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Robertson I.,Alstom | Masson C.,Alstom | Sedran T.,IFSTTAR | Barresi F.,VCSA | And 3 more authors.
Construction and Building Materials | Year: 2015

Abstract This paper is based on a development over the past 5 years in France which culminated in 2013 with the construction of a demonstration of this ballastless trackform on the French network north of Paris. In this paper, we summarise the history of this development, "New Ballastless Track" (NBT) through the conceptual design phases, the extensive laboratory testing, culminating in the construction of the demonstration track. Construction was completed in August 2013 and train operations started earlier this year. We complete our paper with our conclusions concerning the difference in life cycle costs between NBT and ballasted track. To that end, we confirm the conclusions of many previous studies over the past few years, while throwing some light on the parameters which will tend to accentuate the advantage of NBT. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: www.materialstoday.com

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, IACMI, has launched a project aimed at decreasing the cost of manufacture while increasing the design flexibility for automotive composites. Developed in partnership with DuPont Performance Materials, Fibrtec Inc and Purdue University, the new IACMI project will address the problems of cost and design constraints in automotive applications through, it says, ‘a fundamentally different approach to the manufacturing of carbon fiber composites versus those currently in use today’. The work will make use of Fibrtec’s flexible coated tow formed into flexible fabric prepregs using a rapid fabric formation (RFF) technology along with a polyamide resin from DuPont. The final component could benefit from increased production speeds of the tow manufacturing process and the fabric forming process resulting in a lower cost of manufacture. According to IACMI, composite parts made by this process have lower voids and improved mechanical properties when consolidated by traditional techniques.  The flexible fabric prepregs have also been shown to have good draping behavior in molding experiments. Researchers in the Purdue University Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center will work with the team to model and validate drapability and part performance. ‘By leveraging the strengths of all project partners, we have the potential to create a unique commercially viable path to high volume, low cost thermoplastic composite automotive components,’ said Jan Sawgle, DuPont Performance Materials, project manager. This story uses material from IACMI, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

News Article | August 22, 2016
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Dahn team develops ethylene-carbonate-free electrolytes for better-performing high-voltage Li-ion cells | Main | New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA » The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, IACMI, in partnership with DuPont Performance Materials, Fibrtec Inc. and Purdue University, has launched the first project selected with a dual focus on decreasing the cost of manufacture and increasing design flexibility for automotive composites. Advancements in both areas can open up new opportunities and become an enabler for large-scale deployment of composite parts. Multiple factors, including cost and design constraints, present barriers to the adoption of composites in high volume automotive applications. This new IACMI project will address both of these critical areas through a fundamentally different approach to the manufacturing of carbon fiber composites versus those currently in use today. The work will build on synergies of differentiated technologies, including novel materials and processes that allow flexible pre-pregs (Fiberflex) combined with Rapid Fabric Formation (RFF) technology to provide customizable fiber orientations via thermal bonding to significantly improve cycle time, cost, and waste. The final component will benefit from increased production speeds of the tow manufacturing process and the fabric forming process resulting in a lower cost of manufacture. The partners have estimated that use of emerging materials for impregnation and new approaches for tow coating and fabric formation will lower costs of high volume composites production by 20%. Composite parts made by this process have been shown to have low voids and good mechanical properties when consolidated by traditional techniques. The flexible fabric prepregs have also been shown to have good draping behavior in molding experiments. Researchers in the Purdue University Composites Manufacturing and Simulation Center will work with the team to model and validate drapability and part performance. High cycle time for production of continuous carbon fiber thermoplastic composites increases costs. The use of emerging materials for impregnation and new approaches for tow coating and fabric formation are expected to significantly lower production costs of high volume composites. The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to accelerate development and commercial deployment of advanced composites. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national institute is supported by a $70-million commitment from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and more than $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners.

News Article | March 23, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

A charitable fund of the Rockefeller family – who are sitting on a multibillion-dollar oil fortune – has said it will withdraw all its investments from fossil fuel companies. The Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity set up in 1967 by descendants of John D Rockefeller, said on Wednesday that it would divest from all fossil fuel holdings “as quickly as possible”. The fund, which was founded by Martha, John, Laurance, Nelson and David Rockefeller, singled out ExxonMobil for particular attention describing the world’s largest oil company as “morally reprehensible”. John D Rockefeller, who was the richest person in US history when he died in 1937, made his fortune from Standard Oil a precursor of ExxonMobil. “There is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons,” the RFF, which has relatively small total holdings of $130m (£92m), said in a statement. “We must keep most of the already discovered reserves in the ground if there is any hope for human and natural ecosystems to survive and thrive in the decades ahead. “We would be remiss if we failed to focus on what we believe to be the morally reprehensible conduct on the part of ExxonMobil. Evidence appears to suggest that the company worked since the 1980s to confuse the public about climate change’s march, while simultaneously spending millions to fortify its own infrastructure against climate change’s destructive consequences and track new exploration opportunities as the Arctic’s ice receded.” An Exxon spokesman told CNBC: “It’s not surprising that they’re divesting from the company since they’re already funding a conspiracy against us.” The RFF denied that it was conspiring against Exxon, and a spokesman said the claim was “a complete mischaracterization of our program work”. The RFF’s accusation of morally reprehensible conduct is in reference to New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s investigation, launched in November, into whether Exxon lied to the public and shareholders about the risks of climate change. The investigation, which has also been taken up by California’a attorney general, follows reports that internal company documents from the 1980s and 90s show Exxon’s in-house scientists were warning company executives about the dangers of climate change, while Exxon was publicly claiming that climate science was not proven. At the time, an Exxon spokesman said: “We unequivocally reject the allegations that ExxonMobil has suppressed climate change research.” The RFF acknowledged that the family has made a lot of money from oil, “but history moves on, as it must”. “Needless to say, the Rockefeller family has had a long and profitable history investing in the oil industry, including ExxonMobil,” it said. “These are not decisions, therefore, that have been taken lightly or without much consideration of their import.” RFF is not the first Rockefeller family organisation to vow to divest from fossil fuels. Last year the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) said it was withdrawing all of the $45m it had invested in fossil fuels. However, the much wealthier Rockefeller Foundation, whose endowment tops $4bn, is understood to be opposed to divestment for now.

News Article | November 30, 2016
Site: www.npr.org

In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, David Kaiser and Lee Wasserman, the president and the director of the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF), respectively, explain why the organization decided to divest its holdings on fossil fuel companies. Although the divesting decision is broad-ranging, they single out ExxonMobil for its "morally reprehensible conduct." "For over a quarter-century the company tried to deceive policymakers and the public about the realities of climate change, protecting its profits at the cost of immense damage to life on this planet," they write, condemning ExxonMobil for not only covering up its cutting-edge research findings on how fossil-fuel burning affects the global climate, but also for willfully promoting an agenda of deception, aiming at confusing and influencing public opinion by turning a scientific issue into a political one. Could this be true? Could a trusted American company, with revenues larger than the gross domestic products of countries like Austria and Thailand, plot to deceive the public? That's what the RFF determined, after funding a team of independent investigative reporters from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism to research what ExxonMobil and other U.S. oil companies actually know about climate change. In a nutshell, the team of journalists found that ExxonMobil has known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels is the dominant cause of global warming. As early as 1965, Lyndon Johnson told Congress: "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through ... a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels." Not surprisingly, by the late 1970s and early 1980s, ExxonMobil scientists understood quite well the mechanisms of climate change and its broad implications for the oil business. A 1979 Exxon memo reported: This memo was circulated within the company, and sent to a number of the company's leading scientists, who are supposed to report to the company's leadership. The investigative report from the RFF is quite clear in its findings. Yet, few people know about this. Shouldn't the public be outraged at this? Shouldn't people boycott ExxonMobil, stop buying its products? Shouldn't all large investors (and smaller ones) divest their holdings from this company? Divesting a company is a direct form of action based largely on a moral argument, aiming at both proving a point and at exerting pressure. It becomes the currency of those who want to make a difference without waiting for governmental regulations — which depend on slow-moving, fluctuating partisan political decisions — to take place. The leaders of ExxonMobil and other oil companies want to maximize profit. This is not surprising, given that this is what any company wants to do. The more profitable a company, the more valuable it is and the more assets it has. This is the so-called bottom line, which, put simply, is the balance sheet of the company: The more it makes, the more its shareholders make. There's nothing wrong with a company wanting to maximize its profits. What is objectionable is how far it's willing to go in order to do so. Where do you draw the line between healthy ambition and immoral greed? Cigarette companies have done similar things, as reported in Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway. Tobacco companies knew as early as 1953 that cigarette smoking can kill. Through a large-scale effort of deception, including undermining the credibility of serious scientific studies on the deleterious effects of smoking, the tobacco companies managed to stall public awareness for decades. Oil companies are using similar tactics, focusing on their short and midterm gains, caring nothing for what comes a few decades down the line — even if our global future, including the health and social stability of this and the next generation, is largely dependent on it. We live in an era of rising corporate ethics, where many companies understand the importance of aligning with sound science to guarantee their long-term profitability. To declare war on scientific findings and public awareness is to declare war on our joint shared future. Divesting a company, be it at the individual or at the foundation portfolio level, packs a meaningful punch: It tells the company that it is acting against its main interest, in a process that can only be described as self-destructive — it is compromising the very resources that keep it alive. If people stop buying from a company at a large enough scale, the company folds. The campaign against public awareness of climate change is a desperate decoy; like the scared octopus that jets out a cloud of black ink to hide itself from predators, the oil companies are trying to hide their findings to protect their morally questionable intentions. The tragedy here is that what the oil companies consider to be a "predator" is the climate science they once led. The octopus doesn't have any other choice. But the oil companies do. They could invest a fraction of their huge profits to reinvent themselves, becoming true leaders in the search for alternative renewable fuels, while retraining their work force into the emerging new technologies. This way, instead of holding back the planet and millions of workers in a decadent economics model, they would become the companies of the future, working to ensure, and not to destroy, our collective well-being. Marcelo Gleiser is a theoretical physicist and writer — and a professor of natural philosophy, physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. He is the director of the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth, co-founder of 13.7 and an active promoter of science to the general public. His latest book is The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything. You can keep up with Marcelo on Facebook and Twitter: @mgleiser

News Article | April 18, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

US energy giant ExxonMobil is facing an onslaught from environmentalists and some shareholders alleging it hid what it knew about the effects of fossil fuels on climate change. (AFP Photo/KAREN BLEIER) New York (AFP) - US energy giant ExxonMobil is facing an onslaught from environmentalists and some shareholders alleging it hid what it knew about the effects of fossil fuels on climate change. In an ironic twist: among the opponents is the Rockefeller Family Fund, built on the fortune amassed by John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, which became Esso, then Exxon and then, in 1999, ExxonMobil. The RFF met last January, in secret, in Manhattan with environmental nongovernmental groups "to establish in the public's mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) towards climate chaos and grave harm," according to an internal document on the meeting seen by AFP. "We hosted a meeting with leading advocates to understand their thoughts on how to best respond to the outrageous conduct," Lee Wasserman, the director of RFF, told AFP. They adopted a strategy to attack ExxonMobil on legal grounds, by convinci ng authorities to launch investigations and by filing lawsuits. In other words, replicating the tactics used against the tobacco industry in the 1990s. "This is a conspiracy to deliberately misrepresent the company position and to tear down the company," Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, told AFP. According to a person close to the situation who requested anonymity, certain members of the Rockefeller family have privately expressed opposition to the campaign against ExxonMobil. Bill McKibben, founder of the NGO 350.org who participated in the January meeting, has pushed for investigations into whether ExxonMobil broke the law. "We want everyone we can think of to know it broke every kind of moral law," McKibben said in an email. The ecologist led the ultimately successful opposition against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought Canadian oil sands production from Alberta to the US Gulf states. The ExxonMobil critics accuse the oil company of having, since 1977, research showing that fossil-fuel energy has a harmful impact on climate, but that it kept the information to itself. Denouncing the critics charges as "inaccurate" and a "conspiracy", ExxonMobil insists that it had acknowledged the risks of climate change as soon as it was possible, that is, in the 2000s. Accusing the Rockefeller organization of influencing the media and the authorities, the Texas firm has pledged to publicly defend its positions, although until now it has maintained a certain discretion about the subject. The change in attitude is due to the power of the Rockefellers, who not only have the colossal financial means to contest ExxonMobil on all battlegrounds, but also the influence of their powerful family name. The RFF has based its opposition on two separate investigations, by the InsideClimate News and the journalism school at Columbia University in New York, that found ExxonMobil knew in the 1970s that fossil fuels were a major source of climate change. InsideClimate, like the Columbia school, received financing from the Rockefellers. The RFF also criticizes ExxonMobil's support of think tanks "which helped create doubt about the profound risks associated with climate change." That includes the lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council, which is financed by companies including ExxonMobil, Jeffers acknowledges. Cynthia Bergman, an executive at the oil group, is a member of ALEC's advisory council. Since the probe revelations, a number of states have launched investigations into whether it lied about climate change. The state of New York, for example, has requested documents related to the allegations and a list of associations and NGOs financed by the company. While Jeffers says the company is cooperating with these investigations, ExxonMobil is fighting a legal battle over an investigation launched by the US Virgin Islands as the group of Caribbean islands faces the threat of rising water levels blamed on climate change. The activists and the RFF could score a first victory on May 25 if ExxonMobil shareholders approve a resolution requiring the company to disclose the impact of climate change on its business, a policy agreed at the climate summit in Paris last year. A dozen shareholders, including the huge California state pension fund CalPERS, French bank BNP Paribas and insurer AXA, are backing approval of the measure.

News Article | November 4, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

How can we ensure that a carbon tax delivers on its pollution reduction potential? An innovative, new idea could provide greater certainty over the environmental outcome. As momentum intensifies around the world for action to fight climate change, the United States is emerging as a leader in the new low-carbon economy. But if we are going to reduce climate pollution at the pace and scale required — cutting emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 and at least 83% by 2050, on a path to zero net emissions —we need to roll up our sleeves on a new generation of ambitious climate policies that harness the power of the economy and American innovation. An emerging idea could be a game-changer for the prospects of a carbon tax to help tackle climate pollution. Economics 101 teaches us that market-based policies, including cap-and-trade programs as well as carbon taxes, are the most cost-effective and economically efficient means of achieving results. Both put a price on carbon emissions to reduce dangerous pollution. Cap-and-trade programs place a “cap” on the total quantity of allowable emissions, directly limiting pollution and ensuring a specific environmental result, while allowing prices to fluctuate as pollution permits are traded. The “guarantee” that the cap provides is a primary reason this tool has been favored by EDF and other stakeholder s focused on environmental performance. That U.S. targets are based on quantities of pollution reductions also speaks to the need for policy solutions tied to these pollution limits. In comparison, a carbon tax sets the price per unit of pollution, allowing emissions to respond to the changes in behavior this price encourages. The problem, from an environmental standpoint, is that a carbon tax lacks an explicit connection to a desired pollution reduction target — and therefore provides no assurance that the required reductions will actually be achieved. We know that a carbon tax will impact emissions, but even the most robust modeling cannot provide certainty over the magnitude of that impact. Furthermore, fundamental factors like energy or economic market dynamics can change over time, affecting the performance of a tax. Because greenhouse gas pollution accumulates in the atmosphere over time, even being slightly off the desired path over several decades can produce significant consequences for cumulative emissions, and thus climate damages. Two recently-released papers by the Nicholas Institute at Duke University and Resources for the Future (RFF) directly address this key concern with a carbon tax —and suggest an innovative path forward. They illustrate how a suite of provisions – we’ll call them “Environmental Integrity Mechanisms” or “EIMs,” though each paper uses different terminology – could provide greater levels of certainty regarding the emissions outcome, by allowing for adjustment of the carbon tax regime over time to course-correct and keep us on track for meeting our targets. EIMs – if carefully designed – can play an important role in connecting a carbon tax to its performance in reducing pollution. They are a type of built-in insurance mechanism: they may never be triggered if the initial price path achieves its projected impact, but provide a back-up plan in case it does not. These mechanisms are analogous to well-studied “cost containment” provisions in cap-and-trade that are designed to provide greater certainty over prices. Cost containment provisions are included in several successful cap-and-trade programs around the world. For example, California’s cap-and-trade program includes a price collar that sets a floor as well as a ceiling that triggers the release of a reserve of allowances. EIMs are a parallel effort to introduce greater emissions certainty into a carbon tax system. With the recent publication of these two papers, EIMS are beginning to receive well-deserved greater attention. These provisions help bridge the gap between caps and taxes, merging the strengths of each to create powerful hybrid programs. Let’s take a closer look at how these “EIMs” could work. • First, the initial tax level and/or growth rate could be adjusted depending on performance against an emissions trajectory or carbon budget benchmark. This could occur either automatically via a simple formula built into the legislation, by Congressional intervention at a later date based on expert recommendations, or by delegation of authority to a federal or independent agency or group of agencies. There are clear advantages to including an automatic adjustment in the legislation. This avoids having to go back to a sluggish Congress to act; and there is no guarantee that Congress would make appropriate adjustments. Moreover, Congress is likely to be loath to relinquish its tax-setting authority to an executive agency — and such delegation could even face legal challenges. Delegating tax-setting authority to an executive agency could also introduce additional political uncertainty in rate setting. In designing such an automatic adjustment, policy makers will need to consider the type, frequency and size of these adjustments, as well as how they are triggered. The RFF paper in particular discusses some of the resulting trade-offs. For example, an automatic adjustment will reduce the price certainty that many view as the core benefit of a tax. On the other hand, by explicitly and transparently specifying the adjustments that would occur under certain conditions, a high degree of price predictability can still be maintained – with the added benefit of increased emissions certainty. • Second, the Nicholas Institute brief discusses regulatory tools that could be employed if emission goals were not met –including existing opportunities under the Clean Air Act, or even new authority. The authors point out that relative to automatic adjustment mechanisms, regulatory options are more difficult to “fine-tune.” Nevertheless, they could provide a powerful safeguard if alternatives fail. • Finally, as the Nicholas Institute brief discusses, a portion of tax revenue could be used to fund additional reductions if performance goals were not being met. This approach could tap into cost-effective reductions in sectors where the carbon tax might be more challenging to implement (e.g. forestry or agriculture). The revenue could also be used to secure greater reductions from sectors covered by the tax — for example, by funding investments in energy efficiency. In a neat twist, the additional revenue needed to fund these emissions reductions would be available when emissions were higher than expected — that is, precisely when more mitigation was needed. Our goal is to reduce the amount of carbon pollution we put into the atmosphere in as cost-effective and efficient a manner as possible. This means putting a limit and a price on carbon pollution. Even at this preliminary stage in the exploration of EIM design, one takeaway is clear: all carbon tax proposals should include an EIM with an automatic adjustment designed to meet the desired emissions path and associated carbon budget. More work is needed to develop and evaluate the range and design of EIMs. And while a cap is still the most sure-fire means of guaranteeing an emissions outcome, this growing consideration by economists and policy experts opens a new path for the potential viability of carbon taxes as a pollution reduction tool in the United States. The bottom line is this: The fundamental test of any climate policy is environmental integrity. For a carbon tax, that means an EIM.

Bosquet R.,RFF | Bosquet R.,LUNAM University | Jullien A.,LUNAM University | Vandanjon P.-O.,LUNAM University | And 2 more authors.
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment | Year: 2014

In accordance with the environmental concerns that national policies still address throughout the world, railways have been extensively studied to provide quantified indicators for assessing construction/operations practices.It is essential to take energy consumption, into account since energy can be measured worldwide, in addition to constituting a global environmental load that is time-limited as regards resource availability and known as a discriminating criterion in comparing transport infrastructure. This article introduces an innovative, generic and systemic method dedicated to determining the energy consumption of a railway line during the pre-project phase by taking into account the complete life cycle of the rail infrastructure, including construction, maintenance and operations. The method developed (called ≪PEAM ≫) focuses on assessing project variants during the design stage and therefore integrates both the geometric longitudinal constraints of the line and the thicknesses/volumes over the entire itinerary as design parameters for input into the various construction scenarios. PEAM combines methodologies stemming from life cycle assessment with a consumption model derived from physical modeling. The models associated with this method are then applied to study the energy consumption of a new high-speed line located in France that also has major implications for the European connections currently under investigation as well. Two project variants are compared in terms of total energy for a 50-year service life and a given characteristic rail traffic, including passenger and freight flows. Results obtained reveal a 30% difference between the two variants, which prior to applying PEAM were considered to be relatively similar. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Trinh V.N.,ParisTech National School of Bridges and Roads | Tang A.M.,ParisTech National School of Bridges and Roads | Cui Y.-J.,ParisTech National School of Bridges and Roads | Dupla J.-C.,ParisTech National School of Bridges and Roads | And 5 more authors.
Soils and Foundations | Year: 2012

In the track substructure of ancient railways in France, a fouled ballast layer has often been created with time. The mechanical behaviour of this coarse soil was studied in the laboratory using a large-scale triaxial cell. The soil taken from the fouled ballast layer of an ancient railway was re-compacted to a dry density of 2.01 Mg/m3 at three water contents (4, 6, and 12%) corresponding to three values of the initial degree of saturation (32, 48, and 100% respectively). Both monotonic and cyclic triaxial tests were performed under constant water content conditions. The experimental results gave the following evidence of the significant effect of the water content on the soil mechanical behaviour: (i) the lower the compaction water content, the higher the shear strength; (ii) a permanent axial strain of 0.4% was found after a large number of cycles at a water content of 4%, while it was 1.4% at the higher water content of 6%. For the saturated soil specimen, failure was even observed after a limited number of cycles. Based on the results obtained, a constitutive model for permanent deformation was elaborated, that accounts for the stress level, the number of cycles and the soil water content. © 2012 The Japanese Geotechnical Society.

News Article | October 6, 2016
Site: www.ogj.com

US government responses to two major crude-oil supply interruptions in the 1970s may appear to generally have created more problems than they solved, speakers at a Resources for the Future (RFF) forum said. But several also laid the framework for potentially more rational responses in a public atmosphere that possibly could become better informed and more rational, they added.

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