December 15, 2008
Wind powered electric vehicles
Corn ethanol is better than cellulosic
ethanol but neither one is a solution to the problems of global warming,
air pollution and energy security. This counterintuitive finding is
one of Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson's conclusions in a review
of recent renewable energy research.
The best options for reducing carbon emissions, air pollution
deaths and dependence on fossil fuels are battery electric and hydrogen
fuel-cell vehicles powered by wind-generated electricity, according
to the report. Battery electric vehicles powered by electricity from
concentrated solar, geothermal, photovoltaic, tidal, wave or hydroelectric
generators are also good options, in descending order of appeal.
Battery electric vehicles powered by electricity from nuclear
power or coal with carbon capture and storage are less beneficial
and should be avoided in favor of better options, and ethanol vehicles
are simply a bad choice, according to the report.
If the US replaced every vehicle on the road in 2007 with
battery electric vehicles, the vehicles could be powered by 73,000
to 144,000 5 megawatt wind turbines. For comparison, the US built
300,000 airplanes during World War II. Doing so would reduce US carbon
dioxide emissions by over 32 percent and prevent 15,000 vehicle-related
air pollution deaths in 2020, according to the report.
The study evaluated energy sources based on energy production,
global warming contribution, air pollution, energy security, water
use and pollution, land use, impact on wildlife and reliability.
of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security
Energy & Environmental Science, published online December 1,
Mark Z. Jacobson
Related stories and briefs:
energy under fire -- related policy issues
Back to ERN
December 15/22, 2008
Energy-related books and products