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December 2014

December 31, 2014

Shenzhen to issue only 100K new license plates per year in effort to combat congestion and pollution

On 30 December, the city government of Shenzhen, China announced that it will only issue 100,000 license plates per year via lotteries and auctions, with immediate effect, to fight congestion and pollution. Shenzhen, a major high-tech and manufacturing hub in southern China’s Guangdong province, is located just north of Hong Kong and is the home of BYD as well as the Denza joint venture of BYD and Daimler. By the end of 2013, it had 10.63 million permanent residents. (For comparison, New York City in 2013 had a population of 8.4 million.)


December 31, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Navigant forecasts LD natural gas vehicles to account for 2.8% of global vehicle parc by 2024

Cumulative light-duty NGV sales by segment. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that light-duty natural gas vehicle (LD NGV) sales will grow 119% between 2014 and 2024, culminating in 42.1 million NGVs on the world’s roads and accounting for 2.8% of all vehicles on the roads.

Overall, Navigant expects the worldwide market for LD NGVs to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% between 2014 and 2024, with the number of passenger car sales growing at a slightly slower rate (5.3% CAGR) than light trucks (5.6% CAGR). Asia Pacific will remain the largest market, with more than 2.0 million LD NGVs sales in 2024.


December 31, 2014 in Forecasts, Natural Gas | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Yale team introduces new Li-O2 cell architecture with mesoporous catalytic membrane; improved cycling stability

Schematic illustration of a Li-O2 cell employing a mesoporous catalytic polymer membrane. Credit: ACS, RYu et al. Click to enlarge.

A team at Yale University has introduced a new Li-O2 cell architecture that uses a mesoporous catalytic polymer-based membrane between the oxygen electrode and the separator to achieve high reversibility and efficiency, rather than placing the catalyst particles on the oxygen electrode itself.

A modified Li-O2 battery with a catalytic membrane showed a stable cyclability for 60 cycles with a capacity of 1000 mAh/g and a reduced degree of polarization (∼0.3 V) compared to cells without a catalytic membrane. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.


December 31, 2014 in Batteries, Li-O2 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ford and AccuWeather partner to bring MinuteCast hyper-local weather forecasting into vehicle

AccuWeather, a leader in digital weather information, is introducing its MinuteCast to Ford SYNC AppLink customers. The technology uses an exact street address or GPS location to provide minute-by-minute hyper-local weather forecasting, information about precipitation type, intensity and duration to the driver.


December 31, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ford Racing offering programming handset to performance enthusiasts for EcoBoost aftermarket tuning

Power and torque curves for stock and performance-tuned Focus ST with 2.0L I-4 EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.

Ford is now offering EcoBoost engines in all of its high-performance nameplates—from Fiesta ST to Mustang—enabling a new kind of aftermarket tuning. Modifying engine performance can be accomplished with hand-held programmers that adjust several engine parameters; adjusting engine control unit programming can result in performance gains of up to 90 lb-ft (122 N·m) of torque in cars such as the Focus ST.

To allow performance enthusiasts to exploit these capabilities, Ford Racing is offering a programming handset (ProCal, $595, along with required new sparkplugs) for Focus ST’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost. Plugging the device into the car’s diagnostic link connector port in the driver’s side footwell allows tuners to tap into the many aspects of the car’s performance—anything from throttle response characteristics or idle speed, to turbo wastegate control, to fuel curves and spark timing—while maintaining the Ford-backed limited warranty.


December 31, 2014 in Africa, Engines, Fuel Efficiency | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 30, 2014

GWU team uses one-pot process to co-generate H2 and solid carbon from water and CO2; solar fuels

One-pot electrolytic process produces H2 and solid carbon from water and CO2. Li et al. Click to enlarge.

A team at George Washington University led by Professor Stuart Licht has simultaneously co-generated hydrogen and solid carbon fuels from water and CO2 using a mixed hydroxide/carbonate electrolyte in a “single-pot” electrolytic synthesis at temperatures below 650 ˚C. The work is a further development of their work with STEP (solar thermal electrochemical process)—an efficient solar chemical process, based on a synergy of solar thermal and endothermic electrolyses, introduced by Licht and his colleagues in 2009. (Earlier post, earlier post.) (In short, STEP uses solar thermal energy to increase the system temperature to decrease electrolysis potentials.)

Licht and his colleagues over the past few years have delineated the solar, optical, and electronic components of STEP. In this study, they focused on the electrolysis component for STEP fuel, producing hydrogen and graphitic carbon from water and carbon dioxide. A paper on the new work is published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials.


December 30, 2014 in Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC), Hydrogen Production, Solar fuels, Water | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Canada bans shipments of lithium metal batteries on passenger flights

The Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt announced a suite of amendments to Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations (TDGR), including a ban on transporting lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger flights in Canada. The new ban does not apply to Li metal batteries already contained in devices, nor to Li-ion batteries. The US has already banned the transportation of lithium metal batteries as cargo on passenger flights.


December 30, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DOE VTO publishes summary report from 2014 Annual Merit Review (AMR) and Peer Evaluation Meeting

The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) published its summary report (1,193 pages) from the 2014 Annual Merit Review (AMR) and Peer Evaluation Meeting held June 16-20. The VTO Merit Review is held jointly with the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) Merit Review.


December 30, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Car Charging Group raises $6M

Car Charging Group, Inc., the largest owner, operator, and provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging services, closed an offering and raised net proceeds of up to $6 million with current institutional shareholders. The offering consisted of convertible preferred securities with a conversion price of $0.70 and warrants exercisable at $1.00.


December 30, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

WSU team generates significant amounts of gasoline-range hydrocarbons from microwave-assisted pyrolysis of polyethylene

Researchers at Washington State University report microwave-induced pyrolysis of low-density polyethylene (a model of waste plastics) using ZSM-5 as a catalyst to generate significant amounts (74.73–88.49%) of gasoline-range hydrocarbons. This marks the first time that plastic was used for microwave-assisted pyrolysis over ZSM-5, the researchers said in their paper in the journal Fuel.


December 30, 2014 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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