Sustainability

Friday, July 18, 2014

Electricity for rainforest villages in Gabon. Tent fabric that harvests solar energy for nomadic people in Kazakhstan. A modular greenhouse and fish farm in an unused industrial building in Highland Park, Michigan.

These are some of the goals and possibilities a team of 17 researchers will pursue with a new $3 million Third Century Initiative Global Challenges grant from the University of Michigan.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Renewable Portfolio Standards- the percentage of a given energy portfolio made up of renewable power sources- are a contentious issue in many states. In this blog entry, University of Michigan researcher Jeremiah Johnson describes his new study, which will describe in detail the various costs and benefits of adding more renewables to Michigan’s energy mix.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

No matter what their income bracket, American consumers all express an equal degree of “personal worry” about the impact of energy use on the environment, according to the newest findings of the University of Michigan Energy Survey. A joint effort of the U-M Energy Institute and Institute for Social Research, the quarterly survey gauges consumer perceptions and beliefs about key energy-related concerns including affordability, reliability and impact on the environment.

Transportation is one of several major sectors that contribute to climate change. Globally, the sector's roughly 25% share of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is similar to its share of energy consumption. Because liquid fuels are so well suited for powering cars, trucks, boats and aircraft, transportation is uniquely reliant on oil, which is the best natural resource for producing liquid fuels. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

This National Research Council (NRC) report assesses the potential to achieve twin goals of reducing petroleum use and cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from U.S. cars and light trucks to 80 percent below the 2005 level by 2050.

NAS Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels report
Wednesday, September 01, 2010

ABSTRACT.  Improving the fuel efficiency of automobiles (cars and light trucks) is an important means of addressing transportation oil demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This report examines the efficiency attainable through evolutionary changes in U.S. automobiles that have fueling characteristics as well as performance, size and other attributes similar to those of today. The analysis combines results from previous engineering studies of powertrain efficiency and load reduction with new examinations of rates of technology change and cost reduction.

Monday, August 22, 2011

With the backing of 13 car companies, the United Auto Workers and other parties, the Obama Administration announced the biggest step forward on auto efficiency in over a generation. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations just finalized target the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025, double the efficiency of this year's vehicle fleet.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The climate benefits of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have been debated for many years. Attempts to compare these fuels with one another and fossil-derived fuels such as gasoline and diesel confront many uncertainties, not all of which can be resolved through further data analysis. By scrutinizing the greatest sources of uncertainty and grounding analysis in the areas of high certainty such as combustion chemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle, this paper sheds light on this challenging subject and points the way toward new strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Autonomous "robot" vehicles that can drive themselves hold great promise for transforming transportation systems across the world. Part of their appeal is the potential to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Not so fast, notes Bradley Berman in a critical piece on ReadWriteDrive, where he quotes Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco's admonition that technology "doesn't save us from ourselves." 

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