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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.]

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

September 03, 2015

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

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

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

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First sales of isobutanol-blended gasoline at marina pumps

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

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

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

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DEINOVE produces muconic acid from cellulosic substrates

DEINOVE, a biotech company developing innovative processes for producing biofuels and bio-based chemicals by using Deinococcus bacteria, has produced muconic acid in their laboratory using second-generation substrates. (Earlier post.)

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Bolloré Group launches electric car sharing service in Indianapolis

BlueIndy has placed into service in Indianapolis, Indiana the first 50 of an eventual 500 electric vehicles (Bluecars) that provide convenient, cleaner transportation with the swipe of a membership card. This is the France-based Bolloré Group’s first electric car sharing service in the US. Bolloré Group already operates car sharing services in several other cities, including the world’s largest EV sharing service—Autolib—in Paris.

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UMTRI: US average new vehicle fuel economy dropped in August

September 02, 2015

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the in August was 25.3 mpg (9.29 l/100 km), down 0.1 mpg from July, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). This decline likely reflects the decreased price of gasoline in August, and the consequent increased sales of light trucks and SUVs, they suggested.

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Phantom road study shows road noise degrades habitat

A study by researchers at Boise State University in Idaho has found that road noise degrades habitat that is otherwise suitable, and that “the presence of a species does not indicate the absence of an impact.” Their paper is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Toyota to focus on hybrids, Safety Sense at IAA

Toyota will focus on two main themes at the upcoming IAA motor show in Frankfurt: hybrids and the continuation of the roll-out and democratization of the Toyota Safety Sense active safety technology. On the hybrid side, Toyota will showcase the new Prius. Although Toyota is unveiling the new model on 8 Sep, the hybrid’s appearance at Frankfurt will mark its motor show World-Premiere.

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Tesla Roadster 3.0 battery upgrade: $29,000 for ~78 kWh, 331 miles

Tesla Motors has made the promised battery upgrade for its Roadster available via its online shop. For a price of $29,000, with a $5,000 downpayment, customers will receive an new battery pack that Tesla says stores roughly 40% more energy than the original battery, with an increase in total range of more than 35%. Since the original Roadster featured a 56 kWh pack and 245 miles of range, presumably the new pack is ~78 kWh with a resulting range of ~331 miles (533 km).

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Euro 6 regs in full effect; ACEA launches clean diesel campaign in support of technology-neutral policies

September 01, 2015

As of 1 September, all new cars sold in Europe must meet the Euro 6 emissions requirements. To mark this occasion the automotive and motor trading industries have launched an online clean diesel campaign to raise awareness among consumers and policy makers about clean diesel—a three-part solution comprising cleaner diesel fuel, advanced engines and effective emissions control technology.

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DOT awards Agnik Phase II research contract for next generation insurance solutions for connected cars

Agnik, a leading data analytics company, has received a US Department of Transportation Phase II Contract to develop an advanced connected car platform for insurance solutions. This project will advance Agnik’s smartphone and device-based connected life platform with advanced driver analytics, privacy-preserving machine learning, game theoretic social incentives, and mechanism design for usage-based insurance.

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Hilton and Uber partner up

Hilton Worldwide and Uber are partnering to offer expanded digital features that will further simplify and streamline the travel experience for Hilton guests. Through the partnership, Hilton guests around the world can set Uber Ride Reminders—automated notifications to request Uber rides to and from the hotel.

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DOT awards Iteris $5.8M task order for support of National ITS and Connected Vehicle Architectures

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded Iteris a $5.8-million task order for continued support and evolution of the National Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Architecture and the Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) through 2018. This award extends Iteris’ working relationship with the USDOT to more than 20 years.

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Electrovaya’s Litarion subsidiary receives €18.5M non-automotive Li-ion contract

Electrovaya Inc.’s wholly owned subsidiary, Litarion GmbH, has signed a contract for about €18.5 million (US$21 million) to supply Lithium-ion battery products to a German company in the non-automotive space.

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International Truck to offer over-the-air reprogramming

International Truck today plans to offer over-the-air (OTA) reprogramming of engine control modules (ECM) for International trucks powered by its N9, N10 and N13 proprietary engines. The company has completed its initial testing in its International Truck test fleets and will finalize testing in customer fleets this fall.

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Fatih Birol new Executive Director of IEA

Dr. Fatih Birol, who has worked for the International Energy Agency (IEA) for 20 years, has taken office as the IEA’s new Executive Director. Dr. Birol’s selection as IEA Executive Director marks one of the few occasions that the head of an international organisation has been selected from within its ranks.

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Schlumberger and IBM introduce new service to optimize integrated oil & gas upstream production operations

August 31, 2015

Schlumberger and IBM today have teamed up to provide integrated services to upstream oil and gas customers that will improve the business impact of production operations projects.

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Scania brings XPI fuel-injection to marine engines

The latest addition to Scania’s engine range for marine applications incorporates proven common-rail XPI fuel-injection technology (earlier post) for improved fuel efficiency. The new V8 engine, based on the company’s 16.4-liter V8 for trucks (earlier post), is also the most powerful engine in the range, offering up to 1,150 hp (858 kW).

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Kalmar and Virginia International Gateway deploy three hybrid shuttle carriers

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, recently delivered three hybrid shuttle carriers ordered by The Port of Virginia in late 2014 to Virginia International Gateway terminal (VIG) in Portsmouth, Virginia, USA.

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Eni discovers a supergiant gas field in the Egyptian offshore; largest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea

August 30, 2015

Eni has made a world class supergiant gas discovery at its Zohr Prospect, in the deep waters of Egypt. The discovery could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place covering an area of about 100 square kilometers. Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea.

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California ARB has awarded 2,000 vouchers for low-carbon hybrid and zero-emission trucks since 2010

August 29, 2015

The California Air Resources Board has awarded 2,000 Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Vouchers. Since its launch in 2010, the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) has provided more than $63 million to help California fleets statewide purchase more than 430 zero-emission trucks and buses and 1,800 hybrid trucks and buses. Additional funding is on the way.

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Port of Honolulu testing hydrogen fuel cell generator; Sandia-led Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project

August 28, 2015

At Young Brothers Ltd.’s Port of Honolulu facility, Sandia National Laboratories is leading the Maritime Hydrogen Fuel Cell project to test a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered generator as an alternative to conventional diesel generators.

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Study reorders significance of fungal and bacterial decomposition of organic matter; impact on climate models

In a 23-year experiment, a team from Lund University, Sweden, and the University of New Hampshire has determined that the common understanding of how organic material is decomposed by fungi and bacteria is fundamentally wrong. This means that climate models that include microorganisms to estimate future climate change must be reconsidered, they said.

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IBM and GENCI team to drive supercomputing closer to exascale

IBM and GENCI, the high performance computing agency in France, are collaborating to speed up the path to exascale computing (earlier post)—the ability of a computing system to perform at least one exaflop, or a billion billion calculations, in one second. Currently the fastest systems in the world perform between ten and 33 petaflops, or ten to 33 million billion calculations per second—roughly one to three percent the speed of exascale. Put into context, if exascale computing is the equivalent of an automobile reaching 1000 miles per hour, today’s fastest systems are running within a range between ten and 33 miles per hour.

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Johnson Controls to build a new automotive battery plant in northeast China; focus on Start-Stop

Johnson Controls plans to build a new automotive battery manufacturing facility in the city of Shenyang in northeastern China as it continues to invest in the world’s largest new vehicle market. Johnson Controls has signed an investment agreement for a $200-million plant in Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning Province. The plant will have capacity to produce 6 million automotive batteries a year. Batteries for Start-Stop vehicles, which can help automakers meet increasingly strict fuel economy and emission regulations, will be a primary focus of the new facility.

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Hybrid model accounts for more than 35% of Toyota Yaris European sales; key to Yaris sales growth

European sales of the Yaris have grown continuously over the last four years, rising from some 144,000 units in 2011 to an anticipated 200,000+ in 2015. Over the same period, the Yaris has also increased its B-segment market share from 4.1% to an anticipated 6.6%. Toyota attributes much of this ongoing sales success to the introduction of the Yaris Hybrid in 2012 and its subsequent refresh in 2014. (Earlier post.)

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GM Flint Engine builds millionth 1.4L engine; transitioning to new engine for Chevy Volt and Cruze

August 27, 2015

GM Flint Engine Operations recently built its 1 millionth 1.4-liter engine, currently used in the Chevrolet Volt, Cruze and Sonic. Flint Engine is now in the midst of a $200-million upgrade that will end the 1.4-liter engine production this week and begin production of the new Ecotec small gasoline engine—announced for the next gen Cruze and Volt—by year’s end.

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ŠKODA introducing most efficient Superb yet at Frankfurt

^Volkswagen Group’s Czech brand ŠKODA will introduce its most efficient Superb model yet at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The ŠKODA Superb GreenLine features a 1.6 TDI 120PS engine delivering 63.6 mpg US (3.7:/100 km) and emitting 96 g/km of CO2 (Hatch) and 97g/km for the Estate.

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Study: frequency of power outages in US stable, but total minutes without power increasing over time

In the most comprehensive analysis of electricity reliability trends in the United States, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Stanford University have found that, while, on average, the frequency of power outages has not changed in recent years, the total number of minutes customers are without power each year has been increasing over time.

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UK extends current levels of the Plug-in Car Grant to at least February 2016

August 26, 2015

The UK Government announced that the current Plug-in Car Grant scheme will continue to offer motorists up to £5,000 (US$7,800) off the price of an electric car until at least February 2016 for all categories of vehicle, boosting further the plug-in car market.

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Verizon Telematics’ aftermarket connected vehicle solution now on market: hum

Verizon Telematics announced the commercial availability of hum, an aftermarket vehicle connectivity technology and subscription service. First announced in January at the North American International Auto Show as Verizon Vehicle, hum provides subscribers with a self-installed solution that helps predict potential issues, prevents breakdowns and offers protection when problems do arise.

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Uber partners with U Arizona on optics for mapping and safety

Uber has signed a partnership with the University of Arizona focused on research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety. The partners will work to improve the imagery captured and used to build out mapping and safety features. As part of this partnership, Uber is donating to U of A’s College of Optical Sciences.

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Samsung SDI unveils e-bike Li-ion battery pack with 100km per charge

At Eurobike 2015, Samsung SDI unveiled a 500Wh e-bike Li-ion battery pack that can run for 100 km on a single battery charge. Samsung SDI is exhibiting six types of standardized battery packs that can either be built inside or installed on the outside for immediate use.

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US Army awards Oshkosh $6.7B contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle

The US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) has awarded Oshkosh Defense, LLC, an Oshkosh Corporation company, a $6.7-billion firm fixed price production contract to manufacture the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

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Proportion of biomethane in Swedish natural gas vehicle fuel sales hits high of 73%

August 25, 2015

NGV Global reports that official Swedish statistics show that the proportion of biomethane in natural gas fuel sales in the country in now 73%—a historically high level and evidence of rising demand. The biomethane percentage has risen in recent years, from around 60%.

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Warm-forged aluminum alloy differential case reduces weight by about 40%

A team in South Korea has developed a warm-forging process for the manufacture of an aluminium alloy automotive differential case—usually produced from ductile cast iron. The as-forged aluminium alloy differential case not only provides a net shape but also has a crack-free volume internally, while reducing the total weight by about 40% based on the proposed design.

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Hexa Research forecasts $10.96B global rare earth elements market by 2020

According to a new study by Hexa Research, high demand for rare earth elements such as cerium and lanthanum in applications such as automobiles, metallurgy, phosphors, glass, etc. will drive global market growth, resulting in a global rare earth elements market reaching $10.96 billion in 2020.

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Navigant: 85M autonomous capable vehicles to be sold annually globally by 2035

In a new report, “Autonomous Vehicles”, Navigant Research forecasts that 85 million autonomous-capable vehicles will be sold annually around the world by 2035.

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Obama announces more than $1B in DOE initiatives for renewable and advanced fossil energy; loan guarantees and ARPA-E projects

August 24, 2015

President Obama announced more than $1 billion in Department of Energy (DOE) initiatives to advance clean energy technologies. As part of the President’s Clean Power Plan, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is making up to $1 billion dollars in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects. In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that could lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems.

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Southern Company acquiring AGL Resources for $8B, creating 2nd largest US electric and gas utility by customer base

Southern Company and AGL Resources announced that the boards of directors of both companies have approved a definitive merger agreement under which AGL Resources will become a new wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Company for about $8 billion. Including debt, the transaction has an enterprise value of approximately $12 billion. When completed, the combination will create the second-largest utility company in the US by customer base with:

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PwC’s Strategy&: Auto supplier M&A activity likely to hit record $48B transaction value globally in 2015

According to a recent study completed by PwC’s Strategy&, global automotive supplier M&A deal value will likely exceed $48 billion in 2015, easily overtaking the previous high in 2007 of $35 billion, as measured by transactions closed within the calendar year.The study identifies that in the last 12 months 42% of all deals were in the Powertrain and Chassis systems of the automobile.

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Organogel binder improves performance of silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries

Researchers in South Korea have used an organogel binder—cyanoethyl polymer (PVA-CN)—to enhance the performance of silicon anodes for Li-ion batteries by utilizing the electroactivity of silicon in a more efficient way. A paper on their approach is published in the Journal of Power Sources. Members of the research team had earlier explored the use of PVA-CN as a high-ionic-conductivity (σi) electrolyte (Kimm et al. 2013).

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Alcoa completes acquisition of RTI International Metals, expands titanium capabilities

Alcoa recently completed the acquisition of RTI International Metals, Inc., a provider of titanium and specialty metal products and services for the aerospace, defense, energy and medical device markets. The merger was announced 9 March.

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Porsche Communication Management in Europe now features real-time traffic information

August 22, 2015

Beginning in September, all new vehicles with Porsche Communication Management (PCM 3.1) and the option “online services”—now available free of charge in Europe—can be connected with a smartphone and access a new real-time new traffic service without any additional charge. The system not only processes data from TMC and TMCpro, it now also uses a much larger database, including the GPS data of numerous mobile telephones. This data originates from INRIX.

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DOE awards $9M to Antares Group to improve sustainability of cellulosic biorefineries

August 21, 2015

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $9 million to The Antares Group, Inc. to enable more stable and diverse future feedstock supplies (corn stover, switchgrass, and other warm season grasses) for three cellulosic biorefineries in Iowa and Kansas, while increasing both profitability and ecological benefits in those areas.

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Hertz adds 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to rental fleet

The Hertz Corporation, which includes the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty brands, has expanded of its Green Traveler Collection car rental fleet to include the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid (earlier post) in select cities across the US.

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Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies highlights offerings for EV battery packs

Advanced sealings company Freudenberg-NOK has developed a portfolio of e-Mobility solutions that address customer requirements in a variety of electric vehicle systems. Freudenberg-NOK has also worked with its sister Freudenberg companies, and with customers, to develop engineered components that function flawlessly in the most demanding of environments. Among the company’s electric vehicle offerings:

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Toyota cumulative global hybrid sales top 8 million units

Toyota announced that it has now sold 8,048,400 hybrid vehicles, with just 10 months elapsing between this and the last million-unit milestone. 5,264,300 of those are in the Prius family (65.4%): Prius (3,527,100); Prius α / Prius v / Prius + (582,400); Aqua / Prius c (1,081,200); and Prius PHV (73,600).

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Rolls-Royce launches new MTU Onsite Energy gensets featuring converted Mercedes-Benz on-highway diesels

Rolls-Royce announced the availability of new generator sets from MTU Onsite Energy with a power output range of 80-200 kWe and featuring Mercedes-Benz engines. The new 4R0120 and 6R0120 generator sets, containing Mercedes-Benz OM924LA and OM926LA diesel engines, respectively, represent the first time these proven on-highway engines have been adapted for power generation applications.

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Petroleum demand in US in July rose 2.2% year-on-year; highest July for crude production since 1920

Total petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) grew by 2.2% from July 2014 to average nearly 19.6 million barrels per day last month, according to the American Petroleum Institute’s (API’s) Monthly Statistical Report for July 2015. Demand for and production of oil and refined products were the highest July in eight years, since 2007, said API Chief Economist John Felmy.

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Navigant expects global market for automotive Li-ion batteries to hit $30.6 billion in 2024; almost 4x 2015 market

August 20, 2015

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts the global market for Li-ion batteries in light duty and medium/heavy duty vehicles will almost quadruple from $7.8 billion in 2015 to $30.6 billion in 2024.

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GE signs its largest battery energy storage deal to date; 30MW Li-ion system in California

GE will provide Coachella Energy Storage Partners (CESP) with a 30-MW battery energy storage system as part of CESP’s supply contract with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). Representing GE’s largest energy storage project to date, the plant will be located in California’s Imperial Valley, approximately 100 miles east of San Diego. The facility will aid grid flexibility and increase reliability on the IID network by providing solar ramping, frequency regulation, power balancing and black start capability for an adjacent gas turbine.

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Life Cycle Associates offering T1E emulator of Tier 1 CA_GREET2 model for LCFS calculations

Life Cycle Associates has developed the T1E tool to help with California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) calculations. T1E is an emulator of the Tier 1 CA_GREET2 model which helps biofuel producers provide a verification of carbon intensity (CI) calculations.

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BioMara researchers identify two strains of marine algae with dry-weight oil content >50%

Researchers in the BioMara (Sustainable Fuels from Marine Biomass) project, report identifying two strains of marine algae—Nannochloropis oceanica and Chlorella vulgaris, which have a dry-weight oil content of more than 50%. An open access paper on the screening for oleaginous marine algae is published in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

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Honda opens CNG fueling station on Marysville campus; 1st public CNG fueling station located on Honda property in North America

August 19, 2015

Honda opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on its property in Marysville, Ohio. The CNG station, which was designed, constructed and will be operated by Trillium CNG, is the first public CNG station located on a Honda property in North America.

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Global Bioenergies’ isobutene fermentation process successfully uses xylose

Global Bioenergies first developed its isobutene process (earlier post) using glucose derived from cereals such as wheat or corn. Early in 2015, the company announced that the process was compatible with crude “second generation” sugars derived from agricultural and forestry waste. These resources are composed of a complex mix of various sugars including glucose, a six-carbon molecule, and sugars composed of five carbon atoms and in particular xylose.

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Volvo Cars acquires control of its China joint ventures for US$256M

Volvo Cars has taken control of its three joint venture operations in China for SEK2.2 billion (US$256 million) in order to more accurately reflect its growing presence in the world’s largest car market.

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3D porous germanium-carbon composite particles as ultra-high rate anode for Li-ion batteries

A team from Chonnam National University and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a 3D nanoarchitecture of germanium (Ge) coated with carbon (3D-Ge/C) for use as ultra-high rate anodes for Li-ion batteries. The 3D-Ge/C shows excellent cyclability: almost 86.8% capacity retention, corresponding to a charge capacity of 1216 mAh g-1 even after 1000 cycles at a 2 C-rate.

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Successful fabrication of 2D stanene

Researchers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and colleagues in the US and China have successfully fabricated 2D Sn-based stanene. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Materials.

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DOE SBIR/STTR FY16 Phase 1 Release 1 topics include hydrogen production and fuel cell membrane topics

The US Department of Energy has announced the 2016 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 1 Topics, including hydrogen production from organic waste streams and fuel cell membranes, through the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

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Navigant: shore power electricity revenue in port operations to exceed $334M in 2024

According to a new report from Navigant Research, shore power utility electricity revenue in port operations is expected to grow from $32.0 million in 2015 to $334.7 million in 2024.

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EPA proposes new standards to reduce methane and VOCs emissions from oil and gas industry

August 18, 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its latest set of proposed standards to reduce emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the oil and natural gas industry.

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RWE launches power-to-gas plant

RWE has officially in Germany its power-to-gas plant in the NRW location of Ibbenbüren. (Earlier post.) Superfluous electricity from renewable sources is converted into hydrogen so it can be stored within the natural gas network. It can then be recalled from there at a later date for use in electricity production. RWE said it sees this power-to-gas process as one of the key technologies for tomorrow’s energy supply.

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Nissan introduces hybrid version of Murano to China first

Nissan announced that the all-new Murano, including the hybrid version (earlier post), is officially available for sale from its joint venture in China, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger vehicle company (DFL-PV). As a key market in Nissan’s global business, China is the first market to introduce the hybrid version of Murano.

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FCA approving use of E15 in MY 2016 vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is approving the use of E15 (15% ethanol and 85% gasoline) in its model year (MY) 2016 Chrysler/Fiat, Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles. The decision means that FCA joins General Motors and Ford in covering E15 in its warranty statements; GM started covering E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined a year later with its MY 2013 vehicles.

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National Safety Council: US on pace for deadliest driving year since 2007

The National Safety Council estimates traffic deaths are 14% higher through the first six months of 2015 than they were during the same period in 2014, and serious injuries are 30% higher. From January to June, nearly 19,000 people died in traffic crashes across the US, and more than 2.2 million were seriously injured, putting the country on pace for its deadliest driving year since 2007.

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2016 Toyota Tacoma features new 3.5L Atkinson cycle V6

August 17, 2015

Toyota’s new 2016 Tacoma mid-size pickup will feature two engines: a 2.7-liter DOHC four-cylinder with VVT-i and an all-new V6 with a segment-first 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligent Wider Intake) equipped with Toyota’s D-4S technology, featuring both direct and port fuel injection. (Earlier post.)

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Study: Urban grime releases NOx when exposed to sunlight

Researchers at the University of Toronto have found that natural sunlight triggers the release of smog-forming NOx compounds from the grime that typically coats buildings, statues and other outdoor surfaces in urban areas. The finding confirms previous laboratory work using simulated sunlight and upends the long-held notion that nitrates in urban grime are “locked” in place. The scientists are presenting their findings based on field studies conducted in Leipzig, Germany, and Toronto, Canada, at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

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MANN+HUMMEL to acquire Affinia’s filtration business

The MANN+HUMMEL Group, based in Ludwigsburg, Germany, has entered into a definitive agreement under which MANN+HUMMEL will acquire the global filtration operations (excluding its Affinia South America (ASA) operations) of Affinia Group, the manufacturer of the Wix and Filtron brand of filters. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. The two businesses will continue to operate separately for the foreseeable future. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it will add an estimated US$1 billion to MANN+HUMMEL’s top line.

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New Land Cruiser 200 marks debut of Toyota’s latest safety and driver assistance features

Newly launched in Japan, the partially redesigned Land Cruiser 200 is the first model to bring Toyota’s flagship active safety package—Toyota Safety Sense P—to the market. Toyota Safety Sense P, which comes standard on all grades, is a higher-spec version of the Toyota Safety Sense C package, which made its debut earlier this year on the Corolla in Japan.

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NASA selects Amprius and U Maryland for two new battery projects; silicon anode and Li-S

August 15, 2015

NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) program has selected two proposals for Phase II awards targeted toward developing new energy storage technologies to replace the battery systems currently used by America’s space program.

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Cost-effective, energy-efficient approach for large-scale synthesis of silicon electrode materials for LIBs

August 14, 2015

Researchers in China have developed an approach for the cost-effective, energy-efficient, large scale synthesis of functional silicon electrode materials for Li-ion batteries (LIBs). A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

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APG licenses Trident natural gas liquid process, acquires operating technology; flare-to-fuels

American Power Group, Inc. (APG) has signed a license agreement with Trident Resources, LLC for the exclusive worldwide right to commercialize Trident’s proprietary Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) process technology. In addition, APG purchased substantially all of Trident’s operating assets including two existing mobile NGL operating systems currently servicing remote or stranded well-sites for one of the top five E&P companies in the Bakken region.

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2015 Ford Mustang features first glove box knee airbag; weight savings and more room

The new Ford Mustang is the first vehicle to be equipped with a new type of knee airbag that is integrated within the lid of the glove box, instead of the instrument panel, preserving maximum passenger space. Rather than a textile fabric airbag, the technology consists of an innovative moulded plastic design, sandwiched between the outer and inner glove box lid surfaces.

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Argonne National Laboratory and Mississippi State University partner on next-gen energy storage

The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Mississippi State University (MSU) are collaborating to develop new technologies that address next-generation energy storage challenges. This collaboration will include joint research to build next-generation batteries for the electric grid that meet the challenges caused by tornadoes, hurricanes and other weather events. New discoveries could enhance the load-balancing capabilities of the grid in the Southeast region.

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Dearman to receive $3.1M investment from Coast to Capital to support commercialization of cold technology

Dearman, the UK-based clean cold technology company, is to receive a £2-million (US$3.1-million) investment from Coast to Capital, via its Growing Places Fund. Coast to Capital (C2C) is the Local Enterprise Partnership for the South East and includes the Croydon area, the location of the new Dearman Clean Cold Technology Centre. C2C has committed this financial support in recognition of Dearman’s potential to deliver growth and employment opportunities for the local area by rapidly bringing its cold and power technology to market.

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KAIST team engineers E coli. to produce an important industrial chemical

August 13, 2015

A Korean research team led by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has engineered the bacterium E. coli to produce 1,3-diaminopropane via fermentation.

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Leclanché completes its battery-based energy storage systems with acquisition from ADS-TEC GmbH

Swiss battery maker Leclanché (earlier post) is acquiring design and IP rights for modules and battery management system software from ADS-TEC GmbH in a move to strengthen its product range for stationary storage applications and insourced manufacturing capacity in Switzerland. This complements the recent acquisition of Trineuron, focused on transport applications. (Earlier post.)

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BMW will commission 400 i3 EVs in Copenhagen for DriveNow; collaboration with Arriva for public transport

Following the successful introduction of the BMW i3 to the DriveNow car-sharing fleets in Germany, the UK and the USA, BMW will commission 400 BMW i3s in Copenhagen on 3 September. The all-electric car sharing fleet here will also interconnect with public transport via a collaboration with Arriva.

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Tesla announces $500M common stock offering; growth of business, Model 3 and Gigafactory

Tesla intends to offer, subject to market and other conditions, about $500 million worth of common stock (2.1 million shares) in an underwritten registered public offering. (As of 12 August, Tesla stock was trading at $238.17 per share.) Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, intends to purchase $20 million of common stock in this offering at the public offering price.

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Qualcomm completes $2.4B acquisition of CSR to accelerate growth in Internet of Everything and automotive segments

Qualcomm Incorporated announced that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Global Trading Pte. Ltd, has completed its acquisition of CSR plc (CSR), a leading fabless provider of end-to-end semiconductor and software solutions for the Internet of Everything (IoE) and automotive segments.

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Leviton introduces 7.7 kW Evr-Green charging station

August 12, 2015

Leviton unveiled the Evr-Green 320 Level 2 Charging Station, the latest addition to its Evr-Green line of residential, commercial and public electric vehicle charging systems. The updated device provides up to 32 amps at 208 or 240 volts AC (7.7 kW maximum output) and is designed with an improved installation process and to reduce the charge time of next generation SAE J1772 plug-in electric vehicles.

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New honeycomb sandwich structure lightweight roof on the smart fortwo using BASF Elastoflex E

BASF’s polyurethane foam system Elastoflex E makes it possible for the first time to mass-produce an exterior car part featuring a honeycomb sandwich structure with a class-A film. As the first production example, the roof module in the standard model of the new smart fortwo consists of a paper honeycomb and two surrounding glass fiber mats. These are sprayed in an impregnation process with the low-density, thermally activable Elastoflex E 3532 from BASF and pressed together with a solid-colored class-A film.

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Upcoming Frankfurt show to showcase new mobility; connected cars, autonomous driving

Among the features of the upcoming IAA in Frankfurt will be the “New Mobility World” exhibition area, designed to showcase the emerging digital mobile world that will span all sectors. The area will also include telecommunications companies.

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2016 Volkswagen Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Golf GTI and Jetta earn 2015 Top Safety Pick + from IIHS

The 2016 Volkswagen Golf 4-door, Golf SportWagen, Golf GTI 4-door, and Jetta models, when equipped with the optional Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist) system, have been awarded 2015 Top Safety Pick+ ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

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New analysis finds Asia produces twice as much mercury emissions as previously thought

New analysis by an international team led by MIT researchers shows that Asia now releases a surprisingly large amount of anthropogenic mercury. While its increased burning of coal was known to exacerbate mercury emissions and air pollution, the MIT-led team estimates that Asia produces more than double the mercury emissions previously estimated. An open access paper on the analysis is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

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New integrated catalytic pathway for jet-range alkanes and aromatics from biomass

Researchers at Washington State University have developed a novel pathway to produce jet fuel range paraffins (alkanes) and aromatics by catalytic microwave-induced pyrolysis of intact biomass (Douglas fir) integrated with the catalytic hydrotreating upgrading process. A paper on their work is published in the journal Fuel.

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DOE NETL selects 12 fossil-fuel power systems projects for funding

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected 12 projects to receive funding through its Crosscutting Research Program’s Transitional Technology Development to Enable Highly Efficient Power Systems with Carbon Management initiative.

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NACS survey: falling gasoline prices encouraging consumers to drive more in August

As gasoline prices continue to fall from their seasonal high, consumers say they are more optimistic about the economy and will increase their driving in August. However, consumers don’t expect gas prices to fall below $2 per gallon, according to the latest NACS (National Association of Convenience Stores) Consumer Fuels Survey.

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Monash “artificial photosynthesis” system achieves in excess of 22% efficiency for production of hydrogen from water

August 11, 2015

A team at Monash University (Australia) has developed an “artificial photosynthesis” system that delivers the highest efficiency reported to date—in excess of 22%—for the solar-driven conversion of water to hydrogen. A paper on the researchers’s work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

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Millbrook investing $2.9M in its powertrain test facilities

Millbrook, the UK vehicle test, validation and engineering service provider, is investing £1.83 million (US$2.9 million) in its powertrain test facilities at its independent UK proving ground.

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First 5 production Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicles for Europe arrive

The first five production Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicles (earlier post) for Europe were unloaded in Bristol, UK and Zeebrugge, Belgium, respectively on 8 and 10 August. Already sold in Japan since last December, the Toyota Mirai will be launched in Europe from September in the UK, Denmark and Germany.

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Iranian researchers produce biodiesel from flixweed seed oil

Under a project to deliver a new generation of green transport fuel, researchers the Islamic Azad University in Iran have produced biodiesel from flixweed seed oil. Flixweed (Descurainia sophia), also called tansy mustard, it is a member of the mustard family like the oilseed crop, canola.

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Peterbilt offering Maxwell’s ultracap ESM

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced that Peterbilt is now offering Maxwell’s ultracapacitor-powered Engine Start Module (ESM) on new Model 579 and 567 trucks as a factory-installed option. Kenworth began offering the ESM as a factory-installed option earlier in the year. (Earlier post.)

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DOE: US wind power capacity grew 8% in 2014 to ~66 GW, 2nd in world; meets 4.9% of end use demand; lowest prices to date

August 10, 2015

According to the 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report released today by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, total installed wind power capacity in the United States grew at a rate of 8% in 2014 and now stands at nearly 66 gigawatts (GW)—ranking second in the world (to China) and meeting 4.9% of end-use electricity demand in an average year.

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Schlumberger launches industry-first multiclient wide-azimuth deepwater seismic survey in Mexican waters, Gulf of Mexico

Schlumberger expanded its Gulf of Mexico multiclient wide-azimuth seismic data portfolio by launching a new survey in the Campeche Basin. The acquisition of the industry’s first multiclient wide-azimuth survey offshore Mexico will cover 80,000 sq km using two fleets of WesternGeco vessels, including Amazon Class, the world’s first purpose-designed 3D seismic vessels.

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NSF awards $55.5M to support 3 new Engineering Research Centers; one focused on power electronics

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested $55.5 million in three new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) to create novel technology platforms and transform industries. One of these, the Engineering Research Center for Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS), aims to enhance or increase the electric power density available in tightly constrained mobile environments by changing the design. The work will enable the manufacture of lighter, more compact and more efficient power electronic systems for cars, airplanes, construction equipment, handheld tools and other mobile applications.

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Caltech team reports new device for solar-driven production of hydrogen

A team at Caltech led by Dr. Nathan Lewis has integrated electrocatalysts with silicon microwire arrays to achieve simultaneously high fill factors (a performance indicator) and light-limited photocurrent densities from photocathodes that produce H2(g) directly from sunlight and water.

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DOE awards $7.4M to 4 projects for advanced components for wave and tidal energy systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four projects to receive a total of $7.4 million to spur innovation of next-generation water power component technologies, designed for manufacturability and built specifically for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) systems. The projects will address technical challenges in three areas: advanced controls; crosscutting power take-off (PTO), which converts mechanical motion into electrical power; and innovative structures.

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