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Chevron and Weyerhaeuser Form Biofuels Joint Venture

Chevron Corporation and Weyerhaeuser Company have created a 50-50 joint venture company focused on developing the next generation of renewable transportation fuels from nonfood sources. The joint venture, Catchlight Energy LLC, will research and develop technology for converting cellulose-based biomass from a variety of sources into economical, low-carbon biofuels. The... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors Unveils New Mid-Term Business Plan; i MiEV Goes Global

Mitsubishi Motors will emphasize its environmental strategies primarily in mature markets. Click to enlarge. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has unveiled its new mid-term business plan—Step Up 2010—for fiscal years 2008 through 2010 (ending March 31, 2011). Target FY 2010 sales is 1,422,000 units, a 6.4% increase over the fiscal 2007 forecast... Read more →

VW to Show Golf Diesel Hybrid Concept, New Natural Gas Vehicle at Geneva Motor Show

Volkswagen will make seven international premiere presentations at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (6-16 March), including a Golf TDI diesel-electric hybrid concept and the new 150-PS Passat Estate TSI EcoFuel natural gas vehicle. Other Volkswagen world premieres will be the fuel-efficient Sharan BlueMotion, the four-wheel-drive Golf Estate 4Motion, and the... Read more →

Hrein Energy Successfully Test Drives 1.2L Vehicle With Retrofitted Organic Hydride System

The organic hydride dehydrogenation reactor is mounted inline in the exhaust system. Click to enlarge. Hrein Energy, in cooperation with Futaba Industrial Co., Ltd, ITO Racing Service Co. Ltd.. and Dr. Ichikawa Masaru, a professor emeritus of Hokkaido University, has successfully test-driven a 1.2-liter Nissan March retrofitted with an on-board... Read more →

Southern California Gas Co. to Demonstrate CNG Drayage Trucks at SoCal Ports; CNG-Hydrogen Blend to Follow

Southern California Gas Co (The Gas Company), California Cartage Co. (Cal Cartage) and Autocar will collaborate to develop and put into service the nation’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks used to transport containers off-loaded from ships. Five trucks will be delivered in June 2008 and used to move containers... Read more →

Israel Prime Minister Says Developing Electric Vehicles is “National Project”; Seeking Partnership with Japanese

Nikkei. On a visit to Japan, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the country intends to make the development of electric vehicles a national project and will seek to partner with Japanese companies. Israel will build infrastructure by setting up 500,000 recharging devices in parking lots across the country.... Read more →

Mercedes to Introduce BlueEFFICIENCY C-Class Models; Fuel Consumption Reduction of Up to 12%

The C 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY. Mercedes-Benz will add three fuel-efficient variants to its C-Class range: the C 180 KOMPRESSOR, C 200 CDI and C 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY models. Fuel consumption of the high-volume C 180 KOMPRESSOR and C 200 CDI models will be reduced by up to 12%. The BlueEFFICIENCY... Read more →

Federal Court Torpedoes California Ship Auxiliary Engine Emissions Regulations

San Francisco Chronicle. The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California must get a waiver from the US Environmental Protection Agency before it can limit sulfur emissions from ocean-going ships that enter the state’s waters. The Ocean-Going Vessel Auxiliary Diesel Engine Regulation, which requires ships to use... Read more →

UK Carbon Trust Seeks Partners for Pyrolysis Oil Upgrading Process

The UK’s Carbon Trust has solicited Expressions of Interest from potential partners within the scientific community to collaborate in the development of a world-class commercially viable pyrolysis oil upgrading process. The Carbon Trust will potentially invest £5 million (US$10 million) in one or more commercially-focussed research projects in this area... Read more →

NSF Publishes Roadmap for Hydrocarbon Biofuels

Liquid biofuels can be produced through a wide range of processes. The two main types of catalysts used in these processes are either biological or chemical. As shown in the figure, the majority of the pathways to biofuels production use chemical catalysts. Click to enlarge. Source: J. Regalbuto, NSF The... Read more →

Raser and Tecstar Sign Agreement for Plug-In Series Hybrid Conversions

Raser Technologies, Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Tecstar, LP and Wheel to Wheel, LLC, outlining their intent to work together with Raser to manufacture plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) for utility, government, and other fleets. Raser plans to have Tecstar convert popular SUV and light truck... Read more →

Australia Researchers Say Car Travel Must Be Cut by 80% to Meet GHG Targets

Car travel must be cut by at least 80%, road construction halted and public transport boosted if Australia is to have any hope of meeting carbon emission targets to avoid dangerous climate change, according to two professors at Monash University. In a paper (“Mitigating greenhouse: Limited time, limited options”) to... Read more →

Modine to Supply Diesel Engine EGR Coolers to Great Wall Motor

Modine Manufacturing Company has won programs from Great Wall Motor in Baoding, Hebei Province, China valued at approximately $14 million to supply exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers for 2.0L diesel engines. These programs will begin in 2009 and extend over the next five years. EGR coolers recirculate exhaust gas from... Read more →

Morgan to Introduce Hydrogen Fuel Cell LIFECar at Geneva

Sketch of the LIFECar. Morgan Motor will stage the world debut of its hydrogen fuel cell powered LIFECar at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (6-16 March). The LIFECar is powered by a 22 kW fuel cell sized to meet the constant load requirement of cruising (about 20% of peakpower) and... Read more →

Research Suggests Biodiesel Blending is Often Inaccurate; New Radiocarbon Analysis Method Directly Quantifies Carbon of Biological Origin in Blends

While sampling blended biodiesel fuels purchased from small-scale retailers, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that many of the blends do not contain the advertised amount of biofuel. Marine chemist Chris Reddy and colleagues sampled pure biodiesel and blends from more than a dozen distributors across the... Read more →

US Department of Energy Places VC-Sponsored Entrepreneurs in National Laboratories

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected three venture capital firms to participate in DOE’s newly established Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) pilot program, which aims to accelerate deployment and commercialization of advanced clean energy technologies from three DOE National Laboratories into the global marketplace. The EIR pilot program involves... Read more →

Figuring Out How to Absorb 36B Gallons of Biofuel

The US Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandates, among its many components, an aggressive ramp-up in the use of renewable fuels, culminating in a 36 billion gallon renewable fuel standard (RFS) by 2022. Of that, corn ethanol production is capped at 15 billion gallons per year starting... Read more →

Coca-Cola Orders 120 New Hybrid Trucks; Eaton’s Largest NA Commercial Order to Date

Coca-Cola Enterprises will purchase 120 new trucks in 2008 that are powered by Eaton’s hybrid electric drivetrain systems. The Coca-Cola order represents the largest North American commercial order to date for Eaton’s hybrid systems and follows the beverage company’s purchase of 20 trucks with Eaton hybrid power systems in 2007.... Read more →

UPS Canada Adding 139 LPG Delivery Trucks to Fleet

UPS Canada will introduce 139 additional cleaner-burning, LPG (propane) delivery trucks. The majority of these vehicles will be deployed in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, with the rest to be distributed between British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The propane vehicles are joining roughly 600 propane trucks already operating in Canada; the... Read more →

Nissan and Mitsubishi Expand OEM Supply Agreement for Mini-Cars

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have agreed to expand their original equipment manufacturing (OEM) supply agreement involving mini-cars. Nissan and Mitsubishi currently have OEM agreements in Japan, where Mitsubishi supplies Nissan with mini-cars and small light commercial vehicles (LCV) while Nissan supplies light commercial vehicles to Mitsubishi.... Read more →

US Western Governors Agree to Speed Adoption of Alt Fuels; Commit to Regional GHG-Based Standard for Fuels

Governors of 19 Western US states and three US-Flag islands agreed to take action within their states and as a region to speed the development and use of alternative fuels, improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce dependence on petroleum. A resolution adopted by the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) incorporates many... Read more →

Audi Puts A Diesel in the TT; First Diesel-Equipped Series-Production Sports Cars

Audi TT 2.0 TDI quattro. Audi is introducing the Audi TT 2.0 TDI Coupe quattro and Audi TT Roadster 2.0 TDI quattro—the first series-production sports cars to feature diesel engines. The two-liter engine generates 125 kW (170 hp) of power and 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft) of torque, with fuel consumption... Read more →

Asahi Kasei Chemicals Building New Hipore Li-ion Separator Plant

Asahi Kasei Chemicals (AKC) will build a new plant for its Hipore Li-ion rechargeable battery separators in Hyuga, Miyazaki, Japan. With a capacity of 20 million m2/year, the plant will raise total Hipore capacity to 170 million m2/year. Approximately ¥6 billion (US$56.4 million) will be invested for the plant, with... Read more →

UCLA Researchers Suggest Mechanisms for Hydrogen Uptake and Release in Titantium-Doped Hydrides; Findings Could Lead to Improved Hydrogen Storage

In a study that could have importance for the development of improved hydrogen storage materials, researchers at UCLA have clarified the mechanisms of hydrogen release and uptake in transition-metal-doped sodium alanate (NaAlH4), a prototypical high-density complex hydride. The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of... Read more →

Canada to Allow ecoAuto Rebate Program to Expire

Globe and Mail. Canada’s ecoAUTO Rebate program, which provided rebates of up to $2,000 to people buying the most fuel-efficient vehicles (earlier post), will be allowed to expire next year after its two-year term, per the recently released Canadian federal budget. Canada’s beleaguered auto makers and other manufacturers found little... Read more →

US DOE to Invest Up to $33.8M to Improve Enzyme Systems for Production of Cellulosic Ethanol

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $33.8 over four years (FY 2008-2011) for four projects that will focus on developing improved enzyme systems to convert cellulosic material into sugars suitable for production of biofuels. Combined with industry cost share, up to $70 million will be invested... Read more →

Office of Vehicle Technology Annual Merit Review Underway; Highlights Program Focus on Deployment and Commercialization

The US DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Vehicle Technology (OVT) is hosting an annual merit review meeting this week in Washington DC for all of its funded research and deployment projects—the first such combined “big tent” review for all active projects. There will be more emphasis to... Read more →

Nylon Resin Replaces Steel in Exhaust System Parts

DuPont Zytel nylon resin has replaced steel in exhaust system parts on all Volkswagen vehicles built on the current Golf platform, cutting weight of the component by nearly 50%, according to DuPont. The new nylon resin catalytic converter bracket. Click to enlarge. The new Golf catalytic converter bracket, which experiences... Read more →

Transit Agency Finds Total Operating Cost of Its Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses 32X That of Diesel

The significant increase in operating cost for hydrogen buses is largely, but not entirely, due to parts cost. Click to enlarge. A memo prepared by the Santa Clara Valley (California) Transportation Authority (VTA) for the Transportation and Planning Committee of its Board of Directors reports that the average total operating... Read more →

China Youngman Plans to Ship 1,000 CNG Buses to the US Within 12 Months

A US-China bus distribution partnership between Youngman Automobile Group and ZAP plans to ship 1,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses based on technology from Germany-based Neoplan to the US within the next 12 months. Depending on the final vehicle specifications, ZAP expects to price these buses between US$175,000 to US$230,000,... Read more →

UK Rental Car Company to Add CO2 Metric to Car Groups

The UK’s leading rental car provider, Europcar UK Group, plans to add the average CO2 emissions of vehicles to its car group descriptions. The new information will be provided for both Europcar and National brands, helping travellers make more informed rental decisions. Through this industry-leading initiative, Europcar and National will... Read more →

European HyWays Project Concludes that Hydrogen Use Could Reduce Total Oil Consumption by Transport Sector by 40% Between Now and 2050

Projected impact on NOx emissions in 10 European countries as a result of the introduction of hydrogen in road transport. Click to enlarge. An assessment of the potential of hydrogen energy performed by the European FP6-funded project HyWays has concluded that introducing hydrogen into the energy system would reduce the... Read more →

Researchers Unveil Draft Sequence of Corn Genome

DNA from the human and corn (maize) genomes contain dispersed arrangements of genes (green in maize.) The number and size of repeated DNA segments (brown) between the genes in maize presented unique challenges for the sequencing team. Click to enlarge. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, NSF A team of scientists led... Read more →

Researchers Exploring New Li-Ion Anode Material That Could Increase Safety and Provide a Power Boost

Perspective plot of the layered structure of LiNiN. Click to enlarge. Researchers in Spain and the United Kingdom are reporting development of a new anode material for lithium-ion batteries that could ease concerns about safety, while delivering a power boost, according to a new study scheduled for publication in the... Read more →

China Yuchai in Joint Ventures with Geely and Yinlun for 2.0L, Euro-5 Diesel Passenger Car Engine

China Yuchai International Limited, the leading manufacturer and distributor of diesel engines in China, has entered into an Equity Joint Venture (JV) Agreement with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd. (Geely) and Zhejiang Yinlun Machinery Co, Limited (Yinlun), to form two joint venture companies in Tiantai, Zhejiang Province and Jining,... Read more →

LTC Lands Li-Ion Contract for Hybrid Bus Project

Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC) has received an order of approximately $4.7 million for lithium-ion batteries for application in a series hybrid bus joint development program with Kettering University and Transportation Techniques LLC (TransTeq). TransTeq is seeking to deliver an overall 40% improvement in fuel economy compared to current diesel buses.... Read more →

Study Could Open Pathway to More Effective Production of Low-Sulfur Transportation Fuels from High-Sulfur Stocks

Researchers at ConocoPhillips have found that successfully desulfurizing heavy crude oil with current methods depends primarily on the oil’s concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, not on the nature of the oil’s sulfurous molecules. The study is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. This observation, in contradiction to conventional... Read more →

Enova Extends Supply Agreement with Smith Electric Vehicles, Confirms 2008/9 Production Order

Enova Systems confirmed that it has received a production order for, and has begun delivering, 2008 production orders to Smith Electric Vehicles, a division of The Tanfield Group Plc (TAN). Enova has supplied electric drive train components to Tanfield since 2006, to help produce high performance electric drive train systems... Read more →

China FAW Group Fires Up First V-12 Passenger Car Engine

China FAW Group has successfully fired up China’s first self-developed V-12 engine, the CA12GV, at the FAW Technology center. The engine is to be targeted at high-end luxury cars. The CA12GV. FAW Group began working on the engine in February 2007, and in October, completed the preliminary design and prototyping.... Read more →

Hydrogen Filling Stations and Vehicles in West Denmark in Summer 2008

In June 2008 several hydrogen filling stations together with a variety of fuel cell hybrid vehicles will be put in operation in West Denmark in a project called “Hydrogen Link West Denmark” Hydrogen Link West Denmark is a public-private partnership project between more than 20 various actors on development and... Read more →

New Method to Fabricate Fuel Cell Separators Could Reduce Fuel Cell Cost by 83%

Nikkei. Researchers at the University of Hyogo (Japan) have developed a way to fabricate separators for fuel cells at a fraction of the usual cost, with the potential to reduce the cost of the fuel cell unit by 83%. These separators are now made from resin materials and cost upwards... Read more →

Virgin Atlantic Uses Biojet Fuel Blend in 747 Test Flight; Babassu and Coconut Oil as Feedstocks

Earlier testing by Boeing indicated that biojet fuels blended at 20 percent with Jet-A appear to pass the jet fuel thermal stability (JFTOT) requirement, and is much improved over the results for B100 biodiesel. Click to enlarge. Virgin Atlantic, in partnership with Boeing, GE Aviation and Imperium Renewables, a leading... Read more →

Japanese Auto Sales in Asia Projected to Exceed Domestic Sales for First Time in 2008

Nikkei. Sales of automobiles from Japan-based manufacturers into other markets in Asia are expected to reach some 5 million units in 2008, exceeding the domestic figure for the first time. Domestic automakers are increasingly relying on Asia for their growth amid dimming prospects for the Japanese and North American markets.... Read more →

Milner to Introduce E-REV Prototype Alongside Flying Car Prototype at New York International Auto Show

The prototype ElectriCar. Milner Motors is introducing an initial driving prototype of the Milner ElectriCar—an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, E-REV) alongside the prototype Milner Motors AirCar at the New York International Auto Show. The ElectriCar, based on the same basic design developed for the AirCar, is a four-door, lightweight vehicle designed... Read more →

California ARB Offering Up to $5K in Rebates for Alt Fuel and Electric Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board is offering up to $5,000 in rebates to Californians who purchase alternative fuel and electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) Overall, $1.62 million in funding will be dispensed under the Fueling Alternatives rebate program administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy. The program is part of... Read more →

Total GHG Emissions in Europe Drop 7.9% Between 1990 and 2005; Transport Sector Sees 26% Increase

Changes in greenhouse gas emissions for the EU-27 from 1990-2005. Click to enlarge. Total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU-27, excluding emission and removals from land-use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), decreased by 0.7 % between 2004 and 2005 and by 7.9 % between 1990 and 2005, according to... Read more →

NASA Study Finds Greenland’s Rising Air Temperatures Drive Ice Loss at Surface and Beyond

A new NASA study confirms that the surface temperature of Greenland’s massive ice sheet has been rising, stoked by warming air temperatures, and fueling loss of the island’s ice at the surface and throughout the mass beneath. NASA scientists used state-of-the-art NASA satellite technologies to explore the behavior of the... Read more →