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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.]

Volvo Cars: China may replace US as its largest market this year

April 20, 2014

China is poised to replace the US as Volvo Car Group’s (Volvo Cars) largest market in 2014 with sales of at least 80,000 cars, up from 61,146 in 2013, the company said. Sales in the US in 2014 are expected to increase in line with the broader market.

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Nanoscale downhole detector reports presence of H2S in crude oil and gas before production

April 19, 2014

Scientists at Rice University have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in crude oil and natural gas while they’re still in the ground. The nanoreporter is based on nanometer-sized carbon material developed by a consortium of Rice labs led by chemist James Tour and is the subject of a new paper published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

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Ioxus to provide ultracapacitors for Long Island Railroad wayside energy storage system

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being fitted to the railway wayside traction power on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The ultracapacitors will provide voltage support to assist the traction power system, capturing and storing the energy produced by the train, using it to facilitate better acceleration and allowing for greater energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption.

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Fiat Group Automobiles, Chrysler Group International and GAC Group to Produce Jeep vehicles in China for Chinese market

Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., Chrysler Group International LLC and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group) have reached an agreement to expand the joint venture partnership. Under the agreement, the joint venture, GAC Fiat, will begin localized production of three new Jeep vehicles for the Chinese market, expanding the portfolio of Jeep sport-utility vehicles (SUV) currently available to Chinese consumers as imports.

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State Department providing more time for agency feedback on Keystone XL

April 18, 2014

On Friday, the US State Department notified the eight federal agencies involved in the process (the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) that it will provide them more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project.

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Magna producing all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate module for 2014 Nissan Rogue

Magna International’s Magna Exteriors operating unit is producing the North American automotive industry’s first all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate module for the 2014 Nissan Rogue crossover utility vehicle.

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USDA researchers develop new pyrolysis processes for bio-oil production

Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have developed and have filed a patent on a new fast pyrolysis process called Tail Gas Reactive Pyrolysis (TGRP), which removes much of the oxygen from bio-oils without the need for added catalysts.

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New composite cathode material for Li-sulfur batteries

Researchers from The University of Queensland (Australia) have devised a composite cathode material for lithium-sulfur batteries: graphene-wrapped carbon nanospheres with sulfur uniformly distributed in between, in which the carbon nanospheres act as the sulfur carriers. The graphene contributes to direct coverage of sulfur to inhibit the mobility of polysulfides, whereas the carbon nanospheres undertake the role of carrying the sulfur into the carbon network.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for analysis to support hydrogen and fuel cell manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), intends to issue a funding opportunity FOA titled “Clean Energy Supply Chain and Manufacturing Competitiveness Analysis for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies” (DE-FOA-0000854).

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EPA data shows 57,860 gallons of cellulosic biofuel produced in 1Q 2014

According to EPA’s most recent data from the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) used to establish a transparent market for RINs, biofuel producers produced 57,860 gallons of cellulosic biofuels during the first quarter of 2014—the vast majority of that being D3 cellulosic biofuel (57,388 gallons), the remainder (472 gallons) being D7 cellulosic diesel.

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EnerG2, NW Natural partner on adsorbed on-board storage for CNG vehicles

EnerG2, a manufacturer of advanced nano-structured materials for next-generation energy storage (earlier post) and NW Natural, an Oregon gas distribution company, are partnering to improve the fuel storage on board vehicles that use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by using a new adsorbed natural gas technology.

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Opportunity charging electric bus using PRIMOVE inductive charging from Bombardier in service in Germany

April 17, 2014

A 12m Solaris battery-electric bus with electrical traction and on-board power supply equipment from Vossloh Kiepe has entered passenger service with the Braunschweiger Verkehrs-AG as the first of five such buses. For the first time, the modular system from Vossloh Kiepe has been combined with the PRIMOVE inductive charging system from Bombardier (earlier post).

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Honda to introduce Fit-based HR-V Compact SUV in US this year

Honda released the first official photos of the US-bound HR-V today at the New York International Auto Show. Built on the same global compact platform that underpins the Fit, the HR-V will feature a “versatile and spacious” interior thanks to a center tank layout.

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Saft Li-ion batteries to power Stockholm’s new Ballerina electric ferry

Saft has received an order from Stockholm ferry operator Ballerina for lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems that will power a new electric ferry boat for the city of Stockholm.

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CO2 Solutions announces enzyme-enabled carbon capture pilot at heavy oil site with Husky Energy

CO2 Solutions Inc., an innovator in the field of enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology, has entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Husky Energy. Under the terms of the agreement, CO2 Solutions will install and operate a pilot unit capturing approximately 15 tonnes of CO2 per day at Husky’s Pikes Peak South, Saskatchewan heavy oil site on a once-through steam generator. Operation of the pilot unit is expected to commence in early 2015 with completion of testing expected in the third quarter of 2015.

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Hydro-Québec and Sony forming JV to develop large-scale Li-ion energy storage system for power grids

Hydro-Québec and Sony Corporation will establish a joint venture to research and develop a large-scale energy storage system for power grids. Sony and Hydro-Québec plan to establish the new company in June, 2014.

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Lux Research: market for 3D printing of production parts will reach $7B in 2025

Lux Research forecasts that the market for the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) of end use parts will grow at a 21% CAGR to $7.0 billion in 2025 from $684 million in 2013.

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Nissan expanding “No Charge to Charge” program; all-access EZ-Charge card

Nissan is expanding its successful “No Charge to Charge” promotion, which will provide two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. In total, Nissan will launch “No Charge to Charge” in 25 US markets, which are currently responsible for more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales.

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SoCalGas unveils branded, public-access compressed natural gas refueling station

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) unveiled its newly company-branded, public-access natural gas vehicle (NGV) refueling station in Los Angeles County. Located at the company’s operating base at 44416 Division St. in the city of Lancaster, the retail station is open 24 hours a day and features a fast-fill dispenser to serve individual and fleet owners of NGVs, including sedans, vans, pickups, and school buses.

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Applications now open for the 3rd annual “Science Award for Electrochemistry” from Volkswagen and BASF

The international “Science Award for Electrochemistry” from BASF and Volkswagen is set to be awarded for the third time. Scientists may now submit applications online at www.science-award.com. The website also explains the conditions of entry and the selection process. The closing date for entries is 4 July 2014.

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Cadillac partners with and ChargePoint for ELR charging

Cadillac announced a partnership with the ChargePoint electric vehicle-charging network in the world. The collaboration brings Cadillac ELR drivers immediate access to more than 16,500 charging locations on the ChargePoint network.

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Audi A3 TDI Sportback makes US debut at New York Show

April 16, 2014

The Audi A3 TDI diesel Sportback is making its US debut at the New York International Auto Show. The A3 TDI Sportback will join the new A3 family being introduced over the next 18 months—the Audi A3 Sedan, Audi A3 Cabriolet, A3 TDI clean diesel sedan, the high-performance S3 Sedan and the A3 Sportback e-tron gasoline electric hybrid (PHEV). (Earlier post.)

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Audi releases DEKRA-certified corporate carbon footprint

The Audi Group has calculated its corporate carbon footprint and is the first premium automobile manufacturer to be certified according to the international standard ISO 14064. Audi made a detailed assessment of emissions in all automobile lifecycle phases; experts of DEKRA Certification GmbH and DEKRA Certification Inc. reviewed and confirmed the basic data sources and calculations.

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An abundant and inexpensive water-splitting photocatalyst with low toxicity active in visible light

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have discovered a new photocatalyst, Sn3O4, which facilitates the production of hydrogen fuel from water, using sunlight as an energy source. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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Purdue/Cornell airborne study finds unexpected levels of methane from shale gas pads in drilling stage

High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a point in production (i.e., drilling) not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The study, which is one of only a few to use an approach that measures methane gas levels in the air above wells, identified seven individual well pads with high emission levels and established their stage in the shale-gas development process. The high-emitting wells made up less than 1% of the total number of wells in the area and were all found to be in the drilling stage, a preproduction stage not previously associated with significant emissions.

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Japan’s NIMS and Southeast University in China to collaborate on fuel cell electro-catalysts and electrodes

Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) and Southeast University (SEU) in China recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the design of graphene-based materials as new platinum-free electro-catalysts and for the development of high-quality fuel-cell electrodes.

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Toyota Corolla hits 1.22M global sales in 2013

April 15, 2014

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc., announced Corolla global sales of 1.22 million units in 2013, according to the company’s internal data based on individual vehicle sales reporting from its distributors. The 5% year-over-year increase confirms the Corolla’s popularity among customers in approximately 150 countries and regions around the world.

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Chevrolet and GMC CNG pricing starts at $9,500

Bi-fuel options, allowing either compressed natural gas or gasoline to power the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD pickups, will start at $9,500. A dedicated CNG option on the 2015 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo and passenger short-wheelbase vans starts $10,825 for the three-tank system and $12,090 for the four-tank system.

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New ceramic materials for hydrogen storage

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have created new ceramic materials that could be used to store hydrogen safely and efficiently. The researchers have created for the first time compounds made from mixtures of calcium hexaboride, strontium and barium hexaboride. They also have demonstrated that the compounds could be manufactured using a simple, low-cost manufacturing method known as combustion synthesis.

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Genetically modified tobacco plants as an alternative for producing bioethanol

Researchers at the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre and the IdAB-Institute of Agrobiotechnology in Spain have genetically modified tobacco plants from which it is possible to produce between 20 and 40% more ethanol; this would increase their viability as a raw material for producing biofuels.

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Toyota Motor Europe closing in on 5% market share in Europe; hybrids = 21% of sales

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) posted first quarter sales result of 225,152 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Europe, up 14% from the same period in 2013. TME’s European market share in the first three months of the year stands at 4.9%, up 0.4 percentage points from the same period last year. Hybrid models accounted for 21% of all vehicles sold by TME between January and March.

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Land Rover reveals Discovery Vision Concept; emphasizes assistance, HMI, all-terrain technology

Land Rover revealed its Discovery Vision Concept SUV prior to the opening of the in New York International Auto Show; the concept—heavy on new assistance systems, especially for all-terrain situations, and advanced human machine interface and connectivity options—is a preview of Land Rover’s future family of Discovery vehicles, the first model of which is due in 2015.

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Peugeot unveiling EXALT plug-in hybrid concept at Beijing show

April 14, 2014

Peugeot will unveil the EXALT concept at the Beijing Motor Show. Weighing just 1,700 kg (3,748 lbs), PEUGEOT EXALT is powered by a plug-in HYbrid4 drivetrain with a total maximum power of 340 bhp (254 kW) shared between the four wheels. The system features a 1.6-liter THP 270 bhp (201 kW) engine developed by PEUGEOT Sport coupled to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The 4-cylinder gasoline engine develops a specific power output of nearly 170 bhp (127 kW) per liter.

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Kyocera installs solar-powered recharging station for EVs, backup energy in disaster

Kyocera Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary Kyocera Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS) have installed a Solar Cycle Station for EV at the headquarters of Shintec Hozumi Co., Ltd. in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Based on a development plan by Shintec Hozumi, KCCS designed and constructed the system so that solar-generated power charged to electric vehicles can be utilized in times of disaster as backup energy, contributing both to the efficient use of clean energy and disaster prevention.

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Total and partners launch $16B ultra-deep Kaombo project offshore Angola

Total and its joint venture partners have made the final investment decision to develop the ultra-deep offshore Kaombo project in Angola. With a production capacity of 230,000 barrels per day, Kaombo will develop estimated reserves of 650 million barrels. Following an intensive optimization exercise, the project’s capital expenditure to reach full capacity was reduced by $4 billion to $16 billion, with an expected start-up in 2017.

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B&W to restructure Small Modular Reactor program to focus on tech development, slowing development

The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) plans to restructure its mPower Small Modular Reactor program (earlier post) to focus on technology development. Without the ability to secure significant additional investors or customer Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts to provide the financial support necessary to develop and deploy mPower reactors, the current development pace will be slowed, the company said.

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UMTRI survey finds users concerns about security and privacy with connected vehicles

A majority of Americans, Australians and Britons believe that connected-vehicle technology will make driving safer, but most are also concerned about security and privacy, according to a recent survey by researchers Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak of the U-M Transportation Research Institute.

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KIT and Evonik researchers develop novel polymer network that self heals rapidly and repeatedly at relatively low temperatures

Scientists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Evonik Industries have developed a chemical cross-linking reaction that ensures good short-term healing properties of a polymer material under mild heating. The research results have been published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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Hitachi establishes European Nuclear Research Centre

Hitachi, Ltd. will establish a new R&D base in the UK—the European Nuclear Research Centre (ENRC)—by the end of September 2014. The Centre will have the aim of facilitating the development of safe and efficient nuclear power technologies based on advanced plant maintenance technology and proven decommissioning techniques in Europe, as part of Hitachi’s plan to expand its overseas nuclear power business.

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GM sells 1 millionth vehicle in China in 2014; 8th consecutive year and earliest yet

General Motors and its joint ventures sold their 1 millionth vehicle in China in 2014. This is the eighth consecutive year that GM has sold more than one million vehicles in a calendar year, and the earliest it has reached the 1 million mark.

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2015 Chevy Cruze features connectivity updates; 4G LTE and Siri

The 2015 Chevrolet Cruze will debut at the New York International Auto Show with greater connectivity—including new Text Message Alerts, Apple Siri integration and OnStar 4G LTE with available Wi-Fi hotspot—in addition to revised exterior styling, enhanced interior convenience.

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CO2 Solutions’ enzymatic carbon capture technology performance exceeds targets in oil sands project

April 13, 2014

Canada-based CO2 Solutions Inc., an innovator in the field of enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology, announced that it has exceeded the second set of technical performance milestones for its oil sands project.

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DOE announces marine and hydrokinetic open data effort

April 12, 2014

In an effort to improve future data management and access, DOE’s Water Power Program is establishing a Marine and Hydrokinetics (MHK) Data Repository to manage the receipt, protection, and dissemination of scientific and technical data generated by DOE-funded awards.

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Study finds warming caused by synthetic greenhouse gases could outweigh climate benefits from phasing down CFCs

April 11, 2014

An international team examining the total warming impact of 25 major synthetic greenhouse gases (SGHGs) has concluded that without additional limits on SGHG use, the resulting increase in warming could outweigh the climate benefits gained thus far from phasing down chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Their study is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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Lexus to unveil new NX turbo luxury compact crossover and hybrid variant at Beijing show

Lexus will unveil its new luxury compact crossover, the Lexus NX, at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition to be held in Beijing, China from 20-29 April. Lexus will exhibit the NX 200t equipped with a newly developed 2.0-liter turbo engine—the first turbo in the lineup—and the NX 300h equipped with a 2.5-liter hybrid system. The NX will also be offered with a naturally aspirated powertrain.

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Danish startup produces carbon-fiber lightweight chassis

Danish start-up ECOmove has developed a technology which it says makes it possible to manufacture a carbon-fiber chassis without using special equipment. The first unit has already been shipped to a company in Germany.

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Freescale introduces intelligent battery sensor combining MCU and CAN with flexible three-channel analog front end

April 10, 2014

Freescale Semiconductor announced the availability of the industry’s first general market AEC-Q100 qualified intelligent battery sensor to combine three measurement channels, a 16/32-bit MCU, and a CAN protocol module in a single package. Designed to support both conventional and emerging battery chemistries for automotive and industrial applications, the MM9Z1J638 battery sensor measures key battery parameters for monitoring state of health (SOH), state of charge (SOC) and state of function (SOF) for early failure prediction.

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EaglePicher receives follow-on $3M award from ARPA-E to continue work on planar sodium-beta batteries

EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, (EPT), an OM Group, Inc. company, and a leading supplier of specialty batteries and energy storage solutions for the defense, aerospace, medical, commercial and grid energy storage markets, will receive a $3-million award from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to further develop their catalytic energy storage technology. Under their continued work with ARPA-E, EaglePicher will focus its research on improving scalability for their Sodium-Beta (Na-β) battery by developing an inexpensive stacked design to improve integration in renewable and grid storage applications.

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Electrovaya delivers next-gen prototype battery packs to Dongfeng Motors; 20% greater capacity

Electrovaya Inc. has delivered its next generation of prototype battery packs to Dongfeng Motors (DFM) in China. DFM, a leading Chinese automaker, is embarked on an electric vehicle program which includes two electric vehicle platforms. The Electrovaya battery design enables the same Electrovaya battery to fit both the 2-door and 4-door electric vehicle platforms from DFM.

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NASA signs agreements with German, Canadian partners to study emissions from alternative jet fuels

NASA has signed separate agreements with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to conduct a series of joint flight tests to study the atmospheric effects of emissions from jet engines burning alternative fuels. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS II) flights are set to begin 7 May and will be flown from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.

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BMW fine tunes plug-in hybrid X5 concept for New York Show

BMW says it has made a series of detailed refinements to its plug-in hybrid concept X5 eDrive in preparation for its appearance at the New York International Auto Show. BMW first unveiled the concept plug-in hybrid at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) (earlier post, earlier post).

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Ioxus introduces new module system for its axial ultracapacitors

Ioxus, a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for use in transportation, industrial and energy applications, launched the iMOD X-Series, a new series of module systems for a common, single-piece extruded housing for application across all of its axial ultracapacitors. iMOD X-Series allows for a very flexible voltage configuration to meet virtually all customer requirements.

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Allison endorses Odyne Hybrid System for Allison 3000 and 4000 Series transmissions

Allison Transmission, Inc. has globally endorsed the use of the Odyne plug-in hybrid system as the exclusively-approved PTO-based hybrid system for its 3000 and 4000 Series transmissions.

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Syngenta in cellulosic fuel collaboration to increase ethanol plant productivity

Syngenta announced an agreement with Cellulosic Ethanol Technologies, LLC to license its ACE (Adding Cellulosic Ethanol) technology, a new process for ethanol plants. ACE technology has been shown to significantly increase a plant’s ethanol production while delivering other benefits such as increased corn oil production and higher protein content in Dried Distillers Grains (DDGs), an ethanol by-product used for animal feed.

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NASA looks beyond batteries for space exploration

NASA is seeking proposals for the development of new, more capable, energy storage technologies to replace the battery technology that has long powered the US space program.

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Bentley unveils plug-in hybrid concept

April 09, 2014

Luxury automaker Bentley, a member of the Volkswagen Group, unveiled its Bentley Hybrid Concept—a preview of Bentley’s first production plug-in hybrid model, which is planned to be a dedicated version of the all-new SUV available in 2017. The Bentley Hybrid Concept will be on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition later this month.

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SKF supplying energy efficient bearings to Volkswagen for powertrain of the e-up! EV

SKF is supplying customized tapered roller bearings and SKF eDrive Ball Bearings (earlier post) of the electric motor and gearbox of the Volkswagen e-up!, which was launched the Fall of 2013. The solutions help to reduce the friction and noise in the E-powertrain, enabling an extended driving range of the vehicle.

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Maxwell supplying ultracaps to ABB for hybrid version of Philadelphia rail energy recuperation system

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is supplying ultracapacitors to ABB for its recent contract win to upgrade Philadelphia area rail lines. ABB will install a hybrid version of its high-efficiency ENVILINE wayside energy recovery and storage system for the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s (SEPTA) light rail system serving the greater Philadelphia area.

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New auto consortium targets material challenges in design, simulation, lightweighting, global manufacturing, and emissions reduction

At SAE World Congress in Detroit, Granta Design announced the launch of the Automotive Material Intelligence Consortium (AutoMatIC). This new industry collaboration will bring together OEMs and suppliers in the automotive and off-highway vehicle sectors to develop best practice for materials information and its use. AutoMatIC is modeled on two projects that have pioneered the industrial application of materials information technology: the Material Data Management Consortium (MDMC) and the Environmental Materials Information Technology (EMIT) Consortium.

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DOE awards FuelCell Energy >$3M for carbonate fuel cell project

The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded more than $3 million to Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy for a project to enhance the performance, increase the lifespan, and decrease the cost of stationary fuel cells being used for distributed generation and combined heat and power applications.

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EPA awarding $4.2M for clean diesel projects in six ports

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award $4.2 million in grant funding for clean diesel projects at six US ports. EPA is also hosting the “Advancing Sustainable Ports” summit to mark the kickoff of a new initiative to recognize ports that take action to improve environmental performance.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity for biological and chemical upgrading of biomass intermediates to advanced biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled “Biological and Chemical Upgrading for Advanced Biofuels and Products”. (DE-FOA-0001104)

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Li-ion maker Enerdel and B3G partnering to supply traction batteries to Lion Bus for electric school buses

Quebec-based B3CG Interconnect Inc., a manufacturer of harness assemblies and electromechanical components, has partnered with EnerDel Inc., a supplier of lithium-ion batteries, to develop and manufacture traction batteries for Lion Bus Inc., Canadian school bus producer.

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Elio Motors to use Flame-Spray cylinder coating for projected 10% boost in engine performance in 3-wheeler

April 08, 2014

Elio Motors, Inc., which will launch an enclosed, three-wheeled vehicle in 2015, has named Flame-Spray Industries, Inc., a leading supplier of plasma-transferred wire arc (PTWA) coating technology as one of its key suppliers. The car is powered by an inline, 3-cylinder, 1-liter, 70 hp (52 kW) gasoline fuel-injected, SOHC engine and has projected fuel economy of 84 mpg (2.8 l/100km) on the highway and 49 mpg (4.8 l/100 km) in the city. (Earlier post.)

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FEV showcasing plug-in hybrid transmission at SAE World Congress

FEV North America, Inc. is showcasing its most recent transmission design at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, Mich. The plug‐in hybrid transmission’s capabilities include a 2‐speed all-electric driving mode; use as an ICE range extender in parallel mode for efficient highway driving; and a highly flexible eCVT mode (power split) that features strong launch and creep performance without clutch slippage. The transmission does not use a torque converter and includes only one electric machine.

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Ford China monthly sales cross 100,000 mark in March; 1Q sales up 45%, March sales up 28%

Ford China posted record monthly sales of 103,815 vehicles in March, a 28% increase over March 2013, crossing the 100,000 monthly sales mark for the first time. The strong March performance brought first quarter sales up by 45%, with 271,321 vehicles sold compared to 186,596 during the same period last year.

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Tesla launches business leasing program

Tesla Motors has launched a new business leasing program for the Model S. The Tesla business lease is available through Tesla Finance, a new subsidiary set up especially to offer this new product to business customers.

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2015 Corvette Stingray to offer new eight-speed automatic; 5% improvement in fuel economy

The MY 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray will offer a new 8-speed automatic transmission designed and built by GM. GM expects the new 8L90 eight-speed to contribute up to 5% greater efficiency, when compared to the previous six-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy test results are pending and will be announced later.

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Kawasaki’s marine gas engine first from Japan to receive DNV type approval

Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. announced today that its natural gas engine L30KG—serving as the main engine for large vessels fueled solely by gas with an output capacity of more than 2 MW—has become the first Japanese-made gas engine to obtain type approval for the engine by DNV.

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Novelis expanding aluminum automotive sheet production with new lines in Germany, China and NY

Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, broke ground for a new aluminum automotive sheet finishing line at its Nachterstedt, Germany, facility. The €62-million (US$85-million) expansion is in response to the steadily growing demand for aluminum automotive sheet for light-weight vehicle structures and body panels. The new line will add 120,000 metric tons of annual capacity to the Nachterstedt plant’s automotive output.

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Zero Motorcycles recalling 94 of its electric motorcycles due to motor defect

Zero Motorcycles, Inc. (Zero) is recalling certain model year 2014 Zero SR motorcycles manufactured 30 December 2013 through 20 February 20 2014; MY 2014 Zero S motorcycles manufactured 36 December 2013 through 18 February 2014; Zero DS motorcycles manufactured 24 January 2013 through 4 February 2014; and MY 2014 Zero FX motorcycles manufactured 14 January 2014 through 27 January 2014. Due to a possible manufacturing defect, the motor rotor may contact the stator while riding, causing the motor to seize, locking up the rear wheel and increasing the risk of a crash.

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DARPA awards Berkeley Lab $1.5M for intiial phase for Open Biofoundry design and study

April 07, 2014

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Berkeley Lab $1.5 million to proceed with a “Task Area 1” (TA1) design and study phase for the Berkeley Open Biofoundry (BOB). By providing the science and technology that will enable the engineering of biological systems to produce valuable chemical products on a commercial scale, BOB is conceived to do for biology what the Molecular Foundry does for nanomaterials.

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Ultracap company Ioxus closes $21M Series C round; IFC leads; focus on China

Ioxus, a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for use in transportation, industrial and energy applications, completed its series C funding with receipt of $21 million from investors. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, together with the Westly Group, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California, led the financing.

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Torotrak wins $340K funding for V-Charge project; supercharger integrated with mechanical variable speed drive

Torotrak PLC has been awarded a grant of £205,000 (US$340,000) under the Technology Strategy Board’s Smart scheme to develop an application specific, production intent version of its V-Charge technology. With additional support from a major OEM and a Tier One supplier, Torotrak will work in partnership with the University of Bath Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre to optimize the technology around an advanced production engine.

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BRUSA doubles power density of inductive charging system

BRUSA Elektronik AG has doubled the power density of its wireless ICS inductive charging system for plug-in vehicles (earlier post) to 7.2 kW while retaining the same compact footprint.

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Bosch Engineering develops control unit for fuel cell systems for ground support equipment

Bosch Engineering GmbH will present a new fuel cell control unit (FCCU) for off-highway applications such as airport ground support equipment such as baggage towing tractors at the MobiliTec specialist trade show at the 2014 Hannover trade fair.

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Using pyrolytic sugars for fermentation to biofuel

Researchers at Iowa State University explored the separate recovery of sugars and phenolic oligomers produced during fast pyrolysis with the effective removal of contaminants from the separated pyrolytic sugars to produce a substrate suitable for fermentation without hydrolysis.

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ABB and Solar Impulse in technology alliance for round-the-world flight powered by the sun

April 06, 2014

ABB and Solar Impulse have formed a technology alliance under which ABB will support Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg in their attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered airplane in 2015. The two have already demonstrated the first flight through the night with a solar airplane as well as record-breaking missions across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the United States. (Earlier post.)

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Sinopec targeting 10B cubic meters of gas per year by 2017 from China’s first large-scale shale gas field

China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) said that it had made significant breakthroughs in the exploration and development of shale gas in China, and is planning to develop the Fuling shale gas field into China’s first shale gas field with an annual production capacity of 10 billion cubic meters by 2017.

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Komatsu America launches third-generation hybrid hydraulic excavator; 20% fuel savings

Komatsu America Corp. introduced its new HB215LC-2 hybrid hydraulic excavator. This third-generation model is based on iterations of Komatsu hybrid experience; Komatsu was the first in the industry to introduce a hybrid excavator in 2008. (Earlier post.) Since then, the company has sold more than 2,500 hybrid excavators worldwide. The HB215LC-2 saves an average of 20% fuel with an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions as compared to the standard excavator model.

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Ricardo collaborates with EXNOVO to launch full motorcycle and scooter product development capability

Ricardo and Italy-based EXNOVO, a leading vehicle design house, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on motorcycle and scooter product development. Under the agreement, Ricardo will be able to offer an exclusive, combined service, providing a fully comprehensive range of motorcycle and scooter design, engineering and development capabilities up to and including turn-key concept to production implementation programs.

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18-month trial of 16t battery-electric truck returns positive technical and environmental results; range the only issue

April 04, 2014

Logistics specialist STEF has been testing an experimental 16 tonne all-electric vehicle under actual operating conditions for Carrefour France. Developed by Renault Trucks on a Midlum vehicle chassis in partnership with PVI and IFP Énergies nouvelle, the truck covered 16,000 km and delivered 600 t of goods. This electric vehicle recorded a drop of 86% in well-to-wheel (WtW) CO2 emissions compared with its equivalent equipped with an internal combustion engine.

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BMW starts series production of electric scooters in Berlin

BMW’s plant in Berlin has begun series production of the battery-electric BMW C evolution maxi-scooter.

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GM sets March and first quarter sales records in China

General Motors and its joint ventures posted record sales in China during March and the first quarter of 2014. Sales in March increased 7.8% on an annual basis to 313,283 units. This helped domestic sales in the first quarter reach 919,114 units—an increase of 12.6% from the year-ago period.

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Audi 1Q 2014 China sales up 21.1% to 124,520 units; “2nd home market”

Audi sold 124,520 units during 1Q 2014 in China—an increase of 21.1% compared with the prior-year period, and its best first quarter there.

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VYCON delivers flywheel kinetic wayside energy storage substation (WESS) for LA Metro

VYCON, a designer and manufacturer of flywheel kinetic energy storage systems, has completed delivery of its kinetic energy storage system at the Los Angeles Metro Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park station. The equipment will be used in Metro’s Wayside Energy Storage Substation-WESS Project, which is funded by a grant of $4.4 million provided by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) under the Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. VYCON’s Contract has a value of $3.6 million for the supply of the main core equipment and the commissioning of the entire system.

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Xerox rolls out vehicle passenger detection system with highway speed accuracy for HOV/HOT lane enforcement

High occupancy carpooling lanes play an important role in reducing roadway congestion; however, their benefits are severely limited when motorists do not abide by the rules. Xerox has launched the Vehicle Passenger Detection System, a HOV/HOT lane compliancy test system that uses Xerox video analytics to identify the number of occupants in a vehicle.

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Ontario’s new greener diesel rules in effect

April 03, 2014

New biodiesel rules in the Canadian province of Ontario came into effect on 1 April, and are being phased in over three years. By 2017, the amount of biofuel blended into regular diesel will need to average at least 4%. Greenhouse gases must be reduced by at least 30%, and 70% by 2017, for the biofuel portion of the new blend.

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UMTRI: average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in US in March was 25.4 mpg; best mark yet

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in March was 25.4 mpg (9.26 l/100km)—a 0.3 mpg improvement from the revised value for February and the best mark yet, according to the monthly report from University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researchers Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

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Hyundai to provide 75 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles to HyFive project

Hyundai Motor plans to deliver 75 units of its hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle as part of the largest ever pan-European fuel-cell passenger car project. The Hydrogen For Innovative Vehicles (HyFIVE) project, funded by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, will see deliveries made in Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich and Stuttgart. (Earlier post.)

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Continental takes over full ownership of Zytek Automotive

With effect from 3 February 2014, international automotive supplier Continental has taken over full ownership of its former joint venture, Zytek Automotive, based in the UK. It previously had a 50% shareholding in Zytek Automotive. Both companies have agreed not to disclose the price for the acquisition.

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Enogia and IFPEN partner on waste heat recovery in stationary and transport applications

Start-up Enogia and IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) are forming a strategic partnership for the joint development and marketing of a range of Rankine technologies to convert heat into electricity. The innovation is based on the use of highly efficient micro-turbines capable of producing 5 to 100 kW of electricity. The aim is to recover waste heat from the exhaust gases of internal combustion engines in both stationary installations (generators, cogeneration installations) and transport, particularly rail and maritime.

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BASF inaugurates California Research Alliance; inorganic materials and biosciences

Teaming with major universities on the West Coast, BASF Corporation has set up a multidisciplinary research institute with an emphasis on new inorganic materials and their applications; biosciences; and related technologies. The California Research Alliance by BASF (CARA) will bring together BASF experts with researchers from widely varied science and engineering disciplines at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

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Telefónica to provide M2M connectivity for Tesla electric vehicles across major European markets

Telefonica will provide Machine-To-Machine (M2M) connectivity for the Tesla Model S in Europe. Telefonica and its M2M World Alliance partners will provide connectivity for Model S across multiple countries in Europe, including in Germany and the United Kingdom on Telefonica’s O2 network, in Spain on Movistar, and in the Netherlands on KPN.

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3D printing company Stratasys to acquire Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies to grow services business

Stratasys Ltd., a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, has entered into definitive agreements to acquire two privately-held companies, Solid Concepts Inc. and Harvest Technologies, both leading providers of additive manufacturing services.

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DOE taking steps to revitalize Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program

US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today highlighted improvements to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) Legislative Summit. The ATVM Program, administered by the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO), has more than $16 billion in remaining loan authority to support the production of fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles and components in the US. LPO has not made an ATVM award since March 2011; that loan, for $50 million to the Vehicle Production Group LLC, is now discontinued.

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Plug Power acquires fuel cell stack maker Relion

Plug Power Inc., a provider of fuel cell solutions fr the materials handling industry, has acquired the assets of ReliOn Inc., a developer of hydrogen fuel cell stack technology and fuel cell systems based in Spokane, WA. This acquisition marks Plug Power’s expansion into the stationary back-up fuel cell market, where ReliOn has been successful with customers such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

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BorgWarner finalizes acquisition of EGR company Gustav Wahler

April 02, 2014

Global powertrain supplier BorgWarner finalized its acquisition of Gustav Wahler GmbH & Co. KG. A producer of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valves and tubes as well as engine thermostats for both on- and off-road applications, Wahler’s customers include leading automotive manufacturers from around the world.

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GE and PowerStream launch Ontario microgrid demonstration project; Durathon batteries

GE and PowerStream Inc. launched their first joint microgrid demonstration project, located at PowerStream’s headquarters in Vaughan, Ontario. For the project, GE provided its Grid IQ Microgrid Control System (MCS), as well as the engineering design services, to help PowerStream build a microgrid, which uses renewable energy resources (wind, solar); a natural-gas generator; and energy storage devices (including GE’s Durathon sodium-metal halide batteries, earlier post) to provide electricity for loads at its head office including lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration and electric vehicle charging.

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Freescale and Broadcom partner on compact, integrated microcontroller and PHY solution for 360˚ on-board camera systems

Freescale Semiconductor and Broadcom Corporation have partnered to create Freescale’s Qorivva MPC5606E—the first fully-integrated, packaged microcontroller (MCU) and physical layer transceiver (PHY) solution for use in 360-degree automotive camera systems.

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