The following is a sampling of recent publications by U-M faculty working on energy-related research.
Design incentives to increase vehicle size created from the U.S. footprint-based fuel economy standards
Energy Policy (2011)
Steven J. Skerlos, associate professor, U-M Mechanical Engineering
Kate S. Whitefoot, U-M Design Science doctoral student, now senior program officer at the National Academy of Engineering
The recently amended U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards determine fuel-economy targets based on the footprint (wheelbase by track width) of vehicles such that larger vehicles have lower fuel-economy targets. This paper considers whether these standards create an incentive for firms to increase vehicle size by presenting an oligopolistic-equilibrium model in which automotive firms can modify vehicle dimensions, implement fuel-saving technology features, and trade off acceleration performance and fuel economy. The study was supported by the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and the National Science Foundation MUSES program.
Fracking for Natural Gas: Public Opinion on State Policy Options
Barry G. Rabe, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
Christopher Borick, Associate Professor of Political Science, Muhlenberg College
This report presents the views of Pennsylvania citizens on a range of issues related to extraction of natural gas through “fracking” procedures.
This report responds to a discovery of potentially massive deposits beneath the Marcellus Shale and a series of related issues concerning the economy, environmental protection, and public safety. The findings are drawn from an October 2011 telephone survey conducted by the Muhlenberg Institute of Public Opinion, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy. This survey secured responses from 525 residents of the state, drawn from all regions and comprising a statistically-representative profile of citizens. It examines general public attitudes on this issue as well as consideration of a series of policy options that have been introduced in state and local government circles.
Global Lithium Availability: A Constraint for Electric Vehicles?
Journal of Industrial Ecology July 2011
Paul W. Gruber, Pablo A. Medina, Gregory A. Keoleian, Stephen E. Kesler, Mark P. Everson, and Timothy J. Wallington
There is disagreement on whether the supply of lithium is adequate to support a future global fleet of electric vehicles. We report a comprehensive analysis of the global lithium re- sources and compare it to an assessment of global lithium demand from 2010 to 2100 that assumes rapid and widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
Recent estimates of global lithium resources have reached very different conclusions. We compiled data on 103 deposits containing lithium, with an emphasis on the 32 deposits that have a lithium resource of more than 100,000 tonnes each. For each deposit, data were compiled on its location, geo- logic type, dimensions, and content of lithium as well as cur- rent status of production where appropriate. Lithium demand was estimated under the assumption of two different growth scenarios for electric vehicles and other current battery and nonbattery applications.
The global lithium resource is estimated to be about 39 Mt (million tonnes), whereas the highest demand scenario does not exceed 20 Mt for the period 2010 to 2100. We conclude that even with a rapid and widespread adoption of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, lithium resources are sufficient to support demand until at least the end of this century.
Download a PDF of the report.
New possibilities for converting CO2 into storable solar fuels
Royal Society of Chemistry March 2011
Thomas W. Woolerton, Sally Sheard, Elizabeth Pierce, Stephen W. Ragsdale and Fraser A. Armstrong
A University of Michigan and University of Oxford collaboration recently earned front page attention in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Energy & Environmental Science by revealing the potential for using sunlight to efficiently convert the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), into storable fuels. Led by U-M biological chemist and Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute faculty fellow Stephen Ragsdale, U-M graduate student Elizabeth Pierce and Oxford Professor Fraser Armstrong, the collaboration promises to extend the use of solar energy beyond generation of electricity to the creation of storable solar fuels. The team has developed a hybrid device that contains a metal oxide nanoparticle that interacts with the enzyme carbon monoxide dehydrogenase and reacts to visible light using a ruthenium bipyridyl photosensitizer. This device functions as a highly active and reversible catalyst that can use sunlight to photo-reduce the relatively inert CO2 to methanol for use in fuel cells and carbon monoxide for conversion into liquid fuels.
Download a PDF of the researchers’ Energy & Environmental Science report.
Energy Discovery-Innovation Institutes: A Step toward America’s Energy Sustainability
Brookings Institution February 2009
James Duderstadt, Gary Was, Robert McGrath, Mark Muro, Michael Corradini, Linda Katehi,
Rick Shangraw , and Andrea Sarzynski
The need to renew America’s economy, foster its energy security, and respond to global climate change compels the transformation of U.S. energy policy. Innovation and its commercialization must move to the center of national reform. Not only must a broad range of carbon pricing and regulatory responses be adopted, but major increases in federal R&D are essential along with the deployment of bold new research paradigms.
To that end, the federal government should establish a national network of regionally-based energy discovery-innovation institutes (e-DIIs) to serve as the hubs of a distributed research network linking the nation’s best scientists, engineers, and facilities. Through such a network, the nation could at once increase its current inadequate energy R&D effort and complement existing resources with a new research paradigm that would join the unique capabilities of America’s research universities to those of corporate R&D and federal laboratories.
For a report summary: Click Here
For the full length report vist: http://www.blueprintprosperity.org
Podcast and event summary of Feb 9 Brookings Institute presentation of the proposal with Duderstadt: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2009/0209_energy_innovation.aspx
Fundamentals of Radiation Materials Science: Metals and Alloys
Gary Was, 2007, Springer
The quest for a secure, affordable and sustainable energy supply will likely include a significant contribution from nuclear energy. The nuclear energy systems of the future will be more reliable, more economical, produce less solid waste, and will be safer than those in the past generation. Virtually all of the advanced nuclear reactor concepts that have been proposed to achieve these goals place much greater demands on the core materials, such as higher temperatures (for greater thermal efficiency), more aggressive media and higher radiation fields and radiation doses. Consequently, the performance and integrity of structural materials has become the greatest challenge to achieving the goals of advanced nuclear energy systems. Radiation Materials Science teaches the fundamentals of the effects of radiation on metals and alloys. When energetic particles strike a solid, numerous processes occur that can alter the physical and mechanical properties of the material. Radiation causes metals and alloys to swell, distort, blister, harden, soften and deform. This textbook covers the basics of particle-atom interaction for a range of particle types, the amount and spatial extent of the resulting radiation damage, the physical effects of irradiation and the changes in mechanical behavior of irradiated metals and alloys. Concepts are developed systematically and quantitatively, supported by examples, references for further reading and problems at the end of each chapter. Beyond addressing students enrolling for a materials sciences or nuclear engineering degree, the book will benefit professionals in laboratories, reactor manufacturers and specialists working in the utility industry.
Available for purchase at http://www.springer.com/west/home/generic/search/results?SGWID=4-40109-22-173707344-0 or through Amazon.com.
Policy, Economics & Business
Greenhouse Gas Reductions or Greenwash? The DOE’s 1605b Program
Thomas Lyon and Eun-Hee Kim,
August 21, 2007
This working paper presents the first empirical analysis of the causes and consequences of participation by electric utilities in the Department of Energy’s voluntary greenhouse gas
registry. Although participants report emissions reductions, we find they actually tend to have increasing emissions; ironically, non-participants tend to have decreasing emissions. Participants are generally larger, have higher emissions, lower capacity factors, faster growing demand ,and face greater pressure from environmental groups. Participating in the 1605b program has no measurable effect on a firm’s carbon emissions per unit of electricity generated. Overall, the program appears to serve as a convenient greenwashing tool for industry.
Regulation : If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu
Andrew Hoffman, Harvard Business Review, October 2007. Pages 34-35.
When the companies of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP)—businesses including GE, Alcoa, DuPont, and PG&E—announced their call for federal standards on greenhouse gas emissions in January 2007, the Wall Street Journal castigated these “jolly green giants” for acting in their own selfinterest in promoting a regulatory program “designed to financially reward companies that reduce CO2 emissions, and punish those that don’t.” But seeking advantage is what companies do. Any company that can foresee business opportunities in influencing carbon emissions regulation is practicing what is expected of business managers—capitalism.
Carbon Strategies: How Leading Companies are Reducing Their Climate Change Footprint
Andrew Hoffman, 2007, University of Michigan Press.
Carbon Strategies describes specific steps any business can take to implement sound, practical, climate-related corporate policies. Based on Andrew J. Hoffman’s widely praised report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and significantly revised in light of subsequent developments, Carbon Strategies teaches practitioners and students about the importance of timing policy implementation, establishing appropriate levels of internal and external commitment, influencing beneficial policy development, and creating new business opportunities based on climate policy. Hoffman presents real-life “lessons learned” at each step of the climate-strategy development process and concludes this concise guidebook with six case studies (Cinergy, Swiss Re, DuPont, Alcoa, Shell Group, and Whirlpool) that demonstrate the principles of corporate climate policymaking in action.
Available for purchase at http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=306055 or through Amazon.com.
Sustainable Living and Design
Transparent Facade Panel Typologies Based on Hybrid Bio-Composite and Recyclable Polymer Materials
Giles, Harry and Kim, Kyoung-Hee
*Judged Best Paper at the 2006 international conference in Philadelphia sponsored by the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) and the European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE)
Buildings are large consumers of energy. In the United States of America; they constitute over 33% of the total annual energy consumption, produce 35% of the total carbon dioxide emissions and attribute 40% of landfill wastes. The building industry is also a large consumer of non-renewable materials and this trend has escalated dramatically over the past century. It is essential that we find ways to save on energy consumption through the use of solar energy, improved thermal insulation, and alternative efficient glazed façade systems. In this paper, we demonstrate how alternative typologies of transparent and translucent loadbearing façade systems based on biocomposite and recyclable materials, are structurally and thermally efficient at the same time they contribute towards reduced pollutant emissions and non-renewable material uses.