Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy, National Research Council (Oct. 4, 2011). This report, which looks at the environmental and economic benefits of federal biofuel policy, finds that the United States is unlikely to meet its goal of producing 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2022. According to the report, the United States lacks the refining capacity necessary to meet those goals and alternative fuel requires subsidies or a clear price on carbon emissions to compete with petroleum. In addition, the way feedstocks are produced to meet the cellulosic biofuel requirement could offset any projected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
America's Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition, National Research Council (2009). This final report of the Committee on America’s Energy Future addresses the deployment potential, costs, implementation barriers, and impacts of six key energy supply and end-use technology areas during the next two to three decades: energy efficiency, alternative transportation fuels, renewable energy, fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, and electrical transmission and distribution systems. The report is intended as a resource for policymakers on the technological options for transforming U.S. energy production, distribution, and use; increasing sustainability; supporting long-term economic prosperity, promoting energy security, and reducing adverse environmental impacts.
The National Academies Summit on America's Energy Future, National Research Council (2009). Part of the America’s Energy Future series, this report summarizes the two-day summit held in March 2008 in Washington, D.C., focused on how the United States can meet its energy needs while preserving environmental and economic conditions and national security. The report covers the current context, including the challenges of climate change and the growth of the developing world; energy supplies; energy uses, including transportation; and meeting the challenges, including the role of the public and private sectors.
Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts, National Research Council (May 2009). Part of the America’s Energy Future series, this report addresses the technological readiness, potential life-cycle costs, and environmental impacts of producing liquid fuels from coal and biomass. The report finds that liquid fuels from biomass and coal have the potential to reduce petroleum fuel use and CO2 emissions in the U.S. transportation sector over the next 25 years, but substantial investments in research, development, and commercial demonstration projects will be necessary.
Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States, National Research Council (December 2009). Part of the America’s Energy Future series, this report considers the potential for reducing energy demand through improving efficiency by using existing technologies, technologies developed but not yet widely used, and prospective technologies. The report finds that full deployment of existing energy efficiency technologies or technologies that are likely to be developed in the near future could lower projected U.S. energy use 17 percent to 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent to 31 percent by 2030.
Feasibility Study of Using Solar or Wind Power for Transportation Infrastructure, National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Project 25-25, Task 64 (March 2011). This practitioners’ handbook includes resources for state departments of transportation to evaluate and install solar or wind powered renewable energy installations in their transportation infrastructure. The handbook provides overview of current and emerging technologies used in wind and solar applications, presents a general design approach for installations located near the roadway right-of-way, and includes a tool for performing life-cycle cost analysis to determine the feasibility of potential transportation-related renewable energy installation projects. Additional resources are available on the NCHRP project webpage.
Effects of Changing Transportation Energy Supplies and Alternative Fuel Sources on Transportation, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 20-83). This ongoing research is one of a series of five projects funded by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program in fiscal year 2009 to explore Long-Range Strategic Issues Facing the Transportation Industry that are likely to affect state departments of transportation in 30 to 50 years. Research objectives are to determine how the mandate, role, funding, and operations of state DOTs will likely be affected by future changes in long-term energy supply and demand and to identify strategies and actions that can be used by state DOTs to plan and prepare for these effects.
Renewable Energy Guide for Highway Maintenance Facilities, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 20-85), to be completed in July 2012. The objective of this research is to develop best practices for the planning, design, and operation of new and retrofitted highway maintenance facilities that are sustainable and energy efficient over their service lives through the effective use of energy capture technologies, including active, renewable (such as wind, solar, and ground-source) energy sources, and passive (such as solar-thermal) building and site modifications. The best practices will be presented in the form of a guide providing regional- and facility function-specific information that is suitable for possible adoption by AASHTO. The guide also will include case studies of the planning, design, and operation of typical, new, and retrofitted state DOT maintenance facilities of different sizes, functions, ages, and energy usage and found in a variety of geographic and climatic regions in the United States.
Impact of Highway Capacity Improvements on Air Quality and Energy Consumption, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP 25-08), completed in July 1995. This study attempted to evaluate the state of knowledge on the impacts of investments in highway capacity on traffic flow characteristics, travel demand, land use, vehicle emissions, air quality, and energy use in metropolitan areas. The research, which is documented in NCHRP Special Report 245: Expanding Metropolitan Highways: Implications for Air Quality and Energy Use, also examined the state of modeling practice to assess the reliability of forecasting tools available to planning agencies. The research concluded that regulatory requirements demanded a level of analytic precision beyond the current state of the art in modeling. The research also found that even with improved models, the complex and indirect relationship between highway capacity additions, air quality, and energy use makes it impossible to generalize about the effects of added highway capacity on air quality and energy use.
Transportation Research Record Journal 2287: Energy and Global Climate Change 2012, Transportation Research Board (Nov. 12, 2012). This compilation of 21 research papers covers topics related to energy and global climate change. Topics include energy use by plug-in electric vehicles, the carbon footprints for public transportation agencies in Florida, and life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of materials used in road construction.
Economic and Environmental Optimization of Vehicle Fleets: Impact of Policy, Market, Utilization, and Technological Factors, Miguel A. Figliozzi, Jesse A. Boudart, and Wei Feng (2011). This article discusses the use of models to inform decisions by fleet managers on the replacement of existing vehicles with cleaner vehicles and electric vehicles. The study considered the impacts of greenhouse gas taxes, incentives to buy electric vehicles, and gasoline prices. The study concludes that the purchase of cleaner vehicles is worthwhile only in scenarios with high vehicle use or high gasoline prices; the current European GHG cap-and-trade price does not significantly affect fleet management decisions; and government incentives to purchase clean vehicles do increase the rate of purchase in high vehicle use or high gasoline price scenarios. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Energy Use Generated by Traffic and Pavement Maintenance: Decision Support for Optimization of Low Rolling Resistance Maintenance Treatments, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (Nov. 9, 2012). This report examines the benefits of considering the total energy used in transportation when managing the road network. The report is based on a study conducted under the MIRIAM (Models for Rolling Resistance in Road Infrastructure Asset Management Systems) project, which aims to develop a sustainable road infrastructure by improving control over road transport carbon dioxide emissions. The Swedish report provides analysis of how road maintenance can reduce traffic energy use by lowering the rolling resistance of pavement surfaces. The report includes two case studies of roads where traffic volume and maintenance practices were evaluated in regard to longitudinal roughness, macro texture, and rutting. Both case studies are of roads in southern Sweden.
LED Roadway Lighting Study: Volume 1: Background Information and Volume 2: Field Evaluations and Software Comparisons, University of Illinois Center for Transportation (Oct. 2012). This two-volume report summarizes research on the application of light-emitting diode (LED) technology to roadway lighting. Volume 1 provides background information including a literature review of the current state of technology in LED roadway lighting, a comparison of LED roadway luminaires with high-intensity discharge (HID) sources, test procedures for LED roadway lighting installations, and current Illinois DOT roadway lighting requirements. Volume 2 presents the results of field performance tests and software analyses of three types of LED roadway luminaires.
Assessing Energy Impact of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Zhenhong Lin and David L. Greene (2011). This article discusses the impact of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle use on gasoline and electricity consumption. The study reviewed assumptions in regard to variations in daily vehicle miles traveled. In general, failing to account for variation in vehicle miles traveled per day and per driver results in an underestimation of expected petroleum use and an overestimation of expected electricity use. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Comparison of Emissions, Energy, and Cost Impacts of Diesel and Hybrid Models in the United States in 2010, Nic Lutsey (2011). This article discusses the contribution of two classes of vehicle—diesel and hybrid gasoline/electric—to improvements in emissions reductions and fuel consumption. Using quantitative analysis of various vehicle models, the findings suggest prominent benefits from these vehicle technologies. Both technologies would need to come down in price to become competitive in the U.S. market. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Developments in Energy Use for Transport in 27 European Union Countries Through 2030, Burkhard Schade and Tobias Wiesenthal (2011). This article discusses transportation emissions and energy use in the European Union under scenarios developed through 2030. Various models were run on the scenarios to develop projected greenhouse gas emissions and fuel demand. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Renewable Natural Gas as Vehicle Fuel, Marianne Mintz and Jeongwoo Han (2011). This article discusses the benefits of using natural gas from the decomposition of organic waste in landfills as a transportation fuel. The findings indicate that using landfill gas as a vehicle fuel consumes significantly fewer Btu of fossil fuel and produces less greenhouse gas emissions, on a lifecycle basis, than using fossil natural gas or petroleum fuels. Landfill gas is also a renewable fuel. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Evolution of the Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet: Anticipating Adoption of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Across the U.S. Fleet, Binny M. Paul, Kara M. Kockelman, and Sashank Musti (2011). This article discusses a study that ran simulations on various scenarios to predict the composition of the U.S. vehicle fleet in 25 years. Results suggest an increase in demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles dependent on better marketing, competitive pricing, government incentives, reliable test reports, and charging infrastructure. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
High-Performance Single and Polycrystal-Based Pyroelectric Smart Materials for Energy Harvesting from Pavements, Sudip Bhattacharjee, Ashok K. Batra, Sima Meseret, and Jacob Cain (2011). This article discusses the use of pyroelectric materials and other materials to capture heat and vibrations from pavements and convert them to electricity. The findings suggest that the use of such materials at known pavement conditions could make energy harvesting from pavements attractive and feasible. The electricity could be used to power roadway sensors and other low-power devices. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Promoting the Market for Plug-In Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles: Role of Recharge Availability, Zhenhong Lin and David L. Greene (2011). This article discusses the impact of recharging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the purchases of such vehicles. The study examined the relative impacts of more rechargers at home, at work, and in public spaces. The findings indicate that compared to work and public spaces, home recharging improvements have a greater impact on vehicle sales. The article is published in the TRB Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, No. 2252 Energy and Global Climate Change 2011.
Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Technology Developed by Stanford Researchers, Stanford University News (Feb. 1, 2012). A new wireless vehicle charging system developed by researchers at Stanford has the potential to dramatically increase the driving range of electric vehicles and revolutionize highway travel, according to a news release. The technology, which uses magnetic fields to wirelessly transmit large electric currents between metal coils several feet apart, could allow for on-highway charging of electric cars and trucks as they travel down the roadway.
Congestion in America, Securing America’s Future Energy (Jan. 24, 2012). This report by a nonprofit group seeking to reduce America’s dependence on oil finds that congestion is a significant contributor to fuel consumption in the United States. The report finds that 1.9 billion gallons of gas were wasted in congestion in 2010, and estimates fuel wasted in congestion will increase by 65 percent by 2030. The report identifies transportation policies to reverse the trend, including road traffic management, accident management, improved public transit and ridesharing, and long-term urban planning and development.
Eco-Driving: Strategic, Tactical, and Operational Decisions of the Driver that Improve Fuel Economy, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (August 2011). This report that examines how eco-driving by motorists can influence on-road fuel economy of light-duty vehicles. The report defines eco-driving as the decisions drivers make to improve fuel economy, such as vehicle selection and maintenance, route selection, and driving behavior. The report finds that of these decisions, vehicle selection by far has the largest effect on fuel economy. However, the report finds that the remaining factors can contribute to a 45 percent reduction in on-road fuel economy per driver.
Energy Efficiency Policy: Surveying the Puzzles, Resources for the Future (July 2011). This discussion paper questions the merit of a number of presumptions by proponents of energy efficiency as a policy response to greenhouse gas emissions. Such presumptions include the belief that more energy efficiency means less energy use and that energy efficiency can be combined with renewable fuels to reduce fossil fuel use. Among other findings, the paper maintains that energy efficiency might actually lead to more energy use by reducing operating costs, and using energy efficiency savings to meet renewable use requirements may have unintended consequences.