January 31, 2007
Hybrid Technologies to Launch EV Distributor Network
Hybrid Technologies will introduce its new dealer/distributor network at the upcoming New York Auto Show.
Under the plan, each of the 75 distributors will be able to establish one full service center and 25 dealers within its exclusive territory to offer Hybrid Technologies’ line of lithium-ion powered vehicles—two-wheel, four-wheel as well as lawn and garden vehicles and wheelchairs—in addition to its standalone lithium-ion battery-powered propulsion system.
ADM to Build European R&D Center in Germany
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) will build a European research and development center in Hamburg, Germany. The facility will explore new food and oleochemical technologies, as well as drive improvement and process efficiencies for existing technologies.
ADM is one of the world’s largest processors of soybeans, corn, wheat and cocoa. ADM is a leading manufacturer of biodiesel, ethanol, soybean oil and meal, corn sweeteners, flour and other value-added food and feed ingredients.
Kanataka Bus Fleet Switching to Ethanol-Diesel Blend
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) of the State of Karnataka in India is currently switching the first 2,500 buses of its 5,162 bus fleet to O2Diesel, an ethanol-diesel blend comprising 7.7% ethanol and 0.5% of O2Diesel’s proprietary fuel additive technology. The decision came after a successful trial of the fuel.
The remaining 2,662 buses of the fleet will be switched by the fourth quarter of 2007. This will represent the single largest ethanol-diesel fleet in the world, using approximately 120,000,000 liters of O2Diesel per year.
O2Diesel is marketed in India by the company&rsqo;s exclusive distributor for the region, Energenics.
We are in discussion with the other state fleets in Karnataka and it is our goal to convert as much of the state-used 400,000,000 liters of diesel to “Enerdiesel powered by O2Diesel” as soon as practically possible during 2007.
We hope to have converted some of the depots belonging to the other 3 state transport corporations in Karnataka by the 2nd quarter of 2007. In addition, we are already in advanced negotiations with several other States in India who have shown substantial interest in a similar conversion based on the success of our program in Bangalore.—Ronen Hazarika, Managing Director of Energenics
All three components of the fuel, the ethanol, O2Diesel additive and local diesel fuel, are blended at the dispensing pump. This procedure was first used by O2Diesel in Brazil in 2004 but has been completely re-engineered by Energenics and its partners into a cost-effective, fully automated, computerized injection blending unit with realtime remote monitoring.
The blending unit (along with a separate above-ground ethanol storage tank) enables the existing pump to deliver both Enerdiesel and regular diesel, if required. Delivering the solution in this manner ensures protection from contaminants in the diesel storage tank and also enables complete independence from fuel blenders and oil companies.
This method of delivery removes a huge obstacle that has faced the introduction of all new biofuels: How do you achieve independence from the high cost of using existing fuel delivery infrastructure? We are already working with Energenics to adapt the blending unit for use in all our markets.—Alan Rae, CEO O2Diesel
ARES and Blue Sun Biodiesel in Joint Venture
ARES Corporation (ARES), an engineering and project management company, and Blue Sun Biodiesel have formed a 50-50 joint venture: ARES Blue Sun Development, LLC (ARES Blue Sun).
ARES Blue Sun will combine the engineering expertise of ARES Corporation with the fuel and oilseed technology of Blue Sun Biodiesel to collaborate on improvements in biodiesel process technology, as well as to build biodiesel (B100) production facilities throughout North America.
ARES Blue Sun will build its first plant in Clovis, New Mexico, with an annual capacity of 15 million gallons of biodiesel. The Clovis facility integrates a design jointly developed by the partners. ARES will provide project management services during the construction and operation of the Clovis plant. Blue Sun will incorporate the full B100 output of Clovis into its Blue Sun Fusion B20 product.
ARES began permit work on the Clovis site last year, and had lined up Blue Sun as its distributor. More than half of the ARES’ work is energy-related, and it formed a Clean Energy Business Unit in 2005 to focus on renewable energy, especially solar and solar hybrid systems; gasification of coal and/or waste; biofuels; sustainable energy efficiency technologies; and hydrogen-related applications.
BlueSun recently announced it was going public through the mechanism of a reverse merger. (Earlier post.)
Gasoline Demand in Japan Drops In 2006 For 1st Time In 32 Yrs
Demand for motor gasoline in Japan declined 0.9% (as measured by calendar year shipments minus end of year inventory) to 60 million kiloliters (15.9 billion gallons US) in 2006—the first year-on-year drop in 32 years—according to data released Wednesday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Within the total, demand for premium gasoline fell even more sharply, dropping 5.6% year on year to 10.1 million kiloliters (2.7 billion gallons US). Demand for diesel rose 0.1% to 40.2 million kiloliters (10.6 billion gallons).
The Petroleum Association of Japan has projected that domestic gasoline demand would start to decline in fiscal 2008 as the population ages amid a lower birthrate. But with higher crude oil prices, the decrease occurred sooner than expected, according to The Nikkei. Oil distributors may face a surfeit of output capacity.
Gasoline consumption is falling because of an increase in minivehicle sales as well as the spread of gasoline-electric hybrids, according to The Nikkei.
Total domestic auto sales in Japan fell 1.9% in 2006 to a 20-year low of 5.73 million units in 2006. By contrast, minivehicle purchases rose 5.2% to exceed 2 million units for the first time. The minivehicle figure was up for the third year in a row. Minivehicles now account for 35.3% of total new-automobile sales by volume in Japan.
Pirelli Ambiente and LiqTech to Research New SiC Diesel Particulate Filters
Pirelli Ambiente, a company within the Pirelli & C. Group, and LiqTech A/S, a Danish company with long experience in silicon carbide (SiC) filters for the retrofit market, are initiating a joint research project to improve the performance of SiC Diesel Particulate Filters.
Results from the research will belong to both companies. Pirelli Ambiente will have exclusive rights in Europe, Russia, the former Soviet Republics, Brazil and China. LiqTech will have exclusive rights in the US, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, India and Japan.
SiC is superior to cordierite in heat resistance, and SiC DPF filters have lower maximum temperatures inside the DPF during regeneration compared with a cordierite DPF. This atttribute allows safe, periodic regeneration with a high soot amount in the filter. This is suited to application in passenger car and lighter duty vehicles driving with lower-speed, stop-and-go cycles—and lower exhaust gas temperatures, according to another SiC DPF provider, NGK Insulators. But SiC’s thermal expansion is higher and it is more expensive than cordierite.
LiqTech will also support Pirelli Ambiente in developing technology to produce SiC Diesel Particulate Filters for the original equipment market on a wider scale. The results of this development will be Pirelli Ambiente’s alone, and will be implemented in a new Romanian plant now under construction.
The plant will begin operation in the second half of 2008 and will produce more than 1,300 tons of SiC filters.
LiqTech also produces an SiC diesel oxidation catalyst.
Oklahoma Governor Proposes Bioenergy Center
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has proposed that the state spend $40 million over a four-year period to create an Oklahoma Bioenergy Center (OBC) to focus on bioenergy research, development and education.
Biofuels research supported by the OBC would include development of feedstocks (primarily cellulosic biomass), collection and transportation, conversion technologies and distribution. Because the center would provide a particular boost for the state’s rural and agricultural economy, it would also feature an education component to help interested farmers and ranchers make the transition to energy crops and adopt best management practices.
Oklahoma produces many promising energy crops, such as switchgrass and other native grasses. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation would be founding consortium members and integral to the mission of the OBC.
Coupled with the state’s oil and gas industry, Gov. Henry said, the OBC would make Oklahoma a leader in the energy arena.
A thriving oil and gas industry certainly does not nullify our need to pursue other sources of energy. In fact, more and more oil companies today are making the necessary investments in alternative energy. Aside from the concerns stemming from our dependence on foreign oil, the fact is that oil continues to get harder and harder to find and more expensive to produce. The emerging economic powers of China and India only mean more intense competition for the oil that does exist.—Governor Henry
European Commission Proposes Lower Carbon Fuel Standards
The European Commission today proposed new standards for transport fuels that, among other measures, require suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of their fuels by 10% between 2011 and 2020.
This life-cycle based approach to lower carbon fuels echoes the new California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) ordered by Governor Schwarzenegger that also requires, as an initial goal, a 10% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity of all passenger vehicle fuels sold in California by 2020. (Earlier post.)
The Commission said that its proposal to revise the existing 1998 fuel quality directive reflects developments in fuel and engine technology, the growing importance of biofuels and the need both to meet the air quality goals set out in the 2005 Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution and to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change.
Achieving the EC’s goal of a 10% reduction would cut emissions by 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2020—equivalent to the total combined emissions of Spain and Sweden today.
Key elements of the directive include:
The 10% reduction in life-cycle GHG emissions. Starting in 2011, suppliers will have to reduce emissions per unit of energy by 1% a year from 2010 levels. This will result in a 10% cut—relative to 2010—by 2020.
A new gasoline blend. To enable a higher volume of biofuels to be used in gasoline, the proposal establishes a separate gasoline blend with a higher permitted content of oxygenates, including up to 10% ethanol. The different gasoline blends will be clearly marked to avoid fuelling vehicles with incompatible fuel.
To compensate for an increase in VOCs emissions that will result from greater use of ethanol, the Commission will also propose the mandatory introduction of vapor recovery equipment at filling stations later this year.
Ultra low-sulfur diesel. From 31 December 2008, all on-road diesel fuel marketed will have to have an ultra-low sulfur content of no more than 10 parts per million. From 31 December 2009, all off-road diesel fuel will also have to have the ultra low 10 ppm sulfur content, down from the current 1,000 ppm (in 2008). Fuel for inland waterway barges (also currently at 1,000 ppm in 2008) must hit 300 ppm by 31 December 2009, and 10 ppm by 31 December 2011.
PAH reduction. From 1 January 2009, the maximum permitted content of poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is to be reduced by one-third. This may reduce emissions not only of PAHs, some of which may cause cancer, but also of particulate matter.
Reduced Sulfur Off-road and marine diesel. The permitted sulphur content of diesel for use by non-road machinery and inland waterway barges will also be substantially cut.
This is one of the most important measures in the series of new initiatives the Commission needs to take to step up the fight against global climate change. It is a concrete test of our political commitment to leadership on climate policy and our capacity to translate political priorities into concrete measures. It will further underpin Europe’s shift towards the low-carbon economy that is essential if we are to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous proportions. These proposals will also help achieve a significant reduction in the noxious pollutants from transport that can harm our citizens’ health, as well as opening the way for a major expansion in the use of biofuels, especially second generation biofuels.—Stavros Dimas, Environment Commissioner
|Major changes to technical specifications proposed|
|Parameter||Old value||New value|
|Maximum permitted oxygen content in gasoline||2.7% by mass||3.7% by mass in “high biofuel petrol”|
|Maximum ethanol content||5% by volume||10% by volume in “high biofuel petrol”|
|Other oxygenates||Varied between 3 and 15%||All increased by a comparable amount in “high biofuel petrol” except methanol.|
|Sulfur content of on-road diesel||Currently 50 ppm. Provisionally 10 ppm from 1 January 2009||10 ppm from 31 December 2008|
|Sulfur content of off-road diesel||1,000 ppm from 2008||10 ppm from 31 December 2009|
|Sulfur content of inland waterway diesel||1,000 ppm from 2008||300 ppm from 31 December 2009|
10ppm from 31 December 2011
|Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbon content of diesel||11% by mass||8% by mass|
European environmental groups welcomed the proposed lower-carbon fuel standards, but continued to criticize the Commission for its failure to announce a legally-binding target for car fuel efficiency. (Earlier post.)
Until now Europe’s approach to alternatives like biofuels has been to promote them regardless of whether or not they are good or bad for the environment. If it’s designed right this commitment to reducing carbon emissions will ensure that only the cleanest biofuels are promoted and the production process of fossil fuels is cleaned up. That is a very good approach and we welcome it.—Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment
Chaoyang to build CNG stations for Taxis
Chaoyang Liaohe Oilfield Natural Gas Co., Ltd. plans to build CNG stations in Chengnan, Chengbei and Hedong (China), in a bid to meet the fueling demands of up to 3,000 taxicabs.
Bosch Acquires Geothermal Heat Pump Company
Bosch has acquired FHP Manufacturing as a part of its strategy to strengthen its Thermotechnology division and gain better access to the rapidly growing US market for electric geothermal heat pumps. FHP is Bosch's second acquisition in the field of electric heat pumps, following the acquisition of the Swedish IVT Industrier AB in January 2005.
A recently-released comprehensive new MIT-led study of the potential for geothermal energy within the United States has found that Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) technology could supply a substantial portion of US electricity well into the future, probably at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact. (Earlier post.)