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New nanolithia cathodes may address technical drawbacks of Li-air batteries; scalable, cheap and safer Li-air battery system

25 July 2016

An international team from MIT, Argonne National Laboratory and Peking University has demonstrated a lab-scale proof-of-concept of a new type of cathode for Li-air batteries that could overcome the current drawbacks to the technology, including a high potential gap (>1.2 V) between charge and discharge, and poor cyclability due to the drastic phase change of O2 (gas) and Ox− (condensed phase) at the cathode during battery operations.

As described in a paper in the journal Nature Energy, the cathode consisting of nanoscale amorphous lithia (nanolithia) confined in a cobalt oxide enabled charge/discharge between solid Li2O/Li2O2/LiO2 without any gas evolution. The cathode has a theoretical capacity of 1,341 Ah kg−1, a mass density exceeding 2.2 g cm−3, and a practical discharge capacity of 587 Ah kg−1 at 2.55 V versus Li/Li+.

Continue Reading “New nanolithia cathodes may address technical drawbacks of Li-air batteries; scalable, cheap and safer Li-air battery system”

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Daimler chief Zetsche: Daimler working toward swarm organization; mobility services, digitalization and e-mobility

25 July 2016

In an interview with Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche said that the company is implementing swarm organization management techniques to enable more rapid development in emerging critical areas such as digitalization, mobility services and e-mobility.

The swarm organization method, explained Zetsche, supplements the hierarchical-management pyramid with cross-functional and interdisciplinary groups and eventually replaces them.

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FMC accelerates battery-grade lithium hydroxide expansion following multi-year supply agreement with major manufacturer of EVs; path to 30K tonnes

25 July 2016

FMC Corporation will accelerate the expansion of its global lithium hydroxide production capacity as a result of a new multi-year supply agreement with a major manufacturer of electric vehicles.

FMC had previously announced plans to triple its global lithium hydroxide production capacity to serve the growing electric vehicle market, with the first 4,000 metric tons per year scheduled to come on line in mid-2017. As a result of the new announcement, an additional 4,000 metric ton expansion will come on line in 2017, raising the company’s total global lithium hydroxide capacity to 18,000 metric tons.

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Berkeley TSRC study quantifies VMT and GHG benefits of car2go car-sharing in North America

25 July 2016

car2go NA is currently the largest flexible one-way carsharing service in North America. Now, a study conducted by the University of California Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) concludes that car2go’s carsharing model can complement existing mass transit options; reduces the overall number of vehicles on the road; and ultimately improves mobility in densely-populated urban areas.

Among the study’s conclusions were that, on balance, car2go changes VMT (vehicle miles travelled) by -6% to -16% per car2go household; GHG emissions change by -4% to -18% per car2go household. Overall, the results of this study suggest that car2go one-way carsharing is substantively impacting travel behavior, miles driven, GHG emissions, and the number of vehicles on urban roads within operating regions.

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NIRA Dynamics, InfoCar expand availability of Road Surface Information software with OBD plug-in

25 July 2016

Sweden-based NIRA Dynamics, a software company developing sensor-fusion-based systems for different vehicle applications, is rolling out its Road Surface Information (RSI) software more broadly, in partnership with InfoCar AB.

Road Surface Information (RSI) by NIRA continuously monitors the quality and tire grip level of the road surface—without stereo cameras, adaptive suspension or other expensive sensors. With sensor-fusion-based algorithms, RSI can determine the level of road roughness and road friction.

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Rice team develops “antenna-reactor” plasmonic catalysts for increased energy savings and efficiency in catalytic processes

24 July 2016

Researchers at Rice University’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP), with colleagues at Princeton University, have developed a new method for uniting light-capturing photonic nanomaterials and high-efficiency metal catalysts, creating an “antenna-reactor” plasmonic catalyst.

By placing a catalytic reactor particle adjacent to a plasmonic antenna, the highly efficient and tunable light-harvesting capacities of plasmonic nanoparticles can be exploited to increase absorption and hot-carrier generation significantly in the reactor nanoparticles. The modularity of this approach provides for independent control of chemical and light-harvesting properties and paves the way for the rational, predictive design of efficient plasmonic photocatalysts, the researchers suggest in their open-access paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Oxbotica launches Selenium mobile autonomy software

23 July 2016

Oxbotica, a spin-out from Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group, launched its new Selenium mobile autonomy software solution with a purpose-built concept vehicle named Geni.

Selenium can work in pedestrianized environments as well as roads and motorways, and is not reliant on GPS to operate—i.e., it can easily transition between indoor and outdoor settings, over ground or underground. The system has been developed to be “vehicle agnostic”—it can be applied to cars, self-driving pods (e.g. for campuses and airports), and warehouse truck fleets.

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Argonne National Laboratory to lead US consortium for new CERC medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track; 50% boost in efficiency

23 July 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected Argonne National Laboratory to lead a consortium of university, private sector and national laboratory partners for a new, medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge (TRUCK) program.

The multidisciplinary consortium includes Cummins Inc.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation; Ohio State University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; and the University of Michigan. The program will address cost-effective measures to improve on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by greater than 50% compared to today’s vehicles.

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European Strategy for low-emission mobility stresses digital tech, electrification and ZEVs

22 July 2016

Earlier this week, the European Commission published a strategy for low-emission mobility, which sets out guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future. EU legislation currently refers to low-emission vehicles as vehicles having tailpipe emissions below 50 g/km. This would include some plug-in hybrids, full electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The latter two examples also represent zero-emission vehicles.

The low-emission mobility strategy will frame the initiatives that the Commission is planning in the coming years, and it maps the areas in which it is exploring options. It also shows how initiatives in related fields are linked and how synergies can be achieved. In parallel to this strategy, the Commission is launching public consultations on the approach towards reducing emissions from road transport: cars and vans as well as trucks, buses and coaches.

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European Commission fines truck producers record €2.93B for colluding to pass on emission compliance costs

22 July 2016

The European Commission found that truck makers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke EU antitrust rules by colluding for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a record fine of €2,926,499,000 (US$3.22 billion).

MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.

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JBEI scientists use CO2 to control toxicity of ionic liquids in biomass pretreatment; lowering production costs

22 July 2016

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories working at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have demonstrated that adding CO2 during the deconstruction phase of biofuel production successfully neutralizes the toxicity of ionic liquids, the room-temperature molten salt solvent used at JBEI to break down cellulosic plant material.

The process is easily reversible, allowing the liquid to be recycled for use as a solvent again. Their study, published RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, addresses a significant obstacle to expanding the market for biofuels: lowering the cost of production.

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NRDC-sponsored Shulock report says California ZEV regulations need a tune-up to meet 2025 goals

22 July 2016

A report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and prepared by Chuck Shulock finds that the California Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) regulations—also adopted by nine other states—requires a ‘tune-up’ to ensure the market expands well beyond current sale levels.

The findings of the report suggest that the number of vehicles required through 2025 will be smaller than originally projected in 2012 when ARB adopted the last major revisions to the ZEV program. While some of these vehicles will be higher performing in terms of electric range than the vehicles originally assumed in 2012, the net result is that the total number of ZEVs is likely to fall short of the original 2025 goals.

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