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February 2013

February 28, 2013

Chevron announces successful test well at deepwater St. Malo in Gulf of Mexico

Chevron Corporation announced that it had conducted a successful production test on the St. Malo PS003 well in the prolific Lower Tertiary trend in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Oil flow rates, though limited by testing equipment constraints, exceeded 13,000 barrels of oil per day. Chevron’s Jack/St. Malo development is located approximately 280 miles (450 km) south of New Orleans, Louisiana, in 7,000 feet (2,134 m) of water.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

California Energy Commission awards $5M to sugar beet ethanol biorefinery demo

The California Energy Commission has awarded $4,998,399 to Mendota Bioenergy, LLC to support the design, construction and operation of an advanced biorefinery demonstration plant in the Mendota area (Fresno County), where sugar beets will be used to create advanced biofuel ethanol.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Johnson Controls modifies automotive PHEV Li-ion batteries for marine application; Torqeedo Deep Blue

Johnson Controls, Inc. is slated to begin production this spring of Li-ion battery packs for Germany-based electric outboard motor manufacturer Torqeedo to power its electric boat motor, Deep Blue.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New high-performance anode material for Na-ion batteries

A team from the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) and Gyeongsang National University (S. Korea) have developed SnO2@graphene nanocomposites for use as anodes in sodium-ion (Na-ion) batteries. The nanocomposite exhibited a high reversible sodium storage capacity of above 700 mAh g-1 and excellent cyclability, which the researchers ascribed to the 3D architecture of the SnO2@graphene nanocomposite.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Audi and BMW Group join Aluminium Stewardship Initiative; seeking a standard for sustainable aluminum

AUDI AG and the BMW Group, along with Hydro and Rexam, have joined the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. Aluminium is the world’s second most used metal after steel, and is of specific importance to the automotive industry due to its combination of its light weight, durability and strength.

The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop the first version of a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Founding members of the Initiative are AMCOR Flexibles, AMAG, Constantia Flexibles, Constellium, Nespresso, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Tetra Pak.

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February 28, 2013 in Manufacturing, Materials, Sustainability, Weight reduction | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New low-temperature catalytic process for producing hydrogen from methanol; potential future application for fuel cell vehicles

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(a) Schematic pathway for a homogeneously catalyzed methanol reforming process via three discrete dehydrogenation steps. (b) Best performing catalysts. Nielsen et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from Germany and Italy have developed an efficient low-temperature catalytic process to produce hydrogen from methanol. Hydrogen generation by this method proceeds at 65–95 °C (149-203 °F) and ambient pressure with excellent catalyst turnover frequencies (4,700 per hour) and turnover numbers (exceeding 350,000). This could make the delivery of hydrogen on mobile devices—and hence the use of methanol as a practical hydrogen carrier—eventually feasible, the team suggests in a paper published in the journal Nature.

One of the challenges to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is the efficient on-board storage of adequate amounts of the hydrogen gas required for fuel cell operation due to the properties of the gas. Methanol conceptually is an interesting alternative, as it is a liquid at room temperature (easier transportation and handling) and contains 12.6% hydrogen. However, current methanol reforming technologies for the production of hydrogen are conducted at high temperatures (> 200 °C) and high pressures (25–50 bar), limiting potential mobile applications of “so-called reformed methanol fuel cells”, they note.

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February 28, 2013 in Catalysts, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Production, Hydrogen Storage, Methanol | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

XL Hybrids enters installation and distribution partnership with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products; expands hybrid drive system to Ford E-series vans

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XL Hybrids hybrid drive unit in place. Click to enlarge.

XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of the top commercial vehicle upfitters. Leggett & Platt CVP will incorporate XL Hybrids’ hybrid powertrain directly into its existing ship-thru process, thus providing a one-stop shopping experience for commercial fleets.

The two companies will display a hybrid cargo van upfitted with XL Hybrids’ parallel hybrid powertrain technology at the Leggett & Platt CVP Booth at the 2013 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana next week.

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February 28, 2013 in Conversions, Fleets, Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ballard ClearGen Fuel Cell System to operate using biomass-generated hydrogen in California

Ballard Power Systems announced the sale of a 175 kilowatt ClearGen distributed generation fuel cell system to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California. The fuel cell system will be integrated with a biomass gasifier and syngas purification unit to form an integrated biomass-to-fuel cell power solution. The system will be the first of its kind, with the potential to double the efficiency of biomass-to-power generation.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tanaka Precious Metals building dedicated plant for fuel-cell catalyst R&D and manufacturing

Tanaka Precious Metals is completing a dedicated plant for fuel cell catalysts within the premises of its Shonan Plant. With an investment of approximately ¥1 billion (US$10.8 million), the 1,000 square meter plant will host the merged and relocated fuel cell catalyst R&D, product inspection and shipment functions currently in the Hiratsuka Technical Center and the manufacturing functions.

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February 28, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Land Rover unveiling 7 battery-electric Defender research vehicles at Geneva show

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Electric Defender research vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Land Rover will unveil seven new battery-electric Defender research vehicles at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Although there are no plans for the all-terrain electric Defender to enter series production, the seven EVs will go into service in specialist real world trials later this year.

The standard 90 kW (121 hp), 360 N·m (265 lb-ft) 2.2-liter diesel engine and 6-speed manual gearbox in the 110 Defenders have been replaced by a 70 kW (94 bhp), 330 N·m (243 lb-ft) electric motor paired with a 27 kWh, 300-volt lithium-ion battery pack. Range is more than 50 miles (80 km). In typical, low speed off-road use it can last for up to eight hours before recharging. The battery can be fully charged by a 7kW fast charger in four hours, or a portable 3kW charger in 10 hours.

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February 28, 2013 in Electric (Battery), Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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