[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.]
CAAFI releases ASTM D4054 Users’ Guide for alternative jet fuels
December 12, 2013
$4M from EPA available for clean diesel projects at ports
EPA is announcing the availability of $4 million in grant funding to establish clean diesel projects aimed at reducing emissions from marine and inland water ports.
ChargePoint year-end special: up to $1,250 credit to upgrade to dual-port CT4000 Charging Station
ChargePoint is offering its customers a limited time trade-in credit of up to $1,250 toward the purchase of a dual-port CT4000 charging station. The CT4000 Series from ChargePoint includes a power-sharing feature, which allows a single circuit to power a dual port charging station, doubling the number of charging locations, without increasing installation costs.
GM sells 3 million vehicles in China in a single year for the first time
General Motors and its joint ventures reported selling their 3 millionth vehicle in China in 2013. This is the first time in GM’s history in its largest market that it has reached the milestone in a calendar year.
Farm-to-Fleet venture to make drop-in biofuel blends part of regular operational fuel use by US military
December 11, 2013
Starting next year, the joint “Farm-to-Fleet” venture of the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Navy will make biofuel blends part of regular, operational fuel purchase and use by the military. The announcement incorporates the acquisition of biofuel blends into regular Department of Defense (DOD) domestic solicitations for jet engine and marine diesel fuels. The Navy will seek to purchase JP-5 and F-76 advanced drop-in biofuels blended from 10 to 50 percent with conventional fuels. Funds from USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will assist the effort.
EPA announces winners of the 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2013 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards are presented in five categories: academic, small business, greener synthetic pathways, greener reaction conditions and designing greener chemicals.
Coca-Cola partners with XL Hybrids to convert new 2014 Express vans into hybrids
Coca-Cola is converting all of its newly purchased 2014 Chevrolet Express service vans into fuel-efficient hybrid-electric vehicles using XL Hybrids’ powertrain technology. (Earlier post.) The updated vans will be on the road across the country by year’s end.
IEA: non-OPEC oil supply tops 43 mb/d for first time in decades; global demand to reach 92.4 mb/d in 2014
The International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) Oil Market Report (OMR) for December raised the estimate of global oil demand for 2013 by 130,000 barrels per day (130 kb/d) to 91.2 million barrels per day (mb/d), on stronger-than-expected third-quarter demand growth among OECD countries of 320 kb/d. Global demand is now seen advancing by 1.2 mb/d in both 2013 and 2014, to reach 92.4 mb/d in 2014.
INVISTA to collaborate with CPI to develop gas-fermentation-based, bio-derived process technology
INVISTA and The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) will collaborate on the development of new technologies to enable gas-fermentation-based processes for the production of industrial chemicals.
17 oil and gas companies partner for seismic mapping in Barents Sea
A group comprising 17 oil and gas companies has established a project for joint seismic acquisition in the southeastern Barents Sea. Statoil is the operator of the project. The Barents Sea Shelf lies entirely north of the Arctic Circle.
GM to cease manufacturing in Australia by 2017
General Motors announced it will transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand. The company will discontinue vehicle and engine manufacturing and significantly reduce its engineering operations in Australia by the end of 2017.
Hyundai to introduce Intrado lightweight fuel-cell concept at Geneva show
At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show Hyundai Motor will unveil Intrado, a concept car previewing future developments for the brand. Intrado is built around a super-lightweight structure made from a mixture of advanced materials and joined using a technique that Hyundai says has the potential to change the way cars are constructed in the future. The car also features a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain that is both smaller and lighter than that powering the assembly-line-produced Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell.
University of Toronto team discovers new long-lived greenhouse gas with GWP of 7,100
December 10, 2013
Scientists from the University of Toronto have discovered a novel chemical in the atmosphere that appears to be a long-lived greenhouse gas (LLGHG). The chemical—perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA)—is the most radiatively-efficient chemical found to date, breaking all other chemical records for its potential to affect climate.
ClipperCreek introduces 30 Amp 240V vehicle charge station starting at $590
ClipperCreek introduced its latest product, the HCS-40, a 30 Amp, 240 Volt Level 2 electric vehicle charging station, with prices starting at $590. The indoor/outdoor HCS features a fully sealed NEMA 4 enclosure and comes standard with 25 feet of charging cable and a 3-year warranty; an optional connector holster costs $19.
Evonik and LanzaTech working on bio-processed precursors for specialty plastics
Evonik Industries and LanzaTech have signed a three-year research cooperation agreement which will see Evonik combining its existing biotechnology platforms with LanzaTech’s synthetic biology and gas fermentation expertise for the development of a route to bio-processed precursors for specialty plastics from waste-derived synthesis gas.
Leonardo DiCaprio & Venturi Automobiles launch Formula E electric race car team
Venturi Automobiles announced a joint venture with award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to enter a team in the new FIA Formula E Championship—the first fully-electric race series beginning in September 2014.
Audi beginning track testing of new R18 e-tron quattro LMP1; details later this month
Only a week after the World Championship winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro race car’s last run in a race, its successor is ready to hit the track. Tests of the new LMP1 sports car, which has been kept under wraps up to now, began in the US race track at Sebring (Florida).
Waterfront Shipping to commission new ships with methanol flex-fuel engines
December 09, 2013
Waterfront Shipping Company Ltd. has reached an agreement with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), Westfal-Larsen & Co A/S (WL) and Marinvest/Skagerack Invest to build six new ships, with an option for building an additional three, all to be delivered during 2016. These 50,000 dead weight tonne vessels will be built with MAN ME-LGI flex fuel engines running on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil, or gas oil. (Earlier post.)
USPTO issues patent to Proterro for biosynthetic process to manufacture fermentable sugar
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued US Patent Nº 8,597,914 to Proterro, Inc., protecting Proterro’s unique, biosynthetic sugar-making process. (Earlier post.)
Third Dutch hydrogen station opens; new VDL fuel cell bus concept
Late in November, the AutomotiveCampusNL in Helmond at Brainport opened the third hydrogen station in the Netherlands. Built by Dutch construction multinational Ballast Nedam in cooperation with Hydrogenics, the station will serve VDL Bus and Coach to test its future fuel cell buses. Within the next few months the station will be expanded to include a 700 bar dispenser to make it suitable for passenger cars. Operated by WaterstofNet, the Flemish/Southern Netherlands hydrogen network station is co-financed by the EU Interreg program.
Taiwan study on production of hydrogen from rice straw
Researchers in Taiwan report on the production of hydrogen from rice straw fed into a microwave plasma system in a paper in the journal Fuel. They evaluated the conversion rate according to the concentration of hydrogen and other gas products (CO2 and CO).
Scientists discover quick recipe for producing hydrogen
Scientists at the University Claude Bernard Lyon have discovered a simple process for producing copious volumes of hydrogen. The researchers will present a paper on the discovery at the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco this week.
Added molecules allow metal-organic frameworks to conduct electricity
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Sandia National Laboratories have developed conductive metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)—MOFs with the ability to conduct electricity. These porous and conductive MOFs may be the first in an entirely new class of materials that could be used for sensing, conformal electronics (electronics that can bend and conform to unusual shapes), and other as-yet-unknown applications.
SUPERVALU unveils new natural gas powered truck fleet and fill station
SUPERVALU INC. has purchased 35 Class 8 Volvo trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). The fleet, which operates out of SUPERVALU’s Mechanicsville, Va., distribution center and currently serves approximately 500 grocery stores in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, is the largest private fleet of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Renmatix and Virent collaborate on converting cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and packaging
December 07, 2013
Renmatix and Virent announced a strategic collaboration to convert affordable cellulosic sugars to renewable chemicals and bio-based packaging materials. The two companies, both ICIS Innovation Awards winners, made the announcement at the ICIS awards ceremony in London.
Statoil announces another high-impact natural gas discovery offshore Tanzania
Statoil announced its fifth discovery in Block 2 offshore Tanzania. The discovery of an additional 2-3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in place in the Mronge-1 well brings the total of in-place volumes up to 17-20 Tcf in Block 2. (1 Tcf gas = 180 million barrels of oil equivalent.)
SwRI operating connected vehicle affiliated test bed
December 06, 2013
Southwest Research Institute is now serving as a Connected Vehicle Affiliated Test Bed, recognized by the US Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). As a Connected Vehicle Test Bed, SwRI supports public and private sector research, testing and demonstrations of innovative, next-generation intelligent transportation technologies.
Deret Transport running 22 Canter Eco Hybrids in fleet; 25% reduction in fuel consumption
Deret Transport, one of France’s largest logistics companies, has recently opted for the Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid. The Deret Group now has one of the largest hybrid fleets in Europe, comprising 22 Canter Eco Hybrids. The Canter is the flagship model of Daimler subsidiary Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC). According to Deret spokesperson Jean-Luc Fournier, initial trips with the hybrid fleet have revealed a 25% reduction in fuel consumption compared with trucks with conventional engines.
Ford reveals Ka Concept; vision for small global value car
In Barcelona, Ford revealed the Ka Concept, the company’s vision for a practical all-new global small car offering advanced technology around the world at an affordable price.
Airbus signs research agreement with MIT to explore use of digital manufacturing in aerospace vehicles
Airbus has signed a research agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to explore the use of digital manufacturing in aerospace. Working with Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) and his team, the aircraft manufacturer will evaluate how the digital material concepts being developed at MIT can potentially be applied to the design and construction of aerospace vehicles.
SolarCity introduces energy storage for businesses; Tesla battery technology
SolarCity has unveiled a smart energy storage system to address rising utility demand charges and increasing grid outages affecting businesses. Developed with battery technology from Tesla Motors, SolarCity DemandLogic storage includes learning software that automates the discharge of stored energy to optimize utility charge savings for customers. Elon Musk is the Chairman of Solar City, and Chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors.
Siemens and Cummins partner to provide diesel-electric EPA Tier 4 passenger rail locomotives in US
Siemens Rail Systems and Cummins are partnering to bring EPA Tier 4 compliant locomotives to market. Under the agreement, Cummins QSK95 diesel engines will be used in Siemens’ diesel electric locomotives in the US. Leveraging Siemens proven rail technology, these locomotives will be designed and built specifically to deliver a smoother, more reliable and more energy-efficient riding experience for passengers.
Shell will not move forward with $12.5B US Gulf Coast GTL project
December 05, 2013
Royal Dutch Shell plc will not move forward with the proposed 140,000 barrels per day Gulf Coast gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Louisiana and will suspend any further work on the project, which was estimated to cost some $12.5 billion. (Earlier post.) Shell is the industry leader in large-scale GTL technology; the company said it has carefully evaluated a number of development options for GTL on the US Gulf Coast, using natural gas feedstocks.
Battery Innovation Center issues RFP for development of new energy storage systems
The Battery Innovation Center (BIC)—a non-profit consortium of organizations focused on the rapid development, testing and commercialization of safe and reliable energy storage systems—has announced a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of new energy storage systems. Funded by a $2-million grant from the Department of Commerce, the BIC will offer its advanced lab and facilities to the selected technology developers, which will be announced in early 2014.
ANSYS and Reaction Design to merge to provide enhanced combustion simulation and modeling solutions
ANSYS, a global provider of engineering simulation software, has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Reaction Design, a leading developer of chemistry simulation software. The transaction is expected to close in January 2014. Management will provide further details regarding the transaction and its impact on the 2014 financial outlook subsequent to the closing.
Noble Energy announces new exploration discoveries offshore Israel and in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico
Noble Energy, Inc. announced discoveries at the Tamar Southwest (SW) exploration well offshore Israel and at the Dantzler exploration well in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Noble’s discovered resources in the Eastern Mediterranean now totals nearly 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Toyota licenses WiTricity IP for wireless charging of its plug-in vehicles
Toyota Motor Corporation has licensed the intellectual property (IP) of WiTricity, an MIT spin-off commercializing an approach to “mid-range” wireless charging (distances from a centimeter to several meters, earlier post). Having made an equity investment in WiTricity in 2011 to accelerate the development of automotive wireless charging systems and acceptance by carmakers (earlier post), Toyota has cooperated technically with the company for the past several years.
GM pulls Chevrolet out of mainstream markets in Europe
Beginning in 2016, GM will compete in Europe’s volume markets only under its Opel and Vauxhall brands. The Chevrolet brand will no longer have a mainstream presence in Western and Eastern Europe, largely due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe, the company said.
GM investing $24M in electrical generation equipment to use more landfill gas at two plants
General Motors is making a $24-million investment in electrical generation equipment that will allow the company to use more landfill gas at its Fort Wayne, Ind., and Orion, Mich., assembly plants.
Evonik investigating bacterial conversion of syngas to specialty chemicals; 2-HIBA demo
Evonik Industries has demonstrated the use of bacteria to convert syngas to pure 2-hydroxyisobutyric acid (2-HIBA) under industrial conditions. 2-HIBA is a precursor used in the manufacture of PLEXIGLAS. Waste gas is one example of a source of syngas.
UMTRI: average fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles sold in November up slightly from October
December 04, 2013
The average fuel-economy (EPA window-sticker) value of new light-duty vehicles sold in the US in November was 24.8 mpg, up 0.1 mpg from the revised October value, according to the monthly report from Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Vehicle fuel economy is up 4.7 mpg or 23% since October 2007 (the first month of their monitoring).
Qantas and Shell biofuel report finds Australian aviation biofuel industry technically viable, but challenged
An Australian aviation biofuel industry is technically viable but significant obstacles remain, according to a report released by Qantas and Shell today. The study, conducted with the support of the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), is the most comprehensive investigation so far into the economic viability of producing biofuel on a commercial scale in Australia.
EIA: natural gas use for power falls as industrial use continues to rise; higher prices, cooler summer
For the first eleven months of 2013, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector was below 2012 levels because of relatively higher natural gas prices compared with coal prices, and cooler summer weather compared with 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Smart nail for Li-ion penetration tests
Jeff Dahn and colleagues at Dalhousie University have developed a “smart nail” for penetration testing on Li-ion batteries. The project is detailed in the Journal of Power Sources.
Injection of hydrogen into the German gas distribution grid from power-to-gas demo plant
ITM Power, with its partners Mainova Aktiengesellschaft and NRM Netzdienste Rhein-Main GmbH, has injected hydrogen into the German gas distribution network from the Thüga Group’s power-to-gas demonstration plant. (Earlier post.) The ITM Power rapid response electrolyzer plant has been delivered and commissioned ahead of schedule and the compliance and permitting work has been completed to enable the incorporation of hydrogen via the compliant mixing plant.
São Paulo Transit completes successful trials of 40-foot BYD electric bus; revenue service starting in 2014
São Paulo Transit has completed a pilot program of a 40-foot BYD electric bus conducted by the city which concluded that the battery-electric bus was effective on more than 80% of routes currently in operation. BYD Motors will deliver two new buses to the city for revenue service in first quarter 2014.
Tata Motors commits almost $50M to UK National Automotive Innovation Campus
Tata Motors Limited, India’s largest automobile manufacturer, has confirmed its long term commitment to advanced research and development in the UK through the participation of its subsidiary, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), in the UK’s National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC). (Earlier post.)
EPA and DOE release annual Fuel Economy Guide with 2014 models
December 03, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) are releasing the 2014 Fuel Economy Guide, providing consumers with a resource to identify and choose the most fuel efficient and low greenhouse gas emitting vehicles that meet their needs.
Shell floats hull for Prelude, world’s largest floating facility; 3.6M tonnes LNG per year
The 488-meter (1,601-foot) hull of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) yard in Geoje, South Korea, where the facility is currently under construction. Once complete, Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built. (Earlier post.) It will produce approximately 3.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year.
Northwestern-led consortium to establish new NIST-sponsored center of excellence for advanced materials
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has selected a consortium led by Northwestern University to establish a new NIST-sponsored center of excellence for advanced materials research. The new Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD) will be funded in part by a $25-million award from NIST over five years.
Oerlikon Graziano to provide details on new hybrid 6-speed AMT; torque infill from electric motor
High-performance transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano, a brand of Oerlikon Drive Systems Segment, is unveiling details of its new hybrid, six-speed AMT at the CTI Symposium Berlin 2013 this week. The company says that its new OGeco transmission will be more cost effective, lighter and efficient than DCT alternatives, and utilize torque infill to provide seamless shift benefits.
At the event, Roberto Gay from Oerlikon Graziano and Marco Fracchia from the controlled company VOCIS Ltd will present a technical paper outlining the new transmission and its application in a demonstrator. (Session G5)
The OGeco concept has been designed to provide torque infill from an electric motor during gear changes, providing the refinement of a DCT. Increased low speed comfort does not compromise the rapid shift time and responsiveness during spirited driving, thanks to a two-speed electric motor transmission solution enabled by a twin-shaft AMT layout. Smooth shifting at low to medium vehicle performance matches current DCT expectations, and the transition to high-performance is enabled by significant torque infill to reduce shift shock.
The hybrid unit is designed for high performance vehicles with transaxle transmission configuration, suitable for front- and rear-wheel drive application, and we believe the OGeco concept is central to the continued evolution of performance transmissions. This technology is able to provide an innovative breakthrough for the automotive industry as manufacturers seek reduced fuel consumption and improved CO2 emissions.—Roberto Gay, Oerlikon Graziano Head of Automotive Design
The OGeco unit will be ready for trial in a front-engined, rear-wheel drive high-performance demonstrator vehicle in early 2014. The production vehicle has been equipped with an OGeco prototype transmission, electric motor and ancillaries by Vocis, and demonstrates the packaging benefits by fitting into the space previously taken by a seven-speed DCT.
Reduced weight, improved efficiency and fuel economy are further benefits of the transmission.
Depending on customer requirements, OGeco can support different drivetrain layouts to provide a range extender drive for plug-in hybrid vehicles, torque infill, electric boost and KERS performance benefits due to the unit’s 120 kW, 200 N·m output.| Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
NHTSA issues formal request for detailed information from Tesla on Model S battery pack
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a formal—and legally enforceable—request for detailed information from Tesla Motors for the agency’s preliminary investigation into the battery pack of the Model S in the wake of two vehicle fires caused by impact with road debris. (Earlier post.)
Saleen Automotive developing EV for distribution and sale; “A trend, not a fad”
Saleen Automotive, Inc., a US-based specialty ultra-high performance automotive manufacturer, confirmed that it is developing an electric vehicle for eventual distribution and sale.
75-year-old GM plant in Rochester achieves landfill-free status
After four years of effort, including seven attempts to recycle an oily filter sludge generated from a machining operation, a 75-year-old General Motors manufacturing facility in Rochester, N.Y. has achieved landfill-free status.
CAP dual-fuel engine sales and orders exceed 400 units to date in 2013, compared to 300 in all of 2012
Clean Air Power (CAP) announced that demand for its Dual-Fuel products has resulted in systems sold to date in 2013 and forward orders from customers exceeding 400 units. This compares to 300 system sales during the whole year ended 31 December 2012. The level of unit sales is marginally behind current market expectations for the year, however as a result of the different sales mix the reported loss for the period to 31 December 2013 is now anticipated to be marginally smaller than market forecasts.
Hitachi developing packaged 1 MW Li-ion energy storage system for grid stabilization
December 02, 2013
Hitachi, Ltd. has developed a container-type energy storage system as a core energy product for ensuring the stable use of distributed renewable energy such as wind and solar power, while maintaining the power supply-demand balance. The energy storage system, which packages a 1 MW Li-ion battery system with power electronics and control technologies, fuses Hitachi’s electricity grid control technologies built up in the Hitachi Group and Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd.’s battery-related expertise.
Aluminum-carbon anodes for Li-ion batteries show high capacity and stability
Researchers in S. Korea synthesized structurally regulated and hybridized aluminum-carbon (Al-C) nanoclusters as a stable, high-capacity anode material for Li-ion batteries. (Earlier post.)
Ram to introduce small van for North America based on Fiat Doblo
The Ram Commercial Truck division will offer an all-new small van for the North American market. Based on the Fiat Doblo, a two-time International Van of the Year winner with more than 1.3 million units sold, the Ram ProMaster City will encompass familiar Ram Truck styling cues and offer features and powertrains preferred by North American commercial customers.
IMA logs more than 700 preorders for electric one-seater micro-car Colibri
Germany-based Innovative Mobility Automobile GmbH (IMA) has logged more than 700 preorders for the electric one-seater Colibri since since it was launched in Geneva and Hannover earlier this year. About half of the interested people are private users, while the other half are business customers such as fleet operators or nursing services.
Audi to begin production of Q1 entry-level SUV in 2016
Audi AG has officially sanctioned the addition of the Q1 model to the Q lineup; the new model will roll off the assembly lines in Ingolstadt in 2016.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden begins production of gasoline-engined Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB has started production of the Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan with a gasoline engine at the old Saab Trollhättan plant. Sales are initially focused in China with a small number of vehicles being sold directly from NEVS to Swedish customers via the NEVS’ website.
Verso 1.6 D-4D first Toyota with BMW Group-sourced diesel engine
December 01, 2013
The Verso 1.6 D-4D will be the first Toyota to be equipped with a BMW Group-sourced diesel, two years after Toyota entered into a contract with the BMW Group to source diesel engines. (Earlier post.) The arrival of the 112 hp (84 kW) 1.6 D-4D widens the engine range available on Verso, which now comprises four diesel and two gasoline engines.
Euro VI Stralis Hi-Way cuts fuel consumption 2.33% compared to Euro V model
November 30, 2013
TÜV, one of the leading European technical certification centers, has certified that the Iveco Stralis Hi-Way Euro VI reduces fuel consumption 2.33% compared to the previous Euro V version, due to the catalytic reduction system HI-eSCR (High Efficiency SCR) patented by FPT Industrial and the aerodynamic optimizations introduced with the new cab.
Audi wins SPE award for plastic turbocharged air duct
November 29, 2013
At the recent 43rd-Annual SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, Audi took the Powertrain category award for its turbocharged air duct applied on the A4 and A5 TDI and TFSI.
Nissan and British Gas launch UK’s largest electric commercial vehicle pilot
Nissan and British Gas have launched the UK’s largest electric commercial vehicle pilot. British Gas is testing 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans (earlier post) throughout the winter to determine the future viability of battery-electric vehicle technology as part of its 13,000 home service vans fleet. The test is being run in collaboration with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions and Gateshead College.
Scania secures Australia’s first Euro 6 bus fleet order
November 28, 2013
The government of the Australian Capital Territory has selected Scania to supply a fleet of 77 Euro 6 city buses. Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network (ACTION), is the first Australian bus fleet operator to adopt Euro 6 technology. The Federal Government has yet to announce a date for the introduction of Euro 6.
Advanced pre-collision safety system in 2014 Lexus LS helps avoid frontal collisions
The Lexus flagship 2014 LS sedan offers an Advanced Pre-Collision System (A-PCS) with collision avoidance assist designed to detect obstacles and bring the car to a full stop if needed.
Neste Oil awarded first RSPO-RED certificate for NExBTL renewable diesel production
Neste Oil is the first company to be awarded an RSPO-RED Supply Chain certificate under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) new, more demanding certification system. The certificate covers the production of NExBTL renewable diesel at Neste Oil’s refineries in Porvoo, Rotterdam, and Singapore.
BASF produces first commercial volumes of butanediol from renewable raw material
November 27, 2013
BASF has produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material, and is offering this product to customers for testing and commercial use. The production process relies on a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica, based in California. BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and elastic fibers for the packaging, automotive, textile, and sports and leisure industries, among others.
Report: Nippon Steel, ArcelorMittal to buy US auto steel plant for $1.95B
The Nikkei reports that Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal will jointly acquire a ThyssenKrupp automotive steel sheet plant in Alabama for approximately ¥200 billion (US$1.95 billion). The acquisition, which would more than double the buyers’ combined production capacity in the US, would be Nippon Steel’s largest every outside of Japan.
PDVSA and Eni inaugurate first heavy crude pipeline in Junin-5 in Orinoco belt
The Venezuela Minister of Petroleum and President of the state-owned company PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, and a delegation of Eni, composed of the members of the board of directors and led by the Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni and the President Giuseppe Recchi, inaugurated the first pipeline to evacuate oil from the Junin-5 field, located on the Orinoco oil belt.
Honda begins building new automobile production plant in Brazil; starting with new Fit in 2 years
Honda Automóveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, has begun construction of its new automobile production plant in the city of Itirapina in the state of São Paulo (approximately 200 km (124 miles) northwest of the city of São Paulo).
Low-temperature plasma-assisted combustion could improve jet aircraft performance and fuel consumption
Introducing plasma (ionized gas) to a combustion reaction can sustain combustion even in conditions that would otherwise snuff out the reaction: for example, at low air pressure, in high winds or when there’s low fuel. As such, low-temperature plasma-assisted combustion can potentially give an efficiency boost to high-performance aircraft.
Select Honda and Acura Vehicles now offering Siri Eyes Free integration
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced that select Honda and Acura models including the 2013 -2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX now offer Apple's Siri Eyes Free mode as a dealer installed accessory. Customers can visit a Honda or Acura dealership to purchase and install Siri Eyes Free integration so compatible iPhone customers can direct Siri to perform tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
SEAT and Gas Natural Fenosa partner to promote use of automotive CNG in Spain, including fleet vehicles
November 26, 2013
SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, and Gas Natural Fenosa have signed a strategic agreement to develop and to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the automotive field in Spain, in the coming years.
Ford recalling nearly 140,000 2013 Escapes with 1.6L EcoBoost engines over fire potential
Ford Motor Company is recalling 139,917 model year 2013 Escape vehicles manufactured 5 October 2011 through 2 June 2013 and equipped with 1.6L EcoBoost engines. These vehicles may experience localized overheating of the engine cylinder head which may cause cracks that could allow oil to leak; leaking engine oil may come into contact with a hot engine surface, potentially resulting in an engine compartment fire.
New study finds US anthropogenic methane emissions 1.5 times higher than previously estimated by EPA
Using a new methodology, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has concluded that anthropogenic emissions of methane from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction and processing (i.e., oil and/or natural gas) are likely significantly greater than cited in existing studies.
Marathon to serve as anchor shipper for Bakken Sandpiper Project pipeline
Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. announced that MPC will serve as an anchor shipper for the Sandpiper Project pipeline in the Bakken shale. MPC will fund 37.5% of the construction of the Sandpiper Project, which will become part of Enbridge Energy Partners’ North Dakota System when it is completed. Sandpiper is targeted to be operational in early 2016.
Pixelligent awarded $1M DOE SBIR grant for nanoadditives for advanced lubricants to reduce fuel consumption
November 25, 2013
Nanomaterials company Pixelligent Technologies has been awarded a $1-million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant by the Department of Energy (DOE). The two-year program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in advanced lubricants to reduce fuel consumption and engine wear.
China’s SAIC Motor named winner of 10th LA Auto Show Design Challenge; Mobiliant
The judges of the 10th annual LA Auto Show Design Challenge named SAIC Motor the winner of the 2013 competition. SAIC Motor beat out eight world-renowned auto design studios for the honor with an innovative public transit solution aimed at alleviating urban problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion.
Test drive of highway platooning with autonomous vehicles in the Netherlands
Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz rode in the first highway test drive of an autonomous car in the Netherlands.
Rosneft board of directors approves plan to develop West Siberian Kharampur gas field
Rosneft Board of Directors has approved a project plan for the development of the Kharampur gas field in West Siberia. The gas to be produced at Kharampur will be one of the key sources of supplies under the long-term contracts by Rosneft. Phase 1 of the project envisages the production of more than 190 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the reserves of the Kharampur field. The production is set to kick off in 2017.
Volvo Car Group signs $800M loan agreement with China Development Bank
Volvo Car Group and China Development Bank have signed a US$800 million loan agreement with a maturity in 2021. This loan will support Volvo Car Group in further developing its product program as well as strengthening the capital structure over the coming years.
Nissan carries out first public road test of Autonomous Drive on expressways in Japan
Nissan Motor Corporation has carried out the first public road test of Autonomous Drive (AD) (earlier post) on a Japanese highway. A Nissan LEAF electric vehicle equipped with the technology took to the Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, with the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, and Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga, on board.
EU and China to collaborate on low-carbon city projects
The European Union’s climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC, and the fourth largest city of China, Tianjin, have agreed to collaborate on the JiefangNan Rd New Meijiang pilot, a low-carbon city project. The agreement was signed in Beijing last week in the presence of China’s Premier Li Keqiang and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.
USC Viterbi engineers develop faster additive manufacturing process with multiple base materials
November 24, 2013
USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers have developed a faster 3-D printing process and are now using it to model and fabricate heterogeneous objects, which comprise multiple materials.
NETL researchers studying properties of foamy cement for use in tricky oil and gas wells
Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are studying the physical properties of foamed cement—cement containing microscopic bubbles of nitrogen or air—under wellbore conditions to understand how they can be modified to lower the risk of spills.
GE Transportation wins first order for new marine diesel engine; 50% reduction in emissions
GE Transportation announced the first sale of its new 12V250 Marine Diesel Engine that is designed to meet EPA Tier 4i and IMO Tier III Emissions standards. GE’s technology eliminates the need for a urea-based after-treatment emissions reduction system, providing more valuable cargo space, and reduces emissions by 50%.
smart electric drive goes on sale in China
November 23, 2013
The new smart fortwo electric drive is now available to buy from dealerships in China. The smart brand celebrated this market launch at the Guangzhou Motor Show, where the all-electric city runabout was presented to the Chinese public.
Volvo’s Nova Bus and STM to test three electric buses and two rapid charging stations in Montréal
Volvo Group’s North American subsidiary, Nova Bus, and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) have entered into an agreement on an electrification project for the public transit system of Montréal, Canada. The MoU formalizes the intention of testing three Nova LFSe electric buses and two charging stations in Montréal.
Statoil and NASA finalise research agreement; focused on frontier regions
Statoil and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) have formed a partnership to explore a wide range of technologies to assist Statoil in the search for oil and gas exploration and production efforts, which are increasingly moving into frontier regions. The contract with NASA is effectuated at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena, California, which is managed by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
Fisker Automotive files for Chapter 11, selling assets to Hybrid Tech Holdings
Fisker Automotive, Inc. and Fisker Automotive Holdings, Inc. (collectively, Fisker Automotive) have entered into an asset purchase agreement with Hybrid Tech Holdings, LLC (Hybrid) for the sale of substantially all Fisker assets. Hybrid is the lender under an approximately $170-million loan secured by first liens on substantially all of Fisker Automotive’s assets. Hybrid’s parent, Hybrid Technology, LLC purchased the loan from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for $25 million. (Earlier post.)
Dow Chemical exits Dow Kokam Li-ion battery venture; sells interest to MBP Investors
November 22, 2013
MBP Investors, LLC (MBP), an affiliate of Townsend Ventures (Townsend) has acquired Dow’s ownership interest in Dow Kokam LLC (Dow Kokam). The transaction makes MBP the majority owner of Dow Kokam, which includes the Midland Battery Park in Michigan and the Lee’s Summit facility in Missouri.
Lufthansa Group tests renewable farnesane component from Amyris in kerosene blend
As part of the EU “Blending Study” project, Lufthansa has conducted a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg. Experts involved in this project have been examining the possible impact on aircraft emissions and engine performance of blending farnesane, a new biokerosene component made from biomass sugars, with conventional kerosene.
UNECE adopts three new regulations to improve the safety and environmental performance of motor vehicles
The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) has adopted three new regulations to improve the safety and environmental performance of motor vehicles. WP.29 is a Working Party within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee; it manages three global agreements. The new regulations are:
Formula E: Spark-Renault electric single-seater completes inaugural track test
The all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car (earlier post) has successfully completed its inaugural track test at a circuit east of Paris (La Ferté Gaucher). The test marks an important new step in the car’s development following its unveiling at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
Ideal Power, developer of new indirect power conversion technology, prices IPO
Ideal Power Inc., the developer of a new approach to electric power conversion (earlier post), has priced its initial public offering (IPO) of 3,000,000 shares of common stock at an offering price of $5.00 per share, to result in gross proceeds of $15 million.
Honda unveils planned production model VEZEL; gasoline and hybrid versions
At the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled the VEZEL production model. VEZEL, says Honda, offers the dynamic qualities of an SUV, the elegance of a coupe and the functionality of a minivan. In Japan, both hybrid and gasoline models of the VEZEL will go on sale.
BMW i and Good Energy partner on green electricity supply in UK
BMW i has formed a partnership with Good Energy Ltd in the UK. This partnership includes the provision of 100per cent green electricity to households of BMW customers throughout the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland).This will allow BMW i3 and BMW i8 owners to charge their vehicle using renewably sourced electricity while at home.
Porsche launches compact SUV Macan with diesel option
Porsche is expanding its range to include a new class of vehicle with the Macan, which is the first Porsche model to break into the compact SUV segment. The Macan is “Made in Germany”, produced at the Leipzig plant. Porsche invested €500 million (US$674 million) in the plant and has established an entire production line there with a capacity of around 50,000 vehicles per year.