June 30, 2005
Fuji Heavy Industries (makers of Subaru) has purchased the Electric Double Layer Capacitor (ultracapacitor) business from Kanebo Ltd for an estimated ¥100 million (approximately US$900,000), according to reports in the Japanese business press.
Fuji and Kanebo jointly began developing the capacitor technology in 2002 and Kanebo has decided to sell its stake in the project in an effort to turn around its mainline business.
Nikkei. Faced with demand it can’t meet from its US plants, Toyota plans to increase the number of cars it exports from Japan to the US to about 1.1 million vehicles in 2007, up 40% from 2004.
According to plans submitted to shippers, Toyota will export 850,000 vehicles to the U.S. in 2005 and 1.1 million in 2007. Shipments to the overall North American market are expected to top 1 million in 2006 and 1.2 million in 2007.
Xinhuanet. Beijing added 147,000 new cars in the first five months of 2005, increasing the total car population in the city to 2.41 million.
While it took 48 years for the number of vehicles in Beijing to reach one million, it only took six years for it to add another million.
Diversa Corporation and Valley Research, Inc. have launched a new alpha-amylase enzyme designed to improve the efficiency and economics of corn ethanol production.
Developed by Diversa and marketed by Valley Research, the new enzyme operates at high temperature and at a lower pH than other commercially available enzymes—a combination grain ethanol producers have been seeking for years.
June 29, 2005
The Spallinos, who signed a two-year lease, will drive the FCX in everyday normal use, including the work commute from Redondo Beach to Irvine (approximately 41 miles each way over the 405). Honda chose the Spallinos for the test in part because they already own a CNG-fueled Honda Civic GX and are more accustomed to dealing with a limited number of fueling stations.
Nanostructured materials are the basis for two research projects investigating the solar production of hydrogen and hydrogen storage.
Researchers from UC Santa Cruz, the University of Georgia and Nomadics are developing a device that integrates two kinds of solar cells—a photovoltaic cell to produce electricity and a photoelectrochemical cell to produce hydrogen from the electrolysis of water.
Automotive technology consultant, researcher and provider Ricardo has released its 2005 Ricardo Diesel Report.
This year’s edition predicts a significant rise in US light-duty diesel market penetration over the coming decade. Sales in the light-duty vehicle segment (up to 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight) are projected to grow from a mere 43,000 units last year to more than 1 million units annually by 2012, rising to 1.5 million by 2015.
The 2005 Professor Ferdinand Porsche Preis—awarded for work which will have a lasting influence of the development of the automobile—recently went to Dr Wolfgang Steiger (Volkswagen) and Dr Wolfgang Warnecke (Shell) for their development of synthetic fuels from natural gas (GTL) and biomass (BTL).
The Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuel now produced by Shell in Malaysia was tested, defined and optimized for the requirements of the automobile in cooperation with Volkswagen Group Research.
Degussa AG, one of the world’s largest specialty chemical companies, and the Japanese Lithium-ion battery company ENAX are setting up a joint venture in China to develop and manufacture lithium-ion battery electrodes. Both partners will hold a 50% stake.
ENAX is both the technology provider and the future research partner for the joint venture. Through the joint venture Degussa acquires a worldwide exclusive license to manufacture the new electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
June 28, 2005
CalCars, the non-profit organization that dramatically increased awareness of the potential of plug-in hybrids (PHEV) simply by just doing it and converting a standard Prius to a plug-in Prius, is planning a commercial spin-off for plug-in conversions.
CalCars’ new company will partner with a major auto maker as a Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to define, to engineer and to produce PHEV versions of hybrid cars and SUVs.