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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.]

Alaska EV company seeking crowd-funding for low-volume production AWD electric roadster

July 05, 2015

Ethos Electric Vehicles, a small, Alaska-based company building custom electric motorcycles and automobiles, has launched a $100,000 crowd-funding campaign for reworking an existing internal combustion engine kit car—the Graber Cars’ La Bala—into a low-volume production, all-wheel drive (AWD) electric roadster. Target pricing is $48,000 for the base AWD unit, $60,000 for a deluxe version, and $28,000 for a two-wheel drive unit.

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S Korean researchers develop new solid-state electrolyte for high-performance Li-ion batteries stable at high temperatures

South Korean researchers at the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Department of Chemistry and Division of Advanced Materials Science at Pohang University, have developed a new solid-state electrolyte based on an organic molecular porous solid which greatly improves the performance of Li-ion batteries performance as well as reducing the risks due to overheating. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications.

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MOL orders methanol carriers with first methanol dual-fuel engines

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has ordered methanol carriers with the first methanol burned dual-fueled low-speed diesel main engine. The engine building has already been completed, and its manufacturer, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., has test-operated the unit using methanol fuel in Tamano Works, and confirmed that it met expected performance. (Earlier post.)

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New generation Fiat 500 features new engine lineup, more technology

July 04, 2015

Eight years after Fiat re-introduced the iconic Fiat 500 to the market (earlier post), the company has unveiled the next generation. Made by the Centro Stile Fiat, the car has a refreshed exterior and interior design. The new version has not grown in size but features more technology, engine versions and customization ideas.

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CNOOC takes delivery of Asia’s first LNG tug

July 03, 2015

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has taken delivery of Asia’s first tugboat Hai Yang Shi You 525, designed to operate solely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as ship’s fuel.

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Rolls-Royce to lead €6.6M autonomous ship research project

Rolls-Royce will lead a new €6.6-million (US$7.3-million) project that could pave the way for autonomous ships. The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative will produce the specification and preliminary designs for the next generation of advanced ship solutions.

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Energiepark Mainz comes online; hydrogen from wind power; Siemens 6MW electrolysis system

After a year in construction, Energiepark Mainz, a collaboration between Stadtwerke Mainz, Linde, Siemens and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, was inaugurated in Mainz. (Earlier post.) The energy park will produce hydrogen using electricity from neighboring wind parks.

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Japan researchers propose trilithium niobate as high-energy cathode for Li-ion batteries

A team of researchers in Japan, including colleagues from the R&D Center at batter-maker GS Yuasa, are exploring Li3NbO4-based (trilithium niobate) materials as new and promising electrode materials for high-energy rechargeable lithium batteries. A paper on their work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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New bio-inspired catalyst for partial methane oxidation may aid small-scale GTL

A new bio-inspired zeolite catalyst, developed by an international team with researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM), Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Amsterdam, might pave the way to small scale gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies converting natural gas to fuels and starting materials for the chemical industry. Investigating the mechanism of the selective oxidation of methane to methanol they identified a copper-oxo-cluster as the active center inside the zeolite micropores.

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Duke Energy upgrading Notrees 36 MW grid storage system with Samsung SDI Li-ion batteries

July 02, 2015

Duke Energy, Samsung SDI and Younicos are partnering to update Duke Energy’s 36-megawatt (MW) energy storage and power management system at the company’s Notrees Windpower Project in west Texas. The system, one of the US’ largest, has been operating since 2012 with lead acid batteries. Over the course of 2016, these batteries will be gradually replaced with lithium-ion technology.

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Tesla reports worldwide Q2 deliveries of 11,507 Model S; up 52% y-o-y

Tesla Motors announced 11,507 Model S deliveries worldwide for Q2 2015. This was a new company record for the most cars delivered in a quarter and represents an approximate 52% increase over Q2 last year.

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Daimler running 6 different electrified models in Silvretta E-Car Rally; hints at Li-sulfur

Daimler is running 6 different electrified models (7 vehicles in total) in this year’s Silvretta E-Car Rally (2 to 5 July); for the first time in this competition, the current Mercedes-Benz plug-in triad will compete against each other.

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First rear axle transmission crossbeam made of plastic in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class; 25% weight savings over aluminum

The first plastic transmission crossbeam in the rear axle subframe has been developed by ContiTech Vibration Control and BASF for the S-Class from Mercedes-Benz. The crossbeam is made from the engineering plastic Ultramid A3WG10 CR, a specialty polyamide from BASF which is particularly reinforced and optimized to withstand high mechanical loads.

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Virginia Tech and FHWA bring SCRIM continuous pavement friction measurement system to US

In a project funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has brought the first Sideway-force Coefficient Routine Investigation Machine (SCRIM) to the United States. (SCRIM was originally developed by TRL in the UK.) The project objective is to assist states in the development of Pavement Friction Management Programs and demonstrate continuous friction and macro-texture measurement equipment.

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California ARB approves first commercially ready at-berth ship emissions capturing system; alternative to shore power

Clean Air Engineering-Maritime (CAEM) received California Air Resources Board (ARB) approval for the first commercially ready ship emissions capturing system called the Maritime Emissions Treatment System (METS).

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Shell takes final investment decision for the Appomattox ultra-deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) made final investment decision (FID) to advance the Appomattox deep-water development in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The Appomattox project is located 80 miles offshore (129 kilometers) from the nearest shoreline in Louisiana, in approximately 7,200 feet (2,195 meters) of water.

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Report: Bosch and GS Yuasa targeting production of lower-cost, higher-capacity Li-ion battery in 2020

July 01, 2015

Udo Wolz, the president of Bosch Japan, told reporters that Bosch and its partner GS Yuasa (earlier post) “are on a good path” in developing a lithium-ion battery with twice the energy density at half the cost, according to a report in Automotive News Europe. The companies intend to produce such a battery by 2020, Wolz said.

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TransAlta to use Tesla stationary batteries in Alberta’s first large-scale commercial energy storage project

TransAlta Corporation has been awarded $250,000 from Alberta Innovates - Energy & Environment Solutions (AI-EES) to help launch Alberta’s first large-scale commercial energy storage project. TransAlta will use commercial-scale lithium-ion batteries to reduce energy costs for the customer; 5 commercial-scale Tesla Powerpack batteries will be installed, each about the size of a household fridge, in a medium-sized building, such as a large grocery store, apartment block, post-secondary institution building or small office tower.

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UK AA president says millions of second cars could be electric

At last week’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership conference in the UK—prior to the Battersea Formula E Grand Prix run over the weekend—Edmund King, the UK AA’s (Automobile Association) president argued that millions of second cars in households could relatively easily be electric vehicles.

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Fuel cell company Ballard Power announces proposed US offering

Canada-based fuel cell system company Ballard Power Systems intends to offer its common shares in an underwritten public offering. Ballard expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the common shares offered in the offering to cover overallotments, if any. The offering is subject to market conditions and there can be no assurance as to whether or when the offering may be completed, or as to the actual size or terms of the offering.

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California greenhouse gas inventory shows state is tracking to achieve 2020 AB 32 target

The California Air Resources Board released the latest edition of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory, which shows that emissions fell by 1.5 million metric tons in 2013 compared with the previous year even while the economy grew at 2.0%, a rate greater than the national average.

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Toyota Mirai fuel cell rated with EPA-estimated 67 mpge

June 30, 2015

The new Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (earlier post) will offer an EPA-estimated 67 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) city/highway/combined when it hits dealerships in California this fall, and an EPA-estimated driving range rating of 312 miles (502 km) on a single fill of hydrogen.

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Mercedes-Benz to invest €1B in Rastatt plant for production of next-gen compact cars

Mercedes-Benz will invest €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) to transform the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant to produce the next generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars, strengthening its role as the global lead plant for compact cars for the company.

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Successful run across the US on 37.6 gallons of 100% NEXBTL renewable diesel; 66.7 mpg w/ average speed 67.7 mph

On 26 June, CLP Motorsports’ Superlite Coupe crossed the finish line in Santa Monica, California, after driving across the USA on one tank of NEXBTL renewable diesel (earlier post)—the first time that this type of trip was driven using a fuel that is made exclusively from bio-based raw materials.

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Electric bus maker Proterra completes $55M strategic financing

Battery-eletcric bus manufacturer Proterra has completed a $55M strategic financing. This signals a new growth phase for the company, as Proterra scales production to meet growing demand and accelerates cash realization.

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Amyris and Total agree to restructure renewable jet fuel joint venture; Total to own 75%

Amyris, Inc. and Total Energies Nouvelles Activités USA (a wholly owned subsidiary of Total S.A.) have agreed on the restructuring of their fuels joint venture to open the way for proceeding with commercialization of Amyris jet fuel technology over the coming years. Following the restructuring, Total would own 75% of the joint venture with Amyris, up from the current 50%. (Earlier post.)

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Wireless charging company Evatran gains $1.6M strategic investment from China Tier 1 supplier

June 29, 2015

Evatran Group, Inc. has completed a strategic investment from Zhejiang VIE Science and Technology Company (VIE), a manufacturer of automotive parts based in Zhejiang Province, China. The initial investment of $1.6 million is the first phase of a planned further partnership with Evatran to introduce wireless electric vehicle (EV) charging product to China.

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Europe’s BBI JU issues new €200M call for proposals for bioeconomy projects

Europe’s Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) has issued a new, more than €200-million (US$223-million) call for proposals for bioeconomy projects. This latest call for proposals follows a €100-million (US$111-million) call launched in May. The BBI JU, a €3.7-billion (US$4.1-billion) public-private partnership aimed at supporting the development of Europe’s emerging bioeconomy, itself was launched in July 2014.

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Evident launches skutterudite thermoelectric product

Evident Thermoelectrics has launched the first commercial thermoelectric product using skutterudite material technology: the Evident Skutterudite Test Kit. This thermoelectric material, which was originally developed by NASA to power deep space probes, operates in the mid- to high-temperature range—suited for, among other applications, automotive.

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Fuel cells: Ballard Power Systems buying Protonex for $30M

Ballard Power Systems signed a definitive agreement to acquire Protonex Technology Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of advanced power management products and portable fuel cell solutions, in a transaction valued at $30 million.

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New Sumitomo SiC power transistor

Sumitomo Electric has developed a new silicon carbide (SiC) power transistor which achieves low on-state resistance, high stability and other excellent performance characteristics that are suited for for electric vehicles (EV)/hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), solar power conditioners and other applications.

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Toyota’s THUMS 5 software can model occupant posture immediately before collisions

Studies show that roughly half of drivers take defensive action (such as sudden braking or steering) to avoid collisions, with vehicle occupants commonly bracing themselves at the same time. Occupant posture—whether braced or relaxed—has a significant effect on body movement during a collision. However, current human surrogate models used in virtual crash simulations are unable to simulate the reflexive defensive actions that humans take in the moments before an imminent collision, such as bracing one’s body for impact.

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National Electric Vehicle Sweden celebrates ground breaking for production and R&D in China

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) held its project launching ceremony for the production and research & development joint ventures in Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech zone on 28th June, marking the start of NEVS’ strategic setup in China.

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Volkswagen Group receives 2015 KS Energy and Environment Prize for the Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron PHEVs

June 27, 2015

The German automobile club Kraftfahrer Schutz e.V. (KS) awarded the 2015 Energy and Environment Prize to the Volkswagen Group for the plug-in hybrids Golf GTE (earlier post) and Audi A3 e-tron (earlier post). Accepting the award in Munich was Hanno Jelden, Head of Powertrain Electronics at Volkswagen.

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Morgan State NTC researchers seeking EV owners input in survey on buying decisions

June 26, 2015

Researchers at the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University are curious about the decisions that led EV owners to buy their vehicles. If you own or lease an EV, they would like to include you in a brief research survey.

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Application process now open for 2015 BASF/VW “Science Award for Electrochemistry”

The application process for the fourth (2015) BASF/VW “Science Award for Electrochemistry” (earlier post) is now open. Researchers have until 24 July 2015 to apply. The International Science Award offers total prize money of €100,000, including €50,000 for the first rank.

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Ricardo signs MoU for strategic cooperation with Foton, collaboration on new 1.0L gasoline engine

Ricardo has signed two contracts with Beiqi Foton Motor Co. Ltd (Foton), a designer and manufacturer of commercial vehicles, including medium and heavy-duty trucks, light-duty trucks, vans, pickups, and buses. The first of the contracts is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Strategic Cooperation in Powertrain Products Development between Foton and Ricardo UK Ltd.

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Road traffic noise linked to deaths and increased strokes

Living in an area with noisy road traffic may reduce life expectancy, according to a new study by a team from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in partnership with Imperial College London and King’s College London. The findings, published in the European Heart Journal, suggest a link between long-term exposure to road traffic noise and deaths, as well as a greater risk of stroke, particularly in the elderly.

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Cummins CTO John Wall receives California’s premier air quality award

Dr. John Wall, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of diesel engine manufacturer Cummins Inc., is one of the three recipients of the 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards, California’s premier award recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving air quality.

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Member of Swiss National Councils fills up with sunfire solar diesel to call attention to need for regulatory reform

June 25, 2015

In an event in Bern, Switzerland, Swiss National Council member and president of the Clean Fuel Now initiative Thomas Böhni filled up his Audi A2 with 100% synthetic diesel (Audi e-diesel) produced by sunfire GmbH to draw attention to the need to remove what he terms unjustified Swiss restrictions on synthetic fuels. In December 2014, Böhni submitted a motion for consideration by the National Council (Nationalrat) that would create the legal basis for importers and manufacturers of vehicles that run on CO2-neutral synthetic fuels made in Switzerland to receive credit for the corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions under fleet emission rules. (Earlier post.)

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“Better off sharing”: Opel launches CarUnity brand-agnostic carsharing concept

Opel has launched CarUnity, its new carsharing concept. CarUnity enables vehicle owners and users to offer their own car for rental or to rent a car of their choice quickly, easily and flexibly. It does not matter if the car is an Opel or a different brand. The CarUnity app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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NAR and EDI converting 6 Class-5 armored trucks to natural gas PHEVs

North American Repower (NAR)—a California-based natural gas engine management and conversion technology company—and Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI)—a developer of plug-in hybrid electric drivetrains—will convert a fleet of six 26,000-pound, Class-5 medium-duty armored vehicles operated by Sectran Security into PHEV vehicles that run on electricity and renewable natural gas.

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Audi going to the moon; Audi lunar e-quattro rover

Audi is supporting the German team (the “Part-Time Scientists”) in the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition with its know-how in several fields of technology from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.

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Toshiba introduces new efficient motor driver IC for DC brushed motors for vehicle engine applications

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) announced a small-sized motor driver IC for DC brushed motors used in vehicle engine applications such as electronic throttles and valve controls. The new TB9051FTG, housed in a small, flat 6mm x 6mm P-QFN28 package, employs double-diffused MOSFET (DMOS FET) transistors as driver circuits.

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Momentum Dynamics CEO: 25kW wireless charging will be the norm in 5 years

In his remarks at the IEEE-PELS (Power Electronics Society) meeting in Korea, Momentum Dynamics Corporation’s CEO Andy Daga said he believes that 25 kW wireless chargers will be the norm for all EVs within 5 years, with commercialization beginning next year (2016). Momentum Dynamics is developing high-power inductive (wireless) chargers for electric vehicles.

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OnStar expanding to Brazil in Chevy Cruze

GM OnStar will launch its Emergency, Security, Navigation, Diagnostics and Connectivity services in Brazil on the Chevrolet Cruze later this year. OnStar, with more than 7 million customers in North America and China and 19 years of experience, is the leading global provider of connected safety and security solutions, value-added mobility services and advanced information technology in the automobile industry.

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HELLA introduces new 24GHz radar-based system; new exit alert function

HELLA is introducing an enhancement of its 24GHz radar-based driver-assistance technology. With production starting in June 2015 at HELLA’s US manufacturing plant in Flora, Illinois, the new 3.5 radar sensor system is a complement to its generation 3.0 system, which has been in production since last year.

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Microvi engineered biocatalysts significantly improve ethanol production

Microvi Biotechnologies, a developer of biocatalytic processes, working with the Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit (ABPDU) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has demonstrated significant improvements to biological ethanol production.

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DOE seeking input on use of advanced biofuel blends in small engines

The US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has released a Request for Information (DE-FOA-0001373) seeking stakeholder input on the use of advanced biofuel blends in small engines. The two specific areas of interest are:

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Renault-Nissan Alliance sells its 250,000th EV

June 24, 2015

The Renault-Nissan Alliance has sold its 250,000th electric vehicle: a white Renault ZOE sold to a French engineer. The Alliance reached the milestone in early June, 4½ years after the launch of the Nissan LEAF. The Alliance today accounts for half of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. Nissan LEAF remains the best-selling electric vehicle yet, with more than 180,000 units sold. From January through May, the Alliance sold about 31,700 EVs—up nearly 15% over the same period of last year.

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Symbio FCell to deliver 1,000 Kangoo ZE-H2 vehicles in 2016

European fuel cell system provider Symbio FCell says it will deliver more than 1,000 Kangoo ZE-H2 vehicles in 2016. The Kangoo ZE-H2 is a Renault Kangoo ZE Light commercial vehicle (LCV) powered by a hydrogen Fuel Cell Range-Extender. (Earlier post.) The company says it has supplied more than 50 units to date, with 200 expected for the full year.

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Constellium to use Linde’s oxy-fuel tech in aluminum recycling and melting furnaces; targeting 50% cut in energy consumption

Constellium N.V. and Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, signed a joint development agreement to use Linde’s oxy-fuel technology (earlier post) in Constellium’s aluminum recycling and melting furnaces, with a goal of cutting energy consumption by half while increasing melting rates by 20%. This announcement follows a long-term partnership with Linde in the area of energy-efficient re-melting technologies.

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EIA: US nameplate fuel ethanol capacity grew 7.9% over past year

US fuel ethanol production capacity has grown 7.9% over the past year, from 13,681 million gallons per year to 14,757 gallons, according to an annual report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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SwRI, UTSA partner on biofuel project

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Office of the Vice President for Research have selected a new biofuel project to receive $125,000 through the Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect) Program. Funding 1 begins September 2015.

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China-US workshop emphasizes cooperation on EV standardization

More than 75 experts from China and the U.S. convened in Beijing on 9 June for a discussion of their respective standardization work programs related to electric vehicles (EVs). The overarching focus of the workshop was cooperation on standards, conformance, and training programs among industry and government stakeholders to facilitate the growth of the EV market.

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Ford bringing enhanced pre-collision assist to US; autonomous vehicles move one step closer to production

June 23, 2015

Ford will offer Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection technology (earlier post), already available on Ford Mondeo in Europe, in the United States next year on a Ford-brand vehicle. This continues Ford’s plan to roll out the feature—one of the building blocks for increasingly capable semi-autonomous technology—on most Ford products globally by 2019.

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ChargePoint introduces new 24 kW express charging station

ChargePoint has introduced the 24 kW Express 100 compact DC fast charger, designed for businesses including retail locations, restaurants and convenience stores. Earlier this year, ChargePoint announced the Express 200, a 50 kW output DC fast charger with a maximum charging rate of 200 RPH (miles of range per hour); the Express 100 can provide 100 RPH.

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Ford introducing new camera technology to enable cars to see around corners

Ford Motor Company is introducing a new camera technology that can see around blind junction corners even when drivers cannot, reducing stress and potentially helping avert collisions. The innovative Front Split View Camera—now available as an option in the all-new Ford S-MAX and Galaxy in Europe—displays to the driver a 180-degree view from the front of the car, using a video camera in the grille.

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Tesla Model S fleet passes 1-billion mile mark

Tesla Motors announced that, since the launch of the Model S in 2012, the cumulative vehicle fleet worldwide has driven more than 1 billion miles with just under 75,000 Model S units now on the roads.

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GreenGT to present H2 fuel cell racer on Paul Ricard Circuit

On 27 June, during the French leg of the FIA WTCC, GreenGT will present the GreenGT H2, a hydrogen fuel cell racing car, on the Paul Ricard circuit. The GreenGT H2, which runs without a battery, achieves the performance of a GT and has a range comparable with competition cars powered by an internal combustion engine, the company says.

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New entry-level diesel and lower price for Opel Mokka

The Opel Mokka SUV has a new entry-level diesel option: the 1.6-liter CDTI with 81 kW/110 hp, with prices starting at €24,185—€500 less than so far.

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ThyssenKrupp and Maxion Wheels to cooperate to develop aluminum and carbon fiber hybrid wheels

June 22, 2015

ThyssenKrupp Carbon Components and Maxion Wheels have established a cooperation agreement to develop and market innovative new ultra-lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber hybrid wheels for the premium vehicle OEM market.The combined technologies could generate a weight savings of up to 40% when compared to high performance forged aluminum wheels and at the same time offer high value styling.

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GM investing $245M for new vehicle program at Orion Township plant

General Motors will invest $245 million and add 300 new jobs at its Orion Assembly plant to support launching an all-new vehicle program. Investment in Orion totals $962 million since the UAW and GM worked together to reopen the previously idled plant in 2010.

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GaN company Transphorm closes $70M investment round

Transphorm Inc, an early stage power conversion semiconductor company, announced a $70-million investment round led by global investment firm KKR. KKR’s investment follows initial rounds of funding led by funds affiliated with Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, Soros Quantum Strategic Partners, INCJ, Fujitsu, Transphorm will use this funding to support its growth, product innovation and expansion.

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Catalytic conversion of isophorone to jet-fuel range hydrocarbons

Researchers from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have for the first time selectively converted isophorone (C9H14O) to jet fuel range C8-C9 aromatic hydrocarbons under the promotion of a MoOx/SiO2 catalyst. A paper describing their work is published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications.

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New Mitsubishi Electric railcar traction inverter with all-SiC power modules achieves 40% power savings

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced that its main circuits featuring a traction inverter made with all-silicon carbide (SiC), which were installed in a 1000 series urban train operated by Odakyu Electric Railway Co., Ltd. in Japan, have been verified to achieve an approximate 40% savings in power consumption compared to a train using conventional circuitry.

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Tsinghua team explores strategies to reduce Li-S battery self-discharge

June 21, 2015

Researchers at Tsinghua University (China) report in a paper in ChemSusChem on their use of both lithium anode passivation and polysulfide anion diffusion suppression strategies to reduce self-discharge of the lithium–sulfur cell. The self-discharge of a lithium–sulfur cell decreases the shelf-life of the battery and is one of the bottlenecks that hinders its practical applications.

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Cartagena orders 147 Scania Euro 6 natural gas buses

The Colombian city of Cartagena has ordered 147 Scania Euro 6 gas buses for its new transport system as part of Scania’s largest deal to date on Euro 6 gas technology in South America. Scania will be the exclusive provider for two trunk lines for Cartagena’s new Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system, called Transcaribe.

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New multi-functional binder improves cycleability of Li-S batteries

Researchers at Zhejiang University (China) have developed a multi-functional binder with cation-conductive polymer and polysulfide absorbents that improves the discharge capacity and rate cycleability of Li-sulfur batteries.

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Subaru launches Impreza Sport Hybrid in Japan; 48 mpg US on JC08

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, will launch an Impreza Sport Hybrid on 10 July through Subaru dealerships in Japan. The new Impreza Sport Hybrid is the second hybrid from Subaru, following on from the Subaru XV Hybrid launched in 2013. Fuel economy is 20.4 km/liter (JC08 mode) (48 mpg US, 4.9 l/100 km).

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Nissan FY 2014 global corporate activities reduce CO2 emissions by 22.6% compared to FY 2005

June 19, 2015

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. made progress in reducing CO2 emissions and improving sustainability in its global corporate activities in fiscal year 2014 while simultaneously increasing vehicle production and plant energy efficiency. The company achieved a 22.6% cut in CO2 when compared to fiscal year 2005, thus achieving its goal to reduce CO2 emissions from corporate activities by 20% during that period.

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Porsche finishes production of the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid; platform for advanced development for vehicles and manufacturing

The final Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has come off the line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen according to schedule. The hybrid super sports concept car made its debut at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show, and was launched on the market as a limited series in late 2013.

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Porsche takes over toolmaking division of Kuka

Porsche is taking over the toolmaking division of Kuka Systems GmbH with locations in Schwarzenberg in the German state of Saxony and the Slovakian town Dubnica. Under the name of Porsche Werkzeugbau GmbH, the business unit with more than 600 employees will become a fully owned subsidiary of the Stuttgart-based sports car maker Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. Kuka Systems GmbH belongs to Kuka AG, Augsburg, a world-leading supplier of robot-based automation systems.

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Elio Motors launches crowdfunding investment opportunity

Elio Motors, the developer of the three-wheeler Elio, has launched a crowd-funding initiative as the next phase in its fundraising strategy.

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2016 Honda Pilot gains 12% in power, up to 9.5% in fuel efficiency over 2015 model

Honda has introduced the new third-generation 2016 Honda Pilot. The three-row Honda SUV features a direct injected 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology paired with either a Pilot-first 6-speed automatic transmission or a Honda-first 9-speed automatic transmission. (Earlier post.)

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Penn research simplifies recycling of rare-earth magnets

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of two rare earth metals—neodymium and dysprosium—used in powerful magnets. In contrast to the massive and energy-intensive industrial process currently used to separate rare earths, the Penn team’s method works nearly instantaneously at room temperature and uses standard laboratory equipment.

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ExxonMobil, Korea Institute of Technology and Korea Gas Corporation to collaborate on natural gas and new energy R&D

ExxonMobil signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning and the Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS) to hold discussions concerning natural gas technologies and new energy technologies.

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US petroleum demand grew 5.4% in May; highest production since May 1972; highest crude stock inventory since 1930

Total US petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) grew by 5.4% last month from May 2014 to average 19.5 million barrels per day, according to figures from the American Petroleum Institute (API). This was the highest monthly demand yet seen in 2015.

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Chalmers University joins Volvo Cars autonomous vehicle project in Sweden

June 18, 2015

The Chalmers University of Technology has joined Volvo Cars’ Drive Me project—a public pilot with ordinary drivers behind the steering wheels of 100 self-driving Volvos. (Earlier post.)

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Clemson research: vehicle direction, not driver biometrics, best way to detect drowsiness

Researchers at Clemson University have determined that a reliable, less intrusive way to detect fatigue or drowsiness in a driver is to monitor vehicle behavior rather than the biometrics of the person behind the wheel.

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Nomadic Power receives €2M grant for “MobileBattery” project; trailer-mounted Li-ion pack for vehicle and home

Nomadic Power has received a €2-million (US$2.25-million) grant from the European Commission for their “MobileBattery” project—a trailer-mounted battery pack that can serve the function of intelligent and safe back-up power for a home when stationary, and boost EV range when attached to the owner’s vehicle. An 85 kWh Nomad is capable of taking a small electric car up to 600 kilometers (373 miles).

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Carnival signs multi-billion dollar contract for four LNG-powered cruise ships

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest travel and leisure company, signed a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation LNG-powered cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with leading shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri S.p.A for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

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Volkswagen to build 12,000 charging points in its parking lots in Germany; 10% of its parking spaces

June 17, 2015

The German Press Agency dpa reported that Volkswagen plans to build 12,000 charging points for electric vehicles in the next few years at its company parking lots in Germany—10% of the company’s 120,000 parking spaces for employees. The plans were announced by CEO Martin Winterkorn behind closed doors at the National Conference on Electric Mobility earlier this week in Berlin, according to unnamed sources cited by dpa. Volkswagen subsequently confirmed the plans.

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Study finds truck fleet clean-up significantly decreases engine emissions near Port of Oakland

A study funded by the California Air Resources Board and conducted by UC Berkeley scientist Dr. Robert Harley demonstrates that mandatory upgrades to diesel truck fleets serving the Port of Oakland are responsible for significant reductions in two major air pollutants.

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Tokyo researchers discover structure and transport properties of intermediate stage in Li-ion batteries; may shorten charging time

Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Tokyo Institute of Technology have discovered the structure and transport properties of an “intermediate state” in LiFePO4 lithium-ion batteries. These findings, reported in a paper in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, may help accelerate battery reaction speed and significantly shorten battery charging time.

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AeroVironment and Recargo introduce Pay With PlugShare for West Coast Electric Highway’s fast charging network

AeroVironment and Recargo, developer of PlugShare, the most extensive map of electric vehicle charging stations, introduced a new smartphone-based easy payment option for EV drivers charging on the West Coast Electric Highway fast charging network in Oregon and Washington. EV drivers can now access and pay for AeroVironment’s DC fast chargers and Level 2 charging stations through Recargo’s PlugShare mobile app on a pay per charge basis. There is no additional cost for this service.

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ExxonMobil brings Kearl oil sands expansion online ahead of schedule; overall capacity doubling to 220K barrels per day

Exxon Mobil has started production at its Kearl oil sands expansion project in Alberta, Canada ahead of schedule; the expansion is expected to double overall capacity to 220,000 barrels of bitumen a day, with the expansion itself ultimately expected to reach 110,000 barrels per day. Kearl will access approximately 4.6 billion barrels of resource for more than 40 years. (Earlier post.)

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2nd-life Chevrolet Volt batteries help power new IT building

June 16, 2015

GM is using five used battery packs from Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric cars to help power the new General Motors Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground. A new solar array and two wind turbines feed the administration building’s circuit breaker panel, where the five Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building, delivering net-zero energy use on an annual basis.

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Report: VW AG to split into four decentralized groups

June 15, 2015

Germany’s Handelsblatt, citing company sources, reported today that The Volkswagen Group will restructure, turning away from its current centralized structure to a decentralized system comprising four holding companies running the 12 brands.

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New multifunctional polymer binder achieves theoretical capacity of LiFePO4 Li-ion batteries without additives

Researchers led by a team from Griffith University in Australia have developed a multifunctional polymer binder that not only maintains the outstanding binding capabilities of sodium alginate but also enhances the mechanical integrity and lithium-ion diffusion coefficient in a LiFePO4 (LFP) electrode during the operation of the batteries.

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Isuzu and GM enter commercial vehicle collaboration agreement in the US; new low cab forward trucks

General Motors and Isuzu Motors reached an agreement on a US commercial vehicle collaboration, allowing Isuzu to strengthen its product lineup and GM to expand its commercial vehicle portfolio.

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Concurrent targets automotive market With new hardware-in-the-loop simulation products

Concurrent, a global provider of high-performance Linux and storage solutions, announced a new suite of products targeted at the growing hardware-in-the-loop automotive simulation and testing market. The company launched a new field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based Engine Sensor Simulation card and SIMulation Workbench 7.1, an updated version of its advanced software-based modeling environment that is suited for automotive simulation applications.

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Quantum develops 5000 psi CNG tank for virtual pipeline market

US-based Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has developed an innovative 5,000 psi (345 bar) tank for the emerging CNG virtual pipeline market and has shipped the first 100 units to an overseas customer.

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Porsche takes top two spots at Le Mans, Audi third

June 14, 2015

The second-generation Porsche Team 919 Hybrids (earlier post) took first and second place at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans (the 83rd running). The Nº 19 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid shared by Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy and Nico Hülkenberg took first (395 laps), while the sister car Nº 17, wheeled by Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, were right behind them in second (394 laps). Audi still made the podium; defending race winners Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer were third (393 laps) in the Nº 7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro.

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Across the US on one tank of Neste NExBTL renewable diesel

June 12, 2015

A team of motorsport enthusiasts will attempt to drive from the Atlantic Coast of Florida to the Pacific Coast of California on just one tank of Neste NExBTL renewable diesel 21-26 June 2015.

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Ford returning to Le Mans in 2016 with Ford GT

Ford will return to Le Mans in 2016 with the all-new Ford GT supercar (earlier post) to compete in the LM GTE Pro class, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 overall victory. Ford GT is company’s showcase for aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction, along with the new twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6.

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Pi Innovo introducing new M670 rapid prototyping ECU

Pi Innovo will launch its new M670 rapid prototyping engine control unit (ECU) next week at Engine Expo 2015 at Messe Stuttgart. The M670 is the latest in Pi Innovo’s OpenECU family of rapid prototyping ECUs—a family of off-the-shelf ECUs and software designed to take electronic controls innovations from prototyping to production.

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First Corri-Door fast charging points put into service; 200 targeted in France by end of year

The first two fast charging points for electric vehicles in France’s Corri-Door project are now operational at the Bosgouet Nord (A13) and Tardenois Nord (A4) motorway service stations operated by SANEF. The charging points, which can charge an electric vehicle (EV) in under 30 minutes, are part of a national scheme co-financed (50%) by the European Union (TEN-T Programme) and a consortium of electric mobility stakeholders led by the EDF Group.

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Major Dutch waste-to-chemicals initiative more than doubles with new partners

A major Dutch initiative designed to investigate how waste can be used as a raw material to produce chemicals has more than doubled in size since being launched late last year. Initially formed by AkzoNobel, Canadian company Enerkem and four regional partners, the collaboration has since attracted eight more commercial parties.

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Global Bioenergies picks up new €1.4M financing for isobutene program; targeting Germany expansion

June 11, 2015

France-based Global Bioenergies, the developer of a one-step fermentation processes for the direct and cost-efficient transformation of renewable resources into light olefins, has obtained new €1.4-million (US$1.6-million) financing from Bpifrance on the isobutene program.

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