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April 2006

April 30, 2006

Bosch Backs Tidal Power Project

The Rotech Tidal Turbine

Bosch Rexroth, the drive, control and linear motion specialty subsidiary of the Bosch Group, is working with UK firms Lunar Energy and Rotech on a prototype tidal turbine for a tidal power project to be tested this year off the Orkney Islands.

Rotech, a specialist in tools for the oil & gas, geothermal, subsea and renewable energy markets, developed the bi-directional Rotech Tidal Turbine (RTT) that has been exclusively licensed to Lunar Energy. Rexroth is providing the scale of equipment needed to bring the concept from small scale water tank model to prototype scale.


April 30, 2006 in Europe, Power Generation | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Increasing Number of Cars in Delhi Undoing Clean Air Gains; A Call to “Reverse Automobile Dependence”

More than half of the Indian cities monitored during 2004 recorded critical levels of PM10. Click to enlarge.

The increasing number of private vehicles in Delhi is putting the city at risk of losing its hard-won gains in cleaner air, according to a new publication from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The new publication, The Leapfrog Factor: Clearing the air in Asian cities, also notes that an increasing number of Indian cities, a number of which are small, non-metropolitan entities, are turning into “smog-encased pollution hotspots.”


April 30, 2006 in Diesel, Emissions, Fleets, India, Policy | Permalink | Comments (17) | TrackBack

April 29, 2006

Ford Talks Up Sustainability at LOHAS 2006; Investigating Plug-In Hybrids

by Jack Rosebro

Escape Hybrid at LOHAS 10.

Yesterday, Ford Motor Company’s Niel Golightly, the automaker’s director of sustainable business strategies, presented some of Ford’s recent initiatives toward sustainability at the LOHAS 10 (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) conference in Santa Monica.

Ford is a major sponsor of the event, and several of Ford’s Escape hybrids were prominently displayed on the conference grounds.


April 29, 2006 in Plug-ins, Sustainability, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Diester Contracts Another Esterfip-H Biodiesel Plant from Technip

The dual-reactor Esterfip-H process flow diagram.

Diester Industrie, the French biodiesel pioneer, has awarded Technip, one of the top five global providers of full-service engineering and construction services in the hydrocarbons and petrochemicals industries, a turnkey contract for another new biodiesel plant based on the Axens Esterfip-H process. The plant will be built in Montoir-de-Bretagne, near Saint Nazaire, France.

The new plant, with a future capacity of 250,000 tonnes per year (75.5 million gallons US per year), will come online in the spring of 2007. In January, Diester contracted with Technip for a new 100,000-tonnes/year biodiesel unit (about 30.2 million gallons US) expansion of another diesel plant, again using the Esterfip-H process. (Earlier post.)


April 29, 2006 in Biodiesel, Europe | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 28, 2006

Portland, Maine, METRO adds CNG to Transit Fleet

John Deere 6081H CNG engine

Portland, Maine, METRO is introducing CNG to its fleet with the addition of 13 new CNG-powered transit buses and a CNG refueling station. The natural gas fueling station will also be used by the Portland School Department and made available to fuel other vehicles that use natural gas.

The Orion VII buses use the 6081H 6-cylinder, 8.0-liter turbocharged natural gas engine from John Deere, which delivers 280 hp (209 kW) of power at 2,200 rpm and 1,220 Nm of torque at 1,500 rpm.


April 28, 2006 in Fleets, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Senators Propose $100 Rebate to Offset Gas Prices; $2.9 Billion in Funding for Cellulosic Biofuels, Batteries and Plug-ins

Senate Energy Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) introduced the “Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006,” filed as one of the 140 Senate amendments to H.R. 4939, the Supplemental Appropriations bill.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Charles Grassley (R-IA, and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee), would provide a $100 rebate to each taxpayer to offset the increased price of gasoline.


April 28, 2006 in Batteries, Biomass, Ethanol, Hybrids, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (38) | TrackBack

Motiva Moving Ahead on 325,000 Barrel-per-Day Refinery Expansion in US

Motiva Enterprises LLC—a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining Inc.—announced that it has made significant progress toward expanding refining capacity in the United States. The company has completed initial project scoping and process design for a potential 325,000-barrel-per-day crude throughput increase at the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery in Texas.

The project would more than double the current 275,000 barrel-per-day capacity of the Port Arthur Refinery—originally built in 1903 as Texaco’s first refinery—to make it the largest in the US.


April 28, 2006 in Fuels, Oil | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

TriMet Increases Transit Use of Biodiesel

TriMet, the transit agency for the three-county area around Portland, Oregon, is expanding the use of a B5 (5% biodiesel) blend to all 210 LIFT buses that provide door-to-door service for elderly and people with disabilities.

The agency had first run a four-month test of the biodiesel blend in 75 of the LIFT fleet buses starting in December, 2005—its first biodiesel initiative. The B5 blend performed well through the trial period, particularly in cold weather conditions, according to TriMet.


April 28, 2006 in Biodiesel, Fleets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New System for Efficient Cooling of Hybrid Drivetrains

ORNL R134a integrated cooling system with floating loop. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at the National Transportation Research Center, part of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), are developing a new approach to cooling the power electronics and motors of hybrids that could lead to better performance, improved fuel efficiency, and increased power density for future systems.

Called the Floating Loop, the new cooling system is a low pressure drop R134a refrigerant loop for direct-contact cooling. The loop shares some components and piping of the vehicle air conditioning system, but remains operationally independent. The floating loop requires only a small pump to move the liquid refrigerant.


April 28, 2006 in Fuel Efficiency, Hybrids, Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

A Compact Brayton-Cycle Engine and Biomass Process for Mixed-Alcohol Fuels

The StarRotor compact Brayton cycle engine.

A Texas A&M chemical engineering professor has developed a process to convert biomass to a mixed alcohol fuel that contains more energy than fuel ethanol. He has also developed a compact Brayton-cycle engine (the same thermodynamic cycle employed by jet engines) capable of being powered by any type of fuel—including his MixAlco mixed alcohol fuel.

Prof. Mark Holtzapple projects that his StarRotor engine, which is being developed by a company of the same name, could deliver efficiencies of 49–55% applied in a passenger car—about 2.5 to 3 times more efficient than a conventioanl gasoline engine.


April 28, 2006 in Biomass, Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL), Concept Engines, Engines, Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBack

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