Commercial trucking’s future is in the details

September 8, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Commercial trucking’s future is in the details

Commercial trucking’s future is in the details Rick Mihelic Tue, 09/08/2020 – 01:45 One downside of a career as an engineer is that you are trained to notice detail. Robert Downey Jr., playing Sherlock Holmes in the 2011 movie “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows,” is asked what he sees. His answer: “Everything. That is my curse.” It can make you the invaluable go-to person for information and analyses, and it also can make you the brunt of sarcasm and stereotyping. You are what you are. I had my son snap this photo as we were driving. I thought this one image captured a great deal of salient points I’ve learned after several years of researching medium- and heavy-duty alternatives such as battery electric, fuel cell electric and a variety of hybrid systems for the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). Let’s start with the obvious first: Feeding North America requires trucks and truck drivers. Trucks require energy. This energy has to be replenished regularly. COVID-19’s impact on the North American supply chain, hopefully, has heightened everyone’s appreciation that while food does grow on trees, a truck and driver probably has to get it to you. Over 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States is on trucks. If the trucks don’t move, you do not get food, toilet paper or masks. Those trucks are driven by people. They are taking risks now, and always have, to get you products you need to survive. The trucks need energy, whether diesel, gasoline, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen, propane, etc. That has to come from somewhere on a reliable and consistent basis or you do not get fed. Diving deeper into the photo: Fleets are commercial businesses that exist to deliver product to you. “Free delivery.” It’s a great advertising tag line, but there are no free rides; someone always pays somewhere. Buried in the cost of products are the costs of getting the product from its point of origin to you, the consumer. You may never see it, but fundamentally at some level you understand that the primary purpose of businesses is to be profitable. Embedded in the price you pay for goods are things such as vehicle maintenance, insurance, driver labor, warehouse labor, packaging labor, fuel energy, transport tolls, packaging disposal and, of course, profit margin. Profit is the whole reason a business exists in the first place. Companies that do not make a profit eventually collapse. Little of this detail is visible to you as a consumer. You generally have just a price and applicable taxes on your receipt. Occasionally “shipping and handling” are itemized, but this is probably only the last leg of the delivery. The “supply chain” is all of that infrastructure that gets the product to your door. Many corporations exist to make money from finding and delivering energy to transportation. There is a phenomenal amount of money invested, profits made and infrastructure tied to transportation related energy. They know change is coming. Energy providers such as Shell want to be around for a long time, so they are diversifying into a number of possible energy streams. Vehicle and component manufacturers are similarly diversifying with examples such as Cummins trying to cover most of the alternative technologies in their product portfolio. Utilities such as Duke Energy are getting engaged as well, forecasting major growth in demand for electricity, whether that’s for charging battery electric vehicles or for producing fuels such as hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles. Fleet operators such as UPS are experimenting with many alternatives trying to get experience to aid in planning investments. Venture capitalists also are everywhere seeking the next great investment. NACFE presented in its ” Viable Class 7/8 Alternative Vehicles Guidance Report ” the “messy middle” future, where a wide range of powertrains and energy forms are competing for market share. The future is not known yet. This diversity of choices is powering investment in all the alternatives as companies try to position themselves for this future. Prudent regulators are attempting to be technology-neutral while incentivizing significant improvement in market adoption, performance, affordability, emissions and durability. Fifteen states have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop action plans to ensure 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission sales by 2030. California already has enacted regulations requiring all trucks and vans sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045. The near future may be the “messy middle,” but the longer view is heading toward zero-emission technologies. The gas station/truck stop paradigm is not necessarily the future. It’s an easy trap to fall into that we predict the future based on past experience. Psychologists label this sometimes as a familiarity bias. The gas station/truck stop paradigm we have evolved into may not reflect the future of transportation. Think of past examples. When the Eisenhower administration rolled out the national highway system in the 1950s, fuel stations and towns on venerable Route 66 suddenly found that they had been bypassed by the new multi-lane freeways. Higher speeds enabled by the freeways enabled fuel stations to be farther apart and co-located at key exits. The transition from coal steam trains to diesel electric ones in the 1940s and 1950s saw many fundamental shifts in infrastructure, with trains no longer needing water and coal refill stops. The development of jet commercial aviation in the 1960s largely eliminated the passenger rail system in the U.S. The advent of portable cellular phones has eliminated the ubiquitous phone booth system and all its infrastructure. Today, transportation is seeing daily innovations in alternative energy powertrains in parallel with major innovations in automation. The future is not known, but I bet the traditional gas station/truck stop will not look or operate like the ones of today. Even simplistically, a fully autonomous truck will not need to stop for food, snacks or a bathroom break. It won’t need to be located near convenient shopping or restaurants. As the alternative powertrains mature and become more capable, ranges will improve dramatically. When EVs come into existence that are capable of traveling 500 to 600 miles, energy stations planned around vehicles with a 100- to 200-mile range may be as endangered in the future as were the Route 66 gas stations in the past. Concepts in Europe to electrify highways with either in-pavement wireless or overhead catenary charging might eliminate fuel stations entirely. Some regions with growing numbers of EV cars have found that they primarily charge at home, and they rarely see a commercial charging station. Other regions see heavy use of commercial charging stations, but they may be tied to locations such as shopping centers or grocery store parking lots. In predicting the future, I like to refer to the cautionary note required on nearly all investment advertising, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Predictions are easy. Really knowing the future is easier once you get there. Topics Transportation & Mobility Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Connor Mihelic Close Authorship

View original post here:
Commercial trucking’s future is in the details

PriestmanGoode designs sustainable, plastic-free takeout containers

August 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on PriestmanGoode designs sustainable, plastic-free takeout containers

London-based design studio PriestmanGoode, as part of the Wallpaper* Re-Made project, has imagined a new, sustainable option for restaurant takeaway containers that is reusable and plastic foam-free. As the desire for convenience and takeout food options increases in the world, so does the single-use plastic and other waste. Now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants that didn’t originally offer takeout are turning to the option in order to keep their businesses afloat, making environmentally friendly to-go options more important than ever. Related: Designers aim to reduce the waste and impact of airlines Jo Rowan, Associate Director of Strategy at PriestmanGoode explained, “We wanted to re-think food delivery and takeaway in a bid to minimize the environmental impact of convenience culture.” Called ZERO, the takeaway packaging checks many boxes when it comes to eco-friendliness. For one, it reintroduces the idea of reusable containers. Not that long ago, reusable was the norm, but at some point we became a disposable society, endangering the planet with material production and disposal. ZERO also provides an alternative to the standard plastic foam containers that typically can’t be recycled. To achieve zero waste , the idea is to charge the customer an upfront fee for the containers that is then reimbursed when the containers are returned for the next order. In addition to its usefulness as a takeaway alternative, the packaging offers a universal design that is transferable between restaurants. Plus, the containers offer temperature control during transport and delivery. These containers are also versatile and great to use at home, take on a picnic or carry lunch to the office. The bioplastic for the containers, made from a byproduct of the cacao industry, is created by designer Paula Nerlich. Another notable material used for the insulation, designed by Ty Syml, is mycelium . For the food container and bag handles, Lexcell by Yulex provides a 100% plant-based, neoprene-free specialty natural rubber material. In addition, the outer bag comes from Nuatan by Crafting Plastics and is made from 100% raw, renewable resources, is biodegradable and can withstand high temperatures. Finally, Piñatex is used for the bag lid; Piñatex is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fibers extracted from pineapple leaves. + PriestmanGoode Via Dezeen Images via PriestmanGoode and Carolyn Brown

View post:
PriestmanGoode designs sustainable, plastic-free takeout containers

North Carolina denies permit for extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline

August 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on North Carolina denies permit for extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline

North Carolina has made a step toward clean energy by denying the permit needed for further construction on a pipeline. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has  denied a key permit to the Mountain Valley Pipeline that would have extended the project by 75 miles. The Mountain Valley Pipeline was expected to be extended from where it ends in Chatham, Virginia to Graham, North Carolina. The project had been earmarked to follow a route that would see it cross over 207 streams and three ponds. Among the water sources that would have been affected by the project are the Dan River, home to many endangered species , and the Creek Reservoir, which is the main source of drinking water for Burlington, North Carolina. NCDEQ issued a decision to stop the pipeline from being extended, casting doubts over the likelihood of the project ever being completed. Related: Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline “Today’s announcement is further evidence that the era of fracked gas pipelines is over,” said Joan Walker, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club. “We applaud the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for prioritizing North Carolina’s clean water over corporate polluters’ profits. Dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines like Mountain Valley threaten the health of our people, climate, and communities, and aren’t even necessary at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are affordable and abundant.” When issuing the ruling, the NCDEQ noted that the risks involved in developing and running the project are not worth the trouble. Further, there have been doubts about whether the Mountain Valley project will ever be completed. Although the developers claim that 92% of the pipeline is complete, it has been established that only 50% of the project has been completed. North Carolina has been making positive strides toward clean energy. Companies that pollute the environment with greenhouse gases are now being challenged to look at better, greener options. The decision to deny permits to such projects just shows the state’s commitment to a more sustainable future. Via EcoWatch Image via Gokul Raghu M

Continued here: 
North Carolina denies permit for extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline

Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

January 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

In the last decade, we’ve seen an increase in alternative … The post Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources appeared first on Earth911.com.

Original post:
Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

January 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

In the last decade, we’ve seen an increase in alternative … The post Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources appeared first on Earth911.com.

Original post:
Infographic: 14 Alternative Energy Sources

Earth911 Podcast, November 1, 2019: Baru Seeds, A Sustainable Peanut Alternative

November 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco

Comments Off on Earth911 Podcast, November 1, 2019: Baru Seeds, A Sustainable Peanut Alternative

Baru seeds are a sustainable superfood from the Brazilian Cerrado, … The post Earth911 Podcast, November 1, 2019: Baru Seeds, A Sustainable Peanut Alternative appeared first on Earth911.com.

Read the rest here:
Earth911 Podcast, November 1, 2019: Baru Seeds, A Sustainable Peanut Alternative

Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

July 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

An innovative startup company from Finland has piloted a new alternative protein product made out of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This meat alternative has the potential to address the environmental evils of both the agriculture industry and climate change. The startup is confident it will be able to get the product on grocery store shelves by 2021. The product, named Solein, will likely be sold first as a liquid protein source via shakes or yogurt. This is different than alternative meat competitors, now including conventional meat giants like Tyson , that primarily sell alternative proteins as nuggets or burgers. Related: Vegan and lab-grown meats predicted to take over meat market in 20 years According to Solar Foods, Solein is “100 times more climate friendly” than all other animal- and plant-based proteins. In fact, the company also claims it is 10 times more efficient than soy production in terms of carbon footprint . How does it work? The company says it mixes water molecules with nutrients like potassium and sodium and then feeds the solution plus carbon to microbes. The microbes consume the nutrients and produce an edible substance that looks like flour and is 50 percent protein . Lab-grown meats are an expanding industry, but Solar Foods captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to feed to microbes instead of using sugar like most other companies. “Producing Solein is entirely free from agriculture — it doesn’t require arable land or irrigation and isn’t limited by climate conditions,” a Solar Foods representative told Dezeen . “It can be produced anywhere around the world, even in areas where conventional protein production has never been possible.” The company has big ambitions and believes that if the alternative meat industry is indeed going to overtake the conventional meat industry as predicted, leading corporations like Impossible Meat and Beyond Meat are going to need to experiment with and use innovative sources of protein beyond pea-based products. + Solar Foods Via Futurism Image via Solar Foods

View original post here: 
Finnish startup makes alternative protein from carbon dioxide

What Fuels You?: Choosing an Alternative Car Fuel

March 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Eco Tech

Comments Off on What Fuels You?: Choosing an Alternative Car Fuel

Eco-friendly cars are gaining in popularity, but not all efficient … The post What Fuels You?: Choosing an Alternative Car Fuel appeared first on Earth911.com.

Here is the original post:
What Fuels You?: Choosing an Alternative Car Fuel

Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

Microbeads ‘ detriment to the environment is well-documented , yet many companies continue to put the tiny plastic spheres in their products. Scientists at the University of Bath came up with a solution. They created microbeads from cellulose instead, and their alternative is both biodegradable and renewable. One shower can pollute the ocean with 100,000 plastic particles, according to an estimate cited by the University of Bath. These plastic microbeads less than five millimeters in size are way too small to be filtered out by sewage filtration systems, and from sunscreens, toothpastes, or cosmetics end up in the ocean. Fish, birds, and other marine creatures then consume them. Researchers think from there, the microbeads may be entering our food supply . Related: Greenpeace identifies brands that are still polluting oceans with microbeads So a research team at the university developed a way to continuously make biodegradable microbeads. They dissolve cellulose and reform it into beads, by making droplets that are set. They say their process is scalable, and they can draw cellulose from waste products such as those from the paper-making industry. These waste products offer a renewable source of cellulose. Their biodegradable microbeads will stay stable in a body wash, but at sewage treatment facilities can be broken down by organisms. Or the beads will break down in a short period of time if they do make it into the wider environment. Scientist Janet Scott said they’ll biodegrade into harmless sugars. She said in a statement, “Microbeads used in the cosmetics industry are often made of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are cheap and easy to make. However these polymers are derived from oil and they take hundreds of years to break down in the environment…We hope in the future these [microbeads] could be used as a direct replacement for plastic microbeads.” The journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering published a study on the research online the end of May. A team led by Scott just received more than £1 million, around $1.2 million, in funding to develop porous beads, microsponges, and capsules from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council . Via the University of Bath Images via University of Bath

Read more: 
Scientists create eco-friendly, biodegradable microbeads

Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

October 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

A new nuclear reactor went online in Tennessee recently, making history as the first commercial reactor in America to go online in the 21st century. Watts Bar Unit 2 is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant , and cost $4.7 billion. The unit can power 650,000 homes. There hasn’t been a new nuclear reactor brought online in two decades. TVA says Watts Bar Unit 2 was finished “the right way – with safety and quality” taken into deep consideration every step along the way. The company says the unit underwent ” an extensive series of power ascension tests ” as it began to operate. This week they announced the new reactor is officially operational after it functioned properly and generated power for three weeks. TVA CEO Bill Johnson said the energy generated by Watts Bar Unit 2 will be reliable, low-cost, and will protect the area’s natural resources. Related: First new US nuclear power plant in 20 years scheduled to open in Tennessee The company emphasizes the power generated by Watts Bar 2 is clean energy

Read more:
Watts Bar Unit 2 is the first new American nuclear reactor to go online in 20 years

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 10383 access attempts in the last 7 days.