GRA
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Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:53 pm

Via GCC:
Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector, if deployed sensibly
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/02/20180216-llnl.html

New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International and the University of Colorado at Boulder shows that drone-based delivery could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in the transportation sector. .
. .

Several companies are developing programs for package delivery using drones, including Amazon, Google, UPS and Deutsche Post DHL. . . .

The researchers set out to find if drone delivery is a promising idea for the environment or whether, like conventional overnight package delivery, it leads to much higher energy use and carbon emissions.

The researchers flew test campaigns with two commercial drones and developed an estimate of the energy needed to deliver a package in various scenarios. They also considered how battery technology and drone design will improve over time. Then, using life cycle assessment, they compared the drone scenarios with delivery by truck, van and passenger car. The technique accounts for upstream impacts, such as emissions from manufacturing the batteries or refining oil into diesel fuel.

The researchers found that the current practical range of multi-copter drones is about 4 kilometers, which means a new network of urban warehouses or waystations would be needed to support a drone delivery system. These warehouses, in turn, would take energy to run. Although drones consume less energy per package-mile than delivery trucks, the additional warehouse energy required and the longer distances traveled by drones per package greatly increase the life-cycle impacts.

Overall, the results are mixed, and the best choice depends on things such as the size of the drone, the weight of the package and the types of power plants on the regional electricity grid. Drones are favored in regions with relatively clean electricity, such as California. . . .

The researchers recommend that regulators and companies looking to get an environmental benefit from drones should consider the systemwide impacts, and focus their efforts on small packages, with larger packages being left for trucks and vans. . . .

Direct link to article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02411-5
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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RegGuheert
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:10 am

Look! Another result from a national lab trying to reach a foregone conclusion. A credible study would have compared pollution of BEV delivery vans to battery-electric quadcopters, but that would not have attained the "correct" conclusion.

So now we just need to make sure that Amazon warehouses cover the country and none are more than 2 km apart.

Let's be clear about the real purpose of drone delivery services: To be able offer very fast delivery service to customers for a premium price and have those delivery revenues come in-house rather than going to a third-party shipping company.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
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WetEV
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:13 am

RegGuheert wrote:Look! Another result from a national lab trying to reach a foregone conclusion. A credible study would have compared pollution of BEV delivery vans to battery-electric quadcopters, but that would not have attained the "correct" conclusion.


The study did include BEV delivery vans.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467- ... /figures/5
WetEV
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RegGuheert
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:42 am

WetEV wrote:The study did include BEV delivery vans.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467- ... /figures/5
So they do.

Everyone raise your hand if you believe a BEV van uses slightly MORE energy per mile than a gasoline-powered van:

Image

I certainly don't.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

WetEV
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:27 am

RegGuheert wrote:Everyone raise your hand if you believe a BEV van uses slightly MORE energy per mile than a gasoline-powered van


No, but a BEV TRUCK might use as much energy per mile than a gasoline-powered VAN. More once you add the warehouse energy per package used for the larger number of packages carried by a truck.

See supplemental table 4.

https://static-content.springer.com/esm ... M1_ESM.pdf

BEV Class 4 Truck 3.17 MJ/km

BEV light van 0.96 MJ/km

Gasoline light van 3.06 MJ/km
WetEV
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RegGuheert
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:37 am

WetEV wrote:No, but a BEV TRUCK might use as much energy per mile than a gasoline-powered VAN. More once you add the warehouse energy per package used for the larger number of packages carried by a truck.

See supplemental table 4.

https://static-content.springer.com/esm ... M1_ESM.pdf

BEV Class 4 Truck 3.17 MJ/km

BEV light van 0.96 MJ/km

Gasoline light van 3.06 MJ/km
O.K. So why is the BEV light van omitted from the chart I posted and the Figure 5 you linked to?

I'll answer that rhetorical question: It is the best option for delivery in that comparison.

So, back to my original point: you have to omit the BEV option to try to make the drones look good.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

WetEV
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:20 pm

RegGuheert wrote:O.K. So why is the BEV light van omitted from the chart I posted and the Figure 5 you linked to?


Study finds that drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector, not that drone-based delivery is the best choice. A more specific answer is:

A small electric cargo van is currently not available in the United States


Nature has narrowly focused articles, with readers expected to read carefully the whole article and (if interested) review the supplemental information, as well as linked data files and references. Did you read this:

There are plausible scenarios where drones lead to overall higher energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to ground vehicles. These include higher than expected warehousing space and energy needs, as well as continued improvement in ground vehicle energy and logistics efficiencies. Contrary to most energy technologies, future technological improvement in drones may increase energy use per package, because better energy storage will allow drones to fly further with heavier loads.
WetEV
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RegGuheert
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Re: Study finds drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector

Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:21 pm

WetEV wrote:Study finds that drone-based delivery could reduce GHG emissions and energy use in the transportation sector, not that drone-based delivery is the best choice.
I get that, but the "could" is achieved through a rather absurd set of limitations and assumptions, some of which I pointed out in my original post.
WetEV wrote:A more specific answer is:
A small electric cargo van is currently not available in the United States
In much the same way that battery-electric delivery drones are not available in the U.S. The simple fact is that these large carriers are working with vendors to develop specific solutions such as these drones. In much the same way, carriers could work with vendors to develop ANY kind of delivery vehicle that meets their needs, including a battery-electric delivery van.
WetEV wrote:Nature has narrowly focused articles, with readers expected to read carefully the whole article and (if interested) review the supplemental information, as well as linked data files and references.
You are reaffirming my point. You can achieve virtually any result if you constrain the problem and/or make specific assumptions which support the desired conclusion.
WetEV wrote:
There are plausible scenarios where drones lead to overall higher energy use and greenhouse gas emissions compared to ground vehicles. These include higher than expected warehousing space and energy needs, as well as continued improvement in ground vehicle energy and logistics efficiencies. Contrary to most energy technologies, future technological improvement in drones may increase energy use per package, because better energy storage will allow drones to fly further with heavier loads.
That's good information. But they have left out other important information that are very pertinent in this type of calculation:

- Drones likely have a very short lifetime when compared with a delivery van.
- Drones are subject to sudden termination of their life cycle due to a crash. While this is also true of vans, I can imagine the rate being much higher for drones, particularly in the very-near future.
- If a drone crashes, it likely takes the product with it (unless it is returning to base). This is much less likely in a van.
- If a van breaks down enroute, the payload is likely fine and the van will typically be repaired. If a drone breaks down enroute, it likely will be lost along with its payload (unless it is returning to base).
- Drones are fun to shoot! ;)

Again, the primary draw of these drones is that the carriers can offer a premium service in order to improve the bottom line. There also seems to be a belief that autonomous drones will prove to be less problematic than ground-based autonomous delivery systems. While that may be true, I suspect there will be some unforeseen hurdles in their path (such as privacy issues).
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K miles: Apr 14, 2013, 20K miles (55.7Ah): Aug 7, 2014, 30K miles (52.0Ah): Dec 30, 2015, 40K miles (49.8Ah): Feb 8, 2017, 50K miles (47.2Ah): Dec 7, 2017.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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