Monthly Archives February 2016


Studies of the costs and benefits of energy-efficient technologies typically employ an engineering ap­proach that accounts for purchase price, operations and maintenance costs, and anticipated energy savings. However, energy use technologies can have intangible costs that are not easily measured. The failure to include such hidden costs introduces a potential bias or source of error in financial analysis.

Consider the case of compact fluorescent light bulbs mentioned previously. Although this technol­ogy yields well-documented direct cost savings, it involves two types of hidden costs that are well recognized in the literature. First, compact fluores­cent bulbs tend to be bigger and bulkier than the conventional incandescents that they replace...

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Fuel Cycle Analysis of Conventional and Alternative Fuel Vehicles


Argonne National Laboratory Argonne, Illinois, United States

1. Introduction

2. Alternative Transportation Fuels and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

3. Fuel Cycle Analyses of Vehicles and Transportation Fuels

4. Fuel Pathways and Vehicle/Fuel Combinations

5. Energy and Emissions: Items of Interest

6. Issues Involved in Transportation Fuel Cycle Analyses

7. Completed Studies

8. Fuel Cycle Energy and Emission Results of Vehicle/Fuel Systems

9. Conclusions


advanced vehicle technologies The engineering and design processes that lead to vehicles with high energy efficiencies and low emissions; include direct-injection, hybrid electric, fuel cell, and battery-powered electric vehicle systems.

alternative transportation fuels Energy sources other than petroleum gasoline and diesel...

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Discount Rates and Energy Efficiency Gap


Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire, United States


The logic behind discounting is linked to people’s observed behavior in financial markets. Suppose, for example, that an investor would receive an r percent rate of return on standard financial instruments such as corporate stocks. If the investor was well informed and rational, then he or she would be willing to pay no more than B/(1 + r) dollars in the present for an asset that he or she could resell to obtain B dollars t years in the future; otherwise, the investor would be better off investing his or her money at the market rate of return. In this example, economists say that r measures the discount rate or time value of money (i. e...

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Households and Researchers in Partnership When Experimenting with Alternative Diets

In a research project titled ‘‘Urban Households and Consumption-Related Resource Use,’’ 10 house­holds participated in an experiment where they tried to reduce life cycle energy inputs related to their food consumption. A manual for low-energy foods habits was developed, and based on this informa­tion, the households planned and implemented food habits demanding fewer life cycle energy inputs. The effect of participation in the experiment was evaluated.

Among the changes of most importance for lowering energy inputs were a reduction in con­sumption of meat (mostly pork); an increase in vegetables and fruits, especially vegetables grown in the open; an increase in poultry, eggs, and fish; and an increase in legumes...

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Negative versus Positive Labels

A team of environmental psychologists tested the impact of negative versus positive ecolabels on consumer behavior. The background was that all ecolabels today signal a positive outcome, for example, ‘‘Choose this product; it is better for the environment than the average product.’’ Another strategy would be to signal a negative outcome with the purpose of making consumers avoid a product. A laboratory test was carried out on 40 students in Sweden who were asked to choose between products labeled with a three-level ecolabel inspired by traffic lights: red, green, and yellow. The red label was defined as much worse in terms of environmental consequences than the average, the green label was defined as much better than the average, and the yellow label was defined as average...

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The ultimate appeal of fuel cell vehicles rests on whether they can provide superior environmental performance (low emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases) while meeting or exceeding the driving performance and other consumer expecta­tions of competing technologies. At the same time, fuel cell vehicles will need to be affordable in terms of providing such features with customer value sufficient to be marketed successfully.

A fuel cell vehicle’s environmental performance advantage is determined largely by the operating efficiency of the stack and associated components...

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How to make everyday behavior more environmen­tally friendly has been on the agenda for nearly a half-century, and much has been learned. Both external and internal barriers must be overcome. There has been an optimistic belief in the use of information in the hope of fostering environmentally
sound behavior among members of the general public. However, it has been found that there is no automatic link between knowing and doing. Norms, values, feelings, and consumption opportunities have been shown to be a vital part of the picture.

However, there are several policy tools, in addi­tion to information, that can be used for changing everyday behavior, and they differ in influence and effect (Table III).

Four groups of policy instruments can be identi – fied—information, economic instruments...

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Fuel Processing

The challenges of supplying hydrogen and storing it onboard a vehicle and have prompted efforts to develop onboard fuel processors (reformers) for converting liquid hydrocarbon or alcohol fuels into a hydrogen-rich anode feed gas. In general, such fuel processing involves two major steps: (1) dissociating the hydrogen from the fuel and (2) purifying the resulting gaseous stream to have maximum hydrogen levels and minimal constituents such as CO that can poison the stack. Each step involves multiple reac­tions and processes and a preliminary cleanup stage is needed if sulfur or other detrimental substances are present in the fuel.

Methanol can be processed by steam reforming, a catalytic process that is endothermic (requiring heat input)...

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