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Fri Sep 27, 2019, 08:38 PM

Aluminum & Regions of the US Where the Climate Impact of Electric Cars Is Worse than Gasoline Cars.

The two papers I'll discuss in this post are these: Regional Heterogeneity in the Emissions Benefits of Electrified and Lightweighted Light-Duty Vehicles (Kirchain et al Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019 53 18 10560-10570) and Source Risks As Constraints to Future Metal Supply (Éléonore Lèbreet al Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019 53 18 10571-10579)

The first paper is open sourced, and the interested reader can read it in its entirety; I will nonetheless excerpt it and reproduce some graphics here with my commentary. The second paper is not open sourced, but I will excerpt it in any case.

Both papers discuss the well known metal aluminum. For example, the first paper, which is all about how "green" electric cars actually are - they are routinely assumed to be so in rote language, language that I regard as dangerous in the extreme, since the consequences of climate change are extreme - has this to say about aluminum:

Driven by economic pressures, market competition, and environmental regulations, auto manufacturers are actively pursuing technological solutions to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with personal transportation. Although much of the recent discussions of automotive technology change center around electrification of the drivetrain,(1−6) there are, in fact, other technology strategies that can reduce vehicle fuel consumption.(7−11) One important strategy is mass reduction, which the industry refers to as lightweighting.(9−11) By reducing the mass of the vehicle, the inertial forces and rolling resistances that the engine has to overcome are lowered, and the energy required to drive the vehicle is reduced. Assuming that vehicles stay about the same size, substantial mass reduction generally requires material substitution.(7−9)

There are two major factors that complicate the evaluation of alternative vehicle technologies. First, manufacturing processes for alternative technologies are often more carbon-intensive than those of conventional analogs. While mass reduction lowers energy requirements during vehicle use, alternative materials used to reduce vehicle mass tend to be more carbon-intensive to produce than the steels they would replace.(9,11,12) For example, an aluminum component with the same stiffness as its steel counterpart can require nearly three times more energy to produce.(13) (A notable exception to this trend is high strength steels with similar production burden as conventional steels.)(9,10,12) Similarly, functionally equivalent battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are generally more carbon-intensive to produce than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).(14) As a consequence, any evaluation of alternative automotive technologies must consider impacts during both use and production to ensure an overall net improvement.


The bold is mine.

By the way, before going too far into this, should this post attract readership not familiar with my personal eccentricities, I personally believe that the concept of a "green car" - whether or electric or otherwise - is an oxymoron.

Sometimes the claim that a car can be "green" is based on lies told my the manufacturers, for example the Audi A3 TDI won the 2010 "Green Car of the Year Award" probably because the Volkswagen people installed software to minimize its pollution while being tested by regulatory authorities, even though while actually driving the car it was quite dirty. Several Volkswagen Executives are looking at jail time as a result; but haven't yet been convicted. Rich liars, as we know from US politics, take a long time to convict.

Other times the belief in "Green Cars" result from lies we tell ourselves. In the case of electric cars, the belief that they are "green," derives from the absurd and easily disproved fantasy that the electricity that comes out of our wall socket is green, that it is almost all produced from so called "renewable energy," that, despite the chanted belief system has not, is not, and will not do anything meaningful to address climate change. In reality the amount of dangerous fossil fuels utilized to produce electricity is, not falling, but is rising rapidly. The committed power plant construction is expected to result in an increase of approximately 3 degrees centigrade in this century.

My contention is that the car CULTure never was, is not now, and never will be sustainable and is therefore has not, is not and will not be green, no matter how much snake oil people like Elon Musk sell.

The authors in this paper extend their consideration of the value of battery electric cars (BEV), hybrid cars (HEV), plug in hybrids (PHEV), light weight internal combustion engine cars (ICEV), and light weight internal combustion engine cars (LW-ICEV). They consider the type of driving being done, depending on whether it takes place in a rural setting, where energy efficiency tens to be higher, and also the effect of temperature, since the use of a heater or an air conditioner will reduce the driving range of electrified cars.

They write:

There are two major factors that complicate the evaluation of alternative vehicle technologies. First, manufacturing processes for alternative technologies are often more carbon-intensive than those of conventional analogs. While mass reduction lowers energy requirements during vehicle use, alternative materials used to reduce vehicle mass tend to be more carbon-intensive to produce than the steels they would replace.(9,11,12) For example, an aluminum component with the same stiffness as its steel counterpart can require nearly three times more energy to produce.(13) (A notable exception to this trend is high strength steels with similar production burden as conventional steels.)(9,10,12) Similarly, functionally equivalent battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are generally more carbon-intensive to produce than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs).(14) As a consequence, any evaluation of alternative automotive technologies must consider impacts during both use and production to ensure an overall net improvement.

Second, although both mass reduction and electrification improve the rated fuel economy of the vehicle, actual in-use GHG emission rate is strongly influenced by the driving context,(6,15−22) including driving habits, climate, and the local electrical grid. Moreover, the influence of these contextual conditions is not the same for mass reduction and electrification

Considering both of these issues together, we see the need for not only a cradle-to-grave assessment,(1,2,9,23) but also an assessment that considers a range of driving contexts. Although in practice, both strategies may be applied together, this paper considers mass reduction and electrification separately to better understand how the two perform differently in different contexts...

To make this possible, we propose a novel model of climate impact on drivetrain performance calibrated against a vehicle performance data set comprising over 300 million miles of driving records from approximately 33 000 BEV and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) customers.(30,31) Overall, we consider the impact of regional differences in electric grid, driving patterns, and ambient temperature.

From that high-resolution modeling, our results suggest that an aluminum lightweight ICEV would have similar emissions to HEVs in about 25% of the counties in the US and emissions lower than BEVs in a little over 20% of counties. These results indicate that lightweight ICEVs can be more environmentally beneficial than electrified vehicles in more than 500 counties. Generally, these counties are characterized by rural driving (i.e., driving where vehicle fuel efficiency is better represented by a highway driving cycle) and carbon-intensive grids and are located in the Midwest and Midsouth.


Some graphics from the paper are useful:



The caption:

Figure 3. Life cycle GHG emissions per km for different powertrain types (ICEV, LW-ICEV HEV, PHEV, and BEV) in selected counties. LW-ICEV here is one mass reduced through the use of aluminum.


A second, a map, gives regions of the United States where the greenhouse gas emissions of electric cars are actually worse or than gasoline cars or essentially equivalent:



The caption:

Figure 4. Life cycle GHG emission benefits for electrification compared to the: (a) baseline, no-lightweighting ICEV scenario, (b) lightweighting with aluminum ICEV scenario. Darker blue areas show counties with greater emission savings from EVs. The values in the boxes are the percent of counties where HEVs/PHEVs/BEVs have less emissions (blue box), similar (±5%) emissions to ICEV comparator (white box), or more emissions than the ICEV comparator (light orange).

Underlying map images and geographic data Copyright Mapbox and Copyright OpenStreetMap contributors.


The carbon, nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide, and methane intensity of subgrids (2016 data) can be found in the summary tables available here:

Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID)

Regrettably it gives these values in pounds, and to convert the units to more useful SI units, one needs to use an Excel formula to clean it up.

From the first graphic produced above (figure 3 from the paper), it is clear that in the "best" case where an electric vehicle is superior to a gasoline car, Los Angeles, where one can spend hours a day sitting on the 405 freeway without moving 2 meters in ten minutes, that because an electric car doesn't need to idle, the greenhouse gas cost of the car is environmentally unacceptable: It's about 100 grams of CO2 per km, meaning that to drive to Walmart in LA to buy a Sierra Club calendar to show how "green" you are, in your swell Tesla electric car for millionaires and billionaires, one is likely to dump a kg of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide into the atmosphere where it will impact all future generations and all living things in a way that may prove irreversible.

It also matters in LA when you charge your piece of shit electric car. As I noted in a previous post, California is one of the few places on Earth where solar energy - which is not green, and not sustainable - represents a significant source of energy. However the peak amount of energy available from allegedly (but not practically) "green" solar energy does not coincide with the peak demand on the grid, which is roughly 6 pm.


Hours of the Top 50 CAISO Electricity Loads in California, July 2019.

During the peak hours of solar production, electricity prices can fall to negative pricing, which because the fixed costs of the necessary back up plants - the majority of which are dangerous fossil fuel plants in California do not vanish when they cannot sell their product, ends up raising the grid prices paid by all consumers, including poor people, not that we give a rat's ass about poor people anymore, even on the left, where we would all rather discuss our bourgeois electronic toys that did not, are not and will not save the world.

This is why Denmark and Germany have, respectively, the highest and second highest household electricity prices in the OECD.

Now let's turn to the second paper I mentioned above, the paper on metal supply.

I have written in this space about aluminum production several times and its energy costs. The most recent discussion was a highly esoteric discussion of the physics of bubbles as relevant to aluminum anodes in the commonly utilized Hall process for aluminum production. (These anodes are made from petroleum coke and are gasified in the process of producing aluminum, releasing carbon dioxide and a number of highly recalcitrant carbon fluorides.)

Here is a recent highly technical musing on the subject:

Contact Angles And Bubble Motions in the Aluminum Reduction Electrochemical Cell.

Because we hold all future generations in contempt, handing out interminable garbage about how "by 2050" or "by 2075" our children and grandchildren and great great grandchildren will live in an electric car/"renewable energy" nirvana, and can easily do that which have clearly demonstrated an ability to do ourselves, we are rapidly consuming all of the world's high quality ores. The lower quality ores - some of which may be our landfill - will be far more energy intensive to isolate, meaning that we have not only dumped our irresponsibility to embrace carbon free energy - only one example of this type of energy is sustainable, nuclear energy - but we will require them to use far more energy than we do.

This the paper having this graphic in the abstract which is open as opposed to the paper itself:



From the paper's introduction:

Human development, as an objective, involves enhancing people’s freedoms and opportunities, and improving their well-being. This objective relies on the viability of the education, health care, telecommunications, agriculture, transportation, construction, water, and energy sectors. Technology is a fundamental enabler across these sectors, and requires metals for manufacture or application. As technologies advance, the number of metals in use has increased to 60 out of 91 known metals.1 Future demand for the most widely used metalsiron, aluminum, manganese, copper, zinc, lead, and nickelis predicted to at least double, and possibly triple, by midcentury1,84 with a potential 8-fold increase in aluminum demand.2−4 A doubling or tripling of demand is likewise anticipated for specialty metals such as lithium, rhenium, and some rare earths.2 Two concurrent drivers for this demand include the continued increase in global population and human development measured in per-capita wealth.5,84 A third driver is the rise in metal demand to support the decarbonization of economies to mitigate climate change. Renewable energy generation, transmission, and storage systems have considerably higher metal requirements on a per kWh basis than their fossil fuels counterparts.6,7

Such radical increases in demand can only be satisfied if there is sufficient global supply of the appropriate metals. Presently, these metals are primarily sourced from mining, as recycling can only supply a fraction of the demand in the foreseeable future.8 Even for steel and aluminum, which have substantial recycling programs in place, predictive modeling indicates that the majority of these metals will be from primary sources for at least another 30 years.9,85

Several publications, including Vidal et al.,10 Kleijn et al.,11 Graedel et al.,12 Northey et al.,13 and the reports of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),14 acknowledge potential material constraints in the global transition to renewable energy sources. Methodologies are emerging to assess the supply risk of metals across the value chain, according to reviews by Northey et al.,15 Achzet et al.,16 and Erdmann and Graedel.17 The methodology on metal “criticality” developed by Graedel et al.18 includes 16 macro-level indicators that aggregate either national or global supply chain data, and three types of users: global analysts, national governments, and corporations...


The authors will not discuss 57 of the 60 essential elements in the periodic table, and mention obliquely the metal intensity of so called "renewable energy" which relies on an unsustainable supply of some exotic metals, leaving open the question of whether the word "renewable" is entirely fallacious, as I claim it is.

Some people say, "no problem," which is easy for them to say since they'll be dead when any such "problem" arises, rather like the assholes who have bet the planetary atmosphere on wishful thinking about "renewable energy" with "by 2050" type rhetoric:

Concerns about availability are often inclusive of nongeological considerations around the issue of access. 13,25,30−32 Arndt et al.33 and Mudd and Jowitt34 argue that resource depletion is overstated because reporting codes represent conservative estimates of available resources. Such estimates are based on economic considerations and are bound to evolve as metal prices and available technologies influence which portion of the orebody is considered to be extractable at a profit. Declining ore grades raise technical and economic challenges that can be and have been addressed through technological innovation. Greater project footprint area, larger material movements, greater quantities of waste rock, and increased water and energy requirementsall consequences of lower gradescan partially be offset through enhanced selectivity, for example, underground block caving, ore sorting, or in situ leaching. ESG factors, however, are not easily overcome by technological innovation, can restrict access to the orebody, and affect the longer term feasibility of mineral extraction.15,19,25 ESG factors tend to accumulate, and are exacerbated by geological scarcity. Local ESG factors remain an unresolved gap for researchers conducting assessments on metal availability,15 as well for asset managers undertaking due diligence for the acquisition of mining properties.24


Anyway, some graphics from the paper:



F
igure 1. Methodological framework–spatial coincidence between the set of ESG risk categories and the orebodies sample.




Figure 2. Global distribution of iron ore, bauxite, and copper orebodies samples considered in the analysis (source: S&P database 2019).




Figure 3. Cumulative reserves and resources for iron ore, copper and bauxite, ordered by risk co-occurrence. Color shades correspond to the average grades of individual orebodies, expressed in percentages. Dashed lines highlight the portion of the sample that is located in high risk co-occurrence contexts (i.e., four or more concurrent ESG risks).




Figure 4. Distribution of tonnage and average grade by medium-to-high risk co-occurrence for iron ore (top), bauxite (center), and copper (bottom). Proportion of specific ESG risk categories represented by different pattern and shading scale. Numbers above bars correspond to the number of orebodies.


A lot of the stuff in the paper is stuff we couldn't care less about while we fall all over ourselves carrying on about Elon Musk, his cars for millionaires and billionaires, and his rockets with which utilizes as a marketing tool while he works to make precious orbital space unavailable for future generations.

An excerpt from the paper's conclusion:

Research on metal criticality has predominately assessed the supply risk for metals at a macro-scale. Our methodology expands current thinking about resource criticality by including source-based risks. Criticality studies focus on the likelihood of supply disruption and its consequences for importing nations. Scholars have called for a restructuring of global supply and demand networks, and propose strategies of supply diversification, subsidies for national production, and development of strategic stockpiles.

Our methodology assesses source risks for the supplying regions of the globe. Without this, understandings of metal criticality are incomplete. This research has major implications for the mining industry, investors, governments, and downstream users of metals. The results indicate the presence of multiple concurrent risks and raise concerns about the ability of the mining industry to meet demand, which has been projected to grow significantly for copper and iron1 as well as for aluminum.85 To address the complexity associated with these factors, major innovations are required in the design and development of resource projects. Innovations will not only need to “cut across” disciplines but also stakeholder groups to ensure that the responsibility for solutions extends beyond governments and individual companies. Our methodology identifies critical issues associated with the future supply of metals. This is best highlighted in the case of Water, which rated as medium to high risk for two-thirds of the undeveloped world copper orebodies. By building a global picture of the ESG risks surrounding current undeveloped orebodies, we draw attention to the feasibility and potential consequences of taking these projects forward into production.


The availability of water is a big one by the way. We have largely destroyed the world's riverine systems to make "green" energy and "green" agriculture but we're not quite finished yet.

If any of this post troubles you, don't worry, be happy. Head over to the E&E forum and learn all about how "green energy" and electric cars will save the day. They haven't, they aren't, and they won't, but in the joy associated with impeachment times it's best to focus only on happy thoughts.

Donald Trump will be a footnote to history "by 2050," but climate change won't. History will not forgive us, nor should it.

Enjoy the weekend.

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Reply Aluminum & Regions of the US Where the Climate Impact of Electric Cars Is Worse than Gasoline Cars. (Original post)
NNadir Sep 27 OP
Eko Sep 27 #1
Control-Z Sep 29 #2
Eko Sep 29 #3

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Fri Sep 27, 2019, 09:23 PM

1. I dont even need to read all of your BS to know you have

discarded the waste that nuclear plants produce.
discarded the metals that nuclear plants need.
discarded the cost of nuclear plants.
discarded the fact that no one can pay for the insurance for one without going bankrupt.
Pretty much you have discarded everything negative, and there are a lot of negatives, so you can push that green energy is evil and nuclear is awesome.
I know, I know, I'm just a nuclear hating idiot, except I'm not. I think we need everything to get through this and you just use that as a red herring when people disagree with your "thoughts" on how awesome nuclear is and how evil green energy is.
Eko

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Response to Eko (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 29, 2019, 12:08 AM

2. I actually really appreciate

your comment here. I got a bit lazy and started to slog my way through the OP without looking at username, true subject matter or post length. Ugh.

I left the tab open to come back and read a little at a time and was doing so when I decided to scroll down (to see just how long the post really was). After scrolling and scrolling (on my phone, no less) I eventually came to the end and found your reply. (Thank you, thank you.) I knew, or should have known, better as I too am familiar with these pro-nuclear energy posts. I got complacent.

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Response to Control-Z (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 29, 2019, 08:14 PM

3. Thanks.

I appreciate that. This all started here Link if you care to look. I think its pretty humorous. Shortly after he (that's what Ive been told by some on here so I go by he) blocked me so I make a point to refute every post he does if it warrants it. I cant stand people being all high and mighty when it is so obvious what the logical flaws are in their argument.
Eko

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