Report: Clean Energy Techs Cut Road CO2 Emissions

A new report from Lux Research has found that using low-carbon fuels and vehicle efficiency will cut road transport CO2 emissions 29 percent by 2030. Biofuels and natural gas combined will account for 45 percent of petroleum displacement. Today, global road transportation accounts for a sixth of all global CO2 emissions.

Lux CO2 reportThe sharp cut – exceeding the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) target of 24 percent set by 188 nations at the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP21) in 2015 – can be achieved from a combination of low-carbon fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and improved fuel efficiencies.

“Global warming remains at center stage, and significant strides need to be made in road transportation technologies to achieve the goal set for 2030,” said Yuan-Sheng Yu, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report titled, “Driving Down Emissions: Achieving CO2 Emissions Reduction Goals through Biofuels and Alternative Fuel Vehicles“. Low-carbon biofuels like cellulosic ethanol, renewable diesel, and biomethane have lower well-to-wheel carbon intensities compared to their first-generation counterparts and play a pivotal role in cutting emissions, as does renewable electricity.”

The report evaluated measures needed to meet emission targets set at COP21. Some key findings included:

  • Biofuels are key. First-generation biofuels, low-carbon fuels, and natural gas vehicles will together account for at least 45.4% of the potential fossil fuel displacement in road transportation in 2030, when global road transportation demand is projected to reach 911 billion gallons.
  • Carbon intensity matters. First-generation biofuels have made incremental reductions in road transportation emissions over the years. But low-carbon biofuels will be the key driver in achieving 2030 emissions reduction goals with an average three to four times lower well-to-wheel carbon intensity profile.
  • Fuel efficiency counts. Without improved fuel efficiencies, emissions reduction falls short of the INDC target in 2030 by nearly 5%. Automobile makers will have a range of lightweight materials available as multinationals and start-ups develop the next-generations of steel, aluminum and composite technologies.

Electric Cars Take Over Greenest Vehicles List

Electric cars have taken over this year’s Greenest Vehicles List published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The 19th annual environmental rankings published on featured nine electric vehicles (EV). The following vehicles comprise the Greenest List for 2016:

For the third year in a row, the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive tops the Greenest List. Toyota’s Prius line continues to perform well, with the new Prius Eco nabbing the 4th spot, while the Prius C and original Prius claim spots #8 and #9. For the first time ever, the Greenest list is completely populated by plug-in and hybrid vehicles; not a single vehicle with only an internal combustion engine appears.

“The 2016 scores are in, and plug-in electric vehicles are outpacing all other vehicle offerings in terms of environmental friendliness. Fortunately, the electricity sector is slated to become cleaner over the life of model year 2016 vehicles, thanks to the Clean Power Plan, and that has bumped up electric vehicles’ green scores this year. Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that how green your electric vehicle truly is depends on the electricity it uses to charge,” said ACEEE Lead Vehicle Analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan.

The newest additions to the list are the Volkswagen eGolf and the Kia’s Soul electric vehicle, which claim the #5 and #7 spots respectively. This year marks the first time a Kia vehicle has earned a top spot since 2009. The improved 2016 Chevrolet Volt also nabs a spot this year (#11) thanks to significant increases in fuel economy and its new streamlined vehicle design.

Modern clean diesels have repeatedly placed well in ACEEE’s annual ranking. However, following the EPA announcement that Volkswagen had cheated federal emissions standards since 2009, suspended its Green Scores for all affected VW, Audi, and Porsche diesel models. also identifies practical options in each class among the top widely available, automatic transmission, petroleum-fueled models, since many of the vehicles on the Greenest list are not widely available. The Greener Choices list include the Chevrolet Trax and the GMC Canyon.

DOE Releases 2015 Revolution…Now Report

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the 2015 Revolution…Now report, which details the state of multiple clean energy technologies in the U.S. that have the ability to provide climate change solutions. The report builds upon past versions that demonstrate an increase in deployment and a decrease in cost for transformational technologies including: wind turbines, solar technologies, electric vehicles (EVs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

revolution-now-infographic“We are experiencing a clean energy revolution in the United States, and this report confirms it,” Secretary Moniz said. “Today, clean energy technologies are providing real-world solutions – not only to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but they also drive a domestic, low-carbon economy with technologies that are increasingly cost-competitive with conventional technologies. We have the tools for a cleaner and more secure energy future.”

The 2015 update finds that dramatic cost reductions are continuing to drive the adoption of clean energy technologies. The report reviews the rapid growth of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules for both large, utility-scale PV plants, and smaller, rooftop and distributed PV systems. DOE continues to invest in research and development for these technologies in addition to reducing market barriers in order to make these clean energy technologies even more cost-effective and widely available across the United States.

Between 2008 and 2014, land-based wind accounted for 31 percent of all new generation capacity installed in the U.S. The DOE says this is in part due to early investments from DOE that helped drive technology innovation.

Survey Says Consumers Consider Buying EVs

According to a new survey, 54 percent of Americans have a positive view of electric vehicles (EVs) while 31 percent say they will consider buying an EV for their next car purchase. This despite only one percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. today are EVs. The survey was released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

EV_Figure3“While the current market penetration of EVs is small, there are currently 12 automakers currently offering a wide variety of EVs, so these consumers already have choices,” said Jack Gillis, CFA’s Director of Public Affairs and author, The Car Book and the new Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles.

The survey also found that the more information a consumer knew about EVs, the more likely he/she would consider purchasing an EV. However, only 6 percent of respondents said they new a great deal of about EV and 21 percent said they knew a fair amount. The survey also found that wealthier respondents and those with more education said they knew more about EVs and were more likely to express an intention in purchasing as were males and older adults.

“Clearly, there is a tremendous opportunity for EV sellers to take advantage of this interest as long as they engage in the same effective marketing that has moved millions of gas powered vehicles,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s director of research. Our research shows a clear, statistically significant, correlation between knowledge about EVs and positive attitudes towards EVs. The more one knows about EVs, the more positively one feels about these vehicles. Furthermore, there is a statistically significant correlation between positive attitudes about EVs and a willingness to purchase them—those who feel positively about EVs are more likely to consider purchasing one.”

In light of automakers dedicated millions of dollars into developing and launching EVs, and the need for more consumer education about the vehicles, Gillis has written a free guide, The Car Book’s Snapshot Guide to Electric Vehicles.

“Our goal is to expose the public to the options available and thereby increase interest in learning more about these vehicles. With battery prices coming down, disruptive innovators like Tesla and Apple entering the EV market, and consumers looking for ways to reduce their dependence on the gas pump, there is no question that EVs are poised to become the next big thing in the automotive marketplace,” Gillis added.

Electric Vehicle Charging Association Formed

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 11.15.21 AMWith the growth of electric vehicles across the country, several EV industry organizations have come together and launched the California-based Electric Vehicle Charging Association (EVCA). The non-profit was formed to achieve clean transportation by advancing the continued innovation in the EV charging industry. The organization has also released a new report, “The State of the Charge,” a report documenting the charging industry’s rapid growth in California and the significant economic opportunity it presents for the state. Founding members of EVCA are ABM, ChargePoint, Clean Fuel Connection, Envision Solar, EV Connect, NRG EVgo, Plugless Power, SeaWave Battery, and Volta, all of which are headquartered or maintain a significant presence in California.

“Ubiquitous charging is critical to the mass adoption of electric vehicles,” said Terry O’Day, vice president west region NRG EVgo, the nation’s largest provider of public DC fast chargers. “The charging industry is committed to making electric vehicles accessible to everyone and to improving and simplifying the charging experience.”

According to The State of the Charge, there are now more than 9,000 public and workplace charging outlets in California, and the number hits 20,000 when home chargers are factored in. California has 40 percent of the U.S. EV market with 150,000 EVs on the roads, and the number of public/workplace charging stations has grown 652 percent since 2011. The EV industry is expected to generate nearly $4.5 billion in California sales and services by 2023, in part driven by Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for 1 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads by 2020. He has also signed into law SB350 to expand EV charging.

California leads the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, technology, and services,” noted Colleen Quinn, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for ChargePoint, North America’s largest EV charging network. “The continued growth and diversity of this industry is critical to meeting California’s ambitious clean air and climate protection goals, and the EV industry supports more than 2,000 California jobs.”

During the launch announcement, speakers noted that In creating the trade association, the EV charging industry is taking an important step to help shape California’s growing EV infrastructure, advocate for policies to advance clean transportation, and serve as a resource for information and expertise. Efforts will focus on creating an environment that maintains the highest levels of innovation and creates maximum value for EV drivers.

Scania Offers Biodiesel-Hybrid Truck

scaniaSwedish truck maker Scania is adding to its lineup of biodiesel-friendly options in its trucks. After giving the OK for a line of trucks to run on renewable diesel and having an Australian company declare it would brew its own biodiesel to use in its fleet of Scania trucks, the company has now announced a Scania-developed hybrid truck for urban distribution combining electric and biodiesel operation, enhancing the company’s position as the manufacturer with the widest range of alternative fuels.

“No matter what driving conditions are like or what local circumstances are, there is probably always an alternative solution available from Scania, right here and now,” claims Magnus Höglund, responsible for alternative fuels and powertrains at Scania Trucks. “This launch lets us demonstrate to all types of transport players that they can reduce their CO2 foot­print very simply, without giving up anything or incurring significantly higher costs.”

The newest and most spectacular item in Scania’s offer is the hybrid truck now premiering and being test-driven by European trucking and environmental journa­lists. The hybrid solution, developed by Scania itself, allows an 18-tonne distribution truck to operate solely on electric power for up to two kilometres.

Electric operation is primarily intended for situations where other solutions don’t measure up, for example, city distribution at night in noise sensitive areas or driving through warehouses and car parks where one doesn’t want any exhaust fumes at all. Electric power is combined with Scania’s 9-litre Euro 6 engine with 320 hp, which can be operated on 100 percent biodiesel, such as FAME or HVO. With this latter fuel, CO2 can be reduced by as much as 92 percent.

“It’s a very special experience to drive a heavy truck when the only sound comes from the hissing of tires against asphalt and a mild breeze,” explains Höglund. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a revolution that will make a big difference. Soundless and partly exhaust-free trucks can do a better job in cities at night with goods distribution, cleaning, waste collection and other city maintenance tasks. Hybridisation can also lead to a higher utilisation of every single vehicle when the range of uses expands.”

Alliant Launches Solar Demonstration Project

Alliant Energy is launching a solar demonstration project at its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. As part of the initiative, Telefonix, Inc. installed 13 L2 PowerPost electric vehicle charging stations.

The goal of the program is to evaluate solar technologies in climates with varying weather including extreme cold. Alliant is planning on installing more than three dozen unique renewable energy features over the next few years.  In phase one the company will install solar power canopies over 50 parking spaces, solar café tables, and over 1,000 solar panels from multiple manufacturers with 11 different types of panels being used. The 13 PowerPost EV Charging Stations are being powered by the building, but the solar energy generated will offset total building consumption.

L2 PowerPost(TM) EV charger (PRNewsFoto/Telefonix Inc.)

L2 PowerPost(TM) EV charger (PRNewsFoto/ Telefonix Inc.)

“As a Midwest company ourselves, we are excited to see other organizations taking the lead in these types of research initiatives that will be critical in the adoption of sustainable energy solutions in the coming years,” said Bill Williams, business development manager at Telefonix Inc. “Alliant Energy’s solar lab will help answer a lot of questions about solar energy in the Midwest and help move forth renewable energy as a whole.”

As part of the testing, solar energy features will be located in various areas and positioned in multiple angles an elevations. The learnings will inform Allliant Energy on how best to optimize solar energy in the Midwest.  A unique interface available both onsite and on the internet will allow anyone to view real-time performance data of the solar lab.

“We are excited about this innovative demonstration project and view it as a learning laboratory for research that our customers can view on a regular basis,” added John Larsen, president of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility. “This multi-year effort will enable our company and our customers to discover the many ways solar energy and renewable technology can be used in a Wisconsin setting.”


EV Connect Launches EV CaaS

EV Connect has launched what they call the first-ever “EV Charging-as-a-Service” or “EV CaaS,” to reduce up-front costs and simplify the process for purchasing and installing EV charging station infrastructure by turning the purchase decision from a capital expenditure to an operating expense. The new program was developed in collaboration with GE and SparkFund.

EV-Connect-LogoEach EV charge station comes with GE’s WattStation and DuraStation as well as EV Connect’s base management software and service. Starting at $99 per month per charge station, the EV CaaS, says EV Connect, offers businesses and government entities a full-service resource to assist with financing, deployment and management.

“The single biggest hesitation facility owners have when considering EV charging station installation is up-front cost,” said Jordan Ramer, EV Connect President. “The EV CaaS program, in collaboration with SparkFund and GE, offers a pay-as-you-go alternative to capital purchases and greatly simplifies the decision-making process.”

EV Connect says they are the first provider to offer this type of program. In addition to overseeing procurement, permitting and installation, they manage all aspects of the charging station including service, driver support, station management and usage.

“Welcome to a new world of financing for EV charging infrastructure,” added Pier LaFarge, SparkFund Co-founder and CEO. “EV CaaS puts EV charging within reach of any facility by shifting financing from an upfront capital expenditure to a pay-over-time operating expense.”

Constellation Launches EME With ChargePoint

Constellation is offering customers a new electric vehicle charging program through the new Efficiency Made Easy (EME) program in partnership with ChargePoint. The program enables customers to help fund new EV charging stations and business may be eligible to purchase ChargePoint EV charging stations (including installation, serve and warranties) through their electricty or gas supply agreement.

logos“Constellation is always looking for new and innovative energy solutions for our customers,” said Divesh Gupta, manager, energy solutions for Constellation. “Efficiency Made Easy allows customers to implement technology such as ChargePoint’s EV charging stations to better manage their energy use and support their environmental goals – without an upfront investment.”

EME enables its commercial and industrial supply customers to implement energy efficiency and other solutions without up-front capital expenditures. The costs of these solutions are included over the term of a customer’s supply agreement. In cases where customers are utilizing EME for efficiency measures, they may realize immediate savings on energy costs from reduced energy use according to Constellation.

Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint, added, “By offering charging stations, installation, service, and warranty with no upfront capital, this channel partnership is a great example of how energy companies can help to spur EV growth the right way. Minimizing the upfront cost to buy and install charging stations and providing customer choice, makes it possible for even more businesses to offer EV charging to their employees and customers.”

EV Fast Chargers Come to Québec

New fast chargers for electric vehicles are now available in Québec with a 400-V fast-charge station and four 240-V charging stations as a result of a new partnership between the Electric Circuit and Magog’s Carrefour Santé Globale (CSG). This is the first public fast-charge station in the Estrie region. This initiative was made possible by Nissan Canada.

borneaquariumce“We salute the initiative of Carrefour Santé Globale that allows Magog to be the first city in the region to offer a fast-charge station for drivers of all-electric vehicles, in addition to playing a strategic role in the Québec-Vermont charging corridor,” said France Lampron, Director – Transportation Electrification at Hydro-Québec on behalf of the founding partners of the Electric Circuit. “We are pleased to have such a dynamic partner contribute to making the Electric Circuit the most extensive public charging network in Québec.”

The fast-charge network is growing rapidly and this new charging station is an additional point of service along the Montréal-Vermontcharging corridor. The Electric Circuit is the largest public charging network in Québec. A total of 34 charging stations are now in service in the Estrie region including 11 in Magog, 1 in Racine and 22 in Sherbrooke.

“We are delighted to offer these new public charging stations. This initiative reflects Carrefour Santé Globale’s commitment to offer an array of services to its customers and ties in with our sustainability strategy,” added Gilles Bélanger, General Manager of CSG. “In addition, we are proud to participate in the efforts of the City of Magog to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”