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Specially developed versions of 3M’s Thinsulate material can absorb the higher frequency sounds produced by hybrid vehicles’ electric motors and transmissions. The material is lightweight and, because it is compact and compressible, packaging and assembly is straightforward. The mesh of fibers in specially developed version’s of 3M’s Thinsulate material absorb... Read more →

The new entry-level 2011 Insight. Click to enlarge. The 2011 Honda Insight hybrid, now on sale in the US, gains new standard features and the addition of a value-oriented entry model featuring an MSRP starting at $18,200. The new base model is simply designated as “Insight”. The Insight LX and... Read more →

SOFC company wins Boeing/DARPA contract to supply energy storage and generation technology for ultra-long endurance aircraft

Versa Power Systems, Inc., a developer of high-power solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), has been selected as one of the key suppliers to The Boeing Co. under the next phase of a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program to develop and fly a very long endurance unmanned aircraft.... Read more →

NASA and Univ. of Colorado form collaborative Sun-Climate Research Center

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and The University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) have formed a new collaborative research center dedicated to the study of the Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate. The center, called the Sun-Climate Research Center (SCRC), will be directed by Robert Cahalan, Head... Read more →

Global braking and chassis systems specialist BWI Group has developed a new generation of lightweight smart passive dampers for B, C and D-segment vehicles. The application-ready units improve cars’ handling without compromising passengers’ ride comfort and without the need for more expensive, heavier adaptive dampers. BWI has reduced typical damper... Read more →

Timetable for the implementation of the recommendations. Higher priority topics (in red) include safety for charging stations, high voltage wiring, and batteries; and the charging interface. Click to enlarge. The “Standardization and Certification” working group of Germany’s National Platform for Electromobility (NPE) has submitted its interim report—the “German Standardization Roadmap... Read more →

BASF and INEOS to establish a new styrenics JV called Styrolution

BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and INEOS Industries Holdings Limited (Lyndhurst, UK) intend to combine their global business activities in styrene monomers (SM), polystyrene (PS), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), styrene-butadiene block copolymers (SBC) and other styrene-based copolymers (SAN, AMSAN, ASA, MABS) as well as copolymer blends into a new joint venture... Read more →

Cracker Barrel to install 24 Ecotality EV charging systems in select Tennessee locations; Level 2 and Fast Charge

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is becoming a major participant in The EV Project and will install 24 Blink electric vehicle (EV) chargers, provided by ECOtality, Inc., at select locations in “The Tennessee Triangle,” the 425-mile stretch of interstate highway that connects Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. The EV Project, designed... Read more →

Fiat to provide Opel with Combo successor based on Doblo

The Automobile Sector of the Fiat Group and Adam Opel GmbH signed a contract agreement whereby Fiat will supply vehicles comprising of several variants to Opel commencing December 2011. The model will replace the Opel Combo light commercial vehicle, which reaches the end of its lifecycle in the fourth quarter... Read more →

EPA finalizes 2011 Renewable Fuel Standards

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2011 percentage standards for the four categories of fuel—cellulosic, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuels—under the agency’s renewable fuel standard program, known as RFS2. This regulatory action finalizes these annual standards that apply to all gasoline and diesel produced or... Read more →

Energy Secretary Chu says US faces a new “Sputnik Moment” in China’s clean energy successes

In a speech at the National Press Club, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the success of China and other countries in clean energy industries represents a new “Sputnik Moment” for the United States, and will require a similar mobilization of innovation to enable the US to compete in... Read more →

Northern Lights Energy signs LOI to purchase 1,000 AMP electric SUV conversions over 5 years

AMP Holding Inc., a company engaged in the emission-free electrification of OEM vehicles, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Northern Lights Energy (NLE) to support the introduction of all-electric SUVs into Iceland as part of a national electric vehicle (EV) project. Under terms of the letter of intent,... Read more →

The principle of the single piston hydraulic free piston diesel engine. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Beijing Institute of Technology have designed and built a prototype hydraulic free piston diesel engine (HPFDE). The single-piston, two-stroke compression ignition engine leaves out the crankshaft, pump axle and swash plate of a... Read more →

Beijing planning to have 30,000 new energy vehicles on the road by end of 2012; EVSE stations, fast chargers and battery swap

People’s Daily. Beijing plans to have 30,000 new energy vehicles on its roads by the end of 2012, with 23,000 being pure electric vehicles and 7,000 being plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Beijing will subsidize new-energy vehicles based on their battery capacities at 3,000 yuan [US$450] per kilowatt-hour, but no more... Read more →

Overview of PCAST recommendations. Click to enlarge. The United States should craft a government-wide Federal energy policy and update it regularly with strategic Quadrennial Reviews similar to those produced regularly by the Department of Defense, according to a report on energy challenges released by the President’s Council of Advisors on... Read more →

Hyundai breaks ground for third plant in China; total China capacity of up to 1M units by 2012

Hyundai Motor Company has begun construction of a third plant in China to respond to growing demand in the world’s largest automobile market. Beijing Hyundai Motor Company (BHMC), a 50-50 joint venture between Hyundai Motor and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., held a ground-breaking ceremony for a 400,000 unit/year plant... Read more →

Toyota holds line-off ceremony for Prius in Thailand

Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd. (TMT) held a line-off ceremony today at its Gateway Plant in Chachoengsao Province to mark the start of production of the Prius. The plant is to produce approximately 12,000 units annually, with sales to begin on 30 November 30, priced from 1,190,000 to 1,270,000 baht... Read more →

Lufthansa to use Neste Oil NExBTL renewable jet fuel in 6-month commercial flight trial

In April 2011, Lufthansa will begin a six-month trial of renewable jet fuel with an Airbus A321 on scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route. Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines will use a 50-50 mix of Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable jet biofuel and traditional kerosene. The other engine... Read more →

Australia’s Galaxy signs LOI for site of proposed Li-ion battery project in China

Australia-based emerging lithium producer, Galaxy Resources Limited , has signed a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) for the site of a proposed lithium-ion battery project in China. The LOI has been signed with the Jiangsu Province Zhangjiagang Free Trade Zone Administrative Committee (JPZFTZ) for a 10 hectare site, located in... Read more →

Left: Cross section of BZPY-based single cell after fuel-cell testing. Four layers are clearly visible: from left, the supporting anode, the anode functional layer (about 22 µm thick), the electrolyte (about 20µm thick), and the composite cathode. Right: Voltage and power density curves of BZPY-based fuel cells measured at 550,... Read more →

Low-lying and other vulnerable countries calling for fast action on non-CO2 global warming pollutants

Led by the tiny Pacific island of the Federated States of Micronesia, a growing group of low-lying islands and other vulnerable countries are calling for fast action on the approximately 50% of global warming that is caused by pollutants other than carbon dioxide (CO2). Among the non-CO2 pollutants are hydrofluorocarbons... Read more →

Researchers at the University of Maryland, led by Dr. Sang Bok Lee, have published a review of advanced heterogeneous nanostructured materials for use in future electrochemical energy storage systems in the RSC journal Chemical Communications. Such materials, they note, are promising electrode materials due to their synergic properties arising from... Read more →

Japan’s AIST develops new energy-saving membrane separation technology for biobutanol

The Research Institute for Innovation in Sustainable Chemistry (ISC) of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has developed a new silicalite (a type of zeolite) separation membrane with high alcohol permselectivity that decreases the amount of energy required to recover biobutanol by 50-70%. The membrane—a silicone-rubber-coated... Read more →

Daimler has been awarded the German Sustainability Award 2010 for most sustainable products/services for the Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid. (Earlier post.) The award’s conceptual sponsor is the German Sustainability Award Foundation in Düsseldorf. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid addresses various challenges to sustainability. The adjustment of hybrid components to the... Read more →

Ford opening 66 more new dealerships in China by end of year; Asia-Pacific growth plans

Ford is opening 66 new dealerships in China by the end of the year. Ford will have added 100 new dealerships in China in 2010, bringing its total number of outlets here to 340. The newer dealerships are located primarily in the fast-growing second- and third-tier cities located in western... Read more →

Report: Honda planning to double hybrid sales in Japan to more than 20% next fiscal year

The Nikkei reports that Honda Motor Co. plans to have hybrids account for more than 20% of its Japanese sales next fiscal year, double fiscal 2010’s roughly 10%, citing the company’s sales plan. Honda forecasts overall domestic automobile sales to decline by 20,000 units on the year to 635,000 units... Read more →

Ragone plot of graphene supercapacitor. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Nanotek Instruments and Angstron Materials have developed a graphene-based supercapacitor that exhibits a specific energy density of 85.6 Wh/kg at room temperature and 136 Wh/kg at 80 °C (all based on the total electrode weight),... Read more →

NExBTL renewable diesel receives sustainability certification in Germany

Neste Oil has received an ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) certificate for the NExBTL renewable diesel produced at the company’s Porvoo refinery in Finland. The certificate confirms that NExBTL diesel produced from certified raw materials is suitable for use in meeting mandated bio-content on the German market. Beginning in... Read more →

CSIRO study concludes recent SEQ drought likely caused by climate variability rather than climate change

The recent South-East Queensland (SEQ) drought was likely caused by shifts associated with climate variability over decades rather than climate change, according to the findings of a team of CSIRO researchers led by Dr Wenju Cai. The research team aimed to determine whether the SEQ’s recent rainfall reductions were partly... Read more →

Fiat to relaunch Mirafiori plant to produce new C- and D-segment passenger cars and SUVs for Jeep and Alfa

Fiat plans to relaunch its plant at Mirafiori, Italy, through the establishment of a joint venture between Chrysler and Fiat to bring a new platform to Turin from the United States for production of larger segment passenger cars and SUVs for the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands. More than €1... Read more →

Researchers at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, with colleagues from Southeast University (China) and University of Nottingham (UK), have developed an integrated catalytic approach that combines hydroprocessing with zeolite catalysts to convert pyrolysis bio-oils into industrial commodity chemical feedstocks, including C2 to C6 monohydric alcohols and diols, C6 to C8 aromatic hydrocarbons,... Read more →

by Jack Rosebro 2009 Honda Formula One chassis configuration, showing KERS component location. Click to enlarge. During the EVS 25 electric vehicle expo in Shanghai earlier this months, Honda engineers presented a glimpse into the development of an advanced high-performance electric motor that Honda had designed as part of a... Read more →

Copper oxide/graphene composite as higher-capacity anode material for lithium-ion batteries

Researchers at the State Key Laboratory of Silicon Materials and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, China synthesized a copper oxide (CuO)/graphene composite for use as an anode material in Li-ion batteries. CuO nanoparticles with sizes of about 30 nm homogeneously locate on graphene sheets, and act as... Read more →

China’s Guizhou province proposes $11.3B coal-to-oil plant

Chinamining.org. Southwestern China’s Guizhou province has proposed a 75-billion yuan ($11.3-billion), 5 million tonnes-per-year (approx. 36 million barrels, depending upon output product) coal-to-oil project using domestically developed indirect coal liquefaction technology approved by the National Energy Administration earlier this year. The NEA has agreed to include the project in China’s... Read more →

Innovative techniques for surface science; tools in the rational design of catalytic materials

In a paper published recently in the journal ChemPhysChem, researchers at the Fritz-Haber Institut der Max-Planck Gesellschaft in Berlin describe the advancement of four experimental techniques developed in their lab over the last ten years to investigate nanoscopic systems in surface science, enabling the study of interfaces with great precision.... Read more →

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its fuel economy ratings and accompanying fuel economy label for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. The dual-fuel vehicle (electricity and gasoline) is rated at 93 miles per gallon-equivalent (combined city/highway) in all-electric mode (36 kWh/100 miles) and 37 mpg US... Read more →

GM to invest $163M in 3 plants to support engine production for Volt, Cruze and new small car

General Motors is investing $163.2-million in its operations in Flint and Bay City, Michigan, and Defiance, Ohio, to support engine production for the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze and a new Chevrolet small car to be built in the United States. The investments will be used to support increased production of... Read more →

Comparison of coal consumption and CO2 emissions for co-production and separate production of liquids and power. The liquids output capacity of CTL plants is 50,000 barrels/day. Source: Mantripragada and Rubin. Click to enlarge. A study comparing the performance, greenhouse gas emissions and costs of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) coal-to-liquids (CTL) processes using... Read more →

Lifan and Ricardo developing two 1.2L turbo gasoline direct injection engines

Gasgoo.com. Chongqing Lifan Industry (Group) Co., Ltd., one of the largest professional motorcycle manufactures in China, and Ricardo plc are developing two 1.2L turbocharged, gasoline direct injection engines for applications in Lifan sedans as soon as 2012. In 2006, Lifan signed a Heads of Agreement with Ricardo to develop a... Read more →

ETV Motors signs $2M battery contract with aerospace company

ETV Motors Ltd., an Israel-based technology start-up focused on developing battery technology for electric vehicles, signed a 2-year, approx. US$2-million agreement for the development and delivery of specialty batteries for aviation applications. The customer is a global aerospace company. This marks the first substantial contract based on the company’s high-energy... Read more →

LichtBlick begins installing home combined heat and power plants powered by VW 2.0L EcoBlue gas engine

Energy supplier LichtBlick has installed its first home power plants for residential and commercial customers in Hamburg, Germany. These plants are EcoBlue natural-gas-powered compact combined heat and power (CHP) plants produced by Volkswagen exclusively for LichtBlick. (Earlier post.) With EcoBlue technology from Volkswagen, energy consumption is reduced by up to... Read more →

CODA reaches preliminary agreement with Essex Credit Corporation to finance CODA EVs

CODA Automotive and Essex Credit Corporation, a subsidiary of Bank of the West, have reached a preliminary agreement to provide financing for customers of the 2011 CODA Sedan. Customers who purchase an all-electric vehicle from CODA will have the option of applying for credit from their financial institution of choice... Read more →

AMD installs three Coulomb Technologies charging stations at Austin campus

AMD has installed three Coulomb-manufactured ChargePoint electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its Austin “Lone Star” campus for employees, and plans to install additional stations at its Sunnyvale campus in spring 2011. The Austin ChargePoint stations were supplied and installed by Verdek, the exclusive distributor for Coulomb Technologies in the... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors has produced 5,000 i-MiEVs to date

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has reached 5,000 units of its i-MiEV new generation electric vehicle (EV) produced at its Mizushima Plant as of 23 November. This figure does not include EV production for PSA Peugeot Citroën. The i-MiEV began mass production in June 2009. The month after that, MMC introduced... Read more →

Renault-Nissan Alliance and Vinci Park partner to support EVs in car parks

Renault is signing an agreement with Vinci Park, a European leader in parking management, to provide charging infrastructure and associated services for electric vehicles in car parks. Vinci Park is also taking part in a trial on electric mobility (SAVE) conducted by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Following plans announced by the... Read more →

Report: Toshiba aiming to commercialize Samarium-cobalt magnets for EV motors

The Nikkei reports that Toshiba aims to apply its samarium-cobalt (SmCo) magnets to consumer electronics within one year and also hopes to commercialize them for electric vehicles. By using samarium, a rare-earth metal in ample supply in Australia and the US, Toshiba would avoid reliance on dysprosium, a rare-earth metal... Read more →

Duke Energy and ITOCHU to assess second-life applications for Li-ion automotive batteries

Duke Energy and Tokyo-based ITOCHU Corp. signed an agreement to collaborate on advanced energy technologies, starting with the evaluation and testing of second-life applications for electric vehicle batteries. Duke Energy and ITOCHU’s program builds upon their involvement in Project Plug-IN, a large-scale public/private EV initiative based in Indianapolis. According to... Read more →

Ceres survey finds 71% of responding growers interested in growing dedicated energy crops

A non-scientific survey of US growers by energy crop developer Ceres, Inc., found that 71% of respondents were very interested or interested in growing dedicated energy crops. Moreover, 77% said they had under-utilized land on which to establish energy grasses like switchgrass, sorghum and miscanthus. Agricultural producers said that the... Read more →