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2011 
 2011_21st_cent_truck

Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report (BEES)

Released 11/15/11

In July 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) appointed the Committee on Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Phase 2 to conduct an independent review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP). The 21CTP is a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership including four federal agencies-the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-and 15 industrial partners. The purpose of this Partnership is to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, increase heavy-duty vehicle safety, and support research, development, and demonstration to initiate commercially viable products and systems. This is the NRC's second report on the topic and it includes the committee's review of the Partnership as a whole, its major areas of focus, 21CTP's management and priority setting, efficient operations, and the new SuperTruck program.
 

Report in Brief

 

 2011_renewable_fuel_standard

Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy (DEPS, BEES, DELS, BANR)

Released 10/4/11

In the United States, we have come to depend upon plentiful and inexpensive energy to support our economy and lifestyles. In recent years, many questions have been raised regarding the sustainability of our current pattern of high consumption of nonrenewable energy and its environmental consequences. Further, because the United States imports about 55 percent of the nation's consumption of crude oil, there are additional concerns about the security of supply. Hence, efforts are being made to find alternatives to our current pathway, including greater energy efficiency and use of energy sources that could lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions such as nuclear and renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels. The United States has a long history with biofuels and the nation is on a course charted to achieve a substantial increase in biofuels.

Renewable Fuel Standard evaluates the economic and environmental consequences of increasing biofuels production as a result of Renewable Fuels Standard, as amended by EISA (RFS2). The report describes biofuels produced in 2010 and those projected to be produced and consumed by 2022, reviews model projections and other estimates of the relative impact on the prices of land, and discusses the potential environmental harm and benefits of biofuels production and the barriers to achieving the RFS2 consumption mandate.
 

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Assessment of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Technology: Interim Letter Report (BEES)
 

Released 07.13.11

Power in ocean waves originate as wind energy that is transferred to the sea surface when wind blows over large areas of the ocean. The resulting wave field consists of a collection of waves at different frequencies traveling in various directions delivering their power to near shore areas, whereas ocean tides are a response to gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun. The limitless potential of tidal power for human use has traditionally led to proposals that employ various schemes to harness this generated power. Now, as marine and hydrokinetic resources increasingly become a part of energy regulatory, planning, and marketing activities in the United States, assessments are being conducted for future development. In particular, state-based renewable portfolio standards and federal production and investment tax credits, have led to an increased interest in the possible deployment of marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies.

Assessment of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Technology: Interim Letter Report provides an evaluation of detailed appraisals for the Department of Energy estimating the amount of extractable energy from U.S. marine and hydrokinetic resources. In order to assess the overall potential for U.S. MHK resources and technologies, this report evaluates the methodologies, technologies, and assumptions associated with the wave and tidal energy resource assessments.
 

2011_light_duty_vehiclesAssessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles (BEES)

Released 06.14.11

Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety. Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy estimates the potential fuel savings and costs to consumers of available technology combinations for three types of engines: spark-ignition gasoline, compression-ignition diesel, and hybrid.

According to its estimates, adopting the full combination of improved technologies in medium and large cars and pickup trucks with spark-ignition engines could reduce fuel consumption by 29 percent at an additional cost of $2,200 to the consumer. Replacing spark-ignition engines with diesel engines and components would yield fuel savings of about 37 percent at an added cost of approximately $5,900 per vehicle, and replacing spark-ignition engines with hybrid engines and components would reduce fuel consumption by 43 percent at an increase of $6,000 per vehicle.

The book focuses on fuel consumption--the amount of fuel consumed in a given driving distance--because energy savings are directly related to the amount of fuel used. In contrast, fuel economy measures how far a vehicle will travel with a gallon of fuel. Because fuel consumption data indicate money saved on fuel purchases and reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, the book finds that vehicle stickers should provide consumers with fuel consumption data in addition to fuel economy information.
 

2010 
2010_modeling_effects_greenhouse_gas

Modeling the Economics of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation: Summary of a Workshop (BEES)

Released 10.08.10

Models are fundamental for estimating the possible costs and effectiveness of different policies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There is a wide array of models to perform such analysis, differing in the level of technological detail, treatment of technological progress, spatial and sector details, and representation of the interaction of the energy sector to the overall economy and environment. These differences impact model results, including cost estimates. More fundamentally, these models differ as to how they represent fundamental processes that have a large impact on policy analysis--such as how different models represent technological learning and cost reductions that come through increasing production volumes, or how different models represent baseline conditions.

Reliable estimates of the costs and potential impacts on the United States economy of various emissions reduction and other mitigation strategies are critical to the development of the federal climate change research and development portfolio. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Academies organized a workshop, summarized in this volume, to consider some of these types of modeling issues.

 

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCar and Fuel Partnership: Third Report (BEES)

Released 06.30.10

The public-private partnership to develop vehicles that require less petroleum-based fuel and emit fewer greenhouse gases should continue to include fuel cells and other hydrogen technologies in its research and development portfolio. The third volume in the FreedomCAR series states that, although the partnership's recent shift of focus toward technologies that could be ready for use in the nearer term--such as advanced combustion engines and plug-in electric vehicles--is warranted, R&D on hydrogen and fuel cells is also needed given the high costs and challenges that many of the technologies must overcome before widespread use.

The FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive Research) and Fuel Partnership is a research collaboration among the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States Council for Automotive Research - whose members are the Detroit automakers--five major energy companies, and two electric utility companies. The partnership seeks to advance the technologies essential for components and infrastructure for a full range of affordable, clean, energy efficient cars and light trucks. Until recently, the program primarily focused on developing technologies that would allow U.S. automakers to make production and marketing decisions by 2015 on hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. These vehicles have the potential to be much more energy-efficient than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles, produce no harmful tailpipe emissions, and significantly reduce petroleum use. In 2009, the partnership changed direction and stepped up efforts to advance, in the shorter term, technologies for reducing petroleum use in combustion engines, including those using biofuels, as well as batteries that could be used in plug-in hybrid-electric or all electric vehicles.

 

 2010_light-duty_cover

Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy

Released 7.1.2010

Various combinations of commercially available technologies could greatly reduce fuel consumption in passenger cars, sport-utility vehicles, minivans, and other light-duty vehicles without compromising vehicle performance or safety. Assessment of Technologies for Improving Light Duty Vehicle Fuel Economy estimates the potential fuel savings and costs to consumers of available technology combinations for three types of engines: spark-ignition gasoline, compression-ignition diesel, and hybrid.

 

 2010 medium and heavy duty vehicles

Assessment of the Fuel Efficiency Technologies of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Released 6.15.10

Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles evaluates various technologies and methods that could improve the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, transit buses, and work trucks. The book also recommends approaches that federal agencies could use to regulate these vehicles' fuel consumption. Currently there are no fuel consumption standards for such vehicles, which account for about 26 percent of the transportation fuel used in the U.S.  

 

2009 

 2010_phev_hybrid_vehicles_cover

 

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies - Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Released 12.11.09


The nation has compelling reasons to reduce its consumption of oil and emissions of carbon dioxide. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) promise to contribute to both goals by allowing some miles to be driven on electricity drawn from the grid, with an internal combustion engine that kicks in when the batteries are discharged. However, while battery technology has made great strides in recent years, batteries are still very expensive.
 

 

2009_real_prospects_energy_efficiencyReal Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States (BEES)

Released 12.09.09

America's economy and lifestyles have been shaped by the low prices and availability of energy. In the last decade, however, the prices of oil, natural gas, and coal have increased dramatically, leaving consumers and the industrial and service sectors looking for ways to reduce energy use. To achieve greater energy efficiency, we need technology, more informed consumers and producers, and investments in more energy-efficient industrial processes, businesses, residences, and transportation.

As part of the America's Energy Future project, Realistic Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States examines the potential for reducing energy demand through improving efficiency by using existing technologies, technologies developed but not yet utilized widely, and prospective technologies. The book evaluates technologies based on their estimated times to initial commercial deployment, and provides an analysis of costs, barriers, and research needs. This quantitative characterization of technologies will guide policy makers toward planning the future of energy use in America. This book will also have much to offer to industry leaders, investors, environmentalists, and others looking for a practical diagnosis of energy efficiency possibilities.

 

 2009_aef_tech_and_transformAmerica’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation (DEPS, BEES)
 
Released 07.21.09
 
Energy touches our lives in countless ways and its costs are felt when we fill up at the gas pump, pay our home heating bills, and keep businesses both large and small running. There are long-term costs as well: to the environment, as natural resources are depleted and pollution contributes to global climate change, and to national security and independence, as many of the world's current energy sources are increasingly concentrated in geopolitically unstable regions. The country's challenge is to develop an energy portfolio that addresses these concerns while still providing sufficient, affordable energy reserves for the nation. The United States has enormous resources to put behind solutions to this energy challenge; the dilemma is to identify which solutions are the right ones. Before deciding which energy technologies to develop, and on what timeline, we need to understand them better. America's Energy Future analyzes the potential of a wide range of technologies for generation, distribution, and conservation of energy. This book considers technologies to increase energy efficiency, coal-fired power generation, nuclear power, renewable energy, oil and natural gas, and alternative transportation fuels. It assesses the associated impacts and projected costs of implementing each technology and categorizes them into three time frames for implementation.
 
 no_cover_imageLetter Report on the Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCar and Fuel Partnership, Phase 3 (BEES)
 
Released 07.16.09
 
This letter report broadly reviews the strategy and structure of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, as requested by the U.S. Department of Energy. Although the Obama Administration's focus on nearer-term technologies is on the right track, there remains a need for continued investment in longer-term, higher-risk, higher-payoff vehicle technologies that could be highly transformational with regard to reduced use of petroleum and reduced emissions. Such technologies include advanced batteries, technologies for hydrogen storage, and hydrogen/fuel cells. For researchers, contractors, and investors to be willing to make long-term commitments to these and other potentially important developing technologies, a consistent year-to-year level of support must be provided. Other recommendations within this report include incorporating a broader-scope approach to better consider total emissions and the full environmental impact of using various fuels and technologies; providing temporary reductions in cost-share requirements to ease the burden on prospective researchers; and providing direct funding to struggling automotive companies to help keep important in-house research programs active. Further suggestions are included within the body of the report.
 
 2009_electricity_renewable_resourcesElectricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments (DEPS, BEES)
 
06.15.09
 
A component in the America's Energy Future study, Electricity from Renewable Resources examines the technical potential for electric power generation with alternative sources such as wind, solar-photovoltaic, geothermal, solar-thermal, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources. The book focuses on those renewable sources that show the most promise for initial commercial deployment within 10 years and will lead to a substantial impact on the U.S. energy system. A quantitative characterization of technologies, this book lays out expectations of costs, performance, and impacts, as well as barriers and research and development needs. In addition to a principal focus on renewable energy technologies for power generation, the book addresses the challenges of incorporating such technologies into the power grid, as well as potential improvements in the national electricity grid that could enable better and more extensive utilization of wind, solar-thermal, solar photovoltaics, and other renewable technologies.
 
 no_cover_image
 
Released 05.27.09
 
Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) sets appliance efficiency standards using primarily "site" (or point-of-use) measurements, which reflect only the energy consumed to operate the appliance. Site measurements allow consumers to compare energy efficiency among appliances, but offer no information about other energy costs involved. This congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council recommends that DOE consider moving over time to the use of a full-fuel-cycle measure of energy consumption for assessment of national and environmental impacts. Using that metric would provide the public with more comprehensive information about the impacts of energy consumption on the environment, the economy, and other national concerns. This volume discusses these matters and offers several related findings and recommendations together with supporting information.
 
 2009_liquid_transport_fuels_from_coal
 
Released 05.20.09
 
The transportation sector cannot continue on its current path: The volatility of oil prices threatens the U.S. economy, the large proportion of oil importation threatens U.S. energy security, and the massive contribution of greenhouse gases threatens the environment. The development of domestic sources of alternative transportation fuels with lower greenhouse emissions is now a national imperative. Coal and biomass are in abundant supply in the United States and can be converted to liquid fuels that can be combusted in existing and future vehicles. Their abundant supply makes them attractive candidates to provide non-oil-based liquid fuels to the U.S. transportation system. However, there are important questions about the economic viability, carbon impact, and technology status of these options. Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass provides a snapshot of the potential costs of liquid fuels from biomass by biochemical conversion and from biomass and coal by thermochemical conversion. Policy makers, investors, leaders in industry, the transportation sector, and others with a concern for the environment, economy, and energy security will look to this book as a roadmap to independence from foreign oil. With immediate action and sustained effort, alternative liquid fuels can be available in the 2020 time frame, if or when the nation needs them.
 
 2008 
 Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership

The 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP), a cooperative research and development partnership formed by four federal agencies with 15 industrial partners, was launched in the year 2000 with high hopes that it would dramatically advance the technologies used in trucks and buses, yielding a cleaner, safer, more efficient generation of vehicles.  Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership critically examines and comments on the overall adequacy and balance of the 21CTP. The book reviews how well the program has accomplished its goals, evaluates progress in the program, and makes recommendations to improve the likelihood of the Partnership meeting its goals.

 

 2007 

Review of the DOE Nuclear Energy R&D Program

Growing energy demands, emerging concerns about the emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion, the increasing and volatile price for natural gas, and a sustained period of successful operation of the existing fleet of nuclear power plants have resulted in a renewal of interest in nuclear power in the United States. The Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is the main agent of the government’s responsibility for advancing nuclear power. One consequence of the renewed interest in nuclear power for the NE mission has been rapid growth in the NE research budget: it grew by nearly 70 percent from the $193 million appropriated in FY 2003 to $320 million in FY 2006. 

 

 2006 
 

Alternatives for the Indian Point Energy Center in Meeting New York Electric Power Needs

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, many in the New York City area have become concerned about the possible consequences of a similar attack on the Indian Point nuclear power plants—located about 40 miles from Manhattan, and have made calls for their closure. Any closure, however, would require actions to replace the 2000 MW of power supplied by the plants. To examine this issue in detail, the Congress directed DOE to request a study from the NRC of options for replacing the power. This report presents detailed review of both demand and supply options for replacing that power as well as meeting expected demand growth in the region. It also assesses institutional considerations for these options along with their expected impacts. Finally, the report provides an analysis of scenarios for implementing the replacement options using simulation modeling.

 

 2005 
 Letter Report on Methodology for Estimating the Benefits of Applied Energy R&D

The National Research Council (NRC) established the Committee on Prospective Benefits of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy R&D Programs, Phase Two to continue to develop methodology for estimating the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits associated with DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy R&D Programs and to apply its proposed methodology to several DOE programs. To obtain feedback on its proposed methodology and its then-pending selection of DOE programs for further case study, the committee held a workshop on July 14, 2005, in Washington, D.C., attended by stakeholders. In this letter, the committee discusses the principal comments made during the workshop, the case studies it intends to perform in phase two, and the changes to the process and methodology that have occurred since phase one.

 

 

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCar and Fuel Partnership: First Report

The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is a collaborative effort among the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR), and five major energy companies to manage research that will enable the vision of “a clean and sustainable transportation energy future.” It envisions a transition from more efficient internal combustion engines (ICEs), to advanced ICE hybrid electric vehicles, to enabling a private-sector decision by 2015 on hydrogen-fueled vehicle development. This report, which builds on an earlier NRC report, The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs, presents an evaluation of the Partnership’s research efforts on hydrogen-fueled transportation systems, and provides findings and recommendations about technical directions, strategies, funding, and management.

 

 Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase one): A First Look Forward

In 2001, the National Research Council (NRC) completed a congressionally mandated assessment of the benefits and costs of DOE’s fossil energy and energy efficiency R&D programs, Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? The Congress followed this retrospective study by directing DOE to request the NRC to develop a methodology for assessing prospective benefits. The first phase of this project—development of the methodology—began in December 2003. Phase two will make the methodology more robust and explore related issues, and subsequent phases will apply the methodology to review the prospective benefits of different DOE fossil energy and energy efficiency R&D programs. In developing this project, three considerations were particularly important. First, the study should adapt the work of the retrospective study. Second, the project should develop a methodology that provides a rigorous calculation of benefits and risks, and a practical and consistent process for its application. Third, the methodology should be transparent, should not require extensive resources for implementation, and should produce easily understood results. This report presents the results of phase one. It focuses on adaptation of the retrospective methodology to a prospective context.

 

 2004 
 

The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs

The announcement of a hydrogen fuel initiative in the President’s 2003 State of the Union speech substantially increased interest in the potential for hydrogen to play a major role in the nation’s long-term energy future. Prior to that event, DOE asked the National Research Council to examine key technical issues about the hydrogen economy to assist in the development of its hydrogen R&D program. Included in the assessment were the current state of technology; future cost estimates; CO2 emissions; distribution, storage, and end use considerations; and the DOE RD&D program. The report provides an assessment of hydrogen as a fuel in the nation’s future energy economy and describes a number of important challenges that must be overcome if it is to make a major energy contribution. Topics covered include the hydrogen end-use technologies, transportation, hydrogen production technologies, and transition issues for hydrogen in vehicles.

 

 

Letter Report: Lessons Learned from Workshop on Novel Approaches to Carbon Management

One approach to the problem of carbon dioxide buildup in the Earth’s atmosphere is to develop novel ways to sequester CO2 before it enters the atmosphere or to accelerate its removal once it has. In order to determine whether this approach was feasible and practical, DOE asked the NRC help foster the identification of such novel concepts. A three-step project was launched to meet that request: a workshop on novel approaches; an evaluation of proposals in response to a DOE solicitation for developing such concepts; and an assessment of the process including lessons learned. The NRC delivered reports on the first two steps in April and September 2003, and this letter report presents the results of the last step of the project. The report presents an assessment of the workshop, the solicitation process, and the NRC role. In addition, recommendations are provided for improving the process for subsequent DOE carbon management initiatives.

 

 

Methodology for Estimating Prospective Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy R&D-Letter Report

Since its inception in 1977, the Department of Energy has invested substantial sums in energy efficiency and fossil energy R&D. To monitor its effectiveness, the agency and Congress have, over the years, pursued evaluation of these R&D programs that focuses on its cost and benefits. Such evaluation, however, is difficult and must incorporate the full range of public benefits as well as what might happen if that R&D had not been funded by the federal government. To help address these challenges, and at the direction of Congress, DOE asked the NRC to develop a methodology for evaluating the prospective benefits of its fossil energy and energy efficiency R&D programs. Such methodology can be used to evaluate program management and funding decisions on an ongoing basis. This letter report provides an overview of the studies approach and how it differs from retrospective studies of this R&D previously carried out by the NRC.

 

 2003 

 

 

Alternatives and Strategies for Future Hydrogen Production and Use: Letter Report

Hydrogen is a flexible energy carrier that can be produced from a variety of resources. If an economic hydrogen energy system could be developed, it would present a number of environmental and security advantages to the nation. To assist the Department of Energy plan for and carry out its hydrogen R&D program, the NRC was asked to evaluate the cost and status of hydrogen energy carrier technologies and to review the DOE hydrogen R&D and deployment strategy. This letter report is an interim report to DOE that provides early review and recommendations to assist FY2005 research planning.

 

 

 

Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products

The growing concern about possible consequences for the earth’s climate of the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2), has led to increasing attention on ways to manage CO2 emissions. DOE is in the process of awarding grants for carbon management research, and asked the NRC for help in this effort. As a first step, the NRC held a workshop to identify promising lines of research. This report is a summary of that workshop. The report presents a discussion of research areas in advanced sequestration technologies, advanced subsurface technologies, advanced geochemical methods, and novel approaches for converting CO2 to useful products.

 

 

Review of Research Proposals on Carbon Management

DOE is in the process of awarding grants for carbon management research, and asked the NRC for help in this effort. As a first step, the NRC published a report, Novel Approaches to Carbon Management: Separation, Capture, Sequestration, and Conversion to Useful Products, based on a workshop held to identify promising lines of research. As a follow-up to that report, DOE asked the NRC to provide ratings and summary technical assessment of proposals received by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy on novel approaches to carbon management. This letter report presents a discussion of the proposal review process followed by the NRC committee along with the ratings and summary assessments.

 

 Review of DOE’s Vision 21 Research and Development Program—Phase I

The goal of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vision 21 program is to develop an array of advanced technologies that could be incorporated into future Vision 21 plants for converting fossil fuel into electricity, process heat, fuels and/or chemicals with high efficiency and very low emissions including of carbon dioxide. The program’s goals are extremely challenging and ambitious, and success would essentially eliminate many of the environmental concerns currently associated with the use of fossil fuels. In 2000, the National Research Council (NRC) published a report that reviewed the program in its initial stages. Two years later, the DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coal and Power Systems requested the NRC to review the progress of the Vision 21 program. The current report identifies significant progress that has been made in the program since the last NRC review, and makes recommendations for enhancement of the program.

 

 2002 
 The Disposition Dilemma: Controlling the Release of Solid Materials from Nuclear Regulatory Commission-Licensed Facilities

Establishing a new policy to control the release of solid material from civilian nuclear facilities has been problematic for almost three decades. Under the current system, such materials may be released from the control of a licensed nuclear facility—a power reactor, research facility, hospital, etc.—if the radionuclide concentrations can be shown to be very small. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) has tried several times to improve the current policy under which slightly radioactive solid material is released from the control of licensed facilities. To assist in this effort, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asked the National Research Council to recommend changes to the decision-making process for disposition of slightly radioactive solid material, and determine whether the technical studies of the health impacts were sufficient to support the Commission’s future decisions. This report presents the results of that study. It describes the fate of materials released from a facility, problems with the current release system, and recommendations about how to create a new policy.

 

 

 

Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards (with TRB)

Since CAFE standards were established 25 years ago, there have been significant changes in motor vehicle technology, globalization of the industry, the mix and characteristics of vehicle sales, production capacity, and other factors. This volume evaluates the implications of these changes as well as changes anticipated in the next few years, on the need for CAFE, as well as the stringency and/or structure of the CAFE program in future years.

 2001 
 

Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It?

The Congress initiated a study with the Academy to review DOE’s R&D in energy efficiency and fossil energy technologies that was conducted from 1978 to 2000. Estimates of the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits for many different energy efficiency and fossil energy programs were made. The committee was able to select a manageable number of case studies—22—that covered almost all of the research expenditures in the DOE fossil energy program since 1978. In contrast, the energy efficiency program, especially in the buildings and industry programs, is composed of a large number of relatively small projects. The committee determined that it was not possible to analyze enough cases to capture a large fraction of DOE’s research expenditures in these areas. Therefore, the committee selected 17 case studies that, in its expert opinion, were sufficiently representative to permit the testing of the analytical framework and to draw reliable conclusions about the success or failure of the overall program. A methodology and framework for evaluation was developed for giving the Congress and the Office of Management and Budget more confidence in DOE estimates of the benefits of their R&D programs.

 

 

 

Review of the Research Program of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), Seven Reports, 1994-2001 (with TRB)

The PNGV program was a U.S. government-Big 3industry partnership started under President Clinton in 1993 with the aim of developing a midsize concept vehicle by 2000 and a pre-production prototype with up to 3 times the fuel economy of a 1993 vehicle at comparable cost. The Academy had a committee that conducted 7 annual reviews of this major program, giving recommendations to guide it and improve its chances of success. The 3 auto companies unveiled concept vehicles in 2000, but the program was changed as President Bush took office, eventually resulting in the FreedomCAR Program, which is now operating.

 

 2000 
 

Renewable Power Pathways: A Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Programs

This report reviews the Department of Energy’s Office of Power Technologies (OPT) and its research and development programs, which seek to improve the cost and performance of renewable energy technologies. The report reviewed the individual technology development programs in OPT, as well as the office as a whole. The programs reviewed included photovoltaics, wind, geothermal power, solar thermal, hydroelectric power, energy storage, hydrogen technologies, electric transmission (including superconductivity), and distributed power generation technologies. The study recommends OPT develop a robust rationale for its portfolio of renewable energy technologies and set up a process to evaluate and prioritize decisions with the goal of developing a sustainable, cost-effective energy supply system; work with industry to develop a road mapping process for its R&D though the deployment phase that will see industry taking the lead on commercialization activities; and work with states more closely, especially in developing a market for “green power” and distributed energy resource system needs. The report also contains many recommendations on each of the individual technology programs.

 

 

Review of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Heavy Vehicle Technologies Program

This report is the result of a broad, independent review of the R&D activities of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Heavy Vehicle Technologies. Many of the activities in the program are focused on the development of technologies that will enable trucks and other heavy vehicles to be more energy efficient and capable of using alternative fuels while at the same time reducing emissions. This is an important mission since fuel consumption by trucks will outweigh that of automobiles in the coming years. The study addressed such areas as planning horizons and priorities; emission control technologies; engine efficiencies; other factors involved in fuel economy performance; and alternatives to diesel engines. The study recommended that OHVT should modify its program goals to reflect a longer time horizon of eight years or more; implement a Go/No Go decision-making framework to keep OHVT programs focused on program goals and to establish or modify priorities and change directions, as necessary; and place a high priority on integrated emissions-control technologies (engine combustion and after-treatment technologies) to meet future emission requirements.

 

 1998 
 

Review of the Research and Development Plan for the Office of Advanced Automotive Technologies

The Office of Advanced Automotive Technologies within the U.S. Department of Energy was established in 1996 to consolidate DOE’s programs in automotive technology R&D into an integrated program for light vehicles. One of the office’s first activities was to develop an R&D plan. The NRC was asked to conduct an independent review of this R&D plan and document its findings and recommendations in a report. The report will address and comment on such issues as (1) the plan’s goals, objectives, assumptions, priorities and description of the potential benefits to the nation; (2) the strategy and approaches for addressing and overcoming identified technical barriers in the priority technical areas; (3) the metrics delineated for measuring progress in R&D; (4) the strategy for dealing with future budget uncertainties and allocation of resources among technology areas; and (5) the strategy for implementing and managing the plan in light of anticipated budgets. It will make recommendations for improvements to the plan.

 

 

Review of the United States Advanced Battery Consortium’s R&D Project Selection Process for Electric Vehicle Battery Technologies

In 1991, the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) was formed by Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corporation to establish a manufacturing capability for advanced batteries in the United States that could improve the range and performance of electric vehicles (EVs) in the latter part of the 1990s. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) signed a cooperative agreement with USABC to provide 50 percent of the funds in the program. In 1995, DOE asked the NRC to conduct a retrospective examination and evaluate the decision processes and outcomes (in relation to established program objectives) that the USABC Phase I program (from 1991 to 1996) used for selecting projects for EV battery technology R&D funded in part by the DOE. Based on this retrospective examination, the NRC was also asked to comment on plans for decision processes for selecting projects during Phase II (1997 to 2000).

Given the technical goals and objectives for Phase I, the report will address such aspects as (a) the process by which technical goals and objectives were established for EV battery development; (2) the process used by USABC to solicit proposals, choose contractors, and make awards, both for new projects and for continuing efforts; (3) the manner in which contractor performance was measured and evaluated by USABC; (4) how R&D results have measured up against the technical goals and objectives; and (5) USABC plans for Phase II.