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California Air Resources Board approves $663M funding plan for clean cars, trucks, buses

15 December 2017

The California Air Resources Board approved a $663-million low-carbon transportation plan to increase the use of clean cars, heavy-duty trucks, buses and freight equipment. The funding will help the state cut climate-changing gases while promoting technologies that reduce harmful diesel emissions, particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

These investments support the emission reduction goals of the California’s 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan (earlier post), State Implementation Plans and the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan.

Continue Reading “California Air Resources Board approves $663M funding plan for clean cars, trucks, buses”

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Johns Hopkins study links exposure to coarse particulate matter to increased risk of asthma in children

15 December 2017

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University report that coarse particulate matter—created by physical processes such as tire and break wear, agricultural tilling, salt spray and dust created in manufacturing—appears to put children at greater risk for asthma, independent of exposure to fine particulate pollution. A paper on the work will be published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Coarse particulate matter (PM10-2.5) measures from 2.5 to 10 micrometers; fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) measure 2.5 micrometers or smaller. The authors noted that there is substantial evidence that PM2.5 impacts respiratory and cardiovascular health, and this is why the Environmental Protection Agency monitors and regulates fine particulate pollution.

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Renesas Electronics, Dibotics deliver real-time, power-efficient LiDAR processing based on R-Car SoC for autonomous driving; SLAM on a chip

15 December 2017

Renesas Electronics Corporation and Dibotics, a leader in real-time 3D LiDAR processing, have collaborated to develop an automotive-grade embedded solution for LiDAR processing used in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving applications. The jointly-developed solution will enable system manufacturers to develop real-time 3D mapping systems with high level functional safety (FuSa) and low-power consumption.

LiDAR processing today requires an efficient processing platform and advanced embedded software. By combining Renesas’ high-performance image processing, low-power automotive R-Car system-on-chip (SoC) with Dibotics’ 3D simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology, the companies deliver a SLAM on Chip. (SLAM is a computational algorithm capable of generating and updating a map of an unknown environment while simultaneously keeping track of the vehicle’s location.)

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Lawrence Livermore partners with GALT on $1.5M project to improve biofuel algae

15 December 2017

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been awarded a 3-year, $1.5-million grant by the US Department of Energy to improve the growth and efficiency of biofuel-producing algae through the alteration of their microbiomes. LLNL will partner with San Francisco-based General Automation Lab Technologies (GALT) in the use of a novel high-throughput microbiome research technology.

The use of the GALT technology will enable the testing of tens of thousands of unique microbiomes on algal physiology. The project also aims to reduce wasted byproducts of photosynthesis by targeting microbiomes that can more efficiently recycle it back to carbon dioxide for the algae to grow better.

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Researchers develop effective exhaust catalyst for lower temperature exhaust

15 December 2017

To improve fuel efficiency, advanced combustion engines are being designed to minimize the amount of waste heat in the exhaust. As a result, future generations of exhaust after-treatment catalysts must perform at temperatures that are 100 °C lower than current catalysts.

Researchers at Washington State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico have now devised a catalyst capable of reducing pollutants at the lower temperatures expected in advanced engines. Their work, published this week in the journal Science, presents a new way to create a more powerful catalyst while using smaller amounts of platinum—the most expensive component of emission-control catalysts.

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California ARB approves 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan; requires doubling the rate of GHG cuts

15 December 2017

The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved the 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which sets the state on an aggressive course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions an additional 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 under SB 32. This will require California to double the rate at which it has been cutting GHGs. (Earlier post.)

Eleven years ago, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) set the goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Executive Order B-30-15 and SB 32 extended the goals of AB 32 and set a 2030 goal of reducing emissions 40% from 2020 levels. The Plan establishes a path that intended to get California to its 2030 target. As the largest sectoral contributor to GHG emissions (39% in 2015), transportion is a major focus of the plan.

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China Lake team devises new class of bio-based high-cetane renewable diesel fuels: dioxolanes

14 December 2017

Researchers at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake have synthesized a new class of renewable diesel fuels from a methyl ketone and diols including 2,3-butanediol, 1,2-propanediol, and ethylene glycol. These fuels exhibit comparable net heats of combustion (NHOCs) to conventional biodiesel, while maintaining derived cetane numbers between 82-91. These values are 20–30 units higher than conventional biodiesel and 40–50 units higher than petroleum-derived diesel fuel.

The short combustion delays of the new fuels make them compelling blendstocks to enhance the combustion efficiency of petroleum-derived diesel fuel; further, careful selection of the renewable diol allows for custom tailoring of viscosity and freezing point. In addition, methyl ketones can be efficiently generated from sugar feedstocks or CO2/H2 with metabolically engineered microorganisms, while the diols can be readily obtained from biomass sugars via fermentation or chemical methods.

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ORNL team proposes new electrode design to mitigate risk of battery failure in accidents; inspired by safety glass

14 December 2017

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are proposing a new design concept for lithium-ion batteries that introduces slits in the electrodes—a feature which may mitigate the risk of battery failure during automobile accidents. The concept, presented in a paper in the journal Joule, could allow manufacturers to scale down the housing materials that commonly protect batteries in electric cars from mechanical damage, improving the overall energy density and cost.

The concept is based on introducing breakable electrodes that, upon impact, isolate the damaged part from the rest of the electrode to limit the current going through any short circuit. The new design in essence allows the large automotive cells used in most vehicles to fragment into many small batteries if damaged in a collision, explained Nancy Dudney, an author on the study and an energy storage researcher at the Materials Science and Technology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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moovel Group and SSB launching new mobility service in Stuttgart

14 December 2017

Daimler’s moovel Group and the Stuttgarter Strassenbahnen AG (SSB) are launching a new mobility service in Stuttgart. Named “Flex Pilot”, the service allows customers to book flexibly and on demand. The new on-demand service will be tested on selected days from 14 December 2017. The service will then start with the SSB as operating company under the name “SSB Flex” in the first half of 2018.

The new mobility service is based on the moovel on-demand platform, which enables the efficient operation of a demand-oriented, flexible fleet using intelligent journey management (routing), and the grouping of trip requests (pooling). If several people also want to make a similar trip, the moovel on-demand algorithms pool the requests so that multiple passengers can share one vehicle (ridesharing).

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ARPA-E issues $100M OPEN funding opportunity announcement to support early-stage energy R&D

14 December 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest OPEN funding opportunity. (DE-FOA-0001858) ARPA-E issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Open solicitations enable ARPA-E to support transformational projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E focused programs.

ARPA-E seeks to support early-stage, but potentially transformational research in all areas of energy R&D, covering transportation and stationary applications. Areas of research responsive to this FOA include (but are not limited to) electricity generation by both conventional and renewable means; electricity transmission, storage, and distribution; energy efficiency for buildings, manufacturing and commerce, and personal use; and all aspects of transportation, including the production and distribution of both renewable and non- renewable fuels, electrification, and energy efficiency in transportation.

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Cummins Westport receives 2018 emissions certifications for L9N and B6.7N low NOx natural gas engines

13 December 2017

Cummins Westport Inc. has received certifications from both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California for its 2018 L9N and B6.7N natural gas engines. Both engines meet California ARB optional Low NOx standards, as well as 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission (GHG) requirements, making them some of the cleanest engines available today for truck and bus customers.

The L9N is certified to California ARB optional Low NOx standard of 0.02 g/bhp-hr—a 90% reduction from engines operating at the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr. The L9N offers ratings from 250 – 320 hp and 1,000 lb-ft (1,356 N·m) peak torque, making it suitable for transit, shuttle and school bus, as well as medium-duty truck and refuse applications.

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GE Aviation testing 100% Gevo Alcohol-to-Jet fuel

13 December 2017

GE Aviation has begun jet engine combustor component testing with 100% Gevo renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ). The testing is being performed as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise Program (CLEEN). CLEEN is the FAA’s principal environmental effort to accelerate the development of new aircraft, engine technologies, and to advance sustainable alternative jet fuels, in conjunction with aviation industry leaders such as GE Aviation.

Specifically, this testing is designed to enable the greater displacement of petroleum-based jet fuel by bio-based alternative products. Bio-based hydrocarbon fuels have similar performance characteristics to the petroleum-based fuels used today, albeit with reductions in particulate matter and other air quality related emissions. Some bio-based jet fuels, such as Gevo’s ATJ, have the potential to improve performance, such as providing greater energy density which translates into better mileage.

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