Archive for the ‘Zero Emissions Transportation’ Category

EIN appoints new Executive Director

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Energy Independence Now (EIN) is pleased to announce that Brian Goldstein has been appointed as its new Executive Director.   Brian replaces Tyson Eckerle, who was appointed as the Governor’s ZEV Infrastructure Project Manager in California’s GoBiz office earlier this year.
Brian’s finance background and experience developing alternative fuel infrastructure are a perfect fit for EIN and its support for investment in clean vehicles.
“We are delighted to have Brian join EIN”, says Daniel Emmett, Chairman and Founder of Energy Independence Now.  “He will be leading EIN during a pivotal period for clean transportation, as the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that we have long advocated for are poised to hit the market.”
Brian will continue to work with EIN’s team to support clean vehicle deployment in California, from a policy, industry, and community readiness perspective. “I am thrilled to be joining EIN, and looking forward to working with our dedicated partners to continue to promote the adoption of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. ” say Brian. “EIN is poised to provide critical support to ensure a successful roll out of the next generation of hydrogen transportation technology in California.”

Energy Independence Now (EIN) is pleased to announce that Brian Goldstein has been appointed as its new Executive Director.   Brian replaces Tyson Eckerle, who was appointed as the Governor’s ZEV Infrastructure Project Manager in California’s GoBiz office earlier this year.
Brian’s finance background and experience developing alternative fuel infrastructure are a perfect fit for EIN and its support for investment in clean vehicles.

“We are delighted to have Brian join EIN”, says Daniel Emmett, Chairman and Founder of Energy Independence Now.  “He will be leading EIN during a pivotal period for clean transportation, as the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that we have long advocated for are poised to hit the market.”

Brian will continue to work with EIN’s team to support clean vehicle deployment in California, from a policy, industry, and community readiness perspective. “I am thrilled to be joining EIN, and looking forward to working with our dedicated partners to continue to promote the adoption of alternative fuels and advanced transportation technologies. ” say Brian. “EIN is poised to provide critical support to ensure a successful roll out of the next generation of hydrogen transportation technology in California.”

Taking EIN to the Governor’s Office

Monday, January 27th, 2014

On January 27, 2014  Energy Independence Now’s Executive Director, Tyson Eckerle, was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as the first ever Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager in the Governor’s Office of Economic and Business Development (GoBiz). In this role, Tyson will work to ensure the successful roll-out of the infrastructure needed to support hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in electric vehicles.

Tyson’s appointment is a direct reflection of the critical work he helped orchestrate at Energy Independence Now (EIN) with EIN’s Policy Director, Remy Garderet, and a visionary board and funders. Tyson will carry EIN’s insight and deep contact base directly to the Governor’s Office.

“We are delighted for Tyson and also see this as a tremendous reflection on EIN’s great work,” said Board President and co-founder Daniel Emmett. “EIN has advocated for strong state zero emission vehicle leadership for many years. Through the creation of this position and Tyson’s appointment, California will be able to make even greater progress towards clean air, energy security and reduced carbon emissions.”

Moving forward, Remy Garderet will step into the role of interim director as he and the EIN Board continue to advance EIN’s program and inform policy and business decisions.  EIN is looking forward to working with our funders and supporters to maintain focus on core priorities as we begin this next chapter.

The Call for Infrastructure

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

“The challenges for fuel cell vehicles in the long run appear to be entirely on the infrastructure side… we have to begin to invest in that infrastructure now, as the advance placement of infrastructure is critical to the market acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.”

-John German, ICCT Sr. Fellow
Transitioning the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet

A recent U.S. National Research Council report on light-duty (cars and small trucks) vehicle technologies discussed the feasibility of reaching two goals:

  • 50% petroleum reduction in 2030
  • 80% petroleum and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions in 2050

This reduction goal is measured against a 2005 baseline, and researchers concluded that with the right policy incentives, combination of vehicle technologies, and added infrastructure for those technologies, it is possible to achieve these targets.

The study considered multiple policy options in modeling the outcomes of potential technology mixes, and considered purchasing prices and energy efficiencies – two major factors that affect market acceptance. Newer technologies like compressed natural gas and battery (BEV), plug-in (PHEV), or fuel cell (FCEV) electric have higher initial costs. However, long-term assessments show that BEVs and FCEVs become less expensive than both internal combustion vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles.

High-volume retail price equivalents

Reducing vehicle weight, aerodynamic drag, and tire rolling resistance, has a greater effect on lowering costs for BEVs and FCEVs than for conventional vehicles. In the long run, FCEVs are shown to be significantly better than conventional vehicles, with cheaper purchase prices, comparable range and refill times, higher efficiency, better drivability, and better space utilization of drive train components.

The major challenge to high-volume FCEV production, which is the assumption made in the above predictions, is infrastructure. John German, the ICCT Senior Fellow who headed the subcommittee that analyzed alternative vehicle technologies, explained that while predicting technology development may be highly uncertain, the investment into infrastructure must begin NOW.

Addressing this challenge, EIN currently leads a multi-stakeholder effort to develop a network-level plan for hydrogen infrastructure deployment in California. If successfully implemented, it will serve as a blueprint for market introduction at national and international levels. This plan will establish a clear pathway to market success for the infrastructure needed to support commercial levels of hydrogen FCEVs.

According to the NRC study only three potential scenarios could meet or exceed the goals of 50% petroleum reduction in 2030 and 80% GHG reduction in 2050; all three of those scenarios require significant market penetration of FCEVs. The first is based on optimistic assumptions for FCEV technology, and the other two both require PHEV and FCEV market success.

By modeling a policy-induced transition to hydrogen FCEVs by 2050, the study estimated a net present value of around $1 trillion. This scenario assumes both $6 billion annual subsidies through the mid-2020s and 500 geographically clustered hydrogen-refueling stations (subsidized or mandated) by 2016. In other words, the long-term benefits far outweigh the nearer-term costs associated with a transition to FCEVs.

FCEV adoption has both private and social benefits.  Private benefits include consumer fuel savings, satisfaction with vehicle purchases, and satisfaction with fuel purchases. Social benefits include reductions in GHG emissions and petroleum use – in this scenario, petroleum consumption could be reduced by about 90-96% and GHG emissions by 59-80%.

Vehicle sales by vehicle technology for midrange technologies and policies promoting the adoption and use of PHEVs, FCEVs, and biofuels.

The study goes on to state that for hydrogen FCEVs, advance placement of fueling infrastructure is critical to market acceptance, as the availability of refueling stations directly affects consumer demand.  It is clear that a coordinated effort is essential to achieving petroleum and GHG reductions goals – and it is even more clear that investments in and development of such infrastructure must occur early on in the transition.

Find out more about EIN’s work with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure here.

Zero Emissions Vehicles For All Drivers

Monday, October 24th, 2011

In our society's quest for energy independence, its important to remember that no one solution is going solve our oil addiction problem.  We consume A LOT of oil. People naturally have different driving habits and transportation needs. To truly reach a sustainable transportation system, we need to have zero emissions vehicles that can meet the driving demand of all drivers. This means zero tailpipe emissions today,and moving towards zero energy production emissions in the future. Check out this EIN video to learn more:

For a list of references for facts stated in the video, please click here.

Clean Cars, Clean Air, a Healthier California – As Told by Our Doctors

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

For 45 years, the state of California has made remarkable progress towards improving air quality via the implementation of critical standards and regulations. California, the pioneer state for tailpipe emission standards, now faces another critical set of decisions later this fall that could significantly impact the health of its residents as well as the production of, and transition to, cleaner vehicles. CARB will be voting on important updates to the Clean Cars Program that aim to reduce toxic vehicle emissions, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the availability of infrastructure that properly supports clean, alternative fuel cars. As expected however, advocates for more stringent standards are not met without opposition – placing the California Air Resources Board in familiar territory: balancing health, environmental, and economic well-being.

Physicians and other health professionals are some of the major players in support of strengthening federal air quality regulations, particularly vehicle emissions, and continue to rally ever increasing numbers – with good reason. California can successfully claim all 10 of the nation’s smoggiest counties and thus, some of the worst air pollution in the country. The major cause? Over 30 million registered vehicles and the staggering amounts of traffic pollution that they produce. Support from the medical sector continues to call public attention to poor air quality and its direct relation to negative health impacts, both acute and chronic. These effects include respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and many others – with the most serious being lung cancer and premature death. The populations most susceptible to emission-related illnesses are children, the elderly and those with preexisting respiratory conditions. According to a study done in 2010 by the RAND Corporation, “unhealthy air days caused 33,000 Emergency Room visits and hospitalizations at a cost of almost $200 million dollars from 2005-2007”. According to “The Road to Clean Air” study conducted by the American Lung Association, California could potentially reduce all major air pollution-related health problems by as much as 70% – a change that proves both economically and socially beneficial. With the overall well-being of society in mind, health professionals as well as the American Lung Association continue to push for the protection and maintenance of strict air quality regulations. However, automotive manufacturers and their employees express concern to such firm standards, particularly the steep increases in Corporate Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) and increasingly stringent GHG emissions standards.

The major cause of automaker hesitation to higher standards stems from their concern of the potential impact such changes may have on sales and jobs. The redesign of vehicles to effectively boost fuel economy through the use of lighter but more expensive materials may stress automakers’ margins – the driving notion that propagates concern among union members that company jobs will be the first aspect effected. Federal officials, automakers as well as representatives from the United Auto Workers (UAW) have been continually meeting and discussing feasible CAFE standards that will not result in a misbalance of the equally important priorities involved with these future updates. “We want to get it right…” stated the Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood who is optimistic that new, fuel efficiency standards in agreement with both automaker and regulator goals will be settled for the 2017-2025 timeframe. The secretary went on to say that “current talks with companies have focused solely on finding the right standard” and as of July 29th, such a compromise was finally reached. In an address made by President Obama, he confirmed that “by 2025, the average fuel economy of [newly manufactured] vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon…[saving] a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time”. Now the Air Resources Board looks ahead to amend California’s Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) regulations with the intent of implementing more stringent GHG and tailpipe emission standards for new passenger vehicles. This proposed set of amendments is known as LEV III and also includes efforts found in the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program. If passed, the integration of these 3 programs: smog, GHG and ZEV will place additional pressure on automakers to meet both the new state and federal standards. However,  “most vehicle manufacturers agree…these technologies will be necessary to meet climate goals by 2050” though consumers can expect to see an increase in sticker price. Nevertheless, in a report compiled by GO60mpg, a joint effort comprised of numerous environmental organizations, calculations show that “for most consumers who finance the purchase of a new [fuel efficient] vehicle, the fuel savings will be greater than the additional cost”. A thought prospective car owners should definitely keep in mind, especially with continually increasing gasoline prices.

Though automakers’ express valid and genuine concerns, history has shown us that seemingly ‘impossible’ air quality standards have been instated and successfully practiced despite initial uncertainties. The state of California experienced that firsthand with, for example, the requirement of pollution-reducing catalytic converters in new cars and the adoption of the smog check program. The mistake is made in the assumption that it is an either/or decision. It is not a choice between the health of the public and economic prosperity, but rather how soon we hope and want to see changes for the better. Now having reached an agreement, a collective effort can be made on all parts. As demonstrated in the past but not without its challenges, meeting these new regulations still remains an accomplishable goal. Through this progress, physicians and other supporters can hope to see the clear skies and improved air quality they’ve been working toward.

By Christine Jaramillo

Premature Deaths from Pollution

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

According to a report issued on August 31, 2010 by the California Air Resources Board, approximately 9,000 people in California die prematurely each year as a result of exposure to fine particle pollution from combustion processes (i.e., diesel and gasoline engines, power plant boilers, wood burning).  Compared to the nation, California receives a much greater proportion particulate matter from transportation than traditional power plants.  The chief culprit: conventional diesel engines. EIN continues to fight for a critical component of this issue that was outside the scope of this specific ARB study, namely: a solution.

First of all, diesel engine retrofit technologies exist today that can be applied to old, polluting diesel engines which would significantly limit or eliminate life threatening particulate emissions. Yes, these retrofits will add an additional cost component to an old truck, but will that cost be more than the cost of the life of even 1 of the estimated 9,000 Californians who died a premature death last year? In addition, there are state programs to help finance and fund these projects to help equipment owners transition away from their out-of-date, dirty technology towards more efficient, cleaner burning engines. These retrofits, coupled with the introduction of more advanced clean diesel engines and lower carbon biofuels, are a critical first step in protecting the health of California’s citizens while simultaneously lowering our dependence on foreign oil.

However, if we truly want to solve the solutions associated with emissions from our transportation sector on a local toxic air pollutant level, AND on a global greenhouse gas emission level, it is essential that we transition rapidly and expansively to zero emission vehicle (ZEV) technology. EIN continues to push the envelope for potential Zero Emission Vehicle platforms powered by Hydrogen and Electricity: the only currently available fuels with the potential eliminate transportation generated emissions. Yet, as with all emerging technology, costly premiums still exist in the marketplace that are limiting the application of ZEVs to only the most affluent communities of California, the opposite of where they are needed most. Most of California’s poorest regions are also its worst regions in terms of air quality and traffic congestion, resulting in respiratory illness and reduced quality of life. In many communities the consequences of environmental pollution disproportionately fall on the poor. Zero emission transit is a key solution to this dilemma.

Bus transit thrives in densely populated communities, providing mobility to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it, while also giving typical single occupancy vehicle commuters a viable alternative. Zero emission buses, such as an electric or hydrogen fuel cell bus, emit virtually zero harmful particulates or toxic emissions that cause poor air quality and endanger public health, a 100% reduction from conventional buses. Zero emission transit can and will reduce all harmful emissions, reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, reduce GHG emissions, reduce traffic congestion, reduce noise pollution, and will be accessible to all economic and social classes.

Zero emission transit solutions are already producing positive results in some communities in California. For example, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District’s (AC Transit) has developed the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell demonstration program in the world, which currently features three zero emission hydrogen fuel cell buses, and on-site hydrogen production and fueling. Sunline Transit Agency in Southern California has also demonstrated the viability of the hydrogen fuel cell bus. Battery electric buses have also proven to be effective in the City of Santa Barbara and have been in service there since 1991.

Clearly, the goal of an emissions free society is unattainable with current available technology. California needs to decide if its next dollar is going to be invested in a technology that kills 9,000 of its citizens a year, or weather it will be invested in cleaner, more sustainable zero emission technology that can lead us to energy independence.