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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.]

U of Maryland inventors receive patent for cellulose-digesting bacteria that make ethanol; looking for licensees

November 24, 2015

The US Patent and Trademark Office has issued patent Nº 9,193,979 for ethanol-tolerant microorganisms that convert cellulosic biomass to ethanol. Inventors Richard A. Kohn and Seon-Woo Kim are faculty members at the University of Maryland where the organisms were first discovered. (Earlier post.) The patent describes using the microorganisms to produce ethanol from crop or waste biomass like food waste, crop residues (e.g. corn stalks), algae, or leaves.

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BASF announces winners of the open innovation contest on energy storage

BASF announced the winners of the BASF Energy Contest at the “Creator Space Summit” in Ludwigshafen. From 122 applications submitted on the online platform NineSights, a jury of BASF experts and external specialists chose the four best proposals which will be funded with €100,000 (US$106,000) each.

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Hyundai Motor America picks AeroVironment to provide dealer charging stations for 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Hyundai Motor America has selected AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) as the preferred provider for charging system installation at its dealerships across North America for its 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid (earlier post). Hyundai is the seventh plug-in electric vehicle (EV) auto manufacturer to choose AeroVironment as one of its suppliers.

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GM promoting DSRC for connected vehicle (V2X) technology development in China

General Motors is promoting the adoption of dedicated short range communications (DSRC) in China. The Chinese government is soliciting advice on the development of its V2X (connected vehicle) communication protocol.

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Toyota Transport begins operating first CNG-fueled car hauler

Toyota Transport, the automaker’s in-house vehicle transportation trucking company, is using its first car hauler that runs on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). The Long Beach, CA-based truck/trailer emits 85% less overall particulate matter and 10% less carbon dioxide than its diesel counterparts. The CNG truck was commissioned by Toyota and designed and built in a joint collaboration with Peterbilt and Cottrell, Inc., the truck and trailer manufacturers.

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Report: Volkswagen chief says diesel engine refits manageable; Germany’s KBA signs off on plans for 1.6 and 2.0L engines

Reuters reports that Volkswagen Group chief executive Matthias Müller has told managers in Wolfsburg that the steps needed to fix about 8.5 million Volkswagen cars in Europe fitted with illegal emissions-control software are technically and financially manageable.

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Nissan has more than 550 electric taxis on European roads

November 23, 2015

With more than 550 electric taxis on European roads, Nissan is now Europe’s best-selling manufacturer of 100% electric taxis. During 2015, more than 100 electric vehicles were delivered to taxi companies across Europe.

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Daimler Trucks to produce new medium-duty diesels in Detroit; $375M investment

Daimler Trucks will begin production of the new medium-duty DD5 and DD8 diesel engines for the NAFTA market in Detroit effective 2018. The plant is currently beginning localized series production of the DT12 automated transmission for the NAFTA market as well.

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UW researchers sequence haptophyte algae genome, the second to be analyzed; may aid biofuel production

University of Washington scientists have sequenced the complete genome of Chrysochromulina tobin—a haptophyte algae and only the second haptophyte to be sequenced. Researchers hope to better understand haptophytes and perhaps transform them into an important new tool for aquaculture, biofuel production and nutrition. An open-access paper on the work is published in the journal PLOS Genetics.

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Nemaska Lithium signs MOU with Johnson Matthey Battery Materials to collaborate on phase 1 plant

Nemaska Lithium Inc. signed a Memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Ltd (JMBM) of Candiac, Quebec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Matthey Plc. The MOU contemplates an up-front payment of C$12 million by JMBM in exchange for services and products of the same value from the Nemaska Lithium Phase 1 Plant and the subsequent commercial plant to be located in Shawinigan, Québec.

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Elio Motors launches stock sale to raise $25M to help bring 3-wheeler to market

Elio Motors, which unveiled its fifth-generation three-wheeler prototype at the LA Auto Show (earlier post), launched a $25-million stock sale at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday after receiving qualification from the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Regulation A+ ruling in the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act.

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Renault running mini-trial of smart-charging system in Germany with ZOE EVs

November 21, 2015

In Germany, Renault has run tests on an innovative smart-charging system with The Mobility House (TMH). TMH technology automates electric vehicle charging schedules to coincide with periods when electricity costs less. Eleven ZOE-owner Renault employees in Germany tested the system at their homes.

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Anellotech raises another $7M; biomass to aromatics

Catalytic fast pyrolysis company Anellotech has received an equity investment of $7 million from a new, strategic investor. The new, multinational corporate investor joins existing partners, Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Johnson Matthey, and other industry leaders.

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VW says 3.0L diesel issue extends to MY 2009-2016, not just MY 2014-2016

November 20, 2015

During a meeting yesterday with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) officials, VW and Audi officials told the regulatory agencies that the issues the two agencies had raised in a 2 November Notice of Violation (EPA) and In-Use Compliance letter (ARB) (earlier post) extend to all 3.0-liter diesel engines from model years 2009 through 2016.

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Toyota adds two-seater model to i-Road trials in Japan

Toyota will begin Japan-based trials of a two-seater version of the i-Road, its short-range ultra-compact electric vehicle. The trials will be conducted as a part of the Open Road Project launched in July, and will start on 21 November in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.

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Volvo Cars to develop next generation automotive technologies with Microsoft

Volvo Cars will work with Microsoft jointly to develop next generation automotive technologies.

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DEINOVE successfully reaches 2G bioethanol pre-industrial scale in a 300-liter fermenter

November 19, 2015

DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals from non-food biomass with its Deinococcus bacteria, has produced 2G ethanol with what it terms an “exceptional” performance level in a 300-liter fermenter.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance installing 90 new charge spots for COP21 summit in Paris

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is installing 90 new charge spots for electric vehicles in and around Paris for the COP21 global summit on climate change. The installation is being done in partnership with French energy provider EDF, Schneider Electric, Aéroports de Paris, Paris City Council and SNCF, France’s national railway company. The charging stations, several of which will be donated by Schneider Electric, will refuel 200 EVs supplied by the Alliance that are serving as VIP shuttles for negotiators, delegates and media attending the conference.

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Novelis opens new aluminum automotive heat treatment line in Europe

Novelis opened a new aluminum automotive heat treatment line in Nachterstedt, Germany, to serve European and global automotive customers. Located adjacent to Novelis’ existing rolling mill and the world’s largest aluminum recycling center, the $85 million investment will increase production capacity by 120,000 metric tons of automotive sheet annually.

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Dow Corning and Delphi Automotive win R&D 100 award for silicone adhesive

Dow Corning Corp. announced that a silicone adhesive technology it recently developed alongside Delphi Automotive PLC has earned one of R&D Magazine’s 2015 R&D 100 Awards. T

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Efacec licenses Qualcomm’s wireless EV charging technology

November 18, 2015

Efacec Electric Mobility, a global supplier of energy, engineering, environment and transportation solutions, has licensed Qualcomm Halo wireless electric vehicle charging technology to commercialise WEVC systems for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEVs) and Electric Vehicles (EVs). Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm granted to Efacec a royalty-bearing license to develop, make and supply WEVC systems for the EV Supply Equipment (EVSE) industry.

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Volkswagen Group appoints Dr. Michael Steiner as Group Compliance Commissioner

Dr. Michael Steiner, until now Head of Total Vehicle Development/Quality at Porsche, has been appointed Compliance Commissioner at the Volkswagen Group effective as of 16 November 2015. In this function Steiner reports directly to the CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Matthias Müller.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for up to $35M for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies RD&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Research, Development, and Demonstrations” (No. DE-FOA-0001412). This FOA will provide funding to meet the DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office’s (FCTO’s) goals for hydrogen production and delivery, hydrogen storage, fuel cell technologies, technology validation, manufacturing, and analysis programs.

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BioAg Alliance targeting 250-500 million acres globally by 2025 for microbial tech

Monsanto and Novozymes announced a new 2025 acreage target that will guide the companies’ microbials business for the next decade. The two partners in The BioAg Alliance are dedicated to catalyze the development of new microbial solutions to transform global agriculture and envision that their products will be used on 250-500 million acres globally by 2025, equivalent to 25-50% of all US farmland. Today, the Alliance’s products are used on around 65 million acres. (Earlier post.)

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Quanergy Systems to introduce solid-state LiDAR in 2016

November 17, 2015

Quanergy Systems, Inc. will introduce in early 2016 the first solid-state LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving cars for less than $1,000 per car. Quanergy made the announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo.

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Audi and Somerville, Mass to partner on urban mobility; swarm intelligence and automated parking, networking cars with traffic lights

Audi will work with the city of Sommerville, Massachusetts to develop an urban strategy for Somerville, applying technologies for swarm intelligence or automated parking, and networking cars with traffic lights. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and Sommerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone signed a Memorandum of Understanding for developing a new mobility strategy for Somerville in the context of the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona.

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VW brings Golf GTE Sport Concept plug-in hybrid to LA Auto Show

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will show the Golf GTE Sport concept plug-in hybrid (earlier post) for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Unveiled at the annual Wörthersee festival in Austria earlier this year, the concept features a carbon fiber body and a three power unit, all-wheel drive system.

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Mazda Canada pulls the plug on Mazda2 in favor of focus on crossovers

Following a thorough evaluation of the B-car segment, Mazda Canada has decided not to launch the new generation Mazda2 in Canada.

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Toyota Georgetown to generate electricity from landfill gas; 1MW/h initially, scaling up to 10 MW/h

November 16, 2015

Toyota’s Georgetown, Ky., manufacturing plant will begin generating electricity—1 megawatt per hour—from methane, a byproduct of trash decomposition at the nearby Central Kentucky Landfill on 23 November, 2015.

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INCITE supercomputing grants awarded to 56 projects; sustainable energy to next-gen materials

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced 56 projects aimed at accelerating discovery and innovation to address some of the world’s most challenging scientific questions. The projects will share 5.8 billion core hours on the US’ two most powerful supercomputers dedicated to open science. The diverse projects will advance knowledge in critical areas ranging from sustainable energy technologies to next-generation materials.

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OpenCar introduces new infotainment system development tool for automakers

Seattle-based automotive platform and tools provider OpenCar Inc has launched the InsideTrack portal, the industry’s first collaboration and software development lifecycle (SDLC) management service for developers of infotainment applications. InsideTrack provides automakers, their tier 1 suppliers and content providers with a common platform to build automotive applications, and to distribute & maintain applications via over-the-air (OTA) updates over the life of each vehicle.

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DOE NNSA, national labs team with NVIDIA to develop open-source Fortran compiler technology

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and three of its national labs have reached an agreement with NVIDIA’s PGI software to create an open-source Fortran compiler designed for integration with the widely used LLVM compiler infrastructure.

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National oil companies hold top spots in Energy Intelligence’s ranking of top oil firms

State-owned oil companies are retaining their dominant position in the world petroleum industry according to Energy Intelligence’s annual ranking of the world’s top 50 oil and gas companies, which was published today in Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (PIW). It is the only ranking system that compares private sector firms with national oil companies. The top three spots are held by national oil companies and more than 60% of the top 25 firms are majority government-owned. Supermajors retain four of the Top 10 spots.

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Blue Bird to begin production of CNG-fueled Type C Vision school bus in 2016; ROUSH fuel system

Blue Bird will begin production of its first Type C Vision bus fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) in 2016. The Blue Bird Transit-style Type D All American Rear Engine has been available with a Cummins CNG Engine since 1991.

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CleanFUEL USA teams with Westport for propane autogas-powered 2016 Ford F-150

CleanFUEL USA, an industry leader in propane autogas technology, announced an agreement with Westport Innovations Inc. to serve as a supplier for the Westport WiNG 2016 Ford 5.0L F-150 propane truck. The Westport WiNG Power System will employ the CleanFUEL USA Liquid Propane Injection (LPI) technology. Westport’s F-150 with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or propane, offers Ford QCM/QVM warranty protection with expected EPA and CARB certifications.

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Huawei unveils new fast-charging Li-ion batteries

November 15, 2015

Researchers from Watt Lab, part of the Central Research Institute at Huawei Technology Corporation, unveiled new quick charging lithium-ion batteries at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan. The new batteries charge 10 times faster than conventional Li-ion batteries, reaching about 50% capacity in mere minutes.

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Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association formally opposes EPA RFS proposal

November 13, 2015

Breaking with its past support of EPA’s RFS implementation decisions, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is formally opposing EPA’s proposal—due to be released in about two weeks—to reduce RFS volume targets for 2014, 2015, 2016 (earlier post). UNICA had earlier submitted comments opposing the proposed changes. (Earlier post.)

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GENIVI Alliance to demonstrate Remote Vehicle Interaction at Connected Car Expo

The GENIVI Alliance, an automotive industry association driving the broad adoption of specified, open source, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) software, will showcase its latest Remote Vehicle Interaction (RVI) open source software technology at the Connected Car Expo (CCE) held in conjunction with the LA Auto Show from 16 – 18 November.

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BMW to supply Karma Automotive with powertrain components for its luxury plug-in hybrid

BMW will supply Karma Automotive—Fisker reborn—with its latest powertrain components, including high voltage battery charging systems and a wide range of hybrid and EV systems, for application in Karma’s flagship plug-in hybrid, to be re-launched next year.

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RMIT researchers develop low-cost, reliable method to detect NO2; personal monitoring systems

November 12, 2015

RMIT University researchers in Australia, with their colleagues in China, have developed a low-cost and reliable method of detecting nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a significant air pollutant than contributes to more than seven million deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). A paper on their work is published in the journal ACS Nano.

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Sandy solution for renewable energy storage; Thermal Energy Storage System

November 11, 2015

by Andrew Spence

Sand is emerging as a key ingredient in the race to develop a viable electricity storage system for renewable energies. Australia-based Latent Heat Storage has developed a low cost thermal energy storage system based on the latent heat properties of silicon derived from sand.

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Hyundai introducing augmented reality owner’s manual app

Hyundai is on track to be the first mainstream automaker to launch an augmented reality owner’s manual app. The Hyundai Virtual Guide app is the brand’s modern take on the traditional owner’s manual, allowing consumers to use their smartphone or tablet computer to get how-to information for repairs, maintenance and vehicle features. At launch, the Hyundai Virtual Guide is compatible with the 2015 Sonata model, and will soon become available for additional models. The new app recognizes more than 45 major features of the Sonata and is available for free download on the Apple App store and Google Play.

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Ballard closes $5M strategic investment from Nisshinbo Holdings

Ballard Power Systems successfully closed a $5-million strategic equity investment in the Company by Nisshinbo Holdings Inc. in Japan, as previously announced by Ballard on 27 October 2015. (Earlier post.)

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Johann Jungwirth moves from Apple, Mercedes-Benz R&D to Head of Digitalization Strategy at the Volkswagen Group

November 10, 2015

Johann Jungwirth has been appointed as Head of the Volkswagen Group’s newly-established Digitalization Strategy Department effective 1 November 2015. Jungwirth moved to the Volkswagen Group from Apple and reports direct to Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.

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Ballard in strategic cooperation with King Long for fuel cell buses in China

Ballard Power Systems signed a Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd. (King Long), a leading global developer, designer and manufacturer of buses, to design and deploy fuel cell-powered buses.

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STEAG investing €100M in a total of 90 MW of grid energy storage systems with LG Chem Li-ion batteries

German utility STEAG is investing around €100 million in grid energy storage systems (ESS) totalling 90 MW, equipped with Li-ion cells from LG Chem. Six 15 MW systems—each containing five 3 MW units—will be put into service at six STEAG German power plant sites in Herne, Lünen and Duisburg-Walsum (all in North Rhine-Westphalia) and in Bexbach, Fenne and Weiher (all in the Saarland). Using the existing plant sites provides synergies in the infrastructure and therefore keeps the investment costs low, STEAG said.

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Hydrogen Education Foundation announces 6 contestants for $1M H2 Refuel H-Prize

The Hydrogen Education Foundation announced the official list of contestants for the $1-million H2 Refuel H-Prize competition. (Earlier post.) The submissions of the six qualified contestants will now be evaluated by a group of expert judges to determine which contestants can advance to the finalist round.

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Sweden’s FVG to add 400 Volvo V70 Bi-Fuel cars to fleet; options for up to 240 more

Westport Innovations Inc., together with Volvo Car Sverige and Upplands Motor, announced that Sweden-based Fågelviksgruppen (FVG) has signed an agreement covering the purchase of 400 Volvo V70 Bi-Fuel taxis with Westport technology and fuel systems including options to purchase up to 240 more. Orders for the first 200 vehicles have been received for delivery beginning this year and completion planned for the end of February 2016. Westport expects the balance to be delivered by the third quarter 2016.

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California Governor’s office publishes guidebook for hydrogen station development

The California Governor’s Office of Business Development has published the first edition of a guidebook to help smooth the process of hydrogen station development.

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Audi launches premium vehicle-sharing service exclusively for residents of select properties

November 09, 2015

Audi of America is launchingAudi at home”, a premium, collaborative vehicle sharing initiative that provides residences of select properties a new way to experience the Audi brand. LUMINA by Tishman Speyer, San Francisco’s largest luxury condominium project currently under construction, will be the first residential community on the West Coast to offer the service, while the Four Seasons Residences in Miami will offer the service on the East Coast. The service will soon expand to other major US cities.

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GKN Driveline introduces new family of lightweight CV joint systems; 4kg weight reduction

GKN Driveline has developed a new family of lightweight constant velocity joint (CV joint) systems that enable rear-wheel drive platforms to save more than 4kg of weight. Higher performance drivelines with less rotating mass are a key element in auto industry CO2 reduction strategies.

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MAN to perform first retrofit of container ship to dual-fuel operation

German shipping company Wessels Reederei has signed a contract with MAN Diesel & Turbo to retrofit the 8L48/60B main engine of its 1,000-teu container ship Wes Amelie to dual-fuel operation. The vessel will be the first of its kind worldwide to be converted to an LNG-capable propulsion system.

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First flight of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 aero engine; highest thrust, 3D-printed structure

Rolls-Royce announced the first flight of the higher thrust Trent XWB-97 aero engine, demonstrating both additional thrust capability and ground-breaking new technical innovations, such as the world’s largest Additive Layer Manufactured (ALM) structure. The flight took place in Toulouse on board an Airbus A380 Flying Test Bed (FTB) aircraft, with one of the four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines replaced with a single Trent XWB-97.

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Report: Hyundai launching new brand of electrified vehicles in January: hybrid first, then PHEV and EV

The Korea Times reports that Korea-based Hyundai Motor will launch its new brand of electric vehicles scheduled for January. The first model of Hyundai’s new car brand—tentatively named “AE”—will be first introduced as a hybrid electric vehicle, followed by PHEV and full-EV editions, according to the report. Hyundai Motor Group vice chairman Chung Eui-sun earlier this year declared the PHEV as the answer to the future survival of the company and the industry.

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Local Motors introduces first 3D-printed car series; pre-sales to begin in 2016

November 07, 2015

Local Motors, which live-printed a 3D-printed car at SEMA last year, is now moving into testing and development phases that will culminate with a road-ready, fully homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), of which 3D printing is a part. Local Motors plans to begin taking orders next year.

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Cal Energy Commission holding workshop on rapid land subsidence and impact on gas & oil infrastructure

The staff of the California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop on 10 November in Sacramento to open a discussion about the extremely fast rate of land subsidence in the Central Valley of California and how it may be affecting the oil & natural gas infrastructure. The ongoing drought and extensive extraction of groundwater have accelerated a non-seismic downward displacement of land (subsidence).

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Toyota Mirai receives the ARBÖ 2015 Environmental Award in Austria

November 06, 2015

The Austrian automobile club ARBÖ (Auto-Motor und Radfahrerverbund Österreiche) has awarded the Toyota Mirai with the “2015 Environmental Award”. The jury consisted of ARBÖ automotive experts.

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Mobileye aftermarket collision avoidance solution to be added to Proterra Catalyst electric buses

Mobileye Aftermarket, a division of Mobileye N.V., a provider of vision and data analysis for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and autonomous driving, announced that electric bus manufacturer Proterra Inc. will offer factory installation of the aftermarket collision avoidance solution in its 2016 models.

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LA deploying 100 connected light poles; Philips SmartPoles with 4G LTE

The City of Los Angeles (LA) will be the first city in the world to deploy 100 Philips SmartPoles—connected LED street lighting that includes fully integrated 4G LTE wireless telecommunications technology by Ericsson. The collaboration between Philips and Ericsson delivers on the latest Internet of Things (IoT) innovation and provides a double benefit to LA citizens: high quality, public lighting that is energy efficient as well as improved network performance in dense urban areas.

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Toyota establishing new artificial intelligence R&D company; $1B investment over 5 years

Toyota Motor Corporation is establishing a new company, Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), as an R&D enterprise with an initial focus on artificial intelligence and robotics. The headquarters will be located in Silicon Valley near Stanford University, with a second facility to be located near MIT. The new company will begin operations in January 2016.

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UMTRI: Average US new vehicle fuel economy in October drops to 25 mpg

November 05, 2015

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in October was 25.0 mpg (9.4 l/100km)—down 0.2 mpg from September, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). They suggested the decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in October, and the consequent increased sales of pickup trucks and SUVs.

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Sandia researchers can offer consulting to companies that license Sandia inventions

In a boost to technology transfer, Sandia National Laboratories has launched a program that lets researchers consult for companies that license their Sandia work.

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Audi Toolmaking uses 3D metal printing to produce all metallic parts for model of classic Grand Prix car

With a 3D printer, Audi Toolmaking has produced a model of the historical Grand Prix sports car “Auto Union Typ C” from the year 1936. The company is now examining further possible applications of metal printers for the production of complex components. At the same time, Audi is creating synergies with toolmaking in other parts of the Volkswagen Group.

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GM sets October retail sales record in China, Up 15%

General Motors and its joint ventures’ retail deliveries rose 15% year-on-year to a record 327,037 vehicles in China in October, with Buick posting its best-ever monthly sales.

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Faraday Future EV startup says it will invest $1B in US manufacturing facility

Faraday Future (FF), a new electric vehicle and future mobility startup company, announced that it will invest $1 billion in a US manufacturing facility as a phase one investment. The company has been considering several locations including California, Georgia, Louisiana and Nevada, for its facility. FF will announce the exact site in the coming weeks.

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Umicore selling its stake in beLife lithium iron phosphate JV to Prayon

Umicore recently entered into an agreement to sell all of its shares in beLife to its joint venture partner Prayon. beLife was created by both shareholders in order to demonstrate the industrial scale production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode material and to qualify this material at some of the major global Li-ion battery makers.

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IEA: CO2 emissions from fuel combustion rose 2.2% in 2013, below the average rate since 2000

According to the latest data released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), CO2 emissions related to the energy sector, which is the source of nearly two-thirds of human-generated greenhouse gases, rose 2.2% in 2013 to total 32.2 gigatonnes, compared with the 0.6% increase in 2012. Both years were below the average growth rate since 2000 of 2.5%. In absolute terms, global CO2 emissions increased by 0.7 gigatonne in 2013.

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Hyundai Motor launches new global luxury brand Genesis

November 04, 2015

Hyundai Motor is launching an all-new global luxury brand—Genesis—as a stand-alone brand that operates alongside the company’s popular Hyundai marque. Capitalizing on its success in the fast-growing global car market, Hyundai Motor will launch six new Genesis models by 2020 and intends to compete with the world’s most renowned luxury car brands. Future Genesis models will be badged with a new wing-type emblem, redesigned from the version used on the current Genesis model.

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Hyundai delivers 50 more ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles across Europe in October

During October, Hyundai Motor delivered another 50 units of its ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles (earlier post) for distribution to customers across Europe. This shipment brings the total number of Hyundai fuel cell electric vehicles in Europe to more than 250—more than those of every other manufacturer combined. The cars will be supplied to a number of private and corporate customers.

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Volvo Cars selects INRIX for real-time traffic data

Volvo Cars has selected INRIX, Inc. for the car maker’s first live traffic service. INRIX will provide Volvo drivers with rich, real-time and predictive traffic flow information for routes, travel times, and alerts to accidents and incidents. The technology will be integrated globally first into the Volvo Cluster 90 vehicles equipped with Sensus Connect.

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Porsche Cars North America stops selling Cayenne diesels until further notice

In view of the unexpected US EPA notice of violation. (NOV) on 3.0-liter diesels (earlier post), Porsche Cars North America, Inc. decided to discontinue sales of model year 2014 through 2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel vehicles until further notice.

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Study finds some refrigerants less damaging to ozone layer can degrade to long-lived GHG CF4

November 03, 2015

Some of the substitutes for ozone-damaging chemicals that being phased out worldwide under international agreements are themselves potent greenhouse gases and contribute to warming. A new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, shows for the first time how some of those replacement chemicals can break down in the atmosphere to form a greenhouse gas that can persist for millennia—much longer than the substitute chemicals themselves.

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Prayon and Pulead to create JV for manufacture and sale of lithium iron phosphate material for Li-ion batteries

Major cathode material producer Pulead (China) and phosphate leader Prayon (Belgium) have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture for the manufacture and sale of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) under licence from LiFePO4+C Licensing LLC. The two companies have also agreed to cooperate closely on other LFP-related raw material supply matters.

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Saft lands contracts for 45M primary Li-ion batteries for smart meters in China

Saft has won contracts to supply more than 45 million primary lithium batteries for smart meter installations in China. These major successes have been achieved thanks to two of Saft’s distributors, Royalty and Sonic, for key projects to power electricity, gas, water and heat meters deployed by local utilities. Deliveries are scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.

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KAIST/Hyundai team explores effects of water direct injection on gasoline engine under high load

Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Advanced Gasoline Engine Development Team at Hyundai Motor Company report on the effects of water direct injection on a gasoline engine under high-load conditions in a paper in the International Journal of Engine Research.

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CUE at Ryerson University testing 150 kW Li-ion battery from Electrovaya

The Center for Urban Energy (CUE) at Ryerson University in Canada is testing a 150 kW Li-ion battery provided by Electrovaya in collaboration with Toronto Hydro to prove how off-peak electricity can be stored.

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Olea introduces new seat belt vital signs monitor

Olea Sensor Networks, a leading provider of intelligent sensors and analytic software for sensor network-based safety systems, unveiled the OS-3005 with OleaSense software analytics—a seat belt vital sign monitor for automotive safety applications, which has the ability to enhance existing seat belt systems based on Olea’s sensor technologies.

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U Michigan to award > $1M to U-M technologies with potential to solve transportation challenges

University of Michigan will award more than $1 million in grant funding to technologies that demonstrate high potential for solving transportation's toughest challenges. The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Transportation (MTRAC) program, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., offers an avenue for U-M researchers and innovators to discover commercial opportunities to advance their projects out of the lab and into the market.

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Porsche Cars North America says it was “surprised” to receive EPA NOV on emissions

On Monday, the US EPA issued a second notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., alleging emissions cheating in 3.0L diesels. EPA also issued the NOV to Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA). (earlier post) In response, Porsche Cars North America issued a response saying it was “surprised to learn this information.

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ORNL researchers using additive manufacturing for advanced traction motor prototyping

November 02, 2015

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are using additive manufacturing (3D printing) to print active components of advanced prototype traction motors.

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Kyocera develops first platinum-free soot-sensing element for diesel engines

Kyocera Corporation has developed a sensing element to help monitor soot filters in diesel-engine vehicles—the first ever to withstand operating temperatures above 500 °C without the use of platinum. The new product utilizes a new base-metal alloy to withstand higher temperatures while reducing production costs and helping to improve air pollution from engine emissions.

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BAE Systems invests in Reaction Engines and collaborates to accelerate development of new combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine SABRE

BAE Systems plc and Reaction Engines Limited announced a strategic investment by BAE Systems and a working collaboration to accelerate Reaction Engines’ development of an advanced combined cycle air-breathing rocket engine called SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine). SABRE represents a new aerospace engine class that combines both jet and rocket technologies with the potential to revolutionize hypersonic flight and the economics of space access. The transaction is subject to the approval of Reaction Engines’ shareholders.

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Ballard signs $3M contract for development of fuel cell module to power trams in China

Ballard Power Systems signed a definitive agreement with Tangshan Railway Vehicle Company, Limited (TRC) for development of a new fuel cell module that will be designed to meet the requirements of tram or Modern Ground Rail Transit Equipment applications.

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Westport Parts + Service launches new nat gas aftermarket distribution channel with Alliant Power

Westport Innovations’ aftermarket parts division, Westport Parts + Service, has formed a distribution partnership with Alliant Power. With an initial focus on Class 1-5 light-duty vehicles through select Alliant Power distributors, Westport Parts + Service creates a single source for natural gas aftermarket service and maintenance parts.

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Fast-charging corridor from Berlin to Munich complete

November 01, 2015

BMW, E.ON and Siemens have completed the installation of 8 DC fast-charging stations on the A9 highway linking Berlin to Munich in Germany as parat of the framework of the “Electromobility Connects” Bavaria-Saxony showcase sponsored by the German government.

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ORNL seeks to add second target at Spallation Neutron Source

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory hopes to add a second target station at its Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) in the next 10 years in order to enhance capabilities of in-depth studies of the molecular structure of materials. (Earlier post.)

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ORNL tires-to-carbon technology licensed to RJ Lee Group

October 31, 2015

RJ Lee Group has signed an agreement to license an invention developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that converts waste rubber into a valuable energy storage material. The technology turns rubber sources such as tires into carbon black composites through a proprietary pretreatment process invented by ORNL’s Amit Naskar, Parans Paranthaman and Zhonghe Bi. (Earlier post.)

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Volkswagen Group CEO Müller agrees on strategic partnership with leading China bank

Volkswagen AG and leading Chinese bank Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Beijing setting out a long-term strategic partnership. Under the MoU, ICBC will provide Volkswagen AG with a wide range of banking services in China and globally.

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Volvo Cars tackles kangaroo safety research; highway-speed detection and avoidance

October 30, 2015

Volvo Cars is developing kangaroo detection technology to solve one of the most costly causes of traffic collisions in Australia. A team of Volvo Cars safety experts travelled to the Australian Capital Territory this week to film and study the roadside behavior of kangaroos in their natural habitat. The data Volvo Cars collects will be used to develop the first kangaroo detection and collision avoidance system.

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First production Detroit SP:01 EV rolls off assembly line

The first production Detroit Electric SP:01 (earlier post) has rolled off the line at the company’s Leamington Spa (UK) manufacturing facility. The new SP:01 is destined for one of Detroit Electric’s export markets to be delivered to the EV company’s first customer.

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VW reaffirms commitment to expand Chattanooga plant despite spending crackdown

October 29, 2015

The Volkswagen Group has reaffirmed its commitment to expanding its Chattanooga facility, where it plans on producing a newly developed midsize SUV for the US market, despite a Group crackdown on spending as the company prepares to deal with the impacts of resolving the diesel emissions scandal.

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USDA: $210M to be invested in renewable fuel pump infrastructure through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) nearly to double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists.

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US/Indonesia agreement on sustainable air transportation and aviation alternative fuels

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently signed an agreement to promote developing and using sustainable, alternative aviation fuels and additional environmental collaboration between the two nations. FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker said that the MOU’s primary focus areas are research and development of alternative aviation fuels; energy conservation; environmental protection and sustainable aviation growth; critical information and personnel exchange; strengthened capacity-building; and, the sharing of best practices.

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Honda opens CNG fueling station on Troy, Ohio campus; 2nd public CNG station in N America

Honda opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on its property in Troy, Ohio. The CNG station, which was designed, constructed and will be operated by Trillium CNG, is the second public CNG station located on a Honda property in North America, following one opened at Honda of America Mfg. in Marysville, Ohio in August. (Earlier post.)

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Panda Power finances conversion of retired coal plant to natural gas; one of largest power conversion projects in US

Panda Power Funds has financed the 1,124 megawatt Panda “Hummel Station” power plant—one of the largest coal-to-natural gas power conversion projects in the United States. The plant will be located at the site of the retired Sunbury coal-fired power plant near Shamokin Dam in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. The 400 MW, 65-year old plant was shuttered in 2014 in response to low natural gas prices and the onset of strict environmental regulations promulgated by the Obama Administration.

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Chairman of Volkswagen Group outlines next steps to realign the group

October 28, 2015

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, has announced the five key steps to realign the Group following the eruption of the diesel emissions cheating scandal. Müller announced that the cornerstones of the Group’s new Strategy 2025—replacing the current Strategy 2018—will be presented next year. Volkswagen recently brought on board Dr. Thomas Sedran as the new Head of Group Strategy. (Earlier post.)

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Primus Green Energy and Jereh launch global collaboration on gas-to-liquids

Primus Green Energy Inc., a gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology and solutions company that transforms methane and other hydrocarbon gases into gasoline, methanol and diluent (earlier post), and Jereh, an international, integrated oil and gas company specializing in Oil and Gas EPC services, oilfield technology services and equipment manufacturing, have launched a global market collaboration.

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Enevate announces ultrafast charging feature for its silicon Li-ion batteries

Enevate Corporation, developer of a silicon-dominant composite anode material and high energy density batteries (earlier post), announced ultrafast charging for their batteries with HD-Energy Technology. Enevate’s ultrafast charging feature has been demonstrated to provide a 90% charge in 15 minutes (4C charge rate) while increasing energy, capacity and performance when compared to today’s conventional Li-ion batteries.

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Shell to halt 80K bpd Carmon Creek oil sands project

Royal Dutch Shell plc will not continue construction of the 80,000 barrel per day Carmon Creek thermal in situ oil sands project located in Alberta, Canada.

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Lexus reveals all-wheel drive hydrogen fuel cell LF-FC flagship concept

Lexus revealed the LF-FC flagship concept, an all-wheel-drive hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, at the Tokyo Motor Show. This marks the Lexus brand’s first foray into fuel cell technologies. The high-output fuel cell power system energizes the rear wheels, and also sends power to two in-wheel motors in the front.

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