June 30, 2009
The US Department of Energy will award up to $32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernize the existing hydropower infrastructure in the US, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The funding is designed to support the deployment of turbines and control technologies to increase power generation and environmental stewardship at existing non-Federal hydroelectric facilities.
Algal fuels company Solix Biofuels, Inc. completed its $16.8 million Series A funding with the addition of the international investment group, Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL). Solix will use the additional funding to complete construction and begin operations at its Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility, which is expected to be in full-scale commercial operation by late summer 2009.
Opel will offer a Sports Tourer version of its Insignia ecoFLEX starting this fall. The station wagon version offers combined cycle fuel consumption of 5.3 liters of diesel per 100 km (44 mpg US) and emits 139 g CO2/km. (The ecoFLEX sedan has fuel consumption of 5.2 L/100 km and 136 g CO2/km).
The US Environmental Agency (EPA) has granted California’s waiver request enabling the state to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards (Pavley I) for new motor vehicles, beginning with the current model year. According to evidence submitted by California during the waiver process, an EPA official said, automakers are currently already in compliance with the MY2009 Pavley requirement, and are tracking to compliance for 2010.
In September 2004 the California Air Resources Board (ARB) passed regulations to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) from new passenger vehicles starting in 2009. These regulations were authorized by the 2002 legislation Assembly Bill 1493 (Pavley). California requested from EPA the waiver required for implementation of the Pavley regulations in December 2005. The request was subsequently denied in December 2007.
Dallas-based BAF Technologies has begun converting 600 AT&T Ford E-Series vans to dedicated CNG technology in 2009. This is part of AT&T’s plan to invest up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles over the next 10 years. AT&T expects to spend an estimated $350 million to purchase about 8,000 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and approximately $215 million to begin replacing its passenger cars with alternative-fuel models, beginning with hybrids. (Earlier post.)
The converted vehicles will utilize the BAF CalComp System, a proprietary CNG fuel system certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB). CNG vehicles are expected to emit approximately 25% less greenhouse gas emissions than those traditionally powered by gasoline.
BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Demonstrate Experimental Hydrogen Fuelcell Hybrid Switch Locomotive
|Rear view of the fuelcell hybrid switch locomotive. The dual Ballard fuel cell stacks are to the left (i.e., rear) of the switcher. Source: Vehicle Projects. Click to enlarge.|
BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Inc. of Denver/Golden, Colo., a developer of large fuelcell vehicles such as mine loaders and mine locomotives, unveiled an operational hydrogen fuelcell hybrid switch locomotive at BNSF’s Topeka System Maintenance Terminal. (Earlier post.)
Following its introduction, the locomotive is heading to the Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colo., for additional testing. Late this summer or early fall, depending on the outcome of the testing, the locomotive will go into service in the Los Angeles Basin, where it will face the test of actual service in the railroad environment.
Particulate pollution thought to be holding climate change in check by reflecting sunlight instead enhances warming when combined with airborne soot, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. They report on their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online the week of June 29.
Project developers in both China and Canada are moving forward with new coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel facilities, according to the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition (CTLC).
General Motors will not retain its ownership stake in its New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota.
June 29, 2009
EPA has proposed revisions to the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air quality standard, the first adjustment since 1971. The proposed changes reflect the latest science on the health effects of exposure to NO2, which is formed by emissions from cars, trucks, buses, power plants, and industrial facilities and can lead to respiratory disease.
These proposed standards—which add a one-hour NO2 standard—and additional monitoring requirements will better protect public health by reducing people’s exposure to high, short-term concentrations of NO2, which generally occur near roadways, according to EPA. The proposal would also ensure that area-wide NO2 concentrations remain below levels that can cause public health problems.