Sustainable Mobility: Renewable Energies for Powering Fuel Cell Vehicles

Sustainable Mobility: Renewable Energies for Powering Fuel Cell Vehicles

Sustainable Mobility: Renewable Energies for Powering Fuel Cell Vehicles

Sustainable Mobility: Renewable Energies for Powering Fuel Cell Vehicles

Synopsis

With energy consumption rising and with it our dependence on crude oil from politically uncertain regions, and faced with the threat to the environment from polluting emissions, it is becoming ever more evident that fuels from renewable resources are an increasingly attractive option to fossil fuels. Edinger and Kaul, like a growing number of other experts, hold the mobility of populations--transportation, in other words--responsposible for the rise in the rate of greenhouse gas emissions, a condition that can only get worse as less developed regions of the world emerge with their own needs and demands for mobility. What to do? Edinger and Kaul outline in sharp detail the shortcomings of current vehicular technologies and dominant fossil fuels. They present a careful, authoritative examination of innovative technologies that in their opinion have the best chance of combating dangerous reliance on conventional means of power, not only for transportation but other purposes as well. And they focus on special forms of fuel cell drive systems, with their high efficiencies and reduced consumptions, and on other emerging renewable technologies and their innovative, sustainable power sources--such as fuels from biomass and renewable electricity, a particularly promising source of energy for newly growing economies. Wide ranging in coverage, forthright in style, the book is an important review of how things are today, why they could get worse, but perhaps most importantly, what we can do about it.

Excerpt

The issue of global climate change is playing out as an immense drama just outside the spot lit arena of public awareness at least in the U.S.

The climate is changing far more rapidly than scientists projected just a few years ago—and the systems of the planet are far more sensitive to even a small degree of warming than observers anticipated.

As a result, it is rapidly becoming clear that the continuity of our highly complex and intricately interrelated civilization depends on our ability to reduce emissions from our fossil fuels by 60 to 80 percent in very short order. Absent cuts of that magnitude, we will soon begin to see the opening of profound fissures in the fabric of our collective lives.

Given the magnitude of this drama, it is somewhat ironic that the front-line foot soldiers in the battle to stabilize the climate will come from relatively undramatic professions like resource economics and engineering.

The proof is in the following pages.

As Raphael Edinger and Sanjay Kaul point out, one third of the emissions in the industrial world come from the transportation sector (with another third from electricity generation and the final third from the thermal energy uses). The transportation demands in the developing countries, whose infrastructures are, in most cases, still works in progress, are already escalating dramatically. In the year 2000 alone, the world produced 57 million new vehicles (a distressingly high proportion which took the form of SUVs). The total stock of vehicles in the world is expected to double in the next two decades.

In this increasingly mobile world, when the transport of goods is the cornerstone of a global economy and freedom of movement is valued almost as a basic human right, it is critical that we make our transportation systems as sustainable as possible in very rapid fashion.

“Sustainable Mobility” represents a major step in that direction.

Beginning with a short history of the concept of “sustainability”—from Boulding's “Spaceship Earth, ” to the Meadows' “Limits to Growth, ” to the Brundtland Commission's “Our Common Future, ” the book moves quickly into

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