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December 2012

December 31, 2012

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 for diesel fuel for Canada’s Maritime Provinces.

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December 31, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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.

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December 31, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pike Research ranks ChargePoint, DBT as top EV charging equipment supply companies

Pike-Pulse-Grid-Electric-Vehicle-Charging-Equipment-2012
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 than 200,000 units sold in 2012 to almost 2.4 million units in 2020.

The market is also entering a new phase, Pike notes, in which companies will be less dependent on government-funded deployments and thus required to present an attractive return on investment for potential EVSE operators. In a new Pike Pulse report, Pike evaluates 14 electric vehicle charging equipment manufacturers, and ranks ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies) and DBT as Leaders as a result of their range of feature-rich EVSE offerings, current market share, geographic reach, and vision for competing successfully in the next phase of the EVSE market. (ChargePoint and DBT USA will showcase a joint EV charging station innovation at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas).

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December 31, 2012 in Electric (Battery), Infrastructure, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cornell team proposes new scheme for Lithium-sulfide battery cathodes

Guo
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 cathodes for lithium-sulfide batteries (earlier post) to prevent lithium polysulfide dissolution and shuttling during electrochemical cycling. Their approach, described in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, creates composites based on lithium sulfide uniformly dispersed in a carbon host, which serve to sequester polysulfides.

Li-sulfur batteries—which conventionally use elemental sulfur (with conductive additives) as the cathode, an aprotic liquid electrolyte, and lithium metal as the anode—are under intensive investigation by research groups worldwide because of the promise for low-cost, high-energy storage. (Earlier post.) Lithium sulfide (Li2S) is a promising cathode material for high-energy lithium ion batteries because, unlike elemental sulfur, it obviates the need for metallic lithium anodes.

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December 31, 2012 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack

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.

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December 31, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2012

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 in a tubular flow reactor at elevated pressures (5−30 atm) and temperatures (800−950 °C).

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report that the bi-reforming effectively converts methane and its natural sources (natural or shale gas, coal-bed methane, methane hydrates) to what they call “metgas”, a 2/1 H2/CO mixture directly applicable for subsequent well-studied methanol synthesis with high selectivity. A typical single pass conversion at 7 atm is about 70−75%, which can be increased to 80−85% by adjusting the feed gas composition. Unreacted feed gases can be recycled.

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December 30, 2012 in Catalysts, Fuels, Methanol, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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.

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December 30, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack

December 29, 2012

Argentina’s YPF and Bridas, 50% owned by CNOOC, to invest $1.5B in Vaca Muerta shale oil development in Argentina

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 of Neuquén—one of the largest shale oil formations in the world.

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December 29, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan EPA-rated at 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined; Ford projects best hybrid sales quarter ever

13FusionEnergi_04
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 launch in the past year—and its second plug-in hybrid after the C-MAX Energi. Ford expects the Fusion Energi to accelerate its record hybrid sales pace, including its highest monthly hybrid sales month ever in November. Ford projects 19,000-plus hybrid/electric vehicle sales in the fourth quarter of this year, making it the company’s best quarter for hybrids ever and besting its own previous hybrid vehicle sales record by more than 50%; Ford expects more than half of hybrid sales this year to come in this quarter.

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December 29, 2012 in Hybrids, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (83) | TrackBack

December 28, 2012

Muons and ADNA proposing using accelerator-driven subcritical reactor for heat for production of synthetic fuels and chemicals

Gemstar
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 the process heat and steam for the Fischer-Tropsch production of synthetic diesel from natural gas and other carbonaceous feedstocks (e.g., biomass or coal).

An initial proposed plant using GEM*STAR’s with the Fischer-Tropsch process would produce 70 million gallons of diesel fuel per year at an estimated cost of production of less than $2.00 per gallon, according to the company, while also dealing with the issue of waste nuclear materials.

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December 28, 2012 in Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL), Coal-to-Liquids (CTL), Fuels, Gas-to-Liquids (GTL), Nuclear | Permalink | Comments (30) | TrackBack

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