May 31, 2009
Virginia Tech professor of materials science and engineering Peizhen (Kathy) Lu has developed new barium oxide-, calcium oxide-, magnesia-, and alkali oxide-free glasses that can be used as sealants in both solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOFC/SOEC).
Mitsui Chemicals (MCI) has begun operating its pilot plant for synthesizing methanol from CO2. (Earlier post.) The pilot plant will produce approximately 100 tonnes of methanol per year as a base material for plastics from the CO2 released during ethylene production at the Osaka Works petrochemical complex.
Tropical cyclones could be a significant source of the deep convection that carries moist air upward to the stratosphere, where it can influence climate, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard, published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters.
DOE Issues RFI for Fuel Cells For Combined Heating and Power and APU Applications; Reflective of New Direction for Hydrogen Program
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000111) seeking input from stakeholders and the research community on proposed technical and cost targets for fuel cells designed for residential combined heating and power (CHP) and auxiliary power unit (APU) applications. This is a Request for Information and not a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA); therefore, DOE is not accepting applications and is instead providing an opportunity for stakeholders to submit feedback on targets for residential Combined Heat and Power and Auxiliary Power Unit applications.
The RFI reflects the steps being taken by the DOE’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program to rebalance its portfolio in alignment with the DOE’s new position of focusing on fuel cell applications for near-term impact, and less on the long-term development for application in transportation, said Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Acting Program Manager, during the recent Hydrogen and Vehicle Technology combined Merit Review meetings in Washington, DC.
May 30, 2009
Vehicle Electrification a Key Strategic Initiative for Magna; Steady Increases in Capabilities and Technology Portfolio Over Past Few Years
Canada-based international auto supplier and contract assembler Magna International, now with a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of Opel from General Motors (earlier post), sees vehicle electrification as one of its key strategic initiatives. Accordingly, it has been steadily increasing its capabilities with hybrid and electric vehicle technologies over the past several years.
At Magna’s Annual General Meeting, held earlier this month, Magna Co-Chief Executive Officer Siegfried Wolf noted that Magna has the capability to develop and produce many of the key components that are new and unique to electric vehicles. A key competitive advantage for the company, he said, is its “ability to integrate these new technologies into the complete vehicle and to develop complete vehicle concepts for pure electric mobility.”
Production of light-duty vehicles, trucks and buses in Japan fell 47.1% year-on-year in April, marking the seventh consecutive month of declines, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). Japan’s exports of cars, trucks and buses fell 64.7% in April from the year-earlier month, also falling for the seventh straight month, JAMA said.
Nikkei. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subarus, is planning to introduce diesel light-duty vehicles in the Japan market as early as 2011.
BBC. The German government has agreed to Magna International acquiring Opel from GM. The deal was announced early Saturday morning in Berlin by Germany’s finance minister.
May 29, 2009
Ford Team Given 2009 National Inventor of the Year Award for Plasma Transferred Wire Arc Engine Coating Technology
|Application of PTWA Coating to Ford ZETEC 1.4 Liter VCT Engine. Click to enlarge.|
The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation is awarding the inventors of the Ford-patented Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) technology used to apply coatings on engine cylinder bores the 2009 National Inventor of the Year Award. Ford presented a paper on PTWA at the SAE 2008 World Congress. (Earlier post.)
Ford’s PTWA thermal spray coating process for aluminum engine blocks replaces heavy cast iron liners, thereby improving fuel efficiency by reducing engine weight and internal piston friction losses. Ford has 95 issued and pending patents related to the new PTWA coating technology and will introduce it on its North American powertrain lineup within the next year.
|Map of the assessment units (AUs) of the CARA is color-coded for mean estimated undiscovered oil. Only areas north of the Arctic Circle are included in the estimates. Black lines indicate AU boundaries. Source: USGS CARA. Click to enlarge.|
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has completed a geologically-based assessment of the oil and gas resource potential of the Arctic, the Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA). (Earlier post.) The researchers in the effort concluded that about 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas may be found there, mostly offshore under less than 500 meters of water. A paper on the work was published in the 29 May issue of the journal Science.
Undiscovered natural gas is three times more abundant than oil in the Arctic and is largely concentrated in Russia, the researchers concluded. Oil resources, although important to the interests of Arctic countries, are probably not sufficient to substantially shift the current geographic pattern of world oil production, they said.