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Dana offering Spicer PowerBoost hydraulic-hybrid system for off-highway field testing; demonstrated fuel savings of 20-25%

25 January 2015

Dana Holding Corporation is now offering its Spicer PowerBoost hydraulic-hybrid system for field testing by off-highway original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Dana engineers have conducted extensive field tests of the Spicer PowerBoost system integrated with a dual-motor hydrostatic transmission in a series configuration. These functional evaluations include more than 1,000 hours on a 16-tonne (17.5-ton) front-end loader and more than 500 hours on a telescopic boom handler powered by an 83 kW (111 hp) engine. These tests of typical duty cycles have verified fuel savings of more than 20% for the front-end loader and more than 25% on the telescopic boom handler, with an expected payback in under 18 months for both applications.

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DOE to issue $35M funding opportunity for hydrogen and fuel cell technology; Class 1-2 fuel cell plug-in hybrids

24 January 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to issue a $35-million funding opportunity (FOA DE-FOA-0001224) (earlier post) covering a broad spectrum of its Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) portfolio with topics ranging from research and development (R&D) to demonstration and deployment projects.

In particular, the R&D areas of interest for this FOA will include hydrogen production via microbial biomass conversion; low PGM (Platinum Group Metal) catalyst development for PEM fuel cell applications; development of an integrated intelligent hydrogen dispenser; and fuel cell and hydrogen manufacturing R&D focusing on hydrogen delivery pipeline manufacturing R&D. This FOA also includes demonstration topic areas that will help to accelerate adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies with specific interest in mobile hydrogen refuelers; fuel cell powered range extenders for light duty hybrid electric vehicles; and a Communities of Excellence topic featuring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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ICCT: available low-carbon fuels can reduce CI of on-road transportation fuels in Pacific Coast region by 14%–21% by 2030

23 January 2015

Fuel carbon intensity reduction from 2015-2030 from fuel deployment scenarios for the Pacific Coast region. Source: ICCT. Click to enlarge.

A new study from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and E4tech finds that the targets adopted or proposed by British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels can be met with a range of low-carbon fuel options. By 2030, the study concludes, low-carbon fuels could replace more than a quarter of the gasoline and diesel used by vehicles in the Pacific Coast region by 2030, with a reduction in the overall carbon intensity of on-road transportation fuels of 14%–21%.

The conclusions are based on a detailed modeling study of low-carbon fuel technologies and production pathways, estimating the future availability of low carbon fuels given policy incentives to supply them in the Pacific Coast region. The study presents eight scenarios for low-carbon fuel supply, including varying amounts of electricity, hydrogen, ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, next generation cellulosic biofuel, and natural gas. Potential carbon savings were estimated by comparing the expected carbon intensity of these alternative fuels to the carbon intensity of the fossil fuels they replace.

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HARMAN acquiring Red Bend Software and Symphony Teleca for growth in connected vehicle space

23 January 2015

HARMAN International announced the acquisition of Israel-based Red Bend Software, a leading provider of software management technology for connected devices, and over-the-air (OTA) software and firmware upgrading services. Building upon Red Bend’s strength in the mobile and carrier markets, HARMAN will accelerate Red Bend’s growth in the automotive space and will position Red Bend software as the de facto standard for OTA software services for mobile devices and automotive applications.

HARMAN also has signed an agreement with Symphony Technology Group to acquire Symphony Teleca, a privately-held global software services company. Symphony Teleca provides software engineering and integration services that help businesses rapidly design and develop products and technologies at the convergence of device, sensors, cloud and data. With the acquisition of Symphony Teleca, HARMAN will add a fourth division to its current three primary businesses: Infotainment, Lifestyle and Professional.

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Rice, Minnesota scientists use predictive modeling to identify optimized zeolites to aid ethanol, petroleum production

23 January 2015

Scientists at Rice University and the University of Minnesota have identified, through a large-scale, multi-step computational screening process, promising zeolite structures for two energy-related applications: the purification of ​ethanol from fermentation broths and the hydroisomerization of alkanes with 18–30 carbon atoms encountered in petroleum refining.

The results, presented in a paper published in Nature Communications, demonstrate that predictive modeling of synthetic zeolites—a technique pioneered by Rice bioengineer Michael Deem—and data-driven science can be applied to solve some of the most challenging problems facing industries that require efficient ways to separate or catalyze materials.

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BYD Tang SUV PHEV available for pre-orders starting at $48.3K before incentives; twice that for performance model

23 January 2015

Tang. Click to enlarge.

BYD has begun taking pre-orders for the Tang plug-in hybrid SUV (earlier post) in China with a starting price of 300,000 RMB (US$48,306) before EV incentives. (The higher-performance top end model goes for twice that.) BYD said that demand for the BYD Tang, originally introduced at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, is high; BYD expects orders for the Tang quickly to surpass those for the Qin plug-in hybrid (earlier post)—at 14,747 units, the best-selling plug-in in China in 2014.

The Tang uses BYD Auto’s second-generation DM (Dual-Mode) 2.0 PHEV platform, and the first of its much-touted 5-4-2 platform models: 5: standing for 0-100km/h (0-60 mph) in less than 5 seconds; 4: standing for 4-wheel drive; 2: standing for less than 2 liters average consumed over 100 km (117.5 mpg US).

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New research collaboration tackling ship hydrodynamics and fuel efficiency

23 January 2015

Three-dimensional vortex structures observed in the wake of a cylinder; imposing unsteady hydrodynamic loadings on structure. Such analyses can be employed to optimize new ship designs. Copyright: Agency for Science, Technology and Research Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.

A new research collaboration between A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), Sembcorp Marine Ltd, University of Glasgow and University of Glasgow Singapore (UGS) aims to improve make a ship’s hydrodynamics and energy efficiency. The four organisations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate and develop new hull designs for large ocean-going vessels.

Under the three-year MoU, IHPC, Sembcorp Marine Ltd, University of Glasgow and UGS will use computational modelling and visualisation technologies to design vessels with improved hydrodynamics for better fuel efficiency. In addition, they will collaborate and innovate on features to reduce harmful exhaust emissions and discharges by enhancing the vessel’s scrubber and ballast treatment systems. Currently, maritime transport carries about 90% of all international trade and accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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DOE to award $55.8M for advanced vehicle technologies; $35M for fuel cell and hydrogen

22 January 2015

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new Vehicle Technologie program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001201) for $55.8 million. DOE also announced up to $35 million to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, including enabling the early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light duty fuel cell electric vehicles. This new funding opportunity announcement will be available in early February.

The Vehicle Technologies funding is targeted at a wide range of research, development, and demonstration projects that aim to reduce the price and improve the efficiency of plug-in electric, alternative fuel, and conventional vehicles. Topics addressed include: advanced batteries (including manufacturing processes) and electric drive R&D; Lightweight materials; Advanced combustion engine and enabling technologies R&D; and Fuels technologies (dedicated or dual-fuel natural gas engine technologies).

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Ford opens new Silicon Valley research center; focus on connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, big data

22 January 2015

Ford has opened its new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, growing its global research team and accelerating the company’s work in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

The new Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto joins Ford’s global network of research and innovation centers, including its location in Dearborn, Michigan, which focuses on advanced electronics, human-machine interface, materials science, big data and analytics; and Aachen, Germany, which focuses on next-generation powertrain research, driver-assist technologies and active safety systems.

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New Opel diesels for Mokka and Insignia

22 January 2015

1.6 CDTI with 100 kW/136 hp for Opel Mokka. Click to enlarge.

Opel is introducing two new generation four-cylinder Opel diesels for Mokka and Insignia: the 1.6-liter CDTI (also seen in Astra and Meriva) in the Mokka and a 125 kW/170 hp 2.0-liter CDTI in the Insignia. The engines, which already meet the Euro 6 standards that will be compulsory from September, are another important step in the roll-out of Opel’s new powertrain portfolio.

The all-aluminum 1.6-liter CDTI for the Mokka sub-compact SUV will replace the 1.7 CDTI. The new engine gives more power and torque—up 6 hp and 20 N·m, respectively—from a smaller displacement, as well as significantly lower fuel consumption. The 1.6 CDTI in the 100 kW/136 hp version reaches 85 hp per liter—unrivaled in its displacement class, according to Opel—and delivers torque of 320 N·m.

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VW, BMW and ChargePoint partner to create SAE Combo DC fast charging corridors on the East and West Coasts

22 January 2015

In a major boost to the availability of public fast charging stations with SAE Combo connectors (J1772, earlier post), Volkswagen of America and BMW of North America, together with ChargePoint, the largest electric vehicle charging network, announced at the Washington Auto Show an initiative to create more express charging corridors along heavily-traveled routes on the East and West Coasts.

In the initial phase, the aim is to install nearly 100 DC Fast charging ports across both coasts, with plans to expand the program to increase access to fast charging across the country. The installations will occur both within and between relevant metro areas, strategically spaced at a maximum of 50 miles (80 km) apart. Each fast charging location along the express charging corridors is expected to include up to two 50 kW DC fast chargers or 24 kW DC fast chargers with the SAE Combo connector. The 50 kW fast chargers will also have a CHAdeMO connector available, according to Volkswagen, while the 24 kW units will be SAE Combo only, at least to start.

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Researchers devise method to produce jet-range hydrocarbons as co-product of production of algal biodiesel; role of alkenones

22 January 2015

Isochrysis extraction and fractionation scheme with yields given in parentheses for the different products obtained from each step. Credit: ACS, O’Neil et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from Western Washington University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have developed a method to produce jet-fuel range hydrocarbons as a co-product of the production of algal biodiesel from the biomass of the industrially grown marine microalgae Isochrysis. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

Certain species of algae—including Isochrysis—synthesize a unique class of lipids: long-chain (35-40 carbons) alkenones. The structure of alkenones is characterized by a very long liner carbon chain with trans double bonds and a methyl or ethyl ketone. The researchers developed a method for the isolation of pure alkenones from Isochrysis biomass in parallel with biodiesel production.

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