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February 2014

February 28, 2014

UK LowCVP says road transport CO2 reductions require both improved vehicle efficiency and lower carbon fuels; need for advanced liquid fuels

In its response to the UK Department for Transport’s call for evidence on advanced fuels, the LowCVP (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) says that delivering the level of CO2 reductions required from road transport will require both improved vehicle efficiency and reduced carbon intensity of fuels.

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February 28, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ICCT analysis finds some research studies may overstate energy crop yields by as much as 100%

New analysis by researchers from the International Council on Clean Transportation in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy suggests that estimates for potential energy crop yields from some widely cited research studies may overstate those yields by as much as 100%. The findings could have significant implications for long-term renewable energy targets.

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February 28, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

New sulfur-rich copolymer electrodes for Li-S batteries exhibit high-capacity, long-life

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Cycling performance of Li−S battery from 10% by mass DIB copolymer batteries to 500 cycles with charge (filled circles) and discharge (open circles) capacities, as well as Coulombic efficiency (open triangles). The C-rate capability of the battery is shown in the figure inset. Credit: ACS, Simmonds et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers from the University of Arizona, Seoul National University and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed sulfur-rich co-polymers to create cathode materials for lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery applications.

As reported in the journal ACS Macro Letters, the materials exhibit enhanced capacity retention (1,005 mAh/g at 100 cycles) and battery lifetimes over 500 cycles at a C/10 rate. These copolymers, based on poly(sulfur-random-1,3-diisopropenylbenzene) (poly(S-r-DIB)) and synthesized via and inverse vulcanization process reported last year (earlier post), represent a new class of polymeric electrode materials that exhibit one of the highest charge capacities reported, particularly after extended charge–discharge cycling in Li–S batteries.

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February 28, 2014 in Batteries, Li-Sulfur | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Nissan introducing smart rearview mirror combining LCD monitor and conventional mirror

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Smart rearview mirror. Click to enlarge.

Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., has developed what it is calling a “smart” rearview mirror—an LCD monitor that not only provides clear rearward visibility under various conditions, but also allows the driver the ability to switch between the LCD monitor and the traditional rearview mirror, depending on the preference. Nissan will introduce the Smart rearview mirror at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

The Smart rearview mirror is housed within the structure of the rearview mirror, with a built-in LCD monitor that can be activated in place of the conventional mirror. A high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle provides the driver with a clear unobstructed view of the rear flanks, allowing the ability to check blind spots and other traffic conditions. The camera projects a clear image onto the monitor to provide the driver with a better view for a more comfortable driving experience.

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February 28, 2014 in Driver Assistance Systems, Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Neste Oil and DONG Energy partner on renewable diesel and jet fuels from ag residues via microbial oil

Neste Oil, the world’s largest producer of premium-quality renewable fuels, is working with DONG Energy, one of the leading energy groups in Northern Europe, to develop an integrated process to produce renewable diesel and aviation fuel derived from agricultural residues.

DONG Energy’s Inbicon technology will be used in the first part of the process to pre-treat biomass and produce cellulosic sugars that can then be converted into microbial oil with Neste Oil’s technology (earlier post). Microbial oil can be used as a feedstock for Neste’s NExBTL process for premium-quality renewable fuels such as renewable diesel and renewable aviation fuel.

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February 28, 2014 in Aviation, Bio-hydrocarbons, Biomass, Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL), Diesel | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Virginia Tech hosting debut student competition to design 3-D printed aircraft, ground vehicles

Virginia Tech will host a university-wide competition for students to design on-demand, remote-controlled 3-D printed aircraft and ground vehicles. The Spring 2014 Additive Manufacturing Grand Challenge launches 4 March and offers $15,000 in cash prizes, including $3,000 for first prize in each of the air and ground vehicle competitions, and $250 for each team that creates a functional vehicle.

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February 28, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Researchers at Berkeley and Argonne labs discover highly active new class of nanocatalysts for fuel cells; more efficient, lower cost

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Bar chart showing the specific activities of Pt/C, Pt poly-crystal electrode, IL-encapsulated Pt3Ni nanoframes/C, PtNi-Meso-TF, and Pt3Ni(111)-Skin electrode, and the corresponding improvement factors vs. Pt/C. Source: Chen et al. Supplementary Materials. Click to enlarge.

A team led by researchers at Berkeley and Argonne National Labs have discovered a new class of bimetallic nanocatalysts for fuel cells and water-alkali electrolyzers that are an order of magnitude higher in activity than the target set by the US Department of Energy (DOE) for 2017.

The new catalysts, hollow polyhedral nanoframes of platinum and nickel (Pt3Ni), feature a three-dimensional catalytic surface activity that makes them significantly more efficient and far less expensive than the best platinum catalysts used in today’s fuel cells and alkaline electrolyzers. This research, a collaborative effort between DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), is reported in the journal Science.

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February 28, 2014 in Catalysts, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack

ŠKODA showing VisionC dual-fuel design concept at Geneva

ŠKODA will showcase a five-door concept coupé—ŠKODA VisionC—powered by a CNG/gasoline bivalent 1.4 TSI/81 kW turbo engine, at the Geneva Motor Show. On natural gas, the vehicle consumes 3.4 kg (5.1 m3) CNG per kilometer, equating to CO2 emissions of 91 g/km.

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February 28, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

VW unveiling MQB-based T-ROC diesel 4WD SUV concept at Geneva show

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Sketch of the T-ROC. Click to enlarge.

At the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen will introduce the 4WD T-ROC SUV concept. Equipped with the 2.0L diesel featured in the sporty GTD (earlier post), the T-ROC design is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, and fits into the Volkswagen line-up one vehicle down from the Tiguan in the Golf format. (The “T” in T-ROC is a reference to the nomenclature of current and future Volkswagen SUVs such as the Taigun, Tiguan and Touareg.)

Volkswagen has two of the most successful SUVs of European origin in its range with the Tiguan and the Touareg; the automaker intends to extend this range “significantly” with new models in a wide variety of classes. In 2013, Volkswagen showed how a large SUV for the USA or China might look with the CrossBlue and CrossBlue Coupé concept vehicles (earlier post, earlier post); development of the production vehicle is ongoing.

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February 28, 2014 in Diesel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hitachi Vehicle Energy’s Li-ion design and R&D ops to be moved into Hitachi Automotive Systems’ operations

Hitachi is transferring and integrating Hitachi Vehicle Energy’s (HVE) design and research & development operations relating to lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles into Hitachi Automotive Systems (HAS) on 1 April.

The aim of the move is to optimize synergies involved in the development and design of electric powertrains, while at the same time strengthening the ability to develop technologies for improving battery performance, Hitachi said. HVE will continue to strengthen its production technology, quality and other monozukuri (manufacturing) capabilities as a producer of lithium-ion batteries.

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February 28, 2014 in Batteries | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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