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February 2015

February 28, 2015

Audi testing carbon-fiber exoskeleton “chairless chair” for assembly workers at Neckarsulm

Audi is testing a new technology that eases many assembly activities at its plant in Neckarsulm: the “chairless chair.” The carbon-fiber exoskeleton allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.

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February 28, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Beijing researchers engineer K. pneumoniae to produce 1-butanol

Researchers at Beijing University of Chemical Technology have engineered Klebsiella pneumoniae—a pathogen—to produce 1-butanol. A paper on their work appears in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

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February 28, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TM4 receiving $3.7M to develop low-cost wheel motors

TM4, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, is receiving $3.7 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund, through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, to develop low-cost wheel motors for electric and hybrid vehicles.

The objective of this project is to design an in-wheel motor electric drive system with one of the highest power densities in the world, and at the lowest possible cost. This system will consist of one or more power converters and electric machines, to be assembled and bench tested, and then tested on the road in an electric vehicle.

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February 28, 2015 in Electric (Battery), Hybrids, Motors | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 27, 2015

POSTECH researchers develop new high-strength, lightweight steel

Researchers at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in South Korea have developed a new type of steel with improved tensile strength and lightness. In their approach, they effectively utilized a brittle intermetallic compound (B2) that metallurgists usually try to suppress by modifying B2 morphology and dispersion in the steel matrix.

The specific tensile strength and ductility of the developed steels improve on those of the lightest and strongest metallic materials known, titanium alloys, the researchers said. The results, reported in a paper in the journal Nature, demonstrate how intermetallic compounds can be harnessed in the alloy design of lightweight steels.

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February 27, 2015 in Materials, Weight reduction | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

RMIT team demonstrates talking drone aircraft that interacts with air traffic controllers

Researchers at RMIT University in Australia have developed a talking drone that can interact with air traffic controllers like a human pilot. The development, they say, is a critical step towards the full integration of unmanned aircraft systems into civil airspace.

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February 27, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

NREL refines method to convert lignin to nylon precursor

A new study from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrates the conversion of lignin-derived compounds to adipic acid, an important industrial dicarboxylic acid produced for its use as a precursor to nylon, plasticizers, lubricants, polyesters, and other popular products and chemicals.

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February 27, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Researchers in China investigate use of coal as source of lithium

Coal could become a major source of the metal lithium, according to a review of the geochemistry by scientists from Hebei University of Engineering in China published in the International Journal of Oil, Gas and Coal Technology.

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February 27, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

UK announces $49M for plug-in infrastructure through 2020, $17M for low emission vehicle technology

The UK government will provide £32 million (US$49 million) up to 2020 to support the installation of chargepoints for plug-in vehicles. Homes, hospitals, train stations and A-roads will be some of the locations.

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February 27, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DOE issues Request for Information on aggregating purchases of alternative fuel vehicles

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001312) to solicit feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on issues related to purchasing/procurement processes designed to coordinate and consolidate bulk alternative fuel vehicle (AFV), advanced vehicle orders, and vehicle subsystems.

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February 27, 2015 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

California approves sale of DME as compression-ignition engine fuel

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved specifications for dimethyl ether (DME) used as fuel in compression ignition engines. (The Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Measurement Standards has the responsibility for establishing and enforcing the quality standards for spark- and compression-ignition engine fuels sold in California. These include gasoline, diesel fuel, and other fuels such as biodiesel and hydrogen.)

This latest approval builds on earlier approvals and ongoing work by other regulatory bodies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and ASTM International, and will help accelerate commercial adoption of this low carbon fuel, commented Oberon Fuels, a California-based company that is the first to produce fuel-grade DME in North America. (Earlier post.)

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February 27, 2015 in Diesel, DME, Heavy-duty | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

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