December 31, 2005
Telegraph. Georgia state environmental officials plan to draft a state-wide rule in January to limit the time drivers of diesel vehicles would be allowed to idle their engines.
State regulators had planned to propose the rule in late summer 2005, but Hurricane Katrina and fuel shortages made it necessary to put off any new fuel and transportation requirements, according to the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD). (Diesel idling regulations would, however, reduce fuel consumption.)
December 30, 2005
The Environmental Protection Agency EPA is issuing two actions related to vehicle emissions durability testing procedures. This comes on the heels of the $90-million settlement with DaimlerChrysler to repair defective catalytic converters on nearly 1.5 million Jeep and Dodge vehicles (earlier post).
First, EPA is issuing a final rule that establishes vehicle aging procedures that automotive manufacturers must use to demonstrate that their vehicles will continue to meet the emission standards throughout the required useful life period (120,000 miles for most cars and trucks).
In a recent speech to the state Environmental Quality Commission (EQC), Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski called upon the EQC to create a strategic plan for the state Department of Environmental Quality to follow in developing and expanding existing programs to fight global warming and improve air quality.
Noting warnings by regional scientists and economists that climate change poses a real threat to Oregon’s economy and quality of life, the Governor reaffirmed his support for new regulations reducing CO2 emissions from new vehicles. (The California CO2 regulations.)
|DME is a component of China’s vision for coal utilization.|
Japan’s Toyo Engineering will design and build China’s first major coal-to-dimethyl ether (DME) with China’s Ningxia Coal Group in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
DME can serve as a synthetic fuel that is to diesel what LPG is to gasoline. It is gaseous at ambient conditions but can be liquefied at moderate pressure. With a high cetane number, DME has very attractive characteristics as an alternative fuel for diesel engines.
Las Vegas Sun. Lucky Cab Company in Las Vegas, Nevada, is testing four Prius hybrids as part of its fleet of 120 cars. The move puts Las Vegas in a small group of cities that have rolled out hybrid taxicabs, including San Francisco, New York and San Antonio.
A Chicago taxicab operator is expected to introduce hybrids in the coming weeks, according to Todd Sigaty, executive director of the New York-based Coalition for Smart Transportation.
December 29, 2005
|The JOGMEC GTL process streamlines syngas production, removing O2 plant, CO2 removal, and conditioning.|
A group of Japanese companies intent on making gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels a commercially viable overseas business by 2011 (earlier post) plans to start building a trial GTL plant in Niigata Prefecture in fiscal 2006, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The ¥36 billion (US$306 million) facility is targeted to begin operation in 2008 with a daily output capacity of about 500 barrels per day (21,000 gallons) of synthetic fuels and chemicals using natural gas that Japan Petroleum Exploration produces from the Iwafuneoki gas field off the coast of Niigata.
An appropriations bill passed by Congress before the holidays and now awaiting the President’s signature contains a $2.1-million provision for the development of Hybrid-Electric Military Vehicles, including Integrated Starter Alternator research and development according to Raser Technologies, a developer of advanced electric motors and a founding member of the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium (earlier post).
(This bill—the Support Our Scouts Act H.R. 2863—is a different bill than the large defense appropriations bill H.R. 1815 (earlier post), and also contains an agglomeration of various projects seemingly unrelated to direct military spending.)
Reuters. Renault has purchased an additional 10% interest in South Korea’s Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) for 55 billion won ($54.3 million). The exercise of these options brings Renault’s stake in the Korean company to 80.1%. Samsung Group owns the remaining 19.9%.
Late last month, Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn announced that RSM will begin to export the compact SM3 model (earlier post) under the Nissan brand beginning in 2006. Ghosn is also the chairman of Nissan.
December 28, 2005
The organic bakery sold off its old fleet of trucks and leased 13 newer diesels: nine Dodge Sprinters, three Ford Cargo E250s and one Isuzu NPR Box Truck. All run on the B99 fuel.
Tianjin Qingyuan Electric Vehicles has exported 106 of its Happy Messenger (earlier post) electric vehicles to buyers in the US. According to the company, the US buyers are townships, military bases, ports and research institutions.
The Tianjin company sent over six Happy Messengers in April for performance tests and marketing. The electric vehicles, developed internally, are priced at around $10,000.