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March 2012

March 31, 2012

Study suggests eco-driving techniques could reduce public transit fleet fuel consumption by up to 18.7%

Transit fleets could reduce fuel consumption on average by as much as 18.7% by engaging in fuel-efficient, eco-driving best practices, according to a Public Transit Fuel Efficiency Study released by SmartDrive Systems, a provider of fleet management and driver safety systems and services.

Eco-driving best practices for public transit include smooth acceleration and deceleration; reducing excess idling; avoiding hard turning (anticipating turns and smoothly decelerating into the turn to take advantage of the bus’s forward momentum and smoothly accelerating out of it); and maintaining constant vehicle speed.


March 31, 2012 in Behavior, Fleets, Fuel Efficiency, Heavy-duty | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Way cleared for major Alaska North Slope natural gas pipeline project

Proposed route for the Alaska Pipeline project. Click to enlarge.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell announced that two major milestones have been met in the state’s effort to bring Alaska’s North Slope natural gas to Alaskans and markets beyond. The North Slope holds more than 35 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas.

First, the State of Alaska resolved its long-running litigation with ExxonMobil and other leaseholders regarding the Point Thomson field, which holds almost a quarter of the North Slope’s known natural gas. Second, the three major producers—ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP—delivered a letter to the governor announcing that they are now aligned with the Alaska Pipeline Project (APP) parties, and working on a gasline project focusing on bringing North Slope gas to tidewater in Alaska.


March 31, 2012 in Infrastructure, LNG, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (25) | TrackBack

NRC clears path for issuing licenses for two AP1000 reactors at Summer site in South Carolina

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in a 4-1 vote, found its staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings, clearing the way for the NRC’s Office of New Reactors (NRO) to issue the two Combined Licenses (COLs) for the South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper application for the Summer site in South Carolina. The COLs will authorize SCE&G and Santee Cooper to build and operate two AP1000 reactors at the Summer site, adjacent to the company’s existing reactor approximately 26 miles northwest of Columbia, S.C.


March 31, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (23) | TrackBack

ARRA funding raises R&D expenditures within federally funded R&D centers 11% to $16.8B in FY 2010

Research and development expenditures at the US’ 39 federally funded R&D centers (FFRDCs) rose from $15.2 billion in FY 2009 to $16.8 billion in FY 2010, according to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) FFRDC Research and Development Survey. More than $1 billion of the FY 2010 total was supplied by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).


March 31, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 30, 2012

EnerDel parent Ener1 completes financial restructuring and emerges from Chapter 11

Ener1, Inc., the parent of lithium-ion battery maker EnerDel, has completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a privately-held company. On 26 January, the company had filed a pre-packaged bankruptcy case to implement a restructuring plan agreed on by its primary investors and lenders. (Earlier post.)

The US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York confirmed the Plan of Reorganization on 28 February; the Plan became effective on 30 March 2012.


March 30, 2012 in Batteries, Market Background | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Illinois Governor launches EV fast-charging network, currently US’ largest

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and representatives from the Illinois Tollway, 350Green LLC and 7-Eleven, Inc. announced the availability of the US’ largest network of fast-charging electric vehicle (EV) stations to date.


March 30, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Ford investing $1.3B in Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant for Fusion and Lincoln MKZ

Ford is investing $1.3-billion in its Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant for the production of Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ lineups.


March 30, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

CAR releases study on use of bio-based materials in automotive sector; potential for the Great Lakes Region

There is significant potential for the expansion of bio-based automotive parts and components manufacturing in the US Great Lakes region, according to a newly-released study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), a nonprofit research organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The report defines bio-based materials as industrial products made from renewable agricultural and forestry feedstocks, which can include wood, grasses, and crops, as well as wastes and residues. These materials may replace fabrics, adhesives, reinforcement fibers, polymers, and other, more conventional, materials.


March 30, 2012 in Bio-polymers, Biomass, Materials | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NETL to install new supercomputer to simulate carbon capture, utilization and storage scenarios

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will install a new supercomputer this summer to help to develop solutions to carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology barriers.


March 30, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Obama Administration launches $200M Big Data Research and Development Initiative

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in concert with several Federal departments and agencies, launched a $200-million “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” to improve greatly the tools and techniques needed to access, organize, and glean discoveries from huge volumes of digital data.

The Big Data initiative is intended to: (1) advance state-of-the-art core technologies needed to collect, store, preserve, manage, analyze, and share huge quantities of data; (2) harness these technologies to accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering; and (3) expand the workforce needed to develop and use Big Data technologies.


March 30, 2012 in Market Background, Policy, Research | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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