CSS Research Forum

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John Sullivan, Ben Stacey & Michael Reiner
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
2024 Dana Building
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Center for Sustainable Systems

Please join us for our last CSS Research Forum of Winter 2017.

Whether you are brand new to CSS or a veteran, you are strongly encouraged to come join us and hear about the work other researchers are doing.

We will serve a selection of PIES and COFFEE.

When: Friday, April 14, 2017 - 3:00 to 4:30 PM.
Where:  2024 Dana Building

We'll hear presentations from:

Michael Reiner - a first year dual degree Master's student between SNRE and the College of Engineering. Before graduate school, Michael worked with sustainable agriculture as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay.

Ben Stacey - first year Master's student in the sustainable systems concentration. Ben previously worked on fisheries management with NOAA in the US and in the Philippines with Peace Corps.

Title:  The Incandescent Truth: Socioeconomic disparities in energy efficient technology access and affordability

Abstract:  Urban energy poverty is an environmental justice issue exacerbated by extreme temperatures resulting from climate change. Improved energy efficiency is a strategic intervention to reduce energy burdens and mitigate cost shocks during these extreme weather events. However, in many urban areas, utility disconnects remain high and energy efficiency program participation remains low. This paper examines urban disparities in access to and affordability of energy efficient technology, using the Detroit metro and light bulbs as a case study. Based on other justice-oriented literature, particularly food justice, we use mixed methods such as geographic information systems (GIS), field observations, surveys, and interviews to understand how access to and cost of energy efficient light bulbs vary in an urban area. In particular, we explore the distribution of stores by type, product, and cost, while exploring spatial, racial,and socioeconomic disparities. Our results show lower-income, minority communities have an abundance of variety (dollar) stores and drug stores that carry either less-efficient bulbs or efficient bulbs at higher costs than are found in higher-income neighborhoods with access to big box and membership stores. Thus the relationship between racial and income segregation and commercial development impacts metropolitan disparities in adaption and mitigation of climate change.

A second presentation will be made by:

John Sullivan - currently a Research Associate in the Center for Sustainable Systems at SNRE University of Michigan. Prior to that, he spent 6 years as an Environmental Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, conducting life cycle assessments of electric power production and automobile systems. From 2007 to 2009, he was a Sustainability Research Associate at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Before then, he spent 30 years at the Scientific Research Laboratory at Ford Motor Company. He received a PhD in Physical Chemistry from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Dr. Sullivan has conducted and led research projects in Advanced Materials, Experimental Structural Analysis Techniques, Recycling of Automotive Materials, Life Cycle Assessment, Advanced Vehicle Safety, Alternative Fuels, and Transportation Sustainability. He has 25 years of experience in life cycle assessment. He has over 120 papers and reports, over 160 presentations, and holds 5 patents.

Title: The Effect of Mass on Fuel Consumption in Moving People and Stuff

Abstract: Due to concerns over climate change, considerable efforts are being undertaken by the industrial, transportation, and power sectors to consume less fossil fuel and concomitantly emit fewer greenhouse gases, more specifically CO2. The industrial sector is improving the energy efficiency of their operating systems and buildings, the power sector is increasingly adding renewable power technologies to their portfolios, and vehicle manufactures are developing advanced power trains, increasing the fuel efficiency of their existing engine systems (spark and compression ignited), and reducing vehicle weight. Today’s presentation addresses the potential impact of reducing vehicle mass on the fuels consumed by transportation sector. The vehicle systems discussed include the following modes: cars, light duty trucks, medium and heavy duty trucks, freight trains, commercial freight and passenger aircraft, and finally ocean going tankers and container ships. Simple physics based expressions for the mass dependence of the fuel consumption are presented for each of these modes and fuel reduction estimates developed there from. Representativeness of these estimates is discussed. Also covered is the impact of vehicle mass reduction on fuel intensity, FCint (fuel consumed per unit freight shipped), a key environmental and cost metric for freight transportation.

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