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EVs a mixed bag for health and climate

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by wayner, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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  2. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    It's a hack piece.
    The ICE in question is a hybrid.
    An EV running on 100% coal is still cleaner than the average car, although not as clean as the cleaner hybrids.
    They also made their calculations assuming all gasoline came from conventional oil, no tar sands.
    In addition, and I need to re-read the study, I don't believe they took into account ICE vehicle exhaust is released in cities and neighborhoods where people are trying to breath.
    Most coal plants aren't and the few that are, are being closed pretty quickly.
     
  3. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I think they did take into account the fact that this will reduce pollution in cities but it won't reduce GHG emissions as it doesn't matter where they happen.
     
  4. dyoreo

    dyoreo Member

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    In the U.S. 39% of the electricity is produced by coal. Coal can be burnt as clean as oil (gas). The amount of coal used by an electric plant is nowhere near the amount fuel millions of cars burn. I single electric plant can power millions of EV miles. It is better to have one source of pollution than millions of ICE cars. The single electric plant is easier to control.

    Would you even think of sitting in your garage with your ICE running?
     
  5. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Which ICEv did they use? I can't seem to find it.
     
  6. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    As I recall, it wasn't any particular hybrid, but a "typical" hybrid with fuel efficiency 37%(?) better than the typical ICE.
    I'll see if I can dig up the paper again.

    The overall paper isn't necessarily a hit piece, it just seems a bit opaque, sloppy and the excerps taken out for headlines out of context (who in the world uses 100% coal?)
     
  7. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    here's my response:

    unfortunately, from what I can tell this study is yet another example of highly educated ignorance. If researchers like this had a clue
    about how the grid works and how EV's are typically charged they could surely turn the whole thing on its head and come to the opposite
    conclusion: "Electric Vehicles Stand To Make Even Coal Burning Power Plants Cleaner Per Kilowatt Generated". The bulk of electric car charging
    happens at night when off peak generation capacity normally goes to waste. By providing a much needed way to store the off peak electricity
    for daytime use, electric vehicles not only likely add very little additional pollution to grid production, they likely improve the
    overall efficiency and increase the profitability for utilities, which can now sell capacity that otherwise has gone to waste with the side benefit
    of potentially lowering utility costs for everyone. Estimates suggest that there is enough off peak waste every night to offset the addition of
    new vehicles for quite some time to come without burning any more coal or splitting any more atoms or running any additional water though dams.

    I have found "Jolt", by Coulomb Technologies/the ChargePoint Network's James Billmaier to be very illuminating on this subject and I fact checked a good bit of it with a rep of a local utility who gave a talk on grid effects of EV charging and he is spot on. I also recommend "Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy" by our very own Governor, Jay Inslee.
     
  8. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    But as recent input to TMC suggests, coal plants handle most of the overnight 'light load' since they can't be completely shut down like alternate fuels can during these hours. So therefore EVs charging at night may be largely 'coal fired' depending on their location. Personally I hand pick only the clean coulombs for my Teslas, the ones with the C on each piece.
    --
     
  9. rolosrevenge

    rolosrevenge Dr. EVS

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    No, the EVs will be charged with additional power on top of that light load. If it is coal, it will have them increase their output, which most of the time will put them closer to their optimum efficiency curve, thus reducing emissions. But there's also wind, which likes to blow at night and is sometimes curtailed, nuclear, and hydro. If the EV night load gets too high, new plants will be started, those would be natural gas. So either way, charging your EV is much cleaner than this lets on.
     
  10. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    'worse than ICE' if pollutants other than CO2 are counted. Many coal plants in areas with tight regulations like Colorado have VERY clean coal plants (except for CO2). That study was somewhat of a Rorschach test... some people saw 'EVs are dirtier than ICE'... some people saw 'Coal REALLY REALLY REALLY needs to get phased out'...
     
  11. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

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    it's always fascinating to read what a study actually says vs the spin articles that often reference it. here is the dialogue so far with one of the study's authors, Chris Tessum, Doctoral Candidate
    Environmental Engineering
    University of Minnesota

    Hello George,
    Thank you for your interest in our article and for your question. It is true that a lot of the press coverage of our study has focused on what we feel are not the most import aspects of our results. You can see a press release and a short video describing our interpretation of our study here: Marshall Research Group :: Transportation Life Cycle Analysis
    We only look at average emissions factors from the electric grid, and you are right that it could be beneficial to also look at marginal emissions factors at different times of day. Our research group has started some work on this, but as I'm sure you know the electric grid is a very complex system so it is slow going! Thank you for your suggestion.
    Best Regards,
    Chris

    Chris thank you for your quick response. I was amazed to find that while electricity production is constantly being adjusted, moment by moment to match demand, that there is essentially no way of "turning down" base load production capacity at night, that practically the same amount of pollution is produced 24/7 because producing electricity on a municipal level requires enormous boilers that take too long to heat up (in terms of coal) to turn them up and down with changes in demand. all electricity production on off peak is simply using steam that otherwise bypasses the generators. it is estimated that tens of millions of EV's can be charging (to replenish average use, aprox 10 kW) at night without effecting pollution levels. Even with hydro a similar thing occurs, a constant flow of water exits the dam while paddles divert more or less through the turbine. using more electricity at night simply reduces the pollution/waste per kW of the system. Efficient battery storage is exactly what the grid needs to be more efficient. smart grid technology stands to allow the storage to occur in the car, at night at home and sold back to the utility during peak demand or used by the consumer during the next day day. it's fascinating stuff. experimentation is being done presently with the ford focus electric. it does appear that EV's stand to increase efficiency, reducing pollution of even the dirtiest of power plants. you would do a great service to this burgeoning technology if you found a way of showing this through your studies. thanks again for you time, Kind Regards, George Whiteside, MS, EAMP
     
  12. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    That is not the case with the hydro-electric facilities at Niagara Falls. The plants their store more water in reservoirs at night to store potential energy to be used during the day when demand is higher:

     
  13. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Why isn't this simply 'pumped storage'? How is this different from Cornwall NY, to name a pure example?
    --
     
  14. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I don't think it is any different but post 12 was implying that hydro-electric stations just waste generating capacity when there is no need for the power.
     
  15. Tedkidd

    Tedkidd Member

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    Nice post 100m!

    Title of the thread gave me a chuckle, somewhat nonsensical clickbait (Minnesota colleges don't turn out big thinkers?) Yep, they're a mixed bag. Let's outlaw vehicles and make everyone ride bicycles.
     
  16. Bugeater

    Bugeater Member

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    Actually the San Louis reservoir in CA pumps water from an after bay back into the main reservoir at night in order to reclaim some excess energy production at night.

    I power my home and Model S via solar. Except in the dark of winter I am net zero or even positive. So not only do I use some otherwise wasted energy at night, I also add power to the grid during the day!
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Quite a few places do this, but it would be better to use the electricity to power EVs.
     
  18. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    This study only considered particulates and O3,not greenhouse gases CO2,etc.
    Yes, coal plants are bad for your health. Coal needs to die.
     
  19. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Doesn't seem obvious to me. EVs can get close to 100 MPGe which is a lot more efficient than and ICE, and coal-powered electricity plants can employ scrubbers and other pollution controls.
     
  20. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    #20 Canuck, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
    The author of this so-called "study" is a publicity seeker, as you can tell by his email pointing to his "press release" and "video". He doesn't appear to care about facts or data but only promoting himself. If he wanted to do a true comparison, the energy that goes into the production of gas must be accounted for. He seems to think that a gallon of gas just appears without having to be drilled for or extracted from tar sands, then transported, then refined, then transported again.
     

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