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October 2010

October 31, 2010

Pike Research forecasts accelerating hybrid locomotive sales from 2015-2020

Hybrid electric locomotive sales will have an increasing presence in global rail markets between 2015 and 2020, according to a new report from Pike Research. During that period, hybrid locomotive sales will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4% under a baseline forecast scenario, with annual unit sales of 109 locomotives by 2020. Pike Research’s aggressive forecast scenario anticipates that the market could achieve a CAGR of 25.4% during the same period, with annual unit sales of up to 174 vehicles by 2020. This would translate into a need for storage of 116.4 MWh of energy in 2020.

However, says Pike senior analyst Dave Hurst Hurst, growth in hybrid locomotives faces several key challenges. In Europe, track electrification will eliminate the need for either diesel or battery storage in many areas. In North America, a high-profile hybrid locomotive product (Railpower’s Green Goat, earlier post) faced a serious setback in the mid-2000s that still haunts the industry today.

In 2001, Railpower launched the first hybrid electric switching locomotive in North America, using battery energy storage, called the Green Goat. The Green Goat was designed for only one shift, but was being used for longer service, and had resulting quality issues; furthermore, the battery management system that failed to prevent battery shorts. Several Green Goats caught fire and were destroyed. Railpower sold about 55 Green Goats before the company filed for bankruptcy. Several Green Goats are still being used for light duty service, Pike notes, but the vehicles have not been available since 2007. Toshiba is the only manufacturer to currently have a hybrid locomotive available (a passenger locomotive for the Japanese market), according to Pike.

Hurst also notes that the market for hybrid locomotives faces stiff competition from newer fuel-efficient locomotives such as diesel gensets, and in many world regions, the locomotive engine does not have to meet strict emissions rules.

However, Pike expects hybrid locomotives to have a strong return on investment (ROI), as a result of the ability to use low-cost batteries. Weight on locomotives is often helpful (particularly for switching locomotives) because the vehicles need weight to help increase the friction between the wheel and the track (adhesion) during acceleration. Lead acid batteries cost less, weigh more, and will be used in many of the first hybrid locomotive applications. The passenger locomotives that have less space available than a traditional switcher or road locomotive are more likely to take advantage of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries’ size and storage capacity. Advanced lead acid batteries will make inroads as well.

General Electric (GE) has built a plant to manufacture sodium metal halide batteries (earlier post), and is showing a prototype road locomotive using those batteries that it intends to bring to market. Nickel metal hydride (NiMH), a favorite for current hybrid automobiles, is unlikely to move into the locomotive space due to cost and competitiveness from other chemistries, Pike suggests.

The market for hybrid locomotives will likely get a boost from two important forces, according to the report. First, in the middle of the decade, new rules regarding diesel locomotive emissions will come into effect in North America and the European Union. By 2014 in the European Union and 2015 in North America, the current diesel locomotive will require substantial changes or exhaust treatments to meet emission rules. This will help drive interest in having hybrids meet these strict new regulations.

In addition, the market will receive a boost from new diesel locomotive emissions regulations scheduled to go into effect in the European Union in 2014 and in North America in 2015, which will require diesel locomotives to receive substantial changes or exhaust treatments. In addition, railroad infrastructure is growing rapidly in India and China, and emissions concerns will drive hybrid demand in those markets as well.

—Dave Hurst

Pike suggests that hybrid locomotives will be seen over the next 3 to 5 years mostly in demonstration and prototype projects. The sales of these vehicles will likely begin mid-decade in Western Europe and North America, coinciding with the tighter diesel regulations (conservatively, their respective compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 17.2% and 13.5% between 2015 and 2020).

Pike estimates sales growth in China will be strong (a CAGR of 22.2% between 2015 and 2020) as its locomotive demand grows and urban areas look to reduce emissions.

Pike Research’s study, “Hybrid Locomotives”, examines opportunities and challenges in the global locomotive market. The report provides an analysis of locomotives and battery technologies, regenerative braking, government emissions regulations, emerging markets, and key drivers of market growth. The report includes detailed forecasts through 2020, segmented by key countries and world regions, for diesel and all-electric locomotives, genset locomotives, hybrid locomotives, and battery storage capacity needs. Key market players are also profiled.

October 31, 2010 in Forecasts, Hybrids, Rail | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

BG Group sanctions US$15B coal seam gas to LNG project; first such

Qclng
Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the QCLNG project. More than half the emissions come from the LNG facility. Source: QCLNG EIS. Click to enlarge.

BG Group has approved implementation of the first phase of a US$15-billion project to convert coal seam gas (CSG) to LNG—the first major commercial project to do so. The first phase of the Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project (QCLNG) project encompasses the development of a two-train liquefaction plant on Curtis Island near Gladstone in Queensland (Australia) together with the associated upstream and pipeline facilities. BG Group will progress development and construction of QCLNG with immediate effect.

QCLNG will be operated by BG Group’s Australian subsidiary, QGC Pty Limited (QGC). QCLNG will involve expanding QGC’s existing coal seam gas production in the Surat Basin of southern Queensland; building a 730 km (454-mile) buried natural gas pipeline network; and constructing the natural gas liquefaction where the gas will be converted to LNG for export.

The first phase of the liquefaction plant will consist of two LNG trains with a combined capacity of 8.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). Over the next four years (2011-2014), BG Group plans to invest approximately US$15 billion in developing the liquefaction plant and related wells, field facilities and pipelines. There is also significant potential to expand QCLNG, with the construction of a third LNG train already covered by existing State and Federal approvals for a total production capacity of 12 mtpa.

First LNG exports are planned to commence from 2014, underpinned by agreements in Chile, China, Japan and Singapore for the purchase of up to 9.5 mtpa of LNG. Total gross discovered coal seam gas reserves and resources presently amount to an estimated 17.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) – equivalent to more than 2.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent—with 2P (proved plus probable) reserves now estimated at 7 tcf.

In early 2008, we announced our first investment in Australia. Today, less than three years later, we are announcing our decision to develop the world’s first LNG plant to be supplied by coal seam gas and the foundation project at the center of a major new Australian export industry.

—BG Group Chief Executive Frank Chapman

BG Group’s decision to sanction the development of the first phase of QCLNG completes the final condition required for implementation of the Group’s agreements with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), signed in March 2010. Under those agreements, CNOOC will:

  • Purchase 3.6 mtpa of LNG for a period of 20 years from the start-up of QCLNG;
  • Purchase 5% of BG Group’s interests in certain tenements in the Walloons Fairway of the Surat Basin;
  • Jointly participate with BG Group in a consortium to construct two LNG ships in China that would be owned by the consortium; and
  • Become a 10% equity investor in the first LNG train in the initial phase of the liquefaction plant.

Separately, the decision to sanction the project satisfies one of the conditions precedent associated with the proposed agreements with Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd (Tokyo Gas), announced in March 2010, under which Tokyo Gas will:

  • Purchase 1.2 mtpa of LNG for 20 years from 2015;
  • Purchase 1.25% of BG Group’s interests in certain tenements in the Walloons Fairway of the Surat Basin; and
  • Become a 2.5% equity investor in the second LNG train of the liquefaction plant.

BG Group will issue final notices to proceed to the main contractors appointed for the development of the first phase of QCLNG. Those contractors include:

  • Bechtel Oil and Gas, Inc., for the engineering, procurement and construction of the liquefaction plant;
  • WorleyParsons, for gas field facilities and infrastructure development; and
  • MCJV (a joint venture between McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust.) Pty Ltd and Consolidated Contractors Company), for the transmission pipeline network.

Coal seam gas and LNG. Natural gas in coals (coal seam gas) occurs when the coal is formed deep underground by a process of heating and compressing plant matter. The gas is trapped in coal seams (typically 300-600 meters underground) by water pressure. The coal seam gas is extracted via wells which are drilled down through the coal seams. The water is pumped out, and the natural gas is released from the coal. The gas is then processed to remove water and piped to a compression plant for injection into gas transmission pipelines.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG), is natural gas that has been cooled to -162 ºC (-260 °F), at which point it becomes a liquid. In this form it can be transported and stored. Australia is already a leading supplier of LNG through two existing projects (the North West Shelf and Darwin LNG) which export a combined 19.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG.

QCLNG project components. QGC will develop five principal components as part of the QCLNG Project:

Gas Field Component: the expansion of QGC’ coal seam gas (CSG) operations in the Surat Basin. The Gas Field Component comprises:

  • Approximately 6,000 gas production wells over the life of the project with initially 1,000 to 1,500 wells across the Gas Field by mid-2014. The remaining wells will be phased in over the life of the project (20 to 30 years) to replace declining wells.
  • Gas- and water-gathering systems and gas processing and compression infrastructure.
  • Associated surface equipment, such as wellhead separators, telemetry devices and metering stations.
  • Field infrastructure such as access tracks, warehouses, camps (both construction and operations), office and telecommunications.
  • The management of Associated Water produced in the CSG extraction process on the petroleum tenements.

Pipeline Component: development, construction, operation and decommissioning of a gas pipeline network of approximately 730 km to link the Gas Field Component and other nearby CSG resources to the LNG Facility. The pipeline network includes:

  • A 380 km Export Pipeline from QGC’s Gas Field in the Surat Basin to the LNG Facility in Gladstone.
  • Potentially a 150 km Lateral Pipeline which enables the connection of additional CSG fields to the Export Pipeline.
  • A 200 km Collection Header—a central pipeline located in an Upstream Infrastructure Corridor (UIC) to collect gas from centralized compressor facilities for delivery to the Export Pipeline.
  • A pipeline crossing at The Narrows connecting the mainland Export Pipeline with the LNG Facility on Curtis island.

LNG Component: development, construction and operation within the Curtis Island Industry Precinct of the Gladstone State Development Area (GSDA) of a LNG processing plant (LNG Facility) with production capacity up to 12 million tonnes per annum, nominally comprising three LNG processing units (trains) with 4 mtpa production capacity each. The LNG Component comprises:

  • Onshore gas reception facilities.
  • Gas pre-treatment facilities for the removal of water and impurities from the feed gas.
  • Gas refrigeration and liquefaction units sized for 4 mtpa production trains.
  • A nitrogen rejection unit for the removal of nitrogen in the feed gas.
  • Three full containment LNG storage tanks with up to 180,000 m3 capacity each, with space for another if required.
  • A full containment propane storage tank with approximately 100,000 m3 capacity.
  • Jetty and docking facilities with turning basin for the loading of LNG carriers and unloading of propane ships to storage.
  • A material offloading facility (MOF) for ferry transportation and construction material receiving.
  • Associated onshore mainland facilities.
  • Utility requirements to support the LNG Facility.

Swing Basin and Channel: comprising the development of the following:

  • MOF Channel - a temporary access channel to the MOF for vessel access during construction of the Project.
  • Curtis Spur Channel consisting of Berth Pocket, Swing Basin, Connecting Channel and upgrade of existing port channels.
  • Consideration of the range of options for disposal or use of dredge material from dredging activities undertaken for the above.

Shipping Operations: regular transit of LNG tankers and, potentially, infrequent transit of ships carrying propane to the LNG Facility for the ‘spiking’ of LNG. Shipping operations will involve three stages: firstly, loading LNG/unloading propane at the marine jetty; secondly, transit of ships through Gladstone Harbour; and thirdly, transit of ships through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to open ocean.

Greenhouse gases. As part of the required Environmental Impact Statement, QGC calculated greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the construction and operation of the QCLNG project. Emissions were calculated using the default emissions factors provided in the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System (NGERS), developed and endorsed by the Australian Government.

Over the operational life of the project, QGC calculated total project GHG emissions of 94,972,214 tCO2-e—the majority of that (51,900,601 tCO2-e) resulting from the liquefaction plant. The majority of remaining emissions result from compression and processing at the FCSs and CPPs in the Gas Field Component area.

The project design is employing advanced and more efficient technology, including aero-derivative gas turbines in the LNG Facility. This resulted in a 27% reduction in greenhouse gas-emissions intensity from concept to current design as presented in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

As a result, the LNG facility will be one of the more emissions efficient of its kind, QGC said.

Resources

October 31, 2010 in Australia, Coal, LNG, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

MES receives orders for 4 hybrid container cranes

Nikkei. Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. (MES) has received an order for four of its new hybrid container cranes from two harbor-operation companies affiliated with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. This marks MES’s first order for the systems.

The cranes are for moving objects inside the container yard. They are designed with large lithium-ion battery packs that store electricity generated every time a load is lowered by the crane and supply that electricity to a motor that provides supplemental power to move the crane. This reduces the need to run the engine, which in turn helps reduce the crane's carbon dioxide emissions by 60%.

...The total value of the orders is 600 million yen. The company will provide two cranes each for the harbors in Tokyo and Kobe, with the supply date set for April or May of 2011.

October 31, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 30, 2010

Engine testing shows biofuel DMF produces competitive combustion and emissions qualities to gasoline

Testing in a single cylinder direct-injection spark-ignition (DISI) test engine comparing ethanol, gasoline and 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), using the optimized spark timings for each fuels, found that DMF produces competitive combustion and emissions qualities to gasoline, which, in some cases surpass ethanol. (Earlier post.)

Recent work has improved the high yield conversion of biomass-derived carbohydrates to DMF, and there is growing interest in using this as a bio-based substitute for petroleum-derived gasoline. DMF has a volumetric energy density similar to that of gasoline formulations and 40% greater than that of ethanol.

The paper by the team from the University of Birmingham (UK), Newcastle University (UK), and Xi’an Jiaotong University (China) is in press in the journal Fuel.

The two biofuels have a higher burning rate and lower initial combustion duration than gasoline. They also produce greater combustion efficiency, which helps to lower hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. These initial results highlight how DMF, which was originally only considered as an octane improver, has the potential to become a competitive renewable gasoline alternative.

—Daniel et al.

Resources

  • Ritchie Daniel, Guohong Tian, Hongming Xu, Miroslaw L. Wyszynski, Xuesong Wu, and Zuohua Huang (2010) Effect of spark timing and load on a DISI engine fuelled with 2,5-dimethylfuran. Fuel, in press doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2010.10.008

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Review of use of ionic liquids in production of 5-HMF from biomass; platform for renewable fuels and chemicals

A new paper in the ACS journal Chemical Reviews examines recent work exploring the use of ionic liquids (IL) in the formation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from biomass. (Earlier post.) 5-HMF is a promising chemical intermediate for fuels and chemicals. (Earlier post.)

5hmf
Chemistry and applications of 5-HMF and its derivatives (solid arrow, direct transformation; broken arrow, multistep reaction; 5-HMF, 5-hydroxymethylfurfuran; LEVA, levulinic acid; LEVE, levulinic ester; FA, formic acid; HFCA, 5-hydroxymethylfuroic acid; FDC, 2,5-furandicarboxyaldehyde; FDCA, 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid; DHMF, 2,5-di(hydroxymethyl)furan; DHM-THF, 2,5-di(hydroxymethyl) tetrahydrofuran; HMTHFA, 5-(hydroxymethyl)tetrahydrofuran-2-carbaldehyde; 1, 2-(hydroxy(5-(hydroxymethyl)tetrahydrofuran-2- yl)methyl)-5-(hydroxymethyl)tetrahydrofuran-2-carbaldehyde; 2, (E)-4-(5-(hydroxymethyl)furan-2-yl)but-3-en-2-one; 3, (1E,4E)-1,5-bis(5- (hydroxymethyl)furan-2-yl)penta-1,4-dien-3-one; 4, tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol; 5, 2,5-dimethyltetrahydrofuran; 6, furan; 7, 2-hydroxymethyl- 5-vinylfuran; 8, furfuryl alcohol; 9, 2,5-di(aminomethyl)furan; 10, 2-methyl tetrahydrofuran; 11, 2,5-dimethylfuran; 12, 2-methylfuran). Credit: ACS, Zakrzewska et al. Click to enlarge.

The strategy of direct use of the lignocellulosic biomass for the large-scale production of 5-HMF and its derivatives would be ideal. It could remove a major barrier for the development of a sustainable 5-HMF platform.

...This review summarizes current achievements in the synthesis of 5-HMF using ionic liquids as published in scientific periodicals up to the middle of July 2010. Moreover, it points out obstacles described in the studies presented and discusses perspectives in the application of ionic liquids to the conversion of biomass-derived carbohydrates.

—Zakrzewska et al.

Among the perspectives offered by Zakrzewska et al. are:

  • 5-HMF, together with its important derivatives, can be classified as novel biomass derived platform chemicals corresponding to those already established for fossil fuel based platform chemicals. The authors say that the 5-HMF building block is the only furan derivative that has been obtained so far from carbohydrates or raw biomass using ILs. to the best of their knowledge. They suggest the extension of green methods of synthesis to other furan derivatives be carefully designed and intensively explored, especially now that ionic liquids or supercritical fluids have been successfully applied in processes such as separation, enzymatic reactions, hydrogenation, oxidation,and others.

  • Ionic liquids, water, carbohydrates, a catalyst, etc. are capable of acting either as co- or antisolvent. This is why the vapor-liquid equilibria of ternary, quaternary, and multicomponent phases, partition coefficients, and separation factors must be determined for particular systems to develop optimal conditions for extraction of 5-HMF from the postreaction broth.

  • The direct conversion of raw biomass that must be investigated more extensively. Either various kinds of lignocellulosic biomass or scaling up the process should be investigated to make the formation of 5-HMF more feasible and industrially applicable, they suggest.

  • Comparison of the formation of 5-HMF in classical processes and by IL-mediated methods demonstrates that classical methodology can be a treasury of new ideas that should be explored in more sustainable media, including ILs. As an example, the employment of zeolite catalysts in IL-mediated processes can be given, similarly to what has already been shown in traditional processes.

Among several unresolved problems, the high cost of the production is the most troublesome. Nevertheless, a relatively small number of data already proves that ILs create a promising alternative in this field and open up a broad variety of new opportunities.

—Zakrzewska et al.

Resources

  • Małgorzata E. Zakrzewska, Ewa Bogel-Łukasik, and Rafał Bogel-Łukasik (2010) Ionic Liquid-Mediated Formation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural—A Promising Biomass-Derived Building Block. Chem. Rev., Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/cr100171a

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Audi initiates electromobility partnership with Tongji University; “Audi Tongji Joint Lab”

Audi has launched a partnership with Tongji University in Shanghai (TUS) centered on research, instruction and services dealing with electromobility.

Audi has been cooperating with Tongji University Shanghai since January. Students at TUS work together with the car manufacturer on various technical projects as part of their coursework for a bachelor’s or master’s degree or doctorate. An annual student exchange program will also be conducted. The first project for the “Audi Tongji Joint Labs” is the joint development of an Audi A6L as an electric car.

The ceremony marking the founding of the “Audi Tongji Joint Lab” was attended by Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, An Tiecheng, President of FAW-Volkswagen, Prof. Dr. Yu Zhuoping, Dean of the College of Automotive Engineering of Tongji University Shanghai, Wan Gang, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, and numerous other high-ranking Chinese officials.

Audi has been represented in the Chinese market for 22 years now, and with great success. China is an important driver for electromobility. That is why we are investing locally, with the Audi Tongji Joint Lab, in research and education.

—Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG

Together with our long-time partner, Audi, we want to continue to shape China’s automotive industry. Electromobility plays a major role here. The Audi Tongji Joint Lab is an important milestone on our path to this goal.

—An Tiecheng, President of FAW-Volkswagen

Audi has been successfully involved in China since 1988. Together with its joint-venture partner, FAW, Audi produces the Audi A4L, the Audi A6L and, since 2009, the Audi Q5 in Changchun. Between January and September 2010, Audi delivered about 175,000 cars to Chinese customers.

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Singapore’s A*STAR funding 8 new projects for advanced automotive technology; wireless charging for EVs

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced the funding of eight new projects under its Capabilities for Automotive Research (A*CAR) consortium, bringing the total value to S$17.5 million (US$13.5 million) for the consortium’s 10 research projects jointly selected with industry partners to tackle current challenges in the automotive industry.

Among the pre-competitive core research projects include:

  • Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles (EVs). EV owners will no longer need to drive down to specific charging stations, as every parking lot can be made into a charging station using near-field radio frequency (RF) communications.

  • High performance ternary polymer composite materials. This new, higher strength plastic material made of nanofiller can replace glass fibers used widely in cars today. Lighter cars will mean driving down fuel consumption. With every 10% reduction in weight in cars, there would be an average savings in fuel of 6%.

  • Wear-resistant, heat reflective and self-cleaning material for automotive body. The new nanocomposite material, with its multi-coating layer, is not only wear- and chemical-resistant; it is also able to clean itself through photo-catalysis. It will also reflect heat from the cars to keep cars cool, and reduce the energy consumption by air-conditioning in cars.

  • High performance, lead-free composite solders for harsh environment. In the light of increasing functional requirement and ever-stricter service requirement of automotive electronic components, a new generation of composite solders will be developed with superior performance to meet the harsh automotive environment. These will replace the tin-lead solders, extensively used in the automotive industry as interconnect materials, which pose serious environmental problems.

  • Smart Beam Scanning for Dual Modes Vehicular Radar. Aimed at providing a 360-degree sensing system, this project will help drivers/cars to avoid collision with other vehicles and humans, enable drivers to overtake other cars and change lanes safely, as well as park the cars neatly. The project is developing both hardware and software for millimeter-wave Short Range Radar (SRR) and Long Range Radar (LRR) in vehicles.

The A*CAR consortium, founded in 2008 with founding members Bosch, Infineon Technologies, and Dou Yee, is now joined by eight new members: global automotive industry players Toyota Tsusho, GP Batteries, and Anshan Kingpowers Advanced Materials; ST Kinetics; and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Addvalue Technologies, CEI Contract Manufacturing and Infowave.

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Toro partners with ATK to develop fuel cell powered utility vehicles

The Toro Company was selected by ATK, an aerospace and defense company, to help design and build two fuel cell powered utility vehicles with advanced hydrogen storage technology. The project is part of a contract awarded to ATK by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, which is collaborating with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to coordinate hydrogen storage development efforts for the US Department of Energy.

As partner in the project, Toro provides operational experience in the area of fuel cell technologies having recently completed a three-year demonstration with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The NYSERDA project used three prototype hydrogen-powered Toro Workman utility vehicles at various sites, including Niagara Falls State Park, Bethpage State Park, and Rockefeller Plaza Government Center. (Earlier post.)

These vehicles operated reliably in shuttling workers and grounds equipment, hauling turf materials, and assisting with refuse removal. The demonstration proved fuel cells technically viable and feedback from operators was consistently positive, according to Toro.

Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) will assist in designing two operational machines based on the Toro Workman chassis and similar to what the company successfully demonstrated in New York. The group will also provide technical expertise on end-use applications.

The fuel cell utility vehicles, powered by a solid hydrogen storage system, are scheduled for delivery later this fall to the DLA for a 12-month operational demonstration. During this time, the vehicles will retrieve and transport materials between warehouses with data being collected to better understand the performance, durability and sustainability of the hydrogen fuel cell system.

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Petroleum Marketers and Renewable Fuels trade groups join to warn retailers to hold off on E15 sales except to FFVs until regulations finalized

The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) have issued a joint memorandum urging their members to limit E-15 sales to Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) until regulations governing the fuel are finalized and implemented.

Earlier in October, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted a waiver for fuel containing up to 15% ethanol (E15) for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.) This partial waiver represents only the first of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry towards commercialization of E15 gasoline blends.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recent approval of E-15 for a portion of the US light duty vehicle fleet is but the first step in a detailed process required to ensure E-15 can be offered in the market place. As many of you know from previous communications, there are a cadre of regulations, standards, and labeling issues that must be addressed to allow retailers to legally offer E-15 to those non-flexible fuel vehicles the EPA has approved.

Recently, press reports and releases have featured retailers that have installed an E-15 button on their blender pumps. While this demonstrates that the infrastructure to dispense E-15 is growing, it is still unlawful to sell E-15 to anything other than a flexible fuel vehicle, even though EPA has approved E-15 for 2007 and newer vehicles. Until health effects testing is completed, fuel producers have a 211(b) certification from EPA, certain state fuel regulations amended, and EPA’s misfueling and labeling proposed regulation finalized, E-15 sales must be confined to and labeled specifically for flexible fuel vehicles only.

We encourage all of you to remain vigilant so that you and others do not unintentionally offer E-15 to customers driving non-flexible fuel vehicles. E-15 will provide consumers and marketers another option to maximize their domestic renewable fuel use. But failing to adhere to the legal steps required to do so may give our fuel products and our industries an unnecessary and avoidable black eye.

—PMAA/RFA joint memorandum

October 30, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 29, 2010

High-capacity vanadium oxide material for Li-ion cathodes with good cycling stability

Researchers from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have synthesized a high-capacity vanadium oxide cathode material for rechargeable Li-ion batteries via a combined freeze-drying method and appropriately post-treated in argon atmosphere.

Electrochemical tests performed on this material demonstrated its very high insertion capacity of 347 mAh g-1 (3.7 Li+ per LiV3O8) at a current density of 50 mA g-1 (C/6). Most important is that it displayed an excellent cycling stability and after 60 cycles, a discharge capacity with 351 mAh g-1 was obtained.

—Liu et al.

A paper on their work is in press in the journal Electrochimica Acta.

The researchers proposed that a short-range crystallographic order had a stronger influence on the electrochemical performance of an electrode material in this work, instead of the surface area, particle size and crystalline degree.

Resources

  • Haimei Liu, Yonggang Wang, Wensheng Yang and Haoshen Zhou (2010) A large capacity of LiV3O8 cathode material for rechargeable lithium-based batteries. Electrochimica Acta in press, doi: 10.1016/j.electacta.2010.10.049

October 29, 2010 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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