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On Can Switching Heavy Duty Trucks to Rail Transport Reduce Carbon Emissions?

John,

Thanks for the references.   I have been tied up the last few days, but I will read them as soon as I can.

July 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Can Switching Heavy Duty Trucks to Rail Transport Reduce Carbon Emissions?

I would appreciate your posting the parameters of your evaluation of the feasibility of converting HDV’s to natural gas for cross-country freight transport.  I have done a similar evaluation, and believe that it would be quite feasible.

July 14, 2013    View Comment    

On Can Switching Heavy Duty Trucks to Rail Transport Reduce Carbon Emissions?

I suspect that greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced more effectively and cost effectively by converting HDV's to running on LNG, rather than switching to rail transport.  That's not to say that it would not be worthwhile to switch as much of the freight transport to rail as is practicable, but considerations of flexibility would limit its effectiveness, as you note.

July 14, 2013    View Comment    

On Does Efficiency R&D Lead to Lower Energy Consumption? It's Complicated

A review of the graph in this article of per capita energy consumption demonstrates that the thesis that that increased investment in efficiency R&D  results in reduced energy consumption is not supported by historical experience.

Almost the the entire reduction in per capita energy consumption of 7,000 kwh observed in the U.S. from 1980 through 2010 is attributable to two events.  The first event was a decrease of approximately 9,500 per capita from 1980 through mid 1983, and the second was a decrease of approximately 8,600 per capita in the period from mid 2007 through mid 2009.   The per capita energy consumption in the remaining 24.5 years out of the 30 year study period actually increased by 11,100 kwh per capita.

The first period of decline was associated with a severe recession that was a consequence of a spike in oil price that resulted from the Iranian Revolution.  As the graph indicates, similar declines in per capita energy consumption occurred in Germany and Japan as well.  This decline had nothing to do with R&D or energy innovation.

The first decline event ended in mid 2003, when oil prices stabilized, and per capita energy consumption increased steadily until 2000, when oil prices began to rise.

The second decline event began in mid 2007, when the increase in oil price accelerated, culminating in a record high price of $134 (in March 2013 dollars) in June of 2008.  The decline continued until mid 2009, as a result of the recession caused by the credit collapse of 2008.  Here also, similar declines occurred in Germany and Japan, although they were less severe, because the oil consumption per capita in thos e countries is lower than that of the U.S., due to geographical and cultural factors.

In fact, the curves of per capita energy consumption over the study period are almost identical for Germany and Japan, except for the period of the 1990's, when per capita energy consumption increased in Japan, but decreased in Germany.  This is likely a result of the economic consequences of the cost of reunification in Germany, and had nothing to do with energy policy.

The bottom line is that there is absolutely no evidence that the variations in the trends in per capita energy consumption over the study period in the three countries has anything to do with the magnitude of R&D expenditures or energy innovation. 

July 4, 2013    View Comment    

On Spain In Trouble For Solar Energy Cuts

One could say the same of biofuels in the U.S.

June 17, 2013    View Comment    

On The Bigger Picture: Nuclear Energy vs. Fossil Fuels

Interesting comment, John.  Could you post a link?


Thanks

 

 

June 14, 2013    View Comment    

On EU: 100 Percent Renewable Energy Is Here

I have often said that if you're truly worried about climate change, eat more chicken :)

Actually, I have given up meat from ruminant animals and dairy foods, consuming soy milk instead.  I figure I'm doing more to fight climate change than those who support installing solar panels and wind turbines where they make no sense.

June 14, 2013    View Comment    

On Sad Saga of San Onofre Nuclear Is Good News for Renewables

Another good title would be "Sad Saga of San Onofre Nuclear is Bad News for Decarbonization and for Consumers"

June 11, 2013    View Comment    

On Switchgrass Biofuels to Power Navy Jet Fighters

This seems to have morphed into a more general discussion about biofuels.  The biofuels industry has been claiming for years that commercially viable biofuel technology is just around the corner, and never delivering.

While I support continued research, I am deeply skeptical of claims about being able to produce significant volumes of biofuels at a viable price and with an acceptable eroei in the forseeable future.

As an alternative, I would suggest just burning the agricultural feedstock (switchgrass in this case) to generate electricity, displacing natural gas that could be used either as a chemical or liquid fuels feedstock, or used directly as a transportation fuel, thus displacing oil that can be used as a feedstock for aviation fuels.

While this article conspicuously failed to mention either the eoei or the unit cost of the producing aviation fuel from cellulose (or any other fuel, for that matter), I have to think it would be far less efficient and more expensive than what I am suggesting.

June 10, 2013    View Comment    

On Switchgrass Biofuels to Power Navy Jet Fighters

It is notable that the EROEI for this project was not stated.

June 8, 2013    View Comment    

On Debunking the "Electric Cars Aren’t Green" Myth

I K's point that analyses like this can be very misleading, because they do not consider the impact of marginal electricy consumption is a very good one.

More fundamentally, the question of whether or not substituting electric vehicles for ICE vehicles reduces greenhouse gas emissions misses the central policy problem of whether or not subsidizing substituting electric vehicles for ICE vehicles is an effective and cost effective mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a wise use of resources.

I suspect that the answer is no, it is not.

June 7, 2013    View Comment    

On The Tesla of Garbage Trucks Could Clean Up Urban Air

How does this compare economically and environmentally to simply running the truck on CNG or LNG?

June 7, 2013    View Comment