August 31, 2008
Monsanto Company and Israel-based Evogene Ltd. have entered into a five-year research and development collaboration focused on identifying key plant genes related to yield, environmental stress and fertilizer utilization. The agreement is intended to enhance research efforts to discover and deliver novel, yield-enhancing technologies at a time of increasing demand for grain globally.
Gasoline consumption in California in May 2008 continued its downward trend, with Californians using 4.8% less gasoline in the month than during the same period the year before, according to figures from the State Board of Equilization (BOE). Diesel consumption in May 2008 was 11.0% below that of May 2007.
|Surface temperature of London at 21:30 on 7 August, 2003 showing the signature of the urban heat island during the killer heatwave. Click to enlarge. Source: NASA|
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, launched the London Climate Change Adaptation Strategy—one of the first comprehensive climate change adaptation strategies produced by any major city worldwide. The launch of the strategy comes weeks after the UK Government’s chief scientist advised that the UK needs to adapt to increased average global temperatures of four degrees Celsius.
Expected results of climate change for London include warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, with more extreme weather (heatwaves, tidal surges and heavy rainfall) and rising sea levels. These changes will increase the risk of heatwaves, floods and droughts, which will affect the prosperity of the city and the quality of life of Londoners.
Detroit Electric, the 100-year-old brand re-established in 2007 as a joint venture by ZAP and China Youngman Group (earlier post), said that a vehicle distributor and additional technology partners in Europe have agreed to provide capital financing and electric drive system technology for the venture. CEO Albert Lam expects to announce further details in the future.
Offshore oil and gas operators in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are evacuating platforms and rigs in the path of Hurricane Gustav. Models now suggest that the hurricane will grow to Cat 5 status, and pass directly over the warm water of the Loop Current. The official National Hurricane Center forecast maintains Gustav at major hurricane status all the way to landfall late Monday or early Tuesday.
August 30, 2008
|The diesel Urban Cruiser.|
Toyota will introduce three new vehicles at the upcoming Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile, 04-19 Oct): the third-generation Avensis, the production model of the iQ, showcased in design form earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show (earlier post), and the 1.4-liter D-4D diesel All Wheel Drive (AWD) urban cruiser, a new “urban all-roader”. (Earlier post.)
Measuring less than 3 meters in length, the iQ is the world’s smallest production premium 4-seater. Toyota will offer the iQ with a choice of two gasoline engines and one diesel. With its compact design, low weight and aerodynamic shape, the iQ will have CO2 emissions starting at 99 g/km. Production will commence late this year, with 100,000 units expected worldwide in the first full year.
Yomiuri Shimbun. Researchers at Kyushu University in Japan are developing a large-scale at-sea power plant combining photovoltaics and windmills designed to match the output of a nuclear power reactor.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $7 million to accelerate the movement of clean energy technologies from DOE’s national laboratories to the marketplace. The funding will help post-research technologies move toward commercial viability by providing pre-venture capital funding for activities such as prototype development, demonstration projects and market research.
City of Wichita (Kansas) officials unveiled a fleet of 12 Honda Civic hybrid vehicles, saying the 2008 model vehicles will be placed in service in September.
In anticipation of Hurricane Gustav’s expected landfall in the northern US Gulf Coast on Monday evening, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) temporarily waived certain Federal clean fuel requirements for 16 parishes in the state of Louisiana until 8 September 2008.