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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.]

IH2 technology licensed to India-based SunLight Fuels; liquid hydrocarbon fuels from bagasse

May 24, 2016

Sunlight Fuels Private Limited (Sunlight Fuels), headquartered in New Delhi, India, has entered into a second-stage Front End Loading (FEL-2) license agreement for IH2 (Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion) technology with a Singapore-based affiliate of CRI Catalyst Company LP (CRI), a global catalyst technology company of the Shell Group. IH2 technology is a continuous catalytic thermo-chemical process which produces fungible hydrocarbon transportation fuels from agricultural, forest and sorted municipal residues. (Earlier post.)

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ABB Azipod electric propulsion system has saved >700,000 tons of fuel for marine vessels so far

>ABB announced the total fuel savings of the entire installed Azipod fleet since being launched is estimated to be more than 700,000 tons. Assuming the average family car uses one ton of fuel annually, this savings corresponds to the annual fuel consumption of 700,000 cars. The Azipod electrical propulsion system—in which the electric motor with propeller is mounted inside a streamlined pod capable of 360-degree movement beneath the ship—has evolved to become the industry standard for the marine industry. The system can drive and steer the ship at the same time.

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Praxair partners with NEL ASA on hydrogen refueling network in Norway; invests in Uno-X JV

Uno-X Hydrogen AS, a NEL ASA (NEL) joint venture, has entered into an agreement with a Norwegian affiliate of Praxair, a leading global industrial gas company, as a strategic alliance to install 20 hydrogen refuelling stations, covering all the major cities in Norway by 2020. As part of the agreement, Praxair’s Norwegian affiliate will aqcuire a 20% ownership interest in the joint venture.

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Autonomous driving software company nuTonomy closes $16M A round

nuTonomy Inc., a developer of software for self-driving cars, has completed a $16-million Series A funding led by Highland Capital Partners.

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FMC Corporation to triple lithium hydroxide capacity to serve the growing EV market

FMC Corporation plans to increase its production capacity of lithium hydroxide by a total of 20,000 metric tons per year, effectively tripling its production.

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Report: facelifted VW e-Golf late this year to boost capacity 48% to 35.8 kWh; 120 kW motor

May 23, 2016

Electrive.net reports that the facelifted VW e-Golf, due out late in autumn 2016, will boost its battery capacity 48% from 24.2 kWh to 35.8 kWh through the use of 37 Ah cells (up from the previous 25 Ah). (Earlier post, earlier post.)

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Baidu using Inspur server to support deep learning platform of driverless car

Chinese IT manufacturer Inspur announced that internet giant Baidu is using Inspur’s NF5568M4 server to provide hardware support for the deep learning platform of Baidu’s driverless car. Deep learning is one of the core areas of driverless technology.

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Toyota and Dean Kamen to partner to facilitate innovative mobility solutions for the disabled; launching iBOT

May 22, 2016

Toyota Motor North America is joining forces with DEKA Research and Development, the company founded by inventor Dean Kamen, to support mobility solutions for the disabled community. This agreement will help DEKA to proceed with plans to complete the development and launch the next generation iBOT motorized wheelchair.

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Malaysia team finds adding graphene nanoflakes to lubricant improves thermal conductivity 17% with no change in viscosity

May 20, 2016

A team of Malaysian scientists from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus and Taylor’s University are examining the effects of adding graphene nanoflakes to various commercially available lubricants. Graphene is an incredibly strong one-atom-thick layer of carbon with excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, and properties for reducing wear and friction.

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Nissan Joint Research Center for Intelligent Mobility at Tsinghua University opens in Beijing

This week marked the opening of the Tsinghua University (Department of Automotive Engineering) - Nissan Joint Research Center for Intelligent Mobility (the Joint Research Center), a collaboration between Nissan and Tsinghua University in Beijing to work on research and development of electric vehicle and autonomous drive technologies for the Chinese market.

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NanoSteel and AK Steel win Platts Breakthrough Solutions Of The Year award

NanoSteel, a developer of nanostructured steel materials, and the company’s joint development launch partner, AK Steel Corporation, have won the Platts Global Metals “Breakthrough Solution of the Year” Award. This award is in recognition of NanoSteel’s advanced automotive sheet—produced by AK Steel—which brings the combination of both high strength and high formability to automotive lightweighting. (Earlier post.)

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Uber autonomous driving prototype on the roads in Pittsburgh

Uber has an autonomous driving test car on the roads in Pittsburgh. The car, a hybrid Ford Fusion, is from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh, and is collecting mapping data as well as testing its self-driving capabilities.

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Experian: Open automotive loans top $1T; lease balances hit record high

May 19, 2016

The total balance of open automotive loans in the US climbed 11.1% in the first quarter of 2016, surpassing the trillion dollar mark for the first time on record, according to Experian Automotive. The most recent State of the Automotive Finance Market report finds that loan balances reached $1.005 trillion in Q1 2016, up from $905 billion in Q1 2015. Open leases grew by 27.55% to an all-time high of $76.9 billion, up from $73.1 billion the previous year. The market first reached the trillion dollar mark—with the combined total balance of open loans and leases—in Q3 2015.

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ARPA-E issues RFI on enabling technologies for ultra-safe and secure modular nuclear energy systems

The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a Request for Information (DE-FOA-0001598) on enabling technologies for ultra-safe and secure modular nuclear energy systems.

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INRIX and Parkmobile bring end-to-end parking solution to the connected car

INRIX, Inc., a leading provider of dynamic connected car services worldwide, and Parkmobile, the leading provider of on-demand and prepaid mobile payments for on- and off- street parking and mobility solutions, announced a strategic partnership at the annual International Parking Institute (IPI) conference. The two will partner to develop an embedded, end-to-end parking solution for the auto industry.

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US International Trade Commission votes to investigate alledged hybrid patent infringement by VW Group

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute a formal investigation of Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche based on Paice’s earlier complaint of infringement of its hybrid vehicle patents. (Earlier post.) An official evidentiary hearing will be held before an ITC Administrative Law Judge at a date to be determined.

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California SCAQMD petitioning EPA for national ultra-low NOx standard for trucks

The Governing Board of California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) earlier this year voted to petition the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt tougher emission standards for engines of heavy-duty trucks to help the region meet federal clean air goals. The petition requests EPA to adopt an “ultra-low NOx” emission standard for heavy-duty truck engines that is up to ten times more stringent than the current standard.

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Tesla to raise net $1.4-$1.7B in stock offering to ramp up Model 3 production

May 18, 2016

Telsa plans to raise approximately a net $1.4 billion in a common stock offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. The company said it intends to use the proceeds to accelerate the production ramp of Model 3.

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Mitsubishi Motors President, EVP resign over fuel economy scandal

Tetsuro Aikawa, President and COO of Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) in Japan, and Ryugo Nakao, Executive Vice President have resigned over the fuel economy testing scandal that emerged in April. (Earlier post.) The resignations are effective 24 June 2016.

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FotoNation and Kyocera partner on advanced computer vision solutions for automotive

FotoNation Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tessera Technologies, Inc. and a leading provider of computational imaging and computer vision solutions for consumer and enterprise applications, has partnered with Kyocera Corporation to develop advanced, intelligent, vision solutions for automotive applications. As part of the partnership and using FotoNation technology as a foundation, the two companies will jointly develop advanced computer vision solutions for the automotive market.

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Sony invests in Cogitai; collaborating on R&D for next wave of artificial intelligence

Sony Corporation has teamed with Cogitai, an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up focused on next generation technologies. Specifically, Sony has invested in Cogitai and the two companies plan to collaborate towards the development of novel AI technologies using deep reinforcement learning with prediction technology that could be used as the basis for the next generation of AI applications and products.

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HELLA introduces top-end UP5.0 electric vacuum pump for brake systems; increased fuel efficiency

May 17, 2016

Automotive supplier HELLA has introduced its latest electrically driven vacuum pump—UP5.0—for vehicle brake systems.

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Indian tech company wins ITF innovation award for converting diesel buses into EVs

India-based KPIT Technologies is being awarded the “Promising Innovation in Transport Award” 2016 during the 2016 Summit of the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany for developing a system that can convert new as well as existing diesel buses into full battery-electric buses. KPIT has 20+ global patents for this “Smart Electric Bus” technology.

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ORNL joins Power Electronics Industry Collaborative

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has joined the Power Electronics Industry Collaborative (PEIC); PEIC works to accelerate innovation and advocates for investment in new power electronics technologies.

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SDG&E to invest $7.5M in EV education push; complement to $45M charging station initiative

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced it will invest $7.5 million over the next five years to develop a new education campaign to create awareness, expand electric vehicle (EV) ownership and lead the charge among large cities to electrify the transportation sector.

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SCE launching $22M Charge Ready EV charging pilot; up to 1,500 new charging stations in pilot, 30K in full program

Southern California Edison is launching its Charge Ready program, which will add as many as 1,500 electric vehicle charging stations to SCE’s service area. The utility, which serves nearly 14 million people via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California, will bring representatives of local businesses and other organizations together on Wednesday in Irwindale to learn how they can take part in the pilot program.

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MIT, Lockheed Martin launch long-term research collaboration on autonomy and robotics

In a new collaborative initiative in autonomy and robotics, MIT and Lockheed Martin scientists will focus on innovations needed to enable generation-after-next autonomous systems. Improvements in human/machine teaming and navigation in complex environments are among the research challenges that Lockheed Martin is inviting MIT faculty and their students to help solve.

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Nissan denies S. Korea charge of Qashqai emissions cheating

Nissan href="https://newsroom.nissan-global.com/releases/nissan-statement-on-korean-ministry-of-environment-report?lang=en-US&rss">issued a statement denying the charge made by the Korean Ministry of Environment (MOE) that the Nissan Qashqai sold in S. Korea was arbitrarily setting its engine system to illegally control exhaust emissions.

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Texas Mineral Resources to establish lithium subsidiary to market Round Top lithium

May 16, 2016

Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (TMRC), an exploration company targeting the heavy rare earths and a variety of other high-value elements and industrial minerals, in response to lithium industry inquiries, plans to establish a separate lithium subsidiary to market the lithium potentially produced from its poly-metallic Round Top long-life deposit.

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Study finds farms a major source of fine-particulate air pollution

Emissions from farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, according a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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Toyota Mobility Foundation joins New Cities Foundation as global strategic member

Toyota Mobility Foundation has joined the New Cities Foundation as the latest Global Strategic Member. The partnership between the two organizations aims to activate the next generation of urban mobility solutions.

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Boron-Nitride fullerene as a potential solid-state hydrogen storage medium

Researchers in India report that experimentally synthesized B24N24 (boron-nitride) fullerene can serve as a potential reversible chemical hydrogen storage material with hydrogen storage capacity of up to 5.13 wt %. A paper on their work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.

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True Zero opens first hydrogen fueling station in California central coast region

May 14, 2016

True Zero has opened a hydrogen fueling station in Santa Barbara in the California central coast region—the latest addition to the world’s largest network of hydrogen-fuel stations being built in California by First Element Fuel, Inc.

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LG may work with Iran to develop EVs and infrastructure; 60K units by 2023

May 13, 2016

LG International Corp., the trading arm of South Korea’s LG Group, has signed a tentative deal with the Iranian government to cooperate in developing electric vehicles and the requisite infrastructure, according to media reports.

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BMW sold 4,504 EVs and PHEVs worldwide in April; X5 PHEV nearly 10% of all X5s sold

The BMW Group sold 4,504 battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles around the world in April. The top three markets for these vehicles were the US, Scandinavia and the UK.

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Two US airlines trialing 72V Flux Power lithium battery pack for electric aviation ground support equipment

Flux Power Holdings, a developer of advanced lithium batteries for industrial applications including electric forklifts, delivered a custom-developed, 72-volt battery pack to power electric aviation ground support equipment (GSE), initially baggage/cargo tractors. Averest, a leading distributor of industrial batteries and chargers for aviation ground support equipment organized the pilot opportunity for Flux.

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House bill proposes capping ethanol content in gasoline at 9.7%

US Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) have introduced legislation—H.R. 5180 —that would cap the maximum volume of ethanol blended into the transportation fuel supply at 9.7% of projected gasoline demand as determined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Microwaved graphene nanoribbons can reinforce oil and gas wellbores

May 12, 2016

Wellbores drilled to extract oil and gas can be significantly reinforced with a small amount of modified graphene nanoribbons added to a polymer and microwaved, according to Rice University researchers.

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Air Canada and Biojet Supply Chain Initiative choose Montréal-Trudeau Airport for aviation biofuel project

Air Canada announced that Canada’s Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) will be held at Montréal-Trudeau Airport. It is a three-year collaborative project with 14 stakeholder organizations to introduce 400,000 liters of sustainable aviation biofuel (biojet) into a shared fuel system.

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Fuji Heavy Industries to change company name to Subaru Corporation

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of Subaru vehicles, will change its company name to Subaru Corporation with effect from 1 April 2017 (tentatively). Implementation of the name change is subject to shareholder approval for amendments to the company’s Articles of Incorporation at the 85th General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled for 28 June 2016.

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DOE launches $20M University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research at Penn State

May 11, 2016

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected Pennsylvania State University as the lead institution to establish the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research. The Coalition will bring together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from participating universities to address the fundamental research challenges that impede advancement of fossil energy-based technologies. DOE will invest $20 million in the project.

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Launch of first London HyFive hydrogen refueling station

ITM Power officially launched its first public-access hydrogen refueling station in London at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington. The station was opened to the public by Andrew Jones MP, Transport Minister at Department for Transport, and was supported by the automotive OEMs Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Renault partner Symbio FCell.

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Nemaska Lithium & Johnson Matthey Battery Materials sign lithium agreements

Nemaska Lithium and Johnson Matthey Battery Materials (JMBM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Matthey Plc, signed final agreements regarding collaboration, financial support and lithium salt supply.

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Oracle, Qualcomm Innovation Center, TI, and 3 others join Automotive Grade Linux

Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a common, Linux-based software stack for the connected car, announced that Movimento; Oracle; Qualcomm Innovation Center, Inc.; Texas Instruments; UIEvolution; and VeriSilicon have joined Automotive Grade Linux. Movimento, UIEvolution and VeriSilicon have also joined The Linux Foundation.

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International Trucks offers over-the-air programming for Cummins engines

Building on its introduction of over-the-air (OTA) programming for its proprietary engines, International Trucks is now the first truck OEM to offer OTA programming for Cummins engines.

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Nissan and Eaton introduce home energy storage systems with second-life EV batteries; targeting 100K units in 5 years

May 10, 2016

Nissan and Eaton, have partnered to introduce a new residential energy storage unit: the xStorage solution. Available to pre-order from September 2016, the xStorage is designed to be the most affordable home energy storage system in the market today.

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ABI forecasts global electric vehicle revenue to hit $58B in 2021; multi-modal smart mobility

ABI Research forecasts that global electric vehicle revenue will hit $58 billion in 2021, more than five times its market value in 2015.

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Nissan appoints its first chief sustainability officer

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has appointed its first chief sustainability officer, Senior Vice President Hitoshi Kawaguchi. As chief sustainability officer, Kawaguchi’s responsibilities include representing the company on global sustainability issues. He will lead the company’s efforts to ensure that sustainability subjects are embedded and aligned in Nissan’s corporate strategies.

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Stora Enso signs a joint bio-based chemicals technology development and license agreement with Rennovia

Stora Enso and specialty chemicals company Rennovia Inc announced a joint development and license agreement to cooperate on bio-based chemicals development.

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Wolfspeed introduces new all-SiC high performance half-bridge power module & gate driver combination

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company and a supplier of silicon carbide (SiC) power products, has introduced the first fully-qualified commercial power module from its Fayetteville, Arkansas location. The new module allows systems designers to realize lighter weight systems that are up to 67% smaller by achieving efficiencies of over 98% and improvements in power density of up to 10 times compared to systems built with silicon-based technologies.

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COMO Connect adds 3 BYD electric buses to fleet

COMO Connect—a public bus system owned by the City of Columbia, Missouri, is expanding its fleet with three 30-ft, low-floor, all-electric transit buses from BYD. The buses have a range of 144 miles (232 km) per charge and can be recharged in only two to three hours.

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Lygos and Sirrus announce synthesis of methylene malonates using bio-derived feedstock

Lygos, Inc., and Sirrus, Inc., jointly announced that Sirrus has successfully synthesized its Chemilian 1,1 di-substituted alkenes using Lygos’ bio-derived diethyl malonate (bio-DEM). This marks the first known synthesis and purification of this breakthrough class of monomers using bio-based malonate esters at laboratory scale.

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Canada Rare Earth enters into agreement to purchase a rare earth separation refinery situated in Laos

May 09, 2016

Canada Rare Earth Corporation has entered into an agreement to purchase 60% of the issued and outstanding shares of a company based in Laos. The Laos company owns a full capability rare earth refinery that is designed to process monazite rare earth concentrate and separate the concentrate into the entire spectrum of commercially traded rare earths including light and heavy elements.

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Kreisel Electric expanding capacity with construction of new Li-ion battery plant

Kreisel Electric, an Austrian developer and manufacturer of high-performance battery packs for electric mobility and stationary energy storage systems, is expanding its production capacity to 800,000 kWh per year with the construction of a new battery plant. The 6,276 m2 factory will be equipped with a fully automated production line.

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Axion Power exploring PbC battery licensing deal in China

Axion Power International, a leader in carbon battery technology and energy storage, has resumed negotiations with LCB International, Inc. a BVI investment company, towards a refined and simplified technology licensing agreement to take Axion Power’s patented PbC (lead-carbon) technology (earlier post) to China.

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Declining atmospheric sulfur levels due to pollution controls may lead to need for sulfur fertilizers for crops

Air pollution legislation to control fossil fuel emissions and the associated acid rain has worked—perhaps leading to the need for sulfur fertilizers for crop production. A University of Illinois study drawing from over 20 years of data shows that sulfur levels in Midwest watersheds and rivers have steadily declined, so much so that farmers may soon need to consider applying sulfur.

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Kobe Steel to build aluminum extrusion and fabrication plant in Kentucky; bumper and car frame materials

Japan-based Kobe Steel, Ltd. will manufacture and sell aluminum extrusions for the automotive sector in the United States. The new business will operate through a company called Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions Inc. (KPEX) in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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Semcon develops prototype low-cost smart motor for turning any bike electric

Semcon has developed a smart and inexpensive motor prototype that can be easily fitted to any bike. The units costs less than €100 (US$114) to assemble and can easily be transferred between bikes.

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SAKOR Technologies develops innovative valve spring tester for SAIC Motor

May 07, 2016

SAKOR Technologies, Inc., a recognized leader in the implementation of instrumentation products for dynamometer testing, has developed and supplied a new valve spring test system to SAIC Motor Corporation Limited. The new SAKOR test stand will be used for valve train development and testing and is expected to facilitate improvements in fuel economy.

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Si-graphene anode company XG Sciences receives DOE Round 2 small business award

May 06, 2016

XG Sciences, a developer of silicon-graphene anode materials, is one of the 61 recipients of US Department of Energy (DOE) Round 2 small business awards; each award is for $150,000.

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2017 Hyundai Elantra Eco starts at $20,650; 40 mpg highway, 35 mpg combined

Hyundai Motor America has priced the all-new 2017 Elantra Eco starting at $20,650. Elantra Eco is the most fuel efficient Elantra, delivering an EPA estimated 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km) on the highway and 35 mpg (6.71 l/100 km) in combined city and highway driving.

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GM delivers 277,979 vehicles in China in April, up 7.5% YoY; SUVs up 107%

General Motors and its joint ventures delivered 277,979 vehicles in China in April, an increase of 7.5% from the same month last year. SUV deliveries were up 107% from the same period a year earlier, while Cadillac luxury vehicle sales increased 13% in April from the previous year.

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Aemetis to acquire Edeniq and its cellulosic ethanol technology

Aemetis, Inc., an advanced fuels and renewable chemicals company founded in 2006, will acquire all the outstanding shares of Edeniq, a cellulosic ethanol technology company, in a stock plus cash merger transaction.

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Dongfeng Citroën unveils electric version of C-Elysée sedan; E-MEHARI

May 05, 2016

At the Beijing Motor Show, Dongfeng Citroën unveiled an electric version of the C-Elysée—its best-selling vehicle in China, with 90,000 sales in 2015. Scheduled for launch in China in 2017, this model reflects Dongfeng Citroën’s ambitions to be a key player in electric vehicles for the Chinese public.

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PSA produces millionth BlueHDi diesel

The PSA Group’s millionth Euro 6 BlueHDi diesel engine rolled off the assembly line at Trémery, in the Moselle region of France this week.

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Volkswagen Chattanooga completes first metal test body for new 2017 Midsize SUV

Volkswagen Chattanooga reached an early production milestone with the completion of the first assembled metal test body for the upcoming Midsize SUV, scheduled to begin production late this year and to enter the market in 2017.

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UMTRI: US new vehicle fuel economy in April drops

May 04, 2016

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in April 2016 was 25.2 mpg (9.33 l/100 km)—down 0.1 mpg from the value for March 2016, according to the latest monthly report from Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI). This decline likely reflects the increased market share of pickup trucks and SUVs, they suggested.

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Baker Institute: End of the ‘Big Oil giveaway’ is underway in the Persian Gulf

The old hypotheses that Persian Gulf energy subsidies were sacrosanct have been overturned, according to a new issue brief from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. In recent years, all six Gulf monarchies—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain—have begun to challenge the notion that citizens are entitled to cheap energy.

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Daimler plans new €500M engine plant in Poland

Daimler AG plans to invest approximately €500 million (US$576 million) in a new production facility in Poland. The first Mercedes-Benz Cars plant in Poland is to be established in Jawor, about 70 kilometers west of Wroclaw, and will produce four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

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Rosenberger Spritzguss und Formenbau manufactures new sensor carrier for EGR in one process step and without any weld lines

Rosenberger Spritzguss und Formenbau has developed a new type of carrier for Hall effect sensors that combines the housing and printed circuit board in one component and is injection-molded in a single, fully automated production step. The whole component is mounted as a cover on exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) modules which are fitted as standard in many automobiles in Europe.

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XL Hybrids announces 25M total customer miles on road; >1.5M miles driven per month

XL Hybrids, Inc., the developer of a hybrid electric drive retrofit system for commercial and municipal fleets, announced that this month, 25 million road miles will have been collectively driven by globally-recognized brands, municipalities and nonprofits using the XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System in their service, delivery and passenger fleets.

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Nexeon Raises US$44M million for Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes

UK-based Nexeon, a developer of silicon anode materials for Li-ion batteries (earlier post), has successfully completed a £30-million (US$44-million) funding round. The company received funding from existing investors and a new investor, Woodford Investment Management.

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Lishen orders four Li-ion electrode slurry production lines from Bühler; new process for continuous production

Lishen, a major Chinese Li-ion battery manufacturer, has ordered four electrode slurry production lines from Swiss-based Bühler, a contract worth almost US$10.5 million. The two companies have been collaborating on the development of a more efficient production process, which Lishen is now ordering.

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AVL and Greenlight Innovation partner to develop a fuel cell testing system product line

Canada’s Greenlight Innovation Corp., a supplier of testing and manufacturing equipment for hydrogen fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries and energy storage systems, and AVL List GmbH, the world’s largest independent company for development, simulation and testing technology of powertrains for global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), are partnering in the development of a co-branded fuel cell system testing product line.

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NextEV to build $463M plant in Nanjing; motors and modules

May 03, 2016

NextEV and the Nanjing Municipal Government signed a strategic partnership agreement to build a 3 billion RMB (US$463 million) plant facility for the development and production of high-performance motors and electronic modules in the Nanjing Economic and Technological Development Zone.

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SunLine adds first electric buses to fleet; BYD

SunLine Transit Agency, which serves more than 3.5 million passengers annually in the Coachella Valley in California, has added its first all-electric buses, manufactured by BYD.

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REG expands logistics and storage at Danville biodiesel plant

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) announced that its Danville, Illinois operation now has more than 14 million gallons of tank capacity to store both biodiesel and feedstocks.

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Tesla tests its HEPA Filter and “Bioweapon Defense Mode” under extreme conditions of 1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5

At the launch of the Model X, Elon Musk touched on the vehicle’s oversized HEPA filters, claiming that “We can’t even detect any viruses or bacteria or spores. Zero come through. If there is ever an apocalyptic scenario, just press the bioweapon defense mode button.” (Earlier post.) While bioweapons experts were skeptical of the full scope of the claim, Tesla has gone on to demonstrate that the filter is very effective against extreme concentrations of PM2.5 particles.

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Bosch opens innovation incubator in Lund, Sweden; vehicle connectivity, security, two-wheelers

May 02, 2016

Bosch has opened a new innovation center in Lund, Sweden. The engineers there are working on new software and hardware in areas such as vehicle connectivity, automotive security systems, and motorized two-wheelers. In addition, they are developing cross-domain solutions for connecting mobility with, for example, energy and building technology over the IoT.

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Clean Energy to provide LNG to Hawaii Gas; additional agreements in trucking, transit and refuse markets

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has secured a contract to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Hawaii Gas, the State of Hawaii’s only franchised gas utility.

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USC team develops high productivity ammonia borane dehydrogenation system

A team of researchers at USC’s Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute and Department of Chemistry has developed a high productivity, non-hydrolytic ammonia borane (AB) dehydrogenation system capable of releasing up to 2.7 equiv. of H2 at low catalyst loading.

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Quadrant CMS plastics/metal hybrid technology saves weight in airbag assemblies with integrated lead frames

A hybrid plastics/metal airbag housing with integrated lead frame, co-developed and produced by Quadrant Creative Molding & Systems for an automotive steering wheel airbag assembly, reduces weight, packing space and costs.

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Study identifies Bakken Formation alone as responsible for ~2% of global ethane emissions

April 29, 2016

The Bakken Formation, a shale oil and gas field in North Dakota and Montana, is emitting roughly 2% (about 250,000 tons per year) of the globe’s ethane, according to new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan. The paper appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Neste Renewable Isoalkane to be used for Avantherm’s renewable products for transferring heat and cold

Avantherm, a Swedish company specializing in heat transfer media products, has started using Neste Renewable Isoalkane to produce the next generation, high-performance and more environmentally friendly heat transfer media. Avantherm thus becomes one of the first companies to market Heat Transfer Media produced from renewable raw materials.

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Volkswagen starts recall of the first EA 189 Golf model in Europe for diesel emissions fix

In Europe, the Volkswagen passenger car brand is starting the technical modification of the non-compliant diesel vehicles with engine type EA 189 and the software defeat device. The first model is the Golf TDI Blue Motion Technology (BMT) with a 2.0l engine. In Europe around 15,000 Golf cars affected with a manual gearbox are being called to the workshops. Further Volkswagen passenger car brand models will follow shortly in the recall process.

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Daimler investing €500M to modernize Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant; production of e-mobility components

Daimler is investing €500 million (US$567 million) to modernize the Mercedes-Benz Hamburg plant and is expanding its product portfolio to include key components for electric driving.

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Velocys scales up FT reactors for gas-to-liquids production

April 28, 2016

Small-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) company Velocys says that it has successfully scaled up its Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reactor design to individual reactors with capacities in the range 350 to 1,000 barrels per day (bpd) by adding further standard reactor cores within a single pressure vessel.

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Fuel cell company PowerCell Sweden cooperates with Swiss Hydrogen SA to market fuel cell systems

Fuel cell company PowerCell Sweden AB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Swiss Hydrogen SA, a Switzerland-based company that develops hydrogen fuel cell systems for mobile and stationary applications. The two companies will cooperate to market and sell high performance fuel cell systems based on PowerCell’s stacks.

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Porsche offering Platinum Edition of Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Porsche is offering a new Platinum Edition of the Cayenne Diesel and Cayenne S E-Hybrid—the latter a plug-in hybrid with a 10.8 kWh battery pack. In addition to their enhanced appearance—for example, large 20-inch wheels in RS Spyder design housed in wider wheel arches and interior features, the models’ expanded features improve comfort and safety in particular.

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Alliance AutoGas launches 5300-mile, 12-city Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride with converted F-150

Supported by partners, Clean City Coalitions and corporate sponsors, Alliance AutoGas is embarking on a 5300+ mile, 12-city, cross-country road trip—the Alliance AutoGas Coast-to-Coast Clean Air Ride—with its record-setting propane autogas F-150. The event is being hosted by the Metropolitan Energy Center/Kansas City Regional Clean Cities in conjunction with Veolia/Kansas City Transportation Group and Alliance AutoGas.

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JATO Dynamics: growth slowdown in Euro auto sales in March; SUVs still lead

April 27, 2016

March 2016 was another positive month for European new car registrations, ending a strong Q1 which saw sales of 3.93 million units, up by 8.1% over the first three months of 2015, according to JATO Dynamics. Although volumes grew at a slower rate (+5.6%) than recorded in February 2016 (+13.8%), positive results in 23 of the 29 markets analyzed meant growth continued. YTD figures showed gains in 26 markets, with 16 of them posting double-digit growth. The March SAAR came in at 14.98 million units.

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Study: strong interactions with voice-guided vehicles result in more crashes

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State University, Eindhoven University of Technology, and Stanford University found that giving a car a more personal voice led to more car accidents.

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DLR presents HY4 4-passenger fuel cell hybrid electric aircraft at 2016 Hannover Messe

DLR is presenting the HY4—a four-seater passenger fuel cell hybrid electric aircraft prototype (earlier post)— at the 2016 Hannover Messe, along with research and development partners Hydrogenics, Pipistrel, H2FLY, the University of Ulm and Stuttgart Airport.

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Onboard Dynamics receives $3M from ARPA-E, others for innovative CNG refueling technology

Onboard Dynamics, Inc. (ObDI), an innovator in compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling, has received $3 million from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), Portland Seed Fund, NW Natural and other utilities, and private investors. Onboard Dynamics is currently pursuing two compressed natural gas refueling solutions, based on novel technology for both on- and off-vehicle applications:

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Volvo Cars to launch UK’s largest autonomous driving trial

Volvo Cars will begin the UK’s most ambitious autonomous driving (AD) trial next year. Volvo’s UK-based test will be called ‘Drive Me London’ and will differentiate itself from other AD programs by using real families driving AD cars on public roads.

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FCA US to invest $74.7M in Trenton Engine Complex for new 4-cylinder

April 26, 2016

FCA US will invest $74.7 million in its Trenton Engine Complex (Mich.) to retool the north plant to produce the next generation four-cylinder engine. The new engine will be assembled on the flexible production line that was installed in 2012 and will provide increased power, while improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions.

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Comet Biorefining signs sugar supply agreement with BioAmber, announces investment

Comet Biorefining recently signed an off-take agreement with bio-succinic acid producer BioAmber for high-purity dextrose from Comet’s planned commercial plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The dextrose will be produced from agricultural residues using Comet’s innovative technology. (Earlier post.)

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Mitsubishi establishes special external committee to investigate improper fuel economy testing

The board of directors of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is establishing a special investigation committee, consisting of only external experts, to investigate the improper fuel economy testing and certification of mini-cars to which it admitted recently.

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DOE to issue $22.3M funding opportunity for vehicle technologies; MD and HD PEVs, DI propane engine and partner projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will issue (DE-FOA-0001534) a $22.3-million multi-topic funding opportunity for vehicle technologies (DE-FOA-0001535). The FOA will include the three areas of interest: medium- and heavy-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs); direct injection propane engine; and alternative fuel vehicle community partner projects.

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Ballard’s Protonex subsidiary delivers PEM fuel cell propulsion modules for UAVs to Boeing’s Insitu

Ballard Power Systems subsidiary, Protonex, has delivered prototype PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell propulsion modules to Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, for use in its ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

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