Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment: Interim Report 2013
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.
Assessment of Advanced Solid State Lighting (2013)
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.
Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels (2013)
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.
Energy-Efficiency Standards and Green Building Certification Systems Used by the Department of Defense for Military Construction and Major Renovations (2013)
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 for energy efficiency.
Review of the Research Program of the U.S. DRIVE Partnership: Fourth Report (2013)
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.
Energy Reduction at U.S. Air Force Facilities Using Industrial Processes: A Workshop Summary (2013)
|Computing Research for Sustainability (2012) |
There is a clear and critical role for the application of information technology (IT) and for computing research in advancing the nation's and world's sustainability goals. IT provides an essential bridge between technical and social solutions because it fosters economic, political, and cultural adjustments by enhancing communication and transparency. Moreover, IT is at the heart of nearly every large-scale socioeconomic system, including the financial, manufacturing, and energy systems. Innovation in IT must thus play a vital role if the nation and the world are to achieve a more sustainable future.
The report highlights some of opportunities for IT innovation and computer science research, and it urges the computing research community to bring to bear the approaches and methodologies that will have a significant, measurable impact on sustainability. The full NRC report is available for download and the project page provides additional details on the study.
This report was recently cited in an announcement for the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Enabled Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES) program. As quoted in the CyberSEES description, the CSTB report suggests that "a rich interplay is developing between computing research and other disciplines" and that these "interdisciplinary approaches, [which are] built around equal partnerships and real sustainability problems, are expected to lead to compelling progress across multiple dimensions."
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation (2012)
Optics and photonics technologies are ubiquitous: they are responsible for the displays on smart phones and computing devices, optical fiber that carries the information in the internet, advanced precision manufacturing, enhanced defense capabilities, and a plethora of medical diagnostics tools. The opportunities arising from optics and photonics offer the potential for even greater societal impact in the next few decades, including solar power generation and new efficient lighting that could transform the nation's energy landscape and new optical capabilities that will be essential to support the continued exponential growth of the Internet.
As described in the National Research Council report Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation, it is critical for the United States to take advantage of these emerging optical technologies for creating new industries and generating job growth. The report assesses the current state of optical science and engineering in the United States and abroad--including market trends, workforce needs, and the impact of photonics on the national economy. It identifies the technological opportunities that have arisen from recent advances in, and applications of, optical science and engineering. The report also calls for improved management of U.S. public and private research and development resources, emphasizing the need for public policy that encourages adoption of a portfolio approach to investing in the wide and diverse opportunities now available within photonics.
Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for our Nation is a useful overview not only for policymakers, such as decision-makers at relevant Federal agencies on the current state of optics and photonics research and applications but also for individuals seeking a broad understanding of the fields of optics and photonics in many arenas.
"Harnessing Light for America's Technological Future" (PDF)
Effective Tracking of Building Energy Use: Improving the Commercial Buildings and Residential Energy Consumption Surveys (2012)
The United States is responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world's energy consumption. Population growth, and the associated growth in housing, commercial floor space, transportation, goods, and services is expected to cause a 0.7 percent annual increase in energy demand for the foreseeable future. The energy used by the commercial and residential sectors represents approximately 40 percent of the nation's total energy consumption, and the share of these two sectors is expected to increase in the future.
The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) are two major surveys conducted by the Energy Information Administration. The surveys are the most relevant sources of data available to researchers and policy makers on energy consumption in the commercial and residential sectors. Many of the design decisions and operational procedures for the CBECS and RECS were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, and resource limitations during much of the time since then have prevented EIA from making significant changes to the data collections. Effective Tracking of Building Energy Use makes recommendations for redesigning the surveys based on a review of evolving data user needs and an assessment of new developments in relevant survey methods.
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