EREN Network News
January 17, 2001
News and Events
- Oregon-Washington Border to Host World's Largest Wind Plant
- Ford Debuts Hybrid Electric Escape, Plans for Explorer
- GM Shows Advanced-Technology Vehicles and Drives in Detroit
- DOE, Industry Map Out the Future of the Trucking Industry
- DOE Invests $30 Million to Save Energy in Industry
- Four Elementary Students Rewarded for Energy-Saving Ideas
Energy Facts and Tips
- Next Generation Natural Gas Vehicles
About this Newsletter
- U.S. Petroleum Use Drives Up 1999 Greenhouse Emissions
- 2000 Marks the Sixth Warmest Year on Record
News and Events
Oregon-Washington Border to Host World's Largest Wind Plant
PacifiCorp announced last week that it will sell the power
from a new 300-megawatt wind facility to be built along the
Washington-Oregon border southwest of Walla Walla,
Washington. FPL Energy, LLC, will build, own, and operate
the wind facility, which will be the world's largest. Called the
Stateline Wind Generating Project, the facility will draw on
450 wind turbines to produce enough power for 70,000
homes. PacifiCorp Power Marketing, Inc., a subsidiary of
Pacificorp, will sell the power throughout the West. Most of
the facility should be producing power by the end of 2001.
See the PacifiCorp press release.
Ford Debuts Hybrid Electric Escape, Plans for Explorer
Ford Motor Company introduced its hybrid electric Escape
early this month at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
The hybrid electric Escape features a 65-kilowatt electric
motor, regenerative braking to recharge the vehicle's
batteries when slowing or stopping, and a highly efficient
five-stroke, four-cylinder engine. The sport utility vehicle
(SUV) will be able to operate at low speeds using only its
electric motor, which will enable it to achieve 40 miles per
gallon in urban driving conditions. It will also meet
California's strict SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions
Vehicle) emissions standard. A demonstration fleet of
Escape concept vehicles will be put on the road later this
year, and the vehicle will go on sale in 2003.
Ford also announced last week that it will produce a hybrid
electric version of its popular Explorer SUV. The hybrid
Explorer will include an electrical assist to the vehicle's six-
cylinder engine, an "auto stop" feature to shut the engine off
while stopping, and regenerative braking to recharge the
car's batteries when slowing or stopping. The vehicle will
also feature a 42-volt electrical system, rather than the
12-volt system that is the standard on vehicles today. The
hybrid Explorer will be available "soon after the Escape
hybrid electric vehicle." See the Ford press releases at the
new Ford Hybrid Electric Vehicle Web site.
GM Shows Advanced-Technology Vehicles and Drives in Detroit
General Motors (GM) arrived at last week's North American
International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit with an
impressive array of advanced vehicles, ranging from more
efficient models of existing vehicles to its "HydroGen1"
hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle.
Along with fuel-efficient models from around the world, the
company debuted a concept version of its Chevrolet Tahoe
that combines a 6.2-liter turbocharged direct-injection diesel
engine with aerodynamic improvements, LED signal lights,
halogen infrared headlamps, and narrower tires to achieve a
25 percent increase in fuel economy. GM also displayed a
hybrid electric GMC Sierra, which is slated for production in
2004, and introduced its new hybrid electric drive, the
"ParadiGM," as noted in last week's newsletter. The hybrid
Sierra will achieve a 15 percent improvement in fuel
economy. GM Vice Chairman Harry Pierce announced that
the company is already building its second-generation
hydrogen vehicle, the HydroGen2, while the third-generation
HydroGen3 is being designed.
But most impressive is the company's parallel hybrid drive
for heavy-duty buses and trucks, also noted in last week's
newsletter. The drive combines a 275-horsepower
turbocharged direct-injection diesel engine with a
continuously variable transmission that has two motors
integrated into it, all in a package that is half the size and
mass of a conventional engine. For energy storage, the
system uses supercapacitors, which are one-third as heavy
and half the volume of comparable battery packs. Altogether,
GM claims that the system achieves a 60 percent
improvement in fuel economy, a 90 percent reduction in
emissions of particulates and hydrocarbons, a 50 percent
reduction in nitrous oxide emissions, and a 50 percent
improvement in acceleration. "I submit that this system is
going to redefine commercial transportation worldwide, in
time," said Pierce.
To see the GM announcements, you can watch a (very long)
streaming video of the announcement at the NAIAS by
selecting "Videos/Webcams" on the GM "Experience Live"
Scroll down to the "GM Advanced Technology Vehicle
Announcement" near the bottom of the page.
DOE, Industry Map Out the Future of the Trucking Industry
Changes are coming for the trucking industry: While some
may see opportunities such as new hybrid-electric drives,
others may focus on challenges such as new emissions
standards. To prepare for the coming changes, DOE
recently worked together with other federal agencies and a
wide selection of industry representatives to map out a
reasonable path for the industry to follow over the next ten
years. The result, the 21st Century Truck Technology
Roadmap, establishes technical targets and fuel efficiency
goals for 2010, along with safety-relevant performance
targets. Among the goals are the doubling of the fuel
efficiency of large (Class 8) trucks, and the tripling of the fuel
efficiency of smaller trucks, delivery vans, and heavy-duty
transit buses. The work was done as part of the 21st Century
Truck Program, a major new multi-agency and industry
partnership. See the DOE press release.
DOE Invests $30 Million to Save Energy in Industry
DOE announced last week that it will spend $30 million over
the next three years in support of 75 partnerships to develop
energy-saving technologies for industry. The partners will
perform research, development, and demonstration of a
wide range of technologies, from high-efficiency steam
turbines to an improved technique for melting aluminum
scrap. See the DOE press release.
Four Elementary Students Rewarded for Energy-Saving Ideas
Four elementary students from throughout the United States
were awarded last week for their energy-saving inventions.
The EnergySmart Schools Contest called on elementary
students to devise new ways to save energy, and as part of
their reward, the four winners were flown to DOE's Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory. There the students worked
with scientists and engineers to build their inventions, which
include an alarm that sounds if a window is opened while an
air conditioner is running, a computerized device to hunt
down and turn off unnecessary lights, a battery charger
powered by running tap water, and a device that alarms
when your electricity use goes too high. In addition to the
expense-paid trip, the students each received a $250
savings bond. See the announcement on the Energy Smart
Schools Web site on EREN.
Next Generation Natural Gas Vehicles
This DOE Web site features research reports on the
development of natural gas engines for medium- and heavy-
duty vehicles, supporting the department's goal of creating
two prototype next-generation natural gas vehicles by 2004.
In addition, the site includes a program overview, schedule
of events, and information about request for proposals. It
also provides instructions on how people can become
involved in and provide feedback about the program.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
U.S. Petroleum Use Drives Up 1999 Greenhouse Emissions
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose 0.9 percent in 1999,
according to a draft report from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The growth rate is slightly lower
than the average annual rate of increase from 1990 through
1999, which was 1.2 percent. The increased use of
petroleum for transportation was the primary cause of the
rise in greenhouse emissions. See the EPA Web site.
Looking to the future, DOE's Energy Information
Administration (EIA) recently pointed out that economic
growth is the key determinant for predicting U.S. energy use,
which ties directly to greenhouse gas emissions. Although
U.S. energy use is expected to increase 32 percent from
1999 to 2020, a slower economy could lower that increase to
24 percent. That would cause the United States to use
6 percent less energy in 2020 and produce 6 percent less
carbon dioxide emissions than currently projected. See the
EIA press release.
2000 Marks the Sixth Warmest Year on Record
Global temperatures in 2000 were 0.39 degrees Celsius
above the average for the past 120 years, making it the sixth
warmest year on record, according to the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For the United
States, the year was shaping up to be the warmest year on
record as October ended, but cool temperatures in
November and December dropped the year's ranking to the
thirteenth warmest since 1895. See the NOAA Web site.
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