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August 2009

August 31, 2009

DOE Selects High-Tonnage Biomass Feedstock Projects for up to $21M in Funding

The US Department of Energy will award up to $21 million to five projects that will develop supply systems to handle and deliver high-tonnage biomass feedstocks for cellulosic biofuels production. The selection of the projects is in response to a funding opportunity announcement issued by DOE back in March.(Earlier post.)

The chosen awards were selected as the best projects to stimulate the design and demonstration of a comprehensive system to handle the harvesting, collection, preprocessing, transport, and storage of sufficient volumes of sustainably produced feedstocks. Feedstocks or combinations of feedstocks that were considered include: agricultural residues, energy crops (e.g., switchgrass, miscanthus, energycane, sorghum, poplar, willow), forest resources (e.g., forest thinnings, wood chips, wood wastes, small diameter trees), and urban wood wastes.

Projects selected for negotiation of awards are:

  • Agco Corporation of Duluth, GA (up to $5 million) will seek to demonstrate the viability of the densified, large square bale (LSB) as a least-cost, near-term means for supplying high tonnage biomass feedstocks to cellulosic biofuel processors. Agco plans to use the LSB supply system to fulfill the feedstocks needs of biorefineries in Emmetsburg, IA, Hugoton, KS (Abengoa), and the Terrabon biorefinery in Bryan, TX. The project will deploy, evaluate, and improve upon an industrial-scale feedstock supply chain capable of provisioning crop residues and herbaceous energy crops to biorefineries in the densified format. Throughout the course of the project, demonstration will include all stages of the biomass supply chain, beginning with field harvest and continuing through storage and preprocessing.

  • Auburn University of Auburn, Alabama (up to $4.9 million) will work with leading producers of forest biomass for energy in Alabama to design and demonstrate a high productivity system to harvest, process, and transport woody biomass from southern pine plantations. Specific project objectives are to develop design improvements in tree-length harvesting machines for energy plantations, configure and assemble a high-productivity, lowest-cost harvesting and transportation system for biomass, and demonstrate at full industrial scale and document performance of the harvesting, storage, pre-processing, and transportation system.

  • FDC Enterprises Inc. of Columbus, Ohio (up to $4.9 million) will primarily target Abengoa Bioenergy’s cellulosic biorefinery, which is currently under development in Hugoton, Kansas. FDC Enterprises Inc.’s project plans to complete design, fabrication, and demonstration of three types of innovative new harvest and biomass handling machines, including a single-pass mowing and baling operation, a Bale Picking Truck, and a Self Loading Trailer. Annual demonstration harvests will be performed on large-acre tracts of biomass feedstocks. Available plots of high yielding energy crops, including miscanthus and biosorghum, will also be harvested.

  • Genera Energy, LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee (up to $4.9 million) will supply low-moisture switchgrass with an efficient bulk-format system that maximizes automated conveyance and handling. The project aims to achieve an overall process where switchgrass is dry chopped into bulk format on the farm, hauled to a nearby satellite location, stored in a protective facility, bulk compacted into trailer, and efficiently hauled (80 km) for unloading at the handling unit of the biorefinery.

  • The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry of Syracuse, New York (up to $1.3 million) plans to build on existing collaborative efforts among the project partners to develop, test, and deploy a single-pass cut-and-chip harvester combined with a handling, transportation, and storage system that is effective and efficient in a range of different short-rotation wood crops (SRWC) production systems throughout North America. The system aims to reduce the costs associated with harvesting and transportation, provide consistent quality material to meet end user specifications, improve environmental attributes, and accelerate the deployment of SRWC.

August 31, 2009 in Biomass, Cellulosic ethanol, Fuels, Infrastructure | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

First Full Month of Transit Connect Sales in the US Tops 2,000 Units

The first full month of sales in the US for the 2010 Ford Transit Connect light commercial van has topped 2,000 units, according to Ford. Vehicles are selling in fewer than 10 days of arriving on dealer lots, significantly quicker than industry norms.

The Ford Transit Connect. Click to enlarge.

Early Transit Connect buyers represent a cross section of the small business landscape, including laundries, caterers, door and lock companies, painters, electricians, restaurant suppliers, satellite dish installers, carpet installers and commercial carpet cleaners.

The Southern California region is leading the retail market for Transit Connect sales to non-business users. Dealers report sales to a diverse range of hobbyists needing extra space to efficiently haul everything from show dogs to motor scooters.

The Transit Connect features an EPA rating of 22 mpg city/25 highway combined with the payload capacity of a full-size half-ton pickup truck. Ford will introduce an electric version of the Transit Connect, in partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles, in 2010. (Earlier post.)

August 31, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

California Gasoline Consumption Rose 0.6% in May; Diesel Declined 7%

California gasoline consumption rose 0.6% in May, while diesel fuel declined 7%, according to the latest figures from the California Board of Equalization (BOE).

We’re in an uncertain time. While more fuel efficient cars and trucks are increasing fuel economy—and in light of some of the recently improved economic statistics—consumers remain cautious in their spending as the economy continues toward an uncertain recovery.

—Betty T. Yee, Chairwoman of the BOE

May 2009 gasoline sold for use on California roads totaled 1,291 million gallons of gasoline. A month-to-month comparison shows that gasoline consumption rose 3.5% in May, compared with 1,247 million gallons in April. Historically, May shows an increase over April, in part because of the Memorial Day holiday, which traditionally is the start of the summer when people travel more and consume more fuel.

The average California gasoline price at the pump in May was $2.53 per gallon, a 37.1% decline from the average price the same month last year when it was $4.02. Gasoline sold at the lower price in May generated approximately $241 million in sales tax during that month, an estimated $139 million less than was generated last year.

May 2009 diesel fuel sold for use on California roads totaled 209 million gallons of diesel. A month-to-month comparison shows that diesel consumption declined 4.8% in May, compared with 220 million gallons in April.

California diesel prices were $2.35 per gallon in May, down 49.6% compared to last year, when the average diesel price was $4.67 per gallon.

The BOE is able to monitor gallons through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors. Figures for June 2009 are scheduled to be available at the end of September 2009.

August 31, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nexterra Receives C$7.7M for Commercialization of Biomass Power System with GE

Canada-based Nexterra Systems Corp., a supplier of advanced biomass gasification systems, has received C$7.7M (US$7 million) in funding from the BC Bioenergy Network (BCBN), Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), and Ethanol BC.

This funding will be used to support Nexterra’s recently announced program to commercialize a new high efficiency biomass power system in collaboration with GE Jenbacher and GE Energy. This advanced combined heat and power (CHP) system involves direct-firing syngas from Nexterra’s biomass gasification technology into GE’s Jenbacher internal combustion engines.

Pilot testing of the new CHP system will begin on schedule before the end of 2009. A first commercial demonstration project is expected to begin in early 2010.

Nexterra gasifier. Click to enlarge.

Nexterra uses a fixed-bed, updraft gasifier. Fuel, sized to 3 inches or less, is bottom-fed into the center of the dome-shaped, refractory-lined gasifier. Combustion air, steam and/or oxygen are introduced into the base of the fuel pile. Partial oxidation, pyrolysis and gasification occur at 1,500 — 1,800 °F (816 — 982 °C), and the fuel is converted into syngas and non-combustible ash.

The ash migrates to the base of the gasifier and is removed intermittently through an automated in-floor ash grate. The clean syngas can then be directed through energy recovery equipment or fired directly into boilers, dryers and kilns to produce useable heat, hot water, steam and/or electricity.

Nexterra supplies biomass gasification solutions that generate heat and power inside-the-fence for customers at institutional and industrial facilities. Sales to date include projects at the University of South Carolina, Dockside Green, the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Lab, Kruger Products and Tolko Industries. Nexterra is actively commercializing new applications for generating electricity with General Electric and to produce renewable energy at wastewater treatment facilities with Andritz.

August 31, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Policy Options for Expanding and Modernizing the US Power Grid

The US will need to expand and modernize its outdated power transmission grid to incorporate more renewable energy sources, but balkanized ownership and regulation are going to make that process slow and difficult, according to a new Duke University analysis.

Complex and fragmented regulatory structures increase transaction costs, delay the permitting process, and add to risk and uncertainty. Local opposition and other siting difficulties, along with traditional reliability-focused planning, also have impeded the development of a modern grid. Because of these, there has been a sustained under-investment in transmission for several decades.

—Chi-Jen Yang of the Duke-based Climate Change Policy Partnership (CCPP)

Ownership of electric transmission in the US is fragmented. Source: Yang, 2009. Click to enlarge.

Yang is the lead author of a 26-page paper from CCPP reviewing these challenges and exploring eleven policy options for addressing them.

Real estate investment trust funds (REITs) may be a feasible approach for reducing ownership fragmentation and inducing new investment, Yang finds. Consolidating public-owned transmission assets could also be considered, as well as distributing the costs of transmission to ratepayers across a broad region to help fund large-scale investments.

Dealing with local opposition to new transmission lines will not be easy, Yang says, but ways exist to reduce investors’ risks in the siting process. Potential options might include interstate siting compacts and allowing for cost-recovery of transmission work in progress. It might also be possible to provide recovery of prudently incurred costs if a project must be abandoned for reasons beyond the investor’s control.

Government financial support for feasibility studies and preliminary environmental impact studies for projects of national importance would further help lower investors’ risk. Extending federal siting authority to promote renewable energy could address siting issues for critical projects.

Our most abundant renewable energy resources are concentrated in remote regions that are often not linked, or only weakly connected, to the existing transmission network. Developers won’t invest in building renewable-generating capacity until transmission becomes available, and transmission investors won’t invest until sufficient renewable power generating capacities are developed. Establishing national renewable energy zones may be a logical first step to break this cycle of inaction.

—Chi-Jen Yang

A broader scale planning scheme, such as interconnection-wide planning, may be another step. Load-balancing technologies, such as smart grid devices, demand-response resources and energy storage have the potential to reduce the need for transmission expansion, Yang says. However, “while the vision of a smart grid is appealing, policymakers should understand the costs and hurdles of large-scale, smart grid deployment,” he says.

CCPP is an interdisciplinary partnership of Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Nicholas School of the Environment and Center on Global Change. CCPP researches carbon-mitigating technology, infrastructure, institutions and systems to inform lawmakers and business leaders as they lay the foundation of a low-carbon economy.


August 31, 2009 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ford Unveils New 6.7-L Power Stroke V-8 Turbocharged Diesel

6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engine. Click to enlarge.

Ford has provided initial details on the new Ford-engineered, -tested and-manufactured 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbo diesel engine. Debuting in the next-generation F-Series Super Duty truck, the new diesel engine will deliver improvements in torque, horsepower and fuel economy while adding more fueling flexibility—the engine is sanctioned for up to B20 biodiesel blends—and meeting 2010 emissions requirements.

The diesel engine team made improvements and changes throughout the engine architecture—including the use of an “inboard exhaust” design, a first for a modern production diesel engine—to deliver on aggressive horsepower, torque, emissions and fuel economy targets.

The inboard exhaust design reduces overall exhaust system volume. Reduced exhaust system surface area also minimizes heat transfer to the engine compartment and improves NVH. The turbocharger is center-mounted on a patented pedestal low in the back of the valley. Click to enlarge.

In January, Ford and Navistar, Ford’s long-time diesel supplier, agreed to end several years of litigation. Among the terms of the agreement was the end of the current diesel engine supply agreement effective 31 Dec 2009. The new Ford diesel steps fully into the opening.

All-new design. One of the obvious visual differences in the new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel engine is the layout of the pipes. The exhaust manifolds, for example, reside in the valley of the engine instead of outboard, while the intake is outboard of the engine. The cylinder heads are essentially flipped around in comparison with previous V-8 engine architectures.

This layout has several advantages. First, the overall exhaust system volume is reduced, meaning air can be fed to the single turbocharger quicker for faster spool up and reduced lag, resulting in improved throttle response for the customer. The improved packaging also places components that need to be in cooler air away from hot exhaust pipes, resulting in better thermal management and, by extension, better fuel economy.

The physical size of the system is smaller, but more importantly, the air-handling part of the system is considerably smaller and that translates directly into the responsiveness of the engine.

—Adam Gryglak, Lead Engineering Manager

The volume of the exhaust system feeding the turbocharger is smaller by about 50% because of the inboard architecture.

The single-sequential turbo uses a double-sided compressor wheel mounted on a single shaft. It combines the benefits of a small turbocharger (faster response) and a large turbocharger (ability to compress and force more air into the engine for more power) in one unit. Click to enlarge.

Turbocharger. The single-sequential Honeywell turbocharger—an industry first—is key to the new diesel engine’s performance. The unit has two compressor wheels driven off one turbine impeller. This approach combines the benefits of a single inertia wheel—faster response without lag—with the thrust of a larger turbocharger, with the ability to force more compressed air into the engine for more power.

The engine’s smaller exhaust volume combined with a corresponding smaller intake volume and smaller turbocharger creates a system that is quicker to boost, more responsive and better able to deliver horsepower and torque, especially at the low end.

The turbocharger includes an advanced variable nozzle turbine, which enables variable vane pitch angles, driving optimal turbine power to achieve optimal boosting levels for all operating conditions. The single shaft ensures the transition is seamless. The compact unit is uniquely center-mounted on a patented pedestal low in the back of the valley instead of hung off the block, which helps balance the system and aids NVH characteristics.

Combustion system. To help reduce NOx emissions to required 2010 levels, the new Power Stroke reduces engine-out emissions. Ford’s system runs the engine with the least amount of oxygen possible in order to reduce NOx without degrading performance and fuel economy. Ford runs the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) through a two-step process utilizing separate cooling sources. The end result is the EGR is brought into the intake at a lower temperature, which means more of it can be utilized, creating greater efficiency throughout the system.

Specific design upgrades were made to both the piston and the piston bowl to optimize the combustion process, which features a two-stage combustion event instead of a single-injection event, causing harsh, sudden and loud combustion.

The high-pressure Bosch fuel system injects fuel at up to 30,000 psi (2,000 bar) and can deliver up to five injection events per cylinder per cycle, while eight holes in the injector spray fuel into the bowl. The compressed-air ignition unique to diesels is aided by pilot fuel injections before the piston reaches the top, allowing the charge to heat up even hotter than what you get under normal compression.

Then when the main injection occurs, we can mitigate NVH because we have a slower ignition process. When the fuel burns, it doesn't burn with a traditional pop or bang. The direct-injection system is calibrated and phased for optimum power, fuel efficiency and NVH.

—Adam Gryglak

The new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged engine features instant-start glow plugs, allowing quick start even in extremely cold temperatures.

Emissions. The new 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbocharged diesel will employ an aftertreatment system to help comply with 2010 federal regulations to reduce nitrogen-oxide levels in diesel emissions by more than 80% compared with the previous standard. The Ford aftertreatment system is a three-stage process.

  • The first step in cleaning the diesel exhaust occurs when the exhaust stream enters the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC). The role of the DOC is twofold. First, it converts and oxidizes hydrocarbons into water and carbon dioxide. This conversion happens at about 250 °C. Second, the DOC is used to provide and promote heat, using specific engine management strategies, into the exhaust system. Through appropriate thermal management, this heat increases the conversion efficiency of the downstream subsystem(s) in reducing emissions.

  • Urea SCR. Before the exhaust gas enters the SCR chamber, it is dosed with DEF, an aqueous solution that is approximately 67.5% water and 32.5% pure urea. Dosing occurs between 200 and 500 °C.

  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). Periodic regeneration occurs at temperatures in excess of 600 °C.

Block. The new Power Stroke’s block is made from compacted graphite iron (CGI), which is about twice as strong as regular gray cast iron. While this is the first use of a CGI block in North America in this class of vehicle, Ford has successfully used the material in engine blocks in other products around the world.

The diesel engine’s deep-skirted block and main bearing caps are cross-bolted for additional stiffness and to aid NVH. The cylinder heads mirror the engine’s attributes as a whole, with lighter weight combined with increased robustness: The cylinder heads are made of aluminum to save weight and, for improved sealing, feature six head bolts per cylinder versus the four head bolts found on other engines.

The cylinder heads, which feature dual water jackets, are capable of firing pressures approaching 2,600 psi. The tall water jacket works as a manifold, flowing high-velocity water for cooling and adding to the structural robustness in the head to handle the higher firing pressures. Crankshaft durability is improved through Ford’s unique undercut and fillet roll treatment to relieve stress.

The valvetrain features patented dual hydraulic lash adjustors, which improves the performance and reliability of the valvetrain by using two pushrods per cylinder instead of the conventional single pushrod, with individual rocker arms. Other proven components round out the engine hardware, including fractured-split connecting rods and a fuel system capable of generating 30,000 psi to feed the common-rail direct-injection fuel system.

The oil pan, which bolts to the transmission, also acts as a structural member for improved powertrain stiffness.

August 31, 2009 in Diesel, Engines | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

California Energy Commission Awards eTec $8M in Support of Transportation Electrification Project; Almost $7M to Other Plug-in Infrastructure and Vehicle Projects

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec), a subsidiary of ECOtality, an estimated $8 million to support the deployment of charge infrastructure and electric vehicles (EVs) in the San Diego region that is part of eTec’s project awarded $99.8 million in Recovery Act funds from the Department of Energy. (Earlier post.)

As eTec’s proposed project to the US Department of Energy is anticipated to deploy up to 2,550 charging stations in the San Diego area, the additional funding from the California Energy Commission will allow for a substantial increase in the amount of charge infrastructure deployed in the region, according to Don Karner, president, eTec.

In eTec’s proposed project to the US Department of Energy, eTec is partnering with Nissan North America to deploy up to 5,000 Nissan LEAF EVs and approximately 12,750 charging stations throughout five states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.

The eTec award was part of a larger CEC set of awards made in support of Recovery Act awards. As stipulated in the CEC solicitation, issued in April, the Energy Commission is only issuing awards to projects that receive an award from the federal government.

Other estimated awards resulting from the CEC’s solicitation include:

  • $5,000,000 to South Coast Air Quality Management District for PHEV Medium-Duty Commercial Fleet Demonstration and Evaluation

  • $1,000,000 to Navistar for the Development and Manufacture of medium-duty Plug-In Electric Vehicles

  • $553,000 to Sacramento Municipal Utility District for Charging Infrastructure for Plug-In Hybrids and Electric Vehicle Demonstration with General Motors

  • $103,500 to Sacramento Municipal Utility District for Charging Infrastructure for Plug-In Hybrids and Electric Vehicle Demonstration with Ford

  • $100,000 to Sacramento Municipal Utility District for Charging Infrastructure for Plug-In Hybrids and Electric Vehicle Demonstration with Chrysler

Final award amounts may vary significantly from the estimated amounts. The Energy Commission will determine final award amounts after discussions with each proposed award recipient. Factors the Energy Commission may consider include, but are not limited to, the amount of funding received from the US Department of Energy, eligibility and budget for each part of the final proposed scope of work, and the amount of funding required to allow the project to proceed as described in the proposed recipient’s final proposal.

August 31, 2009 in Infrastructure, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Fiat Punto Evo To Debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show; Start&Stop Standard, Dual Fuel Versions

The Punto Evo. Click to enlarge.

The Fiat Punto Evo, the evolution of the Grande Punto, will make its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. The Punto Evo will offer a range of Euro 5 engines, including a 1.3 second-generation Multijet diesel and a 1.4-liter gasoline engine with the MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve-timing system developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and eventually to be incorporated in all Fiat Group engines. (Earlier post.)

The new Punto Evo also offers Start&Stop, the system that switches off and restarts the engine in stop-and-go traffic. Start&Stop is being introduced as standard on all Euro5 gasoline and diesel engines. Fiat is also offering methane and LPG units with the Punto Evo.

Multiair system components. Click to enlarge.

MultiAir technology, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show this year, will gradually be adopted by all gasoline engines fitted to Fiat Group cars. The heart of MultiAir is a new electro-hydraulic valve management system that provides dynamic and direct control of air and combustion, cylinder by cylinder and stroke by stroke.

It supports reduced fuel consumption by controlling air directly via the inlet valves without using the throttle. MultiAir reduces emissions thanks to improved combustion control and also improves performance by boosting both power and torque.

Compared to a conventional gasoline engine of the same size, a MultiAir engine develops more power (up to 10%) and torque (up to 15%), while consuming significantly less (up to 10%) and emitting less CO2 (up to 10%), less particulates (up to 40%) and less NOx (up to 60%).

Fiat has achieved similar results in diesel engines with the adoption of second-generation Multijet units across the range. These engines incorporate new common rail injectors that, due to a balanced hydraulic servo-valve, control the quantity of fuel injected into the combustion chamber with improved precision, and in a faster and more flexible sequence than in the past.

The second generation of Multijet diesel engines thus offers more accurate combustion, with benefits for consumption, emissions, NVH and drivability. The Euro 5 engines deliver an improvement of around 2% in consumption and CO2 emissions on the homologation cycle, and a reduction in NOx emissions of up to 30%.

A dual-fuel methane-gasoline variant produces 115 g/km of CO2. The LPG-fuelled version (Punto Evo GPL) offers a range of 1,500 km (932 miles) in the extra-urban cycle, and running costs up to 50% lower than a gasoline equivalent.

Another system making its first appearance on the Punto Evo is “Blue&Me–TomTom”, a new portable satellite navigation unit that lets you manage telephone, navigation and information functions on a practical color touch-screen.

The system is the result of a partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and TomTom, European leader in portable navigation systems, and integrates with the car’s other systems thanks to the Blue&Me system developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli. The new system also incorporates “eco:Drive Info” for real time information on driving style and suggestions for reducing environmental impact and optimizing consumption by changing gear and using the accelerator to suit the nature of the route.

The Fiat Punto Evo goes on sale in the second half of October.

August 31, 2009 in Engines, Europe, Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DOE Announces Details of Initial H-Prize Competition: $1M for Hydrogen Storage

The US Department of Energy last week published the details of the Initial H-Prize Competition—a single award for $1 million in the subject area of advanced materials for hydrogen storage in mobile systems for light-duty vehicles. Evaluation of entries will begin in approximately 15 months.

The H-Prize was originally established in Sec. 654 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-140) and establishes multiple prize categories, including advancements in technologies, components or systems related to hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization; prototypes of hydrogen-powered vehicles or other hydrogen-based products; and transformational changes in technologies for the distribution of production of hydrogen. The original legislation behind the H-Prize was proposed by House Science Research Subcommittee Chairman Bob Inglis in 2006. (Earlier post.)

Under the legislation, prizes in the advancements category (e.g.., storage) are to be awarded biennially to the most significant advance made in each of the four subcategories. No single prize may exceed $1,000,000. If less than $4 million is available for a competition, the Secretary of Energy may omit one or more subcategories, reduce the amount of the prizes, or not hold a competition.

Prizes for prototypes are also to be awarded biennially, with a maximum of $4,000,000 for each prize. There is to be one prize for transformational technology, with an award of not less than $10 million.

The initial storage prize targets. The goal is for a material that has the potential to be an on-board rechargeable hydrogen storage material. The initial H-Prize is to be awarded for a material (not the entire system) that meets or exceeds a specified set of verifiable performance targets:

  • Gravimetric capacity of greater than 7.5 wt.% releasable hydrogen. Reversible H2 capacity between -40 to +85 °C, and between 1.5 to 150 bar H2 pressure.

  • Volumetric capacity of greater than 70 g/liter total releasable hydrogen; i.e., total volume of H2 ab/adsorbed by the solid plus the pressurized hydrogen contained within the pore spaces all divided by the total sample volume including the material’s skeletal volume.

  • Charging kinetics greater than or equal to 4x10-4 (i.e. 0.0004) grams of hydrogen per gram of material per second. Charging kinetics are to be measured with an inlet hydrogen gas temperature of between -40 to +85 °C and an inlet hydrogen pressure of not greater than 150 bar.

  • Discharge kinetics greater than or equal to 2x10-5 (i.e. 0.00002) grams of hydrogen per gram of material per second. Discharge kinetics are to be measured at a sample temperature between -40 to + 85 °C and with an outlet hydrogen pressure of greater than or equal to 1.5 bar.

  • Cycle life of 100 cycles. At completion of 100 charge/discharge cycles from less than 5% to greater than 95% of reversible capacity, the sample’s reversible capacity must still be greater than or equal to 95% of the gravimetric capacity target (i.e. = 0.95 times 7.5 wt.% or = 7.1 wt.%).

Contending participants must submit performance data on an entered material demonstrating the principal requirements from above, based on data obtained by an independent laboratory. The participant must provide at least a 10 gram sample of the material(s) for independent verification of the above criteria by a laboratory specified by the Panel of Judges in consultation with DOE.

The Panel of Judges will evaluate the test results and determine if there is a winner and honorable mentions. An award will be made only if all the technical evaluation criteria are met or exceeded. In the case of multiple entries exceeding all of the performance criteria in the final test results, the entry with the highest gravimetric capacity will be the winner.

In the case that two or more entries have the same highest gravimetric capacity, then the entry with the highest result for the above cycle life test will be declared the winner.

The H-Prize is managed by the Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program in the US Department of Energy. The Hydrogen Education Foundation, the charitable, education-focused arm of the National Hydrogen Association, has been chosen to administer the H-Prize.

Further details are provided on the criteria, scoring and rules in the H-Prize Rules and Requirements document at http://hydrogenprize.org.

August 31, 2009 in Hydrogen Storage | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Renault Introducing New Fluence Sedan Line; Diesels All Less Than 119 gCO2/km, All-Electric Model in 2011

The Renault Fluence. Click to enlarge.

Renault will extend its vehicle line-up this autumn with a new sedan, the Fluence. The Fluence is the successor to the sedan version of the old Mégane. (Renault introduced the New Renault Mégane Hatch and New Renault Mégane Coupé at the Paris Motor Show in 2008, marking the beginning of the renewal of its C-segment lineup.)

From launch, and depending on market, Renault Fluence will be available with a range of engines. All diesel models in the Fluence range have a CO2 emissions rating of 119g/km and qualify for the Renault eco² signature. Renault says it will introduce an all-electric version of the Fluence in 2011.

Two gasoline engines will each be available in two versions:

  • 1.6 16V 110hp, with automatic transmission or manual gearbox; and
  • 2.0 16V 140hp, with continuously variable transmission (CVT) or manual gearbox.

On the diesel side, Renault will offer a choice of five variants of the 1.5 dCi diesel block:

  • dCi 85;
  • dCi 90 DPF3;
  • dCi 105;
  • dCi 110 DPF3; and
  • dCi 110 DPF with the new dual clutch transmission (DCT)4 (available at the end of 2010).

Renault Fluence, which goes on sale in Turkey from November, will have three main markets: Turkey, Russia and Romania.

  • Turkey. Launched in late 2003, the Mégane II four-door sold more than 140,000 units in Turkey in six years, making it the most popular car in its class. It represented more than 20% of sales in its segment and emerged as one of the country’s top three sellers overall.

    The medium-compact segment continues to expand and accounted for more than 40% of 2008 car sales in Turkey (up from 36% in 2005). Of these, four-door sedans are the dominant choice and account for 70% of sales.

  • Russia. Launched in 2004, the Mégane II four-door posted 60,000 sales in Russia to become the brand’s third most popular model, after Logan and Symbol. Medium-compact segment sales grew sharply from 2006 to 2008, up from 19% of the market to 25%, while four-door sedans dominated sales.

    In Russia, the Renault group gained a one-point market share&madsh;up to 4.7%—in the first half of 2009, even though the overall market was down by 48.6%. Despite the impact of the current economic crisis, Russia remains a key market for Renault.

  • Romania. More than 35,000 four-door Mégane IIs have been sold since its launch in September 2003. In 2007, it was the fourth-most popular car in Romania, with sales of more than 10,000 units. The medium-compact segment represents 30% of the national market, and four-door sedans account for half those sales

    Until 2007, the Mégane II four-door was the best-selling car in its segment. By 2009, despite being six years old, it remained the fourth most popular car in Romania and was second in Renault’s domestic sales chart.

The new Fluence is 4.62 metres (181.9 inches) long and sits halfway between the C segment, for compact family cars, and the segment immediately above.

August 31, 2009 in Diesel, Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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