Thursday, November 27, 2008

highlights from BAQ2008 - IEA

As mentioned in my last post, I'd like to feature some highlights from the BAQ2008 conference earlier this month in Bangkok. I haven't had a chance to go through even nearly all of the presentations, but there are some key slides / conclusions that I either remember from attending or found while browsing the files online that I'd like to post up here. Some of these will be a little out of context, but in all cases I will post the link to the original presentation for further info.

First, I'd like to post highlights from presentations I heard from Lew Fulton and Pierpaulo Cazzola of the IEA, based on energy demand projection research that went into the World Energy Outlook and Energy Technology Perspectives. (Side note: the just-released WEO 2008 Executive Summary is a must read.)

To start with, here are a couple of great slides from Mr. Fulton's presentation, "Transport, Energy, and CO2 in Asia: Where are We Going and How Do We Change It?":

The above slide shows IEA projections of global car stock by region (y-axis is in millions). Note the exploding dominance of China, especially after 2015-2020. This graph highlights both the incredible challenge we face to limit the energy and environmental impacts of vehicles worldwide, as well as the critical importance of guiding the inevitable growth of vehicles in the developing world in as sustainable a direction as possible.

On energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Fulton proposed that it is both economically and technologically reasonable to target a 50% reduction in global light duty vehicle energy intensity by 2030. This loosely means reducing average car energy consumption from approximately 8 to 4 l/100-km. Note that some vehicles, such as the Prius, already achieve a fuel economy in this range.

However, current policies are not even close to guiding the vehicle fleet to this target. The following slide shows baseline vehicle fuel economy projections to 2050, taking into account all current legislation:

There is clearly a gap between what legislators (and the vehicle industry) are targeting, and what is currently possible (and required to meet necessary global GHG reductions).

Looking out to 2050, the IEA proposes that the majority of CO2 emissions savings from the transportation sector will come from improvements to conventional gasoline and diesel engines and traditional hybridization. This was surprising to me, as I expected electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to play a bigger role. Additional savings are projected to come from some combination of electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, but the extent of those savings will depend on future technology improvements:

Fortunately, in the case of conventional engine improvements and traditional hybridization, pricing (in theory) shouldn't be the issue, as the fuel savings are on par with the additional technology cost for these vehicles:

Lastly, I'm posting up the conclusion slide from a talk with some overlapping content given by Mr. Cazzola called, "Fuel Economy as a Means to Avoid Future Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transport":

The conclusion about monitoring increases in weight and power is critical, and something I will address in another post.


Andrew Stevenson said...

What, no shout out for me? I stumbled upon your blog while reading Scott Moore's. How was the trip to the beach? (Andy from Hong Kong)

Rob Earley said...

A couple of things, I know people are excited about fuel cell and electric vehicles, and I know 40 years is a long time, but I guess lots of people trust the ol' ICE. I would imagine there are lots of consumers who figure, that with an ICE, "well, if it breaks, at least I can fix it!" (and I know this is not necessarily true of cars being produced today, but I think people still have that familiar feeling about their car.

Personally, I think that at the time when people get to choose between an electric vehicle and an ICE-based vehicle, lots of them will think that the electric vehicle is cool and probably saves a lot of money, but darn it, which one is going to keep me warmer longer if I'm stuck out in the winter.

That's not to say that all consumers are from some lonely little town in Canada, but I do think there's just something that consumers feel comfortable with knowing there are little explosions going on under the hood.

In sum, I think by 2050, if electric cars can make that much contribution to CO2 reduction, it will be fantastic. The development of these vehicles, if anything like the timeline of the ICE, still needs a lot of work. And even when the technology is ready, it has to find its place in the minds and cultures of consumers, which is an even longer process.

It would be interesting to see how electric vehicle adoption compares over time with the adoption of the CF light bulb. Extra interesting to compare the same factors between "developed" and "Developing" markets.

Rob Earley said...

Oh, one other question:

Did the IEA guy talk about coal-to-liquid fuels and any risk their development poses to this analysis?

Or are the potential savings in ICE/hybrid vehicles so substantial that extra CO2 emissions from CTL fuels wouldn't matter?

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