Energy and transportation(*)
Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University - P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
(*) This paper is essentially an update of the one published in the Lecture Notes of the first joint EPS-SIF International School on Energy, 2012.
Published online: 27 August 2015
Transportation takes a considerable and increasing fraction of the energy use worldwide, and more than half the oil consumption. By far the largest part is used by cars powered by internal combustion engines. The advantage of using internal combustion engines is that the energy density of liquid fuels is extremely high. The disadvantage is that gasoline and diesel engines have a poor performance: 20 to 25% only. How does this compare with electric cars? What are the alternative transportation systems and their efficiencies anyway? In this lecture we analyse the efficiency of various transport systems, using elementary physics principles. We will look at cars, buses, trains and TGVs, ships and aircraft. In addition, the efficiency of human powered vehicles will be considered. New and promising developments in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems, like Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, are also discussed.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.