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The Volvo Group has introduced a new online service—“Commute Greener”— which helps commuters become more environmentally aware. The service is accessed through a mobile phone or a web site on the internet and the program calculates how much carbon dioxide is emitted when using different modes of transport, for example... Read more →


KLM, North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates Form SkyEnergy Consortium to Advance Production of Renewable Jet Fuel

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, North Sea Petroleum and Spring Associates have established the SkyEnergy consortium to advance the production of biokerosene (renewable jet fuel). The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will advise the consortium in relation to ecological aspects. KLM just completed a demonstration flight using a 50:50 blend... Read more →


The Ricardo Kinergy high-speed, hermetically-sealed flywheel energy storage system. Click to enlarge. Building on its experience in the research and development of advanced energy management concepts—including the engineering of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) for motorsport—Ricardo has devised Kinergy, a high-speed, hermetically-sealed flywheel energy storage system concept with an innovative... Read more →


Study Finds Switchgrass Most Efficient of Four Perennial Grasses for Cultivation as Biofuel Feedstock Crop

A study by researchers at Oklahoma State University concluded that of four perennial grasses that could be grown as dedicated biofuel feedstock crops—bermudagrass, flaccidgrass, switchgrass, and weeping lovegrass—switchgrass is the most efficient in terms of dry biomass per dollar cost. An earlier US Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of... Read more →


Prototype sodium silicate hydrogen generation system as presented earlier this year at DOE merit review. Click to enlarge. SiGNa Chemistry, Inc., a developer of stabilized reactive metals for safer, more efficient industrial chemistry, announced the successful design, assembly, and initial testing of its H300 Hydrogen Generation System. The H300 utilizes... Read more →


DOE Awards $45M to Clemson to Support Large Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility

The US Department of Energy has selected Clemson University to receive up to $45 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for a wind energy test facility that will enhance the performance, durability, and reliability of utility-scale wind turbines. Wind turbine sizes have increased with each new generation of... Read more →


The new 5 Series. Click to enlarge. BMW held the world debut of the 6th generation BMW 5 Series today in Munich. In the course of five model generations, overall sales of the BMW 5 Series have reached more than 5.5 million units. The new BMW 5 Series Sedan is... Read more →


The Chevrolet Spark. Click to enlarge. GM Europe is launching the Chevrolet Spark (earlier post), providing more detail on the all-new mini car prior to its going on sale in Europe in the first quarter of 2010. The mini-car (A car) segment is the fastest growing area of the new... Read more →


Relative contribution of major greenhouse gases to the overall change in radiative forcing between 1979 and 1984 (a) and from 2003 to 2008 (b). The importance of CO2 has increased substantially. Whereas the contribution from CFCs and halons has turned around and now is negative, the contributions from HCFCs and... Read more →


UOP Renewable Jet Fuel From Camelina Powers KLM Demo Flight

UOP LLC used its renewable jet fuel process technology (earlier post) to convert oil from camelina, an inedible plant, to renewable jet fuel for a biofuel demonstration flight by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. (Earlier post.) The flight, which took place today at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, is the first green... Read more →


Report: China to Introduce New-Energy Vehicle Regulations in 2010

Regulations on the development of “new energy” vehicles have been submitted to China’s State Council for approval and are expected to be officially in effect in March 2010, according to a report in Gasgoo citing the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Industry and... Read more →


The structure of the new material, Xe(H2)7. Freely rotating hydrogen molecules (red dumbbells) surround xenon atoms (yellow). Credit: Nature Chemistry. Click to enlarge. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution have found for the first time that high pressure can be used to make a unique hydrogen-storage material. The discovery paves the... Read more →


South Korean Scientists Engineer E. Coli to Produce Bioplastics Via Direct Fermentation

South Korean scientists from KAIST University and LG Chem have engineered a strain of E. coli to produce polylactic acid (PLA) and its copolymers through direct fermentation. Until now PLA has been produced in a two-step fermentation and chemical process of polymerization, which is both complex and expensive. The research... Read more →


The rationale for focusing on rate. The darker shading represents model simulations with the best-estimate climate sensitivity (3 °C). The lighter shading shows the range for the 68% cumulative probability interval for climate sensitivity from the literature (2.0–4.9 °C). Credit: Nature Reports CLimate Change. Click to enlarge. In a new... Read more →


The completion of a high-quality sequence of the maize (corn) genome was announced in the cover story of the 20 November issue of Science. This new maize sequence provides significant refinements over the draft sequence that was announced in February 2008, including the elimination of redundancy and improvements in the... Read more →


Based on preliminary reports from the State Highway Agencies, total vehicle miles traveled on all roads and streets in the US increased by 2.5% (5.8 billion vehicle miles) for September 2009 as compared with September 2008, according to the latest Traffic Volume Trends report from the US Federal Highway Administration.... Read more →


Carbon nanotubes with controllably induced extrinsic defects could serve as supercapacitor electrodes with enhanced charge and energy storage capacity (inset: a magnified view of a single carbon nanotube). Source: UCSD. Click to enlarge. University of California San Diego researchers have developed a method to enhance the capacitance of carbon nanotube... Read more →


ARB Report Finds Reflective Glazing to Meet Cool Cars Regulation Will Not Impact Certain Portable Devices

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has published a report evaluating the potential electromagnetic interference on certain portable devices such as cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS) and ankle monitoring bracelets due to automotive reflective glazing as required under the “Cool Car” regulation . (Earlier post.) The results indicate that... Read more →


Study Finds Elevated Ultrafine Particle Pollution Levels Near Regional Airports

Air pollution may pose an important but largely overlooked health concern for people living near smaller regional airports, according to a new study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. In the new study, Suzanne Paulson and colleagues note that scientists have known for years that aircraft emissions... Read more →


With the Canadian energy industry seeking diversification from the US and potential greenhouse gsa regulations, the Globe and Mail reports that commercial backing is growing for Enbridge Inc.’s stalled Northern Gateway pipelines project. The Northern Gateway Project. Click to enlarge. The Northern Gateway is a proposed 1,170-kilometer twin pipeline capable... Read more →


Sample UDRI solid-state, rechargeable lithium-air batteries, and Dr. Binod Kumar. Click to enlarge. Engineers at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) have developed a solid-state, rechargeable lithium-air battery. When fully developed, the battery could exceed specific energies of 1,000 Wh/kg in practical applications, the researchers wrote in a paper... Read more →


India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Mandates Rainwater Harvesting

India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will implement rainwater harvesting in all the existing ONGC residential complexes across India. ONGC has made it mandatory to implement the system in all future projects also. The objective of the scheme is to replenish the ground water table which is slowly receding... Read more →


Hyperion Unveils Design of its Small Modular Nuclear Reactor, the Hyperion Power Module

At the recent Annual Winter Conference of the American Nuclear Society in Washington, and simultaneously at the “Powering Toward 2020” conference in London, England, Hyperion Power Generation Inc. revealed the design for the first version of its Hyperion Power Module (HPM), a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) that it intends... Read more →


Adjusted CO2 emissions and adjusted fuel economy by model year. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge. For the fifth consecutive year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reporting an increase in new vehicle fuel efficiency with a corresponding decrease in average carbon dioxide emissions for new US cars and light... Read more →


Delft Researchers Create New Metabolic Pathway in Yeast to Boost Ethanol Yield from Biomass Waste

Researchers from Delft University of Technology have engineered the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to increase ethanol yield from biomass waste by eliminating production of glycerol (glycerol production is essential to reoxidize NADH produced in biosynthetic processes), reoxidizing NADH instead by the reduction of acetic acid to ethanol. A paper on their... Read more →


Valero Energy Corporation intends to permanently shut down its Delaware City, Delaware refinery due to financial losses caused by very poor economic conditions, significant capital spending requirements and high operating costs. Valero Delaware City Refinery. Click to enlarge. The Valero Delaware City Refinery, acquired in the purchase of Premcor in... Read more →


Novozymes and Inbicon Sign Agreement for Further Enzyme and Process Development

Inbicon and Novozymes have signed an agreement to further develop and optimize the process and the enzymes for converting wheat straw to ethanol and byproducts (biopellets and molasses). Novozymes already provides enzymes to Inbicon’s new bio-refinery that opened its doors earlier this week. (Earlier post.) Under the agreement, the two... Read more →


Researchers Find Particles From Car Brakes Harm Lung Cells

Particles released by car brake pads have been shown to harm lung cells in vitro. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology found that heavy braking, as in an emergency stop, caused the most damage, but normal breaking and even close proximity to a disengaged... Read more →


Study Concludes That Class 8 Truck Fuel Consumption Could Be Reduced By Up to 50% By 2017 Using Existing and Emerging Technologies; Current Payback Requirements Could Forestall Implementation

A new study released today by the Northeast States Center for a Clean Air Future (NESCCAF) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that fuel consumption of Class 8 trucks and the resultant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be reduced up to 50% with the adoption of current... Read more →


Total Signs Research Agreement with MIT to Develop New Stationary Batteries for Solar Power; Smaller-Scale Version of All-Liquid Metal Battery Work Supported by ARPA-E

Total has signed a research agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop new stationary batteries that are designed to enable the storage of solar power. This agreement valued at $4 million over five years is part of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), which Total joined as a... Read more →


Silicon Valley Power (SVP), the Santa Clara, CA, municipal electric utility, has selected the light-weight 3M Aluminum Conductor Composite Reinforced (3M ACCR) to boost transmission capacity on an existing line without having to enlarge the towers or the right of way. This is SVP’s second installation of ACCR. 3M ACCR.... Read more →


Inauguration Ceremony for Inbicon Biomass Biorefinery in Denmark

Denmark’s Prince Joachim inaugurated the Inbicon biomass biorefinery in Kalundborg, Denmark, where ethanol will be produced from straw. In addition to bioethanol, the plant will also produce lignin biopellets and C5 molasses. The biopellets can be used as fuel at CPH plants, and the C5 molasses can be used for... Read more →


EPA, CARB certify Volvo Trucks North America’s Near-Zero Emissions Diesel Engines for 2010

Volvo Trucks North America’s D11 and D13 engines have been certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board as meeting upcoming 2010 diesel emissions standards, the most stringent in the world. Volvo is the first truck manufacturer to have its heavy-duty diesel engines certified for... Read more →


Continental AG Opens Asia HQ and R&D Center in Shanghai

The international automotive supplier Continental AG has opened its new Asia Headquarters and R&D Center in Shanghai’s Yangpu district, China. The Center aims to provide increased localization and advanced technical support to customers in the Chinese market. Continental Automotive Tech Center Jiading, the other technical center in Shanghai, focuses on... Read more →


California ARB Revamps Website Ranking Vehicles According to Emission Characteristics

The California Air Resources Board unveiled its revamped website, Driveclean.ca.gov, which helps consumers choose the least polluting cars on the market. The new website, using information collected for vehicle certification in California, offers a practical system that ranks vehicles according to their emission characteristics and provides tools to compare models.... Read more →


ZeaChem Begins Construction of Cellulosic Biorefinery; Combined Biochemical and Thermochemical Process to Produce Ethanol

ZeaChem Inc. has begun construction of its semi-works scale facility. The facility will have capacity to produce 250,000 gallons of biofuel per year. ZeaChem’s process combines the outputs of two traditional ethanol production pathways (fermentation of sugars and gasification of biomass) into a third catalytically-driven step—hydrogenation—to produce ethanol. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


by Jack Rosebro A view of Russian gas flaring based on satellite observations. Source: US NOAA and the World Bank-led Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership. (Video) Click to enlarge. The Russian government has ordered oil companies to take steps to capture up to 95% of the natural gases associated with... Read more →


PHEVs and demonstration locations. Source: INL. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE), through its Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity (AVTA) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), has completed 1 million miles of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) testing. The AVTA’s testing of PHEVs demonstrates PHEV concepts in real-world usage... Read more →


North American Debuts for Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTEC, F-Cell at LA Auto show

The diesel-powered E350 BlueTEC and hydrogen fuel-cell-powered F-Cell will be making their North American debuts at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. Mercedes-Benz will also introduce its first hybrid SUV, the two-mode ML450 HYBRID, to the West Coast. The E350 BlueTEC (earlier post) is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel... Read more →


Amyris engineers microbes to convert sugar to hydrocarbon fuels. Micrograph of fermentation fluids from production of Amyris Renewable Diesel (Nov 2007). Source: Amyris. Click to enlarge. Embraer, General Electric, and Amyris Biotechnologies, a synthetic biology company focused on developing renewable hydrocarbon biofuels (earlier post) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to... Read more →


Opel Revamping Corsa for 2010; Better Performance, Lower Fuel Consumption and CO2 Emissions

The Opel Corsa is receiving a complete re-make for 2010, with major engineering changes, re-vamped powertrain line-up, chassis improvements and steering recalibration to give the Corsa better performance and greater fuel economy as well as comfort, handling and driving dynamics. The Corsa, which accounts for some 30% of Opel/Vauxhall total... Read more →


Iran Khodro Unveils First National Diesel Engine for Passenger Cars

Iran Khodro Powertrain Co. (IPCO) unveiled its first national diesel engine for passenger cars. The unveiling ceremony was concurrent with the first day of the “Sixth International Conference on Internal Combustion Engines” in Tehran, organized by IPCO. The 60 kW (80 hp) diesel has an average fuel consumption of 5... Read more →


UK Government Soliciting Bids for £30M for Charging Points; New Office for Low Emission Vehicles

The UK Government is soliciting bids for £30 million (US$50 million) in funding to support the installation of plug-in vehicle charging points on streets, car parks and in commercial, retail and leisure facilities. This initiative—called Plugged-In Places—will support the development of between three and six electric car cities and regions... Read more →


US Crude Oil Production Continues at Four-Year Highs

US crude oil production for October averaged 5.36 million barrels per day, continuing at levels not seen since 2005, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Monthly Statistical Report. Crude production from the Lower 48 states averaged 4.67 million barrels per day, up from both last year and prior months.... Read more →


Updated Volvo hybrid refuse truck in London. Click to enlarge. After a year and a half of initial field testing, Volvo Trucks is releasing an upgraded hybrid refuse truck (earlier post) with new components and software. The new refuse truck will be tested by Veolia Environmental Services in central London.... Read more →


BMW Two-Mode ActiveHybrid X6 on Sale in US 5 Dec at $89,725 MSRP; 18 mpg US Combined

The BMW ActiveHybrid X6 (earlier post) will arrive in US showrooms right on the heels of its North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The Sports Active Coupe featuring two-model hybrid technology will be available beginning 5 December 2009 with a base MSRP of $89,725, including destination... Read more →


POET Reduces Cellulosic Ethanol Production Cost from $4.13 to $2.35/Gallon in First Year of Pilot Operation; <$2.00/Gallon Target for Commercial Start

Over the first year of operations of its pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in South Dakota (earlier post), POET has reduced its per gallon production cost from $4.13 to $2.35, exceeding its expectations. Cost reduction came via reductions in energy usage, enzyme costs, raw material requirements and capital expenses. The pilot... Read more →


DOE To Award $104.7M to Establish Research and Testing Facilities for Carbon Fiber Manufacturing, Advanced Batteries, and Net-Zero Energy Building Technology

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $104.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for eight new projects to establish critical research and testing facilities at seven DOE National Laboratories. The projects will support the development and improvement of clean energy and efficiency technologies of... Read more →


CAD model of TaxiBot showing aircraft nose wheel and landing gear fully engaged. Click to enlarge. Taxiing to and from the airport terminal gate and runway is a major source of CO2 emissions. Aircraft are currently required to use their main propulsion jet engines in a highly inefficient manner for... Read more →