The Environmental Protection Agency is not sufficiently protecting the environment

Opinion by Michael Sivak The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. However, as the EPA is getting ready to relax the future vehicle fuel economy standards, the time is right to consider whether, under the current administration, this agency’s mission is,... Read more →


Seven billion people, more than 95% of the world’s population, lived in areas exceeding the WHO Guideline for healthy air in 2016, according to a new global study. Fifty-eight percent lived in areas with PM2.5 concentrations above above the WHO Interim Target 1 (IT-1, 35 μg/m3); 69% lived in areas... Read more →


Amminex, a Faurecia company, and its three partners the Technical University of Graz, Johnson Matthey, and ICCT have won the European Commission’s €1.5-million Horizon Prize in the Engine Retrofit for Clean Air category. It recognizes the outstanding emissions reduction potential of the ASDS technology (Ammonia Storage and Delivery System) for... Read more →


Researchers at Jilin University in China report in a papaer in the journal Fuel that coolant temperature in a gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engine under idle has a critical effect on particulate number (PN) emissions and that optimizing other operating parameters will further reduce PN emissions. PN concentration with coolant temperatures... Read more →


Large-scale study associates even brief exposure to PM2.5 with childhood lung infections

Even the briefest increase in airborne PM2.5 is associated with the development of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children, according to a new, large-scale study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Increases in PM2.5 levels also led to... Read more →


The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reports that the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a resolution codifying an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy for international shipping. This strategy, which represents the first global climate framework for shipping, includes quantitative GHG reduction targets... Read more →


Researchers measure actual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and compare to reported levels

Researchers have measured CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use in California and compared them to reported emissions. This is the first time fossil fuel emissions have been independently checked for such a large area. The team of researchers, led by researchers from Imperial College London (ICL), developed a technique to... Read more →


Researchers at Jilin University (China) have investigated the effect of gasoline components on fuel economy, combustion and emissions in a GDI (gasoline-direct-injection) engine. The team subsequently followed up this first study with a second, exploring the effects in a PFI (port-fuel-injection) engine. The first paper (Han et al., 2018a) is... Read more →


Big Blue Bus investing $18.2M to upgrade bus fleet; Cummins-Westport Near-Zero NOx engines

Big Blue Bus (BBB), a bus operator serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area, will invest $18.3 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and California Proposition 1B Bond funds to replace fifty 40-foot New Flyer buses purchased between 2004 and 2006. Seven 30-foot Gillig buses are being placed in... Read more →


Stanford Energy Modeling Forum project confirms carbon pricing can be effective way to curb GHG emissions

The Stanford Energy Modeling Forum (EMF) was established at Stanford more than 40 years ago to bring together leading experts and decision makers from government, industry, universities, and other research organizations to study important energy and environmental issues. For each study, the Forum organizes a working group to develop the... Read more →


Global Bioenergies beginning road testing with Audi A4 fueled with 34% renewable gasoline blends

Global Bioenergies is beginning the road-testing phase of renewable gasoline derived from its fermentative isobutene pathway. (Earlier post.) Global Bioenergies will use an EN228-compliant gasoline blend containing more than 34% of renewable, isobutene-derived, compounds to fuel a car on a circuit. In preparation for commercial uses, Global Bioenergies developed several... Read more →


A team of Idaho National Laboratory (INL) researchers, with colleagues at Georgia Tech, has pioneered an electrochemical process that could eliminate the need for high-energy steam cracking. In an open-access paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science, the researchers suggest that their study provides a disruptive approach for... Read more →


EPA: GHG emissions standards for cars and light trucks should be revised; joint process with NHTSA (updated with more reactions)

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the completion of the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) process for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025, and his final determination that the current standards are not appropriate and should be revised. Administrator... Read more →


Study finds blending gasoline with GTL improves efficiency and lowers emissions in compression-ignition PPC mode

A team from Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, in collaboration with Bengt Johansson at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, reports that blending gasoline with high cetane number (CN) gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel appears to be a promising route to improve not only efficiency, but also PM... Read more →


Numerous studies have tackled the future environmental impact of battery-electric vehicles; the resulting assessments are highly uncertain. Now, a team of researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, with colleagues at Leiden University (Netherlands) and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency have used Monte Carlo and global sensitivity analysis to... Read more →


Catalytic converters for cleaning exhaust emissions are more efficient when they use nanoparticles with many edges, according to a study carried out at the the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), a research center of the Helmholtz Association, X-ray source PETRA III. A team of scientists from the DESY NanoLab watched live as... Read more →


Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have analyzed the cost, energy, and environmental implications of a fleet of self-driving electric vehicles operating in Manhattan. Using models they built and data from more than 10 million taxi trips in New York City,... Read more →


DOE awards $1.2M to Colorado State Energy Institute team to study ultra-low emissions, high-efficiency natural gas engines

A team of researchers from Colorado State University’s Energy Institute has received a $1.2-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to look at making natural gas engines as efficient as diesel engines in the same class. (Earlier post.) Specifically, the researchers will... Read more →


UK government announces £48M for Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme; at least 30% less GHG than Euro VI bus

UK Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani announced a new Ultra-Low Emission Bus (ULEB) Scheme. The program will see local authorities and operators in England and Wales bid for a share of a £48 million (US$667.5 million) fund, which they can use to buy hundreds of new ultra-low emission buses as well... Read more →


The technology group Wärtsilä will supply its Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) recovery technology, LNG fuel gas handling systems and the auxiliary engines for two new shuttle tankers being built for Singapore-based AET Tankers at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea. The order, worth in total more than €30... Read more →


At the New York International Auto Show this week, Toyota will stage the premiere of the new 2019 Corolla Hatchback. The all-new TNGA-based powertrain features the 2.0-liter Dynamic-Force direct-injection inline four-cylinder engine (M20A-FKS) (earlier post) with gains in power, fuel efficiency, and cleaner emissions. Physically, the engine is smaller and... Read more →


Study finds between 87 to 98% of ships following the new sulfur regulations in northern Europe

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have shown that between 87 and 98 percent of ships comply with the tougher regulations for sulfur emissions that were introduced in northern Europe in 2015. The lowest levels of compliance were observed in the western part of the English Channel and in the... Read more →


Researchers develop overarching model of NOx formation in combustion

Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark have synthesized more than a decade’s worth of combustion studies to create a new overarching model of how nitrogen oxides are produced. Even though the chemical processes that govern formation and destruction of NOx... Read more →


Air quality in major cities is a critical issue, especially with regard to road traffic and residents’ health. However, emissions do not just remain in conurbations; particles and gaseous pollutants can be transported thousands of kilometers by the wind. This scenario is particularly relevant in Asia, home to the world’s... Read more →


ICCT: decline in diesel sales will have negligible impact on attainment of European CO2 emission standards

The current decline is ales of diesel light duty vehicle in Europe does not put EU CO2 targets out of reach of automakers, according to a new analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Other technologies—such as efficiency improvements in gasoline engines as well as the rollout of... Read more →


New report released by UK House of Commons calls for advancing date for end of sale of conventional cars to before 2040

The UK House of Commons has released a new report on air pollution that calls for urgent action by national leadership to bring about a step change in how the problem of air quality is tackled. The joint inquiry resulting in the report “Improving Air Quality” was launched in 2017... Read more →


PSI team finding offers way to improve performance of SCR catalysts

A common approach to reducing NOx emissions from diesel engines is the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR); the system converts NOx to nitrogen and water via the addition of ammonia. However, SCR only delivers satisfactory results at an exhaust gas temperature well above 200 ˚C. In a cold start,... Read more →


Secondary air systems are used to reduce gasoline engine emissions by accelerating catalytic converter heat-up. Pierburg GmbH has now further developed the associated secondary air blower and provided it with a speed-controlled motor. The latter allows secondary air injection across a much wider engine map range and hence, at any... Read more →


Australian study finds VW diesel using up to 14% more fuel in real world driving after emissions upgrade

Emissions analysis commissioned by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has found an affected VW diesel vehicle to be using up to 14% more diesel after being recalled for the mandated emissions system fix. Conducted in partnership with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the real world testing was commissioned to... Read more →


European Commission publishes draft proposal to tighten up car emissions testing

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on a draft proposal further to improve the quality of car emissions tests to ensure more reliable results and rebuild consumer confidence. New and improved car emissions tests have been mandatory since 1 September 2017: tests in real driving conditions (“Real Driving... Read more →


Audi begins initial engine testing of Global Bioenergies, Fraunhofer e-gasoline

Audi remains convinced of the potential of the fuels e-gas, “e-benzin” (e-gasoline) and e-diesel and is continuing to pursue its e-fuels strategy. (Earlier post.) Audi and its development partners Global Bioenergies S.A. (earlier post) and the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical Biotechnological Processes (CBP) now report that they have for the... Read more →


Air pollution exposure during fetal life linked to brain alterations and cognitive impairment in children

A new study performed in the Netherlands has linked exposure to residential air pollution during fetal life with brain abnormalities that may contribute to impaired cognitive function in school-age children. The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, reports that the air pollution levels related to brain alterations were below those considered... Read more →


SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, released the results of a recent lifecycle assessment of passenger car side doors using hybrid material solutions including laminates made with its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTC), the UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape. The material system aims to help improve compliance with stringent... Read more →


German Environment Agency study finds NO2 concentrations have serious impact on health

Outdoor air concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Germany have a serious impact on health, according to a new study published by the German Environment Agency (Umwelt Bundesamt, UBA). (The study was carried out on behalf of UBA by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and IVU Umwelt.) Statistics for 2014 indicate... Read more →


Researchers from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), with colleagues at other institutions in Canada and the UK, have found strong evidence that environmental exposures, including air pollution, affect gene expressions associated with respiratory diseases much more than genetic ancestry. The study, published as an open-access paper in Nature... Read more →


California ARB awards $7M for ultra-low NOx heavy-duty diesel truck demo project with Achates opposed-piston engines

The California Air Resource Board (CARB) is awarding $7 million to CALSTART to develop a Class 8 truck that will achieve a 90% reduction in NOx along with a 15-20% fuel efficiency improvement. The project will build and install diesel-fueled two-stroke compression-ignition Achates Power Opposed-Piston Engines into Class 8 demonstration... Read more →


Average CO2 emissions generated by new cars in Europe increased during 2017—the first rise in 10 years—according to a new analysis by JATO Dynamics. Covering 23 European markets, the study found that average CO2 emissions increased by 0.3 g/km in 2017, finishing at 118.1 g/km. This rise in average CO2... Read more →


Researchers show that single Pt atoms can perform CO oxidation at low temperatures; implications for catalytic converters

Researchers from Washington State University and Tufts University have “unambiguously” shown for the first time that individual Pt atoms on a well-defined Cu2O film are able to perform CO oxidation (i.e., converting CO to CO2)—a chemical reaction that is commonly used in catalytic converters to remove CO from car exhaust—at... Read more →


Greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) from the Information and Communication Industry (ICT) could grow from roughly 1–1.6% in 2007 to exceed 14% of the 2016-level worldwide GHGE by 2040, accounting for more than half of the current relative contribution of the whole transportation sector, according to a new study from McMaster... Read more →


Crude palm oil is one of the more than ten renewable raw materials that Neste uses to produce a range of renewable products, including renewable diesel. Palm oil represents approximately 20% of Neste’s renewable raw material usage annually. Neste has been exploring ways to contribute to improving palm oil industry’s... Read more →


German Federal Administrative Court rules diesel bans in cities possible

In a highly anticipated decision, the German Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) in Leipzig has ruled that cities can ban highly polluting diesel cars if necessary to achieve NO2 emission limits. The verdict of the Bundesverwaltungsgericht—one of the five German federal supreme courts and the court of last resort for administrative... Read more →


The UK automotive industry warned that the current anti-diesel agenda combined with the ongoing slow take-up of electric vehicles could mean industry misses its next round of CO2 targets in 2021, with negative consequences for the UK’s own climate change goals. The warning came as a new report published by... Read more →


Study finds global emissions of ethane and propane underestimated by more than 50%

Global levels of the hydrocarbons ethane and propane in the atmosphere have been underestimated by more than 50%, according to a new study by a team of scientists from Europe and the US. When ethane and propane—the most abundant non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) in the atmosphere—mix with nitrogen oxides from vehicles... Read more →


A new study by researchers at the Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside (UCR) and colleagues at the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) has found that catalyzed gasoline particulate filters (GPF) are effective not only at reducing particulate mass, black carbon, and total and solid particle number... Read more →


BP outlook: Energy demand grows as fuel mix continues to diversify; EVs in global car parc at 15% by 2040, but electric share of VMT at 30%

The 2018 edition of BP’s Energy Outlook considers the forces shaping the global energy transition out to 2040 and the key uncertainties surrounding that transition. The speed of the energy transition is uncertain and the new Outlook considers a range of scenarios. Its evolving transition scenario, which assumes that government... Read more →


Researchers at the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company have found that using a Level 4 connected and automated vehicle (CAV) subsystem could increase vehicle primary energy use and GHG emissions by 3–20% due to increases in power consumption, weight, drag, and data transmission. However, when potential operational effects... Read more →


Consumer products such as shampoo, cleaning products and paint now contribute as much to emitted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cities as tailpipe emissions from vehicles, according to a new study led by NOAA. The results, published in an open-access paper in the journal Science, suggest that the focus of... Read more →


The life-cycle water consumption of fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen produced from natural gas with steam methane reforming is almost 50% less than the life-cycle water consumption of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles using gasoline, according to a study by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). If the hydrogen... Read more →


DOE awarding $6.5M to 9 large-scale Phase I pilot coal projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have selected nine projects to receive approximately $6.5 million in federal funding for Phase I of the Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA, issued in August 2017, is... Read more →


New research by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International and the University of Colorado at Boulder shows that drone-based delivery could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in the transportation sector. An open-access paper on the research appears in Nature Communications. Drones have been used... Read more →