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Advanced Transportation

Transportation accounts for approximately 20% of global energy use. The simple fact that moving people and resources around requires a significant amount of energy poses several problems. When energy is stored and transported along with the material being moved (as in the majority of today's fossil-powered cars, trucks, trains, and planes), the products of energy conversion are necessarily created along the path of motion.

Petroleum combustion currently dominates transportation energy use and emissions. Though its high energy density and easy portability make it an attractive fuel, it may be difficult to develop vehicles that use petroleum without emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. Using other energy carriers that either produce zero CO2 or emit CO2 that was recently captured from the atmosphere, such as biofuels, would allow for significant reductions in transportation CO2 emissions. If the carbon-free energy carriers are manufactured using fossil fuels, the resulting CO2 emissions could be centrally captured and stored.

Improvements in vehicles and transportation network technology also have the potential to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by the transportation sector. Personal vehicles make up the majority of CO2 emissions and have efficiencies well below other modern energy conversion devices. Improving the prime mover efficiency of personal vehicles or shifting mobility demand to more organized or higher capacity transportation systems could help confront this challenge.

Investigators in Advanced Transportation

Current Research Activities
Completed Research Activities
Past Event

GCEP Advanced Transportation Workshop:

October 10-11, 2005, Stanford University