Review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership, Second Report (BEES)
In July 2010, the National Research Council (NRC) appointed the Committee to Review 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
Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy (BEES, BANR)
In the United States, we have come to depend on 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.
Policy makers, investors, leaders in the transportation sector, and others with concerns for the environment, economy, and energy security can rely on the recommendations provided in this report.
Assessment of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Technology:Interim Letter Report (BEES)
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.
Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles (BEES)
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.
Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure (BMSA ,CSTB ,BCST)
Combustion has provided society with most of its energy needs for millenia, from igniting the fires of cave dwellers to propelling the rockets that traveled to the Moon. Even in the face of climate change and the increasing availability of alternative energy sources, fossil fuels will continue to be used for many decades. However, they will likely become more expensive, and pressure to minimize undesired combustion by-products (pollutants) will likely increase.
The trends in the continued use of fossil fuels and likely use of alternative combustion fuels call for more rapid development of improved combustion systems. In January 2009, the Multi-Agency Coordinating Committee on Combustion Research (MACCCR) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct a study of the structure and use of a cyberinfrastructure (CI) for combustion research. The charge to the authoring committee of Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure was to: identify opportunities to improve combustion research through computational infrastructure (CI) and the potential benefits to applications; identify necessary CI elements and evaluate the accessibility, sustainability, and economic models for various approaches; identify CI that is needed for education in combustion science and engineering; identify human, cultural, institutional, and policy challenges and how other fields are addressing them. Transforming Combustion Research through Cyberinfrastructure also estimates the resources needed to provide stable, long-term CI for research in combustion and recommends a plan for enhanced exploitation of CI for combustion research.