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OhmExcited's CO2 study

Discussion in 'Technical' started by TEG, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Aug 20, 2006
    So I see a new member "OhmExcited" here, and I notice him posting on the Volt site.

    Then I see he has a nice whitepaper in progress.

    I thought others might want to check it out.
  2. Michael

    Michael Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    CO2 comparison

    Should the CO2 calculation for vehicles also include the CO2 generated in the production of the fuel used to power the vehicle instead of only the CO2 generated as a result of using the fuel? I wonder how this would compare to electricity generated centrally if the CO2 produced to provide the central stations electricity was also utilized?

    Is this too complicated? Seems needed though.
  3. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

    Oct 23, 2007
    Cupertino, CA
    Oh, you can wind a way more complicated story than that.

    Should you also try and calculate in the CO2 used to produce the vehicle? Amortize that over expected miles of lifetime? What about the CO2 used in producing the other consumables in a car (oil, batteries, tires, headlamps)?

    You could die on the details.

    It seemed a reasonable and fair white paper to me, and made it clear what part of the puzzle it was tackling.
  4. OhmExcited

    OhmExcited Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    #4 OhmExcited, Dec 14, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
    Michael, I'm not sure I understand your point correctly, but the calculations do take into account the production of the fuel. For example, only 80% of carbon emissions associated with burning gasoline comes from the tailpipe. The remaining 20% is accounted for considering extraction, de-sulfurization, refinement, transportation, etc.

    The GREET software also takes into account the well/mine-to-outlet emissions of power plants.

    As SByer said we could die on the details. For example, people working at a nuclear power plant still have to drive to work, which causes emissions, but they would probably be driving to work anyway if they weren't employed there. Car makers use energy to make ICE vehicles, but also to make hybrid or electric vehicles. In that sense, it's all a wash. We could quibble with the numbers, but I doubt it would change the conclusions much.

    What I clearly convinced myself of is that driving a modern, electric vehicle is not a "long tailpipe" that's worse than an ordinary ICE. In most real world scenarios the pollution is reduced. Not so with coal, compared to a Prius, at least in a very obvious way, but it's still much better than an ordinary car.

    The real beauty of EV's is the dovetailing effect it can have. People buy zero or low emission EV's, behind the scenes the power plants continue to clean up over time via regulation, now oil is no longer a strategic commodity but a mere commodity and we don't care where it comes from or how much it costs, traffic is quieter, there are fewer toxic emissions around population centers, less smog, etc. EV/PHEV's really are a no brainer with zero tradeoffs (except for initial cost! but that will change).
  5. Michael

    Michael Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Thanks. Sorry to say that I was hoping that the CO2 footprint would have a somewhat better showing for the electric vehicle. But I guess the best way to look at it is that it allows for further reduction in CO2 generation depending on the source of the electricity and ICE vehicles don't really have an option.

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