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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.]

UK study provides observational evidence linking ocean circulation to weather and decadal-scale climate change

May 28, 2015

A new study by scientists from the University of Southampton and the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) suggests that the global climate is on the verge of broad-scale change that could last for a number of decades. The change to the new set of climatic conditions is associated with a cooling of the Atlantic, and is likely to bring drier summers in Britain and Ireland; accelerated sea-level rise along the northeast coast of the United States; and drought in the developing countries of the Sahel region. Since this new climatic phase could be half a degree cooler, it may well offer a brief reprise from the rise of global temperatures, as well as resulting in fewer hurricanes hitting the United States, the researchers suggested.

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IHS forecasts global EV charger market to grow to more than 12.7M units in 2020

The global EV Charger (EVC) market is forecast to grow from more than 1 million units in 2014 to more than 12.7 million units in 2020, according to a new EV Charging Infrastructure report by IHS Inc.

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Volkswagen Tiguan gets new range of diesel engines; up to 17g/km cut in CO2

Volkswagen has updated some key equipment specifications of the Tiguan for the new model year. Along with a new generation of engines, the compact SUV now also offers new radio and radio navigation systems. The Tiguan has been one of Volkswagen’s global best sellers for more than seven years.

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Oxea launches new phthalate-free plasticizer as C8/C10 trimellitate replacement

Oxea is expanding its phthalate-free plasticizer portfolio with the introduction of Oxsoft L9 (linear trinonyltrimellitate). Oxsoft L9 is suited for special applications where products must meet the most rigid demands, such as the manufacture of resilient and durable high temperature automotive cables that comply with the most severe requirements in this industry. Oxsoft L9 directly replaces conventional C8/C10 trimellitates and is available in industrial quantities.

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Lamborghini confirms SUV, launch in 2018

May 27, 2015

Lamborghini, a Volkswagen Group company, confirmed that a luxury SUV will join its product range as its third series model, with market introduction planned for 2018. A concept of the car was first presented as the Lamborghini Urus in 2012 at the Beijing auto show. This will be Lamborghini’s first SUV since the LM002, which was built between 1986 and 1993.

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Honda targets new Guinness World Records title for fuel efficiency with 8,500-mile diesel drive across Europe

Honda aims to win a new Guinness World Records title for fuel efficiency in an 8,500-mile (13,679 km) drive across all 24 contiguous EU countries in a 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engined Honda Civic Tourer.

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GM and Shanghai Jiao Tong University begin vehicle sharing pilot program with EN-V 2.0 fleet

General Motors and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) have begun a two-year vehicle sharing pilot program in Shanghai featuring 16 Chevrolet EN-V 2.0 (earlier post) electric concept vehicles. (Earlier post.) The EN-V 2.0 pilot vehicles will be integrated into the multi-modal transportation system at SJTU’s Minhang campus alongside bicycles, cars and shuttle buses. They will help meet users’ “first mile, last mile” transportation needs.

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UN Secretary-General urges transport ministers to reshape world’s transport systems

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the world’s transport ministers meeting at the International Transport Forum 2015to accelerate efforts to combat climate change and “find new green solutions”.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance to provide 200 EVs for Paris climate conference

The Renault-Nissan Alliance will provide a fleet of 200 all-electric vehicles as the official passenger-car provider for the United Nation’s COP21 climate conference in Paris later this year. The fully electric car fleet will shuttle delegates during the event from 30 November to 11 December.

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Indiana U study suggests cost-effectiveness of EPA air quality regs more uncertain than commonly believed

The US EPA estimates that its air pollution regulations save thousands of lives annually. A new study by researchers at Indiana University suggests the estimates are more uncertain than commonly accepted. An open-access paper on their study appear in the Journal of Cost-Benefit Analysis.

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GM to invest $1.2B in full-size truck plant

May 26, 2015

General Motors is investing $1.2 billion in its full-size pickup truck plant in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, for upgrades and technology that will improve the plant’s competitiveness in assembling high-quality light- and heavy-duty models.

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GM Powertrain Europe strengthens collaboration with Politecnico di Torino; diesel engine focus

To mark the 10th anniversary of the foundation of GM Powertrain Europe Turin, GM President Dan Ammann visited the engineering site and announced plans to strengthen the collaboration with the Politecnico di Torino, further expanding the engineering development center.

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Volkswagen Group inaugurates vehicle plant in Southern Chinese city of Changsha; 300,000 units per year; “carbon-neutral production”

The Volkswagen Group continues to expand its production capacity in China with a new vehicle plant for Shanghai-Volkswagen (SVW) in Changsha, southern China. This plant is the Group’s 119th global facility and its 20th in China.

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Gexpro partners with LG Chem, Geli and Ideal Power on stationary ESS

Gexpro, a worldwide electrical distributor, solutions provider and a subsidiary of Rexel, will offer, in conjunction with Geli, Ideal Power and LG Chem, a Battery Energy Storage Solution (BESS)—Gexpro Power IQ—to commercial and industrial customers. Gexpro will be the system integrator.

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IRENA: Mexico can more than quadruple share of renewable energy by 2030

Mexico can increase the use of renewable energy in its energy mix from 4.4% in 2010 to 21% by 2030, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy Prospects: Mexico, prepared in collaboration with the Mexican Energy Secretariat (SENER), also finds that Mexico could generate up to 46% of its electricity by 2030 from renewable sources including wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and biomass—a six-fold increase from today’s levels.

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Cadillac and Shanghai OnStar show 4G LTE, CarLife app and Apple Watch app

May 25, 2015

At CES Asia, which opened today in Shanghai, Cadillac and GM’s Shanghai OnStar joint venture are showing China’s first automotive 4G LTE telematics service along with the CarLife app; the My Cadillac app; and an Apple Watch app.

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Researchers find injecting tiny grains of lithium improves performance of fusion plasmas

Scientists from General Atomics and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), together with a team of researchers from across the United States, have found that upon injecting tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically. The finding may quicken the development of fusion energy.

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Michelin and Barito Pacific form JV to produce natural rubber in reforestation project; WWF cooperation agreement

May 23, 2015

Michelin and the Barito Pacific Group (BPG) have formed a joint-venture in Indonesia with Barito Pacific Group (BPG) for producing natural, eco-friendly rubber. According to the terms of the agreement, this new joint-venture will be owned 53% by BPG and 47% by Michelin, with Michelin’s contribution to the joint-venture amounting to US$55 million.

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Audi to launch new sporty SUV with electric drive in 2018

As part of its expansion of its SUV range, Audi will launch a “sporty SUV with electric drive” in 2018. In addition, Audi will begin production of the Audi Q1 in 2016 and add the new Audi Q8 at the top end of the SUV family in 2019. Overall, Audi plans to expand its model range from today’s 52 to 60 automobiles in 2020.

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Audi partnering with Baidu and Huawei on vehicle connectivity in China; CarLife support and new LTE module

May 22, 2015

Audi is partnering with Baidu and Huawei to intensify the expansion of connectivity of its cars in China. In advance of the first CES Asia taking place in Shanghai, Audi announced its support of Baidu CarLife (similar to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) for integration of smartphones in its cars in China. Further, a China-specific LTE module, which Audi is developing in a joint venture with Huawei, will deliver fast data transmission.

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Hexcel to invest $250M in new carbon fiber plant in France; capacity expansions at nearby weaving and prepreg facilities

Hexcel Corporation will invest $250 million in the construction of a carbon fiber plant in Roussilon, France. The new carbon fiber facility will occupy a 37-acre site at the Osiris Chemicals Industry Platform in Roussillon and will incorporate both polymerization and carbonization lines. The plant is part of Hexcel’s ongoing worldwide investment to create a diversified and robust supply chain to support aerospace customers’ growing demand for carbon fiber composites.

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Solvay Specialty Polymers launches new wear-resistant Veradel polyethersulfone; improved powertrain efficiency

May 21, 2015

Solvay Specialty Polymers introduced Veradel 3300 SL 30 polyethersulfone (PESU). The new Veradel grade is a tough, high-performance resin designed to meet growing global demand for advanced polymers that can improve automotive powertrain efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Formulated to replace metal in automotive applications prone to friction and wear such as oil pumps and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems, the new resin offers wear resistance, and low coefficient of friction in both dry and lubricated environments.

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Volkswagen’s autonomous braking system cuts 3rd party injury claims by 45% in UK

Safety experts at the Thatcham Research Centre in the UK have seen a 45% drop in third party personal injury insurance claims due to the fitment of auto-emergency braking systems in Volkswagen Golf and Passat models.

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11% of Boston Public Schools bus fleet to run on propane

Boston Public Schools will operate 11% of its bus fleet with Blue Bird propane autogas buses, starting with the 2015-2016 school year. The school district is purchasing 86 Blue Bird Propane Vision school buses, and hopes to convert more of their diesel fleet to propane buses in the future.

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Frost & Sullivan expects premium and mass market passenger car OEMs to adopt shift-by-wire technology by 2020

New analysis from consultancy Frost & Sullivan—“Key Focus Areas for Driving Interface Systems for Passenger Cars”—projects that shift-by-wire technology is likely to be adopted in premium segment cars globally and across volume segments in mature markets such as North America, Germany and Japan by 2020. Although the technology is currently expensive, commoditization will bring down the cost of these systems and make it ready for the mass market.

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Dept. of Interior to invest nearly $50M to improve water efficiency and conservation in Western states

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will invest nearly $50 million to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states.

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Eidesvik Viking Queen retrofitted with 650 kWh energy storage system for hybrid system; 18% fuel savings; ThinkGlobal connection

May 20, 2015

Eidesvik is retrofitting its offshore support vessel (OSV) Viking Queen with a 650 kWh, 1600 kW energy storage system. The Viking Queen is the first OSV to get such a system installed as a retrofit solution. The agreement is made possible through targeted cooperation between Lundin Norway AS which has the vessel on hire; ZEM AS, the supplier of the system; and Eidesvik.

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Connecticut providing up to $3K cash rebate for buyers of BEVs, FCEVs, and PHEVs while funding lasts

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate Program (CHEAPR). Under this new initiative, a cash rebate of up to $3,000 is now available for Connecticut residents, businesses, and municipalities who purchase or lease an eligible electric vehicle (EV). EVs covered by CHEAPR include battery electric (BEV), fuel cell (FCEV), and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.

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MARAD to award up to $750K for projects demonstrating emissions reduction on ships

Under a newly-issued RFP (DTMA91R1500012) the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) will award up to $750,000 for projects that demonstrate the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (i.e. scrubbers) or Tier III-compliant selective catalytic reduction on marine vessels with Category 3 engines.

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US recalls due to defective Takata airbags expands to nearly 34 million

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that at the Department’s insistence, air bag manufacturer Takata has acknowledged that a defect exists in its air bag inflators. Takata has agreed to a national recall of certain types of driver and passenger side air bag inflators. These inflators were made with a propellant that can degrade over time and has led to ruptures that have been blamed for six deaths worldwide. The action expands the number of vehicles to be recalled for defective Takata inflators to nearly 34 million.

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Anderman report projects annual global EV and PHEV market to grow four-fold to 1.4M vehicles between 2014 and 2020

The 2015 xEV Industry Insider Report by Dr. Menahem Anderman, released this week, projects that the combined annual global electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) market will grow fourfold from 350,000 to 1.4 million vehicles between 2014 and 2020, with even faster growth likely in the following decade.

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Aerovironment Level 2 capable portable charger standard with Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV

May 19, 2015

The AeroVironment portable TurboCord Dual (120V/240V) charger will come standard with the 2016 Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in electric hybrid (earlier post), which will go on sale in the US later this year.

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ABI Research forecasts 7.7M truck platoon systems to ship globally by 2025

In a new report, ABI Research forecasts that 7.7 million truck platoon systems will ship globally by 2025. Truck platoons are the most imminently anticipated application of highly automated driving in commercial vehicles.

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DOT announces Fiat Chrysler public hearing and issues special order over recall performance

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will hold a public hearing to determine whether automaker Fiat Chrysler has failed to remedy safety defects and issue required notices in 20 recalls.

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Spark EV newly LEED-certified motor plant 6% powered by renewables

May 18, 2015

The electric motor and drive unit for the Chevrolet Spark EV are being manufactured in Maryland under a rooftop solar array in a newly LEED-certified building. The greening of the General Motors Baltimore Operations complex included the addition of 580 kilowatts of solar to the roof of its e-Motor building. Together with a 1.23-megawatt solar array on its grounds, 6% of the facility’s electricity comes from renewable sources.

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BMW making water pump wheel for DTM racecars and Z4 GT3s using 3D printing; ideal for small batch production

BMW is making water pump wheels for its racers for German Touring Car Masters (DTM) and Z4 GT3 customer cars using additive manufacturing (3D printing); 500 3D-printed water pump wheels are currently in use. The high-precision component, which is subject to high stresses, consists of an aluminum alloy; the component works flawlessly, the company said.

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Accenture: Australia LNG industry could become world’s largest

Australia’s Liquefied National Gas (LNG) industry could become the world’s largest and most technologically advanced, contributing more than AUD$55 billion to Australia’s GDP in 2020, according to a new report from Accenture.

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Mercedes-Benz Apple Watch app provides integrated door-to-door nav

A new Mercedes-Benz Apple Watch app—MB Companion App—allows Mercedes-Benz costumers to search for directions on the Apple Watch or on iPhone, initiating a complete, integrated door-to-door experience.

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New Gen 6 Camaro lighter, leaner, faster, more efficient; base 2.0L, 4-cylinder entry-level engine

May 17, 2015

Fifty years after the introduction of the first Chevrolet Camaro, GM unveiled the new sixth-generation. The Gen Six Camaro provides a faster, more nimble driving experience, enabled by an all-new, lighter architecture and a broader powertrain range. Six all-new powertrain combinations are offered, including the entry-level 275 hp (205 kW) 4-cylinder 2.0L Turbo. Each engine is available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

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VTT converts biomass into BTX chemicals; gasification, F-T and aromatization

May 16, 2015

Finland’s VTT has demonstrated that lignocellulosic biomass can be successfully converted into pure BTX chemicals: benzene, toluene and xylene. The aim of this research is to enable the use of wood-based chemicals to replace crude oil in, for example, plastics, fuels, medicine and paints.

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ORNL team demonstrates first large-scale graphene composite fabrication

May 15, 2015

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have fabricated polymer composites containing 2-inch-by-2-inch sheets of graphene using chemical vapor deposition. The resulting composite structures have the potential to outperform the current state-of-the-art composite materials in both mechanical properties and electrical conductivities (>8 S/cm with only 0.13% volumetric graphene loading and 5 × 103 S/cm for pure graphene fibers) with estimated graphene contributions of >10 GPa in strength and 1 TPa in stiffness.

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ZF completes acquisition of TRW Automotive

ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a global leader in driveline and chassis technology, and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. have completed the transaction under which ZF has successfully acquired TRW. TRW will be incorporated into ZF as a new division called Active & Passive Safety Technology. The combined company operates under the name ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

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Honda begins sales of SHUTTLE compact wagon and hybrid in Japan

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has begun sales of the all-new Honda SHUTTLE compact wagon and hybrid at dealerships across Japan. The gasoline-powered version of SHUTTLE is equipped with a 1.5-liter direct-injection DOHC i-VTEC engine and CVT, while the hybrid version is equipped with the SPORT HYBRID i-DCD. The hybrid version realizes top-in-class level fuel economy of 34.0 km/liter (80 mpg US, 2.9 l/100 km) (JC08 mode).

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3 Duke Energy subsidiaries plead guilty to 9 criminal violations of Clean Water Act; $102M settlement

Three subsidiaries of North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corporation, the largest utility in the United States, pleaded guilty to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act at several of its North Carolina facilities and agreed to pay a $68-million criminal fine and spend $34-million on environmental projects and land conservation to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia. Four of the charges are the direct result of the massive coal ash spill from the Dan River steam station into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina, in February 2014. The remaining violations were discovered as the scope of the investigation broadened based on allegations of historical violations at the companies’ other facilities.

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Navigant forecasts sensor-enabled on-street smart parking spaces to exceed 1M by 2024

A new report from Navigant Research estimates that by 2024, there will be more than 1 million sensor-enabled on-street smart parking spaces globally. This forecast is somewhat more conservative than the one provided in Navigant’s 2013 Smart Parking Systems report, reflecting a slower-than-anticipated early adoption rate among cities, especially in North America.

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Partially fluorinated ether electrolyte co-solvent improves Li-S battery performance

May 14, 2015

A team at Central South University in China reports in a paper in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society that use of a partially fluorinated ether as an electrolyte co-solvent improves the performance of Li-sulfur batteries.

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Li-ion electrode company BESSTECH receives $250K investment from Eastern New York Angels

BESSTECH LLC, an electrode design and engineering venture and a spin-off of SUNY Polytechnic Institute - Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY PI - CNSE), has received a $250,000-investment from the Eastern New York Angels (ENYA) to accelerate commercialization of its technology and further build its workforce in New York State. With the funding provided by ENYA, BESSTECH has now raised more than $1.3 million from public and private sources and is on track to reach its investment target for 2015.

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GM investing $1B in Warren Technical Center

General Motors will invest $1 billion in its Warren Technical Center campus. The multiyear project, which is driving new construction on the campus, significant renovations of some existing facilities and expansion of some operations, begins this month with work continuing through 2018 at the National Historic Landmark site.

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BP selects Technip for the Thunder Horse South Expansion project in the ultra-deep Gulf of Mexico

BP Exploration & Production Inc. awarded Technip a lump sum project for the design, engineering, fabrication, installation and pre-commissioning of the new production pipeline systems on the south side of the Thunder Horse production drilling quarters unit. At a water depth of approximately 1,900 meters (6,234 feet), the current field development is located in Mississippi Canyon Blocks 778 and 822, in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico environment.

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ConocoPhillips converting 30 trucks to LPG this year, 300 more over next 5

ConocoPhillips will convert 30 trucks to propane autogas this year and replace more than 300 more trucks over the next five years with vehicles powered by propane fuel technology.

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GKN Aerospace leading £3.1M collaborative research to develop titanium powder for 3D printing of aerospace parts

GKN Aerospace will lead a three year, £3.1-million (US$4.9-million) collaborative research program to develop titanium powder specifically formulated and blended to meet the needs of additive manufacturing (AM) of aerospace components. The program, called TiPOW (Titanium Powder for net-shape component manufacture) will also commence work developing the techniques and equipment that will produce the powder consistently, in quantity and at a lower price than today’s material.

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DSD to reveal low cost 48V e-drive architecture concepts at CTI Symposium

May 13, 2015

Driveline engineering specialist Drive System Design (DSD) will introduce a new 48V e-drive systems concept for mild hybrid vehicles at the 9th International CTI Symposium later this month. Dr. John Reeve, DSD UK Chief Engineer, will present a paper entitled “A study of compact architectures using multiple 48V e-drives to create a low cost 30–45 kW full hybrid system.”

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Samsung SDI begins operations of new battery pack business; former Magna Steyr operation

May 12, 2015

Samsung SDI has officially commenced operations of Samsung SDI Battery Systems(SDIBS) in Graz, Austria. In February 2015, Samsung SDI entered into an agreement to acquire the battery pack business of Magna International, a leading global automotive supplier.

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First production of fuel-range liquid hydrocarbons from biological feedstock using the fermentative isobutene pathway

Global Bioenergies has successfully converted renewable resources first into gaseous isobutene via fermentation, which was then subsequently catalytically oligomerized into a mix of fuel-range liquid hydrocarbons, including iso-octane. In 2014, Global Bioenergies signed a collaboration agreement with Audi on the development of bio-isooctane—a high-performance drop-in biofuel for gasoline engines—derived from bio-isobutene. (Earlier post.)

Gaseous isobutene is one of the main building blocks of the petrochemical industry. Fifteen million tons of isobutene are derived each year from oil, and converted into fuels, plastics and elastomers. Global Bioenergies is developing and scaling up a synthetic biology process to produce isobutene from sugar, cereals, and agricultural or forestry waste instead.

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Trucking firm to pay California ARB $524,000 for air quality violations; highest fine to date for Truck and Bus Regulation

Randy’s Trucking Inc. will pay $524,675 to the California Air Resources Board for violating a variety of air quality regulations. The case is the largest yet settled for failure to comply with California’s Truck and Bus Regulation.

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Back to the Arctic: BOEM conditionally approves Shell’s revised Chukchi Sea exploration plan

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conditionally approved Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.’s revised multi-year Exploration Plan (EP) for the Chukchi Sea.

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Proper carbon accounting for biofuels

May 11, 2015

In a post—“When do biofuels really balance carbon?”—on his blog Cars and Climate, Dr. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan Energy Institute emphasizes again the importance of a rigorous examination of the common “biofuels recycle carbon” argument. (Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars selects South Carolina for its first US plant

Volvo Cars has selected South Carolina as the location of its new $500-million factory in the US. The new facility will have initial annual production of around 100,000 cars and be located in Berkeley County, close to Charleston.

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BMW anticipates next-gen Power eDrive PHEV platform will support about 80% of daily driving in all-electric mode

At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of BMW AG, Development, outlined the direction the company is taking with its next-generation Power eDrive plug-in hybrid electric vehicle platform (earlier post).

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Mercedes-Benz Actros wins more than 90% of 1000 fuel-consumption comparison tests in Europe in the Fuel Duel

Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks have won more than 90% of 1000 Fuel Duels in Europe. The “Fuel Duel” fuel-consumption comparison test of Mercedes-Benz Trucks takes place in 22 countries in Europe, with 90 Actros trucks are on the road—predominantly tractor units of models 1842 LS and 1845 LS with Euro VI emission control technology. The fuel consumption advantage over competitors is about 10.5% on average.

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Boeing 737 MAX LEAP-1B begins extensive flight test program; tracking to 14% more fuel efficiency

Boeing and CFM International successfully initiated flight testing of the LEAP-1B engine on April 29 on a modified 747 flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, Calif. The LEAP-1B is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE. (Earlier post.)

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Open source street legal EV, powered by hub motors

An open source project is building an all-electric street vehicle powered by hub motors. Target single-charge range for the Luka EV is 300 km (186 miles), with a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and a price below €20,000 (US$22,445).

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Michigan State researchers propose SI-HCCI transition strategy for HCCI-capable SI engine

May 10, 2015

A team at Michigan State University is proposing a new transition strategy for switching between spark ignition (SI) combustion and homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion for a transition boundary in which the engine speed is between 1100 and 2000 rpm and the corresponding load (indicated mean effective pressure, IMEP) is between 3.8 bar and 5.0 bar.

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Report: Toyota and Mazda heading toward partnership on green technologies

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor are negotiating a partnership on eco-friendly technology. According to the report, Toyota will supply fuel cell and plug-in-hybrid technology, while Mazda will offer its Skyactiv technologies.

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Volkswagen presents next gen W12 TSI; dual fuel injection, cylinder deactivation, start-stop

May 08, 2015

At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Friedrich Eichler, Head of Powertrain Development for the Volkswagen brand, presented the Volkswagen Group’s new top-end 6.0 liter W12 TSI, destined for the Group’s premium models.

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Hyundai Heavy Industries fuel-saving propeller attachment can reduce consumption up to 2.5%, save a 8,600 TEU ship about $750,000 per year

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the world’s biggest shipbuilder, is putting its fuel-saving propeller attachment Hi-FIN into service. The energy-saving device attached at the hub of the propeller generates countering swirls that offset the swirls generated by the propeller, and thus improves propulsion efficiency.

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First experimentally observed all-boron fullerene shows promise for hydrogen storage

Researchers from Soochow University in China report that the newly found B40—the first experimentally observed all-boron fullerene—when coated with 6 titanium atoms (Ti6B40) can store up to 34 hydrogen molecules, corresponding to a maximum gravimetric density of 8.7 wt%.

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California ARB releases concept paper for public review on reducing short-lived climate pollutants

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released, for public review, a concept paper to initiate discussion on the development of a Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy.

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Gallium nitride power switching semiconductor company GaN Systems raises $20M in Series C

GaN Systems Inc., a developer of gallium nitride power switching semiconductors, closed a $20-million Series C financing round. Cycle Capital Management led the round and was joined by BDC Capital and Beijing-based Tsing Capital, as well as existing investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and RockPort Capital.

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Audi partner TTTech acquires 35% of RT-RK; automotive electronics

TTTech, a technology leader in robust networked safety controls and partner of Audi (earlier post), announced a strategic partnership with RT-RK d.o.o., one of the leading IT engineering companies for real-time embedded systems in Central and Eastern Europe. RT-RK is a long standing engineering partner of TTTech, especially in the field of automotive electronics and industrial applications. TTTech is investing in RT-RK to acquire 35% of the company’s share capital. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

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Ricardo to support Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle on natural gas engine development for heavy duty trucks

May 07, 2015

DongFeng Commercial Vehicle Co., Ltd. (DFCV) has selected Ricardo to support further development of heavy-duty engines fueled by natural gas for the Chinese market.

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Johnson Controls and Lawrence Technological University partner on advanced automotive batteries

Johnson Controls is partnering with Lawrence Technological University (LTU) to test and to develop advanced battery systems in vehicles aimed at helping automakers meet increasing fuel economy and emissions standards. The two will unveil the new Johnson Controls Vehicle Engineering Systems Lab, including a dynamometer, in a ceremony tomorrow.

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Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD Chassis Cab now with CNG option

Chevrolet will expand its compressed natural gas lineup to include the bi-fuel 2016 Silverado 3500HD Chassis Cab, allowing drivers to operate the vehicle on CNG or gasoline. Bi-fuel will be available on the regular cab in both 2WD and 4WD drivetrains starting in the fourth quarter. The Silverado 3500HD Chassis Cab joins the bi-fuel Silverado 2500HD (review) and 3500HD and the dedicated CNG full-size Chevrolet Express and vans.

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Alaska Airlines to be Gevo’s commercial launch partner for renewable alcohol-based jet fuel

Gevo has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Alaska Airlines to purchase Gevo’s renewable jet fuel and fly the first commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ). (Earlier post.)

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Pacific Ethanol turns to Whitefox to reduce consumption of water, energy and emissions in production

Membrane specialist Whitefox has signed an agreement with California-based Pacific Ethanol, Inc. for the delivery of an industrial scale membrane system. The objective is to reduce the consumption of water, energy and emissions in the production of ethanol while increasing product output.

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$13.5M in EPA clean diesel grant funding available

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $13.5 million in grant funding to help governments and nonprofit organizations switch to cleaner diesel engines. Local governments, tribal agencies and nonprofits can win grants up to $2.14 million each.

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Toyota announces initial 8 California dealers for Mirai fuel cell vehicle

May 06, 2015

Toyota has announced the first 8 California dealers for the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which will arrive in the dealerships in October. Toyota is planning for Mirai US sales volume of approximately 3,000 units through 2017.

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Audi acquires stake in Cubic Telecom for connected vehicle work

Through its subsidiary Audi Electronics Venture GmbH (AEV), Audi has acquired a stake in the Irish mobile‑telephony provider, Cubic Telecom, a global forerunner in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. Together, Audi and Cubic Telecom intend to develop connectivity solutions for the automobiles of the Audi brand.

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Electrovaya subsidiary Litarion to supply Li-ion electrodes to Leclanché

Leclanché S.A. and Litarion GmbH, the newly wholly-owned subsidiary of Electrovaya (earlier post), have entered into a supply agreement for the manufacture and commercialization of Lithium-ion storage systems incorporating electrodes from Litarion.

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Agility Fuel Systems and Cummins announce strategic partnership and equity investment in Agility

Agility Fuel Systems, a designer and producer of natural gas fuel storage and delivery systems for heavy duty trucks and buses, and Cummins Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership intended to improve the natural gas vehicle user experience, and to drive adoption of natural gas as a vehicle fuel for the heavy duty truck and bus markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Cummins will also invest an undisclosed amount in Agility Fuel Systems’ equity.

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First batch of isobutene from renewable resources delivered to Arkema ahead of schedule

May 05, 2015

Global Bioenergies has delivered the first batch of isobutene from renewable resources to Arkema six months ahead of the projected schedule. (Earlier post.) The shipment of the first batch marks the integration of the entire production chain for the first time: wheat starch-derived glucose has been converted into gaseous isobutene by single-step fermentation, which has in turn been purified and liquefied, before being packaged in pressurized cylinders dedicated to the transport of industrial gases.

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Airborne measurements show ozone-forming VOCs emissions from ethanol plant higher than government estimates

New airborne measurements downwind from an Archer Daniels Midland fuel ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois, show that ethanol emissions are 30 times higher than government baseline estimates. The measurements also show emissions of all volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include ethanol, were five times higher than government numbers, which estimate emissions based on manufacturing information. VOCs and nitrogen oxides react with sunlight to form ground-level ozone, the main component of smog.

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Novozymes to supply enzymes to St1 Biofuels in Finland for cellulosic ethanol from sawdust

Novozymes will supply enzyme technology to a new biorefinery that will be built by St1 Biofuels in Kajaani, Finland. To be co-located at a sawmill site, the plant will be the first facility in the world to use sawdust from softwood as feedstock to produce cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. The process uses steam-explosion to open up the cellulosic structures of the sawdust, followed by enzymatic hydrolysis to extract the sugars for ethanol fermentation.

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Ford US sales up 5% in April; SUVs post an April record, hybrid sales down 31%

Ford Motor Company sales rose 5% in total US sales in April with 222,498 vehicles sold. Retail sales grew 7%, while fleet sales were up 1%—the company’s best April retail sales in nine years. Ford brand SUVs had a record-setting month—the company’s best April ever—with sales of 62,730 vehicles. This included record sales of the all-new Edge, up 78%, and Escape up 5%. Edge is now turning on dealer lots in just 10 days.

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Magna and Chongqing Xingqiaorui Automotive to form joint venture

Magna International Inc. and Chongqing Xingqiaorui have agreed to form a strategic joint venture in China. Under the terms of the agreement, Cosma International, Magna’s body and chassis operating unit, will hold a 53% stake in the JV, while Xingqiaorui will hold the remaining 47%. The transaction is expected to close in late 2015 or early 2016, subject to regulatory approvals.

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UMTRI: average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in US in April down 0.2 mpg to 25.2 mpg

May 04, 2015

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in April was 25.2 mpg—down 0.2 mpg from March, according to the monthly analysis by Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) . This drop likely reflects the increased proportion of pickup trucks and SUVs in the sales mix, they suggested. Fuel economy is down 0.6 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014.

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XL Hybrids introduces hybrid electric Ford Transit Van for the North American market

XL Hybrids, Inc. has adapted its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for the Ford Transit van—the first hybrid electric Transit van for the North American market. The XL3 system upfit will allow fleets to increase fuel economy and boost low-end torque.

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DOT updates National ITS Architecture and the Turbo Architecture software

The US Department of Transportation's Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office has updated the National ITS Architecture and the Turbo Architecture software to Version 7.1.

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Production Peugeot diesel sets new test circuit long-distance fuel economy record: 117.5 mpg US

A 1.6-liter BlueHDi 100 S&S PEUGEOT 208 has set a new long-distance fuel consumption record, under the supervision of the UTAC: 1,337.19 miles (2,152 kilometers) were covered on 9.45 gallons (43 liters) of Diesel, with an average fuel economy of 117.5 mpg US (2.0 l/100km).

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First aftertreatment technology for single-cylinder diesel driven pumpsets

BBA Pumps, a leading manufacturer of portable pumps equipment, has released the RF-system for PT150 wellpoint dewatering pumps. This aftertreatment technology includes a VERT certified Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC). It is specially designed for use with small single-cylinder diesel driven pumpsets with minimal engine load and low combustion temperatures.

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Bosch stereo video camera goes into series production; single-sensor solution for assistance systems

Bosch has developed a stereo video camera with which an emergency braking system can function based solely on camera data. Normally, this would require a radar sensor or a combination of radar and video sensors. Land Rover offers the stereo video camera together with the Bosch emergency braking system as standard in its new Discovery Sport. This system was developed in close collaboration between Bosch and Land Rover.

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Wärtsilä 50DF engine successfully demonstrates capability to operate on ethane gas

Wärtsilä announced that its 50DF marine engine has been successfully tested and certified to run on ethane (LEG) fuel. The extensive and successful testing program was carried out by Wärtsilä in close collaboration with Evergas, an owner and operator of seaborne petrochemical and liquid gas transport vessels.

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Alternative Fuel Vehicle registrations in Europe up 28.8% in first quarter

In the first quarter of 2015, total alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) registrations in the EU significantly increased (+28.8 %), totaling 144,421, according to figures from the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). Of these, electric vehicles (EVs) saw their registrations more than double, rising from 11,304 units in Q1 2014 to 24,630 units in Q1 2015 (+117.9%). The electric vehicle category include battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.

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2016 Chevy Volt to start at $33,995 MSRP

May 03, 2015

Pricing for the 2016 Chverolet Volt (earlier post) will start at $33,995 MSRP, including an $825 destination fee (excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees). This is almost $1,200 less than the current-generation Volt.

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DOT issues final rule on transportation of flammable liquids by rail

May 02, 2015

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The final rule, developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in coordination with Canada, focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate consequences in the event of an accident, and support emergency response.

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Extending low-load limit of HCCI through adjusting two fuel injection parameters

May 01, 2015

A team comprising researchers from GM R&D, the University of Michigan, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, Volvo Car Corporation and Stony Brook University reports in a paper in the International Journal of Engine Research that an optimal adjustment of two fuel injection parameters— injection pressure and spray cone angle—can significantly extend the low-load limit of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) through a delayed fuel injection strategy.

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More Tesla stationary ESS partnerships: Cargill and PG&E, LichtBlick

Following last night’s unveiling of Tesla Motors’ new lineup of stationary energy storage systems (earlier post), more early partners and pilots are emerging. (Earlier post.)

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EnerNOC and Tesla to collaborate on stationary energy storage

EnerNOC, Inc., a provider of energy intelligence software (EIS), will collaborate with Tesla on the deployment and management of energy storage systems in commercial and industrial buildings. Tesla announced its PowerWall line of stationary Li-ion battery storage systems last night. (Earlier post.)

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Albemarle to introduce new STARS advanced hydrocracking pre-treat catalyst

Specialty chemicals company Albemarle will further strengthen its position in the hydrocracking pre-treat (HC-PT) market by unveiling a new advanced catalyst as part of its portfolio of high-activity STARS catalysts. Along with its Hydroprocessing Alliance partner UOP, Albemarle is in the final stages of pilot plant testing, and global rollout is expected in the second half of 2015.

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Allison Transmission introduces more fuel-efficient xFE transmission models for buses; up to 7% improvement

Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. announced a new series of bus transmissions that incorporate the latest advances in fuel economy technology. Referred to as xFE, designating extra fuel economy, the fully automatic bus transmissions have demonstrated improvements up to 7% in addition to the company’s FuelSense features.

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