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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.]

Xerox and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to work together on Intelligent Transport System projects

October 07, 2015

At the ITS World Congress and Exhibition, Xerox and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore, globally, on a case-by-case basis, potential joint Intelligent Transport System (ITS) opportunities.

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Audi testing gaming technology for gesture control for virtual assembly; Myo and Kinect

October 06, 2015

Before Audi produces the first prototypes of a new car, engineers in the Pre Series Center check individual assembly steps in a 3D projection in a CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE). The engineers assemble components virtually, thus determining whether this process is feasible and ergonomic for the employees on the production line. As part of a pilot project, the engineers are now—for the first time—moving the components in the virtual space using simple gestures.

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Parker hydraulic hybrid outperforms proposed Phase 2 regs for heavy-duty trucks; average 43% reduction in fuel consumption in refuse fleet

Parker Hannifin Corporation announced that itsRunWise Hydraulic Hybrid Drive Transmission (earlier post) fulfills proposed Phase 2 fuel-economy and GHG standards, unveiled in mid-June by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (earlier post). The new standards call for large diesel-powered vehicles such as refuse trucks manufactured from 2021-2027 to use 16 to 24 percent less fuel depending on their size by 2027.

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Argonne opens new collaborative centers for energy storage and nanotechnology

Argonne National Laboratory has opened two new collaborative centers—one for energy storage, the other for nanotechnology—that provide an pathway for business and industry to access Argonne’s scientific resources.

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FTS second-life application for used EV batteries: energy buffer for charging

UK-based Future Transport Systems (FTS) has developed, with support from Ricardo, an energy buffer system using second-life EV batteries for charging stations. The FTS E-STOR concept provides improved functionality for the EV driver while also reducing peak demand on the distribution network.

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Natural gas plug-in hybrid Class 4 logistics truck with EDI drive system

Hybrid and electric drivertrain provider Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), in partnership with Greenkraft, CALSTART and the California Energy Commission, has designed and optimized a compressed natural gas and plug-in hybrid electric Class-4 logistics truck. The truck is being officially unveiled at a voice of the customer event hosted by CALSTART at the Southern California Gas Energy Resource Center today.

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BNEF: wind and solar boost cost-competitiveness versus fossil fuels

This year has brought a significant shift in the generating cost comparison between renewable energy and fossil fuels, according to detailed analysis by technology and region, published this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The levelized cost of electricity analysis for H2 2015 shows onshore wind to be fully competitive against gas and coal in some parts of the world, while solar is closing the gap.

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Altia and Renesas Electronics’ RH850/D1x MCU selected for global production instrument cluster program

Altia, a leading provider of graphical user interface design and development tools, announced that its code generator, combined with Renesas Electronics’ RH850/D1M Group of automotive microcontrollers (MCUs), has been selected as the platform for a worldwide automotive program with expected shipments of more than two million units.

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Volvo Cars reveals user interface for self-driving cars: IntelliSafe Auto Pilot

October 05, 2015

Volvo Cars has revealed the user interface for drivers to transfer control to a car’s autonomous driving (AD) mode in its forthcoming cars. Volvo Cars designed its IntelliSafe Auto Pilot to be simple and intuitive; autonomous mode is activated and deactivated with specially-designed paddles on the steering wheel.

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UMTRI: average US new vehicle fuel economy drops in September

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in September was 25.2 mpg (9.33 l/100 km), down 0.1 mpg from August, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in September, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, they suggested.

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First public hydrogen station in Belgium to be located on Toyota land leased to Air Liquide

Construction has started on the first public hydrogen station in Belgium, to be operated by Air Liquide. The hydrogen station (700 bar to the vehicle) will be open to the public by mid-2016, and will be built, maintained and operated by Air Liquide on Toyota land adjacent to the R&D Technical and Training Centers of Toyota Motor Europe (TME) in Zaventem. TME is granting the right to use the land for free over a period of 20 years.

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Tesla delivered 11,580 vehicles in Q3 of 2015

October 04, 2015

Tesla Motors reported delivering 11,580 vehicles in the third quarter of 2015, including the first few units of Model X. Despite one week of planned production shutdown, this delivery level represents a 49% increase over Q3 last year as well as the sixth consecutive quarter of growth.

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Daimler, Linde and TOTAL open fifth hydrogen filling station in Baden-Württemberg

October 03, 2015

Daimler, Linde and TOTAL are continuing their joint plans for the expansion of the German hydrogen infrastructure with the opening of a fifth hydrogen refueling station in Baden-Württemberg. This follows on the openings at the Geiselwind motorway service area—the first H2 filling station on the autobahn—and at two locations in Berlin. More hydrogen filling stations will follow in the months ahead.

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Argonne releases latest updates to GREET life-cycle analysis models

The Argonne National Laboratory’s Systems Assessment Group has released GREET 2015 models and associated reports. GREET (The Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model) is a full life-cycle model used to evaluate and compare the environmental impacts of new transportation fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. This release includes the following expansions and updates:

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Audi begins providing individual customer information on vehicles affected by emissions testing cheat

October 02, 2015

Audi has implemented a feature on its national Audi websites that will allow a customer to enter his or her Audi’s VIN number to determine whether or not that particular Audi has the software defeat device for emissions testing. The functionality is now available in Germany on; Audi will roll it out in the coming week to its other worldwide markets.

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IBM Research paves way for post-silicon future with carbon nanotube electronics

IBM Research announced an engineering breakthrough that could accelerate the replacement of silicon transistors by carbon nanotubes to power future computing technologies. IBM scientists demonstrated a new way to shrink transistor contacts without reducing performance of carbon nanotube devices, opening a pathway to faster, smaller and more powerful computer chips beyond the capabilities of traditional semiconductors. The results are reported in the journal Science.

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Ford launches first Focus Electric ad

Almost 4 years after the car’s market introduction (December 2011) and after selling some 5,500 units, Ford has launched its first Focus Electric ad.

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ITM Power, Symbio FCell and Arcola Energy partner to provide integrated package of fuel cell vehicles, fueling and support to UK fleet operators

October 01, 2015

ITM Power has signed an agreement with Symbio FCell and Arcola Energy to provide an integrated package of fuel-cell-based commercial vehicles, on-site fuel and after-sales support for UK commercial fleet operators. The agreement is to work together to provide fleet customers with the assurance of a one-stop complete solution including preparation, insurance, site approvals, vehicle registration and staff training.

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Barley straw shows potential as feedstock for biobutanol

The hemicellulose sugars of barley straw can be effectively fermented into biobutanol, when starch is added during the pre-treatment or fermentation process, according to a new University of Eastern Finland study.

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Joule achieves US EPA registration for CO2-recycled ethanol

Joule, the developer of a direct, single-step, continuous process for the production of solar hydrocarbon fuels using engineered cyanobacteria, announced that its fuel-grade Sunflow-E ethanol has been registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercial use in E10 and E15 gasoline blends.

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Fuel cell company Intelligent Energy extends development program with existing Asian automotive customer

September 30, 2015

Fuel cell technology company Intelligent Energy has extended its joint development program with one of its existing Asian automotive OEM customers. The new contract is worth around £6.5 million (US$10 million) and is expected to last for approximately two and a half years.

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California ARB releases draft plan to cut short-lived climate pollutants

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. The draft strategy describes proposed actions the State will take to move forward aggressively to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs).

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Drayson Technologies introduces RF energy harvesting technology Freevolt; first application in air quality monitor

Lord Drayson, CEO and Chairman of Drayson Technologies, introduced Freevolt: an energy harvesting technology that turns ambient radio frequency waves (RF) into usable electricity to charge low-power electronic devices. The patent-pending technology was developed by an international team from Drayson Technologies and Imperial College London.

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Autoliv joins Volvo Cars’ Drive Me autonomous driving trial

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, and Autoliv, the automotive safety technology company, two of the world’s leaders in automotive safety, have agreed to work together on the Drive Me large-scale autonomous driving (AD) initiative. Drive Me involves 100 self-driving Volvos being used by families and commuters on public roads in everyday driving conditions in the Swedish city of Gothenburg—the first time AD cars are being made available to members of the public for daily use.

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Honda to highlight new FCV, NSX hybrid, NEOWING hybrid, production model of Odyssey Hybrid at Tokyo Motor Show

At the upcoming 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Honda will showcase its all-new fuel cell vehicle—tentatively being called the FCV&mdash NSX hybrid supercar, and NEOWING three-wheeler hybrid, as well as stage the Japan premiere of the all-new Civic Type R and the planned production model of the Odyssey Hybrid equipped with the further advanced SPORT HYBRID-iMMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) system.

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EPA updates air pollution standards for petroleum refineries; fenceline monitoring

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated air pollution standards to further control toxic air emissions from petroleum refineries. The rule requires first-of-its-kind fenceline monitoring to better protect and inform nearby communities, while also strengthening emission controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks, and delayed coker operations that will reduce thousands of tons of hazardous air pollutants.

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Denise Gray to become CEO of Li-ion battery supplier LG Chem Power

September 29, 2015

LG Chem Power Inc. (LGCPI), announced that Prabhakar Patil, who has served as the CEO for 10 years, will retire effective tomorrow. He will be succeeded by Denise Gray starting 1 October. Gray was the Director of Global Battery Systems Engineering at General Motors, where her team successfully developed and launched the lithium-ion battery system used in the original Chevrolet Volt, working closely with the LG Chem team. The Volt uses LG Chem battery cells produced at the company’s plant in Holland, Michigan.

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Mercedes-Benz delivers first Econic Euro VI with natural gas drive

Mercedes-Benz has delivered the first Euro VI-compliant Econic NGT (Natural Gas Technology) to Vienna International Airport. The natural-gas-powered truck will operate as a catering truck equipped with a lifting mechanism manufactured by Doll.

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PNNL team details role of NOx in formation of urban brown haze

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have detailed the role of NOx in the formation of the brown haze that hovers over cities on sunny days. A paper on their work was published recently in the RSC journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

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New $20M XPRIZE tackles conversion of CO2 into products

XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis competition the $20-million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a competition to address CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Teams are challenged to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most CO2 into one or more products with the highest net value. Co-sponsored by NRG and COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance), the 4-½ year competition will include two tracks, with the new technologies tested at either a coal power plant or a natural gas facility.

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Park24 and Toyota to expand Tokyo car sharing service trial

Starting next month, Park24 Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation will expand the scope and scale of their joint car sharing service trial in central Tokyo. (Earlier post.) In addition to continuing to use the Toyota i-Road, the service will now also make use of the COMS, a super-compact electric vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body.

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Shell backs out of Alaska for foreseeable future with financial hit

Shell announced on Monday that it will cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. The company said the decision reflects the results from Burger J exploration well located in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea; the high costs associated with the project; and the “challenging and unpredictable” federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.

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German public prosecutor opens investigation of Dr. Winterkorn in exhaust scandal

September 28, 2015

The Center for Economic Criminal Matters (Zentralstelle für Wirtschaftsstrafsachen) of the German public prosecutor in Braunschweig (Staatsanwaltschaft Braunschweig) has begun an investigation of Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen AG, over the VW exhaust affair (“VW-Abgasaffäre”).

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Dongfeng and Renault agree to produce EV based on Fluence Z.E. for China

As part of the Joint Venture between Dongfeng and Renault—Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company (DRAC)—DRAC will produce an electric vehicle that is based on the Fluence Z.E. The electric car will be produced at the Wuhan plant in 2017 and will be commercialized under a local Dongfeng brand for the Chinese market only.

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Ballard signs $6M deal in China for fuel cell-powered trams; new 200 kW configuration

Ballard Power Systems has signed a joint development agreement and a supply agreement to develop and commercialize a fuel cell module specifically designed for integration into low floor trams manufactured by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Company, Ltd. (CRRC Sifang), a Chinese rolling stock manufacturer. The agreements include 2016 delivery of 10 customized FCvelocity modules and the agreements have an initial value expected to be approximately $6 million.

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VW Passat GTE plug-in hybrid goes on sale in Germany starting at €44,250

The Volkswagen Passat GTE plug-in hybrid (earlier post) is now on sale, starting at €44,250 (US$49,000) for the sedan, €45,250 (US$51,000) for the wagon.

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Nitrogen-doped porous hollow carbon sphere-decorated separators enhance performance of Li-S batteries

Researchers from Central South University in Changsha, China, have developed a separator with a nitrogen-doped porous hollow carbon sphere (NHC) coating for use in Li-S batteries. The NHC-decorated separator enormously improves the utilization of active material and enhances electrochemical performance.

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NanoSteel BLDRmetal powders for binder jet 3D printing; bringing hard metals into additive manufacturing

Nano-structured steel materials design company NanoSteel (earlier post) introduced its first powders designed for the binder jet 3D printing process and its initial commercial application in additive manufacturing. These materials, BLDRmetal J-10 and BLDRmetal J-11, enable the 3D printing of components for highly abrasive environments that can benefit from additive manufacturing’s ability to eliminate tooling, create advanced geometries, and build custom parts on demand.

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Audi expands connected services offerings

Audi is broadening its range of online services with the new Audi connect offerings myCarManager and myService. These allow the customer to control specific functions remotely by smartphone or arrange a service appointment online, for example. The new services bring enhanced convenience and security, and are available immediately for the Audi Q7 and the new A4 model line.

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Volvo/KPMG analysis finds cities could save millions with electric buses instead of diesel

September 26, 2015

A city with half a million inhabitants would save about SEK 100 million (US$12 million) per year if the city’s buses ran on electricity instead of diesel, according to an analysis conducted in collaboration between the Volvo Group and the audit and advisory firm KPMG. The analysis has taken into consideration such factors as noise, travel time, emissions, energy use, taxes and the use of natural resources.

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Daimler denies DUH charges of emissions data rigging, says evaluating legal options

September 25, 2015

In response to charges from environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe ( ) that it had rigged emissions data, Daimler “sharplydenied the allegations and said that it was evaluating legal options pertaining to the approach taken and the public assertions made by the DUH.

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New 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty features all-aluminum body

September 24, 2015

Ford has introduced the new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks. Following the lead of the F-150, the new F-Series Super Duty pickup truck and chassis cab feature an all-new, fully boxed frame built with more than 95% high-strength steel and a segment-first, high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body.

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Navigant forecasts global carsharing revenue to grow to $6.5B in 2024

September 23, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global carsharing services revenue will grow from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $6.5 billion in 2024. The Asia Pacific region will take the largest share at 34%. Europe will follow with an estimated 32% of the total. Carsharing services revenue in North America is expected to drop to just 23% of the global total by 2024.

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Government of Canada opens an investigation into Volkswagen’s use of defeat devices to circumvent emissions regulations

The Government of Canada is opening its own investigation into the Volkswagen Group’s use of a software defeat device to circumvent EPA standards for NOx. Canada’s emissions standards are in alignment with EPA’s.

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Franco-Swiss team proposes starting mechanism for methanol-to-olefins reaction

The methanol-to-olefin (MTO) process, first developed in the 1970s, converts methanol or dimethyl ether into olefins on acidic zeolites. However, the site and mechanism of formation of the first carbon–carbon bond are still a matter of debate. A team of scientists at ETH Zurich and ENS Lyon now says that it has worked out in detail how the MTO reaction begins. A paper on their work is published in the journal ACS Central Science.

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PwC: Chinese automotive market decelerating faster than anticipated

The automotive market in China is declining faster than expected due to economic uncertainty and government restrictions over vehicle ownership. Although automakers have had to slash prices in an effort to cut full inventory levels in the near term, the future in China may still hold promise if adjustments are made to automakers’ strategies, according to PwC in its September Autofacts Analyst Note.

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BASF expands range of engineering plastics for hybrid and electric vehicles; high-voltage connectors

September 22, 2015

BASF is expanding its range of engineering plastics for the dynamic market of electric and hybrid vehicles. Tailor-made Ultramid and Ultradur materials are now available globally for equipping vehicle-interior and -exterior high-voltage plug-in connectors with precisely fitting characteristics.

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Siemens aims to be climate neutral by 2030; 50% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020

Siemens aims to be the world’s first major industrial company to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. The company plans to cut its CO2 emissions—which currently total about 2.2 million metric tons a year—in half by as early as 2020. To achieve these goals, Siemens will invest some €100 million (US$112 million) over the next three years in order to reduce the energy footprint of its production facilities and buildings.

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Novozymes launches new enzyme for ethanol producers that reduces use of chemicals and saves costs

Novozymes has introduced a new enzyme for ethanol producers that will reduce their use of chemicals without sacrificing yield. Liquozyme LpH is an alpha-amylase effective at low pH that thins the mash by breaking down starch into shorter dextrin chains. A more fluid mash ensures more efficient operational performance for ethanol producers running their production at low pH.

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BorgWarner delivers advanced technologies for new GM 8-speed transmission; stop-start

BorgWarner supplies Eco-Launch stop/start accumulator technology and multi-segment wet friction plates for the new 8-speed rear-wheel drive automatic transmission (8L45) from General Motors. To enable the transmission’s stop/start functionality, BorgWarner’s Eco-Launch hydraulic accumulator and solenoid valve provide rapid, quiet and smooth engagements during engine restarts.

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NSF awarding $81M to 16 sites for new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI)

September 21, 2015

To advance research in nanoscale science, engineering and technology, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide a total of $81 million over five years to support 16 sites and a coordinating office as part of a new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI).

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Chargepoint Home PEV charger on sale via Amazon

ChargePoint’s Home residential plug-in vehicle (PEV) networked charging station is now available for order on Amazon, priced from $499 to $749. The compact, thin Home charger has a footprint of just 11.2" x 7". With the networked station, drivers can:

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SEMPEED (Simulation of Electrical Machines, Power Electronics and Electrical Drives) Consortium launches

Motor Design Ltd (MDL) announced the official launch of the SEMPEED Consortium (Simulation of Electrical Machines, Power Electronics and Electrical Drives) which is for academic collaborators and industrial members. The consortium is inspired by the legacy of the former SPEED Consortium, to which Dr. David Staton and Dr. Mircea Popescu of MDL were key contributors for many years. SEMPEED aims to further the science of electric machine design, software, research and training.

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The first subsea gas compression plant in the world goes on line; step change in subsea technology

September 19, 2015

Statoil and its partners this week put the first subsea gas compression facility on line at Åsgard in the Norwegian Sea. Subsea compression will add some 306 million barrels of oil equivalent to total output over the field’s life, the partners said. This subsea technology milestone opens new opportunities in deeper waters, and in areas far from shore.

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Mercedes-Benz investing $1.3B to boost SUV production in US

September 18, 2015

Mercedes-Benz will invest $1.3 billion to expand SUV production in the US and turn the Mercedes-Benz plant Tuscaloosa into a high-tech location. The Mercedes-Benz plant Tuscaloosa will also assemble the next SUV generations including the hybrid versions.

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ITM Power to deploy solar-powered hydrogen refueling station at CEME; wind-powered public H2 station opens in South Yorkshire

UK-based ITM Power signed an agreement with The Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) to deploy a Hydrogen Refueling Station (HRS) at the CEME site in Rainham, UK. ITM Power also just opened the first public access hydrogen refueling station, funded by InnovateUK, at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire.

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High-energy density Li-ion company Enevate raises $30M; novel silicon-dominant anode

Enevate Corporation, the developer of high energy density Li-ion batteries featuring a new Silicon-dominant composite anode material (earlier post) a technology leader in Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, has secured $30 million in extended Series-B funding. The funding was led by Infinite Potential Technologies, Tsing Capital and Mission Ventures with participation by Presidio Ventures—a Sumitomo Corporation company.

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New Ford smartwatch apps allow EV owners to check status from their wrist

Drivers of Ford electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles ( Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi) can now access their battery charge status, unlock their doors and get a driving score from their last trip with the MyFord Mobile application for smartwatches.

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Lawrence Livermore, RPI partner to promote industry adoption of supercomputing

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to partner to help US industry and businesses expand use of high performance computing (HPC). Scientific and engineering software applications capable of running on HPC platforms are a prime area of interest.

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Southern Company commissions 1 MW/2 MWh grid energy storage system from LG Chem

A 1 megawatt (MW)/2 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy system powered by LG Chem batteries has been commissioned for Southern Company and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) at a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Southeastern region of the US.

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EV Connect launches first EV charging-as-a-service

September 17, 2015

EV Connect, a provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions, announced the first “EV Charging-as-a-Service” or “EV CaaS”, to cut up-front costs and simplify the process for purchasing and installing EV charging station infrastructure by turning the purchase decision from a capital expenditure to an operating expense.

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DOE awards $22M to support next generation electric machines for manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $22 million in funding for five projects aimed at merging wide-bandgap (WBG) technology with advancements for large-scale motors to increase energy efficiency in high-energy consuming industries, products and processes, such as the transportation of fossil fuels and industrial-scale compression systems. These projects, funded through the Next Generation Electric Machines funding opportunity, could cut energy waste by as much as 30%.

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CFBP and Global Bioenergies: success of tests on including renewable isobutene in domestic bottled gas

The Comité Français du Butane et du Propane (CFBP), the industry organization representing gas supply distribution companies Antargaz, Butagaz Finagaz, Primagaz, Vitogaz and Campingaz, together with Global Bioenergies, a company developing a processes to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation (earlier post), have formed a partnership to incorporate renewable isobutene in commercial butane.

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Tenneco’s gasoline particulate filter technology ready to meet Euro 6c

September 16, 2015

Tenneco introduced its oval-shaped gasoline particulate filter design at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show . The filters are designed for gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines to reduce particulate emissions in compliance with the Euro 6c emissions regulations, which take effect on 1 September 2017.

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Tenneco introduces latest generation of electronically controlled valves for LP EGR

Tenneco unveiled its latest generation of electronically controlled valves at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The valves, which are designed to support low pressure exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for diesel engines and acoustic tuning for gasoline engines, feature a new modular design which offers vehicle manufacturers custom flexibility and adaptability for any engine architecture.

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New IBM cloud service for connected vehicles

IBM is introducing a new IBM Cloud-based service to help automakers turn driver and vehicle data into actionable insights for predictive vehicle maintenance, real-time diagnostics on engine trouble,and to guide drivers to the most efficient traffic routes.

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Samsung SDI highlights Li-ion automotive batteries at Frankfurt

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Samsung SDI is showcasing its EV battery business as well as its automobile material business and SDIBS (SDI Battery systems), and battery pack development business undertaken from Magna this past May. Samsung SDI is the only major global battery manufacturer participating in the show; Audi recently announced (earlier post) it would use Samsung SDI cells (as well as LG Chem cells) for the production version of its e-tron quattro electric SUV. (Earlier post.)

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Ford, Alcoa collaborate on more formable and design-friendly next-generation aluminum alloys; Micromill

September 15, 2015

Ford Motor Company and Alcoa Inc. are collaborating to produce next-generation automotive aluminum alloys that are more formable and design-friendly. Ford will use Alcoa’s Micromill material (earlier post) in multiple components on the 2016 F-150, becoming the first automaker to use the advanced automotive aluminum commercially. The companies entered into a joint development agreement to collaborate on next-generation aluminum alloys for automotive parts using Micromill technology.

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Algenol to distribute algae-derived ethanol commercially

Offering ethanol made from algae for the first time commercially, Algenol Biotech LLC and Protec Fuel Management, LLC have entered into an agreement to market and distribute ethanol from Algenol’s Fort Myers, Fla., commercial demonstration module. The two will also offer Algenol’s future 18 million gallons per year from its commercial plant, which is planned for development in Central Florida in 2016 and 2017.

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Electrovaya to deliver portable 500 kW battery grid storage system to Con Edison

September 14, 2015

Electrovaya, under New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy, will design, build and deliver a 500 kW lithium-ion battery system to add energy resilience and efficiency to electric grid. The advanced Transportable Energy Storage System (TESS) is an adoption of Electrovaya’s standard stationary energy storage system. The system will be designed to meet Con Edison’s requirements and ultimately be utilized for grid support and as an alternative to the standard mobile diesel systems.

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ams AG introduces reference board for 48V automotive battery monitoring system

ams AG, a leading provider of high performance sensors and analog ICs, has introduced launched a reference board for a small, high-performance and simple 48V automotive battery monitoring system.

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Lux Research puts Infineon at the lead in the power electronics industry on innovation and execution

After benchmarking 12 leading power electronics companies on performance and execution, Lux Research has concluded that Infineon is a “clear winner” on both metrics.

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Interim assessment finds Volkswagen’s “Think Blue. Factory.” program reduced resource consumption by average 24.3% since 2011

September 13, 2015

Volkswagen reports that it is on track with its “Think Blue. Factory.” environmental program: since 2011, the consumption of resources in vehicle production has been reduced by an average of 24.3% (Earlier post.) To achieve that, Volkswagen has successfully implemented more than 3,400 environmental measures and projects in production at its plants throughout the world. This was the interim assessment of 350 environmental experts from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, the Components business area and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at the fourth “Think Blue. Factory.” day in Wolfsburg. Participants at the annual conference also discussed new targets for the future of vehicle production at Volkswagen.

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UMD researchers receive funding to develop onboard fast-charging system for electric vehicles

September 12, 2015

Professor Alireza Khaligh and and Professor Patrick McCluskey at the University of Maryland Energy Research Center have received a three-year Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) valued at $460K from the National Science Foundation. Their project, "Integrated On-Board Universal SiC-based Fast Charging for Plug-In Electric Vehicles centers on the design of an integrated, universal on-board fast charger compatible with all charging levels.

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USDA announces state finalists for $100M Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership for pumps with higher ethanol blends

September 11, 2015

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that 21 states will receive $100 million in grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to add infrastructure needed to supply more renewable fuel to drivers in the US.

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BMW lays cornerstone for new Lightweight Design Center at Landshut

September 10, 2015

BMW held a cornerstone-laying ceremony for its new Lightweight Design Center at BMW’s Landshut site. Some 160 engineers will research innovative materials and manufacturing processes for future vehicle, starting at the end of 2016. BMW is investing about €20 million (US$22 million) in the center.

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ITM Power to site three Hydrogen Refueling Stations on Shell retail forecourts in UK

ITM Power has signed a strategic siting partnership with Shell for the delivery of Hydrogen Refueling Stations (HRS) on three Shell retail forecourts in the UK. These three HRS deployments will be the first to be integrated onto forecourts in the UK.

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Audi donating €1 million in emergency aid for refugees in Europe

Audi is providing €1 million (US$1.1 million) in emergency aid available for refugees in Europe. The company is using the funds to support aid initiatives at its production sites in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Brussels and Győr.

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Peak emissions at London Paddington rail station worse than road-side equivalents

Peak-time emissions from diesel trains at London’s Paddington Station exceed the European recommendations for outdoor air quality, and are higher than nearby roadsides on the majority of days, according to a new study published as an open access paper in the IOP journal Environmental Research Letters.

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TM4 introducing new controller for electric and hybrid vehicles

TM4 is launching a new fully programmable controller—TM4 NEURO 200—designed specifically for electric and hybrid vehicles. Engineered according to ISO26262 principles for the latest safety and quality standards, it enables the development of multiple control features by interacting closely with the man-machine interface, traction system and other components.

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Intelligent Energy showcasing fuel cell range-extended light commercial vehicle at LCV2015

September 09, 2015

Fuel cell technology provider Intelligent Energy is displaying and demonstrating a fuel-cell range-extended electric light commercial development vehicle at LCV2015 in the UK. The prototype ZERE (Zero Emissions Range Extender) van is the first stage in an on-going UK consortium project that is supported by funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to develop a new class of range-extended commercial vehicle.

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ANSYS and Cray set new supercomputer simulation record; 4x last record

Simulation software provider ANSYS and Cray Inc., working in conjunction with two supercomputing centers—the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)—have toppled the previous simulation world record by scaling ANSYS Fluent to 129,000 compute cores, nearly 4x the previous record of 36,000 cores (achieved less than a year ago with NCSA). The speed and power enables organizations to create complete virtual prototypes of their products.

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Enerkem has raised C$152.6M, starts waste-to-biomethanol production

Canada-based Enerkem Inc., a waste-to-biofuels and chemicals producer, has raised C$152.6 million (US$115 million) and has initiated the production of biomethanol from non-recyclable household garbage at the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels full-scale facility in Edmonton, Canada.

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DOE awards MSU $5M to study how biofuel crops acquire nitrogen; potential to reduce fertilizer use

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Michigan State University a $5-million grant to study how biofuel crops acquire nitrogen, insights that could help maximize yields while minimizing fertilizer use.

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Single-step solar-driven conversion of starch to ethanol with no additional energy input

Researchers led by a team from Bar-Ilan University in Israel have designed a solar reactor for the solar-driven conversion of starch to bioethanol in a single step, with no additional energy input. They describe their work in a paper in the journal ChemSusChem.

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AT&T’s first vehicle OBD-plug-in Wi-Fi hotspot ZTE Mobley connects up to 5 devices

AT&T and ZTE USA are now offering the ZTE Mobley, AT&T’s first plug-in vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot, starting 11 Sept., in AT&T stores and online at The ZTE Mobley allows up to five devices to connect to the internet.

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Volvo Buses unveiling Volvo 7900 Electric bus at Busworld in October

September 08, 2015

When Volvo Buses participates in the Busworld exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium in October, the company will unveil the Volvo 7900 Electric—Volvo’s first series-produced electric bus under its own brand.

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Toyota Tsusho becomes official partner for EFOY Pro direct methanol fuel cells in Japan

SFC Energy AG, a provider of hybrid power solutions to the stationary and mobile power generation markets, has signed a new partner agreement with Toyota Tsusho Corporation through which Toyota Tsusho will become an official representative of SFC in Japan. A first order of EFOY Pro direct methanol fuel cells has already been shipped for sale by Toyota Tsusho in Japan.

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Dacia introduces Easy-R automated manual transmission

For the first time, Renault Group’s Dacia is introducing an automated manual transmission called ‘Easy-R’. Mated to the TCe 90 engine, which is also equipped with Stop & Start, this five-speed gearbox will provide the convenience of a gearbox without a clutch pedal. Easy-R will become available for the Logan, Logan MCV, Sandero and Sandero Stepway before the end of the year (depending on market).

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GM retail sales in China in 1st 8 months of 2015 up 2.3%; down 4.8% in August

September 07, 2015

General Motors and its joint ventures had record retail sales of 2,197,192 vehicles in China during the first eight months of 2015, up 2.3% from the same period a year earlier. The increase was driven by successful new product launches and an improved mix of SUVs and MPVs. In August, however, domestic sales by GM and its joint ventures declined 4.8% to 248,815 vehicles, owing to softness in the overall vehicle market.

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Volkswagen Group inaugurates its own engine plant in Russia

September 05, 2015

Following three years of construction, the Volkswagen Group today inaugurated its new engine plant at Kaluga, Russia. The plant will produce the newly developed 1.6-liter EA211 gasoline engine—the most modern engine technology of the Volkswagen Group.

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Audi introduces new top end diesel SQ5 TDI plus; 340 hp, 35.6 mpg

September 04, 2015

Audi is further expanding its range of S models, with the new SQ5 TDI plus arriving at German dealerships in October. The 3.0L biturbo V6 TDI diesel produces 250 kW (340 hp) by way of increased injection pressure, resulting in 20 kW/27 hp more power compared to the SQ5 TDI. Peak torque is increased by 50 (36.9 lb-ft) to 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft).

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Mazda and Sollers sign memorandum of understanding aimed at establishing engine plant at Vladivostok JV

Mazda Motor Corporation and OJSC Sollers have agreed with the Government of the Russian Federation to begin assessing the establishment of an engine production plant at their joint venture Mazda Sollers Manufacturing Rus (MSMR), located in Vladivostok in the Primorsky region of Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District, and signed an memorandum of understanding to that affect.

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Toshiba catalyst for efficient direct solar conversion of CO2 into ethylene glycol

Toshiba has developed a prototype of a highly efficient molecular catalyst that converts carbon dioxide into ethylene glycol, a useful industrial raw material, without producing other and unwanted by-products. The new catalyst can be used in artificial photosynthesis powered by solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbon compounds.

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Bosch developing a cloud-based wrong-way driver warning; production in 2016

Bosch is developing a new cloud-based solution that quickly alerts drivers—within 10 seconds or so—to the presence of a wrong-way driver. Wrong-way driver incidents—some 2,000 warnings about these are broadcast on German radio alone each year—can lead to serious accidents. According to statistics, nearly every third of such incidents end—fatally, in the worst case—before the vehicle has traveled just 500 meters. However, it takes several minutes for warnings to be broadcast over the radio, by which time it can be too late.

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FRA to award up to $10M for states to improve highway-rail crossings & track along energy routes

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is soliciting applications for $10 million in competitive grant funding available to states to improve highway-rail grade crossings and track along routes that transport energy products such as crude oil and ethanol. The guidelines for the grant applications set by the FRA encourage states to include innovative solutions to improve safety, especially at highway-rail grade crossings. The funding is part of the Railroad Safety grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.

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Daimler and Renault-Nissan Alliance break ground for new joint venture plant in Mexico

September 03, 2015

Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance broke ground for their joint-venture manufacturing complex, COMPAS (Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes), in Aguascalientes in central Mexico, which will build next-generation premium compact vehicles for the brands Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti.

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Proterra extended range electric bus delivers 258 miles on one charge of 257 kWh pack

A Proterra 40-foot Catalyst XR (extended range) electric bus drove 258 miles (415 miles) on a single charge under test conditions at Michelin’s Laurens Proving Grounds (LPG). The Catalyst XR configuration for the max mileage test used 8 NMC Li-ion battery packs, with a total energy capacity of 257 kWh. Average speed was 30 mph (48 km/h); average energy consumption was 0.8 kWh/mile.

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First sales of isobutanol-blended gasoline at marina pumps

Gevo, Inc. announced that Harbor Marina at Lake Pomme de Terre in Missouri is the first US marina to sell gasoline blended with Gevo’s renewable isobutanol at the pump. (Earlier post.)

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Alcoa expands R&D Center to deepen additive manufacturing capabilities; Ampliforge process

Lightweight metals leader Alcoa is expanding its R&D center in Pennsylvania to accelerate the development of advanced 3D-printing materials and processes. Alcoa will produce materials designed specifically for a range of additive technologies to meet increasing demand for complex, high-performance 3D-printed parts for aerospace and other high-growth markets such as automotive, medical and building and construction.

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