October 31, 2006
Volkswagen Research has developed a PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell that operates at temperatures about 50% higher than the conventional low-temperature fuel cells prevalent in current hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle prototypes.
Low-temperature PEM fuel cells (LTFC) operate at a membrane temperature of approximately 80° C. If the temperature greatly exceeds this value, fuel-cell performance breaks down and the fuel cell can be irreparably damaged. Accordingly, vehicle prototypes with low temperature fuel cells have sophisticated and expensive cooling systems.
Energy Conversion Devices Awarded D&D Contract for Hydrogen Hybrid Tow Tractor and Metal Hydride Fuel Cell
|Ovonic metal hydride fuel cell. Click to enlarge.|
Energy Conversion Devices (ECD Ovonics) has received a contract to develop and to demonstrate a hydrogen engine electric hybrid airport tow tractor and to further develop its advanced Ovonic metal hydride fuel-cell technology for the US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) via its National Automotive Center (NAC).
The contract has a total value of approximately $1.8 million.
|Mayor Livingstone looks out the rear window of the new series hybrid double-decker. Click to enlarge.|
Built by Wrightbus, the double-decker is a series hybrid with a 660-volt lithium-ion battery pack powering two 85kW electric motors. A 1.9-liter Euro-4 diesel engine is the genset. By contrast, a conventional double-deck bus uses a 7-liter engine. The hybrid bus is expected to cut emissions by up to 40%.
|One of Chery’s new 1.8-liter, Euro-4 engines.|
Chery Automobiles and Fiat Auto have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) according to which Chery Automobile will supply 1.6- and 1.8-liter gasoline engines for application in Fiat cars to be produced in China and outside China.
The two companies expect an annual supply exceeding 100,000 engines and anticipate signing the definitive supply agreement before year end.
Sharp Corporation has invested ¥3.5 billion (US$30 million) to increase annual production capacity for solar cells at its Katsuragi Plant by 100 MW to meet burgeoning demand in Japan and abroad. The new line will be in full production in November 2006.
Solar cell production capacity at the Katsuragi Plant will now reach 600 MW per year, the world’s largest.
Eaton Corporation has unveiled its newest generation of Roots-type supercharger design that will enable automakers to use smaller, more efficient compressors to create more engine boost.
The new design, called Twin Vortices Series (TVS), features four-lobe rotors and high-flow inlet and outlet ports that greatly enhance thermal efficiency, enabling greater volumetric capacity at higher revolutions per minute (RPM). Previous Eaton Roots-type designs featured only three-lobe rotor assemblies. The new TVS supercharger design is scalable and adaptable to virtually all engine designs, according to Eaton.
|The Eco-Jet biodiesel turbine car.|
General Motors Advanced Design Studio and Jay Leno and his garage’s team have designed a biodiesel-fueled, turbine-powered concept car they call the “Eco-Jet.” Leno and Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design, introduced the car at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
The 650 hp (485 kW) supercar is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine (a well-established engine often applied in helicopters) that develops 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque. The engine sits in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The vehicle’s shell is an advanced construction of carbon fiber over Kevlar.
October 30, 2006
The incentives are funded by a $150,000 grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DLEG). This is the second round of grant funding awarded to NextEnergy, the first being a $50,000 incentive grant, which NextEnergy is in the process of distributing to six stations.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Diversa Corporation’s Purifine enzyme for non-food applications, including its use in increasing the efficiency of oilseed processing for the production of biodiesel.
Traditionally, enzymes have not been used extensively in the vegetable oil refining process. Diversa’s approach reduces the need for harsh chemicals and provides a novel method for removing oil phospholipids (degumming the oil) while improving the quality and yield without requiring major changes to conventional processing conditions.
The Enova hybrid drive systems provided for IC Corporation’s new line of hybrid commercial buses (earlier post) will be available with either a charge-depleting (i.e., plug-in hybrid) or charge-sustaining battery technology. The technologies are expected to improve fuel economy up to 100%.
Enova is offering the same range of battery technology for the new line of hybrid school buses from IC Corporation as well. (Earlier post.)