October 31, 2011
A consortium of cleantech companies, led by AllCell Technologies, unveiled an off-grid solar charging station in Amman, Jordan. The station, which can simultaneously charge both a Nissan LEAF and multiple light electric vehicles, is completely off-grid and includes a lithium-ion energy storage system that is protected from the heat of the Jordanian sun by AllCell’s passive thermal management system.
A123 Systems, Hydro-Quebec, and the University of Texas settle lithium metal phosphate battery chemistry patent dispute
A123 Systems, Hydro Québec, and the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System, on behalf of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) have settled their patent disputes regarding lithium metal phosphate technologies, entering into a Settlement Agreement and related Patent Sublicense Agreement that will resolve the existing litigations and create licenses going forward. All litigations will be dismissed and a license under these patents will be granted to A123, as agreed by the parties, under the settlement.
A new joint partnership between Casella Waste Systems, Inc. based in Rutland, VT, and Altela, Inc., a privately held water desalination company in Albuquerque, NM, is seeking to provide a solution to the environmental issues surrounding the treatment of mineral‐laden brackish water from Marcellus Shale drilling.
ECOtality and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store unveiled the first Blink Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger in Tennessee at the Lebanon Cracker Barrel location. This is the first of 12 Cracker Barrel locations statewide that will install DC Fast Chargers as a part of The EV Project. The stations are able to charge a battery to 80% capacity in under 30 minutes.
GM investing $385M in Romulus Engine plant to prepare for production of new fuel-efficient engine program
General Motors will invest approximately $385 million to prepare the Romulus Engine plant in Michigan for production of an all-new, fuel-efficient engine program.
Honda adjusting production at North American plants due to flooding in Thailand; auto production at 50% through 10 November
American Honda Motor will temporally adjust automobile production at all six Honda auto plants in the US and Canada due to the disruption of the flow of parts from Honda suppliers in Asia because of the ongoing flooding in Thailand. (Earlier post.)
In California, gasoline consumption declined 2.2% in July 2011, while diesel fuel consumption increased 1.9%, according to figures from the State Board of Equalization.
A team from the University of Illinois and startup Dioxide Materials has developed an electrocatalytic system for the reduction of CO2 to CO—a key component of artificial photosynthesis and thus an enabler for the conversion of CO2 to synthetic fuels—at overpotentials below 0.2 V. The co-catalyst system relies upon an ionic liquid electrolyte to lower the reduction barrier. A silver cathode catalyzes formation of the final products.
Electroreduction of CO2 has largely been stymied by the impractically high overpotentials necessary to drive the process, note Rosen et al. in a paper on their work published in the journal Science. However, with the new system, the team first observed formation of gaseous CO at an applied voltage of 1.5 V, just slightly above the minimum (i.e., equilibrium) voltage of 1.33 V. The system continued producing CO for at least 7 hours at Faradaic efficiencies of more than 96%.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $44.6 million in payments for 156 advanced biofuel producers across the country to support the production and expansion of advanced biofuels.
Honda Automobile Thailand uncertain as to when production will resume; flood impact rippling out to other Honda plants
Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (HATC), the Honda automobile production subsidiary in Thailand (headquarter in the Rojana Industrial Park, Ayutthaya), issued a statement saying that it does not have a clear outlook for when production will resume as flooding on its facilities has continued since 8 October 2011. HATC suspended production on October 4, due to parts supply disruptions.