The potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States from two sectors: Light-duty vehicles and electricity generation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Mechanical Engineering

Conference Title

17th World Hydrogen Energy Conference 2008, WHEC 2008


Brisbane, Australia

Conference Dates

June 15-18, 2008

Date of Presentation



The development of hydrogen technologies for powering light duty vehicles and stationary electricity is primarily motivated by the problem of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The time and cost of a transition to a hydrogen infrastructure cause some to look instead for more incremental changes to reduce emissions. This paper examines the potential for reducing GHG emissions by technological improvements, under the assumption that end-use activity continues to grow. The scope is limited to two major energy sectors: light-duty vehicles (LDV) and electricity generation. These two sectors are natural targets for regulations on CO 2 emissions, because they already are regulated for pollutants, such as CO and NO x. In the United States, the LDV sector is also regulated with respect to fuel economy, with manufacturers required to sell fleets of cars and trucks that meet the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. This study looks at two of the "wedges" of the growth triangle that Pacala and Socolow (2004) suggested could be part of a GHG stabilization strategy. The scope is also limited to the US. While the US did not ratify the Kyoto treaty, which intended to limit emissions to 5% below 1990 levels, individual states are trying to establish mandates, and there is speculation that the US will limit GHG emissions in the future.



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