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Korean consortium forming JV with Bolivian miner Comibol for lithium production in Salar de Uyuni

Korea Herald. A Korean consortium including Korea Resources Corp. (KORES) and steelmaker POSCO has entered an agreement with Bolivia’s state-run miner Comibol (Corporación Minera de Bolivia) to set up a joint venture to produce lithium intended for lithium-ion batteries. KORES said that Korean Li-ion manufacturers SK Innovation and LG Chem... Read more →

AlixPartners study finds post-crisis auto industry facing new set of challenges; sales projected below historical levels for foreseeable future

A recently released annual automotive industry review by AlixPartners, the global business-advisory firm, concludes that the automotive industry—after surviving the crisis of the past few years—now faces a new set of formidable competitive challenges and decisions ranging from keeping costs and capacity under control with the slow, “post-bubble” sales recovery... Read more →

DOT RITA to award up to $80M for University Transportation Centers

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of the US Department of Transportation (US DOT) plans to competitively select 10 Tier 1 University Transportation Centers (UTCs); two Tier 1 Transit-Focused UTCs; and 10 Regional UTCs to advance US technology and expertise in the many disciplines comprising transportation through the mechanisms... Read more →

Siemens water purification unit generates enough methane to power its own operations; Singapore scaling up to larger pilot facility

A new biological water purification facility developed by Siemens generates enough methane gas to power its own operations. It also produces much less sludge than conventional systems. The pilot facility for this process, which is located at a site run by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, has been operating in an... Read more →

Dow to invest in water desalination and reuse technologies in Saudi Arabia

The Dow Chemical Company plans to invest in a best-in-class manufacturing facility for Dow FILMTEC reverse osmosis (RO) elements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The proposed facility would deliver local supply security of advanced technologies for water desalination and water re-use for potable, non-potable and industrial water serving Saudi... Read more →

Billings Gazette. Denbury Resources, a CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) company, will soon begin construction on the Greencore Pipeline—a 232-mile, 20-inch pipeline through Wyoming to Montana that will move CO2 to mature and depleted oil fields in both states for EOR. Denbury expects work to begin on the line in... Read more →

Montana State University finalized negotiations with the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to begin work on an $85-million, eight-year project that will involve permitting, injecting and monitoring one million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into deep porous rock formations in northern Montana.... Read more →

Australia-based Galaxy Resources Limited has signed a technology license agreement with US-based lithium-ion battery producer K2 Energy Solutions Inc. (Earlier post.) Under the agreement, K2 Energy will provide Galaxy with battery technology expertise, licensing and commercial support for the construction and operation of Galaxy’s proposed Jiangsu plant in China. Galaxy... Read more →

Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft Vision Award goes to PC-Aero for electric aircraft system with solar-charging hangar

Erik Lindbergh, founder of the electric-aviation promotion organization LEAP and grandson of pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh, announced the award of the LEAP Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft Vision to PC-Aero for its development, along with SolarWorld, of a solar-enabled electric aircraft system complete with solar-charging hangar. Lindbergh made the announcement... Read more →

Google to sponsor NASA Green Flight Challenge

The CAFE Foundation announced that Google will sponsor the NASA Centennial Challenge flight competition known as the Green Flight Challenge (GFC). CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) will conduct the event from 25 September through 2 October 2011 at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County (California) Airport. The NASA-funded prize purse of... Read more →

Volkswagen Group issues statement of non-endorsement of proposed MY2017-2025 CAFE program

Volkswagen Group of America issued a statement by Tony Cervone, Executive Vice President, Communications saying that it does not endorse the CAFE program for model years 2017-2025 announced on Friday by President Obama (earlier post). The plan as proposed places an unfairly high burden on passenger cars, Volkswagen argues, while... Read more →

Study finds agave-derived ethanol promising in arid or semi-arid regions

A new report from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford identifies advantages to using agave plants, such as those used in the production of tequila and sisal, to derive biofuels. (Earlier post.) The paper is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science. Agaves have... Read more →

RSA report “Inside the Mind of a Cabbie” explores how to influence more fuel-efficient driving behavior

Shell in the UK, in partnership with think tank RSA (Royal Society of the Arts), has been conducting a study/challenge in July involving cab drivers from 10 regions across the UK competing to see who could drive in the most fuel-efficient manner to substantially lower their fuel costs. The behavior... Read more →

Codexis and Chemtex to collaborate on biomass-derived detergent alcohols for the household products market

Codexis, Inc. and Chemtex, a global technology and engineering company wholly-owned by Italy’s Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, are collaborating to develop and produce sustainable detergent alcohols for use in the household products market. Their collaboration includes development of second-generation detergent alcohols from cellulosic (non-food) biomass. Detergent alcohols—a $6 billion worldwide... Read more →

Chevrolet to install solar-powered electric charging stations for Volts at dealerships in North America

Chevrolet, in what it is calling its Green Zone initiative, will install solar-powered electric charging stations for its Volts at dealerships in North America. The Green Zone initiative will generate electricity equivalent to 12 full vehicle charges per day; excess electricity created will help supplement the dealership’s power needs. American... Read more →

California gasoline consumption down 4% in April, diesel up 3%

California gasoline consumption declined 4% in April compared to April 2010, while diesel consumption increased 3% in April compared to April last year, according to figures from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). Gasoline consumption in April 2011 was down 4% to 1.20 billion gallons compared to April 2010’s... Read more →

ABI Research forecasts embedded OEM and aftermarket connected car systems to reach 189M by 2016

ABI Research forecasts that the installed base of embedded OEM and aftermarket connected car systems is expected to grow from 41 million at the end of 2011 to 189 million by 2016. Despite all the hype about hybrid and smartphone-based telematics solutions, embedded connected car systems still have a bright... Read more →

The new Obama Administration proposal to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks to an average 54.5 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) between 2017 and 2025 (earlier post) would result in the loss of more than $65 billion in federal funding for state and local highway, bridge and... Read more →

Light-duty vehicle fuel economy standards, 1978-2025. MY1978-2011 figures are NHTSA CAFE in mpg. MY2012-2025 standards are EPA GHG standards in miles per gallon equivalent, incorporating air conditioning improvements. Dashed lines denote that standards for MY2017-2025 reflect percentage increases in Notice of Intent. Source: “Driving Efficiency” Click to enlarge. President Barack... Read more →

Canada awards C$4.5M to two electric drive research projects; part of C$53M in new funding for 17 clean tech projects from SDTC

Canada will invest C$17M (US$17.9 million) from Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund in 17 new clean technology projects in the areas of agriculture, transportation, mining and energy. The awards include C$3.1 million (US$3.3 million) to a consortium led by TM4 Inc. in Boucherville to develop a new... Read more →

N-Solv reduces bitumen viscosity—accelerating the extraction rate—with a modest increase in temperature. Source: N-Solv. Click to enlarge. Canada is awarding C$10M (US$10.5 million) from Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund to a consortium led by N-Solv Corp. to support the demonstration of its Bitumen Extraction Solvent Technology (BEST),... Read more →

Researchers boost isobutanol production in yeast

Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark engineered yeast (S. cerevisiae) to boost the yield of isobutanol. They report on their work in an open access paper in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels. The yield of isobutanol was improved from 0.16 to 0.97 mg per g glucose by simultaneous overexpression... Read more →

EPA proposes air pollution standards for oil and gas drilling operations; focus on capture of escaping natural gas

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed standards to reduce harmful air pollution from oil and gas drilling operations. These proposed updated standards—which are being issued in response to a court order—would rely on cost-effective existing technologies to reduce emissions. The proposal would cut smog-forming volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions... Read more →

City/highway EPA ratings for select MY2011 SUVs. Click to enlarge. Ford’s Explorer is now the most fuel-efficient seven-passenger SUV on the market, delivering an EPA-certified 28 mpg US (8.4 L/100km) on the highway with an all-new 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. This is the first application of this engine in North America.... Read more →

Ener1 enters supply and distribution agreement with Lightning Motorcycles

Ener1, Inc. has entered into a supply and distribution agreement with Lightning Motorcycles, the maker of the world’s fastest production electric motorcycle. As part of the agreement, Ener1 will supply Lightning Motorcycles with its automotive-grade, lithium-ion battery cells—designed for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—for use in its Lightning SuperBike. Ener1 will... Read more →

Cycling performance of graphene/Sn nanopillar nanostructure anodes at a constant current density of 0.05 A g-1. For comparison, the cycling performance of pure graphene and Sn films under the same conditions are also shown. Ji et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers with the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National... Read more →

GM Ventures invests in solar power developer Sunlogics; signs for installation of solar charging canopies, power purchase agreement

General Motors Ventures LLC has made an equity investment of $7.5 million in Sunlogics PLC, a Michigan-based, vertically-integrated global solar energy systems provider specializing in solar project development and installation. GM also signed commercial agreements with Sunlogics for the installation of solar charging canopies at Chevrolet dealerships and GM facilities,... Read more →

Getrag sells its axle business, exclusive license for electric drivetrain technology to GKN

Getrag is selling its entire Axle Business to GKN plc, the UK-based global engineering company. With this acquisition, GKN’s driveline business achieves a global market leader position in this segment. Additionally, Getrag is selling to GKN an exclusive license for electric drivetrain technology to be used in electric and certain... Read more →

Ballard’s Dantherm Power to collaborate with Delta Power Solutions in India for fuel cell backup systems

Dantherm Power, a backup power systems company in which Ballard Power Systems has a controlling interest, has signed a collaboration agreement with Delta Power Solutions (India) Pvt. Ltd. to market fuel cell power solutions in the India telecommunications sector. Delta Power Solutions (India) is a subsidiary of Delta Electronics (Thailand)... Read more →

Süd-Chemie lays foundation for largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Germany

Süd-Chemie AG has started construction in Straubing (Lower Bavaria) of what will be the largest German plant for the manufacture of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste materials. From the end of 2011, the plant, which is being built very close to the Bavarian BioCampus in Straubing, will produce up to... Read more →

Johnson Controls invests in Odyne; JCS to be preferred supplier for Li-ion for Odyne PHEV systems

Odyne Systems, LLC, a provider of hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) have completed both an investment agreement and a long-term hybrid master supply agreement. Under the new agreements, Johnson Controls has made a strategic investment in Odyne to fund expansion and to accelerate... Read more →

Azure Dynamics to begin integrating plug-in hybrid technology in Ford F-Series Super-Duty Trucks; F-550 is first in 2013

Azure Dynamics Corporation has entered an agreement with Ford Motor Company whereby Azure will integrate its proprietary plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology into the Ford F-Series Super Duty product line. In collaboration with Ford, Azure’s plug-in hybrid technology will be initially integrated on Ford’s F-Series Super Duty cab and chassis, the... Read more →

Obama to announce CAFE program for MY 2017-2025 on Friday

On Friday, President Obama will hold an event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC to announce the next round of a coordinated national program to improve fuel efficiency for Model Years 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks. Reports suggest that the Administration and the auto industry are... Read more →

Toyota in India to expand production capacity to 310K units in 2013

Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private, Ltd. (TKM), Toyota Motor Corporation’ (TMC) production and sales subsidiary in India, plans to further increase annual production capacity to meet the rapid growth of India’s automobile market. Capacity will expand to 310,000 units in 2013, up from a previously announced 210,000 units by the first... Read more →

Lignol and FPInnovations partner to develop high-value applications for cellulose produced by biomass biorefining process

Advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals company Lignol Energy Corporation and FPInnovations, a not-for-profit forest research organization, entered a Joint Development and Commercialization Agreement to develop new, high-value applications for the cellulose produced by Lignol’s biorefining process. (Earlier post.) One of the primary product streams of Lignol’s integrated biorefinery platform is... Read more →

Polypore expanding Li-ion battery separator capacity for electric drive vehicles

Polypore International, Inc. has approved additional capital expenditures of approximately $105 million to expand its lithium-ion battery separator capacity for electric drive vehicles (EDVs). This expansion is expected to be at the its facility in Concord, North Carolina pending final approval in early August of proposed local incentives by the... Read more →

A123 Systems to supply Li-ion energy storage system to Dongfang Electric Corporation for evaluation for wind power solutions

Li-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems will supply a 500kW Li-ion energy storage solution to Dongfang Electric Corporation (DEC), the third largest manufacturer of wind turbines in the People’s Republic of China and the country’s largest exporter of power equipment. Expected to be installed at DEC’s manufacturing facility in Hangzhou city,... Read more →

Rhodia and CEA collaborating on Li-ion battery electrolytes using LiTFSi

Rhodia Aroma Performance, the leader in the production and sale of LiTFSI (Lithium bis (TriFluoromethaneSulfonyl)Imide), and CEA-Liten, a CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) laboratory dedicated to renewable energies and energy efficiency, are collaborating on LiTFSi electrolytes for Li-ion batteries. The safety, autonomy and cost of Li-ion battery... Read more →

Comparing energy requirements for major biodiesel subsystems and total life-cycle energy requirements between the current study and two earlier assessments: Pradhan et al. (2009), and Sheehan et al. (1998). Pradhan et al. (2011) Click to enlarge. Researchers from the University of Idaho and the US Department of Agriculture have updated... Read more →

ITOCHU and Bunge JV begins production and sales of ethanol in Brazil; plans to increase capacity by 76%

ITOCHU and Bunge Limited have started production and sales of bioethanol in a joint venture company, Pedro Afonso Acucar e Bioenergia S.A. in Tocantins, Northern Brazil. Through JB BioEnergy (Tokyo), a wholly owned subsidiary, ITOCHU holds 20% of the shares in the joint venture and Bunge owns the rest. ITOCHU... Read more →

Joule awarded two patents for high-volume production of ethanol from sunlight and CO2; targeting 10X yield per acre over cellulosic ethanol, 100X over corn ethanol

Joule Unlimited Technologies, a bioengineering startup leveraging highly engineered photosynthetic organisms to catalyze the conversion of sunlight and CO2 to fuels and chemicals, has been awarded its first two US patents covering its fundamental method for producing ethanol at volumes and efficiencies surpassing biomass-dependent processes. Joule is developing pathways and... Read more →

Boeing, Embraer and IDB funding sustainability analysis of producing Amyris renewable jet fuels from sugarcane

Boeing, Embraer, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will jointly fund a sustainability analysis of producing renewable jet fuel sourced from Brazilian sugarcane. The study will evaluate environmental and market conditions associated with the use of renewable jet fuel produced by Amyris. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will serve as an... Read more →

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have developed a computational model for analyzing the metabolic processes in rapeseed plants, particularly those related to the production of oils in their seeds. The goal is to find ways to optimize the production of plant oils that... Read more →

USDA adds four more Biomass Crop Assistance Program project areas

The US Department of Agriculture has created four additional Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) project areas (earlier post) in six states to expand the availability of non-food crops to be used in the manufacturing of liquid biofuels. The four project areas set aside acres in California, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon... Read more →

Chevron allies with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop technologies to improve production and recovery of oil and natural gas

Chevron Corporation and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have formed of an alliance to develop a range of technologies to improve the production and recovery of oil and natural gas resources. The alliance’s initial focus is to develop a wide range of technologies—including power transmission, signal processing and electrical actuation—for... Read more →

Amyris to supply Rio de Janeiro buses with renewable diesel from sugarcane; 30% blend

Amyris Brasil Ltda., a subsidiary of Amyris, Inc., will supply renewable diesel during a 12-month fleet test involving 20 city buses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this month, Amyris announced it will supply 160 city buses in São Paulo with Amyris renewable diesel for use in a 10% blend.... Read more →

Gevo contracts with Arabian American Development to develop hydrocarbon materials from its renewable isobutanol

Arabian American Development Co. (ARSD) has signed a contract with Gevo, Inc., a renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company, to build a renewable hydrocarbon processing demonstration plant at ARSD’s South Hampton Resources, Inc. subsidiary in Silsbee, Texas and to provide Gevo with toll-processing services necessary to process up to 10,000... Read more →

Hitachi Chemical to double production capacity of carbon anode materials for Li-ion automobile batteries

Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. will invest some ¥3.5 billion (US$44.8 million) to add third and fourth production lines manufacturing carbon anode materials for lithium-ion automotive batteries at Yamazaki Works. Hitachi Chemical aims to begin operating these new lines in September 2012. For use in motor vehicles, Hitachi Chemical has developed... Read more →

HaloIPT partnering with Drayson Racing Technologies to bring dynamic wireless charging to electric vehicle motorsport

HaloIPT, a provider of Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) systems for wirelessly charging electric vehicles (earlier post), has entered a strategic partnership with Drayson Racing Technologies, the green R&D racing organization founded by Lord Drayson, former UK Minister for Science and Innovation. The partnership will use HaloIPT’s wireless charging technology to... Read more →