Comparison of Carbon Footprints of Electric and Gasoline Vehicles

by Bradley Newton

Authors Yuksel, Tamayao, Hendrickson, Azevedo, and Michalek (2016) have conducted a study concerning the carbon footprints of electric and gasoline vehicles. They cite several past studies looking at a similar topic, but point out that none of those studies accounted for grid emissions (pollution created by generated electricity), people’s driving patterns, and how diverse temperatures are in different regions. It is also pointed out that past studies used vehicles of differing battery life spans, which can make comparisons harder. The factors that the authors of the study look at for their comparisons are: availability of electricity for Plug-in electric vehicles, temperatures of studied regions, vehicle miles traveled, and driving conditions (meaning whether it is city or highway driving). The vehicles they used were a mix of conventional, hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and battery-electric vehicles. They were driven to the end of their life-cycle (complete depletion of gas tank or battery) and had their respective CO2 emissions measured. Continue reading

The Benefits of Cleaner Cookstoves for Climate and Human Health

by Natalie Knops

Widespread use of traditional wood and coal-burning cookstoves has resulted in a significant source of anthropogenic emissions. Reductions in these emissions could be deeply beneficial to impact climate change and public health. It is estimated that cleaner technology to replace traditional wood and coal-burning stoves could decrease the global temperature by nearly a tenth of a degree and save more than 10 million lives by 2050 (Pidcock, 2017). Exposure to household air pollution is responsible for an overwhelming number of preventable illnesses and deaths. It is estimated that exposure to cooking smoke in poorly ventilated homes is the cause of 370,000 to 500,000 premature adult deaths per year. Cooking smoke is a source of risk for burns, eye and respiratory diseases. Traditional cooking methods use solid fuels such as wood, animal dung, coal and biomass as fuel for an open fire. Methods like these release methane and carbon dioxide. Emissions from wood-fuels alone are approximated at 2% of global emissions (Robert Bailis, 2014).When wood and coal are burnt, aerosols are released along with greenhouse gases—the climate effect of these aerosols being strongly regional. Cooking fires are a primary source of black carbon soot. This black soot can be carried as far as the Arctic atmosphere, bringing about ice and permafrost melt (What is Black Carbon?, 2010). Continue reading

Comparison of Carbon Footprints of Electric and Gasoline Vehicles

by Bradley Newton

Authors Yuksel, Tamayao, Hendrickson, Azevedo, and Michalek (2016) have conducted a study concerning the carbon footprints of electric and gasoline vehicles. They cite several past studies looking at a similar topic, but point out that none of those studies accounted for grid emissions (pollution created by generated electricity), people’s driving patterns, and how diverse temperatures are in different regions. It is also pointed out that past studies used vehicles of differing battery life spans, which can make comparisons harder. The factors that the authors of the study look at for their comparisons are: availability of electricity for Plug-in electric vehicles, temperatures of studied regions, vehicle miles traveled, and driving conditions (meaning whether it is city or highway driving). The vehicles they used were a mix of conventional, hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and battery-electric vehicles. They were driven to the end of their life-cycle (complete depletion of gas tank or battery) and had their respective CO2 emissions measured. The authors decided that the driving conditions of an area would be based off its urbanization level, VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) would be obtained from the National Household Travel Survey from its respective state, and they assigned marginal grid emission factors (amount of electricity available) for each North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to the counties that lie within their encompassed area. Continue reading

The Future of Energy in Britain

by Cybele Kappos

As an energy crisis looms in the horizon of UK energy, the nation prepares for alternative energy sources. The BBC’s Jane-Frances Kelly talks about the plan to build an interconnector, which is a large cable connecting Hampshire to the French coast. This project is completely privately funded and Aquind, the developer behind this, is currently working on a deal with the French. The purpose of this interconnector would be to supply energy in a time when coal-fired stations are slowly being phased out but the infrastructure for gas and nuclear energy is not yet equipped to take over. It is predicted that nuclear stations will take 10 years to be able to run. The interconnector is allegedly said to be ready to run in 2021 and the technology has already been tested out by Aquind. The cable is to play a significant role in the supply of energy across the nation. Moreover, it is said that it will ease the pressure on the UK grid and reduce the possibility of blackouts. The interconnector will be completely underground and undersea. It will not be visible to the public but it will provide up to 2GW of energy to almost four million homes. Continue reading

Underwater Cable brings Nuclear Power from France to UK

by Cybele Kappos

As an energy crisis looms in the horizon of UK energy, the nation prepares for alternative energy sources. The BBC’s Jane-Frances Kelly talks about the plan to build an interconnector, which is a large cable connecting Hampshire to the French coast. This project is completely privately funded and Aquind, the developer behind this, is currently working on a deal with the French. The purpose of this interconnector would be to supply energy in a time when coal-fired stations are slowly being phased out but the infrastructure for gas and nuclear energy is not yet equipped to take over. It is predicted that nuclear stations will take 10 years to be able to run. The interconnector is allegedly said to be ready to run in 2021 and the technology has already been tested out by Aquind. The cable is to play a significant role in the supply of energy across the nation. Moreover, it is said that it will ease the pressure on the UK grid and reduce the possibility of blackouts. The interconnector will be completely underground and undersea. It will not be visible to the public but it will provide up to 2GW of energy to almost four million homes. Continue reading

Study Shows Flawed Experiments used to Support Policies for “Low-Carbon” Biofuels

by Niti Nagar

According to John DeCicco, researcher at University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone. After reviewing more than 100 papers published over the span of more than two decades, DeCicco claims erroneous methodology has led to the false assumption that biofuels will limit emissions of carbon dioxide. Existing studies fail to correctly account for the carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere when corn, soybeans and sugarcane are grown to make biofuels said DeCicco. He explains, “Almost all of the fields used to produce biofuels were already being used to produce crops for food, so there is no significant increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere. Therefore, there’s no climate benefit.” Continue reading

Large Suburban Carbon Footprints Negate GHG Benefits of Urban Areas

by Dan McCabe

Jones and Kammen (2014) performed a remarkably thorough analysis of the average household carbon footprint (HCF) for nearly every US zip code and examined how dozens of different variables affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The authors’ analysis used detailed data from the nationwide Residential Energy Consumption Survey, the National Household Travel Survey, and other sources. Their model used these surveys to estimate local emissions due to components such as electricity, housing, transportation, and food, then evaluated possible correlations with 37 independent demographic variables. Continue reading