Thursday, November 27, 2014  Current Operating Status
 

Publications

 

2013

 

In addition to the NRC studies listed the Transportation Research Board also publishes a number of technical reports and papers through its various Programs and Journals. You can access those reports and papers about energy at the following site: http://www.trb.org/Energy/TRBPublications.aspx.

 

no-cover-image

Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two: First Report (DEPS)

 

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks, motor coaches, and transit buses - collectively, "medium- and heavy-duty vehicles", or MHDVs - are used in every sector of the economy. The fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of MHDVs have become a focus of legislative and regulatory action in the past few years. Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two is a follow-on to the National Research Council's 2010 report, Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. That report provided a series of findings and recommendations on the development of regulations for reducing fuel consumption of MHDVs.

 

This report comprises the first periodic, five-year follow-on to the 2010 report. Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two reviews NHTSA fuel consumption regulations and considers the technological, market and regulatory factors that may be of relevance to a revised and updated regulatory regime taking effect for model years 2019-2022. The report analyzes and provides options for improvements to the certification and compliance procedures for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; reviews an updated analysis of the makeup and characterization of the medium- and heavy-duty truck fleet; examines the barriers to and the potential applications of natural gas in class 2b through class 8 vehicles; and addresses uncertainties and performs sensitivity analyses for the fuel consumption and cost/benefit estimates.
 

2013-safe-oil-gas

Best Available and Safest Technologies for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations: Options for Implementation (NAE)

 

Best Available and Safest Technologies for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations: Options for Implementation explores a range of options for improving the implementation of the U.S. Department of the Interior's congressional mandate to require the use of best available and safety technologies in offshore oil and gas operations.

 

In the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Congress directs the Secretary of the Interior to regulate oil and gas operations in federal waters. The act mandates that the Secretary “shall require, on all new drilling and production operations and, wherever practicable, on existing operations, the use of the best available and safest technologies which the Secretary determines to be economically feasible, wherever failure of equipment would have a significant effect on safety, health, or the environment, except where the Secretary determines that the incremental benefits are clearly insufficient to justify the incremental costs of utilizing such technologies.”

 

This report, which was requested by Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), also reviews options and issues that BSEE is already considering to improve implementation of the best available and safest technologies requirement.
 

2013-tpg-workshop

The Resilience of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters: Summary of a Workshop (DEPS)

 

The Resilience of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters is the summary of a workshop convened in February 2013 as a follow-up to the release of the National Research Council report Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System. That report had been written in 2007 for the Department of Homeland Security, but publication was delayed because of security concerns. While most of the committee's findings were still relevant, many developments affecting vulnerability had occurred in the interval. The 2013 workshop was a discussion of the committee\'s results, what had changed in recent years, and how lessons learned about the grid's resilience to terrorism could be applied to other threats to the grid resulting from natural disasters. The purpose was not to translate the entire report into the present, but to focus on key issues relevant to making the grid sufficiently robust that it could handle inevitable failures without disastrous impact. The workshop focused on five key areas: physical vulnerabilities of the grid; cybersecurity; mitigation and response to outages; community resilience and the provision of critical services; and future technologies and policies that could enhance the resilience of the electric power delivery system.

 

The electric power transmission and distribution system (the grid) is an extraordinarily complex network of wires, transformers, and associated equipment and control software designed to transmit electricity from where it is generated, usually in centralized power plants, to commercial, residential, and industrial users. Because the U.S. infrastructure has become increasingly dependent on electricity, vulnerabilities in the grid have the potential to cascade well beyond whether the lights turn on, impacting among other basic services such as the fueling infrastructure, the economic system, and emergency services. The Resilience of the Electric Power Delivery System in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters discusses physical vulnerabilities and the cybersecurity of the grid, ways in which communities respond to widespread outages and how to minimize these impacts, the grid of tomorrow, and how resilience can be encouraged and built into the grid in the future.
 

2013-induced-seismicity

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies (DELS)

 

In the past several years, some energy technologies that inject or extract fluid from the Earth, such as oil and gas development and geothermal energy development, have been found or suspected to cause seismic events, drawing heightened public attention.

Although only a very small fraction of injection and extraction activities among the hundreds of thousands of energy development sites in the United States have induced seismicity at levels noticeable to the public, understanding the potential for inducing felt seismic events and for limiting their occurrence and impacts is desirable for state and federal agencies, industry, and the public at large. To better understand, limit, and respond to induced seismic events, work is needed to build robust prediction models, to assess potential hazards, and to help relevant agencies coordinate to address them.

Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies identifies gaps in knowledge and research needed to advance the understanding of induced seismicity; identify gaps in induced seismic hazard assessment methodologies and the research to close those gaps; and assess options for steps toward best practices with regard to energy development and induced seismicity potential.
 

2013-deepwater-horizon-spill

An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (DELS)

 

As the Gulf of Mexico recovers from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, natural resource managers face the challenge of understanding the impacts of the spill and setting priorities for restoration work. The full value of losses resulting from the spill cannot be captured, however, without consideration of changes in ecosystem services--the benefits delivered to society through natural processes.

An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico discusses the benefits and challenges associated with using an ecosystem services approach to damage assessment, describing potential impacts of response technologies, exploring the role of resilience, and offering suggestions for areas of future research.
 

2013-effects-of-dilbit

TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines (TRB)

 

TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines analyzes whether shipments of diluted bitumen have a greater likelihood of release from pipelines than shipments of other crude oils. The oil sands region of Canada is the source of diluted bitumen shipped by pipeline to the United States.

 

The committee that produced the report did not find any pipeline failures unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen or evidence of physical or chemical properties of diluted bitumen shipments that are outside the range of those of other crude oil shipments. The committee's comprehensive review did not find evidence of any specific aspect of the transportation of diluted bitumen that would make it more likely than other crude oils to cause pipeline releases.

 2013-improving-assessment-nuclear

Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles (DELS, NSRB)

 

The material that sustains the nuclear reactions that produce energy can also be used to make nuclear weapons—and therefore, the development of nuclear energy is one of multiple pathways to proliferation for a non-nuclear weapon state. There is a tension between the development of future nuclear fuel cycles and managing the risk of proliferation as the number of existing and future nuclear energy systems expands throughout the world. As the Department of Energy (DOE) and other parts of the government make decisions about future nuclear fuel cycles, DOE would like to improve proliferation assessments to better inform those decisions.

 

Improving the Assessment of the Proliferation Risk of Nuclear Fuel Cycles considers how the current methods of quantification of proliferation risk are being used and implemented, how other approaches to risk assessment can contribute to improving the utility of assessments for policy and decision makers. The study also seeks to understand the extent to which technical analysis of proliferation risk could be improved for policy makers through research and development.
 

 2013-sustainability-for-nation

Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connection and Governance Linkages (PGA)

A "sustainable society," according to one definition, "is one that can persist over generations; one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or its social system of support." As the government sector works hard to ensure sufficient fresh water, food, energy, housing, health, and education for the nation without limiting resources for the future generations, it's clear that there is no sufficient organization to deal with sustainability issues. Each federal agency appears to have a single mandate or a single area of expertise making it difficult to tackle issues such as managing the ecosystem. Key resource domains, which include water, land, energy, and nonrenewable resources, for example, are nearly-completely connected yet different agencies exist to address only one aspect of these domains.

 

The legendary ecologist John Muir wrote in 1911 that "when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." Thus, in order for the nation to be successful in sustaining its resources, "linkages" will need to be built among federal, state, and local governments; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and the private sector. The National Research Council (NRC) was asked by several federal agencies, foundations, and the private sector to provide guidance to the federal government on issues related to sustainability linkages. The NRC assigned the task to as committee with a wide range of expertise in government, academia, and business. The committee held public fact-finding meetings to hear from agencies and stakeholder groups; examined sustainability management examples; conducted extensive literature reviews; and more to address the issue. Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connection and Governance Linkages is the committee's report on the issue.

 

The report includes insight into high-priority areas for governance linkages, the challenges of managing connected systems, impediments to successful government linkages, and more. The report also features examples of government linkages which include Adaptive Management on the Platte River, Philadelphia's Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Managing Land Use in the Mojave. 

 

 
2013-overcoming-barriers

Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment: Interim Report (BEES, TRB)

 

The electric vehicle offers many promises—increasing U.S. energy security by reducing petroleum dependence, contributing to climate-change initiatives by decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, stimulating long-term economic growth through the development of new technologies and industries, and improving public health by improving local air quality. There are, however, substantial technical, social, and economic barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles, including vehicle cost, small driving range, long charging times, and the need for a charging infrastructure. In addition, people are unfamiliar with electric vehicles, are uncertain about their costs and benefits, and have diverse needs that current electric vehicles might not meet. Although a person might derive some personal benefits from ownership, the costs of achieving the social benefits, such as reduced GHG emissions, are borne largely by the people who purchase the vehicles. Given the recognized barriers to electric-vehicle adoption, Congress asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to commission a study by the National Academies to address market barriers that are slowing the purchase of electric vehicles and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure. As a result of the request, the National Research Council (NRC)—a part of the National Academies—appointed the Committee on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment.

 

This committee documented their findings in two reports—a short interim report focused on near-term options, and a final comprehensive report. Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment fulfills the request for the short interim report that addresses specifically the following issues: infrastructure needs for electric vehicles, barriers to deploying the infrastructure, and possible roles of the federal government in overcoming the barriers. This report also includes an initial discussion of the pros and cons of the possible roles. This interim report does not address the committee's full statement of task and does not offer any recommendations because the committee is still in its early stages of data-gathering. The committee will continue to gather and review information and conduct analyses through late spring 2014 and will issue its final report in late summer 2014.

 

Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment focuses on the light-duty vehicle sector in the United States and restricts its discussion of electric vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), which include battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The common feature of these vehicles is that their batteries are charged by being plugged into the electric grid. BEVs differ from PHEVs because they operate solely on electricity stored in a battery (that is, there is no other power source); PHEVs have internal combustion engines that can supplement the electric power train. Although this report considers PEVs generally, the committee recognizes that there are fundamental differences between PHEVs and BEVs.
 

 2013-emerging-workforce

Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action (BESR, BHEW)

 

Energy and mineral resources are essential for the nation's fundamental functions, its economy, and security. Nonfuel minerals are essential for the existence and operations of products that are used by people every day and are provided by various sectors of the mining industry. Energy in the United States is provided from a variety of resources including fossil fuels, and renewable and nuclear energy, all with established commercial industry bases. The United States is the largest electric power producer in the world. The overall value added to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 by major industries that consumed processed nonfuel mineral materials was $2.2 trillion.


Recognizing the importance of understanding the state of the energy and mining workforce in the United States to assure a trained and skilled workforce of sufficient size for the future, the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Energy technology Laboratory (NETL) contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to perform a study of the emerging workforce trends in the U.S. energy and mining industries. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action summarizes the findings of this study.
 

 2013-advance-ssl

 Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting  (BEES)

 

The standard incandescent light bulb, which still works mainly as Thomas Edison invented it, converts more than 90% of the consumed electricity into heat. Given the availability of newer lighting technologies that convert a greater percentage of electricity into useful light, there is potential to decrease the amount of energy used for lighting in both commercial and residential applications. Although technologies such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have emerged in the past few decades and will help achieve the goal of increased energy efficiency, solid-state lighting (SSL) stands to play a large role in dramatically decreasing U.S. energy consumption for lighting. This report summarizes the current status of SSL technologies and products—light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic LEDs (OLEDs)—and evaluates barriers to their improved cost and performance.

 

Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting also discusses factors involved in achieving widespread deployment and consumer acceptance of SSL products. These factors include the perceived quality of light emitted by SSL devices, ease of use and the useful lifetime of these devices, issues of initial high cost, and possible benefits of reduced energy consumption.

2013-transitions-to-alternative

Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels (BEES)

 

For a century, almost all light-duty vehicles (LDVs) have been powered by internal combustion engines (ICEs) operating on petroleum fuels. Energy security concerns over petroleum imports and the effect of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions on global climate are driving interest in alternatives. This report assesses the potential for reducing petroleum consumption and GHG emissions by 80 percent across the U.S. LDV fleet by 2050, relative to 2005. It examines the current capability and estimated future performance and costs for each vehicle type and non-petroleum-based fuel technology as options that could significantly contribute to these goals. By analyzing scenarios that combine various fuel and vehicle pathways, the report also identifies barriers to implementation of these technologies and suggests policies to achieve the desired reductions. Several scenarios are promising, but strong, effective, and sustained but adaptive policies such as research and development (R&D), subsidies, energy taxes, or regulations will be necessary to overcome barriers such as cost and consumer choice.

 

Report in Brief (PDF)
 2013-assessment-of-prospects

An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy (BEES, BPA)

 

The potential for using fusion energy to produce commercial electric power was first explored in the 1950s. Harnessing fusion energy offers the prospect of a nearly carbon-free energy source with a virtually unlimited supply of fuel. Unlike nuclear fission plants, appropriately designed fusion power plants would not produce the large amounts of high-level nuclear waste that requires long-term disposal. Due to these prospects, many nations have initiated research and development (R&D) programs aimed at developing fusion as an energy source. Two R&D approaches are being explored: magnetic fusion energy (MFE) and inertial fusion energy (IFE). An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy describes and assesses the current status of IFE research in the United States; compares the various technical approaches to IFE; and identifies the scientific and engineering challenges associated with developing inertial confinement fusion (ICF) in particular as an energy source. It also provides guidance on an R&D roadmap at the conceptual level for a national program focusing on the design and construction of an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant.

 

Report in Brief (PDF)

 2013-inertial-confinement-fusion-targets

Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets (BEES, BPA)

 

In the fall of 2010, the Office of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Secretary for Science asked for a National Research Council (NRC) committee to investigate the prospects for generating power using inertial confinement fusion (ICF) concepts, acknowledging that a key test of viability for this concept—ignition —could be demonstrated at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the relatively near term. The committee was asked to provide an unclassified report. However, DOE indicated that to fully assess this topic, the committee's deliberations would have to be informed by the results of some classified experiments and information, particularly in the area of ICF targets and nonproliferation. Thus, the Panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets ("the panel") was assembled, composed of experts able to access the needed information. The panel was charged with advising the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems on these issues, both by internal discussion and by this unclassified report. A Panel on Fusion Target Physics ("the panel") will serve as a technical resource to the Committee on Inertial Confinement Energy Systems ("the Committee") and will prepare a report that describes the R&D challenges to providing suitable targets, on the basis of parameters established and provided to the Panel by the Committee. The Panel on Fusion Target Physics will prepare a report that will assess the current performance of fusion targets associated with various ICF concepts in order to understand: 1. The spectrum output; 2. The illumination geometry; 3. The high-gain geometry; and 4. The robustness of the target design. The panel addressed the potential impacts of the use and development of current concepts for Inertial Fusion Energy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons information and technology, as appropriate. The Panel examined technology options, but does not provide recommendations specific to any currently operating or proposed ICF facility.

 2013-energy-efficiency-standards

Energy-Efficiency Standards and Green Building Certification Systems Used by the Department of Defense for Military Construction and Major Renovations (BICE)

 

Congress has an ongoing interest in ensuring that the 500,000 buildings and other structures owned and operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) are operated effectively in terms of cost and resource use. Section 2830 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees on the energy-efficiency and sustainability standards used by DOD for military construction and major renovations of buildings.

DOD's report must include a cost-benefit analysis, return on investment, and long-term payback for the building standards and green building certification systems, including:

(A) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 189.1-2011 for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential.
(B) ASHRAE Energy Standard 90.1-2010 for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential.
(C) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver, Gold, and Platinum certification for green buildings, as well as the LEED Volume certification.
(D) Other American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards.

 

DOD's report to the congressional defense committees must also include a copy of DOD policy prescribing a comprehensive strategy for the pursuit of design and building standards across the department that include specific energy-efficiency standards and sustainable design attributes for military construction based on the cost-benefit analysis, return on investment, and demonstrated payback required for the aforementioned building standards and green building certification systems. Energy-Efficiency Standards and Green Building Certification Systems Used by the Department of Defense for Military Construction and Major Renovations summarizes the recommendations
 

2013-energy-reduction

Energy Reduction at U.S. Air Force Facilities Using Industrial Processes: A Workshop Summary (AFSB)

 

The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. In turn, the U.S. Air Force is the largest consumer of energy in the DoD, with a total annual energy expenditure of around $10 billion. Approximately 84 percent of Air Force energy use involves liquid fuel consumed in aviation whereas approximately 12 percent is energy (primarily electricity) used in facilities on the ground. This workshop was concerned primarily with opportunities to reduce energy consumption within Air Force facilities that employ energy intensive industrial processes—for example, assembly/disassembly, painting, metal working, and operation of radar facilities—such as those that occur in the maintenance depots and testing facilities. Air Force efforts to reduce energy consumption are driven largely by external goals and mandates derived from Congressional legislation and executive orders. To date, these goals and mandates have targeted the energy used at the building or facility level rather than in specific industrial processes. In response to a request from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering, the National Research Council, under the auspices of the Air Force Studies Board, formed the Committee on Energy Reduction at U.S. Air Force Facilities Using Industrial Processes: A Workshop. The terms of reference called for a committee to plan and convene one 3 day public workshop to discuss: (1) what are the current industrial processes that are least efficient and most cost ineffective? (2) what are best practices in comparable facilities for comparable processes to achieve energy efficiency? (3) what are the potential applications for the best practices to be found in comparable facilities for comparable processes to achieve energy efficiency? (4) what are constraints and considerations that might limit applicability to Air Force facilities and processes over the next ten year implementation time frame? (5) what are the costs and paybacks from implementation of the best practices? (6) what will be a proposed resulting scheme of priorities for study and implementation of the identified best practices? (7) what does a holistic representation of energy and water consumption look like within operations and maintenance?
 

2013-marine-and-hydrokinetic

An Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy's Marine and Hydrokinetic Resource Assessments (BEES,OSB)

 

Increasing renewable energy development, both within the United States and abroad, has rekindled interest in the potential for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) resources to contribute to electricity generation. These resources derive from ocean tides, waves, and currents; temperature gradients in the ocean; and free-flowing rivers and streams. One measure of the interest in the possible use of these resources for electricity generation is the increasing number of permits that have been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). As of December 2012, FERC had issued 4 licenses and 84 preliminary permits, up from virtually zero a decade ago. However, most of these permits are for developments along the Mississippi River, and the actual benefit realized from all MHK resources is extremely small. The first U.S. commercial gridconnected project, a tidal project in Maine with a capacity of less than 1 megawatt (MW), is currently delivering a fraction of that power to the grid and is due to be fully installed in 2013. As part of its assessment of MHK resources, DOE asked the National Research Council (NRC) to provide detailed evaluations. In response, the NRC formed the Committee on Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Technology Assessment. As directed in its statement of task (SOT), the committee first developed an interim report, released in June 2011, which focused on the wave and tidal resource assessments (Appendix B). The current report contains the committee's evaluation of all five of the DOE resource categories as well as the committee's comments on the overall MHK resource assessment process. This summary focuses on the committee's overarching findings and conclusions regarding a conceptual framework for developing the resource assessments, the aggregation of results into a single number, and the consistency across and coordination between the individual resource assessments. Critiques of the individual resource assessment, further discussion of the practical MHK resource base, and overarching conclusions and recommendations are explained in An Evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy's Marine and Hydrokinetic Resource Assessment.
 

 2013-us-drive-fourth-rpt

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fourth Report (BEES)

 

Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fourth Report follows on three previous NRC reviews of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, which was the predecessor of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership (NRC, 2005, 2008a, 2010). The U.S. DRIVE (Driving Research and Innovation for Vehicle Efficiency and Energy Sustainability) vision, according to the charter of the Partnership, is this: American consumers have a broad range of affordable personal transportation choices that reduce petroleum consumption and significantly reduce harmful emissions from the transportation sector. Its mission is as follows: accelerate the development of pre-competitive and innovative technologies to enable a full range of efficient and clean advanced light-duty vehicles (LDVs), as well as related energy infrastructure. The Partnership focuses on precompetitive research and development (R&D) that can help to accelerate the emergence of advanced technologies to be commercialization-feasible. The guidance for the work of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership as well as the priority setting and targets for needed research are provided by joint industry/government technical teams. This structure has been demonstrated to be an effective means of identifying high-priority, long-term precompetitive research needs for each technology with which the Partnership is involved. Technical areas in which research and development as well as technology validation programs have been pursued include the following: internal combustion engines (ICEs) potentially operating on conventional and various alternative fuels, automotive fuel cell power systems, hydrogen storage systems (especially onboard vehicles), batteries and other forms of electrochemical energy storage, electric propulsion systems, hydrogen production and delivery, and materials leading to vehicle weight reductions.
 

  

 
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