A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Solar-Electric Cars Crush Biofuels In Efficiency

Climate Progress recently reported on a study that found both economic and environmental benefits if homes in the northeastern United States upgraded older heating systems by moving from heating oil to switchgrass. However, one point to emphasize was the findings were specific to those circumstances — the region, the homes, and that particular use.

Switchgrass was not nearly as good an idea for electricity generation or transportation fuel. Further confirming the need for a diversity of renewable solutions to our energy needs, a recent study determined that electricity generated by solar beats out biofuels for powering cars under myriad scenarios.

The report, put together by a team from the University of California, Santa Barbara and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and published in Enviornmental Science and Technology, compared five different approaches to see what was the most efficient way to power a compact passenger vehicle for every 100 kilometers driven:

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) run on electricity from solar power.
Battery-electric vehicles run on electricity from switchgrass.
Internal combustion vehicles (ICVs) run on switchgrass biofuel.
Battery-electric vehicles run on electricity from corn.
Internal combustion vehicles run on corn-based biofuel.

The analysis considered land-use, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel use, and took into account the production and use life cycles of both the fuels themselves and the vehicles they power.

In terms of land-use, solar significantly out-performed all other options. It performed modestly better than switchgrass in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, and significantly better than corn-based biofuel. Solar was actually equal or slightly worse than switchgrass when it came to fossil fuel requirements over the totality of the life cycle, but it still out-performed corn-based internal combustion. (And, of course, gasoline.)

So all things considered, a pretty clear win for solar-powered electric battery vehicles:



Leave a Reply