[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.]
Volvo Cars demos self-driving cars in Beijing
March 27, 2015
Mercedes-Benz Vans to launch midsize pickup by end of decade
Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz will launch the first pickup from a premium manufacturer. The new Mercedes-Benz midsize pickup will initially be targeted at markets in Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe, all of which are posting sustained growth in this segment.
Ceres accelerates sugarcane trait development following positive field results in Latin America
Ceres has advanced the testing of its biotech sugarcane traits to the next stage ahead of schedule due to positive data from initial field evaluations under tropical conditions in Latin America. Leading product candidates are currently being multiplied for wider-scale field evaluations which are scheduled to begin in May and June 2015.
Gallup poll finds Americans’ worries about environmental threats easing
Americans’ concern about several major environmental threats has eased after increasing last year, according to Gallup’s annual Environment survey, conducted March 5-8. As in the past, Americans expressed the greatest worry about pollution of drinking water, and the least about global warming. Gallup trends on many of these items stretch back more than two decades. Last year’s increased worry proved temporary, with the current level of worry on each of the problems back to about where it was in 2013.
Toyota updates hybrid LMP1 racer for 2015
Toyota has updated its championship-winning LMP1 racer for 2015 with new aerodynamics, revised front end including crash structure and new suspension kinematics to optimize tire usage, plus additional weight saving. During the 2014 season, the TS040 Hybrid took five wins from eight races.
Peterbilt increases its natural gas offerings; medium-duty CNG, heavy-duty LNG
Peterbilt Motors introduced two new medium-duty vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) during the Mid-America Trucking Show: the Model 337 and the Model 348. Both vehicles are now in production and can be configured as trucks or tractors. The company also announced that heavy-duty models 579 and 567 are now available with liquefied natural gas (LNG); Peterbilt had begun production of CNG configurations of the 579 and 567 last year.
Munich Re America joins U-M research partnership on connected and automated vehicles
Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. has joined the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) Affiliates Program—part of a major research partnership of industry, government, and academia that is laying the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles. The Affiliates Program has 27 initial members from a wide range of industries.
Tritium and ChargePoint partner for fast charging across the US
March 26, 2015
Under a newly signed agreement, ChargePoint will install Australia-based Tritium’s Veefil DC fast charging stations (earlier post) across the US. The 50 kW Tritium stations are able to charge all cars equipped for DC fast charging, using the included SAE-Combo connector or a CHAdeMO connector. Tesla drivers will be able to use the CHAdeMO connector with an adapter slated to go on sale shortly.
TTTech closes $55M investment round to scale IoT and autonomous driving solutions; new strategic partners join Audi
TTTech closed a €50-million (US$55-million) investment round involving two new key strategic partners: General Electric (GE Ventures) and Infineon Technologies AG. This funding is backed by the strong commitment of the existing shareholders, led by Audi AG. TTTech said it intends to use the proceeds to accelerate growth with its safety certified solutions in its core markets as well as to enable new value propositions and global support for its customers in the Industrial Internet of Things and autonomous driving car markets.
Russia’s KAMAZ to create artificial city as autonomous driving testing ground
Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer KAMAZ is proposing to create an artificial city as a testing ground for unmanned vehicles. The project will cost about 5 billion rubles (US$87 million). In it, trucks without drivers will test out moving through traffic and navigating complex intersections and pedestrian crossings. Models of cars, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians will be placed on the testing ground.
California ARB seeking Grantee to administer pilot project for enabling disadvantaged communities to purchase advanced tech vehicles
The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) is soliciting Grantee(s) to administer the Light-Duty Financing Assistance Pilot Project in Disadvantaged Communities. Funding of up to $1.5 million for this project is provided by Low Carbon Transportation Investments, which is funded from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
Report: Toyota wants hybrids to account for half of sales in Japan by next year
The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor will roll out more hybrid vehicles in Japan, wanting them to account for one in two cars sold domestically by next year. The report suggests that the automaker is trying to keep pace with criteria for tax breaks for buyers of fuel-efficient, low-emission cars. More than 80% of cars sold in Japan now qualify for tax savings under the eco-car program, but only about half of new cars are expected to qualify after the implementation of stricter standards next month.
Kenworth offering Maxwell ultracap Engine Start Module as factory-installed option
March 25, 2015
Kenworth will now offer the Maxwell Technologies ultracapacitor-based Engine Start Module (ESM) (earlier post) as a factory-installed option on new Kenworth T680 and T880 trucks. Kenworth dealers have offered the ESM as an aftermarket solution since 2011. With increasing demand for reliable truck engine starting, Kenworth is now the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to offer Maxwell’s ESM as a factory-installed option.
Kenworth’s latest T680 Advantage gains up to 10% in fuel efficiency; driver assistance systems for fuel economy
The latest Kenworth T680 Advantage—Kenworth’s fuel-efficiency leader—has gained up to 10% in fuel efficiency compared to a standard Kenworth T680 built in 2013. The 10% gain for the heavy-duty truck equates to a yearly savings of more than $4,600 in fuel per truck for the average long-haul operation.
Sandia releases literature survey of crude oil properties relevant to handling and fire safety in transport
Sandia National Laboratories, in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, has released a report on crude oil properties relevant to handling and fire safety in transport as part of a DOE effort to develop an understanding of scientific questions associated with the production, treatment, and transportation of crude oils, including Bakken crude oil.
GE and EV Connect partner on EV charging
EV Connect, a provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions, including a cloud-based software platform for managing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, their interaction with utilities and the driver experience, entered into a joint marketing and product agreement with GE’s Industrial Solutions business. Under the terms of the agreement, GE will be a preferred charging station supplier of EV Connect, and EV Connect will be a preferred management provider for GE charging stations worldwide.
FEV acquires D2T Powertrain
FEV GmbH, headquartered in Aachen, Germany has acquired French test systems and engineering service provider D2T Powertrain Engineering S.A. FEV GmbH takes over the business of D2T in France, its subsidiaries in Germany, China, the US and interests in South Korea and Japan.
EV bus manufacturer Proterra reaches 1,000,000th mile in revenue service
March 24, 2015
EV bus manufacturer Proterra Inc. congratulated its customers on logging one million miles in revenue service. The company celebrated this achievement with an event at its plant in Greenville, S.C. honoring its transit agency partners for their leadership as EV pioneers.
Siemens develops new low-weight, high-power electric motor for aircraft; enabling larger hybrid aircraft
Siemens researchers have developed a new electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms (110 lbs), delivers a continuous output of about 260 kW—five times more than comparable drive systems. The motor was specially designed for use in aircraft. Due to its record-setting power-to-weight ratio, larger aircraft with takeoff weights of up to two tons will now be able to use electric drives for the first time, Siemens said.
$1.6M UK project for next generation of Li-S batteries for marine autonomous systems
Innovate UK will award £1.1 million (US$1.6 million) to a consortium of UK companies and academic partners led by Steatite for the research and development of the next generation of Lithium batteries for marine autonomous systems. In addition to Steatite, whose speciality is the design and manufacture of lithium battery pack solutions, collaborators include Li-sulfur battery company OXIS Energy, underwater vehicle designers and manufacturers MSubs Ltd, and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
Praj to license Gevo’s isobutanol technology for sugar-based ethanol plants
Praj Industries Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to become a Gevo licensee for producing renewable isobutanol at sugar-based ethanol plants. Under the MOU, Praj will undertake to license up to 250 million gallons of isobutanol capacity for sugar-based ethanol plants over the next ten years.
Report: Toray to boost production of Li-ion separators
The Nikkei reports that Toray Industries will step up production of separators for Li-ion batteries, investing about ¥10 billion ($82.6 million) to boost output at a South Korean plant.
Advanced Battery Technologies to supply Li-ion batteries for 20K Jiangsu Duke New Energy Automobile electric cars
Advanced Battery Technologies signed a strategic partnership agreement with Jiangsu Duke New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd to supply its fast charging lithium-ion batteries for Jiangsu Duke’s 20,000 electronic sports cars in 2015.
Clean Air Power awarded 1y extension to funded project with Brunel University for next-gen dual fuel system
March 23, 2015
Clean Air Power has been awarded an additional one-year extension to its 2-year funded research project with Brunel University London, aimed at developing the next generation of advanced dual-fuel combustion systems.
Nissan reports failure rate of LEAF battery pack in Europe of less than 0.01%
Five years and more than 35,000 European sales since the launch of its all-electric LEAF, proprietary data released by Nissan show that 99.99% of its battery units remain entirely fit for purpose. The failure rate of the battery power unit is less than 0.01 percent—three units in total—a fraction of the equivalent industry-wide figure for defects affecting traditional combustion engines.
Honda introduces new lease options for existing and prospective Fit EV lessees
Honda is introducing new lease programs for both existing and prospective Fit EV customers in the US. For current, eligible Fit EV customers, Honda is offering a two-year lease extension that includes a lower $199 monthly payment (previously $259) and extends the unlimited mileage, routine maintenance and collision coverage that were included in the original lease.
EIA: US biodiesel and renewable diesel imports decline 36% in 2014
Imports of biomass-based diesel fuel (both biodiesel and renewable diesel) into the US fell 36% to 333 million gallons in 2014, following record levels of imports in 2013 according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA attributed the decline mainly to uncertainty surrounding future Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets and the absence of a late-year influx of volumes from Argentina.
Consumer Watchdog petitions Calif. PUC to reject PG&E EV charging proposal
Consumer Watchdog has petitioned the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reject a PG&E proposal for a major buildout of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure on grounds that it will raise costs for ratepayers while stifling innovation.(Earlier post.)
Boeing enhances 777; up to 5% improvement in fuel use per seat
March 21, 2015
At the recent ISTAT (International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading) Americas conference, Randy Tinseth, vice president, marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes unveiled a series of product improvements that will be available on the 777-300ER, the 777-200LR and the 777 Freighter. Baseline engine, airplane weight and aerodynamic improvements will be phased into production by the third quarter of 2016, lowering trip fuel use by 2%. Combining these with priced optional features can result in an approximate 5% overall fuel use per seat improvement.
Hainan Airlines makes China’s first commercial flight with sustainable aviation biofuel
Hainan Airlines made China’s first passenger flight with sustainable aviation biofuel, a key environmental milestone for China’s commercial aviation industry. The regularly scheduled Hainan Airlines flight—which carried more than 100 passengers from Shanghai to Beijing in a Next-Generation 737-800—used biofuel made by Sinopec from waste cooking oil collected from restaurants in China. Both of the airplane’s CFM International CFM56-7B engines were powered by a fuel blend of approximately 50%aviation biofuel mixed with conventional petroleum jet fuel.
51% of BMW Group’s electricity worldwide from renewable sources; targeting 100%
March 20, 2015
At its Annual Account Press Conference 2015, the BMW Group announced that, for the first time in the history of the Group, 51% of its electricity worldwide is being supplied from renewable sources. This is a significant milestone for the company, its aim being to gradually increase the share of renewable energy to 100% over the coming years.
Ford using REPREVE recycled polyester yarn in new F-150
Since 2012, Ford Motor Company has worked with Unifi to bring environmentally responsible, high-performance REPREVE recycled polyester yarn to many Ford vehicles. (Earlier post.) Now, this innovative fiber is available in the in the all-new F-150. By substituting with this recycled material, Ford will divert more than five million plastic bottles from landfills this year.
Report: Volkswagen Group to use CO2 MAC in Phaeton, A8
The Frankfurter Rundschau reports that the Volkswagen Group has ordered mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems using CO2 (R744) as the refrigerant from a Japanese supplier for application in the VW Phaeton and the Audi A8. The Volkswagen Group and Daimler are both looking to CO2 as an alternate low global warming potential coolant to R-1234yf, to which Daimler originally objected in 2012, citing safety concerns. (Earlier post.)
EaglePicher breaks ground on Li-ion Center of Excellence in Missouri
EaglePicher Technologies, LLC broke ground on its new Lithium Ion Center of Excellence. The 100,000-plus square-foot facility will be built adjacent to its current Li-ion facility at the Crossroads Industrial Park in Joplin, Missouri and will expand the EaglePicher cell and battery portfolio.
Evonik high-temp resistant VESTAMID DX9360 can replace rubber hoses in engine compartment; reduced space and weight
Specialty chemical company Evonik will present its new VESTAMID DX9360 product, a polyamide extrusion compound for tubing systems that has the potential to significantly extend the lifetime of engine lines at next week’s NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase. Tubing made from Evonik’s new high-temperature resistant VESTAMID DX9360 compound can replace rubber hoses in encapsulated engine compartments, saving space and weight.
Tesla providing Range Assurance and Trip Planner application in Model S software update
March 19, 2015
Tesla Motors will address range anxiety for Model S drivers through an over-the-air (OTA) software update that will include a Range Assurance application that runs even when the car is shut off and a Trip Planner, CEO Elon Musk said during a press conference.
China Ministry of Transport targeting 300,000 new energy vehicles on roads by 2020
Xinhua reports that the Chinese Ministry of Transport (MOT) is targeting 300,000 new energy vehicles on China’s roads by 2020: 200,000 new energy buses and 100,000 new energy taxis and city logistics delivery vehicles.
Toshiba to participate in 4-year power-to-gas hydrogen fuel project in Scotland
Toshiba Corporation will participate in the Levenmouth Community Energy Project in Fife, Scotland, a major 4-year project to investigate the potential of hydrogen as a future fuel. The project is funded by the Local Energy Challenge Fund, created in November 2014 by the Scottish Government. This marks Toshiba’s first hydrogen research project outside Japan.
BASF develops engine covering made from flexible PU integral foam with the one-shot process
BASF has developed a flexible polyurethane integral foam that can be used to produce lightweight engine coverings with the one-shot process—i.e. with one material in one process step. The soft cover, made from Elastofoam I 4603, is manufactured by the Austrian company POLYTEC Car Styling and fitted as standard in various Volvo car models with gasoline engines.
Chromatin sorghum hybrids produce fivefold yield increase in East Africa
Chromatin, Inc., an agriculture technology company, announced that its newly introduced hybrid sorghum seed products have achieved unprecedented yields in East Africa. Chromatin introduced the new hybrids at a grain sorghum workshop it hosted in Kampala, Uganda.
GM scaling back in Russia; Opel out by December, Chevy to minimize presence
March 18, 2015
General Motors announced plans to change its business model in Russia. GM will focus on the premium segment of the Russian market with Cadillac and US-built iconic Chevrolet products such as the Corvette, Camaro and Tahoe. The Chevrolet brand will minimize its presence in Russia and the Opel brand will leave the market by December 2015.
Flagship Ventures invests in BTL startup Red Rock Biofuels
Flagship Ventures is investing in Red Rock Biofuels, which is commercializing a Fischer-Tropsch-based process for the conversion of woody biomass into renewable, drop-in diesel and jet fuels. As part of the investment, Flagship will assume a seat on the Red Rock Board of Directors and serve as a strategic advisor for future fundraising efforts. Red Rock is working to build its first commercial scale refinery in Lakeview, OR.
Neste Oil’s NEXBTL renewable diesel to be sold at Propel Fuel stations in California
California-based Propel Fuels has launched Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable) at its retail stations. Diesel HPR contains 98.5% Neste Oil’s NEXBTL renewable diesel and is available at 18 locations across Northern California in Sacramento, San Jose, East Bay, Redwood City and Fresno.
BASF and 8 partners launch €14M PRODIAS to optimize production processes for renewable-based products
A consortium of companies in the European process industry from the areas of biotechnology, renewable resources, chemistry, process engineering, equipment supply as well as research organizations recently launched project PRODIAS (PROcessing Diluted Aqueous Systems). (Project website, not yet populated.) The project focuses on unlocking the potential of renewable-based products made via white biotechnology, by significantly decreasing production costs, increasing productivity and efficiency, lowering energy consumption, and accelerating process developments.
Petrobras breaks record for well drilling water depth in Sergipe-Alagoas Basin
Petrobras has broken a new domestic record for exploratory drilling by reaching a water depth of 2,990 meters (9,810 feet, or 1.86 miles). This was achieved in February while drilling a well in the Moita Bonita area of Sergipe-Alagoas Basin, 92 km (57 miles) from the city of Aracaju.
Ford hits 5-million mark with EcoBoost engines
March 17, 2015
Late last week, the 5-millionth vehicle with a Ford EcoBoost engine rolled off the assembly line at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. Ford had celebrated the production of its 500,000th EcoBoost-equipped vehicle les than three years ago. A Ford Focus equipped with 1.0-liter turbocharged engine represents the 5-millionth Ford EcoBoost engine produced.
BMW X5 xDrive40e PHEV going on sale in US in the fall; early EPA rating estimates at 55 MPGe
Frost & Sullivan forecasts electric powertrain production market share in China to reach 4.2% by 2020
Frost & Sullivan forecasts that with the Chinese Government’s push and pull strategy of new energy vehicle development, gasoline powertrains’ unit production market share is expected to slightly reduce to 94.9%, while the electric vehicle (EV) powertrain segment’s share will expand to 4.2% by 2020, up from 0.1% in 2013.
Petrobras starts production from South America’s first tension leg wellhead platform
Petrobras has started production on the P-61 Tension Leg Wellhead Platform (TLWP)—the first use of dry-tree floating technology offshore Brazil and the first Tension Leg Platform installation offshore South America—in Papa Terra field, located near the southern perimeter of the Campos Basin (State of Rio de Janeiro), 110 km (68 miles) off the coast of Brazil and with a water column of 400 to 1,400 m (1,312 to 4,593 feet).
IHS: 9% of solar PV systems in North America will have attached storage in 2018
IHS forecaststhat 9% of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in North America will include attached storage in 2018. Led by commercial systems, IHS expects 700 megawatts (MW) of PV systems with energy storage will be installed by 2018, compared to just 30 MW in 2014.
Researchers link PM2.5 pollution to stroke-related narrowing of arteries
March 16, 2015
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have linked fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution to a dangerous narrowing of neck arteries that occurs prior to strokes. PM2.5 pollutants are particulates with diameters less than 2.5 millionths of a meter. They are mostly by-products of combustion engines and burning wood.
Transphorm and ON Semiconductor begin production of co-branded 600V GaN cascode transistors
At APEC 2015, ON Semiconductor and power conversion specialist Transphorm, building on their previously announced partnership to bring gallium nitride (GaN) based power solutions to market, introduced the co-branded NTP8G202N (TPH3202PS) and NTP8G206N (TPH3206PS) 600V GaN cascode transistors and a 240 W reference design that utilizes them.
US Coal companies merge: Murray Energy acquires controlling interest in Foresight Energy GP LLC for $1.395B
Murray Energy and Foresight Reserves, LP (the current owner of Foresight Energy GP) have entered a definitive agreement for a transaction through which Murray Energy will acquire a controlling interest in Foresight Energy LP and FEGP to create a US coal mining company controlling more than nine (9) billion tons of coal reserves with approximately 87.5 million tons of combined production last year, according to the companies’ respective annual reports.
Fatty acid esters can improve cetane number of diesel from direct coal liquefaction
Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Technology report that fatty acid esters can be used as cetane improvers for diesel fuel produced via direct coal liquefaction (DCL). A paper on theier work is published in the journal Fuel.
Mitsubishi Heavy says ground test validates wireless power transmission for space solar power systems; 10 kW sent 500m by microwave
March 14, 2015
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) successfully conducted ground demonstration testing of “wireless power transmission,” a new technology presently under development to serve as the core technology of space solar power systems (SSPS). (Earlier post.) In the ground demonstration test, 10 kW of power was sent from a transmitting unit by microwave; the reception of power was confirmed at a receiver unit located at a distance of 500 meters (m) away by the illumination of LED lights, using part of power transmitted.
Renault Trucks launches D Wide CNG with new 9L Euro 6 natural gas engine
March 13, 2015
Renault Trucks is now launching the D Wide CNG Euro 6, which operates equally well on natural gas or bio-methane fuel (biogas). Renault Trucks has been developing and selling vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) for its Distribution range since 2004. The Renault Trucks D Wide CNG, fitted with the new 9L Euro 6 gas engine, offering a power rating of 320 hp (239 kW) and available in two configurations; a rigid 19 t 4x2 and a rigid 26 t 6x2.
IEA March Oil Market Report revises 2015 demand forecast upward
Having bottomed‐out in the second quarter of 2014, global oil demand growth has since steadily risen, with year‐on‐year gains estimated at around 0.9 million barrels per day (mb/d) for the final quarter of last year and 1.0 mb/d for the current quarter,according to the IEA Oil Market Report for March. IEA raised its forecast of demand growth for all of 2015 by 75 kb/d to 1.0 mb/d, bringing global demand to an average 93.5 mb/d.
Kansas City Assembly Plant comes on line as second US plant building new Ford F-150
Ford has begun production of the 2015 F-150 (earlier post) at Kansas City Assembly Plant, which joins Dearborn Truck Plant in building the first mass-produced light-duty pickup truck with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body. Combined, Kansas City Assembly and Dearborn Truck facilities will have capacity to produce more than 700,000 Ford F-150 pickups per year for availability in 90 markets globally.
US installs 6.2 GW of solar PV in 2014, up 30% over 2013
Newly installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the US in 2014 reached a record 6,201 MW, growing 30% over 2013’s total, according to the new US Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). An additional 767 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came on-line in the same period.
VDL Bus and Coach delivers electric Citea bus with Heliox CCS 700V fast charger
Dutch OEM VDL Bus & Coach has delivered a Citea Electric with Heliox Combined Charging System (CCS)-compliant 700 V DC Fast Charger to Swedish transport operator Byberg & Nordin.
Oregon Governor signs Clean Fuels bill
March 12, 2015
Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who assumed office in February after the resignation of former Governor John Kitzhaber, has signed into law Oregon’s Clean Fuels legislation (SB 324). The bill removes the 31 December 2015 sunset on the statutes requiring the adoption of clean fuel standards. (Earlier post.) It also extends the target date for standard compliance from the year 2020 to 2025, directs the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission to adopt provisions to manage and contain costs, and add exemptions for fuels used for specified purposes.
European Parliament approves allowing increased length of truck cabs
The European Parliament approved rules that allow manufacturers to increase the length of truck cabs if this improves road safety and environmental performance. These rules were agreed to informally by the Italian Council Presidency and Parliament negotiators last December. The text now has to be formally approved by the Council of the European Union.
Predictive Powertrain Control can now be retrofitted for Mercedes-Benz Trucks; up to 5% drop in fuel consumption
Mercedes-Benz’ Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) technology, which has been shown to lower fuel consumption by up to 5%, is now now available for retrofitting in the new Actros, Antos and Arocs by Mercedes-Benz service partners throughout Europe. The cost in Germany including installation is around €1,500 (US$1,592) plus VAT. Installation takes only a few hours, and no additional technical approval is required.
JCB Research and Valebond become largest shareholder in ITM Power
JCB Research and Valebond Consultants Ltd., a company wholly owned by Jo Bamford have together acquired a strategic shareholding in ITM Power, a manufacturer of integrated hydrogen energy systems (earlier post), by way of a subscription for new ordinary shares, making them, in aggregate, ITM Power’s largest shareholder.
CEC awards Eos Energy Storage $2.1M to demo AC-integrated zinc hybrid-cathode battery technology for grid storage
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded $2.1 million to Eos Energy Storage, LLC to demonstrate an AC-integrated system incorporating the company’s zinc hybrid-cathode battery technology (“Zynth”) to enhance renewable energy generation and provide grid-scale, multi-hour energy storage.
Cal Energy Commission and Dutch province to collaborate on transportation energy projects
The California Energy Commission and the Province of Noord-Holland of the Netherlands will exchange information and collaborate on innovative transportation energy projects that further their respective 2050 greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy goals.
UK government providing US$98M (£65M) for ultra-low emission cities and green buses
March 11, 2015
UK Transport Minister Baroness Kramer and Business Minister Matt Hancock announced a shortlist of 12 cities vying for a share of a £35-million (US$53-million) fund to become centers of excellence for low emission vehicles. The shortlist will be reduced to 2-4 finalists which will receive funding awards.
Valeo and Mobileye partner on front-facing camera and sensor fusion driving assistance systems
Mobileye N.V., a leading supplier of front-facing camera-based driving assistance systems, and Valeo are partnering to combine Mobileye’s EyeQ family of microprocessors and computer vision algorithms with Valeo’s strong driving assistance sensor portfolio.
Audi hosting inaugural Autonomous Driving Cup competition for best piloted model car
Audi is hosting the inaugural Autonomous Driving Cup, which is intended primarily for students in computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Audi provides the hardware—a 1:8-scale Audi Q5—and the students develop the software. Ten teams will compete against each other at a public event at the Audi Museum Mobile on March 25 and 26, 2015.
PNNL and MicroBioengineering developing a high-yield process to produce algae using CO2 in the air
Supported by a recent $900,000 award from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (earlier post) researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Micro BioEngineering, Inc. are developing a process to produce microalgae directly from CO2 in air at high productivities, thereby decoupling algal growth from CO2 sources.
Linde oxyfuel technology could speed production of cold-rolled strip aluminum for automotive
March 10, 2015
Application of Linde oxyfuel technology (i.e., the combustion of a fuel using only oxygen, not air) to the continuous annealing of cold-rolled strip aluminum may soon speed production of aluminum autobody sheet; the company will present details about the new application at TMS 2015 in Florida next week.
Mack Pinnacle natural gas trucks now offered with Eaton UltraShift Plus and Wingman collision mitigation
Mack Trucks now offers natural gas-powered versions of its Mack Pinnacle models with the Eaton UltraShift PLUS transmission and Bendix Wingman Advanced collision mitigation technology.
JBEI researchers use proteomics to ID 1750 unique proteins in switchgrass
Researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have used advanced proteomic techniques to identify 1,750 unique proteins in shoots of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a North American native prairie grass that is viewed as a promising biofuel crop candidate. The results of this study are reported in the journal Proteomics.
Shenzhen Senior Technology licenses LG Chem SRS Li-ion battery separator technology
China-based Shenzhen Senior Technology, a manufacturer of microporous separators, has licensed LG Chem’s Safety Reinforced Separator (SRS) technology. Under the agreement, Senior has gained rights to use the SRS technology, which uses a ceramic coating on separator substrates to improve thermal deformation resistance and mechanical strength. (Earlier post.)
NASA purchases Alcohol-to-Jet fuel from Gevo for Glenn Research Center
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has purchased Gevo’s renewable Alcohol-to-Jet fuel (ATJ) (earlier post) for aviation use at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. Gevo’s ATJ is manufactured at its demonstration biorefinery located in Silsbee, TX, using renewable isobutanol produced at its Luverne, MN, isobutanol plant.
BP makes second significant gas discovery in Egypt’s East Mediterranean Sea; follows confirmation of $12B investment in West Nile Delta
March 09, 2015
BP Egypt announced another important gas discovery in the North Damietta Offshore Concession in the East Nile Delta. The “Atoll-1” deepwater exploration well, currently being drilled using the 6th generation semi-submersible rig “Maersk Discoverer,” has reached 6,400 meters depth and penetrated approximately 50 meters of gas pay in high quality Oligocene sandstones. Expected to be the deepest well ever drilled in Egypt, the Atoll well still has another 1 kilometer to drill to test the same reservoir section found to be gas bearing in BP’s significant 2013 Salamat discovery, 15 kilometers to the south.
SGL Group and BASF conclude joint research of innovative polyamide-carbon-fiber composite system; transfer into automotive applications under way
SGL Group and the chemical company BASF have concluded their joint research effort into a new composite material system. This collaboration between SGL Group and BASF was launched back in October 2012. On the basis of the now-complete material research, the transfer of the special systems made from carbon fibers and matrices into specific applications of customers in the automotive industry is now under way.
Fujitsu and Isuzu agree to jointly research next-generation vehicle systems for commercial vehicles
Fujitsu Limited and Isuzu Motors reached an agreement to conduct joint research on future technologies with regard to safety, comfort and the environment, to be applied to the commercial vehicles Isuzu markets worldwide.
Ford Cleveland Engine Plant begins production of twin-scroll 2.0L and 2.3L EcoBoost engines
Ford announced the official production start of the new twin-scroll 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter EcoBoost engines for North America at its Cleveland Engine Plant in Ohio. This marks the first time these engines are being produced in the US.
KTH study finds self-driving cars could free up rush hour traffic, reduce need for parking spaces
March 07, 2015
A fleet of shared self-driving cars in Stockholm could reduce rush hour traffic volumes by 14 cars for every shared vehicle, according to researchers at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Meanwhile, the remaining automobile commuters would need only 20% of the metropolitan area's existing parking spaces, their study says.
New V10 in Audi R8 brings in supplementary port fuel injection, cylinder-on-demand, new start-stop
March 06, 2015
The new naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engines in the newly introduced second-generation high-performance Audi R8 (earlier post) introduce two new efficiency technologies to that platform: supplementary port fuel injection, and cylinder-on-demand, along with a new start-stop system.
Audi piloting use of Serva robots to transport cars at Ingolstadt plant
In a pilot test at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt that started in February, two robots independently transport cars from production to an interim storage area. From there, they later place the sorted Audi models into position according to their shipping destinations, so that logistics employees can load them onto railway wagons.
BASF now offering bio-based PolyTHF
BASF has made bio-based Polytetrahydrofuran 1000 (PolyTHF 1000) available for the first time. The company is now providing this intermediate to selected partners for testing various applications in a large scale. PolyTHF is derived from 1,4 butanediol (BDO), which BASF has produced under license from Genomatica.
EDI offering Class 3 plug-in hybrid utility truck
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI) announced the availability of a Class 3 utility truck based upon its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivetrain that reduces emissions and fuel use by up to 80%. EDI’s utility solution set is expansive, now spanning Class 3 light duty, Class 4-6 medium duty, and Class 7-8 heavy-duty commercial work trucks.
BorgWarner adds new production line in China for EGR valves
BorgWarner is expanding capacity in Ningbo, China, with a new production line for its latest exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves. The new line will meet increasing customer demand through localized production; BorgWarner expects to supply its latest EGR technology to a large Chinese automaker beginning in May 2015.
Nissan and Endesa collaborating to deliver vehicle-to-grid systems to market
March 05, 2015
Nissan and Endesa, an Enel Group subsidiary, signed an agreement at the Geneva International Motor Show pledging to work together to deliver a mass-market V2G system and an innovative business model designed to leverage this technology. The two companies have agreed to collaborate on the following activities:
Novelis and Henkel partner on advanced bonding technology for high-volume aluminum vehicles
Novelis, the world leader in automotive aluminum sheet, and Henkel Adhesive Technologies today signed a long-term agreement to collaborate on the development of advanced bonding technologies for the use of aluminum in high-volume vehicles. The first product to launch as a result of this partnership is BONDERITE M-NT 8453, the latest evolution in aluminum surface pre-treatments, providing a cost-effective adhesive bonding system for demanding vehicle requirements.
Volkswagen announces new lower-priced trim line for the 2015 e-Golf
Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that a lower-priced version of the fully-electric 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf (earlier post) will go on sale at participating dealerships. The 2015 e-Golf Limited Edition is priced nearly $2,000 less than its SEL counterpart at $33,450. The e-Golf Limited Edition is also available at a monthly lease price of $229, plus applicable fees.
Mercedes-Benz introduces Metris midsize van to US and Canada
Mercedes-Benz Vans USA introduced the Mercedes-Benz Metris midsize van at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. The Metris, which launches at US dealers in October 2015, is the US and Canadian sibling to the Vito (earlier post), which remains the midsize commercial van nameplate for all other global markets.
Lux: Li-ion dominating grid storage market with 90% of 2014 proposals
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have become the dominant new technology in grid storage, capturing a 90% share of systems proposed last year, according to analysts at Lux Research. Molten salt batteries still account for a majority of installations by energy capacity, because of NGK Insulators’ early lead, but are no longer the technology of choice, according to Lux.
Microbial Capacitive Desalination Cell could make treatment and reuse of oil and gas wastewater simpler, cheaper
Oil and gas operations in the United States produce about 21 billion barrels of wastewater per year, with accompanying disposal costs of about $5 billion per year. The saltiness of the water and the organic contaminants it contains have traditionally made treatment difficult and expensive. Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder and New Mexico State University have developed a simpler process that can simultaneously remove both salts and organic contaminants from the wastewater, all while producing additional energy.
US-China Clean Energy Research Center issues $12.5M solicitation to address the energy-water nexus; $50M effort in all
The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a $12.5 million Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (DE-FOA-0001285) for a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) that addresses water-related aspects of energy production and use.
UMTRI: new vehicle fuel economy down in February
March 04, 2015
The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in February was 25.2 mpg (9.33 l/100km)—down 0.2 mpg from January, according to the latest monthly analysis by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researchers Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. This decrease in fuel economy likely reflects the increased market share of light trucks, SUVs, and crossovers in response to the inclement winter weather in a large part of the country, they suggested.
OnStar comes to Europe
Opel introduced Opel OnStar at the Geneva Motor Show; OnStar will roll out across the company’s passenger car range from August 2015. The first introduction wave will see Opel OnStar introduced in 13 European markets with additional European markets following later. GM’s OnStar already connects around seven million customers in the US, Canada, China and Mexico.
New thermoelectric material offers higher output power than other available materials
Researchers at the University of Houston, with their colleagues at Boston College, have created a new thermoelectric material—germanium-doped magnesium stannide (Mg2Sn0.75Ge0.25)—intended to generate electric power from waste heat with greater efficiency and higher output power than currently available materials.
Global Bioenergies reports first isobutene production from waste biomass
Global Bioenergies has produced “second-generation” isobutene, in a push to diversify accessible feedstock towards cheaper resources. As a first step in manufacturing bio-sourced isobutene, Global Bioenergies has been using first-generation feedstock such as wheat-derived glucose to set-up and to optimize its bio-isobutene process, which produces the gaseous hydrocarbon via fermentation. (Earlier post.) However, the process was designed to be versatile in terms of feedstock.
Audi and AT&T to wirelessly connect 2016 model year vehicles
CDC: Crashes are the leading cause of on-the-job death for truck drivers in the US
In 2012, 317,000 motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks were reported to police in 2012, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After dropping to 35-year lows in 2009, the number of crash fatalities of truck drivers or their passengers increased between 2009 and 2012. Approximately 700 drivers of large trucks or their passengers died in crashes in 2012, and an estimated 26,000 were injured. More than a third of the drivers who died were not wearing a seat belt.
Toyota to begin sales of Mirai fuel cell vehicle in Europe by September
March 03, 2015
At the Geneva motor show, Toyota announced that it would begin sales of the new Mirai fuel cell vehicle (earlier post) in Europe by September. Sales of the FCV began in Japan last December. European launch markets in 2015 will be the UK, Denmark and Germany; more markets will be added in 2017. Toyota said that it is expecting annual volume of 50-100 cars/year in 2015 and 2016. Initial price is €66,000 (US$73,735) + VAT (Germany).
Shanghai OnStar and China Mobile partner on 4G LTE telematics service; debuting in a Cadillac this year
Shanghai OnStar is joining forces with China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless telecom carrier, for the launch of 4G LTE telematics service across China. The new service will debut in a Cadillac model from Shanghai GM this year.