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« Porsche Digital, Inc. opens location in Silicon Valley | Main | IAV develops new close-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment system for improved emissions reduction » A new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates heavy fuel oil (HFO) use, HFO carriage, the use and carriage of other fuels, black carbon (BC) emissions, and emissions of other air and climate pollutants for the year 2015, with projections to 2020 and 2025. According to the report, potentially large increases in BC emissions may occur in the Arctic, further exacerbating warming, if ships are diverted from the Panama and Suez canals to take advantage of shorter routes to and from Asia, Europe, and North America. If even a small percentage (1%–2%) of large cargo vessels are diverted from the Panama and Suez Canals through the Arctic over the next decade, BC emissions could rise significantly—jumping up to 46% from 2015 to 2025. Dwindling sea ice is opening new shipping routes through the Arctic and shipping activity in the Arctic is expected to rise as oil and gas development increases and as ships take advantage of shorter trans-Arctic routes from Asia to Europe and North America. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, 2014a) estimates that 75% of Arctic sea ice volume has been lost since the 1980s. The Northwest Passage (NWP) and Northern Sea Route (NSR) … are the two most economically advantageous routes for trans-Arctic shipping. The trip between Shanghai and Europe is shortened by about a third when the NSR is taken in lieu of the traditional route through the Suez Canal. Similarly, the trip from Shanghai to New York City also is shortened by a third when taking the NWP instead of the path through the Panama Canal. Shorter distances result in fuel, labor, and time savings. The ICCT report uses exactEarth satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) data along with ship characteristic data from IHS Fairplay to examine shipping in three Arctic regions: (1) the Geographic Arctic (above 58.95 ˚N); (2) the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Arctic as defined in the Polar Code; and (3) the US Arctic, defined as the portion of the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within the IMO Arctic. The report found that shipping within the Arctic as defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) consumed an estimated 436,000 tonnes of fuel and emitted 193 tonnes of black carbon in 2015.  This is almost quadruple the most recent (2012, by DNV) estimate. HFO was the most consumed marine fuel in the Arctic in 2015. In the IMO Arctic, HFO represented nearly 57% of the nearly half million tonnes (t) of fuel consumed by ships, followed by distillate (43%); almost no liquefied natural gas (LNG) was consumed in this area. General cargo vessels consumed the most HFO in the IMO Arctic, using 66,000 t, followed by oil tankers (43,000 t), and cruise ships (25,000 t). HFO also dominated fuel carriage, in tonnes, and fuel transport, in tonne-nautical miles (t-nm) in the Arctic in 2015. Although only 42% of ships in the IMO Arctic operated on HFO in 2015, these ships accounted for 76% of fuel carried and 56% of fuel transported in this region. Specifically, bulk carriers, container ships, oil tankers, general cargo vessels, and fishing vessels dominated HFO carriage and transport in the IMO Arctic, together accounting for more than 75% of HFO carried and transported in the IMO Arctic in 2015. Considering the quantity of fuel these vessels carry on board and the distances they travel each year, these ships may pose a higher risk for HFO spills than others. the ICCT team concluded. Among the other key findings of the report: Some of the emissions growth between 2012 and 2015 can be attributed to increased vessel traffic, with satellites detecting roughly double the number of ship miles traveled in 2015 compared to 2012.  Emissions from ships operating in areas that were previously ice locked and inaccessible to marine traffic can be clearly seen in 2015, particularly on the Northern Sea Route off of Russia’s coast. Estimates of HFO use and BC emissions is heavily dependent upon the definition of the Arctic.  IMO’s narrow definition of the Arctic, which excludes significant coastal areas around Iceland and Norway, excludes 85% of ship traffic, 90% of fuel use, and 85% of BC emissions from shipping in the Geographic Arctic north of 59 degrees latitude. By 2025, emissions of CO and black carbon by ships in the Arctic are projected to increase 5% to 50%, depending upon the level of ship diversions from the Panama and Suez canals through the Arctic as well as the geographic definition of the Arctic used. While less than half of the ships in the Arctic use HFO, it represents 75% of the fuel onboard ships in the Arctic because larger ships, with larger fuel tanks, tend to use HFO instead of cleaner distillate fuels. The majority of HFO carriage in the Geographic Arctic is attributable to ships flagged to non-Arctic states with major ship registries like Panama, the Marshall Islands, Liberia, Malta, and the Bahamas.  This points to the need for an international standard on HFO use and carriage at the IMO, the authors said. The authors suggested that several policy alternatives could reduce the dual risks of air pollution and fuel oil spills from ships in the Arctic, including regional emission control policies; restricting the use of HFO, the carriage of HFO, or both; and regulating BC emissions regionally or globally. Explicitly restricting the use and carriage of HFO in the Arctic would greatly reduce the risks of HFO oil spills and would also reduce air pollution, including BC, provided ships operate on distillate, LNG, or other alternative fuels. An even stronger approach would be to prohibit the use of petroleum-based fuels (e.g., HFO and distillate), which would require a complete shift to cleaner fuels (e.g., LNG, fuel cells), albeit at substantial cost to existing fleets. Finally, Arctic BC emissions could be addressed through regulations that either establish new emission standards for marine engines, require the use of low- or zero-BC fuels, or mandate the use of BC reduction devices such as diesel particulate filters. Such a policy also may encourage a shift toward fuels that are less damaging than HFO when spilled. … Policies could be implemented at the global, regional, national, or subnational scales. Consensus policies that apply specifically to the Arctic region could be effective because ships registered to Arctic states, particularly Russia, account for the majority of HFO use, carriage, and BC emissions in the Arctic. However, because the diversion of ships from traditional trade routes in favor of trans-Arctic routes is likely as the Arctic becomes ice-free for longer periods, policies that apply to the global fleet, or ships intending to sail in the Arctic, are more attractive. Global policies are also desirable given that emissions of BC outside of the IMO Arctic can be, and are, transported northward. Thus, global policies that prohibit the use and carriage of HFO and reduce BC from marine engines will help ensure that the impacts on the Arctic environment from ships are meaningfully reduced.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MG-9.1-2015 | Award Amount: 2.87M | Year: 2016

Global socio-economic and environmental megatrends are urging for a paradigm shift in mobility and transport that involves disruptive technologies and multimodal solutions. The individual transport sectors face diverse technical and non-technical requirements and rather individual, sometimes contradicting challenges. An action plan for the coherent implementation of innovative transport and mobility solutions in Europe is thus urgently needed and should be sustained by a wide range of societal stakeholders. The MOBILITY4EU project will develop such a plan taking into account all modes of transport as well as a multitude of societal drivers encompassing health, environment and climate protection, public safety and security, demographic change, urbanisation and globalisation, economic development, digitalisation and smart system integration. In order to obtain a widely supported and consensusbased action plan a Multi-Actor Multi-Criteria Analysis (MAMCA) methodology will be used to consult a broad stakeholder community representing the main societal actors including vulnerable to exclusion citizens in Europe. This stepwise and scientifically sound approach will allow the consortium of the MOBILITY4EU project to involve a large group of stakeholders in the process. The participation will be strengthened by a visualisation-based story map process. The successful implementation of the vision for the future transport and mobility system of Europe will require a continuous cross-modal and inter-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration. For this purpose will the developed action plan also contain the blueprint for the implementation of a sustainable and continuous European Transport and Mobility Forum beyond the duration of the project, e.g. in the form of a new European Technology Platform. The work will be complemented by extensive networking and engagement activities and by dissemination with special focus on young generations and transport users in general.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: SST.2013.3-2. | Award Amount: 2.19M | Year: 2013

Transport is a key enabler of economic activity and social connectedness. While providing essential services to society and economy, transport is also an important part of the economy and it is at the core of a number of major sustainability challenges, in particular climate change, air quality, safety, energy security and efficiency in the use of resources (EC 2011: Transport White Paper). The overall mission of this project is to support the uptake of innovative sustainable urban mobility solutions in Europe and other regions in the world, in particular in Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean. The call text has identified several regions in the world, policy areas and previous and on-going projects relevant for addressing the topic: Implementing innovative and green urban transport solutions in Europe and beyond (SST.2013.3-2). SOLUTIONS will address all regions and policy areas, and will link into all projects mentioned in the call text. We believe that this approach generates the greatest synergies, which will be for the benefit of participating cities and the projects SOLUTIONS will link to and build upon. While SOLUTIONS will build strongly on previous and on-going projects and initiatives, as is the nature of a coordinating action, it also aims to provide added value that goes beyond summarising and facilitating knowledge sharing and research and technology transfer. SOLUTIONS aims to bridge the implementation gap between the potential of innovative sustainable mobility and transport solutions and packages of solutions and the actual level of up-take and quality of the deployment mechanisms.


News Article | March 11, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

On Friday, United Airlines will launch a new initiative that uses biofuel to help power flights running between Los Angeles and San Francisco, with eventual plans to expand to all flights operating out of LAX. It’s the first time an American airline will begin using renewable fuel for regular commercial operations, and the occasion is part of a bigger movement when it comes to clean transportation in the U.S. The renewable fuel used to power United’s planes will be coming from a Los Angeles refinery operated by AltAir Fuels, which is using the facility to produce both renewable jet fuel and diesel fuel using a technology developed by Honeywell UOP, a major supplier and technology licenser in the petroleum industry. Back in 2013, AltAir and United announced their partnership, in which United will purchase up to 15 million gallons of biofuel over a three-year period. Friday’s launch will be the first application of that agreement. The flights will use a mixture of 30 percent biofuel and 70 percent traditional fuel, and United says that the biofuel will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 60 percent compared with regular fuel. In general, the idea behind renewable fuels is to use a biological source — for example, plant or animal matter — rather than a geological one, like oil. The Honeywell UOP technology that’s being applied at the AltAir refinery can utilize a range of difference sources, from used cooking oil to algae. The technology has been in the works since 2007, when the company was awarded a grant from DARPA to develop green jet fuel, according to Veronica May, vice president and general manager of renewable energy and chemicals at Honeywell UOP. Currently, its technology allows for the production of diesel fuel that can be used in any proportion with existing diesel engines — up to 100 percent. Its jet fuel can replace up to 50 percent of petroleum fuel in existing aircraft. Altogether, both fuels can offer up to about an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with traditional fuel, the company says. “This is a long-term investment toward the future of sustainability for our company and for our communities,” said Angela Foster-Rice, United’s managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability, adding that “it’s also very business-smart and helps our community with clean energy jobs as well.” The announcement comes at a time when interest in using biofuel to cut down on carbon emissions in the transportation sector is climbing — but also when it has been beset with controversy. The Environmental Protection Agency already requires refiners to mix a certain amount of renewable fuel, mainly corn-based ethanol, into their gasoline — and just last November, the agency chose to increase those standards in a move that inspired has considerable criticism from the petroleum industry, which has been sparring with the nation’s ethanol producers for the past several years. So when it comes to biofuels for motor vehicles, the issue remains fraught with controversy. Renewable jet fuel, on the other hand, constitutes a relatively untapped opportunity. But while United may be first U.S.-based airline to launch regular biofuel-powered commercial flights, it will likely not be the last. Both Southwest Airlines and FedEx have reportedly contracted with a company called Red Rock Biofuels to start buying renewable jet fuel. And marine transportation may be just starting to jump on board as well. At the end of January, the U.S. Navy formally launched its “Great Green Fleet,” a deployment of warships also powered by renewable fuel supplied by AltAir. AltAir is reportedly contracted to supply 77 million gallons of the fuel overall by September of this year. When it comes to both marine and aircraft transportation, there’s been a great deal of discussion recently about how to slash emissions, both through renewable fuels and through other forms of technology, said Dan Rutherford, marine and aviation program director at the International Council on Clean Transportation. Aircraft currently contribute to a little over 1 percent of all the world’s carbon emissions and climbing, and Rutherford said shipping accounts for a slightly higher proportion — about 3 percent. Aviation, in particular, has received considerable attention recently because of the expected rapid growth in its global emissions over the next several years if action is not taken. And planes are especially difficult to decarbonize because they are so difficult to power by alternative means. A few manufacturers have experimented with electric aircraft, but the technology is in no condition to be used for commercial means any time soon. In an attempt to start addressing the problem, just last month the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposed the world’s first carbon dioxide emissions standards for aircraft. And back in 2011, according to Rutherford, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed a set of fuel efficiency standards for new ships, which went into effect last year. However, while each move was an important step forward, both the marine and aviation standards applied only to new crafts, meaning existing planes and ships have not been required to upgrade. ICAO was roundly criticized by environmentalists over this issue when it released its proposal in February, and Rutherford noted that there is also “a big discussion within IMO about whether there should be efficiency standards for existing ships.” But the use of biofuels is one possibility for existing machines to cut down on their emissions without having to upgrade their engines or other aspects of their design or engineering. “Drop-in” fuels are renewable fuels that are designed to work safely with existing engines, although as in the case of the United flights, they sometimes require mixing with traditional fuels. Of course, Honeywell UOP’s technology isn’t the only one out there — and AltAir’s refinery isn’t the only plant, either. United, for instance, also recently made a $30 million investment in Fulcrum Bioenergy, which has developed a way to convert household garbage into fuel. That partnership comes with the opportunity for the airline to purchase at least 90 million gallons of renewable jet fuel per year, and also to co-develop biorefineries in at least five locations around the U.S., according to Foster-Rice. So the interest in expanding biofuels throughout the transportation sector is slowly starting to pick up. However, it’s unclear for the time being whether other airlines — or other marine fleets, for that matter — will follow suit with similar investments any time soon. And according to Rutherford, there are still many questions to be answered about the relative role of biofuels versus other technologies when it comes to cutting carbon emissions, particularly in aviation. How much airlines will be willing to pay for renewable fuel is one important point to consider in the future, he noted, as well as questions about the sustainability and efficiency of the fuels, themselves. “People are always analyzing how good these fuels can be and how they can get better,” he said. But May, of Honeywell UOP, is optimistic about continued interest in the industry. The EPA’s recent action to increase standards on biofuels and gasoline has sparked an interest from refiners in green diesel, she said, adding that other parties have also expressed an interest in the green jet fuel, although United remains the only U.S. airline to make a commercial commitment to the use of biofuels in aircraft. “We’ve made really significant strides over the last 10 years in developing new technologies, and we intend to continue to be in the industry for the foreseeable future innovating new technologies,” she said. 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Baral A.,International Council on Clean Transportation. | Bakshi B.R.,Ohio State University
Ecological Modelling | Year: 2010

A commonly encountered challenge in emergy analysis is the lack of transformity data for many economic products and services. To overcome this challenge, emergy analysts approximate the emergy input from the economy via a single emergy/money ratio for the country and the monetary price of economic inputs. This amounts toassuming homogeneity in the entire economy, and can introduce serious uncertainties in the results. This paper proposes and demonstrates the use of a thermodynamically augmented economic input-output model of the US economy for obtaining sector-specific emergy to money ratios that can be used instead of a single ratio. These ratios at the economy scale are more accurate than a single economy-wide emergy/money ratio, and can be obtained quickly for hundreds of economic products and services. Comparing sector-specific emergy/money ratios with those from conventional emergy studies indicates that the input-output model can provide reasonable estimates of transformities at least as a stop-gap measure until more detailed analysis is completed. A hybrid approach to emergy analysis is introduced and compared with conventional emergy analysis using life cycles of corn ethanol and gasoline as examples. Emergy and transformity data from the hybrid approach are similar to those from conventional emergy analysis, indicating the usefulness of the proposed approach. In addition, this work proposes the metric of return on emergy investment for assessing product alternatives with the same utility such as transportation fuels. The proposed approach and data may be used easily via web-based software. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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