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IEA: 7% increase in total energy investment could cut premature deaths from air pollution in half by 2040

27 June 2016

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that energy policy choices backed by a 7% increase in total energy investment through 2040 could cut premature deaths from air pollution roughly in half by 2040. Under such a scenario, premature deaths from outdoor air pollution would decline by 1.7 million in 2040 compared with the report’s main scenario, and those from household pollution would fall by 1.6 million annually.

The IEA World Energy Outlook (WEO) special report on Energy and Air Pollution highlights the links between energy, air pollution and health. The report, the IEA’s first in-depth analysis of air quality, identifies contributions the energy sector can make to curb poor air quality—the fourth-largest threat to human health, after high blood pressure, poor diets, and smoking.

Continue Reading “IEA: 7% increase in total energy investment could cut premature deaths from air pollution in half by 2040”

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Route Monkey and Sygic parter on route optimization for EVs

27 June 2016

Scotland-based route optimization specialist Route Monkey (earlier post) has signed a partnership agreement with global GPS navigation expert Sygic. The partners aim to develop jointly a fully integrated optimization and navigation platform for electric vehicles (EVs).

The new platform will see Route Monkey schedule a fleet’s EVs—as well as its conventional vehicles—in a way that optimizes the fleet as a whole. It then sends the best route for the entire itinerary to each driver, directly into the Sygic Navigation app. Working together, Sygic and Route Monkey can also schedule stops at charge points en route to top-up the batteries, and provide real-time navigation to recharging stations.

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DOE to award up to $70M for Manufacturing Institute focused on reuse, recycling and remanufacturing

27 June 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $70 million for a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute focused on improving technologies and processes to achieve cost parity of recycled and waste materials with primary feedstocks, while improving material efficiency in manufacturing processes.

The new funding opportunity—(DE-FOA-0001594) “Reducing EMbodied energy And Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) in Materials Manufacturing— will support the REMADE in America Institute. The REMADE institute will enable the development and widespread deployment of key industrial platform technologies that will significantly reduce life-cycle energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing by creating new technologies for reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing of materials.

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First investigation of HCCI combustion of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether; alternative diesel fuel

25 June 2016

Researchers at Tsinghua University, along with Professor Rolf Reitz at the Engine Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, have investigated for the first time the the characteristics of homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) of polyoxymethylene dimethyl ether (PODE).

PODE is a promising alternative fuel for diesel engines, and offers high volatility, high ignitability and high oxygen content. PODE is thus also suited for for blend and dual-fuel combustion—such as reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI)—due to the low-temperature chemistry. A paper on their work appears in the journal Fuel.

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Torotrak outlines advances in its full-toroidal traction-drive CVT using PitchSteer; EV applications as well

24 June 2016

At the 2016 International VDI Congress “Drivetrain for Vehicles” in Friedrichshafen, Germany, John Fuller, Director of Concepts & IP for Torotrak Group, presented and discussed the company’s latest advances to optimize its full-toroidal variator technology for the light vehicle market as applied in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

Torotrak’s main drive CVTs combine its full toroidal traction drive variator with other conventional transmission components. By combining its extensive experience in main drive and auxiliary drive transmissions, Torotrak has designed a variator concept with ratio spread of up to 12, operated by a low cost actuation system.

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Argonne Lab partners with Strem Chemicals to bring next-gen battery materials to market

24 June 2016

Strem Chemicals, a manufacturer and distributor of specialty chemicals founded in 1964, has licensed 23 separate pieces of intellectual property for next-generation battery materials from Argonne. Strem will manufacture and distribute nine resulting battery solvents and additives via its extensive marketing and global distribution networks.

The materials were all invented at Argonne’s Electrochemical Energy Storage Center and scaled at Argonne’s Materials Engineering Research Facility (MERF). Since its founding, MERF has scaled up and distributed more than 30 kilograms of materials in the form of more than 150 different samples.

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UMD team develops new nanocomposite sulfur electrode for high-performance all-solid-state Li-S batteries

24 June 2016

A team at the University of Maryland have synthesized a mixed conducting nanocomposite sulfur electrode that consists of different nanoparticles with distinct properties of lithium storage capability, mechanical reinforcement, and ionic and electronic conductivities.

As described in a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the new nanocomposite serves as a mechanically robust and mixed conductive (ionic and electronic conductive) sulfur electrode for all-solid-state lithium–sulfur batteries (ASSLSBs). The team achieved a reversible capacity of 830 mAh/g (71% utilization of Li2S) at 50 mA/g for 60 cycles with a high rate performance at room temperature even at a high loading of Li2S (∼3.6 mg/cm2).

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Columbus, Ohio wins $40M DOT Smart City Challenge; $10M more from Vulcan, $90M from private partners

24 June 2016

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that Columbus, OH has been selected as the winner of the US Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. (Earlier post.) As winner of the Challenge, Columbus will receive up to $40 million from US DOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan.

Using these resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity to reimagine how people and goods move throughout their city.

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Stanford solar tandem cell shows promise for efficient solar-driven water-splitting to produce hydrogen

23 June 2016

Researchers at Stanford University, with colleagues in China, have developed a tandem solar cell consisting of an approximately 700-nm-thick nanoporous Mo-doped bismuth vanadate (BiVO4) (Mo:BiVO4) layer on an engineered Si nanocone substrate. The nanocone/Mo:BiVO4 assembly is in turn combined with a solar cell made of perovskite.

When placed in water, the device immediately began splitting water at a solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency of 6.2%—matching the theoretical maximum rate for a bismuth vanadate cell. Although the efficiency demonstrated was only 6.2%, the tandem device has room for significant improvement in the future, said Stanford Professor Yi Cui, a principal investigator at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences and senior author of an open access paper describing the work published in Scientific Advances.

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Beijing Foton launches “China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance”; Auman Energy Super Truck

23 June 2016

Chinese truck and utility vehicle manufacturer Beijing Foton has launched the China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance and showcased the Auman EST (Energy Super Truck) at an event in Athens, Greece.

The Internet super truck project is a collaboration that brings together Foton Motor Group, Cummins, and Daimler AG and aims at building Internet-driven super trucks that are green, efficient, safe, and intelligent through the integration of global resources, the effective use of new energies, the establishment of vehicle networks, and the implementation of intelligent truck-loading technology.

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Volkswagen Group to begin equipping TSI and TFSI engines with gasoline particulate filters from June 2017

23 June 2016

The Volkswagen Group will begin equipping the Group’s new TSI and TFSI gasoline direct injection engines with gasoline particulate filters (GPF). This initiative, announced by Group CEO Matthias Müller at the Group’s annual general meeting, will begin with the 1.4 liter TSI engine in the new VW Tiguan and the Audi A5 in June 2017.

This will reduce particulate emissions from the direct injection gasoline engines by up to 90%. Up to 7 million Volkswagen vehicles could be equipped with this technology each year by 2022.

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UMD team develops new high-performance solid-state ion-conducting membrane for Li batteries

23 June 2016

Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a novel, flexible, solid-state, ion-conducting membrane based on a 3D ion-conducting ceramic nanofiber network. The researchers said that their work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), represents a significant breakthrough to enable high performance lithium batteries. The all-solid ion-conducting membrane can be applied to flexible Li-ion batteries and other electrochemical energy storage systems, such as lithium–sulfur batteries.

The 3D ion-conducting network is based on percolative garnet-type Li6.4La3Zr2Al0.2O12 (LLZO) solid-state electrolyte nanofibers, which enhance the ionic conductivity of the solid-state electrolyte membrane at room temperature and improve the mechanical strength of the polymer electrolyte.

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