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Pitch

Electric transit and carbon-neutral gasoline


Description

Guidance on Collaborative Proposals

This is a pilot test of a new, collaborative approach for getting work done in the Climate CoLab. It will run during March and April of 2012.

There is one community proposal, and members of the Climate CoLab community are invited to work on it together. Any member can contribute as long as they are logged in. Members may also submit proposals of their own if they wish.

The community proposal is like a wiki, so the history of edits is tracked, and you can revert to prior versions of the proposal if desired. 

Feel free to organize the proposal as you see fit, though we strongly suggest using the three section headers below: Summary, Body, and References.

You are invited to use the Comments tab of the proposal as a brainstorming space to try out ideas and discuss with other members of the Climate CoLab how the proposal should evolve. 

Please also use the Comments to express your opinion on this collaborative approach for creating proposals. 
___________________________________________________________________________________

Summary

 

Electric cars could change the globe economy and end climate changing emissions, except for one thing battery power. The limited range and long charging time of electric cars limits their acceptance and use. We can tackle this with several approaches.

1) Personal rapid transit grids (see the winning 2011 proposal). Low cost to set up and so efficient that solar panels on the guideways could supply sufficient power. Great for commuters, but won't replace trucks.

2) What if electric cars could be powered by and automated roadway built just for them. And what if the power for the roadway was solar power.  A low cost solar powered mass transit system would change everything.  The investment in and revenue generated by such a mass transit system could be done locally with much of the revenue returned to the community it serves. 

3) Self-driving cars currently in testing at Google could compensate for electric car deficiencies. Instead of buying a car and leaving it parked 95% of the time, people could rely on cheap self-driving taxis, which would drive themselves to charging stations when the batteries run low. With fast recharging (perhaps with quick-replace batteries), we could serve a population with a much smaller electric fleet compared to personal vehicles, so we could migrate faster and have less carbon impact in building new vehicles. Consumers would benefit with much lower transport costs. For long trips, consumers could swap vehicles when the batteries run low, like a 21st-century Pony Express.

An alternate approach is carbon-neutral liquid fuels. If we can make gasoline from CO2 and zero-emission energy, we can have carbon-neutral transportation without replacing vehicles, pipelines, and gas stations. Several approaches are listed in the 2011 proposal Cycling Carbon. More recently, Nobel-winning chemist George Olah has published another approach, designed for low cost and scalability. 

Carbon-neutral liquid fuels would also work for air travel and shipping, which aren't likely to go electric anytime soon.

With the exception of PRT, all this will require a massive expansion of energy production, which needs to be low- or zero-carbon. The most scalable candidates are solar and advanced nuclear. Using solar for fuel production bypasses the intermittency problem. 

Body

 

 

References

 
For recent work by George Olah and collaborators on making methanol from ambient CO2:
http://www.celsias.com/article/new-materials-remove-co2-smokestacks-tailpipes-and/
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/07/18704304.php
http://muayad57.blogspot.com/2012/01/carbon-dioxide-capture-from-air-using.html
http://ev-olution.org/?p=24203
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja202642y?mi=u0zsjc&af=R&pageSize=20&publication=40001010&searchText=ZnO

Summary


Category of the action

Reducing emissions from transportation


What actions do you propose?

Guidance on Collaborative Proposals

This is a pilot test of a new, collaborative approach for getting work done in the Climate CoLab. It will run during March and April of 2012.

There is one community proposal, and members of the Climate CoLab community are invited to work on it together. Any member can contribute as long as they are logged in. Members may also submit proposals of their own if they wish.

The community proposal is like a wiki, so the history of edits is tracked, and you can revert to prior versions of the proposal if desired. 

Feel free to organize the proposal as you see fit, though we strongly suggest using the three section headers below: Summary, Body, and References.

You are invited to use the Comments tab of the proposal as a brainstorming space to try out ideas and discuss with other members of the Climate CoLab how the proposal should evolve. 

Please also use the Comments to express your opinion on this collaborative approach for creating proposals. 
___________________________________________________________________________________

Summary

 

Electric cars could change the globe economy and end climate changing emissions, except for one thing battery power. The limited range and long charging time of electric cars limits their acceptance and use. We can tackle this with several approaches.

1) Personal rapid transit grids (see the winning 2011 proposal). Low cost to set up and so efficient that solar panels on the guideways could supply sufficient power. Great for commuters, but won't replace trucks.

2) What if electric cars could be powered by and automated roadway built just for them. And what if the power for the roadway was solar power.  A low cost solar powered mass transit system would change everything.  The investment in and revenue generated by such a mass transit system could be done locally with much of the revenue returned to the community it serves. 

3) Self-driving cars currently in testing at Google could compensate for electric car deficiencies. Instead of buying a car and leaving it parked 95% of the time, people could rely on cheap self-driving taxis, which would drive themselves to charging stations when the batteries run low. With fast recharging (perhaps with quick-replace batteries), we could serve a population with a much smaller electric fleet compared to personal vehicles, so we could migrate faster and have less carbon impact in building new vehicles. Consumers would benefit with much lower transport costs. For long trips, consumers could swap vehicles when the batteries run low, like a 21st-century Pony Express.

An alternate approach is carbon-neutral liquid fuels. If we can make gasoline from CO2 and zero-emission energy, we can have carbon-neutral transportation without replacing vehicles, pipelines, and gas stations. Several approaches are listed in the 2011 proposal Cycling Carbon. More recently, Nobel-winning chemist George Olah has published another approach, designed for low cost and scalability. 

Carbon-neutral liquid fuels would also work for air travel and shipping, which aren't likely to go electric anytime soon.

With the exception of PRT, all this will require a massive expansion of energy production, which needs to be low- or zero-carbon. The most scalable candidates are solar and advanced nuclear. Using solar for fuel production bypasses the intermittency problem. 

Body

 

 

References

 
For recent work by George Olah and collaborators on making methanol from ambient CO2:
http://www.celsias.com/article/new-materials-remove-co2-smokestacks-tailpipes-and/
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/07/18704304.php
http://muayad57.blogspot.com/2012/01/carbon-dioxide-capture-from-air-using.html
http://ev-olution.org/?p=24203
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja202642y?mi=u0zsjc&af=R&pageSize=20&publication=40001010&searchText=ZnO


Who will take these actions?


Where will these actions be taken?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are other key benefits?


What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line


Related proposals


References