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Oita team develops new process for producing hydrogen from ammonia without external heat source

29 April 2017

Researchers at Oita University in Japan have developed an innovative process for the production of hydrogen from ammonia without the need for an external heat source to initiate or maintain the reaction. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal Science Advances.

Liquid ammonia (NH3) has been considered as a carrier (storage medium) for hydrogen that could alleviate the challenges of transporting, handling and storing hydrogen for commercial applications. However, the adoption of ammonia as a H2 carrier, especially for household and transportable devices, has been limited due to the lack of an efficient process for producing H2 and nitrogen by the oxidative decomposition of ammonia.

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PNNL, GM team develops design principle for stable silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries

28 April 2017

A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with colleagues from General Motors R&D, has developed a design principle for stable high-capacity Li-ion battery silicon (Si) anodes of controlled thickness swelling, and synthesized a porous Si/C-graphite electrode as an example.

Experimental data from the porous Si/C-graphite electrode showed excellent agreement with the theoretical design. The practical electrode (~3 mAh/cm2 loading) with ~650 mAh/g specific capacity had ~82% capacity retention over 450 cycles. The initial electrode swelling upon full lithiation is <20%. The calendered electrodes demonstrated ~56% end-of-life swelling and ~90% capacity retention after 200 cycles. A full-cell of Li(NiMnCo)O2 and the pre-lithiated anode demonstrated >84% capacity retention over 300 cycles. A paper on the work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

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Schaeffler highlights latest version of UniAir electrohydraulic valve control at Vienna

28 April 2017

At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Schaeffler is highlighting the latest generation of its UniAir fully-variable electrohydraulic valve control system, first introduced in volume production in 2009. The latest generation of UniAir also now allows vehicles in the upper-class automobile market to operate more economically and with lower emissions.

UniAir controls the engine valves based on cycles and offers an extended range of strategic options for matching engine operation to specific situations and requirements. This technology makes it possible to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a significant improvement in torque curves. By using UniAir, customized operating strategies for modern combustion processes, such as the Miller and Atkinson cycles, can also be realized in accordance with customer requirements.

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FTA announces $55M for FY 2017 Low-No funding

28 April 2017

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $55 million of Fiscal Year 2017 funds (FTA-2017-003-TPM-LowNo) for the purchase or lease of low- or no-emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities (Low-No). Only $31.5 million is available under the Continuing Resolution that expires on 28 April 28 2017.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the US transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.

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Navy researchers boost performance of Ni-Zn cells commensurate with Li-ion; safer alternative

28 April 2017

Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) Chemistry Division have demonstrated that the use of zinc formed into three-dimensional sponges for use as an anode boosts the performance of nickel–zinc alkaline cells in three areas: (i) > 90% theoretical depth of discharge (DODZn) in primary (single-use) cells; (ii) > 100 high-rate cycles at 40% DODZn at lithium-ion–commensurate specific energy; and (iii) the tens of thousands of power-demanding duty cycles required for start-stop microhybrid vehicles.

Joseph Parker, Jeffrey Long, and Debra Rolison from NRL’s Advanced Electrochemical Materials group are leading the effort to create an entire family of safer, water-based, zinc batteries. With 3-D Zn, the battery provides an energy content and rechargeability that rival lithium-ion batteries while avoiding the safety issues that continue to plague lithium. The research appears in the journal Science.

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Technion team devises method for on-demand H2 production from water and aluminum for aviation applications

28 April 2017

Aerospace engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed and patented a process for on-demand hydrogen production from the reaction of activated aluminum powder and water for commercial aircraft applications. The hydrogen produced on-board during flight can be used in a fuel cell to generate electric energy for auxiliary power.

In addition to fresh water, the waste water available on-board the aircraft can be used for hydrogen generation. The researchers demonstrated high reaction rates producing about 200-600 ml/min/g Al of hydrogen at a high yield of about 90% was demonstrated. The possibility to use the available waste water leads to high specific electric energy of up to about 850 Wh/kg. The work was reported in a recent paper published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

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Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

27 April 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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Hyundai Mobis develops compact, integrated 48V mild hybrid system

27 April 2017

Automotive supplier Hyundai Mobis has developed the core technologies of a compact, integrated 48V mild hybrid system. Hyundai Mobis developed the “converter integrated 48V battery system” on its own and it is making the final preparations for mass-production scheduled for next year.

Hyundai Mobis integrated the converter and the battery system—formerly applied separately—into one system. The company not only reduced the weight, volume and cost of the system but also improved cooling efficiency.

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Sendyne introduces first isolation monitor for EVs and HEVs capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during dynamic operation

27 April 2017

Sendyn, a provider of technologies for battery system management including current, voltage and temperature measurement ICs and modules (earlier post), has introduced the SIM100, a new type of automotive-rated isolation monitoring safety device that is capable of detecting potential electrical hazards during the dynamic operation of high-voltage unearthed systems—such as electric and hybrid vehicles.

The SIM100 module is the first device of its kind capable of unambiguously detecting the electrical isolation state of a high-voltage system while the system is active and operating, and experiencing large voltage variations. State-of-the-art technology today is limited to detecting only resistive leakages and only when the system voltage does not vary significantly. In another first, the SIM100 detects both resistive leakages and capacitively stored energy that could be harmful to human operators.

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PNNL team uncovers reaction mechanisms of Li-air batteries; how batteries blow bubbles

27 April 2017

Lithium-air batteries are looked to by many as a very high-energy density next-generation energy storage solution for electric vehicles. However, the technology has several holdups, including losing energy as it stores and releases its charge.The reaction mechanisms are, in general, not well understood.

One reaction that hasn’t been fully explained is how oxygen blows bubbles inside a lithium-air battery when it discharges. The bubbles expand the battery and create wear and tear that can cause it to fail. Now, researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have provided the first step-by-step explanation of how lithium-air batteries form bubbles. The paper is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

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California Assembly weighing integrating air pollution performance into GHG cap-and-trade

27 April 2017

The California Assembly is considering a bill (AB-378) that would integrate air quality performance into the state’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) cap-and- trade program. Assembly Bill 378 was proposed by by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who heads the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. CNR passed the proposal on Monday.

This bill creates a framework for grading industrial facilities’ air quality performance and creating a uniform air pollution standard that facilities must meet to receive allocation of free allowances from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) beginning in 2021.

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New study shows that inhaled nanoparticles can travel into the blood and accumulate

26 April 2017

A study by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands has found that nanoparticles, such as those found in air pollution, can travel into the blood and accumulate in diseased blood vessels. The study, published in the journal ACS Nano, suggests that air pollution nanoparticles are able to get into the bloodstream to cause heart disease.

This research shows for the first time that inhaled nanoparticles can gain access to the blood in healthy individuals and people at risk of stroke. These nanoparticles tend to build-up in diseased blood vessels where they could worsen coronary heart disease—the cause of a heart attack.

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