Standards for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants

December 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Discussions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollution like arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. The standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier – preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.

“Since toxic air pollution from power plants can make people sick and cut lives short, the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards are a huge victory for public health,” said Albert A. Rizzo, MD, national volunteer chair of the American Lung Association, and pulmonary and critical care physician in Newark, Delaware. “The Lung Association expects all oil and coal-fired power plants to act now to protect all Americans, especially our children, from the health risks imposed by these dangerous air pollutants.”

Source: U.S. EPA Press Release

Chicago proposes taxi safety reform

December 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Discussions

Chicago cabbies would drive newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, get the hook more quickly for dangerous driving and spend no more than 12 hours on the road, under sweeping reforms proposed Monday with one glaring exception: a fare increase.

Instead of raising fares for the first time since 2005, Mayor Emanuel wants to put more money in drivers’ pockets indirectly — by raising lease rates on more fuel-efficient vehicles. The “tiered lease system” is designed to give cab companies a financial incentive to upgrade their fleets and lower fuel costs.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

Oil will remain the most widely used fuel in 2040

December 8, 2011 by  
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New Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040 released by Exxon Mobil Corporation last week projects that global energy demand in 2040 will be about 30% higher than it was in 2010 as population grows to 9 billion and global GDP doubles. The growth is led by developing regions such as China, India, Africa and other emerging economies.

The Outlook states that oil will remain the most widely used fuel. However, the overall energy demand will be reshaped by a continued shift toward less-carbon-intensive energy sources, as well as steep improvements in energy efficiency in areas such as transportation, where the expanded use of advanced and hybrid vehicles will help push average new-car fuel economy to 48 mpg (4.9 L/100 km).

ExxonMobil expects that by 2040, hybrids and other advanced vehicles will account for nearly 50 percent of light duty vehicles on the road, compared to only about 1 percent today. The vast majority will be hybrids that use mainly gasoline plus a small amount of battery power; these will make up more than 40 percent of the global fleet by 2040.

Globally, ExxonMobil expects to see growth in plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, along with compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) powered vehicles. However, these will account for only about 5 percent of the global fleet in 2040, their growth limited by cost and functionality considerations. ExxonMobil expects the average new car to get 48 miles per gallon (MPG) in 2040, compared to 27 MPG in 2010.

Because of that, demand for energy for personal vehicles will remain essentially flat through 2040 even as the number of personal vehicles in the world doubles to about 1.6 billion units. ExxonMobil projects that of all advanced-vehicle technologies, hybrids will offer the best value for consumers. By 2030, ExxonMobil expects that, on average, hybrid vehicles will cost about $1,500 more than a similar-sized conventional vehicle, whereas a compressed-natural-gas (CNG) vehicle will be nearly $4,000 more, and an electric vehicle will be $12,000 more.

Top fuel burners, such as diesel locomotives, heavy-duty trucks, off-road and construction machinery, maritime vessels, and stationary power units will remain using diesel fuel. The Outlook projects that demand for energy for commercial transportation—trucks, airplanes, ships and trains—will rise by more than 70%, driven by economic growth, particularly in Non OECD nations.

Source: Green Car Congress

Edmunds CEO to Congress: Consumers Voices Ignored

October 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Discussions

Edmunds.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl told Congress last week that consumer voices were ignored when the Obama administration laid out its latest proposal for future Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, and that consumers are not on board with those standards.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced plans to raise the CAFE standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, which almost doubles the current standard of 30.2 mpg. Edmunds.com says that there is reason for consumers to be concerned that the high standards can only be reached through the development of new fuel-efficient technology that will likely drive vehicle prices higher.

Citing specific data gathered and analyzed exclusively by Edmunds.com and notable academics Dr. Ely Dahan and Dr. Anand Bodapati, Mr. Anwyl said that fuel efficiency accounts for only six percent of the typical consumer’s decision to purchase a particular vehicle. This number climbs to just 15 percent for consumers in the heavily cost-sensitive segment of subcompact vehicles.

“Any study of actual sales makes clear that — for the vast majority of consumers — fuel economy is simply not their primary motivating factor…

Source: Edmunds.com

Feds delay 2025 fuel efficiency proposal

September 30, 2011 by  
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The Obama administration says it will not meet its self-imposed deadline to unveil a proposed doubling of fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 and instead will unveil the proposal in mid-November.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will not meet a deadline set for releasing the proposal by the end of this month. Earlier this year, NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency said they would roll out their proposal in tandem with California, which has been considering its own state proposal.

The complexity of setting rules for the 2017-25 time frame — expected to run more than 2,000 pages with supporting documents — is a key factor in the delay. Automakers aren’t opposed to the delay because they are eager to see the administration get the rules right.

“The agreement in principle reached in July needs to be turned into a proposed multi-year rule and that takes some time, so we’re not concerned about another couple of months for a rule that doesn’t start until 2017,” said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group representing Detroit’s Big Three automakers, Toyota Motor Corp. and seven others.

Under the terms of a deal struck with 13 major automakers — including General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group, Toyota, BMW AG and others — California will agree not to seek to impose its own state standards.

Source: The Detroit News

Helpful Technologies proposes a way to save lives

June 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Discussions

SUMMARY

After 15 months in Iraq, I became convinced, Americans are getting killed moving fuel we would not need if we took simple, inexpensive, feasible steps to be MORE EFFICIENT.
= Steven M. Anderson, BG (Ret) US Army=

The use of petroleum products is pervasive and critical for the United States and is especially important for the U.S. Armed Forces. Constant improvements in fuel efficiency are necessary to support ever increasing mobility and power generation requirements in the combat zone.

Although the development of alternative fuels could be the future; oil is and will remain the most affordable source of mobile energy for the next 20+ years. The top 20% of fuel burners – trucks, locomotives, generators, ships, aircraft, etc.- will remain powered by oil-based fuel.

The U.S. Army has over 150,000 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. On average the U.S. Army daily spends about 22 gallons of fuel per person (8,000 gallons per person per year) at approximately $30 per gallon in Afghanistan and $17 in Iraq. The aggregate fuel usage rounds to about 1.2 billion gallons per year. Electric power generation comprises about 65% of overall fuel consumption at an annual expense in excess of $28.8 Billion.

Conventional methods of improving fuel efficiency typically require significant changes to the engine design (i.e. engine retrofit to compressed natural gas/liquefied natural gas fuels or hybrid-electric technologies).

On June 2011, Helpful Technologies Inc. has submitted the white paper to the U.S. Army to discuss existing and near-term opportunities for increasing fuel efficiency on diesel generators by using novel amplified atomization system developed by the company’s engineers. This new method allows reduction of fuel consumption without changing existing engine configurations and permits extended, more efficient use of fossil fuel in forms presently used by the U.S. Army.

Download White Paper…>