July 30, 2005
ANBA. Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil, gas and energy company, made its first export shipment of ethanol this week, destined for Venezuela. Initial forecasts are for a monthly shipment of some 25,000 cubic meters (some 6.6 million gallons US).
The company had announced earlier this year that it intended to begin participating in the renewable fuels export market. Petrobras will invest US$330 million in the next five years to develop the requisite transport infrastructure.
The Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has decided to acquire and to test an Energy CS plug-in Prius (earlier post) in addition to the fleet of 35 Priuses it is converting to hydrogen-fueled combustion engine-hybrid drives (earlier post).
This plug-in project complements another plug-in hybrid (PHEV) initiative by AQMD in testing five PHEV commercial vans (the DaimlerChrysler Sprinter).
Kyodo. Progress on defining a joint venture between Toyota Motor and GM to develop fuel cell cars has stalled over the terms of sharing intellectual property rights and the results of joint research.
Failing to clear even that fundamental barrier has prevented negotiations on the specifics of the proposed joint venture.
July 29, 2005
The Daily Standard. St. Marys City Schools in Celina, Ohio, is switching its 39-bus fleet to a B20 biodiesel blend for the next school year.
Board of education members approved the plans to purchase the B20 blend from Burke Petroleum in Minster during their July meeting.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law House Bill 112 which requires state government, county and local governments, school districts, universities and community colleges and mass transit agencies to use a minimum of B2 (2% biodiesel blend) in their diesel vehicles.
State facilities already useB2 in accordance with an executive order issued by the Governor in 2004. Local governments, community colleges and mass transit systems will now join the state in boosting biodiesel use.
|The H2 Hyster Forklift|
Hydrogenics is preparing to enter a second phase of one of its early-adopter, light-mobility programs by deploying fuel cell-ultracapacitor hybrid forklifts at a Fedex facility in the Toronto area.
The light mobility program is designed to seed early-adopter markets for hydrogen fuel cells with Hydrogenics systems, to focus product development and to build distribution channels. Hydrogenics believes that forklifts can be one such early adopter application of its technology.
July 28, 2005
The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, wrote Australian Government’s Biofuels Taskforce to detail the AMA’s support for the mandatory use of ethanol and biodiesel in the interests of protecting and improving human health.
Dr Haikerwal said the AMA wants to see the biofuels debate in Australia shift from economic issues to human health issues.
|Select funding initiatives from the Energy Bill.|
The Conference version of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (which the House passed today 275–156) is a head-wracking 1,724 pages of policy, programs, pork—and the occasional hint or glimmer of a shift in focus and attitude.
In general, the bill (a) incents more production through generous subsidies to the energy industry, but with some increasing emphasis on renewables (b) invests heavily in long-term, high-ticket technologies (hydrogen, fusion, clean coal, next-generation nuclear) (c) does essentially nothing for the short- to medium-term to reduce the consumption of petroleum.
Honda is equipping all of its hydrogen fuel cell-powered 2005 FCX vehicles with a navigation system that incorporates the location of hydrogen fueling stations, including those being developed as part of California’s “Hydrogen Highway” initiative.
Based on the Honda-developed navigation systems offered in many Honda and Acura models, the voice-activated system includes features such as the capability to find and display hydrogen stations through voice commands, including directions and driving distances.
|Fuel economy for last 30 years|
Despite improvements in the efficiency of technologies, model year 2005 light-duty vehicles in the US are estimated to average 21.0 mpg, eking out just a 0.2 mpg improvement over 2004, according to the EPA.
The data, published in the just-released annual report on automotive technology and fuel economy trends, highlights that fuel economy has been essentially flat for the past dozen years, although the size and power of the vehicles sold has increased dramatically.