Clean Technology and Energy

How can academic faculty collaborate with policymakers for clean technology?

Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies, has testified numerous times to Congress, State Legislature, and government agencies to offer critical examinations of future automotive technologies and fuels. Sperling coauthored the low-carbon fuel standard for California. His research unit that examines the future potentials of biofuels and alternative vehicle technologies that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What about biomass makes it complicated as a renewable fuel?

We must understand the influence of feedstock properties on the thermochemical conversion of biomass for renewable power and fuels. Bryan Jenkins, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, is executive director of the California Biomass Collaborative, a state funded forum for industry, government, academic, and the environmental community. He is also co-chair of the UC Davis Bioenergy Research Group. He evaluates system designs for enhanced environmental performance and economic feasibility.

Are cleaner energy sources the right first response?

A large amount of effort is focused on alternative energy sources, but the fastest, cheapest and safest alternative remains increasing the amount of light, heat or productive activity from the energy we currently use. Productivity gains of 30 to 50 percent are not uncommon with focused efforts to increase efficiency. Andy Hargadon directs the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Energy Efficiency Center, which both connect emerging technologies with entrepreneurs, investors, corporate customers and state and federal partners to speed the launch of green technologies into the market.

Why is there a rapid growth in wind as an energy source?

Wind power plants consisting of tens of wind turbines can be installed, connected to the grid, and generating electricity in less than a year, making wind one of the more rapidly deployable power generation technologies. Wind energy conversion systems do not generate air pollution and the cost of wind energy is competitive with fossil fuel power plants but is not subject to fluctuating fuel prices. C.P. “Case” van Dam, a mechanical and aeronautical engineer, heads the California Wind Energy Collaborative, funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research program, and has served on review committees government agencies and research organizations to advise on wind power engineering.

If vehicle usage triples worldwide by 2050 as expected, what are the options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles over the long term?

Joan Ogden, an associate professor of environmental science and policy, believes that hydrogen is one of the most feasible ways to power vehicles with zero emissions. As co-director of the Hydrogen Pathway Program at the Institute of Transportation Studies, she has conducted technical and economic assessments of hydrogen and fuel cell systems including the development of a hydrogen infrastructure for transportation applications. She developed an extensive set of data on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and tools for modeling infrastructure performance and costs.

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