New publication on CA’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

Kevin Fingerman, Colin Sheppard, and Andrew Harris recently authored an article on California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Modeling financial least-cost pathways to compliance in Northern California. This paper shares the results of a technoeconomic model developed at the Schatz Center to explore cost-effective pathways for replacing gasoline with alternative vehicle fuels, such as electricity, biodiesel, ethanol, and hydrogen.

Our study focused on six regions within Northern California, with the goal of simulating the most effective pathway to reaching the 10% reduction in transportation fuel greenhouse gas emissions that is mandated by California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Within the study regions, the analysis found that compliance with the LCFS will be more difficult than expected, and that electric vehicles should be expected to play a critical role in achieving vehicle emissions reduction goals.

The article will be published in the August 2018 (Vol 63) edition of Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment and is available to download here in pdf.

RePower Humboldt: BLR Biomass Facility Ventilation System Design Complete

Model of syngas concentration 5 minutes after a leak with the original (top) and final (bottom) ventilation designs. The pink areas are the zones where the concentration is immediately dangerous due to CO toxicity.

Models of syngas concentrations five minutes after a leak with the original (top) and final (bottom) ventilation designs. The pink areas are the zones where the concentration is immediately dangerous due to CO toxicity.

Last summer, the RePower team began evaluating the proposed ventilation system for the Blue Lake Rancheria (BLR) biomass energy facility. Each phase of the BLR gasification process involves a dangerous gas. First, biomass is processed into a syngas rich in hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This syngas is then processed into pure hydrogen and a waste gas rich in carbon monoxide. In normal operation, the syngas and hydrogen are fully contained, and the waste gas is safely burned in a flare. However, an accidental leak in the system could pose an immediate toxic or explosive danger. The ventilation system must give personnVentilation_Image_2el enough time to safely exit, and must clear hazardous gases from the building after the gasifier system shuts down.

To test different system designs, the RePower team used a software package from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to model contaminant flow in 3-D. We simulated various leak scenarios and examined how the placement of exhaust fans and intake vents affected the removal of toxic and flammable gases. We were able to improve on the original system design and create a more responsive, and robust system. The final design uses a combination of ceiling fans, wall fans, and floor vents to provide optimum ventilation. Following installation, the ventilation system will undergo a smoke test to validate the model results. Completion of this work will ensure a safe operating environment for the biomass facility.

SERC Wraps Up PEV Modeling for Delhi, India

SERC recently finished a study applying our agent-based Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (PEVI) model to the city of Delhi, India. Partnering with Lawrence Berkeley National Labs (LBNL), we were able to combine our model with an advanced vehicle performance model to make recommendations for siting electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in Delhi.

Recommended EV chargers at 1% fleet penetration (~10,000 drivers). Level 1 chargers (blue) make up nearly half of the cost, with Level 2 (purple) and DC Fast (orange) chargers accounting for about 30% and 20% of the cost, respectively.

Recommended placement of EV chargers at 1% fleet penetration (~10,000 drivers). Level 1 chargers are in blue, Level 2 chargers are in purple, and DC Fast chargers are in orange. For this scenario, it was assumed that half of all drivers had access to home charging.

While we have used the PEV model previously for northern California, applying the model to Delhi brought new challenges. We had to abandon many of the assumptions underlying our earlier California models – for example, we could no longer assume that every driver had access to a charger at home.

It comes as no surprise that the results of our Delhi study differed from our California studies. Whereas the California results favor medium- to high-power Level 2 and DC Fast chargers, the Delhi results heavily favor Level 1 chargers, which charge at half the rate as Level 2 chargers. Our base scenario recommendations are shown below. These include 1,671 chargers at a price of $1.6 M; of these, 1,550 were Level 1 chargers, representing approximately half of the overall cost. The map of Delhi shows the distribution of different power chargers throughout the city.

In addition to the above recommendations, our analysis revealed several key lessons to help with future planning:

  • Access to home charging alone is not enough to get drivers everywhere they need to go.
  • Battery-swapping stations, despite their refill speed, are too expensive to be a cost-effective solution for Delhi.
  • Heavy congestion makes EVs impractical for many drivers, particularly when air-conditioning is used in the vehicle.

With India’s National Electric Mobility Mission Plan targeting 400,000 EVs nationwide by 2020, the next five years promise many lessons for supporting drivers through strategic siting of chargers.