September 30, 2011
Ford and BASF have teamed up to develop a sustainable, plant-sourced castor oil-based foam product for the 2012 Ford Focus instrument panel. The new castor oil-based foam is significantly more durable than the previously used material, with a 36% better tensile strength (a measure of the foam’s ability to hold its shape over time and use). Tear strength also is improved by 5% while elongation (stretch under temperature or impact stress) is reduced by almost 12%.
Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy, according to comments submitted by The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to the Air Force’s Request for Information on the commercial status and market for advanced drop-in biofuels.
GE and Nissan have signed a two-year research collaboration to speed up the development of a reliable, robust smart charging infrastructure to fuel mass market adoption of electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF.
Two Neste Oil tankers successfully traversed the Arctic Northeast Passage between Murmansk and the Pacific Ocean in August and September this year. Only a few vessels including Neste Oil’s ships have operated along the route this year. The first Neste Oil tanker to traverse the route was the MT Stena Poseidon, which carried a customer’s cargo along the Northeast Passage and onwards to South Korea. She was followed by the MT Palva, which delivered a customer’s cargo to a port in China.
In California, gasoline consumption declined 2.8% in June 2011 and 3.6% in Q2 2011, according to figures from the State Board of Equalization. Diesel fuel consumption declined 3.1% in June 2011 and rose 0.9% in second quarter 2011.
Michelin first major technical partner for Project 56 DeltaWing Prototype; 50% of the weight, power, aerodynamic drag, and fuel and tire usage for Le Mans racer
|The DeltaWing. Click to enlarge.|
Michelin will be the first major technical partner to support the Project 56 DeltaWing prototype car in the 2012 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin has developed a tire solution that pushes the performance envelope and matches the innovative DeltaWing strategy to reduce by half the weight, power, aerodynamic drag, and fuel and tire usage of a Le Mans prototype race car, while delivering the same speed and performance.
The front tires on the ultra-narrow front track DeltaWing are only four inches wide; both front and rear tires will be fitted to 15-inch rims (compared to 18 inches on traditional LMP1 sports cars). The Michelin tire sizes for the DeltaWing project are: 10/58-15 (front) and 31/62-15 (rear).
Researchers from MIT and Sun Catalytix develop an artificial leaf for solar water splitting to produce hydrogen and oxygen
Researchers led by MIT professor Daniel Nocera have produced an “artificial leaf”—a solar water-splitting cell producing hydrogen and oxygen that operates in near-neutral pH conditions, both with and without connecting wires. (Earlier post.)
In a paper published in the journal Science, they report that the cells carry out the solar-driven water splitting reaction at direct solar-to-fuels efficiencies of 2.5% (wireless configuration) and 4.7% (wired configuration) when driven by a solar cell of 6.2% and 7.7% light-to-electricity efficiency, respectively, and when illuminated with 1 sun of AM 1.5 simulated sunlight. The cells consist of a triple junction, amorphous silicon photovoltaic interfaced to hydrogen and oxygen evolving catalysts made from an alloy of earth-abundant metals and a cobalt-borate catalyst, respectively.
The US Department of ENergy (DOE) finalized a $132.4 million loan guarantee to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC (ABBK) to support the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant.
|The BMW ActiveHybrid 5. Click to enlarge.|
Based on the BMW 535i Sedan, the ActiveHybrid 5 brings together BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline six-cylinder engine, an electric drive system and an eight-speed automatic transmission for the first time. The latest generation of BMW ActiveHybrid technology also adds controlled energy management to the mix. The drive system generates combined output of 335 hp (DIN) (250 kW) a with maximum torque of 330 lb-ft (447 N·m); allows the car to be driven on electric power alone up to 37 mph (60 km/h); and accelerates the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (preliminary).
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc. (TMMAL), an engine-production subsidiary of Japan-based Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), held a line-off ceremony to mark the beginning of four-cylinder engine production. The 10-year old plant now has the capacity to produce approximately 216,000 4-cylinder engines, 146,000 V6 engines, and 144,000 V8 engines per year.