Latest articles (2022)
2022-11-13. Electric Vehicles Start to Enter the Car-Buying Mainstream. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/13/business/electric-vehicles-buyers-mainstream.html] By Jack Ewing and Peter Eavis, The New York Times. Excerpt: While sales are still skewed toward affluent buyers, more people are choosing electric vehicles to save money. …Electric vehicles are starting to go mainstream in the United States after making earlier inroads into the mass markets in China and Europe. …Battery-powered cars now make up the fastest-growing segment of the auto market, with sales jumping 70 percent in the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2021, according to datafrom Cox Automotive, a research and consulting firm. Sales of conventional cars and trucks fell 15 percent in the same period….
2022-11-09. World’s biggest carmakers to build 400m more vehicles than 1.5C climate target will allow. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/10/worlds-biggest-carmakers-to-build-400m-more-vehicles-than-15c-climate-target-will-allow] By Royce Kurmelovs, The Guardian. Excerpt: Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the University of Applied Sciences of the Industry in Bergisch Gladbach and Greenpeace Germany compared the rate at which the world needed to embrace zero-emissions vehicles with the rate at which major car companies were planning to produce various models. The report, which focused on 12 carmakers globally, showed some of Australia’s most popular brands – Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia – were on track to make far more petrol and diesel cars than is sustainable if the world is to limit global heating to the Paris climate agreement target of 1.5C….
2022-11-01. It’s electric! Technique could clean up mining of valuable rare earth elements. [https://www.science.org/content/article/it-s-electric-technique-could-clean-mining-valuable-rare-earth-elements] By Dennis Normile. Excerpt: Electric cars, wind turbines, and LED lighting all help keep the environment clean, but making them can be a dirty business. The high-performance magnets in motors and generators and the glowing phosphors in LEDs and flat screens all depend on substances called rare earth elements (REEs). And capturing REEs from the clay deposits in which many are found requires leaching agents that pollute soil and groundwater. Now, a Chinese group has developed—and tested on tons of soil—an approach called electrokinetic mining that relies on electric currents to free the REEs, sharply reducing the need for polluting chemicals. The strategy, described this week in Nature Sustainability, could be “a game changer, providing that it is feasible at a large scale,” says Anouk Borst, a geologist at KU Leuven. …electrokinetic technology might offer a cleaner alternative. The approach, in which electrodes on the top and bottom of a volume of soil induce an electric field, speeding the movement of the leaching agent and the ions it extracts, is already used in soil remediation and has been proposed for copper and gold mining. It has “the real potential to outperform traditional mining techniques in terms of efficiency, environmental impacts, and economics,” says Riccardo Sprocati, a specialist in the technology at the Technical University of Denmark. The Chinese team started with a bench-top experiment, then scaled up to 20 kilograms of material, and finally moved to a field test at an actual ion-adsorption deposit, trying the technique on a 14-ton hunk of clay. The method extracted a higher percentage of the REEs more quickly than conventional leaching and needed less ammonium sulfate. It also left the soil cleaner and reduced contaminating elements in the leachate, which could simplify processing. The team calculates that the process could cut mining costs by about two-thirds.…
2022-10-18. There’s lithium in them thar hills – but fears grow over US ‘white gold’ boom. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/oct/18/lithium-mining-nevada-boom-car-battery-us-climate-crisis] By Oliver Milman, The Guardian. Excerpt: Deep in the parched landscapes of Nevada, there is a stirring boom. The mining of lithium holds the promise of a treasured resource that can help slow disastrous global heating. Spurred by a growing demand for battery parts essential for electric vehicles, the US’s only major lithium mine, in Silver Peak, a remote outpost situated in desert scrub and nascent Joshua trees a three-hour drive north of Las Vegas, is doubling its production. Across Nevada, there are more than 17,000 prospecting claims for lithium, a soft metal dubbed “white gold” by investors due to its scarcity and increasing value as clean energy components, with several new major projects now planned. This surge is a critical step in tackling the climate crisis according to Joe Biden’s administration, which has used cold war-era emergency powers to force a ramp up in the domestic mining of lithium and other materials needed for electric cars, heat pumps and other clean energy technology. But the prospect of this new era of mining has unnerved some environmentalists and native American groups. Three-quarters of all known deposits of lithium in America are found near tribal land, igniting fears that a decline in destructive fossil-fuel mining could simply be replaced by a new form of harmful extraction. Plans for a major, controversial new lithium mine in northern Nevada – a 1,000-acre site called Thacker Pass – will “will turn what is left of my ancestral homelands into a sacrifice zone for electric car batteries”, Shelley Harjo, a member of the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, has warned, all still without meeting the burgeoning thirst for lithium. …The 5,000 tons of lithium coming from Silver Peak is enough to make batteries for 80,000 electric cars. Even doubling this output will make a relatively small dent in the amount of lithium required – half of all cars sold in the US will be electric by 2030, according to some forecasts, with about 26m EVs on the road by this time.…
2022-10-14. Australians who’ve sworn off flying: ‘If you get on a plane, you’ve undone a year’s worth of good’. [https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2022/oct/15/australians-whove-sworn-off-flying-if-you-get-on-a-plane-youve-undone-a-years-worth-of-good] By Katie Cunningham, The Guardian. Excerpt: Forgoing air travel is challenging in a country without convenient alternatives. But Australians who have stopped flying feel it’s a sacrifice proportionate to the climate crisis. …an organisation called Flight Free, which encourages Australians to stop flying. …“The climate emergency puts us in a non-normal kind of world,” Carter says. “Being in an abnormal situation means we need to do things differently.” He likens inaction to watching TV while one’s house is burning down. “It’s that way of looking at it.”…
2022-10-07. Nations Agree to Curb Emissions From Flying by 2050. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/07/climate/aviation-emissions-net-zero.html] By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times. Excerpt: After almost a decade of talks, the nations of the world committed Friday to drastically lower emissions of planet-warming gases from the world’s airplanes by 2050, a milestone in efforts to ease the climate effects of a fast-growing sector. …Previously, companies had relied on offsetting aviation’s emissions growth through tree-planting programs or through yet-to-be-proven technology to pull carbon dioxide out of the air. But to reach net zero, companies and governments would need to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in increasingly efficient planes and cleaner fuels to sharply reduce emissions from air travel itself. And even those investments are unlikely to be enough, compelling countries and companies to adopt policies to curb flying itself, by scrapping fuel subsidies or halting airport expansion plans, for example, or ending frequent flier programs. That puts the onus on the world’s richest countries, which account for the bulk of global air travel. The richest 20 percent of people worldwide take 80 percent of the flights, according to estimates by the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit think tank. The top 2 percent of frequent fliers take about 40 percent of the flights. …Emissions from global commercial aviation made up about 3 percent of global emissions in 2019, and had surged more than 30 percent over the previous decade before the coronavirus pandemic hit and traffic slumped. But air travel has come back with a vengeance, making action to address rising emissions imperative.…
2022-09-27. For China’s Auto Market, Electric Isn’t the Future. It’s the Present. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/business/china-electric-vehicles.html] By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Claire Fu, The New York Times. Excerpt: …This year, a quarter of all new cars purchased in China will be an all-electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. By some estimates, more than 300 Chinese companies are making E.V.s, ranging from discount offerings below $5,000 to high-end models that rival Tesla and German automakers. There are roughly four million charging units in the country, double the number from a year ago, with more coming. While other E.V. markets are still heavily dependent on subsidies and financial incentives, China has entered a new phase: Consumers are weighing the features and prices of electric vehicles against gas-powered cars without much consideration of state support. The United States is far behind. This year, the country passed a key threshold of E.V.s accounting for 5 percent of new car sales. China passed that level in 2018. …Already the biggest E.V. market, China also has one of the fastest growing, with sales expected to double this year to about six million vehicles — more than the rest of the world combined. Of the world’s top-10 best-selling E.V. brands, half are Chinese, led by BYD, which lags only Tesla in global market share and is starting to ship its electric cars abroad. And it’s not just the car sales that are thriving in China. The Chinese battery manufacturers CATL and BYD are the biggest players in the industry, while Beijing holds a tight grip on access to critical raw materials.…
2022-09-20. How a Quebec Lithium Mine May Help Make Electric Cars Affordable. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/20/business/electric-vehicles-lithium-quebec.html] By Jack Ewing, photographs by Brendan George Ko For The New York Times. Excerpt: About 350 miles northwest of Montreal, amid a vast pine forest, is a deep mining pit with walls of mottled rock. The pit has changed hands repeatedly and been mired in bankruptcy, but now it could help determine the future of electric vehicles. The mine contains lithium, an indispensable ingredient in electric car batteries that is in short supply. If it opens on schedule early next year, it will be the second North American source of that metal, offering hope that badly needed raw materials can be extracted and refined close to Canadian, U.S. and Mexican auto factories, in line with Biden administration policies that aim to break China’s dominance of the battery supply chain. …Dozens of lithium mines are in various stages of development in Canada and the United States. …Most lithium is processed in China, …lithium processing requires expertise that is in short supply, .…
2022-09-06. In Energy Crunch, Germany Turns Down Heat but Won’t Limit Autobahn Speeds. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/06/world/europe/germany-autobahn-speed-limits.html] By Christopher F. Schuetze, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Germany is trying any range of measures to combat an energy crisis that is only expected to worsen this winter. Public buildings can be heated to just 66 degrees and most private pools not at all. Starting this month, billboards and other landmarks go dark at 10 p.m. The government has even extended the lives of two of the country’s last nuclear reactors. But the one thing Germany will not do, apparently, is put a general speed limit on the fabled autobahns, a proposal raised — and shot down — even though it could save gasoline and cut carbon dioxide emissions. …The German Environment Ministry found that if a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour, about 62 miles per hour, were put in place on the autobahns, with an 80 k.p.h. limit on other roads, Germany’s 48 million automobiles could save 2.1 billion liters of fuel every year. If drivers actually kept to that speed, 5.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions could be saved, about 3 percent of all CO2 emitted from transportation. If drivers kept to a speed limit of 130 k.p.h., or 80 m.p.h. — a more realistic limit — the savings would drop to 1.9 million metric tons, or just above 1 percent of total transportation emissions.…
2022-08-30. This Remote Mine Could Foretell the Future of America’s Electric Car Industry. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/30/business/economy/electric-cars-us-nickel-mine.html] By Ana Swanson, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Talon Metals… is proposing to build an underground mine near Tamarack [Minnesota] that would produce nickel, a highly sought-after mineral that is used to power electric vehicles. …But mines that extract metal from sulfide ore, as this one would, have a poor environmental record in the United States, and an even more checkered footprint globally. …it could spoil local lakes and streams that feed into the Mississippi River. There is also concern that it could endanger the livelihoods and culture of Ojibwe tribes whose members live just over a mile from Talon’s land and have gathered wild rice here for generations. …current supply chains for electric vehicle batteries — and the batteries that would be needed for the electric grid that would charge that fleet of vehicles — rely on some adversarial and heavily polluting foreign nations. Much of the nickel that goes into car batteries is produced by strip mines that have decimated rainforests in Indonesia and the Philippines, releasing vast amounts of carbon dioxide before being refined in Chinese factories powered by coal. Another source of nickel is a massive mining operation north of the Arctic Circle in Norilsk, Russia, which has produced so much sulfur dioxide that a plume of the toxic gas is big enough to be seen from space. Other minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, appear to have been mined or refined with the use of child or forced labor. With global demand for electric vehicles projected to grow sixfold by 2030, the dirty origins of this otherwise promising green industry have become a looming crisis.…
2022-08-25. California bans sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 in milestone step. [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/24/california-ban-sales-gas-powered-cars-2035] By Dani Anguiano, The Guardian. Excerpt: Thursday’s vote is among the first of its kind and will be an example to other states when setting zero-emission standards. …In 2021, only 12% of new cars sold in California were zero-emission, according to Carb, though about 16% of cars sold in the first three months of this year were electric. The new rule would require the state reach 35% of sales by 2026, 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035. It would not affect cars that are already on the road.… See also New York Times article about the ban as well as California E.V. Mandate Finds a Receptive Auto Industry.
2022-08-16. A Frustrating Hassle Holding Electric Cars Back: Broken Chargers. [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/16/business/energy-environment/electric-vehicles-broken-chargers.html] By Niraj Chokshi, The New York Times. Excerpt: …The chargers where people refuel [electric] cars are often broken. One recent study found that about a quarter of the public charging outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area, where electric cars are commonplace, were not working. A major effort is underway to build hundreds of thousands of public chargers — the federal government alone is spending $7.5 billion. But drivers of electric cars and analysts said that the companies that install and maintain the stations need to do more to make sure those new chargers and the more than 120,000 that already exist are reliable.…
2022-06-23. Can farm and food waste power tomorrow’s airplanes? [https://www.science.org/content/article/can-farm-and-food-waste-power-tomorrow-s-airplanes] By Robert F. Service, Science Magazine. Excerpt: It’s a painful truth for people who fly: …Air travel is among the most carbon-polluting human activities. A round trip from New York City to London emits nearly 1000 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger…. Annually, airplanes spew some 920 million tons of CO2, accounting for roughly 3.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Derek Vardon is hoping a yellowish, foul-smelling liquid will help change that. The fluid is a collection of short, chainlike molecules called volatile fatty acids (VFAs) from decaying food waste, …. In a process he and colleagues developed, the VFAs are vaporized, then …knit the VFAs into longer chains called ketones. …the ketones are piped to another reactor …to make kerosene, aka jet fuel. Vardon, a chemist who spent most of the past decade at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is betting this food-to-fuel process and others that convert different forms of waste “biomass” into fuel represent the future of air travel, and the world’s best hope for dramatically reducing the greenhouse gases it generates. In March 2021, he and his colleagues detailed the technology in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences along with calculations revealing the resulting jet fuel could be nearly as cheap as the petroleum-based version. …the net emissions from bio-based jet fuel would only be a fraction of those from fossil fuel. In October 2021, Vardon bet on his technology, leaving NREL to become chief technical officer of Alder Fuels, a startup aiming to produce sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). …In fall 2021, United Airlines committed to buying 5.7 billion liters of SAFs from Alder, the largest such aviation deal at that time. …More than a dozen SAF startups have formed in recent years in the United States, China, Japan, Singapore, India, Finland, Sweden, Austria, and Canada. …For now, SAF producers create just 100 million liters of fuel per year for an industry that consumed more than 360 billion liters in 2019…. By 2030, the market for SAFs may grow by 70-fold, to nearly $15.7 billion, according to Markets and Markets.…
2022-05-15. The Tesla Effect: Snowmobiles, Boats and Mowers Go Electric. By Jack Ewing, The New York Times. Excerpt: STOWE, Vt. — Snowmobiles are part of the winter soundtrack in this part of Vermont, at their worst shattering the stillness of the forest like motorcycles on skis. But the motorized sleds bouncing along a wooded mountain trail in February were silent except for the whoosh of metal runners on snow. The machines, made by a start-up Canadian company, Taiga, were battery-powered — the first electric snowmobiles to be sold widely — and symbols of how conveyances of all kinds are migrating to emission-free propulsion. Taiga is also offering battery-powered personal watercraft, another form of recreation where the gasoline version is regarded in some circles as a scourge. While electric cars get most of the attention, electric lawn mowers, boats, bicycles, scooters and all-terrain vehicles are proliferating. In some categories, battery-powered machines are gaining market share faster than electric cars are conquering the auto world. …The environmental benefits are potentially significant. Unlike cars and trucks, outboard motors or lawn mowers do not usually have catalytic converters to reduce harmful emissions. They are noisy, and they often use lower-quality fuel. A gasoline lawn mower generates as much pollution in an hour as a 300-mile car trip, according to the California Air Resources Board.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/15/business/electric-snowmobiles-boats-mowers.html]
2022-05-14. In London, a Long-Awaited High-Tech Train Is Ready to Roll. By Mark Landler, Photographs by Andrew Testa, The New York Times. Excerpt: LONDON — When Andy Byford ran New York City’s dilapidated subway system, fed-up New Yorkers hailed his crusade to make the trains run with fewer delays and lamented his premature exit after clashes with the governor at the time, Andrew M. Cuomo. …Straphangers even took to calling him “Train Daddy.” Nobody calls Mr. Byford Train Daddy in London, where he resurfaced in May 2020 as the commissioner of the city’s transit authority, Transport for London. But on May 24, when he opens the Elizabeth line — the long-delayed, $22 billion-plus high-capacity railway that uncoils from west and east underneath central London — he might find himself again worthy of a cheeky nickname. …Heathrow Airport has had a subway link for decades. When the Elizabeth line’s next phase is opened in the fall, passengers will be able to travel from Heathrow to the banks at Canary Wharf in East London in 40 minutes; that is a prime selling point for a city desperate to hold on to its status as financial mecca after Brexit. All told, the line has 10 entirely new stations, 42 miles of tunnels and crosses under the Thames three times.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/14/world/europe/london-train-crossrail.html]
2022-05-10. Just one of 50 aviation industry climate targets met, study finds. By Damien Gayle, The Guardian. Excerpt: The international aviation industry has failed to meet all but one of 50 of its own climate targets in the past two decades, environment campaigners say. A report commissioned by the climate charity Possible assessed every target set by the industry since 2000 and found that nearly all had been missed, revised or quietly ignored. The charity says the findings undermine a UK government plan to leave airlines to reduce their emissions through self-regulation.… [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/10/just-one-of-50-aviation-industry-climate-targets-met-study-finds]
2022-04-16. The Battery That Flies. By Ben Ryder Howe, The New York Times. Excerpt: A new aircraft being built in Vermont has no need for jet fuel. …Amazon and the Air Force are both betting on it. …a long-held aviation goal: an aircraft with no need for jet fuel and therefore no carbon emissions, a plane that could take off and land without a runway and quietly hop from recharging station to recharging station, like a large drone. …Electric motors have the virtue of being smaller, allowing more of them to be fitted on a plane and making it easier to design systems with vertical lift. However, batteries are heavy, planes need to be light, and for most of the last century, the e-plane was thought to be beyond reach.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/business/beta-electric-airplane.html]
2022-04-11. Truck Makers Face a Tech Dilemma: Batteries or Hydrogen? By Jack Ewing, The New York Times. Excerpt: Even before war in Ukraine sent fuel prices through the roof, the trucking industry was under intense pressure to kick its addiction to diesel, a major contributor to climate change and urban air pollution. But it still has to figure out which technology will best do the job. Truck makers are divided into two camps. One faction, which includes Traton, Volkswagen’s truck unit, is betting on batteries because they are widely regarded as the most efficient option. The other camp, which includes Daimler Truck and Volvo, the two largest truck manufacturers, argues that fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electricity — emitting only water vapor — make more sense because they would allow long-haul trucks to be refueled quickly. …Battery-powered trucks sell for about three times as much as equivalent diesel models, although owners may recoup much of the cost in fuel savings. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will probably be even more expensive, perhaps one-third more than battery-powered models, according to auto experts. But the savings in fuel and maintenance could make them cheaper to own than diesel trucks as early as 2027, according to Daimler Truck.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/11/business/electric-hydrogen-trucks.html]
2022-03-30. US transition to electric vehicles would save over 100,000 lives by 2050 – study. By Nina Lakhani, The Guardian. Excerpt: …Analysis by the American Lung Association highlights the public health damage caused by the world’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, and provides a glimpse into a greener, healthier future – should political leaders decide to act. According to the report, swapping gas vehicles for zero-emission new cars and trucks in the US would lead to 110,000 fewer deaths, 2.8m fewer asthma attacks and avoid 13.4m sick days by 2050. The shift would lead to a 92% fall in greenhouse gases by 2050, generating $1.7[trillion] in climate benefits by protecting ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure from rising sea levels and catastrophic weather events including drought and floods.… [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/mar/30/us-electric-vehicles-save-lives-public-health-costs-study]
2022-03-22. Colorado Welcomes Arrival of New Zero-Emissions Big Rigs. By Colorado Department of Transportation. Excerpt: New all-electric trucks will help Colorado meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals and save consumers money. Roads in Colorado will soon be seeing green 18-wheelers — big trucks with plenty of power but zero emissions. …Colorado Energy Office Director Will Toor and Colorado Department of Transportation Office of Innovative Mobility Chief Kay Kelly on Tuesday joined officials from Nikola, Wagner Equipment and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association to hail the arrival of the electric big rigs. A Nikola Tre truck, on display at the Capitol Tuesday, is a fully battery-electric vehicle (BEV) offering a range of up to 350 miles. Beginning in 2023, Wagner will also include the Nikola Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as part of its portfolio of trucks. “Colorado recently released a draft Clean Truck Strategy, which is among the most comprehensive plans in the U.S. to build and scale the market for zero emission trucks,” said Toor. “…The strategy includes ambitious plans to transition to zero-emissions electric and hydrogen trucks and buses. …Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles like tractor trailers represent less than 10% of all the vehicles on the road but are responsible for 22% of on-road transportation greenhouse gas emissions as well as ozone precursors.… [https://www.codot.gov/news/2022/march/colorado-welcomes-arrival-of-zero-emissions-big-rigs]
2022-03-19. $87.50 for 3 Minutes: Inside the Hot Market for Videos of Idling Trucks. By Michael Wilson, The New York Times. Excerpt: …Citizens Air Complaint Program, a public health campaign that invites — and pays — people to report trucks that are parked and idling for more than three minutes, or one minute if outside a school. Those who report collect 25 percent of any fine against a truck by submitting a video just over 3 minutes in length that shows the engine is running and the name of the company on the door. The program has vastly increased the number of complaints of idling trucks sent to the city, from just a handful before its creation in 2018 to more than 12,000 last year.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/19/nyregion/clean-air-idle-car.html]
2022-03-17. For Car Designers, E.V.s Offer a Blank Canvas. By Paul Stenquist, The New York Times. Excerpt: The internal combustion engine is exiting stage left. While it provided great transportation and performance thrills for many years, it will no longer play a leading role. In its place under the hood will be, well, very little. Ready or not, the curtain is going up on electric vehicles, and most of their mechanical components don’t sit where fossil-fuel engines once performed. Electric motors — far smaller than gasoline engines — are mounted between the wheels. A large transmission no longer gobbles up passenger space. No drive shaft is needed, thus no tunnel in the middle of the floor. The rear seat doesn’t have to be positioned to provide room for a fuel tank. The E.V.’s power source — the battery — is heavy and large but of minimal height. Situated within the area protected by the wheels, it serves as part of the chassis — a structural member. Nearly all the parameters of vehicle packaging have changed. Given a new and radically different platform on which to build vehicles, designers are rethinking their approach; the sheet metal that adorned gas-guzzlers can be a misfit here. …The size and weight of the battery compel it to be placed low and between the wheels, Mr. Langer said. That allows for a flat floor. The cowl — a structural element between engine compartment and passenger area — can be moved toward the front, increasing interior space. …The Lucid team took advantage of starting with a clean sheet. According to Mr. Jenkins, the Lucid Air has the largest “frunk,” or forward trunk, of any consumer-aimed E.V. … [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/17/business/electric-vehicle-ev-design.html]
2022-03-15. Fairfax County Public Schools expands electric school bus fleet amid rising gas prices. By Christy Matino, ABC8 News. Excerpt: FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County Public Schools are going green in hopes of saving some green.
Parents and officials gathered on Monday to celebrate the addition of new electric school buses to their fleet. This brings the county one step closer to its goal of obtaining all-electric school buses by 2035. Dropping diesel for electric buses is a trend seen in school districts across the DMV, and the soaring cost of gas makes it the perfect time to switch over. “Higher prices at the pump highlight the need accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy, and offer affordable and convenient transportation options that are less vulnerable to these price spikes,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.… [https://www.wric.com/news/virginia-news/ga-price-school-district-expands-electric-school-bus-fleet-amid-gas-price-increases/] See also Battle of the Buses: Diesel vs. Electric (youtube)
2022-03-07. E.P.A. to Tighten Tailpipe Rules for the Biggest Polluters on the Road. By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. Excerpt: The Biden administration on Monday proposed strict new limits on pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks — the first time in more than 20 years that tailpipe standards have been tightened for the biggest polluters on the road. The new draft rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would require heavy-duty trucks to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide by 90 percent by 2031. Nitrogen dioxide is linked to lung cancer, heart disease and premature death. The E.P.A. also announced plans to slightly tighten truck emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is driving climate change. The new rules for nitrogen oxide pollution would apply to trucks beginning with the model year 2027, while the carbon dioxide rules would apply to trucks starting with the model year 2024.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/07/climate/trucks-pollution-rules-epa.html]
2022-02-23. USPS finalizes plans to buy mostly gasoline-powered delivery trucks. Here’s what experts say is wrong with that. By Jacob Bogage and Anna Phillips, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The U.S. Postal Service finalized plans Wednesday to purchase up to 148,000 gasoline-powered mail delivery trucks, defying Biden administration officials’ objections that the multibillion-dollar contract would undercut the nation’s climate goals. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy disregarded requests from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency this month to reconsider replacing the delivery fleet with 90 percent gas-powered trucks and 10 percent electric vehicles, at a cost of as much as $11.3 billion. The contract, orchestrated by DeJoy, offers only a 0.4-mpg fuel economy improvement over the agency’s current fleet. The decision is a major blow to the White House’s climate agenda. President Biden has pledged to transition the federal fleet to clean power, and apart from the military, the Postal Service has more vehicles than any other government agency. It accounts for nearly one-third of federally owned cars and trucks, and environmental and auto industry experts argue that the agency’s stop-and-start deliveries to 161 million addresses six days a week provides an ideal scenario for using electric vehicles. EPA officials said the Postal Service vastly underestimated the emissions of its proposed fleet of “Next Generation Delivery Vehicles,” accusing the mail agency of fudging the math in its analysis to justify the massive purchase of internal-combustion-engine trucks.… [https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/02/23/usps-trucks-epa-climate-change]
2022-02-15. Affordable housing for teachers? California owns plenty of land for that. By Ivan Natividad, UC Berkeley News. Excerpt: New research from UC Berkeley has the potential to influence state policy aimed at providing affordable housing to public school teachers and staff. The report, “Education Workforce Housing in California: Developing the 21st Century Campus,” was published today by UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at Berkeley, and cityLAB at UCLA. The research, developed in collaboration with the California School Boards Association and funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, looked at tens of thousands of potential California housing sites and found that counties across the state own public land that can be designed and developed to house public school teachers and staff. Researchers found that the scarcity of affordable housing in California impacts the quality of K-12 education because public school teachers and employees often cannot live in the communities where they work. … [https://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/affordable-housing-for-teachers-california-owns-plenty-of-land-for-that/] Why is this article related to Energy Use chapter 9? Because if people live close to their work, they expend less energy (and emit less greenhouse gas) than commuting far distances.
2022-02-08. Why This Could Be a Critical Year for Electric Cars. By Jack Ewing and Neal E. Boudette, The New York times. Excerpt: Sales of cars powered solely by batteries surged in the United States, Europe and China last year, while deliveries of fossil fuel vehicles were stagnant. …While electric vehicles still account for a small slice of the market — nearly 9 percent of the new cars sold last year worldwide were electric, up from 2.5 percent in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency — their rapid growth could make 2022 the year when the march of battery-powered cars became unstoppable, erasing any doubt that the internal combustion engine is lurching toward obsolescence. …The auto industry is on track to invest half a trillion dollars in the next five years to make the transition to electric vehicles, Wedbush Securities, an investment firm, estimates. That money will be spent to refit and build factories, train workers, write software, upgrade dealerships and more. Companies are planning more than a dozen new electric car and battery factories just in the United States. “It’s one of the biggest industrial transformations probably in the history of capitalism,” Scott Keogh, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said in an interview.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/business/energy-environment/electric-cars-vehicles.html]
2022-01-11. Is Norway the Future of Cars? By Shira Ovide, The New York Times. Excerpt: Last year, Norway reached a milestone. Only about 8 percent of new cars sold in the country ran purely on conventional gasoline or diesel fuel. Two-thirds of new cars sold were electric, and most of the rest were electric-and-gasoline hybrids. …electric car enthusiasts are stunned by the speed at which the internal combustion engine has become an endangered species in Norway. …Norwegians started with much of the same electric vehicle skepticism as Americans. That changed because of government policies that picked off the easier wins first and a growing number of appealing electric cars. Over time, that combination helped more Norwegians believe electric cars were for them. …if Norway could do it, the U.S. and other countries could, too. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and climate scientists have said that moving away from combustion engine vehicles is essential to avoiding the worst effects of a warming planet. U.S. electric car sales are increasing fast, but at about 3 percent of new passenger vehicles, percentages are far lower than those in most other rich countries. So what did Norway do right? …the country’s policies focused first on what was the least difficult: nudging people who were considering a new car to go electric. Norwegians who bought new electric cars didn’t have to pay the country’s very high taxes on new vehicle sales. That made electric cars a no-brainer for many people, and it didn’t hurt people who already owned conventional cars or those who bought used ones.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/11/technology/norway-electric-vehicles.html]
2022-01-9. EasyJet will be first airline to use green hydrogen on commercial flights. By Nigel Rosser & Barry Ellams, Wales Online. Excerpt: EasyJet is set to become the world’s first major airline to use green hydrogen fuelled aircraft on commercial flights. The low budget carrier is planning to use eco-friendly hydrogen cell technology on passenger flights as early as 2030 in an attempt to slash its carbon footprint. …Cranfield are being backed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Government who have awarded them £7.5 million for development. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has also given the project his approval. …Experts say hydrogen fuel cells have zero emissions, no battery charge and flight turnaround time is comparable to that of conventional fuels, with fuel costs significantly lower. Converting electricity to hydrogen to make the fuel is also carbon-zero. Cranfield are currently developing a nine-seater Britten-Normander plane to fly for 60 minutes with 45 minutes reserve fuel time. By 2030 they believe far longer flights of up to four hours can be achieved.… [https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/easyjet-first-airline-use-green-22695010]
2022-01-03. H2 Clipper Will Resurrect Hydrogen Airships to Haul Green Fuel Across the Planet. By Edd Gent, SingularityHub. Excerpt: …Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as a promising alternative for … hard to decarbonize sectors. It has a higher energy density than natural gas and can either be burned in internal combustion engines or combined with oxygen in a fuel cell to create electricity. …much of today’s hydrogen is derived from natural gas and therefore not much better than fossil fuels, in theory you can also make it by using renewable electricity to power electrolyzers that split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Producing green hydrogen economically is still a huge challenge,…. But transporting hydrogen remains a sticking point: Areas that are abundant in renewable energy such as sun and wind are not always close to where the hydrogen is needed. …a start-up called H2 Clipper has an ingenious workaround. …build airships that simultaneously transport hydrogen and use it as a lighter-than-air gas to provide the aircraft with lift. …its airships will also use hydrogen fuel cells to power their engines. …the H2 Clipper will be able to cruise at about 175 mph, which would allow it to ferry cargo 7 to 10 times faster than a boat. It also has a cargo volume of 265,000 cubic feet—8 to 10 times more than most airfreighters—and can carry up to 340,000 pounds of payload 6,000 miles at its standard cruising speed. Between distances of 1,000 to 6,000 miles, the airship could carry a ton of cargo for as little as $0.177 to $0.247 per mile—a quarter of the cost of airfreight. …US law currently bans the use of hydrogen as a lift gas in airships. …not surprising, seeing as the era of the airship came to an abrupt end nearly a century ago after the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg went up in flames. H2 Clipper deals with this issue in their FAQs, pointing out that hydrogen storage technology has undergone rigorous testing in the automotive industry thanks to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, with no recorded explosion to date. The company says this is because hydrogen’s very fast expansion rate means that it typically disperses too quickly for an explosion to happen.… [https://singularityhub.com/2022/01/03/h2-clipper-will-resurrect-hydrogen-airships-to-haul-green-fuel-across-the-planet/]
Additional Topics (Fuel, Electric Vehicles, Automobiles)
ForgeFX Interactive 3D simulation by Prentice Hall – 4-STROKE ENGINE – allows the student to explore how a four stroke engine works and to gain an understanding of the different strokes involved.