiming biofuels, bio-electricity, and bio-heat can deliver a large...Bioenergy has become a popular decarbonization strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, even if bioenergy production is maximized, competition across industry sectors is high.
Published 2018.10.15: Blog Post

The hardest part of cellulosic biofuels in India might be collecting the rice straw

India recently announced its National Policy on Biofuels, which includes ambitious targets for ethanol and biodiesel produced primarily from non-food and non-feed sources. The policy aspires to...A new policy in India aims promote cellulosic biofuel production from sustainable feedstocks, something no other country has managed to do. Can the country succeed?
Published 2018.10.11: Blog Post

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