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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.]

Bi-functional nafion/γ-Al2O3 membrane for stable Li-sulfur battery cathode

October 24, 2014

Researchers at Tianjin University (China) report another approach to stabilizing the performance of a Li-sulfur battery. In a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, they describe the preparation of a sulfur cathode modified by a bi-functional nafion/γ-Al2O3 (aluminum oxide) membrane which can “remarkably” immobilize the polysulfides—a major cause of rapid capacity degradation—within the unique cathode structure due to its ion selectivity and absorbent capacity.

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C.A.T leases 100 CNG sleeper tractors from Ryder; Ryder’s largest NA nat gas lease deal

C.A.T. Inc. (formally Canadian American Transportation, Inc.) has signed a full-service lease agreement for 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) sleeper tractors. This is Ryder’s first natural gas lease customer in Canada and its largest single natural gas vehicle customer to date.

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New Harman active road noise cancellation technology enables use of lighter weight materials without vehicle noise compromise

Harman, the premium global audio and infotainment group, is expanding its HALOsonic suite of noise management solutions, which the company has co-developed with Lotus Engineering using patented Active Noise Control Technologies. (Earlier post.) Harman’s new Road Noise Cancellation (RNC) technology minimizes unwanted noise generated when the vehicle tires roll across the road surface. RNC, which is presently ready for market implementation, enables automakers to use lighter weight materials and improve fuel economy without compromising on vehicle noise levels.

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Carnot Compression announces successful testing of proprietary isothermal compression technology

Carnot Compression LLC announced it has successfully demonstrated isothermal compression (i.e., temperature remains constant, ΔT = 0) across multiple tests and design iterations. Carnot says its results represent a major breakthrough in energy efficiency for the compression industry; prior to Carnot’s technology, the Taylor Compressor, implemented at the beginning of the 20th century, was the only isothermal compression system in operation, the company says.

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Imergy Power introduces new generation of vanadium flow batteries

Vandium-based flow battery specialist Imergy Power Systems introduced the ESP30 series, a new generation of vanadium flow batteries that lowers the cost and increases the performance and flexibility of energy storage systems for utilities, renewable energy projects, microgrids, and commercial and industrial customers.

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Asplundh adds medium-duty propane autogas F-650 trucks to fleet

October 23, 2014

Asplundh, an international provider of vegetation management services to utilities and municipalities, is one of the first in its industry to adopt propane autogas for some of the medium-duty trucks in its fleet. Currently, Asplundh has two Ford F-650 trucks powered by ROUSH CleanTech propane autogas fuel systems.

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2015 VW e-Golf EPA-rated at 116 MPGe combined, 83-mile range

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced that the compact battery-electric 2015 e-Golf (earlier post) has been rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 126 city, 105 highway, and 116 combined Miles per Gallon of Gasoline Equivalent (MPGe), and given a range of up to 83 miles.

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Mercedes-Benz estimates COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST cuts number of serious rear-end collisions by 30%

The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class (earlier post) comes with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS as standard. Accident researchers at Mercedes-Benz anticipate that this feature could cut the number of serious rear-end collisions by up to 30% compared with vehicles that do not have a corresponding protective system.

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First natural gas GM half-ton pickups with 5.3L DI engines delivered in Texas

Nat G CNG Solutions has delivered the first natural gas half-ton pickup trucks with General Motors’ 5.3-liter direct injection engine. The 2015 model vehicles were purchased by local Houston company NewTex Plumbing and San Antonio-based Pioneer Energy Services. GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado trucks for each fleet were upgraded to run on either natural gas or gasoline using the new DuraDrive DI natural gas system, supplied by Utah-based AGA Systems.

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UMTRI: automakers have surpassed new CAFE requirements for past 3 years

October 22, 2014

In the three years since the new CAFE standard for fuel economy has been in effect, automakers have surpassed it each year, improving new-vehicle fuel economy by about a mile per gallon annually, according to an analysis by Brandon Schoettle and Dr. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).

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IHS: Wave of of mergers and acquisitions reshaping automotive semiconductor supplier landscape

Capped by last week’s announcement that Qualcomm Inc. would buy CSR PLC, the automotive semiconductor industry recently has been undergoing a wave of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity that has shaken up the competitive order of the market, according to IHS Technology.

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Korea team develops urchin-like material for effective electrocatalyst for Li-O2 batteries

Researchers in Korea have developed a spinel NiCo2O4 material with a sea-urchin-like structure as an effective electrocatalyst for rechargeable non-aqueous Li-O2 batteries. A Li-O2 battery containing the catalyst exhibited a high specific capacity of about 7,309 mAh g−1 at 0.2 mA cm−2. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.

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Ballard and Van Hool launch European service center to support fuel cell buses

Ballard Power Systems and partner Van Hool N.V., announced that a dedicated joint European Service and Parts Center for fuel cell buses (to be called ESPACE) will be operational in November 2014. The key objective of ESPACE is to support Van Hool fuel cell buses in Europe that are powered by Ballard fuel cell modules.

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Boeing, COMAC open facility to transform gutter oil into aviation biofuel

Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) opened a demonstration facility that will turn waste cooking oil, commonly referred to as “gutter oil” in China, into sustainable aviation biofuel. The two companies estimate that 500 million gallons (1.8 billion liters) of biofuel could be made annually in China from used cooking oil.

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Nissan delivers LEAF and e-NV200 electric taxis to Madrid and Barcelona

Nissan has delivered its first electric taxis to Madrid and Barcelona—the Nissan LEAF to Madrid’s taxi fleet, and the e-NV200 taxi for Barcelona.

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GM completing 2.2MW solar array at Lordstown

October 21, 2014

General Motors’ new 2.2 megawatt ground-mounted solar array will be complete by the end of 2014 at its Lordstown Complex, home of the Chevrolet Cruze. When the last of more than 8,500 solar panels are in place, it will be GM’s largest solar installation in the Western Hemisphere.

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Gevo selling renewable isooctane to Total for formulation into F1 racing fuel

Gevo, Inc., the commercial producer of renewable isobutanol, is selling renewable isooctane (earlier post) to Total for formulation into Formula 1 racing fuel. The Total racing fuel incorporating Gevo’s renewable isooctane is being used by the Infiniti Red Bull Racing team and has achieved Grand Prix victories in Canada, Hungary and Belgium. Gevo worked closely with the teams from Total Additives & Special Fuels (Total ACS) and Total R&D.

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Ioxus 48V/165F ultracap module passes top thermal testing and vibration certifications

Ioxus, a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for use in transportation, industrial and energy applications, announced results of an extensive durability test of its flagship hybrid bus product, the 48 Volt (V) / 165 Farad (F) module. (Earlier post.) Ioxus said that the data reaffirmed its belief that its modules significantly outpace competitors including Maxwell, in thermal and vibration durability testing.

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Novelis opens China’s first manufacturing facility for heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet

Novelis officially opened China’s first plant dedicated to the production of heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet. The opening makes Novelis the only company to produce automotive aluminum sheet in all three of the world’s major automobile producing regions: Asia, Europe and North America.

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Indian Oil Corporation and Celanese to explore world-scale TCX fuel ethanol plant in India

Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) and Celanese Corporation recently signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to explore the potential of a joint investment in a fuel ethanol plant to be built in India, based on Celanese’s TCX Technology. Celanese is one of the world’s largest producers of acetyl products (intermediate chemicals, such as acetic acid, for nearly all major industries); the company has developed Celanese a process for the direct and selective production of ethanol from acetic acid. (Earlier post.)

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Macedonia, DuPont and Ethanol Europe in MOU for cellulosic ethanol plant

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia last week joined a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Hungary-based Ethanol Europe and DuPont to facilitate the development of the cellulosic ethanol market in the Pelagonia region—one of eight statistical regions in the country, and bordering Greece and Albania. The collaboration is focused on the preparation of detailed feasibility studies for a commercial scale 2G ethanol plant to supply the European market.

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Freescale introduces world’s smallest integrated tire pressure monitoring system

October 20, 2014

Freescale Semiconductor introduced the FXTH87 tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) family—the smallest integrated package TPMS solution available at an extremely light weight of 0.3 grams. The FXTH87 family is 50% smaller than competing products, helping designers reduce overall bill of materials costs.

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XL Hybrids customers hit 4M mile mark with XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive retrofit system

XL Hybrids, Inc. announced that fleet customers of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System retrofit system have logged a cumulative total of four million on-road miles.

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ORNL solid-state 5V Li-ion battery shows cycle life of 10,000, 90% capacity retention

Researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a solid-state high-voltage (5 V) lithium battery with an extremely long cycle life of more than 10,000 cycles, with 90% capacity retention. The solid electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and Li anodes with minimum side reactions, leading to a high Coulombic efficiency of 99.98+%.

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US transit agencies adopting lower-emissions diesel at faster rate than HD truck fleet

October 19, 2014

US transit agencies are adopting lower-emissions diesel technology at a faster percentage than the heavy-duty trucking fleet, said Ezra Finkin, the Director of Policy for the Diesel Technology Forum, at last week’s American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo Bus and Maintenance Technical Session in Houston. Nationally, 44% of the diesel transit buses meet or exceed the first EPA clean diesel standard—Model Year 2007 or newer—while 33% of the US truck fleet meet or exceed the standard.

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DSM launches next-gen Diablo high-temperature-resistant polyamides for engine compartment applications

October 18, 2014

Royal DSM is launching its next generation of Diablo high-temperature-resistant polyamides. The new grades are part of both DSM’s Stanyl polyamide 46 and Akulon 6/66 portfolios and are aimed at applications in automotive engine compartments where temperatures can reach as high as 260 ˚C (500 ˚F).

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Graphene NanoChem and Sync R&D partner to develop graphene-enhanced Li-ion battery for shuttle bus in Malaysia

Malaysia-based Graphene NanoChem’s wholly-owned subsidiary Platinum Nanochem Sdn Bhd has entered into a product development and collaboration agreement with Sync R&D Sdn Bhd jointly to develop a graphene-enhanced lithium-ion battery solution for electric buses under the Electric Bus 1 Malaysia program (EB1M Program).

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SAE International publishes revised SAE J2880 standard for recommended Green Racing protocols

October 17, 2014

SAE International has published the revised J2880_201406 Standard, superseding the older J2880_200810 Standard. The Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and SAE International, along with partners and representatives from the motorsports industry, developed these protocols to be used by those automotive racing series who seek recognition as a Green Racing Series.

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Shanghai GM to be first automaker to introduce 4G LTE service in China

Shanghai General Motors will become the first automaker in China to offer embedded 4G LTE services in its vehicles. The first Shanghai GM offering to be equipped with OnStar 4G LTE will be a Cadillac model in 2015.

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11 more GM facilities worldwide go landfill-free; total up to 122

Eleven more General Motors facilities have achieved landfill-free status. The running total is 122 manufacturing and non-manufacturing operations spanning Asia, Europe, and South and North America that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations.

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SHV Energy to market and sell Neste Oil’s biopropane

October 16, 2014

Neste Oil and SHV Energy have agreed that SHV Energy will market and sell biopropane to be produced at Neste Oil’s Rotterdam refinery. (Earlier post.) The agreement to supply some 160,000 tons of biopropane over a four-year period is the first of its kind.

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Vanner Increased Accessory Power II provides power distribution from Allison hybrid system for full electrification

Vanner introduced its next-generation Increased Accessory Power II (IAP II) component system at this year’s APTA Expo conference in Houston, Texas. IAP II is a customizable electric distribution platform that provides power distribution from the hybrid system to accessory components such as electric air conditioning systems, electric air compressors and electric power steering systems. Up to 30 kW of continuous export power from the Allison H 40/50 EP Hybrid is made available via IAP II, allowing up to 100% electrification for hybrid buses and coaches.

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EPA providing up to $3M in funding to reduce diesel emissions from school buses

Under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Clean Diesel Rebate program, public and private school bus fleet owners are eligible to apply for funding to replace school buses that have older, dirtier Diesel engines.

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Lockheed Martin pursuing compact nuclear fusion reactor concept

Lockheed Martin revealed yesterday that its Skunk Works team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR)—the size of a Class 8 trailer rather than a building—that could be developed and deployed in as little as 10 years. There are several patents pending that cover their approach, the company said, although the team has yet to publish scientific papers on its approach.

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New catalytic process for direct conversion of fermentation-derived butyric acid to biobutanol

October 15, 2014

Researchers from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) and Sungkyunkwan University have developed a hybrid conversion process for the production of biobutanol based on the selective catalytic hydrogenation of butyric acid (C4H8O2) resulting from the fermentation of glucose. A paper on their work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.

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Clean Energy delivers record 50.6M CNG gallons in Q3; acquires controlling interest in NG Advantage

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. reported it delivered for the first time more than 50 million compressed natural gas (CNG) gallons in one quarter. The company also announced plans to grow its CNG sales “beyond the pipeline” by acquiring a controlling interest in NG Advantage LLC, a pioneer in the natural gas “virtual pipeline” delivery system.

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Chempolis and NRL agree to build plant for production of cellulosic ethanol from bamboo in India

Chempolis Ltd, a Finland-based biorefining technology company, signed a partnership agreement with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL, a Government of India enterprise). The two have agreed to partner to build a biorefinery using Chempolis formicobio technology in North East India (Assam) for producing bioethanol with co-production of furfural and acetic acid. (Earlier post.)

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BYD unveils 60' articulated battery-electric bus

At the 2014 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo in Houston, BYD Motors unveiled a 60-foot, articulated battery-electric bus offering a range of 170+ miles with a passenger load of up to 120 passengers. The bus has been in development for almost two years, specifically for US rapid transit markets.

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Petrobras begins commercial production in ultra-deep Santos Basin pre-salt Iracema Sul area

Petrobras’ platform Cidade de Mangaratiba has gone into operation in the ultra-deepwater Santos Basin pre-salt area of Iracema Sul, in Lula field, located on block BM-S-11. The start-up of the new platform had been scheduled for 6 November 2014.

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More PEV pipeline hints: Hyundai/Kia PHEVs in 2015

Adding to the list of informally announced plug-in vehicles (earlier post), the Yonhap News Agency last week cited Yang Woong-Chul, R&D vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, as saying that the group will introduce plug-in hybrid versions of its popular Sonata and K5 (Optima) midsize sedans in 2015.

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PEV pipeline: more speculation on the Chevrolet “Sonic EV”

October 14, 2014

Green Car Reports adds some additional detail to the shadowy picture of the upcoming GM battery electric vehicle presumed to be based on the Sonic. (Earlier post.)

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California ARB clears XL Hybrids for hybrid van conversions in California; unit on sale

XL Hybrids, Inc. has received California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO) #D-731-1 allowing aftermarket conversions of gasoline-powered 2012-2014 model year General Motors 2500 and 3500 vans, Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans into hybrid electric vehicles. The XL Hybrids XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System (earlier post) is on sale now in California for the first time.

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Oshkosh Defense debuts new tactical driver assist safety systems on the M-ATV

Oshkosh Defense, an Oshkosh Corporation company, is developing new driver assist safety systems that offer functionality from basic forward collision warning to fully autonomous vehicle operation in high-threat environments. Oshkosh unveiled these systems on the new Oshkosh Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Intervention variant at the AUSA 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition, 13-15 October in Washington, D.C.

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Badlands NGL to develop $4B plant in North Dakota to convert ethane from Bakken NGLs into polyethylene

Badlands NGL, LLC, announced the development of a North Dakota manufacturing plant that will convert ethane (C2H6), a byproduct of natural gas processing, into polyethylene, which is used to make a wide variety of end-use consumer and industrial plastics. Badlands NGL, LLC, and its partners expect to invest $4 billion to build the polyethylene manufacturing facility in North Dakota. The project will be the largest private investment in state history.

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ExxonMobil establishes advanced biofuels program at Iowa State; focus on biomass pyrolysis

October 13, 2014

ExxonMobil Corporation is establishing an advanced biofuels research program at Iowa State University. The $1-million ExxonMobil Biofuels Program will initially focus on two research projects related to the fast pyrolysis of biomass to produce liquid bio-oil, which can then be upgraded into transportation fuels.

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NTU Singapore team develops ultra-fast charging Li-ion battery with new TiO2 gel anode material

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) led by Professor Xiaodong Chen have developed a new TiO2 gel material for Li-ion battery anodes. A battery equipped with the new anode material can be recharged up to 70% in only 2 minutes. The new battery will also be able to endure more than 10,000 charging cycles. A paper on their work is published in the journal Advanced Materials.

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Auction to place first VW e-Golf, raffle to place first Toyota FCV in US

Volkswagen of America, Inc. (VWoA) and Global Green USA will auction the first 2015 battery-electric Volkswagen e-Golf in the US. That announcement follows Toyota’s announcement that it is partnering with the Environmental Media Association (EMA) to raffle off the company’s first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle when it arrives in California in late 2015.

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Hydrogenics introduces Celerity fuel cell power system for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

Hydrogenics Corporation has introduced a new fuel cell system purposely developed for medium- and heavy-duty buses and trucks. The Celerity system is intended to reducing the time and cost needed to integrate fuel cells into a vehicle’s drivetrain. The company is profiling the new system at the 2014 American Public Transit Association Expo in Houston, Texas.

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Detroit Electric and Integrated Energy sign MOU on EV sales and V2X project in S. Korea’s Jeju Island

Korea-based Integrated Energy, and Detroit Electric, which plans to bring a new electric sportscar—the SP:01 (earlier post)—to market in 2015, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Integrated Energy to conduct retail sales of Detroit Electric pure electric vehicles, and to implement a joint V2X project which will include a pilot program in South Korea.

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CEA inaugurates biomass-to-syngas platform as part of Syndièse biofuels program

France’s CEA inaugurated the biomass-to-syngas (BtS) platform that will be used in the larger Syndièse second-generation biofuel program. Syndièse the program aims to build a pre-industrial biomass-to-liquids (BtL) demonstrator BtL that can process 10 tons of biomass per hour. The challenge is to integrate a complete chain of processes on a single site to industrial size and validate the economic viability of this lignocellulosic biofuels industry.

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GM set September sales record in China; passed 20M cumulative sales

In September, General Motors and its joint ventures in China had their second-best month of 2014; domestic sales rose 15.2% on an annual basis to 319,936 units, an all-time high for the month. During September, GM and its joint ventures also surpassed 20 million cumulative sales in China.

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Berlin to test wireless electric bus charging on complete line in 2015

October 12, 2014

In 2015, Berlin transport operator BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe) will begin testing of a complete downtown line with Solaris electric buses equipped with on-board power supply equipment from Vossloh Kiepe and the PRIMOVE inductive charging system from Bombardier. A similar bus went into service in the city of Braunschweig in April of this year. (Earlier post.)

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NEI and PneumatiCoat partner to develop and market new materials for lithium-ion batteries

October 11, 2014

NEI Corporation (NEI), a nanotech materials company (earlier post), and PneumatiCoat Technologies (PCT) recently initiated a collaboration to develop, produce, and market coated Li-ion battery materials: cathodes, anodes, and solid electrolytes.

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3 MIT-led teams win DOE NEUP funding for next-gen nuclear technologies

Three MIT-led research teams have won awards from the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP) initiative to support research and development on the next generation of nuclear technologies.

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France deploying test fleet of 50 fuel-cell light commercial vehicles

October 10, 2014

Under the project HyWay, France will deploy 50 fuel cell light commercial vehicles around 2 hydrogen distribution stations in Lyon and Grenoble. The project is jointly supported by the government (DREALs and ADEME) and the Regional Council of Rhône-Alpes .

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Lotus F1 to race with Mercedes-Benz Power Unit

Lotus F1 Team and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains announced a long-term supply agreement which will see Lotus F1 Team utilizing the Mercedes-Benz hybrid Power Unit (earlier post) from the start of the 2015 season until the end of the current Power Unit generation.

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Daimler and BAIC to localize more Mercedes-Benz compact car models in China

Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor Corporation signed an agreement on the localization of further Mercedes-Benz compact car models beyond the GLA-Class at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC), the production joint venture of Daimler and BAIC Motor.

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Chevrolet sells more than 1 million Sparks worldwide

Sales of Chevrolet’s Spark (and Beat) have passed the 1-million mark worldwide. The Spark first went on sale as the Beat in India in late 2009. Today, the Spark is available in 71 markets worldwide, selling the most in South Korea, followed by the United States and Mexico. In the US, sales of the Spark are up 10% year to date, with 30,937 units sold through September.

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Audi autonomous RS 7 Sportback to run lap at Hockenheim at racing speed

October 09, 2014

A driverless Audi RS 7 Sportback will take a lap on the Hockenheim race track on Sunday 19 October, in the season finale of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). The Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept car will handle the Hockenheim track at racing speed.

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Toyota upgrades European 2015 Prius+; powertrain to Euro6

Toyota has given its European 2015 Prius+ (Prius v in the US) an upgrade including a more dynamic exterior, better interior execution, and expanded range of equipment and a Euro6-compilant powertrain.

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Ballard in new multi-year fuel cell supply agreement with Plug Power For forklift market

Ballard Power Systems has signed a long term supply agreement with Plug Power Inc. to provide fuel cell stacks for use in GenDrive systems deployed in forklift trucks. The new supply agreement replaces an existing agreement and creates the opportunity for Ballard to remain in a leading supply position for fuel cell stacks in Plug Power’s GenDrive systems. The new agreement is effective immediately and runs to the end of 2017, with the provision for two 1-year extensions.

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SolarCity and Honda to finance $50M more in solar projects for Honda and Acura customers and dealerships

October 08, 2014

SolarCity and Honda have renewed their partnership with a new fund expected to finance $50 million in solar projects. The new commitment will make solar power more affordable and available to Honda and Acura customers and dealerships in the US. The $50-million fund is a follow-up to a $65-million fund the companies created in 2013. (Earlier post.) The companies have already completed or initiated a range of solar projects for homeowners, dealerships and corporate facilities that total more than 12.5 MW of solar generation capacity.

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Neste Oil expands sale of Neste Pro diesel to Lithuania; minimum 15% blend of NExBTL renewable diesel

Neste Oil’s premium-quality Neste Pro Diesel—which contains a minimum of 15% of NEXBTL renewable diesel—is now available in Lithuania. It will be distributed through the company’s local retail network and its 51 stations. Up until now, Neste Pro Diesel was only available in Finland.

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California Energy Commission awards $5.1M to 3 alt-fuels projects; increased biodiesel production and more fast chargers

The California Energy Commission approved more than $5.1 million in grants to Community Fuels, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to support their alternative fuels programs.

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Westport introduces 3.8L LPG/NG stationary/off-road engine, based on Hyundai automotive V6

Westport has introduced a new addition to its alternative fuel industrial engines, a 3.8L unit for stationary or off-road applications that operates on either liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (NG). The 3.8-liter engine is based on the Hyundai 3.8L V6 automotive engine which first came into production in 2006.

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Petrobras makes ultra-deepwater discovery in Espírito Santo Basin

Petrobras has confirmed the extension of an accumulation of hydrocarbons in the ultra-deep waters of the Espirito Santo Basin post-salt deposits. An extension well was drilled at a water depth of 1,886 meters (6,188 feet) to confirm the discovery.

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Fuel Saver App from Bosch SoftTec offers 3 different strategies

October 07, 2014

Drivers using the new Fuel Saver App from Bosch SoftTec GmbH can customize settings to help them to save money when refueling their vehicles at filling stations in Germany. The app offers drivers three different strategies—Thrift Driver, Time Watcher, or Money Collector—to choose from, depending on their own time preferences and money-saving goals. Based on information acquired from the vehicle’s fuel gauge, the Fuel Saver App determines which filling station along or near the chosen route has the best price.

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Polypyrrole nanotube film interlayer enhances performance of Li-Sulfur battery

Researchers from the CAS Key Laboratory of Materials for Energy Conversion, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, report that using a polypyrrole (PPy) nanotube film (PNTF)—self-assembled with a simple method from PPy nano-tubes—as the functional interlayer for a Li–Sulfur battery results in “encouraging” electrochemical performance in the device. Their paper appears in the Journal of Power Sources.

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DELO and Böllhoff launch ONSERT joining method for light-weight materials; used in BMW i3, i8

The assembly specialist Böllhoff and the adhesive expert DELO have developed an innovative joining method for light-weight materials using a bonded bolt called ONSERT. With ONSERT, composites, thin sheet metals, plastics and other materials are equipped with a multi-purpose connection element. Böllhoff and DELO have tested this technology in a series of pilot projects, the last one of which was to secure cables, claddings and other components of the BMW i3. The partners are now launching the technique commercially.

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Cairn, ConocoPhillips confirm oil find offshore Senegal

Cairn, ConocoPhillips and their other joint venture partners confirmed that oil was discovered in the FAN-1 exploration well, located approximately 60 miles (97 km) offshore Senegal, in Northwest Africa. Further evaluation is required in order to determine commerciality.

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A123 sells Li-ion cathode materials manufacturing assets to Johnson Matthey; JM to provide all of A123 LFP needs

Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems LLC recently completed the sale of its cathode materials manufacturing facility to Johnson Matthey. The plant, in Changzhou, China produces lithium iron phosphate (LFP), the cathode material that A123 has historically used across its product portfolio and the companies have entered into a long term supply agreement where Johnson Matthey will supply all of A123’s LFP requirements.

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SwRI opens new high-horsepower dynamometer facility to service marine, rail and petroleum industries

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) recently opened a new high-horsepower engine dynamometer facility to improve its engine research and evaluation services to industries that use engines up to 7,000 horsepower for applications in transportation, pipelines and power generation. The new facility features two 7,000 hp test cells.

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Zetsche to keynote at 2015 International CES with focus on autonomous vehicle technology and debut of new car concept

October 06, 2014

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, will deliver a 2015 International CES keynote address focused on the latest advances in autonomous vehicle technology. They keynote will also feature the world-debut of a new car concept.

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DuPont and Procter & Gamble partner to use cellulosic ethanol in Tide laundry detergent; replacing corn ethanol

DuPont and Procter & Gamble are collaborating to use cellulosic ethanol in North American Tide Cold Water laundry detergent—the first such application for cellulosic ethanol. The cellulosic ethanol will replace corn-based ethanol in the formulation.

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Chevron sells 30% stake in Canadian Duvernay shale play to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum for $1.5B

Chevron Corporation’s indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, Chevron Canada Limited, has reached an agreement to sell a 30% interest in its Duvernay shale play to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, KUFPEC Canada Inc., for $1.5 billion. The total purchase price includes cash paid at closing as well as a carry of a portion of Chevron Canada's share of the joint venture’s future capital costs. The Duvernay is located in west-central Alberta, and is believed to be among the most promising shale opportunities in North America.

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Mazda to showcase Adaptive LED Headlights, automated driving technology at CEATEC JAPAN 2014

Mazda Motor Corporation will showcase its Adaptive LED Headlights (ALH) next-generation headlamp technology at CEATEC JAPAN 2014, a comprehensive exhibition of cutting-edge IT and electronics. Mazda will also exhibit a Mazda3 featuring a unique implementation of automated driving technology.

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Winnebago offering LPG options on its Metro Link buses via ICOM

October 05, 2014

Winnebago Industries, Inc, perhaps better known for its motorhomes and recreation vehicles, recently announced new bi-fuel and dedicated LPG product offerings across its entire Metro Link bus lineup for the public and private transportation industry. The Metro Link buses are based on Ford E350/E450 chassis powered by a Ford 5.6L V8 or 6.8L V10 engines, and are available in 25- to 28-foot configurations holding up to 25 passengers.

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Freudenberg-NOK study points to need for validated elastomers to support off-road biodiesel use

October 03, 2014

As agricultural and construction manufacturers increasingly accommodate the use of biodiesel fuels in their vehicles, components used to seal engines and transmissions against contamination and leaks must be made of tested, validated elastomeric materials that withstand unique operating conditions or they will prematurely fail, according to a study by Freudenberg-NOK on the impact of biodiesel engine oil dilutions on common sealing elastomers.

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UMTRI monthly report shows large drop in new-vehicle fuel economy in September

The average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the US in September was at 25.3 mpg (9.3 l/100 km), down 0.5 mpg from the value in August, according to the monthly report from University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researchers Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. This large drop likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs, they said.

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Federal-Mogul low-copper and copper-free brake pads for heavy-duty vehicles

Federal-Mogul Motorparts, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation, has introduced a range of low-copper and copper-free brake pads for heavy-duty vehicles. Building on the success of its existing Eco-Friction pads for light vehicles (earlier post), the new formulations meet forthcoming environmental legislations without compromising pad performance and allow customers to satisfy all markets with a single specification.

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Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler partnership solid and expanding; 12 projects on three continents

The collaboration between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG is not only stable and on-track, but expanding, the companies’ CEOs said in their annual media update at the Paris Motor Show. Renault-Nissan and Daimler launched their partnership in 2010. The scope of the original collaboration in 2010 was limited to three projects primarily in Europe. The combined portfolio shared between Renault-Nissan and Daimler has since quadrupled to 12 projects in Europe, Asia and North America.

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UMTRI survey finds 83% of hybrid owners will buy another one; increased interest in hybrids among non-hybrid owners

Current owners of hybrid vehicles are very satisfied with them and most will buy a hybrid again, according to a survey by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the U-M Transportation Research Institute. Nearly a third (31%) of non-owners plan to purchase a hybrid for their next vehicle.

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Alcoa opens world’s largest Aluminum-Lithium plant in Indiana

Alcoa officially opened the world’s largest aluminum-lithium plant in Lafayette, Indiana where it produces advanced, third-generation aluminum-lithium alloys for the aerospace industry. Aircraft manufacturers are increasingly turning to lighter and stronger aluminum-lithium alloys, which are less expensive than titanium and composites and enable better fuel efficiency and lower maintenance costs.

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BMW opens 2 new lines at Dingolfing for battery packs and motors to support intro of PHEVs into core brand models

October 02, 2014

BMW Group has commissioned two new production lines for electric drive components—high voltage battery packs and electric motors—at its Dingolfing plant. After the market launch of the BMW i models, BMW Group is currently preparing for the introduction of plug-in hybrid vehicles in its core brand models. The launch of the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid is slated for the coming year, with more models with this technology to follow.

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TomTom and VW Group Research to partner on developing new NDS-based digital map for highly automated driving systems

TomTom and Volkswagen Group Research have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join forces for the development of Highly Automated Driving (HAD) systems. The goal of this research co-operation is to develop jointly the digital map that is essential for automated driving.

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Sendyne awarded patent for novel battery pack architecture enabling constant voltage packs

Sendyne Corp. (earlier post) has been awarded a patent for a battery pack architecture that enables a constant voltage battery pack, enabling the implementation of smaller, more efficient, safe and cost-effective battery packs.

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Gulf Racing Fuels to buy Gevo isobutanol for 16.1% blend in off-road fuels

Gulf Racing Fuels has contracted to purchase isobutanol from Gevo for Gulf’s new line of off-road fuels containing 16.1% isobutanol. The new fuels will meet Gulf’s requirement for an off-road fuel that is oxygenated and EPA-approved for use in sensitive environments.

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Volkswagen Group has produced 200 million vehicles

The Volkswagen Group has now collectively produced 200 million vehicles. The 200 millionth was the concept Volkswagen XL Sport making its debut in Paris. (Earlier post.)

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Air Resources Board seeks nominations for 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards

The California Air Resources Board is accepting applications for the 2014 Haagen-Smit Clean Air Awards. The awards are annually bestowed upon scientists, policy makers, community leaders and educators who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of clean air and climate change science, technology and policy.

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Mercedes-Benz extends autonomous vehicle testing in California to Concord Naval Weapons Station

October 01, 2014

As one of the first automobile manufacturers permitted to do so, Mercedes-Benz has been testing autonomously driven automobiles on public roads in California since September. In addition, the company will from now on also use California’s Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS), the largest test bed site in the US, for further testing of its future technology. The additional testing opportunities provided by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority at the CNWS site will enable the company to expand significantly the scope of its research activities.

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Volvo Trucks puts NA plans for dimethyl-ether (DME) on hold

Volvo Trucks has put on hold plans to launch its own compression ignition liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for North America. The company had originally planned to begin limited production of DME-fueled heavy-duty trucks for North America in 2015. (Earlier post.)

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Panasonic and UNO MINDA to form JV to manufacture lead acid batteries in India to address rapidly expanding demand; 2- and 4-wheelers

Panasonic Corporation and Minda Industries Ltd. (UNO MINDA) have agreed to establish a joint venture company to develop, manufacture and sell lead acid storage batteries in India to meet rapidly growing demand.

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Honda provides first look at 2015 hybrid F1 Power Unit

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. provided a first look at an image of the power unit currently in development for the 2015 FIA Formula One (F1) World Championship. During the 2014 FIA Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, Honda will offer a sneak preview film of the F1 power unit under development, including the engine revving sound at the Honda stand at Suzuka Circuit (2-5 October 2014).

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EPA data shows sharp decline in 2013 methane emissions from hydraulically fractured wells: down 73% from 2011

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions from large sources and suppliers broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6%, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.

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DOE issues draft loan guarantee solicitation for up to $12.6B for advanced nuclear energy projects

September 30, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a draft solicitation that would provide up to $12.6 billion in loan guarantees for Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects. Once finalized, these loan guarantees will provide critical financing to help commercialize advanced nuclear energy technologies, supporting projects that are often unable to secure full commercial financing due to their scale and use of innovative technology.

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Fraunhofer holding 3rd annual workshop on Li-sulfur batteries in November

Fraunhofer IWS in Dresden, Germany will hold its 3rd annual workshop on Lithium-sulfur batteries from 12-13 November 2014. Fraunhofer says that Lithium-sulfur batteries are the most promising choice for future energy storage systems, with novel materials such as nanostructured carbon/sulfur composite cathodes, solid electrolytes and alloy-based anodes expected to enhance significantly the cell’s performance.

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Chinese scientists unveil liquid-phase 3D printing method using low-melting-point metal alloy ink

Conventional 3D metal printing (additive manufacturing) is generally restricted to metals with a high melting point, and the process is can be rather time consuming. Now, scientists at the Beijing Key Laboratory of CryoBiomedical Engineering, part of the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have developed a new conceptual method of liquid-phase 3D printing for quickly making conductive metal objects. The “ink” consisting of a metal alloy that has a melting point slightly above room temperature.

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Velocys raises £52 ($85) million for smaller scale GTL

On the heels of three new projects announced in the past three months, Velocys has raised approximately $85 million through an oversubscribed equity placing, priced at a premium to the market price. The new funds will be used to build upon the company’s recent successes and maintain commercial momentum, helping to further accelerate adoption of Velocys technology following the start of construction of its first commercial project.

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BMW teams up with Baidu in autonomous driving project in China

September 29, 2014

BMW’s autonomous driving research prototypes have already driven thousands of kilometers in highly automated—i.e. self-driving—mode on German highways. In February 2013, the focus shifted to European motorways when BMW launched a joint project with Continental. Now, BMW is embarking on a research project which will pave the way for highly automated driving in China.

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Roland Berger: Russian embargo against the Western automotive industry would hit Russia harder

A decision by Russia to retaliate against sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US over Ukraine by imposing strong Russian sanctions—i.e., an embargo—on car imports from Europe and the US could undermine a faltering Russian economy even more, according to a new analysis by Germany-based Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

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