Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

$1 million challenge prize to address global sustainability issues.....

Expand Messages
  • Sonya
    Excerpted from the National Academies: Spotlight on Engineering, Technology, and Policy Issue 132 - 7 Topics: and Whats New 4-22-05 The newest issue of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Excerpted from the National Academies: Spotlight on Engineering,
      Technology, and Policy Issue 132 - 7 Topics: and Whats New 4-22-05

      The newest issue of the institution's magazine -- The National
      Academies InFocus -- is now online. http://www.infocusmagazine.org/
      The issue  spotlights a new $1 million challenge prize to
      address global sustainability issues as well as the upcoming new online content
       that examines the future of the Hubble telescope, the
      impact of urban design on human activities,
      and a challenge to remove arsenic from drinking water.

      snip----- http://www.infocusmagazine.org/5.1/env_sustainability.html

      Now researchers are back at the drawing board, looking for ways to remove arsenic from water,
      and this time there is a $1 million prize to spur them on. The National Academy of Engineering
      is offering the Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability to any individual or team who creates
      a viable arsenic treatment system.

      The winning design must be affordable and low tech. Expensive, centralized water
      treatment facilities are available to purify arsenic-contaminated water in wealthier nations,
       but what is needed in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, is an inexpensive
       system that can be widely distributed to remote villages and households.


      The Grainger Challenge Prize for Sustainability is sponsored by The Grainger Foundation.
      Prize applications must be submitted to NAE by June 2006. After monitored pilot tests,
      the prize will be awarded in early 2007. For more information, visit <www.graingerchallenge.org>.

      -----------
      snip-----  http://www.infocusmagazine.org/5.1/env_climate.html

      What's Driving Climate Change?

      Scientists know from temperatures observed at the Earth's surface that the planet is warming.
      There are factors that drive this warming, as well as others that cause cooling.
      Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for example, increases temperatures by absorbing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth's surface,
      radiation that would otherwise escape to space, in what we know as the greenhouse effect.
      Small droplets and dust found in the atmosphere after large volcanic eruptions, on the other hand,
      reflect sunlight back to space before it ever reaches the planet, thereby having a cooling effect.
      In addition to pollution and volcanoes, other "forcings" of the climate include changes in land use
      and variation in the amount of energy received each year from the sun.

      http://www.infocusmagazine.org/5.1/env_climate.html

      snip---- 
       Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: Expanding the Concept and Addressing Uncertainties.
      Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies (2005, approx. 225 pp.; ISBN 0-309-09506-9; available from the National Academies Press, tel. 1-800-624-6242; $37.00 plus $4.50 shipping for single copies).

      You can read  the book online for free http://www.nap.edu/books/0309095069/html/
      ((The Open Book page image presentation framework is not designed to replace printed books.
       Rather, it is a free, browsable, nonproprietary, fully and deeply searchable version of the publication
      which we can inexpensively and quickly produce to make the material available worldwide.))



      Description
      Changes in climate are driven by natural and human-induced perturbations of the Earth s energy balance. These climate drivers or "forcings" include variations in greenhouse gases, aerosols, land use, and the amount of energy Earth receives from the Sun. Although climate throughout Earth s history has varied from "snowball" conditions with global ice cover to "hothouse" conditions when glaciers all but disappeared, the climate over the past 10,000 years has been remarkably stable and favorable to human civilization. Increasing evidence points to a large human impact on global climate over the past century. The report reviews current knowledge of climate forcings and recommends critical research needed to improve understanding. Whereas emphasis to date has been on how these climate forcings affect global mean temperature, the report finds that regional variation and climate impacts other than temperature deserve increased attention.


      -----------------
      Meetings........

      Environment
      The National Academy of Engineering is supporting the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3)
      Program funded by the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research & Development.
      The P3 competition brings together 66 teams from around the country to exhibit their designs for sustainability
      . On May 16 and 17, hundreds of the country's most innovative college students will exhibit their designs on the
       National Mall in Washington, DC, and show us how they can help create a sustainable future.

      http://www.nae.edu/nae/engenvcom.nsf/weblinks/MKEZ-6B2JPM?OpenDocument


      Wednesday, May 11 - 13
        
      Census Data for Transportation Planning: Preparing for the Future
      Beckman Center of the National Academies
      Irvine, Calif.  http://www.trb.org/conferences/censusdata/

      Visit http://national-academies.org/events for a complete list of
      upcoming Academies meetings.
      To review all recent NAE/Research Council publications,visit
      http://www.nap.edu/ and What's New@...
      http://news.nationalacademies.org/

      ~~~~~~~~

      Urbanization, Energy, and Air Pollution in China: The Challenges Ahead -- Proceedings of a Symposium
      Development, Security, and Cooperation, Division on Policy and Global Affairs; National Academy of Engineering;
      Chinese Academy of Engineering; and Chinese Academy of Sciences (2004, 308 pp.; ISBN 0-309-09323-6;
      available from NAP, $59.75 plus $4.50 shipping).  http://books.nap.edu/catalog/11192.html?infocus_5.1

      Transportation Research Board (TRB) reports --
      Approximately 100 titles issued annually. Free catalog available on request from TRB,
      500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001 (tel. 202-334-3213), or visit
       TRB's bookstore on the Internethttp://national-academies.org/trb/bookstore

      =====================
      Moving Forward on Climate Change: A Plan for Honoring Canada's Kyoto Commitment

      The Government of Canada has launched the first phase of Project Green by releasing an
      updated plan for a healthy environment and a competitive economy.  The plan includes a
      targeted gas tax transfer of $5 billion of federal funds over five years to support environmentally sustainable infrastructure.
        
      http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/kyoto_commitments/report_e.pdf
      ===============
      Advanced Vehicle Technologies: Energy, Environment, and Development Issues
      Date Posted: 04/14/2005 http://trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=4037

      The U.S. Congressional Research Service has recently updated a report that examines electric,
      hybrid electric, and fuel cell vehicles in terms of cost, fueling and maintenance infrastructure, and performance.
       The report also reviews key advanced vehicle technologies legislation in the 108th United States Congress,
       as well as federal, state, and local activity relevant to these technologies.
       
      Full report
       http://www.ncseonline.org/NLE/CRSreports/04Jan/RL30484.pdf

      Excerpts below

      snip----In January 2002, the Bush Administration announced the FreedomCAR
      initiative, which focuses on fuel cell vehicles. This initiative replaces the Partnership
      for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), which focused on hybrid technologies
      and the development of an 80 mile-per-gallon sedan. In conjunction with
      FreedomCAR, in January 2003, President Bush announced the Hydrogen Fuel
      Initiative, which focuses federal research on hydrogen fuel and fuel cells for
      stationary applications.

      This report discusses three major vehicle technologies — electric vehicles,
      hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles — as well as advanced component
      technologies. Each technology is discussed in terms of cost, fueling and maintenance
      infrastructure, and performance. The report also discusses key legislation in the 108th
      Congress, as well as federal, state, and local activity relevant to these technologies.
      This report will be updated as events warrant.

      ----The three advanced propulsion technologies closest to commercialization are
      electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles

      ----While these various technologies are promising, they must overcome certain
      obstacles before they will be competitive in the marketplace. There are three main
      barriers to their widespread use: cost, infrastructure, and performance. Cost is a
      factor since without subsidies, consumers are unlikely to purchase new vehicles in
      large numbers if the new vehicles are not cost-competitive with conventional
      vehicles. Also, convenient infrastructure must exist for both fueling and maintenance
      of these vehicles. Finally, the performance of the new vehicles must be comparable
      to that of conventional vehicles.

      -----There are three main
      barriers to their widespread use: cost, infrastructure, and performance. Cost is a
      factor since without subsidies, consumers are unlikely to purchase new vehicles in
      large numbers if the new vehicles are not cost-competitive with conventional
      vehicles. Also, convenient infrastructure must exist for both fueling and maintenance
      of these vehicles. Finally, the performance of the new vehicles must be comparable
      to that of conventional vehicles.

      -----Currently, there are federal and state tax credits for the purchase of electric
      vehicles. The federal credit is worth 10% of the purchase price of the vehicle, up to
      $4,000. This credit, which is part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, will be reduced
      by 25% each year between 2004 and 2006, and will expire after 2006.11 In some
      areas, these vehicles are also exempted from high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane
      restrictions, parking restrictions, and/or vehicle registration fees.

      ------Greenhouse gas emissions caused by EVs may be lower or higher than those
      from conventional vehicles, depending on the local fuel mix used in power
      generation19 and the efficiency of the power distribution grid. Furthermore, if
      electricity transmission and distribution losses are high, energy consumption
      attributable to electric vehicles may exceed conventional vehicles.

      =====Congressional Action
      The key piece of EV-related legislation in the 108th Congress is the CLEAR
      ACT (H.R. 1054 and S. 505).23 Both versions of the bill would replace the existing
      EV tax credit with a new credit, based on vehicle weight, payload, and range. For the
      purchase of a new electric passenger car, the bill would provide between $4,000 and
      $6,000. Further, the bill would provide a tax credit of up to $1,500 for the purchase
      of neighborhood electric vehicles (small, low-speed EVs). Provisions from the
      CLEAR ACT were inserted into the Senate version of H.R. 6 (the comprehensive
      energy bill) although the credit is slightly lower ($3,500 to $6,000). The House
      version of H.R. 6 would not change the structure of the existing EV tax credit, but
      would eliminate the phase-down of the credit, without extending the termination
      date. The conference report on H.R. 6 (H.Rept. 108-375) incorporates the House
      language.  23For more information on the CLEAR ACT, see CRS Report RS21277, Alternative Fuel
      Vehicle Tax Incentives and the CLEAR ACT.

      Hybrid Electric Vehicles
      A type of vehicle that may address many of the problems associated with
      electric vehicles is a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV).

      ----The higher efficiency of these vehicles allows them to
      achieve very high fuel economy and lower emissions. For example, the hybrid
      Honda Insight is rated at 61 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, and 70 mpg on the
      highway. A gasoline-fueled Honda Civic Hatchback, by comparison, achieves a
      rating of 32 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.24 The only hybrid vehicles currently available in the
      U.S. market are the Honda Insight, the Honda Civic Hybrid, and the Toyota Prius.

      Until recently, HEVs were treated as conventional vehicles because they run on
      gasoline or diesel fuel. However, the Internal Revenue Service announced on May
      21, 2002, that it will allow taxpayers to claim a clean-burning fuel vehicle tax
      deduction of $2,000.26

      Congressional Action
      As with electric vehicles, the most significant piece of legislation is the CLEAR
      ACT, which would establish a tax credit for the purchase of new hybrid electric
      vehicles. A new passenger car or light truck would qualify for a tax credit of
      between $250 and $4,000, depending on fuel efficiency and drivetrain design.
      Heavy-duty hybrid vehicles would be eligible for larger tax credits. The Senate
      version of H.R. 6 establishes a similar credit, although the amount of the credit varies
      from the CLEAR ACT. The House version of H.R. 6 contains no similar provision.
      The conference report on H.R. 6 would provide a tax credit of $400 to $3,400,
      depending on fuel economy and fuel savings, for the purchase of hybrid passenger
      vehicle.

      Fuel Cell Vehicles
      A third type of new vehicle is a fuel cell vehicle (FCV). A fuel cell can be
      likened to a “chemical battery.”29 Unlike a battery, however, a fuel cell can run
      continuously, as long as the fuel supply is not exhausted.
      ----30   like electric cars, however, there will be emissions due to the production and distribution
      of the hydrogen fuel.

      -------Arguably, the largest barrier to the production of FCVs is cost. It currently costs
      approximately $2,000 to $3,000 to produce a gasoline engine for a conventional
      passenger car.36 A comparable fuel cell stack costs around $35,000, according to
      industry estimates, but a leading producer of fuel cells estimates that costs could be
      cut to $3,500 in the future.37

      --------Another key cost issue will be fuel costs. Fuel costs are a concern because there
      is no hydrogen infrastructure currently, and the use of methanol and natural gas as
      transportation fuels is extensive.38 Consumers might have to pay a premium for these
      fuels, in order to support a growing infrastructure. However, since hydrogen fuel and
      methanol would likely be produced from natural gas, price fluctuations caused by
      changing supply in petroleum markets could be dampened, although natural gas price
      fluctuations would certainly have an effect.

      ------As with electric vehicles, no maintenance infrastructure exists for servicing
      these vehicles. The technology is radically different from conventional vehicles, and
      most maintenance would likely have to occur at certified dealers.

      -------Another potential concern is that on-board
      reformers for converting gasoline or other fuels to hydrogen are very heavy.
      Therefore, much research has focused not only on cutting the cost of fuel cell
      systems, but decreasing their weight, as well.
      Another performance concern is one of fuel storage. Since hydrogen is not very
      dense, the fuel must be highly concentrated, and must be compressed (requiring a
      high-pressure tank), liquified (requiring a cooling system for the storage tank),
      chemically bonded with a storage material (such as a chemical or metal hydride), or
      stored in a tank with a complicated geometry (e.g., nanotubules).

       Each of these storage systems has problems, such as added weight, safety risks, or expensive raw
      materials that limit their acceptability.40 Therefore, research is ongoing to improve
      both the storage capacity and safety of hydrogen fuel. For pressurized hydrogen,
      some of the same problems are associated with natural gas storage, although to a
      lesser degree. 

      39 Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center, Hydrogen General Information.
      [http://www.afdc.doe.gov/altfuel/hyd_general.html]

      -------Further, on January 9, 2002, the Bush Administration announced that
      the current advanced vehicle technology research program, PNGV, would be
      replaced by the FreedomCAR program. While PNGV focused on hybrid technology,
      the FreedomCAR program focuses on fuel cells vehicles. To complement this
      program, in January 2003, the Administration announced the President’s Hydrogen
      Fuel Initiative, which focuses research on hydrogen fuel and infrastructure, as well
      as research on fuel cells for other applications (e.g., backup power).

      ------Congressional Action
      The CLEAR ACT would provide tax credits for the purchase of fuel cell
      vehicles. Depending on design characteristics, the bill would provide a tax credit of
      $4,000 to $12,000 for the purchase of a fuel cell passenger car or light truck; the
      credits are larger for heavy-duty vehicles. There are similar provisions in all three
      versions of H.R. 6. However, under H.R. 6, the credit for a passenger vehicle would
      range from $4,000 to $8,000

      Congressional Action
      The key piece of EV-related legislation in the 108th Congress is the CLEAR
      ACT (H.R. 1054 and S. 505).23 Both versions of the bill would replace the existing
      EV tax credit with a new credit, based on vehicle weight, payload, and range. For the
      purchase of a new electric passenger car, the bill would provide between $4,000 and
      $6,000. Further, the bill would provide a tax credit of up to $1,500 for the purchase
      of neighborhood electric vehicles (small, low-speed EVs). Provisions from the
      CLEAR ACT were inserted into the Senate version of H.R. 6 (the comprehensive
      energy bill) although the credit is slightly lower ($3,500 to $6,000). The House
      version of H.R. 6 would not change the structure of the existing EV tax credit, but
      would eliminate the phase-down of the credit, without extending the termination
      date. The conference report on H.R. 6 (H.Rept. 108-375) incorporates the House
      language.  23For more information on the CLEAR ACT, see CRS Report RS21277, Alternative Fuel
      Vehicle Tax Incentives and the CLEAR ACT.


      ------Integrated Starter-Generator
      45 It is believed that
      the integrated starter-generator could improve fuel economy of conventional vehicles
      by as much as 20%. However, because the integrated starter-generator requires a
      considerable amount of electrical power, it is being developed concurrently with 42-
      volt electrical systems.
      -------------------
      Sonya  PLoS Medicine 
      The open-access general medical journal from the Public Library of Science 
      Share your discoveries with the world. 
      http://www.plosmedicine.org 
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.