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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Study: air traffic growth set to outpace carbon reduction efforts

September 01, 2014

Carbon reduction efforts in the airline industry will be outweighed by growth in air-traffic, even if the most contentious mitigation measures are implemented, according to a recent analysis by a team at the the University of Southampton. The paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

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Laser company Fonon introduces 3D Metal Sintering System

Fonon, founded in 2001 with a focus on the research, development, and manufacture of laser marking and cutting equipment for the global automotive, aerospace, defense, electronic and medical industries, recently introduced its new additive manufacturing Equipment—the 3D Metal Sintering System (3D Metal Printing).

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Pennsylvania to award ~$6M for purchase of and conversion to heavy-duty natural gas vehicles

August 31, 2014

The third round of Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Vehicle grants opened yesterday, will provide an estimated $6 million to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas fleet vehicles.

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Henkel partners with Formula E Team China Racing as exclusive adhesive supplier

August 30, 2014

Organizers of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Formula E Team China Racing announced a joint partnership with Henkel, the world leading supplier of high-tech automotive adhesive solutions, which helps promote development in the electric vehicle field.

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Opinion: New technology could end the debate over pipeline safety

August 29, 2014

by James Stafford of Oilprice.com

Who could have ever imagined that North America would surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas liquids? A decade ago, that would have seemed laughable. Yet that’s exactly what has happened; and it’s not just Saudi Arabia that has been left in North America’s dust—Russia has, too.

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Court approves reorganization application from National Electric Vehicle Sweden

The District court of Vänersborg, Sweden, approved an application for reorganization from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), the company working to resurrect the SAAB brand. (Earlier post.) The District court has appointed Lars Eric Gustafsson, Attorney at Hamilton law firm in Stockholm, as administrator during the reorganization period.

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J.D. Power: purchase consideration among consumers for domestic brands in China plummets, esp. in Tier 2 & 3 cities

Purchase consideration among new-vehicle shoppers in China for domestic brands has decreased, most notably in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2014 China New-Vehicle Intender Study (NVIS). The proportion of new-vehicle intenders who indicate they would consider buying a domestic brand has decreased to 16% in 2014 from 27% in 2013, which is the lowest rate since 2009 when it was 26%.

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Toyota approved to self-inspect and manufacture hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles

Toyota Motor Corporation has received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to self-inspect and manufacture high-pressure hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). This makes Toyota the first company to become a registered manufacturer of 70 MPa (700 bar) hydrogen tanks under Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act, revised in 1997 by METI.

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ARPA-E to provide up to $30M for R&D to aid development of fusion power

ARPA-E is making up to $30 million in funding available (DE-FOA-0001184) for a new program: Accelerating Low-cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA). ALPHA seeks to support innovative R&D on low-cost tools to aid in the future development of fusion power.

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Renesas introduces new 40 nm RH850/C1x series of microcontrollers for HEV/EV motor control applications

August 28, 2014

Renesas Electronics Corporation has introduced the new RH850/C1x Series of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), designed for motor control in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). Based on Renesas Electronics’ 40-nanometer (nm) process, the RH850/C1x Series features the RH850/C1H and RH850/C1M MCUs, which enable embedded designers to enhance efficiency, reduce system costs, and achieve higher safety levels for HEV/EV motor control systems, the company said.

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NIRA Dynamics develops algorithms that estimate friction between road and tire

Swedish signal processing and controls company NIRA Dynamics AB has developed algorithms that can estimate the friction value between the road and the tires. NIRA is now looking for automotive applications and partners to bring the new algorithms out onto the road.

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LG Innotek develops first rare-earth-free motor for dual-clutch transmissions

LG Innotek has developed the first “rare-earth-free” automotive dual-clutch transmission (DCT) motor. Rare earth elements are usually used in materials for in automotive motors, but there are only small and concentrated reserves worldwide of the rare earth minerals. As such, they are subject to sharp price increases when supplies dwindle. LG Innotek said that in addition to avoiding this problem, the new motor also reflects efforts to protect the environment since the mining, refining and disposal of rare earth minerals can cause environmental damage.

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Hitachi begins joint research with MIT, U Michigan and UC Berkeley on next-gen nuclear reactors that use radioactive waste as fuel

Hitachi, Ltd. has begun joint research with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley aimed at using Transuranium Elements (TRUs) as fuel, and the development of Resource-renewable Boiling Water Reactors (RBWRs) to use that fuel. TRUs are contained in the radioactive waste materials discharged by nuclear power plants that have atomic numbers greater than that of uranium (92), and which require a long period of time to decay.

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Chevrolet sells 3 millionth Cruze; China the top market

Sixteen months after passing the 2-million units mark, Chevrolet has sold 3 million Cruze compact cars. The Cruze made its global debut in South Korea in November 2008. China is the model’s top-selling market, with 1.13 million units sold through July 2014. The US comes in second with 900,000 units, followed by Russia in third with 195,000 units.

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Lockheed Martin purchases assets of Sun Catalytix

Lockheed Martin has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Sun Catalytix Corporation, an MIT spin-out which was initially focused on developing an “artificial leaf” for water-splitting (earlier post), but which changed course to develop a grid-scale flow battery for energy storage. The former Sun Catalytix’ current efforts focus on the design, synthesis and electrochemical testing of a novel energy storage chemistry derived from low cost, earth-abundant materials.

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EIA: rail deliveries of US oil up 9% y-o-y in first 7 months of 2014

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products moved by US railroads increased 9% during the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2013.

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California Energy Commission awards additional $1M for more EV chargers

The California Energy Commission approved an additional $1 million to fund new fast electric vehicle chargers in Southern California and expand chargers in Sonoma County. The CEC also voted at its business meeting to approve three grants totaling $623,000 for technologies to monitor this critical energy infrastructure.

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Telefonix introduces new low-current Level 2 EV charging station

Telefonix, Inc., a developer of cord reel technology and solutions primarily for highly regulated industries, and manufacturer of the PowerPost commercial electric vehicle (EV) charging station product line, has entered the Level 2 electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) market with UL approval of their L2 PowerPost EV charging station.

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Chile, US navies to carry on working on drop-in alternative fuels

August 27, 2014

Chilean Undersecretary of Defense Marcos Robledo and United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus last week agreed to continue, through their respective navies, discussions on research, development and use of advanced drop-in alternative fuels to power surface ships and aircraft.

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GM to invest $233M more in building Ecotec small-displacement gasoline engines

General Motors will invest $185 million to make small-displacement gasoline engines at its Spring Hill, Tennessee manufacturing complex. An additional $48.4-million investment is planned for the Bedford, Ind. powertrain castings plant. Both investments support GM’s new small displacement engine, which is part of an all-new Ecotec engine family that will be used by five GM brands in 27 models by the 2017 model year, powering many of the company’s high-volume small car and compact-crossover vehicles. (Earlier post.)

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Infographic: 5 Largest US Public Transit Systems

The University of North Carolina School of Government’s MPA@UNC program has produced an infographic on the 5 largest US public transit systems. The graphic showcases the history and development, ridership and key metrics, and current and upcoming improvements of the transit systems in New York City, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco:

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Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid Outlander going on sale in Russia in September

At the Moscow International Automobile Salon 2014, Mitsubishi presented its four-wheel drive SUV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), the Outlander PHEV (earlier post); sales of the Outlander PHEV will start in Russia from September, 2014.

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IPCC sends draft Synthesis Report to governments for comment

Authors of the Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change (IPCC) have finished drafting the Synthesis Report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and sent the draft to governments for comments on the text.

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Ford Selects Nat G as newest Qualified Vehicle Modifier; factory-qualified natural gas upgrades in Texas

Nat G CNG Solutions, a Houston-based company specializing in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle upgrades, has been selected as a Ford Motor Company Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM). Ford instituted the QVM Program to improve quality assurance for Ford vehicle modifications, including natural gas vehicle upgrades.

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Zipcar introduces Honda Fit EV into UC Davis West Village fleet

August 26, 2014

Zipcar has introduced a 2014 Honda Fit battery electric vehicle (EV) at The University of California, Davis’ (UC Davis) West Village, the largest planned zero net energy community in the United States. In the course of a year, the community is designed to generate as much energy as it consumes.

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Douglas-Westwood: oil & gas industry need to push High-Pressure - High Temperature envelope

In its latest Monday note, energy research company Douglas-Westwood wrote that the Exploration & Production industry (E&P), experiencing rising global hydrocarbon demand as well as rising costs, is facing the technical challenge of the development of High Pressure – High Temperature (HPHT) reserves. HP / Extreme HP typically refers to borehole pressures between 10,000 - 20,000 psi; HT / Extreme HT refers to borehole temperatures between 300-400 ˚F (149-204 ˚C). Pressures and temperatures outside these ranges are referred to as “Ultra-HPHT”, which represents the absolute limits of current technology.

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Toyota switches on solar array at Deeside engine plant

Toyota recently switched on a solar array at its Deeside engine factory in North Wales. The solar array, designed and installed by British Gas, can produce up to 3,475,000 kWh a year—enough electricity to build up to 22,500 engines. The Toyota plant’s carbon emissions will fall by 1,800 tonnes a year, a figure matching the combined weight of 1,260 Auris hatchbacks.

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Volvo Buses officially launching plug-in 7900 Electric Hybrid; up to 75% reduction in fuel consumption

Volvo Buses will officially launch the plug-in 7900 Electric Hybrid bus at the International IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September. The plug-in technology reduces fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by up to 75%, compared to a conventional diesel bus. Total energy consumption is reduced by 60%. Three Volvo Electric Hybrids have run in a field test in Gothenburg the past year, a test which has verified the reduction in energy consumption and emissions. (Earlier post.)

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Volkswagen prices e-Golf in US at $35,445

August 25, 2014

Volkswagen of America, Inc. has priced the 2015 e-Golf battery-electric vehicle for the US market. (Earlier post.) The e-Golf starts at $35,445 (plus $820 destination and delivery) for the SEL Premium model.

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Altech-Eco receives ARB certification for dedicated 2014 F-250/350 6.2L CNG conversion system

Altech-Eco Corporation has obtained Executive Order (E.O.) certification from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for the compressed natural gas (CNG) Dedicated conversion system for the 2014 Ford 6.2L V8 F-250/350 pickups with Ford-supplied CNG gaseous prepped engine.

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Russia’s KRET develops universal charging stations for electric vehicles

KRET, part of Rostec, has developed the FORA universal charging stations for the rapid charging of electric vehicles in Russia and abroad. Prototypes will be presented at the KRET pavilion during the 3rd international forum Engineering Technologies-2014.

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Shvabe Holding testing ship-mounted laser cannon for cutting Arctic ice

Specialists at Shvabe Holding, part of Russia’s Rostec, are preparing to test a newly developed ship-mounted laser cannon that can cut through ice. The company developed the ship-mounted laser for exploration and development in the Arctic, said Shvabe Holding CEO Sergey Maksin at the international exhibition Defense Expo.

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DOE awarding $67M to 83 projects in nuclear energy research and infrastructure enhancement

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced nearly $67 million to 83 projects in nuclear energy research and infrastructure enhancement awards.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz equipping S500 with gasoline particulate filter

DieselNet reports that Mercedes-Benz has equipped the S500 with a gasoline particulate filter (GPF), representing the first series production application of the GPF technology.

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GE Capital Fleet Services and VNG.co to support expansion of CNG fueling infrastructure

August 22, 2014

GE Capital Fleet Services and VNG.co, a US CNG fueling facility provider, are partnering to support the expansion of the CNG refueling infrastructure for light-duty fleet vehicles.

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Federal-Mogul develops line of spark plugs for heavy-duty CNG vehicles

Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has developed a range of spark plugs for heavy-duty vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Demand for CNG-fueled vehicles for urban transport (buses) and freight distribution (trucks) is being driven by increasing restrictions on emissions and environmental pressures to use more sustainable energy resources. Federal-Mogul will present its range of ignition products at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover from 23 September to 2 October 2014.

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EPA proposes to include Southern Maine in the Federal Reformulated Gasoline Program

EPA is proposing, at the request of the State of Maine, to require the sale of reformulated gasoline (RFG) in York, Cumberland, Sagadahoc, Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox and Lincoln counties in southern Maine starting in June 2015. RFG is required in cities with high smog levels and is optional elsewhere. RFG is currently used in 17 states and the District of Columbia. About 30% of gasoline sold in the US is reformulated.

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Plains All American to build $900M, 200K bpd pipeline from Cushing to Memphis

Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. will construct the Diamond Pipeline, a 440-mile (708 km), 20-inch crude oil pipeline that will provide capacity of up to 200,000 barrels per day of domestic sweet crude from the Plains Cushing, Okla. terminal to the Valero Memphis Refinery, and the ability to access Valero Energy Partner’s Collierville pipeline. The total project investment is expected to be approximately $900 million and is expected to be completed in late 2016.

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Petrobras proves potential of the Moita Bonita area in the ultra-deep Sergipe-Alagoas Basin

Petrobras announced that its third well in the Moita Bonita area, in the BM-SEAL-10 concession block of the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin, has proved the extension of the gas and light oil discovery made in that area, as released to the market on 24 August 2012. The Moita Bonita accumulation is part of the Sergipe-Alagoas Basin ultra-deepwater development program.

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2015 Honda Fit earns IIHS Top Safety Pick with improved small overlap test results

The redesigned 2015 Honda Fit earned an acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s challenging small overlap front test, a significant improvement over the 2009-13 model, which was rated poor. With good ratings in the Institute’s four other crash tests, the minicar qualifies for the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK award.

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Highwater Ethanol has begun Phase 1 operation in partnership with Butamax; agreement on bio-butanol production to come

Highwater Ethanol, which is retrofitting its corn ethanol plant in Lamberton, Minnesota in partnership with Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC (the joint venture between DuPont and BP for the production of bio-isobutanol, earlier post) began operation of the Butamax corn oil separation system as Phase 1 of the Butamax partnership in mid-April.

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Opening of AstaZero safety proving ground

August 21, 2014

AstaZero is the first full-scale proving ground for future traffic safety solutions, opened in Sweden. AstaZero’s industry partners consist of Volvo Car Group, Volvo Group, Scania, Autoliv and Test Site Sweden. The name Asta (Active Safety Test Area) relates to the facility’s connection to a vision of zero traffic fatalities.

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Infineon Technologies AG to acquire International Rectifier for approximately $3 billion

Infineon Technologies AG and International Rectifier Corporation signed a definitive agreement under which Infineon will acquire International Rectifier for $40 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3 billion. Infineon says that the integration complements its expertise in power semiconductors and adds system know-how in power conversion, while expanding its expertise in compound semiconductors (Gallium Nitride on Silicon) and driving greater economies of scale in production.

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NSF awards $20 million to two new testbeds to support cloud computing applications and experiments

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced two $10-million projects to create cloud computing testbeds—”Chameleon” and “CloudLab”—that will enable the academic research community to develop and experiment with novel cloud architectures and pursue new, architecturally-enabled applications of cloud computing.

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Western Gulf of Mexico lease sale results in $110M in high bids on more than 400,000 acres

The US Department of the Interior reported that Western Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 238 attracted $109,951,644 million in high bids for 81 tracts covering 433,823 acres on the US Outer Continental Shelf offshore Texas. A total of 14 offshore energy companies submitted 93 bids.

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Neste Oil’s renewable diesel used to generate elecricity at two events in Finland

Neste Oil’s NEXBTL renewable diesel was used to generate electricity at two major events in Finland this summer: the Flow Festival in Helsinki and the Neste Oil Rally Helsinki Battle street circuit race. NEXBTL diesel generated 45% of the electricity used at the Flow Festival and powered the machinery at the festival site. Using the fuel resulted in a 22 ton reduction in emissions, equivalent in emission terms to nearly three round-the-world flights.

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Opel using 40 3D-printed assembly tools in production of ADAM ROCKS

August 20, 2014

For production of Opel’s ADAM ROCKS, the company will use 40 assembly tools from a 3D printer. Among these will be an assembly jig—a specific, fixed frame—made by a 3D printer to produce the vehicle name logotype on the side window. For the windshield, a 3D-printed inlet guide is also used to simplify the mounting process and help ensure a precise alignment. Other tools from the printer are used to fasten the chrome step plate on ADAM ROCKS door openings and install the standard Swing Top canvas roof.

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EPA awards Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Tennessee Assembly Plant a first annual Rain Catcher Award

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Volkswagen Group of America the regional 2014 EPA Rain Catcher Award in the Commercial Category for the Chattanooga, Tennessee Assembly Plant. The award was given at an award ceremony during the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4/International Erosion Control Association Municipal Wet Weather Stormwater Conference, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Terra Motors starting electric two-wheeler sales in Iran

Japan-based Terra Motors, a manufacturer of electric two and three-wheelers (earlier post), has started sales of the A4000i electric scooter—with new products to follow—in Tehran, Iran with Jahanro Industrial Co, exclusively for next five years.

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Texas CNG, LNG motor fuel sales double FY 2014 estimate

As of 31 July, fiscal 2014 tax revenue from sales of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) motor fuel totaled $2,178,199, according to the Texas state Comptroller’s office.

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LG Chem says it has won a major Li-ion battery contract from Audi

Reuters reports that South Korea’s LG Chem said on Wednesday that it had won an order from Audi to supply batteries for plug-in hybrid and micro-hybrid electric vehicles.

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Hartmann Reederei designs new type of ethane-fueled LEG carrier; 3 on order with 2016 delivery

August 19, 2014

Hartmann Reederei, in co-operation with engineering consultants HB Hunte Engineering, has developed a new type of vessel: the ethane-fueled liquefied ethylene carrier ECO STAR 36K with “Svelte”-bow design. The new vessel type differs fundamentally from conventional gas carriers, with its superstructures located at the bow.

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BorgWarner supplying solenoid technology for GM global 6-speed FWD transmission program

BorgWarner is supplying its mini direct-acting variable force solenoid (VFS) for General Motors’ global front-wheel drive 6-speed automatic transmission program (GF6). Featured in a range of 2015 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles, BorgWarner’s mini direct-acting VFS enables improved fuel economy and shift feel. Applications exist in every major global market, including the Americas, Europe, China and South Korea.

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Opinion: Ukraine’s Next Crisis? Economic [and energy] Disaster

by Robert Bensh for Oilprice.com
(reposted with permission)

Ukraine’s next crisis will be a devastatingly economic one, as violent conflict destroys critical infrastructure in the east and brings key industry to a halt, furthering weakening the energy sector by crippling coal-based electricity production. The Ukrainian military’s showdown with separatists in the industrial east has forced coal mines to severely cut production or close down entirely. This has led to an electricity crisis that can only be staunched by cutting domestic production along with exports to Europe, Crimea, and Belarus—or worse, getting more imports from Russia.

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Nissan LEAF drivers pass 850M kilometers driven

The collective electric distance driven by the Nissan LEAF EV worldwide now stands at more than 850 million kilometers (528 million miles), which translates to more than 150,000 tons of CO2 emissions reduced. Nissan estimates that the billion-kilometer (621 million miles) mark will be passed by January 2015.

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NETL researchers devise process to create energy and fuel from slag

Researchers at the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have discovered that by mixing two particular types of slag at a unique ratio they can generate energy and fuels (CO and H2). Slag is a molten mixture of process waste ashes from the power and metallurgical industries. In gasification, slag is made from mineral impurities that remain after a carbon feedstock such as coal has been gasified. In metal refining, slag contains impurities removed from a metal while it is refined.

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DARPA Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program aims to break “more armor” paradigm for protection

DARPA announced a new program—Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T)—to develop revolutionary technologies to make future armored fighting vehicles more mobile, effective and affordable. The goal of GXV-T is to investigate ground vehicle technologies that enable crew/vehicle survivability through means other than traditional heavy passive armor solutions.

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Navistar offering Allison fuel-efficiency package on medium-duty and vocational trucks

August 18, 2014

Navistar, Inc. is offering the Allison Transmission FuelSense fuel-efficiency package on its medium-duty and vocational International truck models. FuelSense, available in Allison’s 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 series transmissions, automatically adapts shift schedules and torque, maximizing transmission efficiency based on load, grade and duty cycle, without sacrificing performance.

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Novelis increases prices for automotive and specialty aluminum sheet products in North America

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, announced price increases on its North American Automotive and Specialty aluminum sheet products for all new orders effective immediately. All existing orders and firm agreements confirmed prior to 7 August 2014 will be honored throughout the contract period.

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Lux Research: “The rush to proclaim driverless cars as the near future for personal transport is, simply, wrong”

In a note following the 2014 Automated Vehicle Symposium, Lux Research said: “The rush to proclaim driverless cars as the near future for personal transport is, simply, wrong.” Lux participated in two separate sessions at the conference: the first around regional planning implications, and the second on personal vehicle automation commercialization.

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Mitsubishi Rayon acquires majority of carbon fiber reinforced plastics company Wethje; targeting auto industry

August 16, 2014

Mitsubishi Rayon Co. (MRC) recently executed a share sales and purchase agreement by which it will acquire 51% of Wethje Holding GmbH, a German company engaged in manufacturing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) parts for automobile applications, from Wethje parent Cross Industries AG. MRC aims to strengthen and expand the carbon fiber intermediate materials business for automobile applications in Europe.

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United Airlines’ cargo customers can now offset entire carbon footprint

United Airlines has launched CarbonChoice, a new business tool enabling corporate cargo customers to track and offset the emissions associated with their air freight accounts. Cargo customers with large-scale, regular shipments on United can receive customized emissions reports with simple options to offset their company’s carbon footprint through the airline’s partner, Sustainable Travel International.

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Tesla boosts Model S drive unit warranty; 8 years, “infinite” miles

August 15, 2014

Tesla Motors has increased the Model S drive unit warranty to match that of the battery pack—i.e., the 85 kWh Model S, the company’s most popular model, now has an 8-year, “infinite-mile” warranty on both the battery pack and drive unit. The warranty extension will apply retroactively to all Model S vehicles ever produced.

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Joule says it has improved the photosynthetic efficiency of its engineered cyanobacteria by nearly 100%

At the 2014 Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, Joule reported that its has improved the overall photosynthetic efficiency of its engineered cyanobacteria by nearly 100%, and estimates a maximum 14% energy conversion efficiency in its biomass-to-fuels process. (Joule has developed a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels earlier post).

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EY: oil & gas megaproject overruns to cost industry more than $500B

A new report by EY finds that 64% of multibillion-dollar, technically and operationally demanding oil & gas megaprojects continue to exceed budgets, with 73% missing project schedule deadlines. On average, current project estimated completion costs were 59% above the initial estimate. In absolute terms, the cumulative cost of the projects reviewed for the report has increased to $1.7T from an original estimate of $1.2T, representing an incremental increase of $500B.

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Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel first medium-duty engine certified to meet LEV III standards; Ram Heavy-Duty

Cummins Inc. has received certification for its 6.7L Turbo Diesel from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), meeting the Low-Emission Vehicle III (LEV III) standards. This new standard applies to all vehicles under 14,000 lb GVWR. The Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel powers the Ram Heavy-Duty lineup, and is the first medium-duty diesel engine in the 8,501-14,000 lb GVWR segment to be certified to the new 2015 LEV III standards.

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DOE seeking feedback on distributed wind energy systems

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Program is seeking (DE-FOA-0001155) feedback from the wind industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders regarding the Energy Department’s new perspective on Distributed Wind Research & Development (R&D) focus areas in order to inform future activities and priorities.

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Cellunolix sawdust to ethanol plant to be built in Finland

North European Bio Tech Oy (NEB) has made an investment decision concerning the construction of a bioethanol plant on the Renforsin Ranta industrial estate in Kajaani, Finland. The raw material for the plant will be sawdust from local sources. The plant will be delivered by St1 Biofuels Oy, which is responsible for design, permits and coordination and will be operating the plant once it is completed.

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Schaeffler introduces new automatic bicycle gearshift system

August 14, 2014

Schaeffler is presenting the new automatic bicycle gearshift system FAG-VELOMATIC at EUROBIKE 2014. Whether going uphill, downhill, or on the flat, on a conventional bike, with a derailleur or hub gears, or on an e-bike, the FAG-VELOMATIC calculates the optimum gear and shifting point based on the cadence, force, wheel speed, and gradient. This ensures excellent riding comfort with maximum flexibility. Thanks to open standards, this gearshift system is compatible with every type of bicycle and drive system.

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Chevy 2015 City Express cargo van rated at 25 mpg combined

Chevrolet’s 2015 City Express cargo van, the company’s first entry into the small van segment, will offer an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, resulting in 25 mpg combined (9.8, 9.0 and 9.4 L/100 km, respectively).

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Ford, DTE Energy to build Michigan’s largest solar array; second largest solar carport in the Midwest

Ford Motor Company is teaming with DTE Energy to build Michigan’s largest solar array at Ford World Headquarters. The project, funded by DTE Energy, will provide employees with 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles such as the company’s Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Hybrid Energi. A kiosk will also be on site offering general information to visitors about solar power and specific details about the Ford carport.

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FAA to select Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in FY 2015

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to select competitively a Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in fiscal year 2015. The goal is to create a cost-sharing relationship between academia, industry, and government that will focus on research areas of primary interest to the FAA and the US unmanned aircraft systems community. The FAA Centers of Excellence Program Office, ANG-E4, is soliciting proposals from accredited institutions of higher education with their partners and affiliates.

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New study on Holocene conundrum suggests need for reexamination of both proxy data and climate models

In an open access paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the US, China and Europe re-examine the “Holocene conundrum”—a contradiction between the results of reconstructed data records and model-based climate simulations. Marine and terrestrial proxy temperature records suggest global cooling during the Late Holocene period, following the peak warming of the Holocene Thermal Maximum (∼10,000-6,000 years (ka) before the present) until the rapid warming induced by increasing anthropogenic greenhouses gases. However, current climate models suggest a robust warming trend in the period—the opposite from the cooling in the reconstruction.

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Volvo Trucks boosts fuel savings with MY 2016 enhancements

Volvo Trucks’ model year 2016 VN series heavy-duty highway tractors will deliver greater fuel savings than previous generation models through an assortment of aerodynamic and powertrain enhancements. Further sculpting of airflow around the exterior and underneath the hood improves fuel efficiency by up to 3.5%. Volvo’s new XE-Adaptive Gearing and Torque Management options can provide fuel efficiency improvements of more than 2.5%.

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ANL team reports new electrolyte additive for high-voltage Li-ion chemistry

In a paper published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, a team from Argonne National Laboratory reports identifying a fluorinated carbonate compound as an electrolyte additive capable of stabilizing the new fluorinated electrolyte/electrode interphase in a high-voltage spinel LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4/graphite cell.

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Report: BYD to begin production of lithium manganese iron phosphate batteries for EVs in 2015

August 13, 2014

Shanghai Metals Market. BYD Auto will begin production of a new high-energy density battery in 2015 and apply them in its vehicles, according to board secretary Wu Jing-sheng, as cited by China’s Securities Times. BYD reportedly plans to add manganese to its lithium iron phosphate cathode material to improve the range of electric vehicles and reduce costs.

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BYD electric bus logs 746 miles in 24h period

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s (AVTA) and BYD operators have put AVTA’s new BYD electric bus through a 24-hour marathon ride that looped from Rosamond to Palmdale (California) a total of 18 times. The BYD bus traveled 746 miles (1,201 km) over the 24-hour period, operating in three shifts. Each shift logged between 240 and 256 miles (386 and 412 km) before recharging the battery.

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Report: Mazda to sell diesel hybrid cars in Japan and Europe in FY16

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Mazda Motor Corp. will begin selling diesel hybrid passenger cars in Japan and Europe as early as fiscal 2016.

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Study characterizes compounds used in hydraulic fracturing; further work needed

Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of the Pacific have identified 81 common hydraulic fracturing (HF) chemical additives and categorized them according to their functions. The team determined the physical and chemical characteristics of these additives using publicly available chemical information databases. Among their findings presented today at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS):

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NEVS: we’re not insolvent, suppliers will eventually be paid

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the financially struggling company resurrecting the Saab brand, issued a statement saying that while it does not have enough liquid cash as today to pay all outstanding debt, it is not insolvent; its assets are larger than its debt. (Earlier post.) NEVS added that it cannot say exactly when, but its suppliers will get paid.

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Nafion-coated cathode to overcome polysulfide dissolution in Li-S batteries

August 12, 2014

One of the main limiters to the commercialization of high energy density lithium-sulfur batteries is the dissolution of long-chain lithium polysulfides into the electrolyte, which limits cycling performance. A team from Korea University is addressing this problem by developing a novel Nafion-coated NiCrAl/S cathode and using lithium powder as an anode.

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Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand delivers 3.56 million vehicles in period to July; led by Asia-Pacific and W. Europe

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand delivered 3.56 (January-July 2013: 3.43; +3.8%) million vehicles in the first seven months of the year. Deliveries grew by 4.0% in July, with the brand handing over 491,600 (July 2013: 472,800) vehicles to customers in that month. The Asia-Pacific region was the top market, followed by Western Europe.

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Rice University lab study suggests foam may maximize enhanced oil recovery efforts

Results of a Rice University laboratory study suggests that using foam may maximize enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In the experiments, foam pumped into an experimental rig that mimicked the flow paths deep underground proved better at removing oil from formations with low permeability than common techniques involving water, gas, surfactants or combinations of the three. The open-access paper led by Rice scientists Sibani Lisa Biswal and George Hirasaki is published in the RSC journal Lab on a Chip.

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UN Secretary-General assembles high-level advisory group on sustainable transport

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has formed a 12-member advisory group charged with promoting sustainable transport systems to further growth and development while protecting the environment and limiting the impact on climate change.

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Greenlots and BMW Group Asia Partner to provide Singapore’s first electric vehicle network

California-based Greenlots, a global provider of open standards-based technology solutions for electric vehicle (EV) networks, has partnered with BMW Group Asia to provide Singapore with its first Home and Public Charging network as part of BMW’s 360º ELECTRIC program.

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Cellulosic drop-in biofuels company KiOR says that to continue on, it needs capital

In its new 10-Q report filed with the SEC, struggling cellulosic diesel and gasoline company KiOR reports that it has “substantial doubts about our ability to continue as a going concern.” The company had issued a similar warning in its 10-K annual report filed in March. (Earlier post.) To continue, the company adds, it must secure additional capital for additional liquidity.

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Cui Group improves Li-S battery performance with new separator design

A new study coming out of Dr. Yi Cui’s group at Stanford highlights the role of the separator in the capacity decay of a Li-Sulfur battery—i.e., the separator can accommodate a large amount of polysulfides inside which then precipitates as thick layer of inactive S-related species.

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State of Hawaii to fund BioTork cellulosic biofuels project

August 11, 2014

The State of Hawaii recently passed legislation to assist in funding a project that converts crops, crop residues, dedicated energy crops, and agricultural waste into biofuels and value-added co-products. Hawaii’s Department of Budget and Finance is now authorized, with the approval of Governor Neil Abercrombie, to issue special purpose revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $50,000,000 for the purpose of planning, permitting, design, construction, equipping, and operating BioTork Hawaii LLC’s commercial facilities.

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Improved performance of dual carbon battery with new electrolyte mixture

Prof. Dr. Martin Winter and his colleagues at the University of Münster report promising results for the use of graphite as both the anode and cathode material in a so-called “dual-graphite” or “dual-carbon” cell (earlier post) based on anion intercalation. Dr. Winter and his colleagues have been working with anion intercalation in dual carbon cells for several years. (Because both cations and anions participate in the charge/discharge reaction and other anode materials than graphite are possible, the Münster team earlier proposed the name “dual-ion cells” for these systems.)

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Tour Engine receives $2M investment to further development of latest generation of split-cycle engine

Tour Engine, the developer of a novel split-cycle engine (earlier post), has secured a $2-million investment from Joan and Irwin Jacobs to further the development of the latest generation of the engine, which features a new patent-pending crossover mechanism. Dr. Irwin Jacobs is the co-founder of Qualcomm.

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Using magnesium alloy waste for hydrogen storage materials

Researchers have shown that magnesium industrial wastes of AZ91 alloy and Mg-10 wt.% Gd alloy can be used for the production of hydrogen storage materials. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of Power Sources.

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Photosynthetic bacteria-derived heavy alcohol phytol as diesel blendstock

August 10, 2014

A team from Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Illinois reports that the heavy alcohol phytol (C20H40O)—which can be produced by photosynthetic bacteria—may be a suitable blending agent with diesel fuel for compression ignition (i.e., diesel) applications. The team’s latest report on this work appears in the journal Fuel.

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Rosneft and ExxonMobil start drilling in the Arctic Kara Sea

August 09, 2014

Rosneft and ExxonMobil joint venture company Karmorneftegaz began drilling of Universitetskaya-1, the Russian Federation’s northernmost well, using the West Alpha rig in the Kara Sea. The Kara Sea is part of the Arctic Ocean north of West Siberia. (Earlier post.)

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TM4 China JV receives order for 200 SUMO HD electric powertrains from Foton

August 08, 2014

Prestolite E-Propulsion Systems (PEPS), a 50/50 joint-venture between Prestolite Electric Beijing Limited and TM4 Inc., has received an order for more than 200 SUMO HD electric powertrains from Foton, one of China’s largest bus manufacturers. These systems will equip 12- and 18-meter buses.

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Improved simulation model for crash testing rivets

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, working together with their colleagues from the Laboratory for Material and Joining Technology LWF in Paderborn, and the Association for the Advancement of Applied Computer Science GFaI in Berlin, have developed a simulation model allowing the improved forecasting of rivet performance in crashes.

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1.0-liter EcoBoost powering 1 in 5 new Fords sold in 1H 2014 in Europe

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is powering 1 in 5 of the new Fords sold in Europe in the first half of this year, according to Ford figures. From January through June 2014, Ford sold approximately 120,000 1.0-liter EcoBoost vehicles, compared with 104,000 during the first six months of 2013—an increase of more than 15%. For the first half of 2014, 1.0-liter EcoBoost models made up 47% of all B-MAX multi-activity vehicles sold, 33% of Focus sales, and 30% of Fiesta sales.

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Kinder Morgan already to expand Edmonton crude oil rail terminal now under construction; up to 250,000 barrels per day

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P. announced that its 50-50 joint venture with Imperial Oil Limited has entered into additional firm take or pay agreements with strong, credit-worthy oil company majors sufficient to allow a planned expansion project to move forward by adding incremental capacity of 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) at the Edmonton Rail Terminal, Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada. (Earlier post.) The terminal is now almost a year into construction.

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GWU team demonstrates relatively efficient electrochemical process for low-GHG production of ammonia

A team at George Washington University led by Stuart Licht has developed a relatively efficient electrochemical process for the production of ammonia from water and nitrogen, without the need for an independent hydrogenation step (and thus the associated carbon-intensive steam reforming of methane as the hydrogen source). The process, reported in the journal Science, electrolyzes air and steam in a molten hydroxide salt with a nanostructured iron oxide–derived catalyst (nano-Fe2O3).

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Next Generation Chevy Volt to debut at 2015 NAIAS

August 07, 2014

The next generation Chevrolet Volt will debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Global Chevrolet Chief Marketing Officer Tim Mahoney said today. Mahoney made the announcement during the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.

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SAE webcast on accelerating EV battery development with advanced simulation; GM, ANSYS and CAEBAT

SAE International will stream a free, 60-minute webcast entitled “Accelerating Electric-Vehicle Battery Development and Advanced Simulation” on 21 August at 10 AM US EDT, hosted by ANSYS Inc. Speakers will include Dr. Taeyoung Han, GM Technical Fellow; Mary Fortier, GM Battery Systems Engineering Group Manager; and Lewis Collins, Director of Software Development at ANSYS Inc. GM and ANSYS are members of one of three teams funded by NREL to develop tools to support DOE’s Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) program. (Earlier post.)

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