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Survey: Europeans Interested in Better Fuel Economy, But Not in Paying for It

According to a new Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST study of adults in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, more than one-third (35%) are very or extremely likely to include enhanced fuel economy technologies on their next vehicle. Nearly one-third of all vehicle segment owners expressed the same sentiment, with... Read more →

Report: EPA Administrator Ignored Staff Findings in Denying California Waiver

The Los Angeles Times reports that sources inside and outside the Environmental Protection Agency say that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson ignored his staff’s written findings in denying California’s request for a waiver to implement its law regulating greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars. (Earlier post.) “California met every criteria...on the... Read more →

EnerDel to Receive $1M to Develop Hybrid Bus Battery Technology from Omnibus Bill

Among the provisions of the $555-billion FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill now awaiting signature at the White House is $1 million in federal funding to EnerDel for research to develop, produce and evaluate battery technology for mass transit hybrid electric buses. This project was included by the Senate and House... Read more →

Oxford Catalysts Purchases Microreactors to Hasten Commercialization of HDS and FT Catalysts

As part of a planned expansion of its development facilities, Oxford Catalysts has placed an order worth approximately €700,000 (US$1 million) with the German company Amtec for the purchase of two Spider16 high-throughput screening microreactors. The first, due to be delivered at the end of February 2008, will be used... Read more →

FERC Grants Finavera Renewables First US License for Offshore Wave Energy

The United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted Finavera Renewables an operating license for its Makah Bay Offshore Wave Pilot Project in Washington State. The license is the first ever issued by the Commission for a wave, tidal or current energy project in the US. The decision by... Read more →

New Ternary Self-Catalyzing Hydride Releases Hydrogen Rapidly at Lower Temperatures

The reaction scheme for the ternary hydride composite 2LiNH2 + LiBH4 + MgH2, which summarizes the phases present at different preparation and hydrogen desorption (rehydrogenation) states as well as the related sequential chemical reactions. A research team at the Ford Motor Company and the University of California, Los Angeles, has... Read more →

European Environment Ministers Agree on Aviation GHG Scheme

European Union Environment Ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday reached political agreement on a draft directive that includes aviation in the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) for greenhouse gases. The Environment Council noted that the directive does not affect other means of addressing climate change through a comprehensive approach based... Read more →

Energtek and Philippines Launch Project to Convert Three-Wheelers to ANG

ANG storage material. Click to enlarge. Source: Energtek Energtek Inc., the Department of Energy (DOE) of the Republic of the Philippines, and the Philippines National Oil Company Exploration Corporation launched a project for the conversion of three-wheel vehicles to natural gas-powered systems with adsorbed natural gas (ANG) storage, in the... Read more →

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Approve Clean Trucks Fee

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved a measure that will place a $35 charge on every loaded twenty foot equivalent (TEU) cargo container entering or leaving the Port of Los Angeles cargo terminals by short-haul (or “drayage”) trucks beginning 1 June 2008. This follows the unanimous vote of support for... Read more →

Researchers Investigate Supercritical Method of Converting Chicken Fat and Tall Oil into Biodiesel

Chemical engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have investigated supercritical methanol as a method of converting chicken fat into biodiesel fuel. The new study also successfully converted tall oil fatty acid, a major by-product of the wood-pulping process, into biodiesel at a yield of greater than 90%, significantly advancing... Read more →

Navistar to Acquire GM’s Medium-Duty Truck Business

GM and International Truck and Engine Corporation, the principal operating subsidiary of Navistar International Corporation, have entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding under which Navistar would acquire GM’s medium-duty truck business, which includes assets and intellectual property rights to manufacture GMC and Chevrolet brand vehicles in the class 4-8... Read more →

Smith Electric Vehicles Reports Largest Order to Date for Newton and Edison

Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) reported an order for 100 of its vehicles, a mixture of the Newton truck and Edison van models, destined for fleet operators across the public and private sectors in Ireland and Northern Ireland. This is the largest new customer order to date, according to the company,... Read more →

Tata to Unveil “People’s Car” at New Delhi Auto Expo in January

Tata Motors will introduce its $2,500 “People’s Car” on 10 January at 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi. The company plans to begin production of the low-priced vehicle in 2008. Tata group chairman Ratan Tata has said that the new car, a 33hp, four-door, rear-engined vehicle, is aimed at attracting... Read more →

Report: Combined Heat and Power can Significantly Alter Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions for Corn Ethanol Production

Total net fuel consumption for dry mill ethanol plants, Btu/Gallon. Click to enlarge. The adoption of combined heat and power (CHP) in dry mill ethanol plants can reduce total energy use by up to almost 55% over state-of-the-art dry mill ethanol plants that purchase central station power and can result... Read more →

Ricardo Launches New Engineering Service to Help Automakers with CAFE

Ricardo, Inc., a leading independent engineering firm, has introduced a new engineering service designed to help automakers address the new 35 mpg CAFE standard. TVFE (Total Vehicle Fuel Economy) employs a systems approach that quickly identifies, validates and implements the most cost-effective strategies to achieve light-vehicle fuel economy and CO2... Read more →

EPA Denies California Vehicle GHG Waiver; State Will Sue to Overturn Decision

The US Environmental Agency (EPA) today denied the state of California the waiver required to enable the state to regulate tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks. Sixteen other states—Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah,... Read more →

European Commission Proposes Legislation Limiting CO2 Emissions From Cars; Fines for Missing the Target

The European Commission today proposed legislation that would begin implementing an integrated approach to reducing the average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars to 120 grams per kilometer by 2012. The current average is around 160 g/km. Under the proposal, vehicles will need to reduce average emissions to 130 g/km... Read more →

Honda Expects 10% of Global Sales from Hybrids by 2010

In his end of the year speech, Honda President and CEO Takeo Fukui said that Honda envisions that hybrid models will account for approximately 10% of Honda’s global automobile sales by around 2010. Hybrids represented about 1.5% of Honda’s global automobile sales in 2006. Achieving that 2010 goal—which would equate... Read more →

Odyne Receives Order for 25 Plug-in Hybrid Lift Truck Systems from Dueco

Odyne Corporation has received a purchase order for 25 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle systems from Dueco, Inc., one of the nation’s largest utility equipment manufacturers. Dueco will install the systems to power the first plug-in hybrid electric aerial lift trucks used by utility companies to maintain electric, telephone and cable... Read more →

Researchers Report Highest Hydrogen Capacity Yet for MOF-5 at Warmer Temperatures

Structure of the hydrogen-storing metal-organic framework MOF-5. Click to enlarge. Source: (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 20145-20146 Metal-organic framework (MOF) compounds, which consist of metal-oxide clusters connected by organic linkers, are a relatively new class of nanoporous material that show promise for hydrogen storage applications because of their... Read more →

Torotrak Enters License and Development Agreements with European Truck and Bus OEM

Torotrak plc has entered into a licence agreement and an engineering development agreement relating to the use of Torotrak’s full-toroidal traction drive technology in the commercial vehicle range of an unnamed European truck and bus manufacturer. The total value of the licence fee and subsequent payments relating to the engineering... Read more →

Fuel Cell Powertrain in the Honda FCX Clarity Is Significant Advancement over Predecessors

The advances in fuel-cell powertrain technology reflected in the FCX Clarity reduce the size of the system and provide designers with more flexibility. Click to enlarge. Honda’s production fuel cell vehicle, the FCX Clarity, introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show and due to begin limited leasing in the spring... Read more →

DOE Awards $66.7 Million for Large-Scale Carbon Sequestration Project; Ethanol Plant the CO2 Source

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) has awarded $66.7 million to the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC) for the Department’s fourth large-scale carbon sequestration project. The award to MGSC is the fourth of seven awards in the third phase of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program. In October, the DOE awarded... Read more →

FAW Orders Additional 20 Hybrid Systems from Enova

First Auto Works (FAW) of China has ordered an additional 20 hybrid systems from Enova Systems, as a follow-up to their previous purchases. The Hybrid City Bus, powered by Enova’s 90kW Parallel Hybrid Drive system, was first produced at FAW’s Wuxi, China Assembly Plant in December 2005. FAW is the... Read more →

New Study Finds Urban Sprawl in Maryland is Increasing

A study of changing land use patterns in the state of Maryland found substantial and significant increases in sprawl between 1973 and 2000. The results are in contrast to a study last year that concluded that the extent of sprawl remained roughly unchanged in the US between 1976 and 1992.... Read more →

Avis London Uses Electric Bikes for Delivery and Collection

Avis, the car rental company, now uses a fleet of electric bikes for its deliveries and collections around London (UK). The bikes are provided and operated by Avis’ supplier Vehicle Enhancement Services (VES). The Avis e-bike. VES had previously worked with Avis for just over three years, before tendering to... Read more →

House Sends Energy Bill to President Bush; New Renewable Fuel Standard

The new Renewable Fuel Standard in the energy bill calls for a rapid acceleration in the production of cellulosic biofuels (red), and a capping of corn ethanol at 15 billion gallons per year. Click to enlarge. By a 314 to 100 vote, the US House of Representatives passed the energy... Read more →

PG&E and Finavera Renewables Enter Into US’ First Commercial Wave Energy Power Purchase Agreement

Operating principle of the Finavera AquaBuOY. Click to enlarge. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has entered into a long-term, two megawatt (MW) commercial wave energy power purchasing agreement (PPA) with Finavera Renewables Inc., the developer of the AquaBuOY wave energy converter. (Earlier post.) This marks the first commercial wave... Read more →

USAF C-17 Makes First Transcontinental Flight on 50-50 Synfuel Blend

A US Air Force C-17 has completed the first transcontinental flight of an aircraft using a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and Fischer-Tropsch synthetic fuel. The C-17 Globemaster III lifted off shortly before dawn at McChord Air Force Base, Wash., and arrived in the early afternoon at McGuire AFB, N.J., where... Read more →

FutureGen Plant to Be Sited in Mattoon, Illinois

Overview of technologies and process for the FutureGen coal plant. Click to enlarge. The FutureGen Alliance has selected Mattoon, Illinois as the site to host the FutureGen power plant. FutureGen is a prototype coal-based plant intended to establish the technical feasibility and economic viability of co-producing electricity and hydrogen from... Read more →

Azure Dynamics Signs Florida Power & Light as Fourth Lead Customer for E-450 Parallel Hybrid

Azure Dynamics Corporation has signed a commercial development and cooperation agreement with Florida Power and Light (FPL) through which Azure will deliver a gasoline parallel hybrid electric Ford E-450 based vehicle for industry viability validation, testing and demonstration within the FPL fleet. FPL becomes Azure’s fourth lead customer for the... Read more →

UQM’s New 150 kW Propulsion System Selected for Advanced Hybrid Bus Development Project

UQM Technologies’ newly introduced 150 kW (201 hp) permanent magnet propulsion motor—the PowerPhase 150—has been selected as part of a collaborative advanced hybrid electric bus development program being performed by the Flint, Michigan, Mass Transportation Authority (MTA), Kettering University, Michigan State University and Transportation Techniques LLC. This new propulsion system... Read more →

Guangzhou Automobile Group and Hino Establish JV in China

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. and Hino Motors, Ltd. have established a new joint venture, Guangqi Hino Motors Co., Ltd. (Guangqi Hino) in Guangzhou, China for the production and sales of commercial vehicles. The new JV is based on reorganization of Guangzhou Yangcheng Automobile Co., Ltd. (a company invested in... Read more →

EPA Demonstrates Hydraulic Series Hybrid UPS Delivery Vehicle to SCAQMD

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrated its hydraulic series hybrid UPS delivery vehicle (earlier post) at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Diamond Bar, CA. The hydraulic hybrid truck achieves a 60–70% improvement in fuel economy and 40% reduction in emissions in laboratory tests over a... Read more →

Zenn Electric Car Still Blocked From Canadian Roads

CanadaEast. Despite approval by Transport Canada, the Canadian-made low speed electric vehicle Zenn is still barred from Canadian streets. The car recently received the National Safety Mark from Transport Canada, approving its use in Canada, but each province has to legislate its use as a low-speed vehicle. Transport Canada is... Read more →

DKRW Selects ExxonMobil’s Methanol-to-Gasoline (MTG) Technology for Coal-to-Liquids Project

MTG is one of the pathways for converting syngas to transportation fuel. Both the Fischer-Tropsch and MTG processes are 3-step processes. Thermal efficiencies are essentially governed by the thermal efficiencies of the syngas production process and feed. Click to enlarge. Source: ExxonMobil and Uhde DKRW Advanced Fuels (DKRW) has selected... Read more →

Traction Technology and Optare to Develop Series Hybrid Buses for UK

Traction Technology Plc, a UK-based designer and deliverer of diesel-electric series hybrid systems, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Optare Group, one of the UK’s leading bus and coach designers and manufacturers, for the joint development of a range of single-deck series hybrid vehicles for the UK bus... Read more →

Researchers Explore Improving Li-Ion Energy Capacity and Cycle Life with Silicon Nanowires for Anode Material

Silicon is conceptually an attractive anode material for lithium-ion batteries because of its high theoretical charge capacity (4,200 mAh g-1—more than 10 times that of graphite anodes and much larger than various nitride and oxide materials) and low discharge potential. However, silicon anodes are problematic because the material’s volume changes... Read more →

Daimler Receives Orders for 1,052 Orion VII Diesel-Electric Hybrid Buses; Majority to Use Li-Ion Battery Pack

The Orion VII series hybrid bus. Click to enlarge. Daimler Buses North America has received orders totaling 1,052 Orion VII Next Generation diesel-electric series hybrid transit buses. MTA New York City Transit has ordered 850 and the City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) has ordered 202. These buses will be powered... Read more →

Total and Indonesia Sign MoU for CO2 Capture and Storage

Total E&P and the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. Under this agreement the Indonesia’s Agency of Research and Development for Energy and Mineral Resources will be allowed to access to... Read more →

Hydrogenics to Provide Hydrogen Generation System to Air Liquide Canada for BC Transit’s Hydrogen Highway

Hydrogenics Corporation will provide a hydrogen generation system to Air Liquide Canada to support BC Transit’s fleet of 20 fuel cell-powered buses. The system is anticipated to be delivered in 2008 and will be located at BC Transit’s Langford Transit Centre. This onsite hydrogen generation system will be the first... Read more →

Pintle-Regulated Venturi Induction Prototype Car Delivers 48.1 MPG in EPA Certified Highway Testing

The pintle-regulated venturi concept. Click to enlarge. Independent testing of PRV Performance’s Pintle-Regulated Venturi Induction prototype car (a Honda Civic, earlier post) delivered 48.1 mpg in the EPA highway test. Carbon dioxide emissions were 106 g/km. Testing was performed at Environmental Testing Corporation in Aurora, Colorado. The company has worked... Read more →

Report: EU to Allow Automakers to Pool CO2 Emissions to Reach Target

Reuters. Automakers will be allowed to Carmakers will be allowed to form pools to spread the burden of meeting new limits on carbon dioxide emissions, according to a draft EU document obtained by Reuters. The rules will require average CO2 emissions from new cars to meet a 120 g/km target... Read more →

Electric Company Pledges $2M to University for Research into Carbon Capture and Coal-Based Fuel Cell Systems

FirstEnergy Corp., an Ohio-based electric company, pledged $2 million to The University of Akron to establish the FirstEnergy Fund for Advanced Energy Research. The fund will be used to create the FirstEnergy Advanced Energy Research Center at the University and support development of carbon capture and coal-based fuel cells. The... Read more →

LG Chem to Supply Li-Ion Batteries for Hyundai Hybrids

Korea Times. Korea-based LG Chem has won an order to exclusively supply lithium-ion polymer batteries to Korea-based Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors. The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group plans to begin mass-production of hybrids in 2009. “The order proves our technological competitiveness in rechargeable batteries for cars,” LG Chem Vice... Read more →

Beluga Shipping Launches MV Beluga SkySails

The MV Beluga Skysails at christening. Click to enlarge. Beluga Shipping GmbH has launched the 140m MV Beluga Skysails, the world’s first application of the SkySails towing kite auxiliary propulsion system on a cargo vessel. (Earlier post.) The MV Beluga SkySails is equipped with a towing kite measuring 160 square... Read more →

Toyota Expects to Expand Global Output By 500,000 Units in 2008

Nikkei. Toyota Motor Corp. expects its global production in 2008 to climb to approximately 9.9 million vehicles, up about 500,000 units more than its projection for this year, due to expectations of continued robust sales in China, the Middle East and other emerging economies. Toyota projects its global output will... Read more →

Abengoa Bioenergy to Invest $250M in Philippines for Cassava

Abengoa Bioenergy plans to invest $250 million to develop 50,000 hectares of cassava plantation in the Philippines for the production of feedstock for ethanol production. Abengoa Bioenergy expects the plantation to produce one million to 1.2 million tons of feedstock, and generate about 150 to 200 million liters (40 to... Read more →

Qatar Petroleum, BP and Texas A&M to Develop LNG Safety Research Program

BP and Qatar Petroleum signed a memorandum of understanding to develop and fund a world-class Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) safety research program in Qatar in partnership with the Qatar Foundation, and Texas A&M University and its affiliates. The program, which will extend and complement the existing BP-sponsored program run at... Read more →