The study will focus on transportation, where emissions reduction policies have significant consequences on the economy and materials use, and can fail due to unintended results that can offset environmental gains, said Steven Skerlos, associate professor of mechanical engineering at U-M. Skerlos will present the framework for the study at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. Other U-M researchers involved are Gregory Keoleian, associate professor at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Walter McManus, director of the automotive analysis division of the Transportation Research Institute.
Skerlos and James Winebrake, chair of the public policy department at Rochester Institute of Technology, are co-directors of the $1.9 million, five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation since October 2006. Other universities include the University of California at Berkeley and Northeastern University.
The premise for the research is the belief that significant greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will not decrease unless environmental costs are captured in the marketplace and new government policies are implemented. The U.S. transportation industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country's entire economy, so any serious reduction in emissions must include the transportation sector.
"Specifically, we want to know if proposed policies would have unintended and undesirable consequences on the function of the automotive market, on the industry's life cycle environmental impact, or on the industry's demand for materials," Skerlos said.
The researchers will look at how the effectiveness of government policies is constrained by producer incentives, consumer preferences and technological constraints. For instance, if the best economic choice for producers to respond to greenhouse gas policies is to increase their use of lighter-weight aluminum rather than steel, that could offset emissions reductions because aluminum production requires more electricity. This electricity can come from either highly intensive CO2 sources such as coal generation or less intensive sources such as hydroelectric generation.
To predict these unintended consequences, researchers must integrate models of market decisions and technological performance with life cycle assessment and materials flow analysis, a process that marries public policy, engineering, natural resources and behavioral research. The project will culminate with the development of an analytical tool called CAPA (the computational automotive policy analysis software program).
The project arose by chance, beginning when RIT's Winebrake happened to be in the audience for a talk by Skerlos on government policy and sustainable design. Winebrake, an expert in public policy with experience in modeling and an interest in technology systems, approached Skerlos, an expert in environmental technology with experience in modeling and an interest in public policy.
"Our strengths and interests were perfectly complementary and synergistic with respect to this project," Skerlos said. "We,as engineers, can build quantitative models--but we need input from policy experts, life cycle analysts and behavioral scientists to fully evaluate the effectiveness and side-effects of environmental regulations in the marketplace."
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences