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Canada Environment Minister to propose exemptions from 2% renewable content in home heating oil and diesel

Canada’s Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, said he will propose an amendment to the Renewable Fuels Regulations that would see a permanent national exemption from the 2% renewable content requirement in home heating oil, as well as a 6-month extension to the exemption from the 2% renewable content requirement... Read more →

Wärtsilä to supply dual-fuel propulsion package for two new Dutch tankers

Wärtsilä has been contracted to supply the complete dual-fuel—natural gas and diesel fuels—propulsion package for two new Liquefied Ethylene Gas (LEG)/Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tankers being built for Anthony Veder, the Netherlands-based shipping company specialized in gas transportation. The contract was signed with AVIC-International Shanghai and Avic-Dingheng Shipbuilding Co. Ltd... Read more →

The new Pike Pulse Grid for EVSE manufacturers. Click to enlarge. Pike Research forecasts that global sales of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37% between 2012 and 2020 as the global market for plug-in vehicles (PEVs) grows, rising from less... Read more →

Discharge capacity (left axis) and Coulombic efficiency (right axis) of the Li2S-C cathode as a function of cycle number. A fixed current density of 200 mA g-1 was used for these measurements. Credit: ACS, Guo et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Cornell University are proposing a new scheme for... Read more →

Rice researchers engineer E. coli to produce succinate efficiently from soybean mash

A team at Rice University has engineered E. coli bacteria to produce succinate (an ester of succinic acid) from soybean mash. A paper describing their work was published in the journal Bioresource Technology. In 2004, the US Department of Energy (DOE) named succinic acid one of 12 “platform” chemicals that... Read more →

New catalyst for efficient bi-reforming of methane from any source for methanol and hydrocarbon synthesis; “metgas”

Researchers at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, have developed a new catalyst based on nickel oxide on magnesium oxide (NiO/MgO) that is effective for the bi-reforming with steam and CO2 (combined steam and dry reforming) of methane as well as natural gas... Read more →

Ford Focus tracking to become best-selling global nameplate in 2012, Fiesta best-selling B-car worldwide

The Ford Focus is tracking to become this year’s best-selling global nameplate, while the Ford Fiesta is on pace to be this year's best-selling global B-Car—giving Ford the best-selling B and C-Car in the world—based on the latest Polk global industry data through September. Global Focus new registrations totaled 737,856... Read more →

Argentina state-owned energy company YPF and Bridas, an Argentina-based oil and gas company 50% owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, agreed to invest $1.5 billion over the next 24 months to begin development in the massive shale oil deposits in the Vaca Muerta (“Dead Cow”) formation in the province... Read more →

2013 Fusion Energi. Click to enlarge. The US Environmental Protection Agency has rated the new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid (earlier post) at up to 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined (2.2, 2.6 and 2.4 l/100km-equivalent, respectively). Fusion Energi is the Ford brand’s fifth electrified vehicle to... Read more →

Functional elements of the GEM*STAR reactor. Source: Muons, Inc. Click to enlarge. Muons, Inc., a private-sector high-energy accelerator physics firm, and ADNA (Accelerator-Driven Neutron Applications) Corp., are proposing using spent nuclear fuel (SNF), natural uranium, or excess weapons-grade plutonium (W-Pu) in a proposed GEM*STAR accelerator-driven subcritical reactor (ADSR) to provide... Read more →

ITOCHU to acquire 20.7% of issued shares of Toda Kogyo to strengthen position in Li-ion cathode materials market

ITOCHU Corporation signed a capital/business partnership with materials company Toda Kogyo through which ITOCHU will own 20.7% of Toda Kogyo’s issued shares (22.1% ownership of voting shares), placing Toda Kogyo as an equity-method affiliate of ITOCHU. ITOCHU will utilize the technological capability and production facilities of Toda Kogyo to strengthen... Read more →

St. Andrews team elucidates behavior of carbon cathodes in Li-air batteries; the importance of the synergy between electrode and electrolyte

Carbon is seen as an attractive potential cathode material for aprotic (non-aqueous) Lithium-air batteries, which are themselves of great interest for applications such as in electric vehicles because of the cells’ high theoretical specific energy. However, the stability of carbon and the effect of carbon on electrolyte decomposition in such... Read more →

EPA grants waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Car Program

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally granted a California Air Resources Board (CARB) request for a waiver of preemption for its Advanced Clean Car (ACC) regulations. (Earlier post.) The ACC regulations revise California’s Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) program (which includes both criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission... Read more →

Ukraine state oil and gas company signs $3.656B credit agreement with China Development Bank to finance substituting natural gas with coal

The Ukraine state oil and gas company Naftogaz signed a US$3.656-billion credit agreement with the state-owned China Development Bank to finance the program of substituting natural gas with locally produced coal. The program is aimed at improving Ukraine’s energy security and alleviating dependence on foreign natural gas. The contract, guaranteed... Read more →

Amyris secures $42.25M financing, begins Biofene production in Brazil

Renewable chemicals and fuels company Amyris, Inc. has completed a $42.25 million private placement of its common stock. In addition, Amyris announced its purpose-built industrial fermentation facility in Brazil has successfully begun production of Biofene, Amyris’s brand of renewable farnesene. The company sold 14,177,849 shares of common stock in a... Read more →

California Air Resources Board approves 2014 Honda Plug-in Hybrid Accord as first LEV3/SULEV20 vehicle on sale

The California Air Resources Board has approved the 2014 Honda Plug-in Hybrid Accord as the first car for sale in California that meets ARB’s LEV3/SULEV20 standard—the most stringent smog-emission standard to date. (Earlier post.) The 2014 Honda Plug-In Hybrid Accord produces only 20 milligrams of NMOG+NOx emissions per mile. In... Read more →

Ford advancing 3D sand printing

Ford is embracing the use of “3D printing”—additive manufacturing—in its design work. Many of the components for the Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in the all-new Transit Van (earlier post) were developed with the aid of 3D rapid manufacturing. Cast aluminum oil filtration adaptors, exhaust manifolds, differential carrier, brake rotors, oil... Read more →

Toyota agrees to fund a settlement valued up to $1.4 billion for unintended acceleration cases

Toyota has agreed to a settlement valued between $1.2 and $1.4 billion in a class action suit by Toyota vehicle owners who claim that their vehicles are prone to sudden, unexplained acceleration. The estimated settlement is the largest of this type in US history in terms of dollars paid out... Read more →

Average external costs from cars per 1,000 vkm by country. Click to enlarge. A recent study from Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) commissioned by the Greens/European Free Allianace (EFA) in the European Parliament concluded that the cars used within the EU-27 externalize up to about €373 billion (US$493 billion) per... Read more →

Plug-in hybrid drive system. Click to enlarge. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will begin the sales of the new Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at dealerships throughout Japan from 24 January 2013. The Outlander PHEV made its global debut at the Paris Motor Show earlier this year. (Earlier post.) Powered... Read more →

DOE’s Carbon Utilization and Storage Atlas estimates at least 2,400B metric tons of US CO2 storage resource

The United States has at least 2,400 billion metric tons of possible carbon dioxide storage resource in saline formations, oil and gas reservoirs, and unmineable coal seams, according to a new US Department of Energy (DOE) publication. This resource could potentially store hundreds of years’ worth of industrial greenhouse gas... Read more →

Crown Royal Saloon G (Hybrid model, rear-wheel drive with options). Click to enlarge. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) launched in Japan the redesigned Crown Royal and Crown Athlete sedans; production of a new hybrid version of the sedan will begin in late January 2013. The original Crown made its debut in... Read more →

Study examines potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to advance EV market

A new study by the RAC Foundation and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) examines the potential for alternatives to new car ownership models to kick-start the electric vehicle market. The paper, “Car Rental 2.0”, summarizes the findings from a joint seminar held by the RAC Foundation and... Read more →

Chevron subsidiary acquires 50% operating interest in Western Canada Kitimat LNG project; 10 million tonnes per year

Chevron Corporation’s indirect Canadian subsidiary, Chevron Canada Limited, will acquire a 50% operating interest in the Kitimat liquefied natural gas (LNG) project and proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP), and a 50% interest in approximately 644,000 acres of petroleum and natural gas rights in the Horn River and Liard Basins in... Read more →

A new study using a computer model of the atmosphere and a numerical analysis method to fill in gaps in collected data from the Byrd Station outpost finds that the central region of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is experiencing twice as much warming as previously thought. Due to... Read more →

Eni and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) establishing foundational principles for the coordinated development of common natural gas reservoirs in the offshore Mozambique. The two companies also agreed jointly to plan and to construct common onshore LNG liquefaction facilities in the Cabo Delgado Province of northern... Read more →

Dynamic model for estimating SoC and peak power capability in PHEVs

Researchers at the Beijing Institue of Technology have developed a battery model to estimate the state of charge (SoC) and peak power capability of a Li-ion battery in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). According to their report in the Journal of Power Sources, their approach can not only achieve an... Read more →

Elithion ships Li-ion battery management systems to AvtoVaz for EL LADA EV

Colorado-based Elithion has shipped a production order for Lithiumate Pro Li-ion battery management systems (BMS) to Russian automaker AvtoVaz for inclusion in its all-electric car EL LADA. The shipment includes 110 masters and more than 10,000 cell boards. The Lithiumate Pro BMS supports all cell form factors—prismatic, small and large... Read more →

Teekay LNG Partners L.P. (Teekay LNG), an offshoot of Teekay Corporation, the international shipping group, has placed an order for two LNG carriers powered by 2 × 2 5G70ME-GI dual-fuel, two-stroke, gas-injection engine, including an option for three further ships. The newbuildings will be constructed with M-type, Electronically Controlled, Gas... Read more →

Researchers use IPCC AR5 models to forecast 10% drop in Colorado River flow in next few decades

In a new study in Nature Climate Change, climate modelers at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory predict a 10% drop in the Colorado River’s flow in the next few decades, enough to disrupt longtime water-sharing agreements between farms and cities across the American Southwest, from Denver to Los Angeles to... Read more →

ACL to begin transporting Canadian crude by inland barge to Gulf Coast for oil sands company MEG Energy

American Commercial Lines (ACL) will begin transporting crude oil by barge on the US inland waterways for MEG Energy (US) Inc. (MEG Energy), a subsidiary of the Canadian oil sands company MEG Energy Corp. Crude oil will arrive primarily via pipeline and will be transferred to barges at storage terminals... Read more →

Statoil greenlights $7B Mariner heavy-oil project in UK North Sea

Statoil has made the investment decision to develop the Mariner heavy oil field development in the UK North Sea. The project entails investments of more than US$7 billion and is the largest new offshore development in the UK in more than a decade. The Mariner Field is located on the... Read more →

California ARB issues official notification for Feb GHG allowance auction

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has issued its official Auction Notice for the California Cap-and-Trade Program Greenhouse Gas Allowance Auction on 19 February 2013—the second official auction. (Earlier post.) The February 2013 allowance auction will offer 12,924,822 2013 current vintage allowances and 9,560,000 year 2016 future vintage allowances for... Read more →

European Parliament Environment Committee backs plan to reduce motor vehicle noise

The European Parliament Environment Committee by a vote of 30 to 27, with two absentions, adopted a report for lowering motor vehicle noise limits for new vehicles in category M (for passengers) and N (for goods). The Members of Parliament (MEPs) also recommended introducing a labeling scheme to inform consumers... Read more →

DOT’s RITA to award up to $72.5M for 35 University Transportation Centers

The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT) is seeking applications (UTCOPENCOMP2013) from non-profit institutions of higher education to operate National, Regional and Tier 1 University Transportation Centers (UTCs or Centers). Estimated total program funding is $72.5 million, with 35 awards expected. The... Read more →

DENSO develops Qi-compatible integrated, in-vehicle wireless cell phone charger; debuting in Avalon

Global automotive supplier DENSO has developed the first integrated, in-vehicle wireless cell phone charger in collaboration with Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions (PLDS). DENSO’s Qi-compatible wireless cell phone charger will make its world debut in North America on the 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited as part of a technology package available... Read more →

Syntroleum defends its Bio-Synfining technology against new Neste suit

On 20 December, Neste Oil Oyj sued Syntroleum Corporation for alleged patent infringement regarding US Patent No. 8,212,094 on the production process for NExBTL renewable diesel. (Earlier post.) Syntroleum denies any infringement of Neste’s alleged patent rights and says it will continue to vigorously defend against Neste’s allegations. The ’094... Read more →

Sensor fusion, machine learning, and “big data” featuring in Ford R&D for advanced driver assistance

At Ford, Paul Mascarenas, vice president and chief technical officer, has been leading the team researching and developing new technologies for Ford vehicles, particularly in the area of driver assistance and mobile device connectivity. Mascarenas points to the new Fusion sedan as an example of “making the car smarter using... Read more →

JBEI-led team identifies galactan-boosting enzyme; important new tool for engineering fuel crops

An international collaboration led by scientists at the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has identified the first enzyme capable of substantially boosting the amount of galactan in plant cell walls. The GALS genes governing the enzyme may become important tools for developing bioenergy crops, the researchers... Read more →

Statoil makes third gas discovery in deepwater offshore Tanzania

Statoil’s Lavani-2 exploration and appraisal well has resulted in a new natural gas discovery offshore Tanzania. The Lavani-2 well was drilled to a total depth of 5,270 meters (17,290 ft) in water depths of 2,580 meters (8,465 ft). Tanzania currently has limited upstream gas activity, but the government has issued... Read more →

IDTechEx forecasts growth in electric bus and taxi market to $54B in 2021; buses the majority, China largest market

A new report from IDTechEx, “Electric Buses and Taxis 2012-2022”, projects that the market for electric buses and taxis at ex-factory prices will rise 8.7 times from $6.24 billion in 2011 to $54 billion in 2021. The report concentrates primarily on buses defined as enclosed vehicles with a driver that... Read more →

Sulfur as a promising “soft” oxidant for conversion of methane to ethylene

Devising efficient catalytic processes to convert methane into useful petrochemical feedstocks depends upon developing new coupling processes that use abundant, thermodynamically mild oxidants together with selective catalysts. A team from Northwestern University and the University of Virginia is proposing the use of sulfur as such a promising “soft” oxidant for... Read more →

Cumulative global sales of Lexus hybrids pass half-million mark

From the sale of the first RX 400h in 2005 through to the end of November this year, Lexus has sold more than 506,000 of its hybrid vehicles. In 2005, 26,000 Lexus hybrids were sold; by 30 November this year the annual total was at 113,000. Today, hybrids account for... Read more →

Hyundai previews Connectivity Concept with smartphones and NFC

Hyundai previewed near its European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, a prototype of its Connectivity Concept which leverages smartphones and NFC (Near Field Communication). The company suggested the technology could be in its cars as soon as 2015. Shown on the New Generation i30, the Connectivity Concept allows the user to... Read more →

Neste Oil files another NExBTL patent infringement suit against Syntroleum and Tyson

Neste Oil Corporation has filed a new patent infringement action against Dynamic Fuels, LLC, Syntroleum Corporation, and Tyson Foods, Inc. in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. This follows a patent infringement action filed by Neste Oil in May 2012 (earlier post) against the same defendants concerning... Read more →

New high-performance tin-carbon nanocomposites for Li-ion anodes

Researchers in Italy have developed a high-performance tin-carbon nanocomposite material for Li-ion anodes that exhibits strong capacities at up to 10 C cycling rate and stability over 600 cycles. Their study appears in the Journal of Power Sources. To synthesize the material, they embedded nanosize tin particles (Sn-PMCMT) in electrically... Read more →

Pike Research updates xEV forecasts; projects Ford to lead US PEV market, followed by GM

Pike Research has published an update to its earlier forecasts on xEVs: hybrid (HEVs); plug-in hybrid (PHEVs); and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). As a result of new assumptions, Pike Research has slightly reduced its forecasts for plug-in vehicles (PEVs: PHEVs and BEVs combined) from past forecasts. This reduction was driven... Read more →

Battelle wins $6M in contracts to advance carbon management and shale development

Battelle recently won multiple awards from the US Department of Energy and the World Bank for projects totaling about $6 million to address carbon management and oilfield-produced waters. Battelle experts have managed and safely executed more than $100 million worth of carbon capture and storage field programs during the last... Read more →