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DOE Funds SRI International to Develop Steam Electrolysis System

SRI’s Experimental Steam Electrolysis System The DOE has awarded SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development organization, a four-year, $2.2 million contract to develop a prototype of a low-cost steam-electrolysis system for the generation of hydrogen. The project goal is to generate ultra-pure hydrogen at a cost of $2... Read more →

Indian Oil and Auto Companies Working On Hydrogen-CNG Vehicles

IANS. State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is working with Indian automobile companies Tata, Mahindra and Mahindra and Eicher to lay the foundation for a more widespread commercialization of vehicles using a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (HCNG). Indian Oil is primarily studying blends of 10%–30% hydrogen in CNG.... Read more →

Westport Innovations Forms LNG Tank JV with Beijing Tianhai

Cross-section through a double-walled LNG tank with integrated pump. Westport Innovations has signed a Letter of Intent to form a 50:50 joint venture company with Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. Ltd. (BTIC) of China to market and sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tanks for the transportation market. The fuel storage... Read more →

Purdue Researchers Find New Technique for Producing Hydrogen from Water and Organic Material

Researchers at Purdue University have discovered a novel technique for producing hydrogen from water and organic material. Although not yet evaluated for economic or operational feasibility on a large scale, the technique requires only water, a catalyst based on the metal rhenium and an organic liquid called an organosilane, which... Read more →

Mazda to Introduce Sub-Compact Concept Car with Idle-Stop

Mazda’s Sassou Mazda will introduce a new sub-compact concept car featuring an idle-stop system at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show. The idle-stop system cuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, resulting in fuel savings and emissions reductions. Created at Mazda’s design center in Germany, the three-door hatchback Sassou... Read more →

Inside VW’s New “Twincharger” TSI Engine

The TSI Twincharging systems VW’s goal for its new dual-charged (“Twincharger” in VW marketing-parlance) engine (earlier post) was to combine the low-end power boost provided by a mechanically-driven compressor (supercharging) with the higher-end increase provided by an exhaust turbocharger (turbocharging) to enable the downsizing of the engine for a given... Read more →

UQM Technologies to Expand All-Electric Pickup Truck Project

UQM Technologies has received an additional $120,000 in funding to expand its work on an all-electric pickup truck project for the US Air Force. The incremental funding, which brings the total value of the contract to $750,000, is to purchase and to evaluate a high-voltage battery charging system and to... Read more →

EPA Grants Emergency Fuel Waiver for Katrina-Blasted States

The EPA is granting an emergency waiver of clean fuel standards in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi because the impact of Hurricane Katrina “will prevent the distribution of an adequate supply of fuel to consumers that is compliant with the Clean Air Act.” The EPA is temporarily allowing refiners, importers,... Read more →

Philippine President Calls Establishing E10 Program “Urgent”

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has categorized passage of the proposed National Fuel Ethanol Program as urgent. The program would mandate an E10 blend—10% ethanol, 90% gasoline—for use in the country. She made the statement during a recent 30-minute televised roundtable discussion of the government’s ethanol program with Energy Secretary Raphael... Read more →

Advanced Hybrid Vehicle Development Consortium Targets Plug-Ins

Four companies have created a new cooperative research and development consortium intended to develop a working prototype of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that may achieve 100–200 mpg US with the ability to operate in an all-electric, zero-emission mode for the first 20–50 miles. The founders expect that the Advanced Hybrid... Read more →

CARB Doubts Medium-Term Diesel Bus NOx Improvements; Considers Mandating Alternative Fuels

Projected reductions in NOx emissions from buses based on the 3 different proposed options. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is proposing a new rule that could mandate the purchase of only alternative-fueled urban transit buses beginning in 2007. Natural gas and other gaseous fuels, electric and hybrid vehicles fall... Read more →

ArvinMeritor Forms Diesel Emissions Joint Venture in Korea

ArvinMeritor announced the formation of a 50-50 joint venture between its Light Vehicle Systems (LVS) business group and DongWon Precision Industrial Co. The joint venture, named AD Tech Co., Ltd., will initially supply diesel particulate filters to light vehicle manufacturers in Korea facing increasingly stringent emissions reduction legislation. The Korean... Read more →

Opel Introduces CNG Version of Next-Generation Zafira

2006 Zafira CNG Opel (GM) is introducing the CNG version of the second-generation Zafira minivan line (introduced May 2005) at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show. The Zafira CNG is designed for optimal operation with natural gas, biogas or any mixture of the two. Like its predecessor, the new Zafira CNG... Read more →

Japanese Partnership Targeting Commercially Viable Gas-to-Liquids Fuels by 2011

The JOGMEC GTL process streamlines syngas production, removing O2 plant, CO2 removal, and conditioning. Nihon Keizai Shimbun. A group of Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), are working with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to make gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels... Read more →

Mass State Department Accelerates Adoption of CNG Vehicles

Boston Herald. Attracted by the lower cost of fuel and reduced emissions, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation is accelerating its transition to compressed natural gas vehicles. By Nov. 1, nearly half the vehicles operated by the Executive Office of Transportation—which includes MassHighway and the Registry of Motor Vehicles—will run... Read more →

SAIC (Shanghai Automotive) Outlines Plans for Hybrid and Fuel Cell Vehicles

China Daily. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), the second-largest of China’s biggest automakers behind First Automotive Works (FAW), plans to begin commercial production of hybrid-powered cars and buses under its own and foreign brands before 2008. SAIC also said it will start small-volume commercial production of hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars before... Read more →

Katrina Gathers Force, Bears Down on Key Oil and Gas Fields and Facilities

Katrina After plowing across Florida, Hurricane Katrina (the 11th named storm of the season), has crossed into the Gulf, gathered more force, and now appears to be headed directly for critical oil-producing platforms and a key hub, Port Fourchon, La. The National Hurricane Center has said that Katrina could strengthen... Read more →

Bartlett Organizes Peak Oil Mini-Conference

US Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is organizing a half-day conference on the challenges posed by peak oil and to discuss policy options and practical steps that the United States, businesses and individuals can undertake to reduce fossil fuel energy reliance. Bartlett has emerged as the most consistently vocal member of... Read more →

GM Picks Windsor to Provide Transmissions for Hybrid Vue

Windsor Star. GM has selected its Windsor (Canada) Transmission plant to supply transmissions for the new mild hybrid Saturn Vue due out next year and other future GM models using the Belt Alternator Starter hybrid system. (earlier post). The Windsor Transmission plant currently builds automatic four-speed transmissions for small front-wheel-drive... Read more →

Ford Expands Availability and Types of Particulate Filters in Europe

Ford’s 3 types of DPFs Ford of Europe is increasing the availability of Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) systems across its best-selling carlines—including retrofit systems for the majority of diesel-powered Ford vehicles already in service. Ford already offers diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems on the new Ford Focus and Focus C-MAX... Read more →

Ports of LA and Long Beach Replace Harbor Locomotives with Clean-Diesel, LNG and Hybrid

The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and Pacific Harbor Line (PHL) have tentatively agreed to launch a $23-million program to replace the aging fleet of 18 harbor locomotives with clean-diesel, alternative-fuel and hybrid locomotives. Under the pact, PHL would replace aging diesel locomotives—some more than 50 years old—with... Read more →

Enova Systems in New Joint Development Program for Hybrid Trucks

Enova Systems has entered into a joint development program with an unnamed North American truck manufacturer. The project will feature Enova’s post- and pre-transmission 120-kW hybrid drive systems. The first vehicle prototype is due to be completed by late this year. Enova is optimistic about the market potential. Enova believes... Read more →

Cummins and Scania to Produce Higher Pressure Diesel Injection Systems

Cummins and Scania are working together to produce next-generation fuel systems for heavy-duty on-highway diesel trucks. The new XPI (Xtra-High Pressure Injection) systems, under development since 2003, will replace the current HPI fuel system, currently produced jointly by the two companies. Production of the XPI systems will begin early in... Read more →

Fort Collins Expanding Hythane (HCNG) Trials

Fort Collins Hythane/CNG fueling facility. Fort Collins, Colorado, is moving ahead with the investigation of Hythane—a 15% by volume hydrogen, 85% CNG mixture—as a transportation fuel. The project, which originated several years ago, began last year by switching one of the city’s 12-seater minibuses to the fuel. Fort Collins is... Read more →

VW Intros New Dual-Charged, Downsized Engine Family (TSI) at Frankfurt

VW is introducing the first of a newly-developed gasoline engine family that combines downsizing with dual charging (super- and turbo-) to provide high power output and maximized torque with low fuel consumption. The first such dual-charged engine from the new TSI family (VW’s current main gasoline engine line is the... Read more →

Seattle Cleans Up Garbage Trucks: DOCs and Biodiesel to Cut Emissions

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels announced that the city’s garbage and recycling trucks are upgrading their exhaust systems and switching to a B20 biodiesel/ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) blend fuel in an on-going effort to reduce emissions. Seattle’s solid waste fleet, contracted through Rabanco and Waste Management, totals 180 recycling and garbage... Read more →

Seasonally Ice-Free Arctic Appears Locked and Loaded

Temperatures rising. (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment) Current warming trends in the Arctic will shove the Arctic system into a seasonally ice-free state not seen for more than one million years, according to a new report. While this is not the first forecast of the melting of Arctic sea ice due... Read more →

More Olympic Cleaning: 150 CNG Trucks for Expressway to Beijing

Xinhua. China will have some 150 trucks powered by natural gas plying the expressway between the eastern coastal city of Qingdao and the Chinese capital of Beijing by 2008, as part of the government’s efforts to clean up for an environment-friendly Olympics. Qingdao is 700 km south of Beijing and... Read more →

SatCon Expands Hybrid Components Business

SatCon Technology Corporation, a developer and manufacturer of power electronics and motors, announced it has begun shipping products both domestically and internationally from its new line of high-voltage electrical and electronic components capable of input voltages up to 450 Vdc for use in hybrid electric vehicles. The first set of... Read more →

Portland, Oregon, Tries Car-Sharing to Replace Motor Pool

CityFleet, the City of Portland, Oregon’s fleet division, has launched a pilot project investigating the replacement of its downtown motor pool with a car-sharing service provided by Flexcar. Currently the city maintains a pool of 20 vehicles downtown. City employees will now reserve Flexcar vehicles online and pick up the... Read more →

GM to Introduce Mild Hybrid Saturn in Mid-2006

GM’s Belt Alternator Starter Hybrid in the Vue. Click to enlarge. General Motors announced that it will launch its Belt Alternator Starter (BAS) mild hybrid system starting in mid-2006 with the Saturn Vue Green Line. The BAS system, which most recently appeared on the Chevy S3X diesel-hybrid prototype shown at... Read more →

Panda Plans Another 100-Million Gallon Ethanol Plant Powered by Biogas

Panda Energy, a division of the Panda Group, announced that it will build a 100-million gallon per year ethanol plant in Yuma, Colorado, fueled by renewable biogas generated from cattle manure. This is Panda’s second such announcement this year. In May, it revealed plans for a similar plant in Hereford,... Read more →

Chemical Could Improve PEM Fuel Cell Efficiency, Reduce Cost

Protons hop from one triazole group (the blue spheres) to another to move through the PEM without the need of water. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have identified a chemical that could allow PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) fuel cells to operate at a higher temperatures without moisture. This... Read more →

Pennsylvania Launches Hybrid and Alt-Fuel Program for Fleet

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has launched a pilot project to explore the use of alternative-fuel and hybrid vehicles among the state fleet. The program sets increasing purchase targets for the next five years, culminating in model year 2011 when 25% of all new passenger vehicles purchased for the Commonwealth... Read more →

New Mitsubishi 4WD Electric Vehicle; Running in Shikoku Rally

The Lancer Evolution MIEV Mitsubishi Motors has announced that it has developed and will enter another new electric test vehicle—the Lancer Evolution 4-wheel-drive MIEV (Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle)—in the Shikoku EV Rally 2005 to be held August 27-28 on the island of Shikoku, Japan. Based on the company’s Lancer... Read more →

Biodiesel Cold Flow Guidelines: Keep it 10º F Above Cloud Point

A new report sponsored by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) offers guidance on the proper blending of biodiesel fuel to achieve consistent performance in cold weather. The NBB established a Biodiesel Cold Flow Consortium to study the blending properties of biodiesel in response to the need for more data on... Read more →

Common Thread to Ethanol Debate: Reducing Petroleum Dependence

There was one point of agreement among the four scientists presenting their opposing positions in a debate on the net energy balance of ethanol: the US needs a replacement for its petroleum-based fuels. They just don’t agree on how to do that. Organized by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA)... Read more →

NHTSA Proposes Slight Increase in Light Truck Fuel Economy Standards

(This updates earlier post.) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—the agency responsible for CAFE standards—has proposed reforming the structure of the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program for light trucks and establishing marginally higher CAFE standards for model year (MY) 2008-2011 light trucks. The agency anticipates that the higher... Read more →

US Proposes New Fuel-Economy Standards for Light Trucks and SUVs

Update: This post is superseded by a more detailed post here. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has unveiled the Administration’s proposal for a slight increase in the average fuel economy standards for light trucks. The standard of 27.5 miles a gallon (8.6 liters/100km) for cars doesn’t change under today’s proposal. The... Read more →

INSEQ to Manufacture SunSource Systems for Oil Extraction from Ethanol Process

INSEQ Corporation has signed on to manufacture the systems that will be used by SunSource BioEnergy to extract corn oil for use in biodiesel production from the process used to prepare corn for ethanol production (earlier post). INSEQ expects that SunSource BioEnergy will need in excess of 30 systems for... Read more →