Transportation News

Florida’s Untapped Solar Power

(3BL Media/Just Means) I've spent the summer living in historic St. Augustine, Florida. The surf is great, the people are friendly and the sun shines brightly every single day. The sun is powerful here, powerful enough it seems to produce enough solar energy for most of the nation.

GE Capital Canada and Gaz Metro Partner to Promote Natural Gas

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – According to the American Gas Association (AGA), natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy. Natural gas is primarily composed of methane, and its combustion results in less pollution. Compared to oil or coal, natural gas produces significantly lesser CO2 and other GHGs in most applications. Furthermore, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that natural gas can cost up to 30 percent less than diesel.

First Whale Oil, Now Big Oil To Be Extinct: Amory Lovins Shakes Up CERES 2015

(3BL Media Media/Justmeans) - What do Big Oil and whale oil have in common? According to Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist of The Rocky Mountain Institute, Big Oil is soon to follow whale oil’s downward trajectory toward extinction. At this year’s

Driving the Future: A Tale of a Call to Action on Climate and a Long Delayed Response

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - I recently read Driving the Future, the new book by Margo T. Oge, former director of EPA’s Office of Air Quality and Transportation. It’s the story of the evolving effort within the EPA to get the government to take action on climate change, which it finally did, after years of delay ,with the passage of two separate rounds of fuel economy standards, first in 2009, then a second in 2012. Not only was this the first U.S. government action taken on this issue, it was also surprisingly effective. This single stroke of the pen in 2012, will cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks in half by 2025, possibly making it the largest single action taken to date in the effort to reduce emissions.

The book opens with the history of climate change science, going back to the work of Karl Friedrich Schimper in the 1830’s, who along with Louis Agassiz, recognized the existence of glaciers and ice ages. From there, the narratuve layers on the evidence, describing the work of John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius, who both demonstrated the heat trapping ability of certain atmospheric gases. It was Arrhenius who recognized that without carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the entire planet would remain perpetually frozen.

Work in the US began in 1946 with Roger Revelle who worked with the Navy, studying various phenomena in the Pacific Ocean after the war. This led to an understanding of how the ocean absorbs carbon and how the sun’s rays pass through the atmosphere. Describing the impact of his findings, Revelle testified before a Congressional committee in 1957, calling the use of fossil fuels, “a grandiose scientific experiment,” which could potentially lead to dramatic and erratic shifts in the Earth’s climate in the next century. This was in 1957. It was Revelle who, in 1965, as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee, caught the attention of a Harvard undergraduate name Al Gore, inspiring him to look further into the topic. Scientists meanwhile, continued to study the issue, refining their understanding.

By 1977, NY Times science writer Walter Sullivan had the subject on the Times’ front page with a story entitled, “Scientists Fear Heavy Use of Coal May Bring Adverse Shift in Climate.” The story goes on from here and you’ve probably heard the rest. Yet here we are, almost 40 years later with over half the Republicans in Congress, acting like this is some new, controversial theory that hasn’t had time to be fully investigated.

GM Drives towards a Sustainable Future with Electric Vehicles

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center says that using hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles instead of conventional vehicles can help reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil and increase energy security. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles are both capable of using off-board sources of electricity, which is increasingly produced from renewable resources in the U.S.

Save the Children Restarts Rescue Petition After 700 Drown

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – In April a major rescue operation took place in the Mediterranean after as many as 700 migrants were feared to have drowned just outside Libyan waters, in what could prove to be the worst disaster yet involving migrants being smuggled into Europe. The passengers are often locked in the hold of the ship, meaning they have little chance of survival in an ­emergency.

Former Indy Racer, Now Quadriplegic, Drives Innovative “SAM” Corvette via Electronics

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Former Indy Racing League driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series Team owner, Sam Schmidt, got the chance to drive on the Long Beach Grand Prix road course track this April, thanks to the creators of a modified 2014 Corvette C7 Stingray.

"Give Wishes Wings" Campaign Takes Off

(3BL Media/Just Means) - Fulfilling a dream can be a powerful medicine for the critically ill, but dreams can cost a lot of money. In order to help grant the wishes of critically ill children, Make-A-Wish has launched Give Wishes Wings, a month-long campaign to attract donations of airline miles.

Freightliner’s Supertruck Doubles Tractor-Trailer Fuel Economy

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Back in December, I wrote about the government’s efforts to improve the fuel economy of the thousands of tractor-trailer trucks that crowd our highways accounting for millions of gallons of diesel fuel and tons of carbon emissions. One prong of this effort was a five-year $115 million DOE project that challenged truck makers to see if they could achieve a 50% reduction in fuel consumption.

Now, Freightliner has announced their success, as they unveiled their Supertruck.

The 65,000 pound semi, which is powered by an 11-liter hybrid diesel engine, and shrouded with a bevy of aerodynamic features, comfortably surpassed the target by 15%, with a demonstrated fuel economy of 12.2 mpg, more than twice the average of trucks on the road today. The test drive was performed between Dallas and San Antonio Texas.

The list of features that combined to achieve this result is truly impressive.

The company took a clean slate approach to the project, evaluating every aspect of the vehicle, utilizing an incredible 8 million hours of computation in the process. Freightliner, which is a subsidiary of the Daimler organization, leveraged expertise from numerous partners around the world.

Aerodynamics played a huge role in the transformation. For starters, a lot of wind drag is produced by the air entering the engine compartment to cool the radiator. Freightliner came up with an innovative grille design that opens when engine cooling is needed and closes when it is not. Surprisingly, over two-thirds of the benefit comes from the trailer. A nose cone, side skirts and a boat tail all contribute to improved aerodynamics. A cab extender also closes off the gap between the trailer and the cab, an area of high turbulence in conventional semis.

Ford Reinforces Sustainability Commitment with REPREVE for 2015 F-150

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – According to the EPA, plastics constitute almost 13 percent of the municipal solid waste stream, a dramatic jump from one percent in 1960. In 2012, the total plastic waste generated in the U.S. was 32 million tons, out of which only nine percent was recycled. The automobile industry has a significant opportunity to use recycled plastics and help keep them out of landfills to preserve the environment.

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