Vehicle Efficiency Transportation 2050: More EVs, but Conventional Vehicles Will Still Dominate
by Jieyi Lu (Environmental and Energy Study Institute) Making Vehicles More Efficient Is Critical to Reduce Emissions — … Over the next 30 years, electric vehicles (EVs) will grow and fuel economy will increase, but conventional gasoline vehicles will continue to dominate the U.S. vehicle fleet. That was the conclusion witnesses came to at a recent Congressional hearing about the future of transportation fuels and vehicles, which underscored the complicated task of decarbonizing the diffuse and diverse transportation sector.
According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook of 2018 (AEO 2018), sales of new electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and hybrid vehicles are expected to jump to 19 percent of vehicle sales in 2050 compared to just four percent in 2017. … (T)he total share of conventional gasoline vehicles is estimated to drop from 95 percent in 2017 to 78 percent in 2050 because of the growth of electric vehicles. Despite the strong growth in EVs, conventional gasoline vehicles will likely still dominate the vehicle market with 71 percent of new sales in 2050, according to EIA projections.
At the hearing, Dr. Jeremy Martin from the Union of Concerned Scientists testified, “Smart deployment of biofuels can support the progress of vehicle efficiency.”
John Eichberger, Executive Director of the Fuels Institute, was confident that EVs would definitely play a major role in the market, but this process would take time. “If every vehicle sold today were equipped with a new technology, it would take about seven years before the new feature is present in more than 50 percent of the vehicles on the road—and that is assuming 100 percent immediate and persistent market adoption”.
However, at the hearing, all witnesses agreed that stricter CAFE standards are necessary to improve fuel efficiency, increase U.S. automakers’ competitiveness, and drive consumer behavioral changes. According to the Annual Energy Outlook of 2018 report, with CAFE and advanced technologies, the average new light-duty vehicle fuel economy is expected to increase from 33.4 miles per gallon (mpg) in 2017 to 48.6 mpg by 2050. Using additional technologies, like renewable fuels, could also provide an immediate boost in vehicle efficiency. READ MORE
THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION FUELS AND VEHICLES (House Energy and Commerce Committee)
Mr. John Eichberger
Executive Director, Fuels Institute
Dr. John Farrell
Laboratory Program Manager – Vehicle Technologies, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Dr. Joshua Linn
Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
Mr. John Maples
Senior Transportation Analyst, U.S. Energy Information Administration
Dr. Jeremy Martin
Senior Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists
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Wood Formation Model to Fuel Progress in Bioenergy, Paper, New Applications
by D’lyn Ford (North Carolina State University/Phys.Org) A new systems biology model that mimics the process of wood formation allows scientists to predict the effects of switching on and off 21 pathway genes involved in producing lignin, a primary component of wood. The model, built on more than three decades of research led by Vincent Chiang of the Forest Biotechnology Group at North Carolina State University, will speed the process of engineering trees for specific needs in timber, biofuel, pulp, paper and green chemistry applications.
“For the first time, we can predict the outcomes of modifying multiple genes involved in lignin biosynthesis, rather than working with a single gene at a time through trial and error, which is a tedious and time-consuming process,” says Jack Wang, assistant professor in NC State’s College of Natural Resources and lead author of a paper about the research in Nature Communications.
Lignin, which forms in the plant cell wall, is an essential component for tree growth that imparts strength and density to timber. But lignin must be removed from wood during biofuel, paper and pulp production through costly treatments that require high heat and harsh chemicals.
“Having a model such as this, which allows us to say if you want this type of wood, here are the genes that you need to modify, is very beneficial, especially when you have an enormous number of possible combinations with 21 pathway genes,” Wang says. “It’s only possible through integrated analysis which allows us to look at this process at a systems level to see how genes, proteins and other components work together to regulate lignin production.” READ MORE Abstract (Nature Communications)