|2019/9/22 10:00||Green Car Congress||
Bosch on importance of renewable synthetic fuels to reach climate goals; e-fuels
The Paris Agreement calls for global warming to be limited to 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably 1.5 °C. The fossil CO₂ emitted by road vehicles will have to be reduced to nearly zero over the next three decades for that to happen—a daunting and complex challenge. Electromobility is just now picking up momentum; further, electric cars are only as emissions-free as the production of electricity that charges their batteries. In addition, around half the vehicles that will be on the road in 2030 have already been sold—most with gasoline or diesel engines. Legacy vehicles will also have to play their part in cutting CO₂ emissions. One path to achieving this is with renewable synthetic fuels (e-fuels). Bosch outlines seven reasons why renewable synthetic fuels should be part of tomorrow’s mobility mix: Time. Renewable synthetic fuels have long since left the basic research phase. Technically speaking, it is already possible to manufacture synthetic fuels. First, apply electricity generated from renewable sources to obtain hydrogen from water. Then add carbon. Finally, combine CO₂ and H₂ to make synthetic gasoline, diesel, gas, or kerosene. The production process is viable, but capacity is lacking. It has to be expanded rapidly to meet demand. Incentives could come from fuel quotas, offsetting CO₂ savings against fleet consumption, and long-term planning certainty. Climate neutrality. As their name suggests, renewable synthetic fuels are made exclusively with energy obtained from renewable sources such as the sun or wind. In the best-case scenario, manufacturers capture the CO₂ needed to produce this fuel from the surrounding air, turning a greenhouse gas into a resource. This creates a virtuous cycle in which the CO₂ emitted by burning renewable synthetic fuels is reused to produce new fuels. Vehicles on the road, when powered by synthetic fuel, are ultimately climate-neutral. Infrastructure and powertrain technology. The Fischer-Tropsch process produces renewable synthetic fuels that can be used with today’s infrastructure and engines. Such drop-in synthetic fuels can be deployed without first modifying infrastructure and vehicles, and they have an immediate impact and deliver faster results. They may also be added to conventional fuel to help reduce CO₂ emissions from vehicles already on the road today. This way, these fuels could contribute to the cause even before they are ramped up for larger-scale production. The chemical structures and basic properties of gasoline remain intact, so even vintage cars can run on synthetic gas. Costs. Producing synthetic fuels is still a costly process. Renewable synthetic fuels will become considerably more affordable when production capacities are expanded and the cost of electricity generated from renewable sources comes down. Present studies suggest that a pure fuel cost of between €1.20 and €1.40 a liter (US$5.00 to US$5.84 per gallon) can be achieved (excluding any excise duties) by 2030, and as little €1 (US$4.17) by 2050. These fuels’ cost disadvantage compared with fossil fuels could be significantly reduced if value was ascribed to the environmental advantage of renewable synthetic fuels. The fact that they are compatible with today’s infrastructure and automotive technology gives them an advantage over other alternative powertrains. Potential applications. Even at the point in the future when all cars and trucks are powered by batteries or fuel cells, airplanes, ships, and parts of the heavy-goods transport sector will continue to rely on conventional fuels. Combustion engines powered by carbon-neutral synthetic fuels are therefore a crucial path to explore. Resources. Fuel in the tank or food on a plate—this question does not come up with synthetic electricity-based fuels. Innovative biofuels, which are, for example, produced from waste materials, are useful—however, the supply is limited. When renewable energy is used, synthetic fuels can be produced in unlimited quantities. Sufficient renewable energy can be generated worldwide to produce fuel that can then be stored and transported relatively easily. Storage and transport. Renewable synthetic fuels are produced with renewable energy. This process yields a gas or liquid—making renewable synthetic fuels a good medium for storing large amounts of renewable energy and even transporting it across the globe cost-effectively. They can serve as a buffer for fluctuating solar or wind energy or to circumvent regional restrictions on the expansion of renewable energy production. This also affects efficiency ratings. A compact electric car charged in Germany with renewable electricity from Germany converts around 60% to 70% of that grid power into road performance. If the electricity comes from further afield and the energy has first to be stored in a chemical medium before being converted back into electricity, efficiency drops to 20–25%. This is the same efficiency as a vehicle run on renewable synthetic fuels.
|2019/9/22 9:30||Green Car Congress||
DOE awards $56.5M to 32 coal technology projects
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $56.5 million in federal funding to 32 cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for advanced coal technologies and research under six separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The projects cover a range of topics, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage; rare earth element recovery; coal to products; crosscutting coal R&D; steam turbine efficiency; and advanced materials. The first funding opportunity award is for $10 million for ten projects under DE-FOA-0001992, Maximizing the Coal Value Chain. The projects will develop innovative uses of domestic coal for upgraded coal-based feedstocks used to produce power and make steel, and for producing high-value products from coal or coal by-products—ultimately creating new market opportunities for coal. The second funding opportunity award is for $11.9 million under DE-FOA-0001996, Advancing Steam Turbines for Coal Boilers. The two projects selected under this FOA seek to improve the performance of steam-based power cycles, resulting in lower cost electricity with reduced emissions per megawatt-hour from coal fueled boilers. The third funding opportunity award is for $9.3 million for ten projects under DE-FOA-0002001, Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fueled Power Plants. Selected projects will develop innovative technologies that enhance the performance and economics of the existing and future coal fleet—thereby lowering electricity costs for consumers. This effort supports DOE’s Crosscutting Research Program, which develops technologies that can be applied to a range of fossil energy uses. The fourth funding opportunity award is for $5 million under DE-FOA-0002002, Advanced Materials for High-Efficiency, Flexible and Reliable Coal-Fueled Power Plants. DOE selected five projects to support its Crosscutting Research program, which fosters the development and deployment of innovative systems for improving efficiency and environmental performance. The projects focus on enhancing the cyclic durability and reducing the cost of materials used in advanced ultra-supercritical (AUSC) power plants. In the fifth funding opportunity award, three projects were selected to receive up to $15 million under DE-FOA-0002003, Process Scale-Up and Optimization/Efficiency Improvements for Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Critical Materials (CM) Recovery from United States Coal-Based Resources. The selected projects will support DOE’s Feasibility of Recovering REEs program and will advance technology development for recovery of REE and CM from domestic coal-based resources via conventional extraction, separation, and recovery processes. Finally, through the sixth funding opportunity award, two projects were selected to receive $5.3 million under DE-FOA-0001998, Transformational Sensing Systems for Monitoring the Deep Subsurface. This award seeks to reduce uncertainty of and enable real-time decision-making associated with subsurface carbon dioxide storage. The selected projects support DOE’s Carbon Storage Research Program by improving characterization and prediction of subsurface fluid movement and enhancing real-time measurement of critical subsurface properties.
|2019/9/22 9:00||Green Car Congress||
Amazon orders 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian through 2030
Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian—the largest single order yet of electric delivery vehicles—with vans slated to start delivering packages to customers in 2021. Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030—saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030. Amazon invested $440 million in the Michigan-based startup producer of electric vehicles as part of a $700-million investment round announced in February 2019. (Earlier post.) The delivery van would be Rivian’s third production electric vehicle, behind the already announced pickup (R1T) and SUV (R1S)—both of which the company has positioned as Electric Adventure Vehicles. For the trucks and SUVs, Rivian is using a flexible skateboard chassis which features quad motors, independent air suspension, intelligent battery management system, hydraulic roll control system and thermal systems. The announcement came alongside the company’s announcement of its co-founding of the Climate Pledge, a commitment to meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early. Amazon is the first signatory of this pledge. The Climate Pledge calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040—a decade ahead of the Paris Accord’s goal of 2050. Companies that sign The Climate Pledge agree to: Measure and report greenhouse gas emissions on a regular basis; Implement decarbonization strategies in line with the Paris Agreement through real business changes and innovations, including efficiency improvements, renewable energy, materials reductions, and other carbon emission elimination strategies; Neutralize any remaining emissions with additional, quantifiable, real, permanent, and socially-beneficial offsets to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040.
|2019/9/21 10:00||Green Car Congress||
California Governor signs two bills to strengthen emission standard for trucks; Executive Order leverages $700B portfolio to strengthen climate resiliency
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills to strengthen emission standards for trucks, semis and other high-pollution vehicles. The Governor also issued an executive order directing the leveraging of the state’s $700-billion CalPERS, CalSTRS and UC Retirement Program portfolio to drive investment toward carbon-neutral technologies. The order also directs the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to push automakers to produce even more clean vehicles, and to find ways for more Californians to purchase these vehicles on the new and used markets. CARB is tasked with developing new grant criteria for clean vehicle programs to encourage manufacturers to produce clean, affordable cars and propose new strategies to increase demand in the primary and secondary markets for zero emission vehicles. Finally, CARB is to strengthen existing or to adopt new regulations to achieve greenhouse gas reductions within the transportation sector. Truck emissions. SB 210 by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop and implement a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program for non-gasoline, heavy-duty trucks—the first ‘smog check’ program of its kind in the nation. SB 44 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) requires CARB to create a comprehensive plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Medium and heavy-duty diesel trucks make up only four percent of the 28.2 million vehicles on the road in California but accounted for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and 8% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions this year. Executive order. Other elements of the executive order include: State Investments: California has an investment portfolio of more than $700 billion through CalPERS, CalSTRs, and the University of California Retirement System. As the state transitions to a carbon-neutral economy, and as other states and countries increasingly adopt ambitious climate policy, the state’s investments must align with the reality of this major market shift. The Governor’s executive order directs the Department of Finance to create a Climate Investment Framework to measure and manage climate risk across the state’s investment portfolio, with the goal of driving investment toward carbon-neutral and climate resilient technologies. The Framework will provide a timeline and criteria to shift investments to companies and industry sectors that have greater growth potential based on their focus of adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change, including investments in carbon-neutral, carbon-negative and clean energy technologies. Transportation Systems: The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) is directed to invest its annual portfolio of $5 billion toward construction, operations and maintenance to help reverse the trend of increased fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector. CalSTA, in consultation with the Department of Finance, is also directed to align transportation spending, programming and mitigation with the state’s climate goals to achieve the objectives of the state’s Climate Change Scoping Plan, where feasible. Specifically the Governor is ordering a focus for transportation investments near housing, and on managing congestion through innovative strategies that encourage alternatives to driving. State Assets and Operations: California owns and manages major physical assets through the Department of General Services (DGS), including 19 million square feet of buildings and more than 51,000 vehicles. California is also a major purchaser of products across its agencies. With this executive order, the Governor is directing DGS to identify opportunities to lower emissions and mitigate climate risk from the state’s owned and leased assets, primarily buildings and vehicles, and to implement sustainable purchasing policies across state agencies that prioritize the purchase of environmentally preferable goods, consistent with state climate policies.
|2019/9/21 9:30||Green Car Congress||
24 states, LA and NYC file suit against Trump Administration over One National Program Rule
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today, with Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Air Resources Board, led a coalition of 24 state attorneys general and the cities of Los Angeles and New York in filing a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The lawsuit challenges the Trump Administration’s newly announced One National Program Rule (earlier post) designed to preempt California’s greenhouse gas emissions and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards, also known as California’s Advanced Clean Car Standards, which were authorized by a waiver granted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2013 (following a denial in 2007). (Earlier post.). These standards are followed, in whole or part, by 13 other states and the District of Columbia. In the lawsuit, the coalition broadly asserts that this Preemption Rule is unlawful and should be vacated. The state’s lawsuit argues that NHTSA is attempting to declare the California greenhouse gas and ZEV standards preempted under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), and is overstepping the authority granted to it by Congress, ignoring what it calls “Congress’ careful and repeated preservation of California’s authority.” In its argument, the states conflate the multiple-decade history of state regulation of criteria pollutants with the more recent addition of greenhouse gas regulations and the ZEV mandate. In its new ruling, due to go into effect in 60 days, the Trump administration differentiates between GHG (and by extension fuel economy) and ZEV mandates, which it claimed within the purview of federal regulations, and California’s long-standing efforts to combat tailpipe criteria pollutants such as unburned hydrocarbons, PM, NOx etc. The later, the Trump administration said, was still within California’s purview.