The Need for Green, part 1

Jose Michael

As one of the most critical areas of developing a secure (i.e. sustainable) energy environment, we need to tackle the transportation problem. Transportation – mobility – accounts for a hefty percentage of energy use – close to 30% in the US. (Click on the thumbnail for a full-size chart.)

EIA_Transpo_consump

Although the US is far out in front in terms of number of cars and miles driven, other nations – most notably China -- are on track to increase dramatically their mobility – and hence energy use.

We need to shift to “green” cars – cars built to minimize emissions, cars that use less (if any) gasoline, cars that support our need for mobility while accelerating our shift as a society to non-fossil-fuel based energy. (The need for this shift to renewables and/or the hydrogen economy is clear, at least to most. What’s at question is the urgency – the timeline and the focus applied to making it happen. More on that in a different post.)

This shouldn’t be a contentious issue. There are three major factors, each resulting from our energy environment being petroleum-based, driving us to this transition.

  1. Energy Security

  2. Health and Air Quality

  3. Climate Change

Any one should be basis enough. The combination of the three…priceless. I’ll tackle the 3 in subsequent posts.

This comes down to making rational, informed choices, as consumers, as companies and as a society. Consumers -- buyers -- need to play a major role. We’re all stakeholders in this.

stakeholder.jpg

The green car problem – the quest for sustainable mobility -- is not a simple problem. There are numerous technology approaches, numerous fuel and engine options, engine management issues, policy issues, safety and material issues, on and on. To make this shift quickly and effectively, we need education, discussion and evaluation -- creating the potent feedback loop that builds monster markets.

Here’s a thumbnail from Ford on just some of the different powertrain options and decisions that need to be made (again, click on the thumbnail for a full-size image):

cischke_engine_tech


Meeting the challenge requires:


  1. Hardcore R&D


  2. Demand


  3. Infrastructure

And I'll post more on those subsequently.

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