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December 2013

December 31, 2013

Field trials with genetically modified poplars shows potential for efficient conversion to sugars but with impact on biomass yield

Vanacker
Ethanol yield (g/L) for the Belgian and French field trials. Van Acker et al. Click to enlarge.

The results of field trials with genetically modified poplar trees in Belgium and France shows that the wood of the modified poplar trees—down-regulated for cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR), an enzyme in the lignin biosynthetic pathway—improved saccharification yield—i.e., it can be more efficiently converted into sugars for producing bio-based products such as bio-plastics and bio-ethanol.

However, the study, published as an open access paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also found that strong down-regulation of CCR also affected biomass yield. The team, from Belgium, France and the US, led by researchers from VIB and Ghent University, concluded that CCR down-regulation may become a successful strategy to improve biomass processing if the yield penalty can be overcome.

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December 31, 2013 in Biomass, Biotech, Cellulosic ethanol | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nanocatalysts for in situ bitumen upgrading can produce higher quality liquid with lower environmental and cost impacts

Researchers at the University of Calgary have developed Ni−W−Mo ultradisperse nanocatalysts for the in situ upgrading of Athabasca bitumen. A report on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Current heavy oil and bitumen production processes are high-energy and water-intensive and, consequently, have significant environmental footprints because of the production of gaseous emissions such as CO2 and generating huge amounts of produced water.

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December 31, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ORNL: Speed synchronization through connected vehicle technology contributes to significant fuel economy improvements in conventional and hybrid vehicles

A study by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory earlier this year concluded that speed synchronization through connected vehicle technology can contribute to fuel economy improvement more than 4% for the conventional vehicle fleet and at least 7% for the hybrid electric fleet.

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December 31, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Polypore and Sumitomo enter settlement and license agreement over battery separator coating

Polypore International, Inc. and Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. have entered into a Settlement and License Agreement which ends all outstanding worldwide litigation between the two companies related to Polypore’s intellectual property rights on battery separator coating.

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December 31, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 30, 2013

EIA: US biodiesel production hits high in October

US production of biodiesel reached a high of 132 million gallons (500 million liters) in October 2013, according to the latest figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Biodiesel production during October 2013 was about 5 million gallons higher than production in September 2013.

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December 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New durable PEM fuel cell with platinum-free anode and carbon-free cathode

Researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have developed a prototype for single proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) with a mesostructured platinum-free WO3/C anode and a carbon-free Pt/WC cathode. This new PEMFC has a comparable power output to that of standard PEMFCs with commercial E-TEK Pt/C electrode catalysts at 70 °C, CO-poisoning-free features, and enhanced durability.

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December 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

FAA selects 6 sites for unmanned aircraft systems research for integration into US airspace

The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six research and test site operators across the US for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with the intent of delivering findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace. In selecting the six test site operators, FAA said it considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk.

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December 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Zhongling Hangke New Energy to acquire 20% of Reg Technologies; proceeds supporting RadMax demo rotary engine

Reg Technologies Inc., developer of axial vane rotary engine technology (earlier post), has entered into a subscription agreement with an affiliated company of HK Zhongling Hangke New Energy Investment Holding Group Limited for a C$1,188,000 (US$1,116,000) private placement under which Zhongling will purchase up to 9,900,000 units of Reg Tech priced at C$0.12 per unit, with each unit consisting of one common share of Reg Tech and one warrant, with each warrant exercisable for three years at C$0.15 for one common share. When the private placement is completed, Zhongling would own 19.98% of Reg Tech’s common shares.

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December 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

UC Davis report finds LCFS compliance costs may rise rapidly; recommends offsetting measures

A recent report prepared by UC Davis researchers for the California Air Resources Board (ARB) found that compliance costs for the Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS) may increase rapidly in the future if there are large differences in marginal costs between traditional fossil fuels and alternative, low-carbon-intensity fuels; or if there are capacity or technological constraints to deploying alternative fuels, particularly those with low-carbon intensity.

In the absence of readily available, low CI fuel alternatives, the fuel market will adjust along two dimensions to maintain compliance with the LCFS: (i) increase the use of cheaper fuels below the Standard such as ethanol derived from corn starch and sugarcane; or (ii) increase fuel prices and reduce fuel consumption to a level where the Standard is technologically feasible. Both options will be associated with high LCFS credit prices. Because firms are able to bank credits over time, anticipated high costs in the future may lead to higher costs in the present before any constraints bind on the industry.

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December 30, 2013 in LCFS, Policy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Delphi to showcase safety and connectivity technologies at CES

Delphi Automotive PLC will showcase highly integrated active safety and connectivity technologies at the upcoming 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. These technologies will be key building blocks to achieving fully automated driving.

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December 30, 2013 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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