July 31, 2006
|Cover of Sustainability 2006|
Toyota Motor has released its 2006 sustainability report, summarizing its efforts on sustainability from environmental, social and—for the first time—economic frames of reference. The Japanese version of Sustainability Report 2006: A New Future for People, Society and the Planet is available on Toyota’s website; the English version will be available in August.
Toyota says it achieved all the goals specified in its Third Environmental Action Plan and began initiatives toward achieving goals of the Fourth Environmental Action Plan (2006-2010). Toyota’s environmental costs (unconsolidated) totalled ¥237.8 billion (US$2 billion), representing a 3% increase of ¥6.7 billion from the previous year and accounting for 2.3% of net sales.
|Monsanto is focused on three crops for biofuels: corn, rapeseed and soybeans. Click to enlarge.|
Monsanto’s corn and oilseeds breeding and biotech are complementary to the overall push to biofuels, according to Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Robb Fraley.
In an investor presentation providing an update on the company’s research, Fraley said that Monsanto’s focus is on improving the yield-per-acre potential of crops as well as for ways to enhance the value of those crops.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking it to consider using Minnesota as a site for testing XcelPlus FlexTek E-85 conversion kits. (Earlier post.)
The Governor said he wants to offer tax breaks for low and moderate income families who convert their vehicles to run on ethanol. Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) is arranging for state leaders to meet with XcelPlus to discuss the conversion technology and bring results to the EPA.
|The CO2 Idle Reduction Cooling and heating system|
Modine Manufacturing Company, a specialist in thermal management systems and components, has introduced a fuel-cell idle-reduction (idle-off) air-conditioning and heating system that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) for cooling.
The new idle-off system can be used for both cooling and heating the sleeper cabin in a long-haul heavy-duty truck, thus eliminating the need for idling during mandatory off-duty periods. The Department of Energy estimates that currently more than one billion gallons of fuel are consumed each year while trucks idle in these conditions.
Results of Trial of Supercritical Fluid Process for Hydrolysis of Biomass for Cellulosic Ethanol Production
|Phase diagram for CO2. Source: Los Alamos National Lab|
Globex, a waste-to-cellulosic ethanol startup, announced that trials of its new supercritical fluid (SCF) technology have demonstrated a lignin removal of more than 50% at ambient temperatures into a SCF 4-liter pressure vessel. The material used in the trial was common wood chips.
The SCF-based pre-treatment process seems to be effective in converting an important part of hemicellulose to sugars and thereby leaves the cellulose ready to be treated by hydrolytic enzymes, according to the company.
|Cross-well seismic difference tomogram of the Frio Brine project shows the CO2 plume.|
Results from a field test on CO2 sequestration in an old brine-filled oil reservoir suggest that the mixture of CO2 and brine dissolves minerals in the rock walls, including carbonate, that could lead to pathways in the rock through which the gas could escape.
In a paper published in the July edition of Geology, the researchers in the Frio Brine Pilot also note the potential for the mobilization of toxic trace metals and toxic organic compounds.
July 30, 2006
Sunday Independent. The South African government may consider imposing penalties to slow the rapid growth in sales of SUVs and off-road vehicles, which have continued to rise despite soaring fuel prices, according to Nhlanhla Gumede, the chief director of hydrocarbons in the department of minerals and energy.
The government had considered instituted a combined program of surcharges on fuel guzzlers and rebates for fuel-efficient cars two years ago, but opted not to intervene in the market, according to Gumede.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Japanese engineering firms Chiyoda Corp. and Toyo Engineering Corp. have each won orders from the Royal Dutch Shell Plc group to build gas-to-liquid (GTL) production facilities for the Pearl GTL project in Qatar—one of the largest GTL projects currently planned.
Shell and partner Qatar Petroleum launched the Pearl GTL project—which is designed to produce 140,000 barrels per day of synthetic fuels and chemicals—earlier in the week. (Earlier post.)
July 29, 2006
Business Standard. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has submitted a proposal to the ministry of non-conventional energy sources to conduct pilot testing of vehicles running on a blend of CNG and 10% hydrogen in New Delhi.
SIAM, which represents the major automakers in India, will collaborate with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on the project to evaluate the fuel efficiency of the fuel blend. Indian Oil launched India’s first Hydrogen-CNG (HCNG) fueling station at its R&D Centre at Faridabad near Delhi in 2005 to test blends from 5% to 30%. (Earlier post.)
The California Air Resources Board is awarding grants to three proposals for new Hydrogen Highway fueling stations in California.
The demonstration stations, the first to be co-funded by California, will help build hydrogen infrastructure. Criteria for the stations include a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases and 20% use of renewable energy to produce and distribute the hydrogen. The criteria also require no increases in smog-forming emissions, compared to average gasoline vehicles and infrastructure.