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book coverThe National Academies Summit on America's Energy FutureSummary of a Meeting   (BEES)
Released 2008-11-03

In late 2007, the National Academies launched a major initiative-the America's Energy Future (AEF) project-to examine key technological and policy issues about energy. To begin the project, a summit on America's Energy Future was held on March 13-14 that featured many of the key people working on energy issues. Over the two-day period, these individuals made presentations summarizing and elaborating on their previous work. Videos of these presentations are available on the AEF project website. This report summarizes what was discussed at the workshop. It is divided according to the major themes of the summit: the current context, a look at energy supplies, a review of the uses of energy, and an examination of how we can meet the energy challenges now facing the nation.

book coverTransitions to Alternative Transportation TechnologiesA Focus on Hydrogen   (BEES)
Released 2008-11-17

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) could alleviate the nation's dependence on oil and reduce U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas. Industry-and government-sponsored research programs have made very impressive technical progress over the past several years, and several companies are currently introducing pre-commercial vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations in limited markets. However, to achieve wide hydrogen vehicle penetration, further technological advances are required for commercial viability, and vehicle manufacturer and hydrogen supplier activities must be coordinated. In particular, costs must be reduced, new automotive manufacturing technologies commercialized, and adequate supplies of hydrogen produced and made available to motorists. These efforts will require considerable resources, especially federal and private sector funding. This book estimates the resources that will be needed to bring HFCVs to the point of competitive self-sustainability in the marketplace. It also estimates the impact on oil consumption and carbon dioxide emissions as HFCVs become a large fraction of the light-duty vehicle fleet.

book coverReview of the 21st Century Truck Partnership   (BEES)
Released 2008-09-19

Heavy-duty trucks and buses now consume about 21 percent of the fuel used for surface transportation in the United States. As gasoline and diesel fuel prices have risen in the past few years, the pressure to find ways to increase fuel use efficiency by these trucks and buses has grown significantly. In 2000, four federal agencies and 15 industrial partners formed the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP) to manage a cooperative R&D effort towards a safer and more efficient fleet of vehicles. In 2007, DOE--which now leads the partnership--asked the NRC to conduct an independent assessment of the 21CTP. This report provides a discussion of the organization and background of the Partnership; an analysis of its management strategy and priority setting; and an assessment of the Partnership's technical goals for engine systems and fuels, heavy-duty hybrid vehicles; reduction of parasitic energy losses, engine idle reduction, and safety.

book coverReview of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel PartnershipSecond Report   (BEES)
Released 2008-05-15

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, and to enabling a private-sector decision by 2015 on hydrogen-fueled vehicle development. At the request of DOE, the NRC has undertaken an effort to provide biennial reviews of the progress of the research program. Phase I of that review was described in a book issued in 2005. This second book presents an assessment of the progress in the research program management areas as well as the responses of program management to recommendations provided in the Phase I report. Covered in this second book are major crosscutting issues; vehicle subsystems; hydrogen production, delivery, and dispensing; and an overall assessment of the program.

book coverAssessment of Technologies for Improving Light-Duty Vehicle Fuel EconomyLetter Report   (BEES)
Released 2008-02-15

In 2001, the NRC released Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. High oil prices and recent legislation mandating a further increase in the CAFE standards have renewed interest in the current and expected technical potential for automobile fuel efficiency. Accordingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested the NRC to provide an objective and independent update of the 2001 study and add an assessment of technologies that have emerged since that time. This report presents an interim assessment of technologies to be analyzed in the study and of the computational models that will be used in that analysis. Estimated fuel-economy benefits presented in this report reflect those from existing literature and presentations to the study committee. A final report is scheduled for late spring 2008.

book coverInspired by BiologyFrom Molecules to Materials to Machines   (BPA ,BLS)
Released 2008-06-17

Scientists have long desired to create synthetic systems that function with the precision and efficiency of biological systems. Using new techniques, researchers are now uncovering principles that could allow the creation of synthetic materials that can perform tasks as precise as biological systems. To assess the current work and future promise of the biology-materials science intersection, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation asked the NRC to identify the most compelling questions and opportunities at this interface, suggest strategies to address them, and consider connections with national priorities such as healthcare and economic growth. This book presents a discussion of principles governing biomaterial design, a description of advanced materials for selected functions such as energy and national security, an assessment of biomolecular materials research tools, and an examination of infrastructure and resources for bridging biological and materials science.