Banning the Internal Combustion Engine: Is this the end of Fossil Fuels?

As a general rule I find that most North Americans are unaware that there is a growing movement of countries that are banning new sales of vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel and may also include other fuels such as propane, compressed and LNG (liquid natural gas).

The local news is rife with plans to grow our exploitation of natural resources and build more pipelines for anticipated expansion to new markets such as China. The federal government is in the process of colluding with the petroleum industry to force the construction of a dil-bit pipeline in a densely populated region of Greater Vancouver.  Meanwhile our future markets are vanishing as other governments are phasing out fossil fuels and their engines.

Image #1: A rendering of the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) platform with truck chassis. 

SURUS was designed to form a foundation for a family of commercial vehicle solutions that leverages a single propulsion system integrated into a common chassis. (1)

Fuel cell technology is a key piece of GM’s zero-emission strategy.

General Motors’ Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS) is an electric vehicle platform with autonomous capabilities powered by a flexible fuel cell. GM displayed it at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army, as the commercially designed platform could be adapted for military use.

SURUS leverages GM’s newest Hydrotec fuel cell system, autonomous capability and truck chassis components to deliver high-performance, zero-emission propulsion to minimize logistical burdens and reduce human exposure to harm. Benefits include quiet and odor-free operation, off-road mobility, field configuration, instantaneous high torque, exportable power generation, water generation and quick refueling times. (1)

 

Table 1. List of Countries Banning the ICE & Timeline (2)
Wikipedia Table of Countries Banning the Internal Combustion Engine.png

At an automotive conference in Tianjin, China revealed it was developing plans towards banning fossil fuel-based cars. Though China has not set a 2040 goal like the U.K. and France, it said it was working with other regulators on a time-specific ban.

“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said.

Both India and Norway have also said they have electric car targets set for the next few decades. India, home to heavily polluted cities, said by 2030 it plans to have vehicles solely powered by electricity. (3)

Final Remarks:

I explain this worldwide movement to the electric vehicle and the impact this will have oil markets, however, most of whom I discuss this issue with are unaware of these vital facts. In addition we are seeing growing alternate forms of power sources for our electrical grid, such as solar, wind, tidal, hydro-electric, geothermal and others.

If you ran a business that called for a major investments in capital for infrastructure, would you make it knowing that your market is non-existent? Maybe it’s time for Canadians and Americans to wake up and smell the coffee.

References:

  1. fuel-cell-electric-truck-platform
  2. List_of_countries_banning_fossil_fuel_vehicles
  3. how-internal-combustion-engine-bans-could-catalyze-big-oil-concerns
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Nonpetroleum share of transportation fuel energy at highest level since 1954

“In the United States, petroleum is by far the most-consumed transportation fuel. But recently the share of fuels other than petroleum for U.S. transportation has increased to its highest level since 1954, a time when the use of coal-fired steam locomotives was declining and automobile use was growing rapidly.”

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […] After nearly 50 years of relative stability at about 4%, the nonpetroleum share started increasing steadily in the mid-2000s, reaching 8.5% in 2014. Of the nonpetroleum fuels used for transportation, fuel ethanol has grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) between 2000 and 2014. Nearly all of the ethanol consumed was blended into gasoline in blends of 10% or less, but a small amount was used in vehicles capable of running on higher blends as the availability of those flexible-fuel vehicles grew. Consumption of biodiesel, most of it blended into diesel fuel for use in trucks and buses, grew to more than 180 trillion Btu by 2014.

In 2014, transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion Btu, 3.5% of all natural gas used in the United States. Transportation natural gas is mostly used in the operation of pipelines, primarily to run compressor stations and to deliver natural gas to consumers. Natural gas used to fuel vehicles, although a much smaller amount, has more than doubled since 2000.

Electricity retail sales to the transportation sector grew more than 40% from 2000 through 2014, although sales have declined slightly since 2007. Electricity for transportation is mostly sold to railroads and railways. However, this increase does not include the consumption of electricity in electric vehicles that are not used in mass transit, because charging stations for these types of vehicles are likely associated with meters on residential, commercial, or industrial customer sites where this specific use may not be differentiated from other uses. […]”<

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Bio-Gas Waste Treatment System Installs Remote Fuel Station for Fleet

MADISON, WI–(Marketwired – Mar 3, 2015) – BioCNG, LLC announced that the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District’s BioCNG Vehicle Fuel Project, which was fully commissioned in 2012, will be expanded to include an additional BioCNG system and a remote CNG fueling station. BioCNG, which partnered with the District…

Source: www.marketwired.com

>”[…]

The expansion is part of a contract between St. Landry Solid Waste and Progressive Waste Systems. In exchange for continuation of its existing waste hauling contract with the District, Progressive Waste has agreed to purchase new CNG-powered trucks, and will have access to the increased BioCNG generated from the expanded system. The expanded project will also provide BioCNG fuel to additional St. Landry Parish clients.

St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District executive director Katry Martin, said, “The fact that the hauler that delivers waste to the Parish landfill will fuel its trucks with the biogas generated from the landfill is a true example of the power of renewable energy sources and a preview of the future of biogas.”

The St. Landry Parish BioCNG Vehicle Fuel Project received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) 2012 Project of the Year award. The system was originally designed to serve public works trucks and the sheriffs’ vehicle fleet. Now, with a new fuel purchaser, the District will increase on-site BioCNG production and provide an off-site CNG fueling station. The District can transport the BioCNG to the off-site location in a compressed gas tube trailer. […]”<

 

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Brewery’s Waste Treatment Bio-Gas Fuel Micro-Turbines for Grid Power

Sierra Nevada taps waste-to-energy technologies as a way to close operational loops and demonstrate responsible brewing practices.

Source: www.rewmag.com

>”[…]

Biogas benefits

Sierra Nevada operates breweries in Chico, California, and in Mills River, North Carolina. While the Chico facility has been in operation since 1980, the Mills River brewery didn’t break ground until 2012. Both facilities operate anaerobic digesters for treating brewery effluent water. Each facility uses the biogas produced from the digesters a little bit differently. In Chico, the biogas is used to offset natural gas production for use in its boilers. The Mills River digester is also used in the boilers but is also being fed into two 200-kilowatt microturbines from Capstone of Chatsworth, California, which will generate electricity to power the operation.

McKay says the first anaerobic digester was installed in Chico in 2002, well before the technology had gained traction in the United States. The digester, manufactured by Veolia Water Technologies subsidiary Biothane, Pennsauken, New Jersey, is an upflow anaerobic sludge bed. The biogas produced from the digestion process is cleaned and treated by a biogas skid designed by Fuel Cell Energy, Danbury, Connecticut, before it is used in the boilers. When the digester was initially installed, Sierra Nevada had planned on using the biogas in its fuel cells, but the inconsistent flow of biogas from the digester was problematic for the fuel cells without a buffer zone.

“We just decided we would send the biogas all to the boilers because the boilers could definitely use it,” says McKay.

The fuel cells were installed in Chico in 2005 and are considered “old technology” by today’s standards, according to McKay. The company is currently deciding on a replacement for the fuel cells which is planned to be completed by the end of the year. Fuel cells, microturbines and other engine technologies have all been considered as potential replacements.

“Ideally we would like to produce electricity from any biogas we are producing at the wastewater treatment plant,” McKay says, adding, “It is fine to use in the boiler, but we would prefer to make electricity because it would be closing the loop a little bit better.” […]”<

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Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent – 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).

 

Image source:  http://usncre.org/

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […] By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44 percent (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 percent (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08 percent more than that added in 2013.

New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52 percent) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables — biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) — accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined — or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.42 percent, wind – 5.54 percent, biomass – 1.38 percent, solar – 0.96 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.33 percent.  Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14 percent) and oil (3.94 percent) combined.

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals a bit more than 13.1 percent of total U.S. electrical production; however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables’ actual contribution significantly because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., rooftop solar).

Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity? Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”<

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Bloom Box: The Alternative Energy Fuel Cell Technology – 60 Minutes

“Derived from a common sand-like powder, and leveraging breakthrough advances in materials science, our technology is able to produce clean, reliable, affordable power,… practically anywhere,… from a wide range of renewable or traditional fuels.”

Source: www.youtube.com

Changing the Face of Energy

Bloom Energy is changing the way the world generates and consumes energy.

Our unique on-site power generation systems utilize an innovative new fuel cell technology with roots in NASA’s Mars program.  […]

Our Energy Servers® are among the most efficient energy generators on the planet; providing for significantly reduced electricity costs and dramatically lower greenhouse gas emissions.

By generating power on-site, where it is consumed, Bloom Energy offers increased electrical reliability and improved energy security, providing a clear path to energy independence.

Founded in 2001, Bloom Energy is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.”
http://www.bloomenergy.com/about/&nbsp;

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Swedish Stirling Engine Generator Converts Low Quality Landfill Gas to Energy in Poland

Swedish Stirling Engine generator specialist, Cleanergy supplies its GasBox generators to two landfill sites in Poland for the production of energy from low quality methane gas emitted from two major, following a successful pilot project earlier in the year.

Source: www.waste-management-world.com

>” […] GasBox – the centrepiece of its Combined Heat & Power (CHP) system – has been specifically developed to generate electricity and heat from low-quality methane gas produced by the decomposition of organic matter at the 2000+ landfill sites across Europe, most of which are more than 10 years old.

According to Cleanergy, many such landfill sites choose to flare the methane they produce.

The European Union Landfill Directive of 1999 states that flaring is only an option if it is impossible to extract energy from the methane gas. But up until today, older landfill sites have often broken these directives because the gas combustion engines traditionally used at newer landfills where methane levels are above 40% simply cannot produce electricity from lower grade, ‘dirty’ methane.

However, at the two Polish landfill sites the methane was released straight into the atmosphere rather than being flared.  To address this, Cleanergy’s GasBox was deployed at the Regional Centre of Waste Management in Domaszkowice in Poland in August.

This 25 hectare landfill site closed in the  2000. Since the installation of the GasBox, the electricity generated has been used to power equipment and to heat and electrify buildings at the site.

Following this success, Cleanergy’s CHP system has also been deployed at the Waste Neutralisation Enterprise in Sulnówko, a 7.5 hectare landfill site.

Anders Koritz, CEO at Cleanergy commented: “We developed our GasBox to meet a specific need – a complete CHP system that can run on low-grade methane gas. Sure enough the industry response since our launch in June has been amazing.”

According to Cleanergy its GasBox addresses this specific problem and is able to produce both electricity and heat from a methane gas concentration down to 18%.

Installed inside a modular container, Cleanergy’s GasBox is an autonomous and flexible stirling engine unit. Also inside the container is a real-time power management system with remote access; a fuel pipe; plus a heat and electricity connection to a house/factory/warehouse with optional grid functionality.

With a claimed ROI of three to five years, the company said that its GasBox is now commercially deployed at several locations in Norway, Slovenia, Sweden (in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency) and the UK. […]”<

 

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Indiana Landfill Gas Energy Project Starts Operations

Republic Services recently announced the start of operations at its latest landfill gas-to-energy project. The new 6 MW project at County Line Landfill involves four engines operating at one energy generation facility.

Source: biomassmagazine.com

>” […] Landfill gas is a natural byproduct of decomposing waste. This project involves extracting gas from within the landfill, processing the extracted gas, and then distributing the processed gas to a generation facility where it is converted into energy that supplies the local electric grid.

According to the U.S. EPA, landfill gas-to-energy projects also reduce reliance on non-renewable energy resources, such as coal or petroleum. The EPA estimates that three megawatts of energy produced from landfill gas is equivalent to preventing carbon emissions generated by the consumption of 16.6 million gallons of gasoline. Based on EPA calculations, the new County Line Landfill gas-to-energy project prevents carbon emissions equivalent to the consumption of more than 32 million gallons of gasoline.

Republic Services partnered with Aria Energy on the design, development and management of the new project. Republic Services and Aria Energy have partnered on four projects to date with a combined generation capacity of more than 39.6 megawatts of electrical power. Republic and Aria are currently working on two additional projects, which combined are expected to create another 15 megawatts of electrical power.

Republic Services has implemented 73 landfill gas-to-energy projects nationwide. Together, these projects harness enough electricity to power or heat approximately 400,000 households. According to the EPA, the combined environmental benefits from these projects are equal to removing more than 4 million cars from our roads or planting more than 4.5 million acres of trees each year. […]”<

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Oil’s Price Drop Forces Lower Prices for Brazilian Biofuel (Ethanol) Makers

The plunge in oil prices to multi-year lows could have a sour aftertaste for Brazilian sugar processors.

Source: blogs.wsj.com

“> […] The drop in crude prices may spell even more trouble for one of the mills’ two chief products: ethanol. Processors have ramped up production of the biofuel as a way to generate revenue as sugar prices plunged. But now that alternative may lose its luster if cheap gasoline gets in the way. Ultimately, it may push more sugar on the market.

Raw sugar futures on ICE Futures U.S. recently fell 1.6% to a more than six-week low of 15.68 cents a pound. […]

Brazil is the world’s top producer of cane-based ethanol and cane processors have been dedicating more of their cane to produce the biofuel as an alternative to producing sugar, which has slumped in price.

Since Brazil’s cane harvest began in April, mills in the center-south – Brazil’s main cane-growing region – have dedicated 56.1% of their cane to make ethanol, and the rest to make sugar, compared with a 54.7%-45.2% split at the same point last year, according to sugar-industry group Unica.

“If gasoline gets cheaper, it affects ethanol’s competiveness in the blend,” said Jack Scoville, a vice president at Chicago brokerage Price Futures Group. […]”<

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European Airlines Contracts Biofuel Supplier For Biofuel Powered Flights

SAS has, along with the Lufthansa Group and KLM, signed an agreement with Statoil Aviation for a regular supply of 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel at Oslo Airport, allowing the airport to offer a regular supply of biobased fuel.

Source: biomassmagazine.com

>” […] Via an agreement signed with Avinor and the above named airlines, Statoil Aviation is to supply 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel to the refueling facility at Oslo Airport. With a 50 percent biofuel mix, this will fuel around 3,000 flights between Oslo and Bergen and make OSL the first major airport in the world to offer a regular supply of biofuel as part of daily operations from March 2015. […]

SAS aims to use synthetic fuel on an increasingly regular basis in the next few years, and expects biofuel to become competitive with the fossil fuel alternative. For this to happen, a general environment and tax policy will be required from governments, based on aviation being a form of internationally competitive public transport with thin profit margins.”<

 

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