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March 2013

March 31, 2013

Israel begins natural gas production from deepwater Tamar field in Eastern Mediterranean

Map showing the location of Tamar, as well as the larger Leviathan field which is entering development. Source: Noble Energy. Click to enlarge.

On Saturday, Israel’s Ministry of Energy & Water Resources reported that commercial natural gas production had begun from the deepwater Tamar field (c. 5,500 ft, 1,676 m) in the Eastern Mediterranean, 90 km (56 miles) west of Haifa. (Earlier post.)

Representing a $3.25-billion gross investment, according to operator Noble Energy (36% working interest), Tamar is entering operation 2.5 years from the sanction of the project, and four years after the discovery of the field. It uses the world’s longest subsea tieback—a 16-inch (41-cm), 93-mile (150 km) pipeline. The Tamar production platform is about 290 meters (951 ft) high and weighs (along with its subsea legs) about 34,000 tons.


March 31, 2013 in Natural Gas, Power Generation | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Major spill from the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas

Route of the Pegasus pipeline. Source: ExxonMobil. Click to enlarge.

A breach in ExxonMobil’s Pegasus crude oil pipeline occurred late Friday afternoon near Mayflower, AR (about 20 miles north northwest of Little Rock and at the southwestern end of the Lake Conway reservoir). The pipeline has been shut in and crews are working to contain the spill. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes the incident as a “major spill”—i.e., greater than 250 barrels (10,500 gallons).

ExxonMobil said that it observed a few thousand barrels of oil in the area (approximately 84,000 gallons), but is staging a response for more than 10,000 barrels (420,000 gallons) to be conservative. The cause of the spill is under investigation.


March 31, 2013 in Infrastructure, Oil, Oil sands | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 30, 2013

CaFCP proposes two Centers of Excellence in California for fuel cell buses to accelerate commercialization; $100M program

The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has published “A Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A zero-emission solution for public transit”. The roadmap suggests the steps necessary to move from the pre-commercial phase of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) deployment and manufacturing (2012-2015) to the early commercial phase (2016- 2017) to a commercial model in 2018 and beyond, including the requisite fueling infrastructure.

This road map suggests a specific strategy for the implementation of two Centers of Excellence in Northern and Southern California, each of which would cost approximately $50 million and would operate 40 FCEBs. The two centers would allow for economies of scale sufficient to achieve 2016 DOE/DOT targets and begin to overcome the primary barriers to market: the capital cost of the vehicles and the cost of fuel, CaFCP suggests.


March 30, 2013 in Fleets, Fuel Cells, Heavy-duty, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (49) | TrackBack

BMW says new 328d ushers in next wave of advanced diesel models for US; ~37 mpg combined

BMW introduced the 328d Sedan at the New York International Auto, ushering in the next wave of BMW Advanced Diesel models in the US. The 328d will feature BMW’s 2.0-liter TwinPower diesel 4-cylinder engine, which produces 180 hp (134 kW) and 280 lb-ft (380 N·m) of torque, available from 1,750 rpm. It will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.


March 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 29, 2013

EPA proposes Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content and vehicle emissions; harmonized with California LEV III

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed long-anticipated Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content; evaporative emissions; and tailpipe emissions from all light-duty vehicles (LDVs, or passenger cars), light-duty trucks (LDT1s, LDT2s, LDT3s, and LDT4s) and Medium-Duty Passenger Vehicles (or MDPVs).

With a proposed start in 2017, the Tier 3 program is also harmonized with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Emission Vehicle (LEV III) program—enabling automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The Tier 3 proposal is also aligned with and designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as EPA’s program for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light-duty vehicles starting in model year 2017.


March 29, 2013 in Emissions, Policy, Regulations | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

NYK hybrid tugboat enters service in Japan

Wing Maritime Service Corporation held a ceremony in Yokohama Port to mark the entry into service of the NYK Group’s hybrid tugboat “Tsubasa” (Gross Tonnage: 256 tons). The hybrid propulsion system was developed and manufactured by Niigata Power Systems.


March 29, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

European workshop on “Electric Vehicle Batteries: Moving from Research Towards Innovation”

The European Commission and the European Technology Platforms involved in the PPP European Green Cars Initiative, EPoSS and ERTRAC, are holding a workshop on 10 April 2013 in Brussels to discuss current European activities and policies for bridging the gap between research and innovation in the domain of batteries for the electric vehicle.


March 29, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

China team develops hollow porous silica nanocubes for anodes for Li-ion batteries

Schematic illustration for the structure change of hollow porous SiO2 nanocubes during the discharge/charge process. Yan et al. Click to enlarge.

A team at the University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei) has developed hollow porous SiO2 (silicon dioxide, or silica—e.g., sand, or quartz) nanocubes as an anode material for Li-ion batteries (LIBs). In a paper in Scientific Reports, the Nature Publishing Group’s open access journal, the team reported that the nanocubes exhibited a reversible capacity of 919 mAhg−1 over 30 cycles.

They attributed the electrochemical performance to the unique hollow nanostructure with large volume interior and numerous crevices in the shell, which could accommodate the volume change and alleviate the structural strain during Li ions’ insertion and extraction, as well as allow rapid access of Li ions during charge/discharge cycling.


March 29, 2013 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Honda bundles enhanced safety features, including the “City-Brake Active System”, in “Safety Package”

Under the concept of offering collision-free vehicles to more drivers, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. developed the City-Brake Active System, an accident avoidance support system, and bundled it into the “Safety Package (tentative name)” with enhanced safety features that also include vehicle occupant protection technology such as side airbags and side curtain airbags. The “Safety Package” will be adopted for the all-new Fit which will go on sale in this year.


March 29, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Navigant forecasts global 6% CAGR for biofuels to 2023

Total Biofuels production by fuel type, world markets: 2013-2023. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.

Navigant Research forecasts global biofuels production will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% between 2013 and 2023, despite slower than expected development of advanced biofuels pathways (such as cellulosic biofuels); an expected expansion in unconventional oil production in key markets such as the United States; and a decline in global investment for biofuels in recent years.

In contrast, Navigant expects the CAGR for fossil-based gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to be 3.1% over the forecast period. The research firm projects that total biofuels production will reach 62 billion gallons by 2023 or 5.9% of global transportation fuel production from fossil sources.


March 29, 2013 in Bio-hydrocarbons, Biobutanol, Biodiesel, Biogasoline, Biomass, Cellulosic ethanol, Ethanol, Forecasts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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