A new National Research Council Report details the difficulty of reaching US 80% fuel and emissions reduction goals by 2050, noting that vehicle efficiency alone won’t get emissions to the target rate. UMEI Research Professor John DeCicco served on the committee preparing the report and was quoted in a March 19 New York Times article summarizing it. An excerpt from the Times piece, titled “No Silver Bullet for Reaching Fuel and Emission Goals” (the full article is viewable here):
By 2050, vehicles with 100-mile-range batteries and hydrogen power could become cheaper than cars and trucks with advanced internal-combustion drivetrains, the report says. But there are other challenges. Fuel-cell vehicles avoid the range and recharging limitations of electric vehicles, the report says, but building a network of expensive hydrogen stations will be “difficult and expensive.”
Cellulosic biofuels show some promise and could lead to big reductions in oil use and greenhouse gas emissions, but “achievable production levels are uncertain,” the report says. It also envisions a possible future for biofuels that can be refined into a product that is chemically similar to gasoline.
The report also looked beyond the tailpipe. “To really impact automotive greenhouse emissions, you have to control energy sector emissions, starting with the oil and gas sector today and from power plants as electric cars enter the market,” John DeCicco, a committee member and research professor at the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said in a telephone interview.