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Daimler starts production of FUSO eCanter in Europe; first series all-electric light-duty truck

28 July 2017

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) has started production of the all‑electric light-duty truck Fuso eCanter in Tramagal, Portugal. (Earlier post.) Fuso is a brand of Daimler Trucks Asia. The Fuso eCanter is produced in line with the conventional Canter light-duty truck at the Tramagal plant.

Only the electric-powertrain specific components will be installed in specific boxes along the production line. The vehicles coming from Tramagal, Portugal will be handed over to customers within Europe and the US within the next month. In May, MFTBC already announced its first commercial customer in the Japanese market: Seven-Eleven Co., Ltd. will be operating 25 units of the new eCanter in their fleet within this year. Production of the eCanter in Japan started on 7 July.

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Porsche leaving FIA WEC LMP1, entering Formula E

28 July 2017

From 2019, a Porsche factory team will compete in Formula E. After four highly successful years, three victories in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Championship titles in both the team and driver classification in 2015 and 2016, Porsche will end its involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of the 2017 season.

Porsche will maintain its focus on international GT racing, and will also concentrate its motorsport strategy on using the 911 RSR in the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the highlight of which is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as the American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and other long-distance classics. Porsche is now the fourth German OEM to realign its motorsport strategy this year to enter Formula E, following Audi (earlier post), BMW (earlier post) and Mercedes-Benz (earlier post).

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California ARB approves $200M VW zero-emission vehicle investment in California; first phase of $800M investment

28 July 2017

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today approved the first of four plans by VW to invest $800 million over 10 years in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, public outreach, and access to these ultra-clean vehicles for residents of disadvantaged communities. (Earlier post.) The investment is part of a multi-pronged settlement agreement resulting from the automaker’s use of defeat device software in its 2009-2016 diesel passenger cars.

VW has paid out more than $15 billion in claims and penalties for using those defeat device; the ZEV investment is one of multiple pieces intended to mitigate the resulting projected environmental harm.

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Japan launches first global hydrogen supply chain demo project; liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology

28 July 2017

Four Japanese companies—Chiyoda, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha—have launched the “Advanced Hydrogen Energy Chain Association for Technology Development”(AHEAD) along with the world’s first Global Hydrogen Supply Chain Demonstration Project.

The project, a subsidized “Technology Development Project to establish Hydrogen Society/Technology Development for the Utilization of Large Scale Hydrogen Energy”, is funded by the National Research and Development Agency, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), and demonstrates the use of liquid organic chemical hydrides in the hydrogen supply chain.

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UCR study finds ultra-low emission natural gas bus exceeds federal and state NOx standards; as low as 0.0007g/bhp-hr

28 July 2017

A study by the University of California, Riverside College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) found that a Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Agency (Metro) bus equipped with an ultra-low emission natural gas engine performs significantly cleaner than its certification standards across all duty cycles. (Earlier post.)

Researchers tested the Cummins Westport ISL G near-zero natural gas engine (earlier post) in a variety of conditions typical of a Metro bus. In all conditions, the engine performed better than California’s toughest-in-the-nation standard for smog-forming emissions. Under some driving conditions, the NOx emissions were practically zero.

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California ARB approves cap-and-trade amendments; linking with Ontario

28 July 2017

Following more than 18 months of review and public comment, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved amendments to the state’s cap-and-trade program that improve its implementation and the state’s effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The amendments also establish a framework for the program’s annual limits on greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, to be revised in a subsequent, public rulemaking process to reflect the requirements of AB 398.

The Board action includes adopting amendments that have been in development since late 2015, and were first heard by the Board in September 2016. The amendments include linking with Ontario, which launched its own cap-and-trade program earlier this year. The Canadian province is expected to link with California’s program in 2018, becoming the second jurisdiction to join California following Quebec in 2014. Additionally, the Oregon legislature is considering a measure to establish a cap-and-trade system that is compatible with California’s.

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Royal Mail to buy 100 Peugeot electric vans for delivery vehicles

27 July 2017

Royal Mail has signed an agreement with Peugeot to purchase 100 Partner L2 Electric vans, to be used as delivery vehicles. The vans will go into service from December 2017 at delivery offices around the UK, supported by a comprehensive rollout of charging infrastructure. Royal Mail—since 2003 a quoted company with shares traded on the LSE—is the UK’s designated Universal Postal Service Provider.

The Partner L2 Electric was launched in February; this is the first major fleet order for the van. The lithium-ion battery pack is fitted under the load floor, ensuring there is no loss of load space compared with gasoline and diesel-powered Partner L2 models. The Partner L2 Electric will carry a gross payload of 552 kg (1,217 lbs).

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New robust triple-layer bifunctional catalyst for water splitting with earth-abundant materials

27 July 2017

A new robust and highly active bifunctional catalyst developed by Rice University and the University of Houston splits water into hydrogen and oxygen without the need for expensive metals such as platinum. The work, the team suggests, provides a facile strategy for fabricating highly efficient electrocatalysts from earth-abundant materials for overall water splitting.

The electrolytic film produced at Rice and tested at Houston is a three-layer structure of nickel, graphene and a ternary metal phosphide (FeMnP, iron, manganese and phosphorus). The foamy nickel gives the film a large surface, the conductive graphene protects the nickel from degrading and the metal phosphide carries out the reaction. A paper on the work is published in the journal Nano Energy.

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HERE launches new generation of Real-Time Traffic service with integration of live data from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles

27 July 2017

HERE Technologies has launched the new generation of its HERE Real-Time Traffic service—the first global service on the market that integrates live vehicle sensor data from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles with traffic probe information, resulting in significantly higher accuracy and more precise information about traffic conditions.

HERE Real-Time Traffic, available to all current and future customers from any industry and covering more than 60 countries, offers significant improvements in traffic flow data, especially on arterial roads. For more than 30 of those countries, the service also provides incident information with features such as Traffic Safety Warning. Aided by new hard-braking sensor data HERE is now processing, this feature now allows more relevant and timely notifications to the vehicle.

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QUB team converts aluminum foil waste to highly active alumina; biofuel catalyst, other applications

27 July 2017

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a novel green route to convert aluminium foil waste into highly active nano-mesoporous alumina (γ-Al2O3) (designated as ACFL550). The material shows higher surface area, larger pore volume, and stronger acidity compared to γ-Al2O3 that is produced from the commercial AlCl3 precursor, AC550. An open access paper on the work appears in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Aluminum oxide, alumina (Al2O3), is one of the most attractive ceramic materials for its various applications due to its thermal, chemical and mechanical stability. Alumina has direct application as a catalyst and catalyst support in the automotive and petroleum industries. The oxide offers a favorable combination of textural properties—such as surface area, pore volume, and pore-size distribution—and its acid/base characteristics, which are mainly related to surface chemical composition, local microstructure, and phase composition (Trueba and Trasatti, 2005).

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Team uses neutron scattering to investigate new Al-Ce alloy in running engine

26 July 2017

A team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has worked with industry partners to use neutrons to probe a running engine at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source (earlier post), giving them the opportunity to test an aluminum-cerium alloy under operating conditions. The feat was a first for the Spallation Neutron Source, said Ke An, lead instrument scientist for the facility’s VULCAN instrument. “This was the first time an internal combustion engine has been run on our diffractometer, and, as far as we know, on any other,” he stated.

The unique properties of neutrons allow them to penetrate materials in a nondestructive fashion, revealing fundamental details about a material’s atomic structure. VULCAN uses neutrons to measure strain and stress on large industrial samples, which made it ideal for evaluating a cylinder head cast from an aluminum-cerium alloy ORNL developed in partnership with Eck Industries.

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UK unveils new plan to cut NO2; sale of new conventional gasoline and diesel cars to end by 2040; focus on local action

26 July 2017

The UK Government unveiled its new plan to reduce roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in the shortest amount of time. Among the many policy and funding details in the UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations, produced by Defra and the Department for Transport is the cessation of the sale of all new conventional gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. Another element in the plan includes possible civil and criminal charges against manufacturers implementing emissions defeat devices, with fines of up to £50,000 (US$65,000) per instance.

The NO2 plan is one element in the Government’s efforts to deliver clean air. In 2018, the Government will publish a comprehensive Clean Air Strategy which will address other sources of air pollution. Air quality in the UK has been improving significantly in recent decades, with reductions in emissions of all of the key pollutants, and NO2 levels down by half in the last 15 years. Despite this, an analysis of more than 1,800 major roads show that a small number of these—81 or 4%—are due to breach legal pollution limits for NO2, with 33 of these outside of London.

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