[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.]
DOE SBIR/STTR Release 2 topics includes fuel-cell hybrid trucks and QC devices for PEM fuel cells
November 01, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2015 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 topics, which include two hydrogen and fuel cell related topics: fuel cell-battery electric hybrid trucks and in-line quality control devices for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
DOE awarding $13M to 5 companies for advanced nuclear reactor projects
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $13 million to five companies to lead key nuclear energy research and development projects supporting advanced reactor technologies. The cost-share agreements will help address significant technical challenges to the design, construction and operation of next generation nuclear reactors, based off needs identified by industry designers and technical experts.
Chevy byproducts provide homes for bats; helping in the fight against white-nose syndrome
October 31, 2014
General Motors is using waste adhesive from the production of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to build stalactites for artificial bat caves. International bat experts from such non-governmental organizations as Bat Conservation International and the Organization for Bat Conservation are reviewing the application.
NHTSA fines Ferrari $3.5M for failing to submit early warning reports, three fatal accidents
The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Ferrari will pay a $3.5-million civil penalty and has been ordered to comply with NHTSA oversight requirements as set forth in a Consent Order for failing to submit early warning reports (EWR reports) identifying potential or actual safety issues.
LG Chem breaks ground on Nanjing EV battery plant
LG Chem held a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of an electric-car battery plant in Nanjing, China. The Nanjing battery plant, with an annual production capacity of more than 100,000 electric vehicles when completed by the end of 2015, will supply batteries to Chinese automakers such as SAIC Motor Corp, Qoros and many other global carmakers in China.
DSM thermoplastics suited for lightweight tanks for CNG, H2; weight reduction up to 70%
Royal DSM says a combination of two of its most innovative thermoplastics technologies has resulted in high performance pressure vessels that are ideally suited for use as lightweight fuel tanks for automobiles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) or hydrogen. With a solution for both the inner liner and the outer tape reinforcement, DSM is able to reduce the weight of the tank by up to 70%.
Toyota to test expansion of EV and PHV charging infrastructure in Japan
Toyota Motor Corporation will be testing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Aichi Prefecture from 1 November until 15 March 2015. The tests will involve standard chargers for use with vehicles such as plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). The tests will be conducted jointly with four municipalities (Kariya City, Toyota City, Toyohashi City, and Nagakute City) and two companies (Toyota Industries Corporation and UNY Co., Ltd.), all of which are located in Aichi Prefecture. Toyota conducted similar tests in FY2012 and FY20131.
Mercedes-Benz making Crosswind Assist available as retrofit solution for older Sprinter models
Mercedes-Benz is now making its Crosswind Assist driver assistance function available as a retrofit solution for numerous variants of the Sprinter. The most important prerequisite is that the vehicle must be fitted with the current version of Adaptive ESP, available since January 2012. Almost all owners of vehicles built between 2012 and mid-2013 are therefore now able to retrofit this highly effective safety feature to their vehicle.
Hyundai reaches 10M mark for Elantra/Avante worldwide
Hyundai’s Elantra (Avante in other parts of the world) recently sold its 10 millionth unit globally. Elantra is Hyundai’s first model, and one of only 10 cars in the history of the auto industry to reach 10 million sales. Elantra was launched 24 years ago in 1990 and was able to reach this mark by selling an average of 420,000 per year—approximately 1,100 per day.
Nissan breaks its own US EV sales record
October 30, 2014
With more than two months remaining in the year, Nissan LEAF has surpassed its own record of the most US electric vehicle sales in a single calendar year, the mark of 22,610 units that it set in 2013, the company says. LEAF sales in 2014 through September are up more than 36% compared to the same period last year. (Nissan will announce October US sales on 3 November.)
Volkswagen Group top global R&D spender in 2014; 3rd year in a row
The Volkswagen Group was the top global R&D spender in 2014, according to The 2014 Global Innovation 1000 report from consultancy Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) . This marks Volkswagen’s third year in a row in the top spot. Volkswagen, which spent US$13.5 billion on R&D in 2014 according to the report, was followed closely by Samsung ($13.4 billion), then by Intel ($10.6 billion); Microsoft ($10.4 billion); and Roche ($10 billion). Toyota came in seventh with a spend of $9.1 billion, according to the report. (Toyota had been in 6th place in 2013, and in the Nº 2 spot behind Volkswagen in 2012.)
ZSW study finds combination of high-rate and low-temperature cycling increases hazard risks for Li-ion cells
A team from Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung (ZSW) in Germany reports in a paper in the Journal of Power Sources that the interaction of high-rate and low-temperature cycling increases the safety hazard for Li-ion batteries.
ARPA-E to award up to $25M in new GENSETS program; generator tech for residential CHP
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001198) for approximately $25 million for a new program: GENSETS (GENerators for Small Electrical and Thermal Systems). GENSETS seeks to fund the development of potentially disruptive generator technologies that will enable widespread deployment of residential Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems.
DOE launches new Lab-Corps program to accelerate commercialization of clean energy technologies
October 29, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched a new $2.3-million pilot program to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean energy technologies from the DOE’s National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Lab-Corps aims to better train and empower national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact, real world technologies in the private sector.
Johnson Matthey buys Clariant’s LFP business for $75M; to combine with A123 Systems’ China facility in new Battery Materials entity
Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, has agreed to sell its Energy Storage line of business to Johnson Matthey Plc for US$75 million at closing, which is expected early 2015. The Energy Storage business of Clariant is the largest hydrothermal Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) producer in the world. The lithium iron cathode material is used in electric vehicles and stationary battery applications. In September, JM acquired A123 System's cathode manufacturing facility in China. (Earlier post.)
Toho Tenax develops high-efficiency thermoset CFRP production technology
Toho Tenax Co., Ltd., the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business, has developed a new technology—Tenax Part via Preform (PvP)—for highly efficient production of thermoset carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Toho Tenax is now working with automakers worldwide to develop commercial applications for Tenax PvP.
EC says Honeywell and DuPont may have breached antitrust rules with R-1234yf low-GWP MAC refrigerant
The European Commission recently sent a formal Statement of Objections to Honeywell International Inc. and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company of its preliminary view that the cooperation they entered into in 2010, based on several agreements on the production of a new low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant (R-1234yf) for use in car air-conditioning systems (MAC), may have limited its availability and technical development, in breach of EU antitrust rules.
Daimler moovel using IBM cloud infrastructure for car2go
Daimler subsidiary moovel GmbH is using cloud infrastructure from SoftLayer, an IBM Company, for its car-sharing mobile application car2go to allow the company to better serve its customers around the world by helping them find the least expensive or fastest way to travel.
Indianapolis plans to add 425 PHEVs and BEVs to municipal fleet by 2016
The City of Indianapolis will upgrade 425 non-police-pursuit sedans in its muncipal fleet to plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles by early 2016, cut the size of the fleet by 100 vehicles, and save $8.7 million over ten years. The Indy fleet would be the largest municipal fleet of electrified vehicles in the US.
Hyundai introducing new motor-integrated 6-speed transmission for hybrids
October 28, 2014
Hyundai Motor announced a new motor-integrated six-speed automatic transmission for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) at the company’s annual International Powertrain Conference in Namyang, South Korea. The new six-speed automatic transmission will be fitted to future Hyundai hybrids, including the new Sonata.
SoftBank leading $210M investment in Indian transportation aggregator
SoftBank Internet and Media, Inc. (SIMI) and ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (better known as “Ola Cabs” or “Ola”) announced a definitive agreement under which SIMI will lead an investment of $210 million in Ola along with existing investors. Ola, founded in 2011, has grown to become the leading transportation aggregator in India. Ola leverages its technology platform to provide a marketplace connecting consumers and drivers via mobile apps, the web and call centers.
GM Ventures invests in Telogis
Telogis has received an equity investment from GM Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of General Motors. The investment extends the existing partnership between General Motors and Telogis that was formed earlier this year to take advantage of GM’s OnStar connected vehicle infrastructure to bring Telogis’ telematics and fleet management solutions to GM customers. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
ChargePoint now accepts PayPal
October 27, 2014
Plug-in electric vehicle (EV) drivers can now sign up and pay for ChargePoint charging with PayPal. PayPal has long supported EVs and has installed 34 ChargePoint ports at its San Jose, California, campus for employees and visitors.
Ferus Natural Gas Fuels commissions 1st merchant LNG facility in Canada
Ferus Natural Gas Fuels Inc. (Ferus NGF) held the grand opening of the first merchant liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility in Canada. The facility, which became commercially operational in May 2014, is located in Elmworth, Alberta, about 65 kilometers southwest of Grand Prairie. The LNG plant is located in the heart of oil and gas activity in northwest Alberta and northeast British Columbia, and produces high-quality LNG fuel for engines used in drilling rigs, pressure pumping services, water heating for well fracturing and heavy-duty highway and off-road trucks.
EIA: US gasoline’s average energy content per gallon declined ~3% from 1993-2013 due to increasing ethanol fraction
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has adjusted its estimates of the energy content of retail motor gasoline in its Monthly Energy Review (MER) to reflect its changing composition. Ethanol and other oxygenates, which have lower energy content than petroleum-based gasoline components, have seen their share of total gasoline volumes increase from 2% in 1993 to nearly 10% in 2013. As a result, EIA’s estimate of motor gasoline’s average energy content per gallon has declined by about 3% over this 20-year period.
REG begins production and sales of renewable diesel from Geismar biorefinery
Enerkem in partnerships to build waste-to-biofuels facilities in China
Canada-based waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Shanghai Environmental Group Co. Ltd., a municipal solid waste management company and a subsidiary of Shanghai Chengtou Holding Co. Ltd., to develop a project partnership to jointly build municipal solid waste-to-biofuels and chemicals facilities in China.
ORNL-led team demos 3D printing method with precise control of structure and properties of metals
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated an additive manufacturing (3D printing) method to control the structure and properties of metal components with precision unmatched by conventional manufacturing processes.
Lux Research: CFRP demand to grow at 13% CAGR 2020 to $35B in 2020; faster growth in automotive
New analysis by Lux Research shows that carbon fiber demand will grow at an overall 13% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 36,000 tons in 2013 to 86,000 tons in 2020. In parallel, CFRP demand will also grow at 13% CAGR, from $15.4 billion in 2013 to $35 billion in 2020 as the volumes of CFRP grow to 183,000 tons.
UK providing £15M ($24M) for latest competition for greener transportation technologies
The UK government and Innovate UK—theTechnology Strategy Board are providing £15 million ($24 million) for the latest competition to encourage technologies for road-vehicles that will deliver significant reductions in CO2 emissions. The UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has committed £11 million (US$18 million) while Innovate UK is providing £4 million (US$6 million). Innovate UK is seeking proposals that have at their core either one or more of the following Automotive Council strategic technologies:
Williams, Williams Partners L.P. and Access Midstream Partners, L.P. in $50B merger deal
Williams, Williams Partners L.P., and Access Midstream Partners, L.P. announced that Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners have reached and entered into a merger agreement; total transaction value is approximately $50 billion. Williams owns controlling interests in the two master limited partnerships (MLP). The merged MLP will feature large-scale positions across three key components of the midstream sector, including natural gas pipelines, gathering and processing and natural gas liquids and petrochemical services.
Study identifies halogen-free superhalogen electrolytes for Li-ion batteries
October 25, 2014
Most electrolytes currently used in Li-ion batteries contain halogens, which are toxic. An in-depth study based on first-principles calculations by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University has shown that the anions of commercially available electrolytes for Li-ion batteries are all superhalogens. With this knowledge, they identified several halogen-free less-toxic superhalogen electrolytes with comparable performance characteristics. Their paper is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
HSBC joining Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech in waste-gas-to-ethanol-to-jet-fuel effort
The UK’s largest bank, HSBC, is joining Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech in supporting the preparation for a world-first flight using a low-carbon, synthetic jet fuel kerosene produced from industrial waste gases. LanzaTech is leading the development of the process that captures waste gases from industrial steel production and ferments them to ethanol, which is then chemically converted for use as jet fuel. (Earlier post.)
Bi-functional nafion/γ-Al2O3 membrane for stable Li-sulfur battery cathode
October 24, 2014
Researchers at Tianjin University (China) report another approach to stabilizing the performance of a Li-sulfur battery. In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, they describe the preparation of a sulfur cathode modified by a bi-functional nafion/γ-Al2O3 (aluminum oxide) membrane which can “remarkably” immobilize the polysulfides—a major cause of rapid capacity degradation—within the unique cathode structure due to its ion selectivity and absorbent capacity.
C.A.T leases 100 CNG sleeper tractors from Ryder; Ryder’s largest NA nat gas lease deal
C.A.T. Inc. (formally Canadian American Transportation, Inc.) has signed a full-service lease agreement for 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) sleeper tractors. This is Ryder’s first natural gas lease customer in Canada and its largest single natural gas vehicle customer to date.
New Harman active road noise cancellation technology enables use of lighter weight materials without vehicle noise compromise
Harman, the premium global audio and infotainment group, is expanding its HALOsonic suite of noise management solutions, which the company has co-developed with Lotus Engineering using patented Active Noise Control Technologies. (Earlier post.) Harman’s new Road Noise Cancellation (RNC) technology minimizes unwanted noise generated when the vehicle tires roll across the road surface. RNC, which is presently ready for market implementation, enables automakers to use lighter weight materials and improve fuel economy without compromising on vehicle noise levels.
Carnot Compression announces successful testing of proprietary isothermal compression technology
Carnot Compression LLC announced it has successfully demonstrated isothermal compression (i.e., temperature remains constant, ΔT = 0) across multiple tests and design iterations. Carnot says its results represent a major breakthrough in energy efficiency for the compression industry; prior to Carnot’s technology, the Taylor Compressor, implemented at the beginning of the 20th century, was the only isothermal compression system in operation, the company says.
Imergy Power introduces new generation of vanadium flow batteries
Vandium-based flow battery specialist Imergy Power Systems introduced the ESP30 series, a new generation of vanadium flow batteries that lowers the cost and increases the performance and flexibility of energy storage systems for utilities, renewable energy projects, microgrids, and commercial and industrial customers.
Asplundh adds medium-duty propane autogas F-650 trucks to fleet
October 23, 2014
Asplundh, an international provider of vegetation management services to utilities and municipalities, is one of the first in its industry to adopt propane autogas for some of the medium-duty trucks in its fleet. Currently, Asplundh has two Ford F-650 trucks powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems.
2015 VW e-Golf EPA-rated at 116 MPGe combined, 83-mile range
Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that the compact battery-electric 2015 e-Golf (earlier post) has been rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 126 city, 105 highway, and 116 combined Miles per Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent (MPGe), and given a range of up to 83 miles.
Mercedes-Benz estimates COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST cuts number of serious rear-end collisions by 30%
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class (earlier post) comes with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS as standard. Accident researchers at Mercedes-Benz anticipate that this feature could cut the number of serious rear-end collisions by up to 30% compared with vehicles that do not have a corresponding protective system.
First natural gas GM half-ton pickups with 5.3L DI engines delivered in Texas
Nat G CNG Solutions has delivered the first natural gas half-ton pickup trucks with General Motors’ 5.3-liter direct injection engine. The 2015 model vehicles were purchased by local Houston company NewTex Plumbing and San Antonio-based Pioneer Energy Services. GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado trucks for each fleet were upgraded to run on either natural gas or gasoline using the new DuraDrive DI natural gas system, supplied by Utah-based AGA Systems.
UMTRI: automakers have surpassed new CAFE requirements for past 3 years
October 22, 2014
In the three years since the new CAFE standard for fuel economy has been in effect, automakers have surpassed it each year, improving new-vehicle fuel economy by about a mile per gallon annually, according to an analysis by Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
IHS: Wave of of mergers and acquisitions reshaping automotive semiconductor supplier landscape
Capped by last week’s announcement that Qualcomm Inc. would buy CSR PLC, the automotive semiconductor industry recently has been undergoing a wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity that has shaken up the competitive order of the market, according to IHS Technology.
Korea team develops urchin-like material for effective electrocatalyst for Li-O2 batteries
Researchers in Korea have developed a spinel NiCo2O4 material with a sea-urchin-like structure as an effective electrocatalyst for rechargeable non-aqueous Li-O2 batteries. A Li-O2 battery containing the catalyst exhibited a high specific capacity of about 7,309 mAh g−1 at 0.2 mA cm−2. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
Ballard and Van Hool launch European service center to support fuel cell buses
Ballard Power Systems and partner Van Hool N.V., announced that a dedicated joint European Service and Parts Center for fuel cell buses (to be called ESPACE) will be operational in November 2014. The key objective of ESPACE is to support Van Hool fuel cell buses in Europe that are powered by Ballard fuel cell modules.
Boeing, COMAC open facility to transform gutter oil into aviation biofuel
Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) opened a demonstration facility that will turn waste cooking oil, commonly referred to as “gutter oil” in China, into sustainable aviation biofuel. The two companies estimate that 500 million gallons (1.8 billion liters) of biofuel could be made annually in China from used cooking oil.
Nissan delivers LEAF and e-NV200 electric taxis to Madrid and Barcelona
Nissan has delivered its first electric taxis to Madrid and Barcelona—the Nissan LEAF to Madrid’s taxi fleet, and the e-NV200 taxi for Barcelona.
GM completing 2.2MW solar array at Lordstown
October 21, 2014
General Motors’ new 2.2 megawatt ground-mounted solar array will be complete by the end of 2014 at its Lordstown Complex, home of the Chevrolet Cruze. When the last of more than 8,500 solar panels are in place, it will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere.
Gevo selling renewable isooctane to Total for formulation into F1 racing fuel
Gevo, Inc., the commercial producer of renewable isobutanol, is selling renewable isooctane (earlier post) to Total for formulation into Formula 1 racing fuel. The Total racing fuel incorporating Gevo’s renewable isooctane is being used by the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team and has achieved Grand Prix victories in Canada, Hungary and Belgium. Gevo worked closely with the teams from Total Additives & Special Fuels (Total ACS) and Total R&D.
Ioxus 48V/165F ultracap module passes top thermal testing and vibration certifications
Ioxus, a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for use in transportation, industrial and energy applications, announced results of an extensive durability test of its flagship hybrid bus product, the 48 Volt (V) / 165 Farad (F) module. (Earlier post.) Ioxus said that the data reaffirmed its belief that its modules significantly outpace competitors including Maxwell, in thermal and vibration durability testing.
Novelis opens China’s first manufacturing facility for heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet
Novelis officially opened China’s first plant dedicated to the production of heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet. The opening makes Novelis the only company to produce automotive aluminum sheet in all three of the world’s major automobile producing regions: Asia, Europe and North America.
Indian Oil Corporation and Celanese to explore world-scale TCX fuel ethanol plant in India
Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) and Celanese Corporation recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to explore the potential of a joint investment in a fuel ethanol plant to be built in India, based on Celanese’s TCX Technology. Celanese is one of the world’s largest producers of acetyl products (intermediate chemicals, such as acetic acid, for nearly all major industries); the company has developed Celanese a process for the direct and selective production of ethanol from acetic acid. (Earlier post.)
Macedonia, DuPont and Ethanol Europe in MOU for cellulosic ethanol plant
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia last week joined a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hungary-based Ethanol Europe and DuPont to facilitate the development of the cellulosic ethanol market in the Pelagonia region—one of eight statistical regions in the country, and bordering Greece and Albania. The collaboration is focused on the preparation of detailed feasibility studies for a commercial scale 2G ethanol plant to supply the European market.
Freescale introduces world’s smallest integrated tire pressure monitoring system
October 20, 2014
Freescale Semiconductor introduced the FXTH87 tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) family—the smallest integrated package TPMS solution available at an extremely light weight of 0.3 grams. The FXTH87 family is 50% smaller than competing products, helping designers reduce overall bill of materials costs.
XL Hybrids customers hit 4M mile mark with XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive retrofit system
XL Hybrids, Inc. announced that fleet customers of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System retrofit system have logged a cumulative total of four million on-road miles.
ORNL solid-state 5V Li-ion battery shows cycle life of 10,000, 90% capacity retention
Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a solid-state high-voltage (5 V) lithium battery with an extremely long cycle life of more than 10,000 cycles, with 90% capacity retention. The solid electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and Li anodes with minimum side reactions, leading to a high Coulombic efficiency of 99.98+%.
US transit agencies adopting lower-emissions diesel at faster rate than HD truck fleet
October 19, 2014
US transit agencies are adopting lower-emissions diesel technology at a faster percentage than the heavy-duty trucking fleet, said Ezra Finkin, the Director of Policy for the Diesel Technology Forum, at last week’s American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo Bus and Maintenance Technical Session in Houston. Nationally, 44% of the diesel transit buses meet or exceed the first EPA clean diesel standard—Model Year 2007 or newer—while 33% of the US truck fleet meet or exceed the standard.
DSM launches next-gen Diablo high-temperature-resistant polyamides for engine compartment applications
October 18, 2014
Royal DSM is launching its next generation of Diablo high-temperature-resistant polyamides. The new grades are part of both DSM’s Stanyl polyamide 46 and Akulon 6/66 portfolios and are aimed at applications in automotive engine compartments where temperatures can reach as high as 260 ˚C (500 ˚F).
Graphene NanoChem and Sync R&D partner to develop graphene-enhanced Li-ion battery for shuttle bus in Malaysia
Malaysia-based Graphene NanoChem’s wholly-owned subsidiary Platinum Nanochem Sdn Bhd has entered into a product development and collaboration agreement with Sync R&D Sdn Bhd jointly to develop a graphene-enhanced lithium-ion battery solution for electric buses under the Electric Bus 1 Malaysia program (EB1M Program).
SAE International publishes revised SAE J2880 standard for recommended Green Racing protocols
October 17, 2014
SAE International has published the revised J2880_201406 Standard, superseding the older J2880_200810 Standard. The Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and SAE International, along with partners and representatives from the motorsports industry, developed these protocols to be used by those automotive racing series who seek recognition as a Green Racing Series.
Shanghai GM to be first automaker to introduce 4G LTE service in China
Shanghai General Motors will become the first automaker in China to offer embedded 4G LTE services in its vehicles. The first Shanghai GM offering to be equipped with OnStar 4G LTE will be a Cadillac model in 2015.
11 more GM facilities worldwide go landfill-free; total up to 122
Eleven more General Motors facilities have achieved landfill-free status. The running total is 122 manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations spanning Asia, Europe, and South and North America that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations.
SHV Energy to market and sell Neste Oil’s biopropane
October 16, 2014
Neste Oil and SHV Energy have agreed that SHV Energy will market and sell biopropane to be produced at Neste Oil’s Rotterdam refinery. (Earlier post.) The agreement to supply some 160,000 tons of biopropane over a four-year period is the first of its kind.
Vanner Increased Accessory Power II provides power distribution from Allison hybrid system for full electrification
Vanner introduced its next-generation Increased Accessory Power II (IAP II) component system at this year’s APTA Expo conference in Houston, Texas. IAP II is a customizable electric distribution platform that provides power distribution from the hybrid system to accessory components such as electric air conditioning systems, electric air compressors and electric power steering systems. Up to 30 kW of continuous export power from the Allison H 40/50 EP Hybrid is made available via IAP II, allowing up to 100% electrification for hybrid buses and coaches.
EPA providing up to $3M in funding to reduce diesel emissions from school buses
Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Clean Diesel Rebate program, public and private school bus fleet owners are eligible to apply for funding to replace school buses that have older, dirtier Diesel engines.
Lockheed Martin pursuing compact nuclear fusion reactor concept
Lockheed Martin revealed yesterday that its Skunk Works team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR)—the size of a Class 8 trailer rather than a building—that could be developed and deployed in as little as 10 years. There are several patents pending that cover their approach, the company said, although the team has yet to publish scientific papers on its approach.
New catalytic process for direct conversion of fermentation-derived butyric acid to biobutanol
October 15, 2014
Researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) and Sungkyunkwan University have developed a hybrid conversion process for the production of biobutanol based on the selective catalytic hydrogenation of butyric acid (C4H8O2) resulting from the fermentation of glucose. A paper on their work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.
Clean Energy delivers record 50.6M CNG gallons in Q3; acquires controlling interest in NG Advantage
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. reported it delivered for the first time more than 50 million compressed natural gas (CNG) gallons in one quarter. The company also announced plans to grow its CNG sales “beyond the pipeline” by acquiring a controlling interest in NG Advantage LLC, a pioneer in the natural gas “virtual pipeline” delivery system.
Chempolis and NRL agree to build plant for production of cellulosic ethanol from bamboo in India
Chempolis Ltd, a Finland-based biorefining technology company, signed a partnership agreement with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL, a Government of India enterprise). The two have agreed to partner to build a biorefinery using Chempolis formicobio technology in North East India (Assam) for producing bioethanol with co-production of furfural and acetic acid. (Earlier post.)
BYD unveils 60' articulated battery-electric bus
At the 2014 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo in Houston, BYD Motors unveiled a 60-foot, articulated battery-electric bus offering a range of 170+ miles with a passenger load of up to 120 passengers. The bus has been in development for almost two years, specifically for US rapid transit markets.
Petrobras begins commercial production in ultra-deep Santos Basin pre-salt Iracema Sul area
Petrobras’ platform Cidade de Mangaratiba has gone into operation in the ultra-deepwater Santos Basin pre-salt area of Iracema Sul, in Lula field, located on block BM-S-11. The start-up of the new platform had been scheduled for 6 November 2014.
More PEV pipeline hints: Hyundai/Kia PHEVs in 2015
Adding to the list of informally announced plug-in vehicles (earlier post), the Yonhap News Agency last week cited Yang Woong-Chul, R&D vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, as saying that the group will introduce plug-in hybrid versions of its popular Sonata and K5 (Optima) midsize sedans in 2015.
PEV pipeline: more speculation on the Chevrolet “Sonic EV”
October 14, 2014
California ARB clears XL Hybrids for hybrid van conversions in California; unit on sale
XL Hybrids, Inc. has received California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO) #D-731-1 allowing aftermarket conversions of gasoline-powered 2012-2014 model year General Motors 2500 and 3500 vans, Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans into hybrid electric vehicles. The XL Hybrids XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System (earlier post) is on sale now in California for the first time.
Oshkosh Defense debuts new tactical driver assist safety systems on the M-ATV
Oshkosh Defense, an Oshkosh Corporation company, is developing new driver assist safety systems that offer functionality from basic forward collision warning to fully autonomous vehicle operation in high-threat environments. Oshkosh unveiled these systems on the new Oshkosh Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Intervention variant at the AUSA 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition, 13-15 October in Washington, D.C.
Badlands NGL to develop $4B plant in North Dakota to convert ethane from Bakken NGLs into polyethylene
Badlands NGL, LLC, announced the development of a North Dakota manufacturing plant that will convert ethane (C2H6), a byproduct of natural gas processing, into polyethylene, which is used to make a wide variety of end-use consumer and industrial plastics. Badlands NGL, LLC, and its partners expect to invest $4 billion to build the polyethylene manufacturing facility in North Dakota. The project will be the largest private investment in state history.
ExxonMobil establishes advanced biofuels program at Iowa State; focus on biomass pyrolysis
October 13, 2014
ExxonMobil Corporation is establishing an advanced biofuels research program at Iowa State University. The $1-million ExxonMobil Biofuels Program will initially focus on two research projects related to the fast pyrolysis of biomass to produce liquid bio-oil, which can then be upgraded into transportation fuels.
NTU Singapore team develops ultra-fast charging Li-ion battery with new TiO2 gel anode material
Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) led by Professor Xiaodong Chen have developed a new TiO2 gel material for Li-ion battery anodes. A battery equipped with the new anode material can be recharged up to 70% in only 2 minutes. The new battery will also be able to endure more than 10,000 charging cycles. A paper on their work is published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Auction to place first VW e-Golf, raffle to place first Toyota FCV in US
Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) and Global Green USA will auction the first 2015 battery-electric Volkswagen e-Golf in the US. That announcement follows Toyota’s announcement that it is partnering with the Environmental Media Association (EMA) to raffle off the company’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle when it arrives in California in late 2015.
Hydrogenics introduces Celerity fuel cell power system for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles
Hydrogenics Corporation has introduced a new fuel cell system purposely developed for medium- and heavy-duty buses and trucks. The Celerity system is intended to reducing the time and cost needed to integrate fuel cells into a vehicle’s drivetrain. The company is profiling the new system at the 2014 American Public Transit Association Expo in Houston, Texas.
Detroit Electric and Integrated Energy sign MOU on EV sales and V2X project in S. Korea’s Jeju Island
Korea-based Integrated Energy, and Detroit Electric, which plans to bring a new electric sportscar—the SP:01 (earlier post)—to market in 2015, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Integrated Energy to conduct retail sales of Detroit Electric pure electric vehicles, and to implement a joint V2X project which will include a pilot program in South Korea.
CEA inaugurates biomass-to-syngas platform as part of Syndièse biofuels program
France’s CEA inaugurated the biomass-to-syngas (BtS) platform that will be used in the larger Syndièse second-generation biofuel program. Syndièse the program aims to build a pre-industrial biomass-to-liquids (BtL) demonstrator BtL that can process 10 tons of biomass per hour. The challenge is to integrate a complete chain of processes on a single site to industrial size and validate the economic viability of this lignocellulosic biofuels industry.
GM set September sales record in China; passed 20M cumulative sales
In September, General Motors and its joint ventures in China had their second-best month of 2014; domestic sales rose 15.2% on an annual basis to 319,936 units, an all-time high for the month. During September, GM and its joint ventures also surpassed 20 million cumulative sales in China.
Berlin to test wireless electric bus charging on complete line in 2015
October 12, 2014
In 2015, Berlin transport operator BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe) will begin testing of a complete downtown line with Solaris electric buses equipped with on-board power supply equipment from Vossloh Kiepe and the PRIMOVE inductive charging system from Bombardier. A similar bus went into service in the city of Braunschweig in April of this year. (Earlier post.)
NEI and PneumatiCoat partner to develop and market new materials for lithium-ion batteries
October 11, 2014
NEI Corporation (NEI), a nanotech materials company (earlier post), and PneumatiCoat Technologies (PCT) recently initiated a collaboration to develop, produce, and market coated Li-ion battery materials: cathodes, anodes, and solid electrolytes.
3 MIT-led teams win DOE NEUP funding for next-gen nuclear technologies
Three MIT-led research teams have won awards from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) initiative to support research and development on the next generation of nuclear technologies.
France deploying test fleet of 50 fuel-cell light commercial vehicles
October 10, 2014
Under the project HyWay, France will deploy 50 fuel cell light commercial vehicles around 2 hydrogen distribution stations in Lyon and Grenoble. The project is jointly supported by the government (DREALs and ADEME) and the Regional Council of Rhône-Alpes .
Lotus F1 to race with Mercedes-Benz Power Unit
Lotus F1 Team and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains announced a long-term supply agreement which will see Lotus F1 Team utilizing the Mercedes-Benz hybrid Power Unit (earlier post) from the start of the 2015 season until the end of the current Power Unit generation.
Daimler and BAIC to localize more Mercedes-Benz compact car models in China
Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor Corporation signed an agreement on the localization of further Mercedes-Benz compact car models beyond the GLA-Class at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), the production joint venture of Daimler and BAIC Motor.
Chevrolet sells more than 1 million Sparks worldwide
Sales of Chevrolet’s Spark (and Beat) have passed the 1-million mark worldwide. The Spark first went on sale as the Beat in India in late 2009. Today, the Spark is available in 71 markets worldwide, selling the most in South Korea, followed by the United States and Mexico. In the US, sales of the Spark are up 10% year to date, with 30,937 units sold through September.
Audi autonomous RS 7 Sportback to run lap at Hockenheim at racing speed
October 09, 2014
A driverless Audi RS 7 Sportback will take a lap on the Hockenheim race track on Sunday 19 October, in the season finale of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept car will handle the Hockenheim track at racing speed.
Toyota upgrades European 2015 Prius+; powertrain to Euro6
Toyota has given its European 2015 Prius+ (Prius v in the US) an upgrade including a more dynamic exterior, better interior execution, and expanded range of equipment and a Euro6-compilant powertrain.
Ballard in new multi-year fuel cell supply agreement with Plug Power For forklift market
Ballard Power Systems has signed a long term supply agreement with Plug Power Inc. to provide fuel cell stacks for use in GenDrive systems deployed in forklift trucks. The new supply agreement replaces an existing agreement and creates the opportunity for Ballard to remain in a leading supply position for fuel cell stacks in Plug Power’s GenDrive systems. The new agreement is effective immediately and runs to the end of 2017, with the provision for two 1-year extensions.
SolarCity and Honda to finance $50M more in solar projects for Honda and Acura customers and dealerships
October 08, 2014
SolarCity and Honda have renewed their partnership with a new fund expected to finance $50 million in solar projects. The new commitment will make solar power more affordable and available to Honda and Acura customers and dealerships in the US. The $50-million fund is a follow-up to a $65-million fund the companies created in 2013. (Earlier post.) The companies have already completed or initiated a range of solar projects for homeowners, dealerships and corporate facilities that total more than 12.5 MW of solar generation capacity.
Neste Oil expands sale of Neste Pro diesel to Lithuania; minimum 15% blend of NExBTL renewable diesel
Neste Oil’s premium-quality Neste Pro Diesel—which contains a minimum of 15% of NEXBTL renewable diesel—is now available in Lithuania. It will be distributed through the company’s local retail network and its 51 stations. Up until now, Neste Pro Diesel was only available in Finland.
California Energy Commission awards $5.1M to 3 alt-fuels projects; increased biodiesel production and more fast chargers
The California Energy Commission approved more than $5.1 million in grants to Community Fuels, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to support their alternative fuels programs.
Westport introduces 3.8L LPG/NG stationary/off-road engine, based on Hyundai automotive V6
Westport has introduced a new addition to its alternative fuel industrial engines, a 3.8L unit for stationary or off-road applications that operates on either liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (NG). The 3.8-liter engine is based on the Hyundai 3.8L V6 automotive engine which first came into production in 2006.
Petrobras makes ultra-deepwater discovery in Espírito Santo Basin
Petrobras has confirmed the extension of an accumulation of hydrocarbons in the ultra-deep waters of the Espirito Santo Basin post-salt deposits. An extension well was drilled at a water depth of 1,886 meters (6,188 feet) to confirm the discovery.
Fuel Saver App from Bosch SoftTec offers 3 different strategies
October 07, 2014
Drivers using the new Fuel Saver App from Bosch SoftTec GmbH can customize settings to help them to save money when refueling their vehicles at filling stations in Germany. The app offers drivers three different strategies—Thrift Driver, Time Watcher, or Money Collector—to choose from, depending on their own time preferences and money-saving goals. Based on information acquired from the vehicle’s fuel gauge, the Fuel Saver App determines which filling station along or near the chosen route has the best price.