CSS Research Forum

Event Type: 
Friday, October 16, 2020 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Event Sponsor: 
Center for Sustainable Systems
School for Environment and Sustainability

Please join us for our second CSS Research Forum of Fall 2020.

We'll hear presentations from:

Maxwell Woody

Max is a 2020 U-M graduate with degrees in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.E.) and Environment and Sustainability (M.S.), who conducted thesis research on the degradation of lithium-ion batteries. Previously, he earned degrees in Engineering Physics (B.S.E.) and Economics (B.S.) from Tulane University (’18). He is interested in how new and emerging technologies interact within broader systems to promote sustainable outcomes.

Charging Strategies to Minimize GHG Emissions of Electrified Delivery Vehicles

Electrification of delivery fleets has emerged as an important opportunity to reduce the transportation sector’s environmental impact, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But these emissions are greatly impacted by when, where, and how these vehicles are charged. Not only does the carbon intensity of the grid vary across time and space, but charging decisions also influence battery degradation rates, resulting in more or less frequent battery replacement. Here we propose a model that accounts for the spatial and temporal differences in charging emissions, and degradation induced differences in production emissions, to accurately assess the effect of charging decisions. We demonstrate four different charging strategies and demonstrate that a baseline charging scenario, in which a vehicle is fully charged immediately upon returning to the depot, results in the highest emissions for any charging strategy, and can be lowered by 8% to 37% by employing alternative charging methods.


Ben Goldstein

Benjamin Goldstein is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at SEAS in the Urban Sustainability Research Group and Center for Sustainable Systems. His research focuses on developing approaches and models to quantify the environmental impacts of urban activities, both within cities and at distant locations. He has a special interest in combining engineering methods (esp. tools from industrial ecology) with theories and methods from social science (esp. geography) to explore issues of environmental justice and resource access. Benjamin will be starting as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Science at McGill University in January 2021.

The Carbon Footprint of Household Energy Use in the United States

Residential energy use accounts for roughly 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. Using data on 93 million individual households, we estimate these GHGs across the contiguous United States and clarify the respective influence of climate, affluence, energy infrastructure, urban form, and building attributes (age, housing type, heating fuel) in driving these emissions. A ranking by state reveals that GHGs (per unit floor space) are lowest in Western US states and highest in Central states. Wealthier Americans have per capita footprints ∼25% higher than those of lower-income residents, primarily due to larger homes. In especially affluent suburbs, these emissions can be 15 times higher than nearby neighborhoods. If the electrical grid is decarbonized, then the residential housing sector can meet the 28% emission reduction target for 2025 under the Paris Agreement. However, grid decarbonization will be insufficient to meet the 80% emissions reduction target for 2050 due to a growing housing stock and continued use of fossil fuels (natural gas, propane, and fuel oil) in homes. Meeting this target will also require deep energy retrofits and transitioning to distributed low-carbon energy sources, as well as reducing per capita floor space and zoning denser settlement patterns.

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