Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Indirect pollution from EVs

The reality of electric vehicles is a bit stark today, though it will continuously improve with technological progress.  A study by Dr. Christopher Tessuma, Dr. Jason Hill, and Dr. Julian Marshall of University of Minnesota published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzes the complete life cycle of electric vehicles and compares it to more traditional ICE.  Note that life cycle implies inclusion of all that went into making the EV to its daily use and charging.

The report's abstract states:

"Commonly considered strategies for reducing the environmental impact of light-duty transportation include using alternative fuels and improving vehicle fuel economy. We evaluate the air quality-related human health impacts of 10 such options, including the use of liquid biofuels, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG) in internal combustion engines; the use of electricity from a range of conventional and renewable sources to power electric vehicles (EVs); and the use of hybrid EV technology. Our approach combines spatially, temporally, and chemically detailed life cycle emission inventories; comprehensive, fine-scale state-of-the-science chemical transport modeling; and exposure, concentration–response, and economic health impact modeling for ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). We find that powering vehicles with corn ethanol or with coal-based or “grid average” electricity increases monetized environmental health impacts by 80% or more relative to using conventional gasoline. Conversely, EVs powered by low-emitting electricity from natural gas, wind, water, or solar power reduce environmental health impacts by 50% or more. Consideration of potential climate change impacts alongside the human health outcomes described here further reinforces the environmental preferability of EVs powered by low-emitting electricity relative to gasoline vehicles."

"Air quality health impacts in the United States for each scenario: attributable increases in annual mortality (upper scale) and the resulting monetized health impacts (lower scale)."
legend - 03: Ozone, PM2.5: Fine particulate matter

Enjoy the complete analysis here

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