In California, United Airlines (UA) will be using jet biofuels produced by AltAir using Honeywell (HON) UOP technology on up to 150 flights a day out of Los Angeles, the Digest has learned. March 11. A two week, 14-day Los Angeles to San Francisco service will launch United’s jet biofuels plan. After the first two weeks, “pretty much all flights out of LAX will have a component of biofuel,” said a person familiar with the United plan. Flights are expected to begin almost immediately. Depending on the feedstock used, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel can offer a 65 to 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with petroleum-based jet fuel, which helps refiners meet EPA mandates for renewable transportation fuel content. It’s also being delivered at a price comparable to petroleum fuel, marking a major milestone towards the widespread use of renewables fuel. United will purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable aviation biofuel from AltAir over a three-year period, with the option to purchase more. In 2013, AltAir and United announced the 15 million gallon deal, saying at the time that they expected to be operating flights in 2014. AltAir Fuels said that it planned to retrofit the idled portions of its Paramount petroleum refinery to produce renewable jet fuel and other products from non-edible oils and agricultural waste. The opening of the AltAir refinery created 150 jobs in Paramount, California. The biofuel is mixed with traditional jet fuel at a 30/70 blend ratio. AltAir can produce enough sustainable bio-jet fuel to power the equivalent of more than 40,000 flights from Los Angeles to San Francisco over the next three years — at its historic 40 million gallons plant. Merging refinery tech with biofuels: The Digest’s 2016 8-Slide Guide to Honeywell’s UOP This is third launch we’ve seen using Honeywell Green Fuel. Last summer, the Disney Transportation bus fleet became one of the first in the country to run on R50, a cleaner renewable diesel (RD) made from used cooking oil and non-consumable food waste. Then, in January the US Navy’s Great Green Fleet sailed on its 2016 mission, using green marine diesel. Now, United takes off with renewable jet fuel — all made using the same technology. “These very public users highlight the fact they the fuels are commercially available, and to have three different modes of jet, marine and road sends a positive message about the technology,” Honeywell UOP renewables czarina Veronica May told The Digest. It’s been a long road, we note. But not as long as, for example, the path to getting lead out of fuels, May noted. “Anyone who’s been in the business knows that changes in fuels take years and decades. When you look back, it took 30 years to remove lead. There was the Clean Air Act in 1970 which set the target, but it wasn’t until 1986 that we had all of the lead removed for road transport, and 1990 for all vehicles, and Europe took another 10 years to get the lead out. We’re 10 years into the Renewable Fuel Standard. and obviously the low oil price is rocking the financial market, but these projects are years in the making, and a blip in the price will slow but not stop the momentum.” May emphasized having the capital and the portfolio of technologies to meet customer needs throughout the commodity price cycle. “One thing that UOP brings to renewable fuels, is that we are able to continue investment year after year. A lot of groups have great ideas but don’t have the funding, so when gasoline prices are high you get a flurry of activity but they can’t can’t sustain it. Renewables are one part of UOP, and the rest helps to support renewables.” We asked May about the low price environment and the era of high oil prices. Noting that in the era of high prices that we saw so much diversion of capital and consumer interest to electrics, natural gas vehicles, and reducing drive miles. Is there a pricing sweet spot, we wondered? “Actually, what you don;t want to see is a lot of volatility. If it would just stay in one range, that would help, because a lot of feedstock prices track the oil price. Another thing that helps is feedstock diversity. Right now we have waste oils, but when camelina and others come along, purpose—grown oilseeds crops, there you start getting a foundation, for real expansion.” “And, it would help if EPA could put out volumes not for a year or two, but for five years, because it takes 3 years to build a project from scratch.” AltAir Paramount is using Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process to convert a variety of sustainable feedstocks into Honeywell Green Jet Fuel at the world’s first dedicated commercial-scale renewable jet fuel production facility. The plant, located near the Los Angeles International Airport, has also produced Honeywell Green Diesel, a drop-in replacement for diesel made from petroleum, using the same process technology. AltAir is the second U.S. fuel producer using Honeywell UOP technology to produce renewable fuels, joining Diamond Green Diesel, which is producing renewable diesel in Louisiana The Renewable Jet Fuel Process makes Honeywell Green Jet Fuel as well as Honeywell Green Diesel from a range of sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil, inedible corn oil, tallow, camelina, jatropha and algae. The process is compatible with existing hydroprocessing equipment commonly used in today’s refineries, making it ideal for plants that can be converted to produce renewable fuels. Honeywell Green Diesel offers up to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions versus diesel from petroleum. Chemically identical to petroleum diesel, Honeywell Green Diesel can be used in any proportion in existing fuel tanks without infrastructure changes. Unlike biodiesel, Honeywell Green Diesel is a drop-in replacement for traditional diesel. In aircraft, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel can replace as much as 50 percent of the petroleum jet fuel used in flight, without any changes to the aircraft technology, while meeting the current ASTM jet fuel specifications for flight. Depending on the feedstock, Honeywell Green Jet Fuel can offer a 65 to 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with petroleum-based jet fuel. “Production by AltAir and Diamond Green Diesel demonstrates that the vision of producing real fuels from sustainable feedstocks has taken the crucial step from technology demonstration to commercial-scale production,” said Veronica May, vice president and general manager of Honeywell UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business. “Honeywell UOP is committed to continuing to advance its technology to give fuel producers options to use sustainable feedstocks.” Earlier this year, the U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet, a carrier strike fleet of ships and aircraft, began using renewable fuel on regular deployments as part of the Navy’s efforts to demonstrate and deploy alternative sources of fuel, reduce energy consumption, decrease reliance on imported oil and significantly increase use of alternative energy. The ships are being powered by a blend of renewable marine diesel from AltAir – made from domestic sources of inedible waste, fats, oils and greases – and petroleum-based marine diesel. For the initial delivery in January 2016, AltAir prepared 1.34 million gallons of F-76 type Naval Distillate Fuel containing 10 percent HRD and 90 percent petroleum-based fuel. In addition to the AltAir partnership utilizing Honeywell UOP technology — last June, United Airlines announced a $30 million direct investment in advanced biofuels developer Fulcrum BioEnergy, obtained an option to invest in five future commercial-scale aviation biofuels plants, and signed offtake agreements for up 90 million gallons of biofuels per year. The offtake contracts are worth an estimated $1.58 billion over the 10-year offtake span, based on the current jet fuel price of $1.76 per gallon, according to Digest calculations. The shift in United’s fuel purchasing represents 3% of its annual fuel consumption, reported by the airline at 3.2 billion gallons in 2013, and comes after Cathay Pacific invested in Fulcrum BioEnergy in 2014 and signed offtake agreements from the company’s first commercial facility, now under development near Reno, Nevada. The five new plants are expected to range in size between 30 and 60 million gallons. US Renewables Group, Waste Management and Rustic Canyon, among others, have also previously invested in Fulcrum BioEnergy, which converts municipal solid waste diverted away from landfills into diesel and jet fuel. Fulcrum’s first commercial facility is expected to open before the end of 2017. Where is the petroleum coming from for that portion of the blend? Tesoro, which in January unveiled its own plan to foster the development of biocrude made from renewable biomass, which can be co-processed in its existing refineries, along with traditional crude oil. T he company has identified three new partners in the process: Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc.: Fulcrum plans to supply biocrude produced from municipal solid waste to Tesoro to process as a feedstock at its Martinez, California Refinery. An estimated 800 barrels of biocrude per day will be produced at Fulcrum’s Sierra BioFuels Plant in Reno, Nevada, which is expected to be operational in early 2018. Virent, Inc.: Tesoro and Virent are working to establish a strategic relationship to support scale-up and commercialization of Virent’s BioForming technology which produces low-carbon, biofuel and chemicals. Ensyn Corporation: Ensyn has applied for a pathway with the California Air Resources Board to co-process its biocrude, produced from tree residue – called Renewable Fuel Oil – in Tesoro’s California refineries. We’ve said it before. These are the golden days of renewable diesel. Offtakers have the interest. The technology works. More feedstock and more capacity, that’s what’s needed. And some of that starts with policy certainty. So, all eyes on Washington DC and other capitals. Even while we sneak a peek at the California coast where the activity is humming.
China's consumption of the world's resources is reaching crisis levels. To produce 46% of global aluminium, 50% of steel and 60% of the world's cement1 in 2011, it consumed more raw materials than the 34 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) combined: 25.2 billion tonnes. The nation's resource use is inefficient. China requires 2.5 kilograms of materials to generate US$1 of gross domestic product (GDP) compared with 0.54 kilograms in OECD countries (in 2005 dollars, adjusted for purchasing power parity). And it is wasteful. In 2014, China generated 3.2 billion tonnes of industrial solid waste, only 2 billion tonnes of which was recovered by recycling, composting, incineration or reuse. By comparison, firms and households in the 28 countries of the European Union generated 2.5 billion tonnes of waste in 2012, of which 1 billion was recycled or used for energy. In 2025, China is expected to produce almost one-quarter of the world's municipal solid waste2. Unchecked, such levels of consumption and waste will strain the nation and the planet. In December 2015, a landslide at a waste dump in Shenzhen killed 73 people. China has also seen an increasing number of protests by local residents over waste-incineration projects in recent years. The geopolitical costs could soar as China becomes more dependent on imported resources from unstable parts of the world. Fuels and minerals accounted for 30% of the total cost of China's imports in 2012, compared with just over 5% in 1990. The country is taking action. For the past decade, China has led the world in promoting the recirculation of waste materials through setting targets and adopting policies, financial measures and legislation. The ultimate goal is a 'circular economy' — closing industrial loops to turn outputs from one manufacturer into inputs for another. This approach reduces the consumption of virgin materials and the generation of waste. Progress has been modest and the obstacles to transforming the economy are formidable. Western countries have struggled for decades to get companies to collaborate along a supply chain. China has the advantage that more than half of its manufacturing activities are conducted in industrial parks and export processing zones. Targeting these parks is beginning to slash the intensity of China's resource use. For example, the Suzhou New District is a 52-square-kilometre region for technological and industrial development near Shanghai, where around 4,000 manufacturing firms operate. There, manufacturers of printed circuit boards use copper that is recovered from waste from elsewhere in the park, rather than using virgin copper produced by mining firms3. No other country has such ambitions. Germany and Japan have comprehensive plans for recycling (through Germany's Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act of 1996 and Japan's 2000 Fundamental Law for Establishing a Sound Material-cycle Society). The European Commission announced a Circular Economy Package in December 2015 but has yet to implement it. The United States has hundreds of corporate recycling initiatives (including those of the machinery company Caterpillar and Interface, a carpet manufacturer). The United States also has a handful of regional programmes such as the Zero Waste scheme in San Francisco, California. Other initiatives involving closing loops to attain 'industrial symbiosis'4 — in which waste products of one firm become the raw materials of another — are in place in Yokohama, Japan; in Ulsan, South Korea; and in Kwinana, Australia5. All these are limited in their impacts and scale. Chinese interest in the circular economy was piqued in the 1990s6 by Germany and Japan's recycling laws. In 2005, China's State Council issued a policy paper (see go.nature.com/cnozhg; in Chinese) recognizing the economic and environmental risks of the nation's heavy resource exploitation, and acknowledging the circular economy as the principal means of dealing with them. The country's planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and bodies such as the Ministry of Environmental Protection have since developed circular-economy principles and promoted exemplars of industrial symbiosis, such as at the Rizhao Economic and Technology Development Zone7. Taxation, fiscal, pricing and industrial policies were introduced. A fund was allocated to support the conversion of industrial parks into eco-industrial agglomerations. Tax breaks were provided to enterprises in the reuse sector. To finance the initiatives through concessionary loans or direct capital financing, the NDRC joined with financial regulators including China's central bank and its banking and securities regulatory commissions. A whole chapter in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (for 2006–10) was devoted to the circular economy. And a 2008 circular-economy 'promotion law' demanded that local and provincial governments consider such issues in their investment and development strategies. Targets were enacted for the coal, steel, electronics, chemical and petrochemical industries. The circular economy was upgraded to a national development strategy in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–15). Objectives included reusing 72% of industrial solid waste by 2015 and raising resource productivity (economic output per unit resources used) by 15%. The plan laid out a three-pronged '10–100–1,000' strategy: 10 major programmes focusing on recycling industrial wastes, conversion of industrial parks, remanufacturing, urban mining, and the development of waste-collection and recycling systems; 100 demonstration cities such as Suzhou and Guangzhou; and 1,000 demonstration enterprises or industrial parks nationwide. In 2012, the NDRC and the finance ministry called for 50% of national industrial parks and 30% of provincial ones to complete circular-economy transformation initiatives by 2015, with an aim of achieving close to zero discharge of pollutants. In 2013, the State Council released a national strategy for achieving a circular economy — the first such strategy in the world. Further targets for 2015 included increasing energy productivity (GDP per unit energy) by 18.5% relative to 2010, raising water productivity by 43%, and for the output of the recycling industry to reach 1.8 trillion yuan (US$276 billion) compared with 1 trillion yuan in 2010. Others include reusing at least 75% of coal gangue (worthless rock present in deposits) from coal mining or 70% of pulverized fuel ash, a product of coal combustion, from electricity generation. Some of these targets have been extended in the 13th Five Year Plan, which was published this month. How has China done? Last year, its National Bureau of Statistics analysed8 progress since 2005 on four measures: resource intensity (resources used per unit GDP), waste intensity (waste per unit GDP), waste recycling rate and pollutant treatment rate. By 2013, resource intensity and waste intensity had improved by 34.7% and 46.5%, respectively, a clear sign that resource consumption (of metal, water, energy and biomass) is decoupling from economic growth in relative terms. The treatment rate of pollution, including sewage, the decontamination of urban residential waste and the reduction of major pollutants, also increased, by 74.6%. The recycling and reuse of waste improved more slowly, by 8.2%. A circular-economy development index created by the statistics bureau aggregating all these indicators grew from 100 in 2005 to 137.6 in 2013. OECD statistics reveal that China's resource intensity fell: from 4.3 kilograms of materials per unit GDP in 1990 to 2.5 kilograms in 2011. However, China's overall resource consumption rose fivefold during these two decades, from 5.4 billion tonnes to 25.2 billion tonnes, as a result of its economic boom (see 'Consumption problem'). The Suzhou New District (SND) is an exemplar of circular-economy initiatives. In 2005, it was selected as one of the first 13 industrial parks to participate in China's national circular-economy pilot programme. In 2008, it was one of three national eco-industrial park demonstration sites in the country, along with the nearby China–Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park and the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area. The SND is larger than Western examples of industrial symbiosis such as Kalundborg in Denmark, which was the first case of closed-loop recycling since the 1980s. Kalundborg involves a dozen or so firms sharing energy, water, steam and waste-recycling processes. By 2014, the SND hosted more than 16,000 enterprises and almost 4,000 manufacturing firms, many in IT, electronics, biotech and medical-device manufacturing. The total output of the industrial sector of the SND (including manufacturing, mining and utilities) was 288 billion yuan in 2015. Initiatives set out to plug gaps in chains of industries within industrial parks. For example, the SND administration identified the recycling and recirculation of metal resources such as gold and copper as a gap in the park's printed-circuit-board supply chain. A venture was formed with Dowa Metal in Japan to establish an advanced metal-recycling business in the SND. Waste etching solution that is generated in copper laminating and circuit-board manufacturing in the SND is treated and returned by others based in the park. Electronic-waste companies such as Dowa reclaim the copper and water from the sludge created by circuit-board processing. In other examples, a producer of kaolin (a type of clay) turns residues from mining into inputs for the production of sulfuric acid and construction materials; a paper manufacturer takes waste ammonia from a chemical company to use for desulfurization in its process; and industrial water recycling is undertaken on site. According to data from the SND, between 2005 and 2010, the energy intensity of the district dropped by 20% (down to 0.57 tonnes of coal equivalent per 10,000 yuan of GDP, compared with the national 2010 level of 1.24 tonnes of coal equivalent per 10,000 yuan of GDP). During the same period, the park's oxidizable organic pollutants in water dropped by 47%, and emissions of sulfur dioxide by 38% (ref. 9). The utilization rate of industrial solid wastes and the recycling rate of industrial water reached 96% and 91% in 2010, much higher than the national averages (69% and 86%)10. The main obstacle is getting firms linked by supply chains to cooperate in turning outputs into inputs — as in the copper-extraction example. Some observers might see China's top-down approach to such issues as problematic, but it is clear that the tradition of managing industrial parks through local institutions and governments is able to cut through the problem by offering rewards to firms that collaborate. Thus the issue is reframed from one involving individual firms to one that involves their collective decisions. The economic benefits are clear. Recycled, regenerated and locally sourced raw materials are usually cheaper, increasing profits. State involvement in the economy turns out to be an advantage, and underpins how progress depends on countries' abilities to implement as well as develop industrial policies. Some industries lend themselves to circular initiatives more than others. For example, recirculation of metal scrap is straightforward, but extracting metal from industrial sludge is more chemically demanding. China's move away from primary industries to secondary ones, such as solar-panel manufacturing, will reap benefits from the circular economy. And increasing reliance on home-regenerated materials rather than imports will increase the country's resource security. China must still do much more. It needs a national goal and road map to achieve a level of resource intensity that is similar to that of OECD countries (currently around 0.5 kilograms per dollar of GDP). And it must champion regional and provincial achievements, giving rewards to eco-industrial parks that perform best. Data should be reported regularly. SND data are five years old, for example. Seeing the fiscal benefits, companies should have incentives to release accurate data. Primary industries such as iron, steel and aluminium need strong targets for recirculation as part of the thirteenth and subsequent five-year plans. Increasingly, secondary industries such as wind energy, battery production and biotech should be assessed on the basis of their recirculation potential and performance over their whole life cycles. Better circular-economy metrics need to be developed. The circular-economy index of China's statistics bureau needs clarification on what it means and what it measures. The OECD should similarly draw up reporting guidelines for all countries to follow. Researchers need to collaborate with China to improve metrics and conduct case studies of industrial symbiosis. Mainstream economics perpetuates linear thinking with concepts such as GDP and the use of GDP growth as a sole performance measure for national economies. Performance measures such as circulation of resources need to be introduced into economists' models, to create an interest in the real flow of resources that underpins abstractions such as income and wealth. In our view, the only solution to the world's resource-security problem is to move away from the linear economy and embrace the circular economy. China's strategies are a significant step forwards in bridging the global gap between economic and ecological sustainability.
Food waste is today's hot topic. In fact, according to scientific surveys in Switzerland, 300 kg of perfectly good food ends up in the bin per person each year. However, this number encompasses the entire shopping basket, from yoghurt to drinkable leftover wine and two-day-old bread. From this basket, scientists at the research institute Agroscope and ETH Zurich have now identified one product that is discarded disproportionately often: the potato. A new study on this topic has just been presented by ETH doctoral student Christian Willersinn, who works in the group led by Michael Siegrist, Professor of Consumer Behaviour, together with colleagues from Agroscope. The study breaks down the losses of this staple food along the entire supply chain. "With this study, we aim to deepen the discussion relating to food waste by looking at a single product," says lead author Willersinn. The study appeared in the journal Waste Management. Until now, precise figures on potato waste were only available from England, where around two thirds of potatoes end up in the bin. However, Willersinn says that these figures cannot be compared with the situation in Switzerland. For the Swiss study, the researchers from Agroscope and ETH examined the losses that occur at the producer, wholesaler, retailer, processor and consumer level. The researchers recorded the quantities both of table potatoes and of processing potatoes, which are processed into chips and crisps. They also compared the losses that occur in organically and non-organically produced potatoes in both categories. To ascertain the quantities lost at the producer stage, Willersinn and his colleagues used data from more than 220,000 quality assessments of individual tubers. The researchers also surveyed wholesalers and retailers in order to obtain the most accurate quantitative information possible at that level. Furthermore, they carried out a written survey of 2,000 households to collect data on private potato waste. In addition to this, 87 people kept a diary for 30 days, in which they recorded their exact potato consumption and exactly how much of the originally purchased quantity, including preparation waste, ended up in their bins. One in two potatoes thrown out "Overall, potato waste is also very high in Switzerland," says the ETH doctoral student in light of the results of his analyses. From the field to the home, 53 percent of conventionally produced table potatoes are wasted, and this figure rises to 55 percent for those produced organically. For processing potatoes, the figures are lower: 41 percent of organic potatoes are discarded, compared to 46 percent of those from conventional production. The higher waste proportion for conventionally farmed processing potatoes is connected to the overproduction of this crop, which barely ever occurs with organic farming. Waste is greater for organically farmed table potatoes because these fail to satisfy the high quality standards more often than conventional ones. "After all, consumers have the same expectations of quality and appearance for organic production as they do for conventional." Losses occur at all stages of the supply chain: up to a quarter of the table potato harvest falls by the wayside even at the producer stage. A further 12 to 24 percent are rejected by wholesalers during sorting. Just one to three percent fall between the cracks at retailers, and a further 15 percent are wasted in households. Although private households account for a relatively small proportion of potato waste, Willersinn says their contribution has the most impact: in private homes, most of the unused potatoes end up in the bin bag or on the compost heap. Producers, traders and processors, on the other hand, recycle the vast majority of waste into animal fodder or, to a lesser extent, into feedstock for biogas plants. According to Willersinn, the blame lies primarily with consumers' high quality standards, especially when it comes to fresh potatoes. This accounts for two thirds of the waste in respect of fresh potatoes from conventional farming. For organic potatoes, this figure rises to three quarters. Consumer health protection also leads to waste: producers reject one in three potatoes after harvest because they are rotten or green and could therefore be harmful to health. Wireworms, i.e. the larvae of click beetles, have also eaten holes into many potatoes, although they would still be edible. Likewise, misshapen or deformed potatoes would be edible but, just like 'worm-eaten' potatoes, are fed to animals for aesthetic reasons. In order to reduce potato waste, therefore, the researcher suggests taking action on the producer side first and foremost; for example, by using suitable cultivation methods such as crop rotation to minimise infestation, by protecting plants against wireworms, and by breeding new, more-robust varieties of potatoes. He is certain: "These measures could improve quality and therefore result in less waste". Shrinking the mountain of waste would also require revised quality requirements, so that misshapen or scabby potatoes could make it onto the shelves. This could reduce losses of conventional fresh potatoes by four percent and organic table potatoes by three percent. However, he says that wholesalers and retailers take a critical view of scabby potatoes, as scab can be transmitted to healthy specimens. "This would mean that waste would occur at the end-consumer stage, instead of at the producer and trader level, because consumers have different quality expectations," Willersinn adds emphatically. He says the eco-balance is at its worst when consumers throw potatoes in the bin. "Losses at the end of the chain are the worst because, at this stage, the most energy has been put into the product. The most sensible thing is therefore to minimise household waste," Willersinn emphasises. He adds that a corresponding study is currently in progress. The ETH doctoral student and Agroscope staff member places the principal onus on consumers: they need to reconsider their preferences and their buying and eating habits. "However, habits are very difficult to change," he emphasises, noting that, according to the household survey, older people throw out less than young people. Willersinn can only speculate on the reasons for this. It is conceivable to him that older people know how to store potatoes and that young people, on the other hand, lack some of this knowledge. This study was carried out as part of the National Research Programme NRP69, "Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production", funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). It is the most extensive study ever produced in Switzerland on the topic of food waste in respect of a single product. Explore further: Gene expression reveals how potatoes are cultivated More information: Christian Willersinn et al. Quantity and quality of food losses along the Swiss potato supply chain: Stepwise investigation and the influence of quality standards on losses, Waste Management (2015). DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2015.08.033
The Obama administration on Tuesday finalized new fuel-economy standards for large trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, the latest in a series of efforts aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and weaning the nation from its dependence on fossil fuels. The new requirements affect a class of vehicles that includes school buses, large pickups, delivery and passenger vans, garbage trucks and long-haul tractor-trailers. These heavy- and medium-duty vehicles represent only about 5 percent of total highway traffic but account for 20 percent of transportation-related fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Administration officials said they expect that when the new standards are fully implemented in coming years, they will cut more than 1 billion tons of carbon pollution from the atmosphere, save nearly $170 billion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by an estimated 84 billion gallons. “The standards promote a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trucks by encouraging the development and employment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies through model year 2027,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which developed the new rules in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “These standards are ambitious and achievable, and they will help ensure the American trucking industry continues to drive our economy — and at the same time protect our planet.” The White House previously has undertaken efforts to curb pollution from cars and light trucks, aircraft, power plants and air conditioning and refrigeration units, in an effort to meet pledges to reduce overall emissions in the United States by at least 26 percent by the year 2030, compared with 2005 levels. During his first term, President Obama also put in place the first national policy to increase the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks with model years between 2014 and 2018. Tuesday’s regulations mandate that heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans must become 2.5 percent more efficient each year between 2021 and 2027. Regulators will require other vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, deliver trucks and school buses, to have 25 percent lower carbon emissions and fuel consumption compared to existing standards. Diesel engines also will have to become more efficient. Unlike some past regulations, the new fuel-efficiency rules for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles have largely been embraced by the trucking industry as a way to cut fuel costs and bolster bottom lines. Leaders from companies that rely on trucking, including Walmart, Pepsi, Waste Management and FedEx, have endorsed the effort. “It’s a place where you really have interests aligned. … It’s good for business; it’s good for the environment; it’s good for our economy overall,” Brian Mormino, executive director of environmental strategy and compliance at Cummins Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of engines for heavy-duty vehicles, said in an interview from China. He said that fuel costs are a top expense for many companies and that they welcome an opportunity to become more efficient. “Regardless of whether oil prices are down, that focus on fuel savings is still important.” The new fuel-efficiency standards are likely to lead to more expense vehicles — as much as $14,000 more for a large truck, according to the agency — but lower fuel costs could offset the higher sticker costs in a couple of years, officials said. The measure also requires manufacturers to use lighter-weight materials and more aerodynamic designs to improve tractor-trailers’ fuel economy. In addition, officials said Tuesday that the Department of Energy is investing nearly $140 million to improve vehicle efficiency, including projects to develop the next generation of fuel-efficient truck technologies. Administration officials also suggested that the new regulations might eventually help the pocketbooks of ordinary Americans. “This is going to be a net savings to operators of these heavy duty and medium-size trucks. They are going to be able to get places using less fuel, which has a bottom-line impact on the cost of goods, for example, or the price people pay at grocery stores,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters Tuesday. “So I think this is a very strong economic rule, from the standpoint of job creation and from the standpoint of reducing burden on consumers.” Environmental and consumer groups were quick on Tuesday to praise the tighter fuel requirements. “For a long time, an efficiency gap has forced consumers to pay the freight for inefficient shipping,” Jack Gillis, a vehicle expert for the Consumer Federation of America, said in a statement. “These standards will save consumers money, just as other energy efficiency goals have saved families and businesses money on cars, light-duty trucks, and home appliances such as refrigerators and water heaters.” Jason Mathers, director of supply chain at the Environmental Defense Fund, said the rigorous new standards will make the American freight industry much cleaner, while generating new jobs and saving average Americans money. The organization calculates that the average semi-truck burns 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year, roughly equivalent to the amount of fuel used by 50 new passenger cars. Fuel has long been the largest cost for trucking fleets in the United States, accounting for almost 40 percent of the cost of ownership in 2013, the group said. American Truck Dealers, a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said Tuesday that while it has yet to fully analyze the final rules, “dealers are concerned with the possibility that compliance will prove too complex or expensive for the market (dealer customers) to accept without disruption.” Anna Moritz, a staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said federal regulators didn’t go far enough. “Addressing truck pollution is urgent, but the Obama administration didn’t create fuel-economy standards strong enough to truly curtail this threat to our climate,” Moritz said in a statement. “Federal officials sacrificed a golden opportunity to push this heavily polluting industry toward true technological innovation. Demonstration trucks on the road today achieve better fuel economy than these standards will require a decade from now.” Obama on Saturday previewed the released of the new fuel-efficiency standards in his weekly address, and he signaled that the administration plans to roll out more environmental policies before he leaves office in January. In the weeks and months ahead, he said, “we’ll take steps to meet the goal we set with Canada and Mexico to achieve 50 percent clean power across North America by 2025. And we’ll continue to protect our lands and waters so that our kids and grandkids can enjoy our most beautiful spaces for generations.” Researchers find unsafe levels of industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6 million Americans The world is about to install 700 million air conditioners. Here’s what that means for the climate Zika fear prompts travel warning for Miami, CDC’s first in U.S. For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.
News Article | September 2, 2016
Heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards are a signature program of the Obama administration, initially adopted in 2011. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a second phase of the program last month, built on the success of the Phase 1 program. Phases 1 and 2 together will reduce fuel consumption of new heavy-duty vehicles by 25-48%, depending on vehicle type, between model years 2010 and 2027. Tractor-trailers are the biggest fuel users among heavy-duty vehicles, responsible for two-thirds of heavy-duty oil consumption. Therefore, getting major fuel efficiency gains from tractor-trailers is key to an effective program. Long-haul tractor trucks are good candidates for rapid uptake of new technologies due to their high fuel consumption and high mileage—more than 100,000 annual miles for their first several years on the road. Clearly, fuel efficiency investment pays back quickly. Inclusion of trailers in Phase 2 was a crucial step forward, because known, affordable trailer aerodynamic and tire technologies can deliver over 10% fuel savings for tractor-trailers. Tractor truck engine efficiency will improve 5% by 2027. Combining improvements from engines, transmissions, aerodynamics, tires, and trailers, average tractor-trailer fuel efficiency will almost double from 2010 to 2027. The vehicle certification protocols in Phase 2 will promote integration of engine, transmission, and vehicle components. The modeling tool for calculating vehicles’ fuel efficiency and GHG emissions (GEM) has become more sophisticated, which will allow many more technologies to contribute to vehicles’ certified fuel efficiency. Improved categorization of vehicles, inclusion of road grade, and re-weighting of certification cycles will help certification values closely mimic real-world fuel efficiency. The best: Cost-effective program and big oil savings The Phase 2 standards are highly cost-effective. A typical buyer of a new long-haul truck in 2027 will recoup the cost of the added technologies in under two years through fuel savings. The program will provide continuity and certainty to manufacturers, deliver savings at the pump to truck owners and operators, and reduce freight costs. The 37% overall reduction in heavy-duty vehicle fuel consumption from Phases 1 and 2 together will yield savings of about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day (MBD) in 2040. The Phase 2 standards are a win-win-win for the transportation industry, consumers, and the environment. The new program enjoys wide-ranging support from engine and truck manufacturers, suppliers, fleets, and the environmental community. Cummins, Daimler, Con-way, FedEx, UPS, Waste Management, and PepsiCo, among others, have endorsed the new standards.