August 31, 2012
DOE to fund 14 research projects on deepwater and Arctic methane hydrates; potential future energy supply
|Methane hydrate can form in Arctic and marine environments. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 14 new research projects that will be a part of an expanding portfolio of projects designed to increase the understanding of methane hydrates’ potential as a future energy supply. Methane hydrates are 3D ice-lattice structures with natural gas locked inside, and are found both onshore and offshore—including under the Arctic permafrost and in ocean sediments along nearly every continental shelf in the world.
The new research projects are intended to advance understanding of the nature and occurrence of deepwater and Arctic gas hydrates and their implications for future resource development and environmental performance. The selected projects build on the completion of a successful test earlier this year that was able to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates on the North Slope of Alaska. (Earlier post.)
ALTe Powertrain Technologies to form $200M JV in China; 4 factories plus $70M services contract for range-extended plug-in light commercial powertrain
US-based ALTe Powertrain Technologies, the developer of a range-extended plug-in electric hybrid powertrain for light commercial vehicles (earlier post), has entered into a Joint Venture agreement in China with MESA Century New Energy Technology, Inc. A total of US$200 million has been committed to the JV at this stage.
Under the agreement, ALTe will own one third of the Joint Venture known as MESA Industrial Technology Corporation. Using $130 million, the company will open four factories in China while receiving a US$70-million engineering services contract to design a system specifically for the China fleet market. The JV will target the medium-duty bus and truck market in China with opportunities to export globally on multiple vehicle applications.
AMP Electric Vehicles, an electric drive motor vehicle manufacturer, and Navistar International, jointly announced the successful initial testing of an all-electric 1,000 cubic foot step van as the first results of their development agreement. The delivery of the van marks AMP’s first step in its development deal with Navistar for large commercial EVs built for the urban delivery market.
The Volkswagen Group is expanding its production network in China with a new transmission plant in Tianjin.
BSEE authorizes Shell to begin preparatory top-hole activities for drilling in Chukchi Sea; activities limited to non-oil-bearing zones
US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director James A. Watson announced that Shell will be allowed to move forward with certain limited preparatory activities on the seafloor for drilling in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska; these activities are limited to non-oil-bearing zones of the seabed.
|FC Bus Power Supply System and the V2H System. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has developed an external power supply system that uses electricity generated within a fuel cell bus (FC bus) to supply electrical power to devices such as home electrical appliances. An FC bus—based on the FCHV-BUS (Fuel cell hybrid vehicle-bus)—equipped with the new power supply system has two electrical outlets (AC 100 V, 1.5 kW) inside the cabin that can supply a maximum output of 3 kW and potentially power home appliances continuously for more than 100 hours.
As part of the emergency power-supply training section of the disaster-control training to be conducted by Aichi Prefecture and Toyota City on 2 September, the system is to power approximately 20 information display monitors inside a disaster control headquarters tent.
Hitachi leading European project on cooperative connected infrastructure for fully electric vehicles
|eCo-FEV project concept. Click to enlarge.|
Hitachi Europe Ltd., through its Information and Communication Technologies R&D Laboratory (ICTL), will a project funded by the European Commission aimed at developing an integrated IT electric mobility platform that enables the connection and information exchanges between multiple infrastructure systems—such as road IT infrastructure, Electric Vehicle (EV) backend infrastructure and EV charging infrastructure—that are relevant to the Fully Electric Vehicle (FEV).
Over this platform, multiple advanced electric mobility services are able to be provided to FEV users to improve the energy management efficiency and usability of the FEV, for example, in the context of Smart Cities.
Ship engine exhaust emissions make up more than a quarter of nitrogen oxide emissions generated in the Australian region according to a recently-published study by CSIRO and the Australian Maritime College in Launceston. Nitrogen oxide is a non-greenhouse gas, unlike similarly named nitrous oxide.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has begun lease sales of the Fit EV (earlier post) to local governments and businesses in Japan. Honda plans to lease approximately 200 units of the Fit EV in the next two years, mostly to local governments and businesses.
|Aisin Seki electric water cooling pump installed in engine (red circle). © Aisin Seiki. Click to enlarge.|
Aisin Seki Co., Ltd has developed a smaller, cheaper electric cooling pump through some effective efficiency optimisations. Cars traditionally use mechanical water cooling pumps, which have a flow rate dependent on the engine speed. Electric cooling pumps offer greater control over the water flow allowing significant fuel economies. However, electric pumps are traditionally much larger than their mechanical counterparts.
Among other features, the Aisin electric pump uses a newly shaped impeller to improve performance. In addition, the design positions the components so that both the motor efficiency and the centrifugal pump mutually benefit. The pump also uses fewer components, allowing it to occupy less space.