November 30, 2005
|The Atlantic Ocean circulation system. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers in the UK have measured an apparent 30% weakening in the warm Atlantic Ocean currents that carry heat from the tropics to the high latitudes of Western Europe.
The team behind the new study are the first to spot these signs of decline in Atlantic currents. Harry Bryden of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, and his team report their results in this week’s Nature.
|4x4 = Sedici|
Fiat is introducing two new diesel four wheel-drive vehicles at the Bologna Motor Show: a new compact SUV and new Panda CROSS supermini.
The new compact SUV Sedici’s (Sedici means “16” in Italian. 4x4 (four-wheel drive)= 16) design was developed in conjunction with Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign company as part of the Fiat-Suzuki manufacturing project.
|An S40 FlexiFuel car.|
Volvo has begun the production of flexible fuel cars capable of running on gasoline or any blend of ethanol of up to 85% (E85). The FlexiFuel engine—the 125 hp (92 kW) 1.8F—is available on the S40 and V50 models.
FlexiFuel cars will initially only be offered on the Swedish market where the infrastructure for E85 is good (there are more than 280 fuel stations for E85 from Skåne in the south to Övertorneå in the north) and there is considerable customer interest.
|The Rand Cam diesel. Click to enlarge.|
Reg Technologies announced that modifications on a 42hp (31kW) diesel version of the Rand Cam sliding-vane rotary engine have been completed and that testing is beginning on a genset application for a series hybrid vehicle as well as for an unmanned aerial application.
The modifications, completed by Ebco Industries, include six additional cam designs with a special coating to ensure durability.
Lurgi AG, a subsidiary of the GEA Group, has won five new contracts worth approximately €70 million (US$82 million) to build biodiesel plants in Germany.
In addition, the plant engineering contractor has signed a contract worth €100 million (US$118 million) to build the Panda Energy ethanol plant in Hereford, TX. (Earlier post.)
Enerstruct, a subsidiary of Ener1 jointly held with ITOCHU Corporation, has received funding from SBIC (Tokyo Small and Medium Business Investment & Consultation Co.), Japan’s oldest venture capital firm, to further the ongoing research and development of lithium battery production and battery production processes.
EnerDel, Ener1’s lithium battery subsidiary in which Delphi owns 19.5%, is working closely with Enerstruct to develop a new type of high-rate lithium battery for hybrid electric vehicles.
Proton Energy Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp. has received its third consecutive award from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Research Foundation (UNLVRF) to continue its development of hydrogen fueling stations for automobiles and other motor vehicles.
The $1.9 million award, funded by the US Department of Energy, allows Proton and UNLVRF to continue their collaboration that began in 2003 to develop advanced hydrogen fueling technologies.
November 29, 2005
Alberta’s oil sands are going to be the focal point of the largest-scale competition for energy resources ever seen, according to Donald Coxe, Global Portfolio Strategist, BMO Financial Group and Chairman, Harris Investment Management Inc.
Speaking beside a DaimlerChrysler smart car (right), Coxe said, “Even if the Chinese all have cars like this, we’re still going to need massive new oil production.”
|L. edodes, source of the gene for xylanase|
Researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service have cloned a gene from the Shiitake mushroom and are using that as the mechanism for yeast or other organisms to be able to process cellulosic biomass for ethanol production.
The dominant technology for ethanol production is the fermentation of sugars from sugary plants or from plant starches converted to sugar. For cellulosic biomass to function as an ethanol feedstock, the cellulose must first be converted to fermentable sugars.
|The EU-15 are not tracking to meet their Kyoto obligations. Click to enlarge.|
Absent additional measures, the EU 15—the 15 longest-standing members of the European Union—will fail to meet their target reduction in greenhouse gases of 8% from the 1990 level required under Kyoto, according to an official report released today by the European Environment Agency.
According to the report, The European Environment: State and Outlooks 2005, given current trends and measures, the 15 will deliver a reduction in GHG emissions of 1.6% below the 1990 base year levels—a shortfall of 6.4%. The transportation sector, with an increase in greenhouse gas emissions of 24% from 1990 through 2003, is one of the leading impediments to achieving the target.