A Solution to Global Warming Problems

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Nam_Suh

Dr. Nam P. Suh has served as the president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from July 2006 to March 2013. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1970.  At MIT, Dr. Suh held the positions of director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, head of the department of Mechanical Engineering, director of the MIT Manufacturing Institute, and director of the Park Center for Complex Systems. (See Author at end of article).

Electrification of Ground Transportations Systems (EGTS) based on On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV), and Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR) 

In the 21st century, we must solve global warming problems, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC). To achieve this goal, we must reduce the emission of CO2 by burning less fossil fuel. Since about a half of CO2 emission is from internal combustion (IC) engines, we should either replace IC engines with electric motors or double the efficiency of IC engines to bring the “well-to-wheel” efficiency of IC engines on par with electrical motors. We could also replace coal with natural gas in electric power plants or safe nuclear power plants. These actions will improve the quality of life and economic growth, because many countries are using too much of their resources to buy energy, especially petroleum, which lowers the quality of life and their economic development. The CO2 problem, if unchecked, will jeopardize the future of our younger generations due to global warming. We can solve both of thee problems, i.e., energy and the environment, by electrifying ground transportation systems. These goals can be achieved with On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV), which utilizes Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR).

We created two innovations to deal with energy and environment: On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV) and Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance (SMFIR). The central idea is to replace vehicles with internal combustion (IC) engines with electric vehicles (OLEV) that receive electricity from the underground power supply system while in motion or stationary via wireless power transmission technology, SMFIR. By deploying OLEV buses and cars as a part of a smart electric grid, we can completely electrify ground transportation systems (EGTS). The smart electric grids incorporate distributed power from various sources (a la, solar cells, wind power, and tidal waves) to supplement the central electric power plants. OLEV eliminates the need for a large number of lithium batteries to store energy on board of vehicles.

Two major uses of energy in many countries are for electricity generation and for transportation. Both depend heavily on fossil fuels. Electricity generation is done primarily by combusting coal and natural gas, supplemented by hydropower and nuclear power in some countries. Transportation vehicles – automobiles, airplanes and ships – use oil derivatives, although some trains and streetcars use electricity. The efficiency of internal combustion (IC) engines used in automobiles is low. The electric power plants that use coal or natural gas are at least twice more efficient than IC engines. One of the most effective ways of solving the environmental problem is replace IC engines with pollution-free electric drives without using a large number of batteries.

In the 20th century, the impact of automobiles upon human life has been profound. Automobiles created vast wealth, spurred the creation of a network of superhighways, speeded the migration of people from farms to cities (and from cities to suburbs), and contributed to the establishment of new fields of science and engineering. The automotive industry has been one of the world’s most strategic industries that have created petroleum industry, mass production, and automation, and facilitating the emergence of the petrochemical, materials, and telecommunications industries. Together with its associated industries, the automotive industry has created more jobs than any other industry (except construction) and raised the standard of living of many nations. By the mid-20th century, the automotive industry had made the U.S. the world’s leading economic power. Today, a billion cars are on the road, and demand for automobiles continues to increase as more people become able to afford them. China is one of the most rapidly growing markets for automobiles in 2014. Since automotive industry is so important for modern society, we must make it more compatible with the needs of the 21st century by replacing the IC engine with electric drives. This electrification will rejuvenate the 2 trillion dollar automotive industry.

The past advances in transportation were made possible by an abundance of energy, chiefly from fossil fuels. Since the invention of automobiles, the energy consumption has increased significantly with population and economic growth. Unfortunately, increased concentration of CO2 from fossil-fuel combustion is shifting the earth’s thermal equilibrium and threatening its ecology. We must decouple energy consumption from pollution if we are to continue to advance.

Today the world’s consumption of oil is approximately 90 million barrels a day. IC engines consume about 70% of it. These engines generate kinetic energy by combusting gasoline or diesel. About 15 percent of energy is used during refinement of crude oils at about 85% efficiency. The efficiency of the IC engine in converting the chemical energy of gasoline into mechanical energy is about 17 to 20 percent, i.e., the “well-to-wheel” efficiency of IC engines is very low. Going electric with electric drives without the use a large number of batteries can improve the “well-to-wheel” efficiency by 30% to 60%, a significant improvement in energy consumption and in reducing CO2 emission.

OLEV and SMFIR were invented at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) from 2009 to 2011 as part of its research effort to solve the energy and environmental problems[1]. One result of this initiative was the creation, in 2009, of the On-Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV). Two years later, in 2011, we installed the first OLEV system in Seoul Grand Park to transport passengers between attractions. Today, OLEV buses are commercially operating in Gumi, a major industrial city in Korea, as well as Seoul Grand Park and the KAIST campus. The energy cost of operating OLEV buses in Gumi is about 20 percent of that of buses that use natural gas.

———————————————————————————-[1] OLEV was selected as the 2013 Top 10 Emerging Technologies by the World Economic Forum, and one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2010 by TIME.

The Author:
Dr. Nam P. Suh
has served as the president of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from July 2006 to March 2013. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1970. At MIT, Dr. Suh held the positions of director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, head of the department of Mechanical Engineering, director of the MIT Manufacturing Institute, and director of the Park Center for Complex Systems. In 1984, Dr. Suh was appointed the assistant director for Engineering of the National Science Foundation by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Dr. Suh has significant experience with technology innovation and the process of new product introduction One of his inventions was selected as one of the 10 Emerging Technologies of the world by the 2013 World Economic Forum of Davos and 50 most promising new inventions of 2010 by TIME magazine. He has 70 United States patents and many foreign patents, certain of which relate to electric vehicles, polymers, tribology, and design. He has received many national and international honors and awards, including the 2009 ASME Medal and nine honorary doctorates from various countries on four continents. Dr. Suh also has a relevant professional network in the Korean community as well as relevant experience with Korean culture and commerce.

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