Monday, February 12, 2007

NEWS: Green Transportation Trends

There are many exciting green transportation trends currently underway.

One is PHH GreenFleet, a project created out of PHH Avral and Environmental Defense. PHH GreenFleet is a pilot program helping companies reduce greenhouse emissions among fleet vehicles. This is done by measuring and analyzing emission levels, and helping companies to reduce emissions through recommendations and implementation of better practices, quarterly measurement and reporting, and tools to offset remaining emissions. GreenFleet is currently helping Abbott Laboratories to reduce its emissions by 10% by 2010.

Furthermore, dirty diesel just got a cleanup. The diesel industry says it has met regulatory standards, allowing new 2007 diesel truck models to emit 90% less emissions than their 2006 counterparts. After billions of research and development, new diesel trucks employ ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel [ULSD], which also helps to reduce Nitrogen Oxide [NOx] emissions, at a mere 15ppm sulfur content rather than the old 500ppm content. These new trucks must meet their low-emission requirements for at least 435,000 miles. This cleaner fuel opens the doors for a wide array of applications in both commercial and individual uses.

A study by the National Biodiesel Board reported that the American Biodiesel industry will add $24 billion to the US economy between 2005 and 2015, with growth reaching 650 million gallons by 2015. The board also reports that Biodiesel will keep $13.6 billion in America that would otherwise be spent on foreign oil. The study also finds that 498 million of the 650 million gallons will be produced from soybean oil. As of 2006, there are 88 plants in America producing about 200-250 million gallons of Biodiesel, nearly triple the levels of 2005.

Also, General Motors, in a partnership with General Electric Plastics, has planned to create the Chevrolet Volt. The Volt will reach 40mpg on an electric engine, and will be created out of materials that will reduce part weight by 50%. These technologies will reduce fuel consumption, will release less carbon dioxide, and improve overall performance. GreenOrder, an independent environmental strategy firm, verified GM’s claims, and found that if 3.2 million passenger vehicles were made with these standards and technologies, greenhouse emissions would be reduced by 194,000 tons and save more than 20 million gallons of oil each year.

Finally, the word on the street is that Biomethane can be a saving grace. Made from organic wastes, and having the same chemical composition of natural gas, Biomethane can help clean up the environment by reducing the use of fossil fuels. Biomethane can be made out of animal, food, and municipal wastes, production is not affected by oil price/production swings, and can be pumped into existing natural gas pipe lines. Furthermore, Biomethane can also be formed into liquefied natural gas [LNG], or compressed natural gas [CNG] which can be used in vehicles running on natural gas, of which there are currently about 5 million worldwide. Biomethane can also be used as a renewable hydrogen source [chemical CH4].