Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fuel-specific Information On The AFDC Station Locator Website

Question of the Month: What fuel-specific information is available through the Alternative Fuels Data Center's (AFDC) Station Locator website?

Answer: Most Clean Cities coordinators and stakeholders are familiar with the AFDC Station Locator website and the general station information listed there, such as the address, phone number, hours of operation, payments accepted, and who can access the station. You may not be aware of the fuel-specific information available. Below is a complete list.

  • Blends available: The blends of biodiesel available at the station, including whether different blends are available seasonally and whether customers may select customized blends. Note that the Station Locator only lists stations that carry blends of B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel) and higher.

  • Mid-level blends: Whether or not the station carries mid-level blends (e.g., 30% ethanol blend, or E30) of ethanol via a blender pump or otherwise. Note that stations that carry mid-level blends, but not E85, are not included in the Station Locator.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)
  • Electric charging network: The relevant charging network, if applicable. Examples of charging networks include ChargePoint, Blink, and SemaConnect.
  • Port level and count: A list of the number of each level of EVSE charging equipment available. Levels include Level 1, Level 2, or DC Fast Charge.
  • Connector types: The type of connector available, including:
    • Level 1: NEMA 5-15, NEMA 5-20, NEMA 14-50, and J1772
    • Level 2: J1772
    • DC Fast Charge: CHAdeMO, SAE J1772 Combo, and Tesla
  • Legacy chargers: The number and type of legacy chargers available.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) also collects information on the EVSE manufacturer, power sources, pricing, and whether the equipment provides wireless charging. This data will be available in the Station Locator in the future. NREL is also coordinating with EVSE networks to provide real-time status availability in the Station Locator.

  • Station status: A website link for detailed information regarding the status of the station.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Fill type (CNG only): Whether the station has fast- or time-fill capabilities, or both.
  • Compression (CNG only): The compression pressure in pounds per square inch (psi). The compression can be 2400, 3000, or 3600 psi.
  • Vehicle accessibility: The vehicle sizes that can physically access the fueling station.

NREL also collects information on the total compression and compressor types (CNG only), gas provider, and whether the station has a generator to operate equipment during a power outage. Some of this data will be available in the Station Locator in the future.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Propane)
  • Services: The type of propane services available. Each propane station is designated as a "primary" or "secondary" service type. Both types are able to fuel vehicles, but locations with a "primary" designation offer fuel priced specifically for use in vehicles.

Using the AFDC Station Locator Data Download feature, users can obtain a detailed spreadsheet with the above fuel-specific station information for stations currently in the database. We encourage you to stay tuned as NREL is working to add new fuel-specific data and search options to the Station Locator database in the near future.

Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team

"Air, Climate, Energy, Water & Security Well-to-Wheels Report"

Download California Fuel Cell Partnership' new well-to-wheels report which summarizes the environmental effects of the most common vehicle/fuel pathways in California using Argonne National Lab's newest GREET model.

"What is the energy efficiency of a fuel cell electric vehicle?"
"How much water does it take to make hydrogen?"
"Do FCEVs reduce greenhouse gases?"

CaFCP often hears these questions at events and through our online channels. The answers are in Argonne National Lab's GREET model, which uses 120 fuel pathways and 85 vehicle/fuel combinations to assess the impact of fuel from well to wheels. This week, we published our new well-to-wheels report which summarizes the most common vehicle/fuel pathways in California using ANL's newest GREET model, developed with support from U.S. Department of Energy's EERE program. We also used data from U.S. EPA, Embarq, MotorTrend and the National Academies to report on transit buses, energy security and cost of ownership for FCEVs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Potentially A Huge Advance In Nuclear Power

No, it's not another one of those cold fusion rumors. What would you think of fission power that was so clean it could be used to clean up the waste created by our current fission power systems...and what if it was also so efficient that it could provide 100% of the world's power through 2083 simply by burning the existing stockpiles of nuclear waste?

Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie who are nuclear engineering PhD students at MIT started working on their idea in 2010 and have formed Transatomic Power with an impressive team of scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs.

The product is an advanced molten salt reactor that consumes spent nuclear fuel cleanly and completely. Research on molten salt reactors goes back nearly to the beginning of the Nuclear Age, and Transatomic Power's designs use what was learned in that earlier research. "The main differences between Transatomic Power's molten salt reactor and previous molten salt reactors are our metal hydride moderator and LiF-(Heavy metal)F4 fuel salt. These features allow us to make the reactor more compact and generate electricity at lower cost than other designs." The Transatomic Power reactor can use "fresh fuel enriched to a minimum of 1.8% U-235, or light water reactor waste." An earlier design tested by Oak Ridge used uranium enriched to 33% U-235.

In addition to using a safer fuel, the reactor is far more efficient than reactors in use today. "Conventional nuclear reactors can utilize only about 3% - 5% of the potential fission energy in a given amount of uranium before it has to be removed from the reactor. Our design captures 96% of this remaining energy." As a result, the waste from a Transatomic reactor will be reactive for only a few centuries which is a solvable problem, as opposed to several millennia for waste from conventional reactors.

You can read their technical white paper here.
Transatomic Power's design also enables extremely high burnups – up to 96% – over long time periods. The reactor can therefore run for decades and slowly consume both the actinide waste in its initial fuel load and the actinides that are continuously generated from power operation. Furthermore, our neutron spectrum remains primarily in the thermal range used by existing commercial reactors. We therefore avoid the more severe radiation damage effects faced by fast reactors, as thermal neutrons do comparatively less damage to structural materials.

In a molten salt reactor, a radioactive fuel such as uranium or thorium is dissolved into fluoride or chloride salts to form a solution that we call a "fuel salt." The fuel salt is normally an immobile solid material, but when heated above approximately 500°C, it becomes a liquid that flows. Thus it is the liquid fuel salt, rather than water, that carries the heat out of the reactor. The plant can operate near atmospheric pressure with a coolant that returns to a solid form at ambient temperatures. This feature simplifies the plant and enables safety systems that do not require external electric power to safely shutdown, thereby assuring greater safety for the public.

Molten salt reactors are quite different from sodium fast reactors, even though many people think of sodium when they hear of salt. The sodium metals used by those reactors can release a hydrogen byproduct that is combustible in the presence of air or water. Our fluoride salts remove this fire risk, while further simplifying and increasing the safety of the plant design.

What about thorium? A version of our reactor can also operate using thorium fuel. Thorium has special merit as a nuclear fuel because of its generally shorter-lived waste and higher potential burn-up. The TAP reactor can also achieve the same benefits from uranium, which has an existing industrial base. Using uranium also lets us create a reactor that can slowly consume the world's existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel thereby providing a great benefit to society.

"When running on fresh fuel, the TAP reactor is able to generate up to about 75 times more electricity than a light water reactor per kilogram of natural uranium ore."

On their website they have a long list of news articles in various media

Here's a TEDx talk where the the young inventors explain the whole concept.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CNG One Part Of Energy Solution

An editorial in the Southwest Times Record:
The American love affair with big, powerful, gasoline-powered vehicles has kept interest in cars powered by compressed natural gas tamped down, but there is evidence that we are changing.

Worldwide, there are tens of millions of CNG vehicles, but estimates place the number in the United States at just 185,000, we learned in a business report in Sunday’s edition. Of those 185,000, no more than 1,000 are in Arkansas with just 180 in the greater Fort Smith region, according to Tom Atchley, excise tax administrator for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, which tracks the number of CNG vehicles.

Despite the low numbers, or maybe because of them, Barry Rowton recently opened Falcon CNG, a natural gas vehicle conversion shop, on Wheeler Avenue in Fort Smith. Mr. Rowton believes that as CNG fuel becomes more readily available, people will be interested in making the switch. In Fort Smith, AOG operates a station at its office on Waldron Road, and it is building a high-flow capacity CNG station near the airport. It also supplies the OnCue station in Arkoma. Falcon CNG is the only conversion outlet in the northwest quadrant of the state.

Why the interest? CNG sells for about $1.63 to $1.99 per gallon equivalent. That’s a nice reduction from the $3.30 to $3.40 per gallon that gasoline vehicle users are seeing. The conversion isn’t cheap: $7,000 plus a $2,000 to $4,000 conversion kit. Arkansas expects to have a rebate program available in the next fiscal year that will refund about half the cost of conversion with EPA-certified kits. Oklahoma’s 50 percent refund will be available whether or not the kits are EPA-certified.

Gasoline engines that go through the conversion can run on just gas, just CNG or a combination. Usually the default is to run on CNG and switch automatically to gas if CNG runs out. Converted diesel motors run on a mixture of diesel and CNG.

Is CNG for you? Maybe not today unless you put 80,000 miles a year on your vehicles. But maybe someday.

It’s clear that there is no single answer to ending our dependence on foreign oil. More likely a combination of things — solar, wind, natural gas, tar sands oil, even coal — will provide the answers. We are going to need to find ways to make using all of these things cleaner, safer and more efficient. Right now, conversion to CNG power is one part of the answer, a part that’s being researched here in western Arkansas.

Ryder - Natural Gas Vehicles

You know natural gas is gaining traction as an alternative fuel. It makes sense. Natural gas is an abundant, domestic resource; it's cost effective; and it's better for the environment. But is it right for your company -- right now? Let the experts at Ryder analyze your specific situation to see if your fleet can benefit from the many advantages natural gas offers.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Changing Human Behavior

TRANSPORTATION: Changing human behavior is major factor in selling cleaner cars, curbing congestion (Friday, July 25, 2014)

Julia Pyper, E&E reporter

Henry Ford's vision to create cars "for the great multitude" has been far better received than anyone could have imagined.

More than a century since the Model T was introduced, global demand for personal vehicles is stronger than ever, particularly in the developing world, where people want cars for improved mobility and as status symbols. But as car culture spreads, vehicles are clogging up city streets and threatening the planet with harmful emissions.

Automakers have invested billions in lightweight materials and low-carbon fuels to drive down greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. But these technological advances will mean little if consumers' desire to own large, powerful vehicles continues to grow.

And even if people do choose to buy cleaner cars, cities have only so much space to put them in. Congestion in and around cities will continue to worsen unless populations support policies that curb vehicle usage.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Working Group III report, released in April, recognized the need: "Behavior, lifestyle and culture have a considerable influence on energy use and associated emissions, with high mitigation potential in some sectors, in particular when complementing technological and structural change."

But according to Felix Creutzig, a professor at Technical University of Berlin and group leader of the IPCC report's transportation section, the academic community has yet to fully assess how lifestyles and behavioral elements are driving car use and has yet to measure people's willingness to change.

Can commuters be persuaded to willingly give up the freedom of personal mobility? Can a growing middle class be persuaded to downsize its vehicle purchases? Can some drivers be persuaded to pay more for driving so that people will drive less overall?

"I think that this is a gap, also in the literature, to comprehensively assess the effects of human behavior and what can be done about it," Creutzig said.

Want to read more stories like this?

Click here to start a free trial to E&E -- the best way to track policy and markets.

About ClimateWire

ClimateWire is written and produced by the staff of E&E Publishing, LLC. It is designed to provide comprehensive, daily coverage of all aspects of climate change issues. From international agreements on carbon emissions to alternative energy technologies to state and federal GHG programs, ClimateWire plugs readers into the information they need to stay abreast of this sprawling, complex issue.

E&E Publishing, LLC
122 C St., Ste. 722, NW, Wash., D.C. 20001.
Phone: 202-628-6500. Fax: 202-737-5299.

All content is copyrighted and may not be reproduced or retransmitted without the express consent of E&E Publishing, LLC.

Reprinted from ClimateWire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. 202/628-6500