By Professor Mark Ehsani
The ever expanding use of personal vehicles in the world is associated with the following major problems.
- Fuel Consumption: Most vehicles require liquid fuel, typically derived from petroleum, which is a finite resource. The engines in current vehicles are only about 15-20% efficient.
- Pollution: In cities, the tailpipe emissions of vehicles degrade air quality. Also, the combustion of fossil fuels is implicated in global warming. In the United States, 20% of carbon dioxide emissions come from automobiles and 10% from trucks.
These problems with vehicles have long been known. There has been substantial progress in reducing tailpipe emissions using advanced catalytic converters; however air quality is still unacceptable in many cities, primarily due to vehicle emissions.
Unless we take a revolutionary approach, the problem with vehicles will only get worse. By 2050, the number of vehicles is expected to increase by 5 times. Currently, the world has 9 people per vehicle, but by 2050 it is expected to have 2.6 per vehicle.
In this center, new approaches and technologies will be studied, leading the industry to viable automobile and fuel technologies that are sustainable. We will propose an integrated approach to the automobile that focuses both on fuel production, vehicle, and power train technologies. The result is expected to be a new automobile and energy industry with the following properties: sustainable fuel supply into the indefinite future, high er efficiency, better performance, and acceptable carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere.
We will analyze some of the technical, commercial, and social problems and issues that are on the forefront at the present. The center will also address the technical realities versus the public and government knowledge of these issues by producing educational releases and forums.