July 31, 2009
The NASA Innovative Partnerships Program and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation today announced the Green Flight Challenge. The contest is a flight efficiency competition for aircraft that can average at least 100 mph on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles per gallon.
|Basic OIGI system for CNG or LNG. Click to enlarge.|
US-based BAF Technologies, a provider of natural gas conversions for select light- and medium-duty vehicles, has entered into an exclusive distributorship agreement with UK-based T. Baden Hardstaff to retrofit existing heavy-duty on-road vehicles to dual-fuel operation. The agreement will provide BAF with exclusive territory rights for the United States.
BAF is currently converting 600 AT&T Ford E-Series vans to dedicated CNG technology in 2009. (Earlier post.) T. Baden Hardstaff is a service and technology provider for the road transport industry specializing in the development of low carbon vehicle technologies. Among its offerings is the OIGI dual-fuel system that can work with either compressed or liquefied natural gas.
National Research Council Report on America’s Energy Future Highlights Vehicle Efficiency Technologies, Conversion of Biomass and Coal-to-Liquids Fuels, and Electrifying the Light Duty Fleet with PHEVs, BEVs and FCVs
With a sustained national commitment, the United States could obtain substantial energy-efficiency improvements, new sources of energy, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through the accelerated deployment of existing and emerging energy technologies, according to the prepublication copy of the capstone report of the America’s Energy Future project of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering.
However, the report concludes, initiating deployment of these technologies is urgent; actions taken—or not taken—between now and 2020 to develop and demonstrate several key technologies will largely determine the nation’s energy options for many decades to come. For the transportation sector, these key technologies include a focus on improving vehicle efficiency; developing technologies for the conversion of biomass and coal-to-liquid fuels; and electrifying the light-duty vehicle fleet through expanded deployment of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).
Siemens earlier this year launched a new hybrid energy storage system for streetcars that combines a double-layer capacitor (DLC) and NiMH battery pack. Streetcars equipped with the Sitras HES hybrid energy storage system can be driven up to 2,500 meters (1.6 miles) without an overheadcontactt line (OCL).
Zero Motorcycles launched the Zero DS, a fully electric dual sport motorcycle for on and off-road riding. Zero has equipped its latest model with aggressive suspension, rugged wheels and dual sport tires. The DS is powered by Zero Motorcycles’s Z-Force electric drivetrain.
New Flyer Defers Indefinitely Production of 140 Diesel-Electric Hybrid Buses Due to Delays in Customer Receiving State Funding
New Flyer Industries Inc. will defer indefinitely the production of 140 diesel-electric hybrid articulated buses (representing 280 equivalent units or EUs) under a major US customer order that was planned to commence this week as a result of delays in the customer receiving state funding. All of these 140 buses were planned to be delivered to the customer in the second half of fiscal 2009.
New Graphene Nanomaterial Could Result in More Fuel-Efficient Airplanes and Cars; Applications in Energy Storage
|Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets. Bottom: lateral and edge views. Source: MSU, XG Sciences. Click to enlarge.|
A Michigan State University (MSU) researcher and his students have developed a nanomaterial—xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets—that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more durable medical and sports equipment and enhanced energy storage systems.
The key to the new material’s capabilities is a fast and inexpensive process for separating layers of graphite (graphene) into stacks less than 10 nanometers in thickness but with lateral dimensions anywhere from 500 nm to tens of microns, coupled with the ability to tailor the particle surface chemistry to make it compatible with water, resin or plastic systems.
New Method for Producing High-Performance Zeolite Membranes; Could Increase Energy Efficiency of Biofuel Production
Engineers have developed a new method for creating high-performance membranes from zeolites; the method could increase the energy efficiency of chemical separations up to 50 times over conventional methods and enable higher production rates. Researchers led by chemical engineer Michael Tsapatsis of the University of Minnesota reported this discovery in the 31 July issue of Science.
The ability to separate and purify specific molecules in a chemical mixture is essential to chemical manufacturing. Many industrial separations rely on distillation, a process that is easy to design and implement but consumes a lot of energy. Tsapatsis’ team developed a rapid heating treatment to remove structural defects in zeolite membranes that limit their performance, a problem that has plagued the technology for decades.
Ford researchers at Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany are investigating an innovative, new wood-plastic compound (WPC—also known as liquid wood. The new liquid wood material is derived from a rubber compounding process. The new material is being assessed in a three-year project which started in May 2009.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $30 billion in loan guarantees, depending on the applications and market conditions, for renewable energy projects. Another $750 million will support several billion dollars more in loan guarantees for projects that increase the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation’s transmission system. The two new loan guarantee solicitations announced today are being funded partly through the Recovery Act and partly through 2009 appropriations.