[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.]
IFP Energies nouvelles leading ASTRIDE project on GDI transient mode operation; targeting low engine-out particulates
May 15, 2013
France’s IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) is coordinating a four-year project seeking to understand and to model the physical phenomena involved in transient modes of operation of gasoline direct injection (GDI) powertrains.
The specific objective of the ANR (French National Research Agency)-funded ASTRIDE (Aerodynamics and Sprays during TRansients of Gasoline Direct Injection Engines) project is to to develop and to validate new design tools that could contribute to the emergence of GDI engines with in-cylinder soot levels low enough to preclude the negative cost and efficiency impacts caused by the use of soot particle filters in the exhaust. ASTRIDE is run in partnership with two research institutes (CETHIL and Prisme) and three manufacturers (Continental, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Renault).
EIA releases report on CO2 emissions by state; California led in 2010 with transportation-sector emissions
May 14, 2013
|Energy-related CO2 emissions buy state, 2010. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.|
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has released a new report, State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2000-2010. The report shows a significant variation of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions across states on both an absolute and a per capita basis. Factors such as size, population density, available fuels, types of businesses, climate, all play a role in both total and per capita emissions, the EIA noted.
Topping the list for absolute emissions in 2010 was Texas (652.6 million tonnes CO2); California (369.8 mt CO2); and Pennsylvania (256.6 mt CO2). In terms of per capita emissions, the top emitter was Wyoming (118.5 tonnes of CO2 per person), followed by North Dakota (80.4 tonnes/person) and Alaska (54.6 tonnes/person). Examining 2010 energy-related CO2 emissions from the transportation sector, the report found California was the top transportation emitter (214.0 million tonnes CO2), followed by Texas (194.9 mt CO2) and Florida (107.0 mt CO2.
Cummins progressing toward ATLAS Tier 2 Bin 2 fuel-efficient diesel for light-duty pickups
May 10, 2013
In a US Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored project, engineers at Cummins are developing a Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions compliant diesel for application in a light duty pickup (ATLAS, Advanced Technology Light Automotive Systems, earlier post). Tier 2 Bin 2 requirements are only slightly less stringent than the CARB LEVIII-SULEV20 requirements. (Earlier post.) Fuel economy targets for the vehicle are 22.4 mpg US (10.5 l/100km) city and 34.3 mpg US (6.9 l/100 km) highway.
At the recent 2103 SAE World Congress, Cummins discussed key engine technology enablers—including air-handling, fuel system, and base engine design— and development of the combustion system that will help in achieving the target emission levels and fuel economy.
Euro Parliament Environment Committee approves 147 g CO2/km target for light commercial vehicles by 2020; caps van speed
May 07, 2013
Members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved a draft law setting out rules for achieving a 147 g CO2/km (235 g/mile) target for new light commercial vehicles by 2020, down from 203 g/km (325 g/mile) today—i.e., a 27.6% reduction. The vote was 53 to 4 with 1 abstention.
The committee also proposed indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in a range of 105 to 120 g/km (168 to 192 g/mile) from 2025. The committee also voted to limit electronically the top speed of vans to 120 km/h (75 mph).
EPA says methane emissions from natural gas production have dropped 36% from 2007-2011
April 29, 2013
In its recently released Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2011 (earlier post), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that methane (CH4) emissions from the field production of natural gas have declined by 36% from 2007 to 2011 (from 83.1 to 53.4 Tg CO2 eq), after having increased by 43% from 1990 through 2006. Reasons the agency sited for this trend include factors such as increased voluntary reductions, as well as the effects of the recent global economic slowdown.
The finding may have an impact on future regulation of fracking for natural gas production, as opponents of the technology have pointed to higher rates of methane leak as being an argument against it.
Euro Parliament committee approves new 95 g/km CO2 target for cars; super credits and a switch to WLTP
April 25, 2013
The environment committee of the European Parliament approved a draft law setting out a new CO2 target for cars of 95g CO2/km (153 g/mile) by 2020, down from 130 gCO2/km (209 g/mile) in 2015. The draft also sets indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in the range of 68-78 g/km (109-126 g/mile) from 2025.
These emission limits are the average maximum allowed for car makers registered in the EU. Makers producing fewer than 1,000 cars a year should be exempt from the legislation, said the MEPs. Car makers would therefore have to produce, in addition to older, heavier or polluting models, enough cleaner ones to achieve a balance of 95g en 2020, on pain of penalties.
SAE CRP1234-4 analysis of R-1234yf nears completion; finding refrigerant safe and effective in automotive applications
April 23, 2013
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team, formed last year to perform an updated engineering safety analysis of the low global warming potential (GWP) R-1234yf refrigerant (earlier post), met during the SAE World Congress in Detroit. The team includes European, North American and Asian OEMs including Chrysler/Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
The SAE CRP has carefully evaluated the extensive testing conducted by its members. The fault tree analysis was subsequently updated with regard to actual collision scenarios and is now complete pending final review.
EPA annual US GHG inventory shows 1.6% drop in 2011 from previous year; transportation CO2 down 1.1%
April 16, 2013
|Total US greenhouse gas emissions by economic sector in 2011. Click to enlarge.|
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 18th annual report of overall US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions showing a 1.6% decrease in 2011 from the previous year. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors including reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather, EPA said.
GHG emissions in 2011 showed a 6.9% drop below 2005 levels. Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2011 were equivalent to 6,702 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
US EPA proposing allowing high-octane, higher ethanol content fuels as part of Tier 3 regs; E30 as example
April 03, 2013
As part of the proposed Tier 3 rulemaking on vehicle emissions and gasoline sulfur content released last week (earlier post), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to allow vehicle manufacturers to request approval for an alternative certification fuel—such as a high-octane 30% ethanol by volume (E30) blend—for vehicles they might design or optimize for use on such a fuel.
Higher octane fuels can lead to higher compression ratios which in turn can lead to more efficient gasoline engines and reduced fuel consumption. With turbocharged gasoline engines, there is a double benefit: higher compression ratios and increased boost. (Earlier post.) Having approval for such a high octane certification fuel would, the EPA proposed in the Tier 3 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
Study suggests operational optimization can maximize the health and climate benefits of public transit investments in new bus technologies
April 02, 2013
A study by a team from the University of British Columbia and Metro Vancouver suggests that optimized operational control strategies for transit bus fleets ultimately offer transit agencies a way to maximize the benefits of their capital investments in new, cleaner technologies.
In their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they note that the evolution in bus technologies, particularly with respect to controlling pollutants that impact health—such as PM—combined with capital investments by transit agencies in these technologies, have resulted in the potential for large differences in emission factors within transit bus fleets. Operational optimization strategies such as vehicle assignment and scheduling can exploit this heterogeneous mix and minimize the climate and health impacts as well as operating costs of transit systems with minimal capital expenditure, they suggest.
EPA proposes Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content and vehicle emissions; harmonized with California LEV III
March 29, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed long-anticipated Tier 3 standards for gasoline sulfur content; evaporative emissions; and tailpipe emissions from all light-duty vehicles (LDVs, or passenger cars), light-duty trucks (LDT1s, LDT2s, LDT3s, and LDT4s) and Medium-Duty Passenger Vehicles (or MDPVs).
With a proposed start in 2017, the Tier 3 program is also harmonized with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Low Emission Vehicle (LEV III) program—enabling automakers to sell the same vehicles in all 50 states. The Tier 3 proposal is also aligned with and designed to be implemented over the same timeframe as EPA’s program for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light-duty vehicles starting in model year 2017.
Mærsk Group exploring use of lignin-based marine biofuels; CyclOx and B21st
March 20, 2013
With an annual fuel bill of US$7 billion for vessel operations, the Mærsk Group continually considers ways to reduce its bunker fuel consumption. Greater efficiency is the primary way of achieving this; alternative fuels are another. Mærsk Group is currently involved in two projects focused on realizing the marine fuel potential of one of the world’s most abundant and sustainable biomass resources: lignin.
Lignin already has a variety of industrial uses because of its chemical characteristics, energy content and its abundance; yet its potential as a marine diesel fuel is a relatively uncharted area, says Peter Normark Sørensen, with Mærsk Oil Trading, the Mærsk Group’s oil buying arm.
Study explores impact of alcohol-gasoline blends with early inlet valve closing at low and moderate loads on EGR tolerance
A team from Brunel University, MAHLE Powertrain and University College London studied the combined effects of different inlet valve operating strategies on combustion, performance and emissions with different ethanol and 1-butanol blends with gasoline in a single-cylinder spark-ignition research engine equipped with a fully variable valvetrain. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
The focus was to better quantify the effects of alcohol content and Early Inlet Valve Closing (EIVC) operation on EGR tolerance under the lowest speed-load conditions typically encountered (e.g., engine idle) while also quantifying the changes in optimum valvetrain settings at moderate speeds and loads where the effects of varying EGR tolerance were less dominant.
Study finds technology cost of achieving European 2020 LDV CO2 targets more than offset by resultant fuel savings
March 19, 2013
|Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge.|
A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2 regulations for vehicles (95 g/km for cars and 147 g/km for vans) will be more than offset by the resultant fuel savings. The technical and macro-economic study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, focuses on light-duty vehicles.
The project is taking a phased approach. This first report (Phase I) examines only the impact of improving the efficiency of fossil-fueled vehicles, in which efficiency gains are delivered by the improvement of the internal combustion engine vehicle, including lightweighting, engine downsizing and hybridization. The Phase II report, to be presented mid-2013, examines the impact of the gradual penetration of advanced powertrains, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with increasing levels of indigenous energy resources, such as electricity and hydrogen.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
Tsinghua study compares two diesel-gasoline combustion modes; both deliver high efficiencies and low emissions
|The effects of gasoline ratio on indicated thermal efficiency of HCII and GDBF modes. Yu et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the combustion and emissions characteristics of two dual-fuel (diesel-gasoline) modes intended to integrate the advantages of both fuels to achieve high thermal efficiency and low emission targets. A paper on their results is published in the journal Fuel.
Gasoline Homogeneous Charge Induced Ignition (HCII) by diesel combines the port fuel injection of gasoline to form a homogeneous charge with the direct injection of diesel fuel as an ignition source. (E.g., RCCI, earlier post.) Gasoline/Diesel Blend Fuels (GDBFs) use a premixed blend of diesel and gasoline which is directly injected into the cylinder for combustion. (E.g., dieseline, earlier post.)
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
Researchers use LCLS to get real-time view of chemical reaction; important insight into how catalysts work
An international team of researchers has used the ultrafast, ultrabright X-ray pulses of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (earlier post) to gain unprecedented views of a catalyst in action, an important step in the effort to develop cleaner and more efficient energy sources. A paper on their work is published in the journal Science.
The scientists used LCLS, together with computerized simulations, to probe the electronic structure of CO molecules as their chemisorption state on a ruthenium catalyst sample changed upon exciting the substrate. The study revealed surprising details of a short-lived early state in the chemical reaction, offering important clues about how catalysts work and launching a new era in probing surface chemistry as it happens.
Volkswagen to use CO2 as refrigerant for future air conditioning systems
March 08, 2013
The Volkswagen Group announced that it is choosing CO2 as the future low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant for its mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems. The announcement follows press reports from the Geneva Motor Show that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen would pursue CO2 (R744) as the refrigerant for MACs instead of R-1234yf (developed by Honeywell and DuPont). (Earlier post.)
Volkswagen said it would roll out CO2 MAC systems progressively over its entire vehicle fleet. With a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of 1, R744 is 99.3% below the EU’s now-specified GWP limit of 150 for MAC systems. R134a, the current widespread MAC refrigerant, has a GWP of 1,300, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EEA report suggests road charges for heavy-duty goods vehicles should reflect varied health effects of pollution in different countries
March 04, 2013
|Air pollution externalities of 12–14 ton HGV on highway (Euronorm III) in euro cents. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) suggests that new road charges for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs or lorries) should reflect the varied health effects of traffic pollution in different European countries. This means charges should be much higher in some countries compared to others, according to the (EEA).
The amended Eurovignette Directive (2011/76/EU) relating to the charging of HGVs for use of major European motorways prescribes that from 2013, Member States may include air pollution costs in any charging structure for roads under the Trans‐European Network (TEN-T) and for comparable domestic motorways. The revenue from such schemes should be invested in sustainable transport, the Directive states. However, adoption of road user charges depends on a decision by individual countries.
State Department issues Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL Pipeline: climate change impacts
March 02, 2013
|Comparison of proposed Keystone XL route to previously proposed project segment. Source: Draft SEIS. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of State (DOS) has released its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in response to TransCanada’s May 2012 application for the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada’s oils sands in Alberta to Nebraska. The document is a detailed draft technical review of potential environmental impacts associated with the segment of the pipeline in the US, including: impacts from construction, impacts from potential spills, impacts related to climate change, and economic impacts.
Aside from the potential construction and spill impacts of the pipeline, the scope of the climate change impacts have become the most contentious and politicized issue surrounding the pipeline. The DOS SEIS accordingly takes a detailed look at life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of petroleum products from Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) oil sands crudes compared with reference crudes and the potential impact the pipeline might have on climate change as well as on the future development of the oils sands resource in Canada.
NASA begins ACCESS flight research to study effects of biojet fuels on engine performance, emissions and contrails
March 01, 2013
NASA researchers have begun a series of flights using the agency’s DC-8 flying laboratory to study the effects of alternate biofuel on engine performance, emissions and aircraft-generated contrails at altitude. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise EmiSSions (ACCESS) research involves flying the DC-8 as high as 40,000 feet while an instrumented NASA Falcon HU-25 aircraft trails behind at distances ranging from 300 feet to more than 10 miles.
During the flights, the DC-8’s four CFM56 engines will be powered by conventional JP-8 jet fuel, or a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and an alternative fuel of hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids that comes from camelina plants.
MIT study finds fuel economy standards are 6-14 times less cost effective than fuel tax for reducing gasoline use
February 21, 2013
In a study published in the journal Energy Economics, MIT researchers have found that a fuel economy standard is at least six to fourteen times less cost effective than a fuel tax when targeting an identical reduction in cumulative gasoline use (20% by 2050). The researchers also found that a binding fuel economy standard, combined with a cap-and-trade (CAT) policy, increases the cost of meeting the GHG emissions constraint by forcing expensive reduction in passenger vehicle gasoline use, displacing more cost-effective abatement opportunities.
The impact of adding a fuel economy standard to the CAT policy depends on the availability and cost of abatement opportunities in transport—if advanced biofuels provide a cost-competitive, low carbon alternative to gasoline, the fuel economy standard does not bind and the use of low carbon fuels in passenger vehicles makes a significantly larger contribution to GHG emissions abatement relative to the case when biofuels are not available.
California ARB to hold public workshop on new GHG and emissions standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public workshop on 11 March to discuss proposals for several regulations and regulation amendments related to on-road heavy-duty vehicles.
At this workshop, staff will be soliciting input on proposals multiple proposals: a new regulation to harmonize with GHG emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles that US EPA adopted in 2011; amendments to ARB’s existing Heavy-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Reduction Regulation to align with the proposed new GHG regulation; a new set of optional oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards for heavy-duty vehicle engines more stringent than the current 2010 model year standard; and amendments to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to Limit Diesel-fueled Commercial Motor Vehicle Idling to expand compliance responsibility.
UC Davis study identifies toxicity of particulate matter from specific sources
February 19, 2013
The California Air Resources Board and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a report they commissioned by investigators at the University of California, Davis that looks at how to distinguish health effects caused by different types of fine and ultrafine airborne particulate matter (PM) from different sources. This is among the first studies to examine the toxicology of particles according to their source origin. Previous research has linked fine and ultrafine particles to asthma, heart disease and other adverse health effects.
These particles—produced by emissions from many different sources, including traffic, industrial processes, wood-burning fireplaces and gas- and coal-fired power plants—combine in the atmosphere and are affected by sunlight and other meteorological variables. National Ambient Air Quality Standards do not distinguish between these source since they are based solely on mass in given particle size rang. Further, the mixing makes it difficult to determine which compounds in particulate matter may be responsible for specific health effects.
Senators Sanders, Boxer propose legislation to institute GHG price on large stationary sources and remove support for fossil fuel industries
February 15, 2013
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would set an escalating fee on greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources to fund investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies and also provide rebates to consumers to offset increases in energy prices. The legislation also proposes numerous actions against financing and support for fossil fuel industries.
The proposal was drafted as two measures, the Climate Protection Act—which sets the carbon price and finance programs for sustainable technologies—and the Sustainable Energy Act—which ends federal support for fossil fuel companies and research and extends tax incentives for renewables. Among the financing provisions of the legislation are:
SAE CRP: growing high level of confidence that R1234yf can be used safely; “disappointment” with departure of Daimler, BMW and Audi
February 11, 2013
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team, formed last year to review relevant research and testing to finalize the risk assessment of the use of the low global warming potential R1234yf in mobile air conditioning systems (earlier post), met face-to-face during the week of 4 February 2013. SAE reported that as the CRP team continues to review relevant research and testing to finalize the risk assessment, the high level of confidence that R1234yf can be used safely in automotive applications continues to grow.
This review—the fourth such—was launched in October 2012 after Daimler in September announced that findings from its internal investigations raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems and said that it would not use this chemical in its products. (Earlier post.)
EPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan sees likely increase in tropospheric ozone, with more difficulty in attaining NAAQS in many areas
February 10, 2013
Among the many climate-related vulnerabilities that can impact its mission, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites a likely increase in tropospheric ozone pollution as potentially making it more difficult to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in many areas with existing ozone problems. The analysis comes in a draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan that the agency has released for public comment.
In the plan, EPA examines the different ways in which its programs are vulnerable to a changing climate and how it might adapt to continue meeting its mission of protecting human health and the environment. Every program and regional office within the EPA is currently developing an Implementation Plan outlining how each considers the impacts of climate change in its mission, operations, and programs, and carrying out the work called for in the agency-wide plan.
DeCicco: Transportation GHG reduction policy should focus upstream on fuel supply rather than downstream on choice of fuels in vehicles
January 25, 2013
In a new working paper, Prof. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan argues that to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, the proper policy focus should be upstream in sectors that provide the fuel, rather than downstream on the choice of fuels in the automobile.
More specifically, he suggests that other than supporting fundamental R&D, programs to promote alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) “are not currently warranted for climate protection. In addition to managing travel demand and improving vehicle efficiency, the implied climate policy priority is limiting net GHG emissions in fuel supply sectors.” The paper is available from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Nations agree on global, legally binding treaty on mercury emissions: Minamata Convention on Mercury
January 19, 2013
At the conclusion of the International Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC5) meeting in Geneva (earlier post), nations agreed on a global, legally-binding treaty to prevent mercury emissions and releases. The Committee, chaired by Fernando Lugris of Uruguay, will present the Convention text to the UNEP Governing Council for adoption next month.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury—named after a city in Japan where serious health damage occurred as a result of mercury pollution in the mid-20th Century—provides controls and reductions across a range of products, processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted. These range from medical equipment such as thermometers and energy-saving light bulbs to the mining, cement and coal-fired power sectors.
ETI, Loughborough University, Johnson Matthey & Caterpillar launch £4.5M project to improve effectiveness of SCR aftertreatment systems for heavy-duty vehicles
January 15, 2013
The UK public-private partnership Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), Loughborough University, Johnson Matthey and Caterpillar have launched a new £4.5-million (US$7.2-million) technology project to improve the effectiveness of Selective Catalytic Reaction (SCR) aftertreatment systems for NOx reduction in heavy duty vehicles (HDVs).
The project aims to help HDV fuel efficiency by developing a more efficient exhaust aftertreatment system. Often diesel engine fuel efficiency is reduced by having to comply with exhaust emission standards. It is hoped that the new exhaust system developed by this project will effectively remove this constraint. The project aims to deliver fuel efficiency and CO2 benefits of between 3%-4%.
Final session on international mercury convention this week expected to culminate in agreement; UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2013 finds industrial source Hg emissions may be rising
January 13, 2013
The fifth and final session of negotiations on the establishment of an international mercury convention—International Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC5)—is taking place this coming week in Geneva. The session is expected to culminate in the adoption of a new convention by the 147 states attending the session to reduce mercury emissions and releases to the air, water and land.
Mercury (Hg)—the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure—is very volatile and highly toxic to humans and animals when inhaled or ingested. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that 1,960 tonnes of mercury arising from human activities are currently emitted annually into the atmosphere, generated mainly by artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM)—the largest single anthropogenic source globally—and coal- or lignite-fired power plants. This heavy metal is persistent and is dispersed throughout the world by atmospheric transport. Apart from contaminated sites, the mercury pollution detected today is often found in locations very far away from its original source.
Tsinghua University provincial-level lifecycle study finds fuel-cycle criteria pollutants of EVs in China could be up to 5x those of natural gas vehicles due to China’s coal-dominant power mix
January 12, 2013
|Consumption-based power mixes and NG transmission distances by Chinese province in 2010. Credit: ACS, Huo et al. Click to enlarge.|
A province-by-province life cycle analysis of natural gas and electric vehicles by a team from Tsinghua University concludes that while, from the perspective of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions, natural gas vehicles (CNGVs) are “an option with no obvious merits or demerits”, electric vehicles (EVs) are “an option with significant merits and demerits in this regard” due to China’s heavily coal-based electricity generation (national average of about 77%).
In regions where the share of coal-based electricity is relatively low, EVs can achieve substantial GHG reduction, the team reports in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. However, the fuel-cycle PM10, PM2.5, SO2, and NOx emissions of EVs could be up to five times higher than those of ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles) and CNGVs. While the increases in PM10 and PM2.5 emissions are less important because of the low contribution of light duty vehicles to national PM10 and PM2.5 emissions, the NOx and SO2 increases are significant enough to notably change total national emissions, they conclude.
New study concludes oil sands development has significantly increased PAH and DBT loadings in regional lakes; combined with effects of climate change, a “new ecological state” for the lakes
January 09, 2013
A new study by a team from Environment Canada and Queen’s University (Canada) has shown that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within the sediments of lakes in the Athabasca oil sands region in Canada—particularly C1-C4–alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the oil sands resource began some 50 years ago—followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes (DBTs).
Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5–23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. Total DBT enrichments over the same time period ranged between ∼2.6 and 57 times.
NASA moves Environmentally Responsible Aviation project into next phase of research with 8 large-scale technology demonstrations
January 08, 2013
NASA has selected eight large-scale integrated technology demonstrations to advance aircraft concepts and technologies for reducing the impact of aviation on the environment over the next 30 years.
The demonstrations, which are part of by NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project, will focus on five areas: aircraft drag reduction through innovative flow control concepts; weight reduction from advanced composite materials; fuel and noise reduction from advanced engines; emissions reductions from improved engine combustors; and fuel consumption and community noise reduction through innovative airframe and engine integration designs.
ORNL researcher explores impact of motor/generator and battery pack sizing on medium-duty PHEV; optimization framework
January 04, 2013
|GHG emissions in PHEV post-transmission configuration as an example of the optimization study output. Source: A.A. Malikopoulos. Click to enlarge.|
Using a new optimization framework, Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos of the Energy & Transportation Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has explored the impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions of varying the size of the motor/generator and battery pack in pre- and post-transmission hybrid configurations of a medium-duty PHEV. The paper is currently in press in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology.
Broadly, he found that for the PHEV pre-transmission configuration, there is a trade-off between fuel economy and GHG emissions when the motor/generator and battery size increases. In post-transmission PHEV configurations, however, a combination of a big motor/generator size with a big battery size appears to be beneficial both in terms of fuel economy and GHG emissions as it enhances energy recovery during brake regeneration as a result of the physical location of the motor/generator.
TU Dresden study on external costs of automotive transportation in Europe calls for internalization of the high external costs; raising user prices to change behavior
December 26, 2012
|Average external costs from cars per 1,000 vkm by country. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study from Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) commissioned by the Greens/European Free Allianace (EFA) in the European Parliament concluded that the cars used within the EU-27 externalize up to about €373 billion (US$493 billion) per year (high estimate) of costs on to other people, other regions and other generations. The low estimate is external costs of €258 billion (US$341 billion).
The study focused on the larger environmental costs of car traffic (plus accident costs not covered by insurance)—i.e., air pollution; noise, upstream and downstream effects (covering all effects before and after the actual trip is performed); smaller other effects (land use, separational effects etc.); and climate change (focused on avoidance costs rather than damage costs). Neither infrastructure costs (area purchase, construction, maintenance, demolition, administration of infrastructure) nor congestion costs were included.
Portable sensors enable monitoring of pollution on smart phones; inferring pollution maps with greater granularity
December 19, 2012
Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have built a portable pollution sensors that transmit transmit their air quality readings to smart phones, allowing users to monitor air quality in real time.
In a study of 16 commuters using CitiSense, reported in a paper at the Wireless Health 2012 conference, the CitiSense measurements were found to vary significantly from those provided by official regional pollution monitoring stations, enabling the identification of pollution hot spots and microenvironments that would otherwise be difficult using typical monitoring.
DOE, ArcelorMittal partnership boosts efficiency of major steel manufacturing plant; 504 boiler project captures blast furnace gas flare
December 17, 2012
|Simplified process diagram that shows existing process components and the new elements of the 504 project. Source: NETL. Click to enlarge.|
ArcelorMittal has inaugurated a new, energy recovery and reuse boiler that recycles waste gas generated through its blast furnace process (for ironmaking) and uses it to generate electricity to help power the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel manufacturing plant in East Chicago, Indiana—the largest steelmaking complex in North America.
ArcelorMittal is a major supplier to the North American automotive industry, as well as the broader transportation sector, with customers in the trucking, off- highway, agricultural equipment, and railway industries.
Frost & Sullivan consultant suggests European EV success will require radical lightweighting plus enabling legislation
|The 400 kg (curbweight) Aixam quadricycle, with a 400cc two-cylinder diesel, is an example of the size and weight needed in future city vehicles, Meilhan suggests. Click to enlarge.|
Significant vehicle weight reduction and an accompanying change of enabling regulations and norms is the way forward in the quest to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, according to Paris-based Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan.
The car of the future is a small city car, but not necessarily electric, Meilhan suggests. The future of electric vehicles (EVs) depends on regulations from governments and the European Union, incentivizing the consumer to buy them. Legislations for taxing weight size and engine power will help produce and sell such a car. Making parking even more expensive for regular cars will help. Other incentives for small cars, such as being allowed to drive in bus lines, as practiced in Norway, would certainly improve the business case for EVs.
Global Commercial Vehicle meeting continues calls for global regulatory harmonization on fuel efficiency and emissions reduction
December 16, 2012
European, North American and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers continue to call for global cooperation and regulatory harmonization to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the road freight sector, according to a summary of the recent 10th Global Commercial Vehicle meeting posted by the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).
More specifically, the assembled chief executives of manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines agreed on the need to expand the application of the UN ECE’s world-wide harmonized heavy-duty certification (WHDC) procedure for engine exhaust emissions; the importance of global diesel fuel specifications; the development of globally harmonized fuel-efficiency test procedures; and the promotion of harmonization of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.
EPA tightens national annual PM2.5 standard to 12 µg/m3
December 14, 2012
In response to a court order, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health (primary) standard at 12 µg/m3. The outgoing annual standard is 15 µg/m3, which has been in place since 1997. (Earlier post.)
The ruling has no effect on the existing daily primary standard for fine particles (35 μg/m3) or the existing 24-hour health and environmental (primary and secondary) standards for coarse particles (PM10), which have been in place since 1987 and remain unchanged at a level of 150 μg/m3.
SAE project update on R-1234yf refrigerant
The SAE International Cooperative Research Project (CRP1234-4) team was recently established to perform an updated engineering review—the fourth such—of usage of the low global warming potential (GWP) R-1234yf refrigerant in vehicles. (Earlier post.) The group has been regularly meeting to review and share test information completed since the close of the original CRP1234-3 in 2009. The previous study concluded that R-1234yf is a safe and acceptable alternative refrigerant for mobile air conditioning systems that can be used to meet new environmental and consumer needs. (Earlier post.)
The new CRP team began by conducting a detailed review of the original Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and chose to expand the trees to ensure that newly-identified information and testing from each of the OEMs is incorporated. This study has highlighted concerns with relying on one test to be reflective of real world collisions across vehicle applications.
Report from Victoria EV Trial reinforces importance of source of electricity and EV efficiency in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
December 07, 2012
The Victoria (Australia) EV Trial—a major 5-year initiative (earlier post)—has released a comparative lifecycle assessment of the environmental impacts of electric vehicles relative to conventional gasoline vehicles in Victoria from now until 2030.
The lifecycle analysis, “Environmental Impacts of Electric Vehicles in Victoria”, found that the impacts from vehicle operation far outweigh those from vehicle production—true even if allowing for an EV battery replacement over the vehicle life. Vehicle disposal impacts, including those of the EV battery, were found to be negligible due to the expected high rate of material recycling. The dominant influence of vehicle operation during the EV lifecycle thus highlights the importance of the source of electricity, how efficient the energy conversion in the vehicle is, and the way a vehicle is used, the report found.
Delphi and University of Luxembourg SnT partner on joint research on electronic control systems for automotive
Leading global automotive supplier Delphi and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg have signed a four-year agreement to cooperate on a joint research program involving electronic control systems for automotive applications.
This is the first cooperation between Delphi and the SnT. The program, entitled Cost-Effective Automated Testing of ECU-Software, initially includes two research projects: embedded software testing (model-based testing of Electronic Control Modules software); and embedded software safety (early verification of performance and timing properties of automotive software systems).
EEA: Traffic pollution still harmful to health in many parts of Europe
November 27, 2012
|Trend in emissions of air pollutants from transport in EEA-32: PM2.5, CO, SOx, NMVOC, NOx. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
Transport in Europe is still responsible for damaging levels of air pollutants and a quarter of EU greenhouse gas emissions, despite some progress in reducing the impacts from transport. Many of the resulting environmental problems can be addressed by stepping up efforts to meet new EU targets, according to the latest report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
The EEA’s annual report under the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) assesses the environmental impact of transport across Europe. There have been some improvements over recent years, although these can be partly attributed to reduced economic activity during the recession. As the economic climate improves, the new EU transport targets should focus efforts to further reduce environmental impacts, the report says.
Researchers present new explanation for the long-range transport of PAH pollutants
November 17, 2012
A team led by researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is presenting a new explanation for the long-range airborne transport (LRT) of polluting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); a paper on the work is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Pollution from fossil fuel burning and forest fires reaches all the way to the Arctic, even though it should decay long before it travels that far. The new study found that PAHs trapped inside highly viscous semisolid secondary organic aerosol (SOA) particles during particle formation are prevented from evaporation and shielded from oxidation. In contrast, surface-adsorbed PAHs rapidly evaporate leaving no trace. The results will help scientists improve atmospheric air-quality and pollution transport models.
SAE begins 4th cooperative research program on R-1234yf refrigerant after Daimler raises safety questions and balks at use
November 09, 2012
In October 2012, a fourth SAE International Cooperative Research Program (CRP) was launched by the automotive industry to further analyze the safety of the new low global warming potential (GWP) mobile air conditioner refrigerant, R1234yf. The participants in the 2012 R-1234yf CRP include Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, PSA, Renault and Toyota.
The action comes after Daimler in September announced that findings from its internal investigations raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems and said that it would not use this chemical in its products. (Earlier post.)
PwC analysis finds meeting 2 °C warming target would require “unprecedented and sustained” reductions over four decades
November 05, 2012
|PwC analysis finds a need for global carbon intensity to drop an average of 5.1% per year through 2050. Click to enlarge.|
The low annual rate of global reduction of carbon emissions per unit of GDP needed to limit global warming to 2 °C—based on the probability assessments of the UN IPCC—is insufficient to achieve that goal, according to the latest Low Carbon Economy Index published by business consultancy PwC. The analysis is based on a carbon budget that would stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 ppm and give a 50% probability of limiting warming to 2 °C.
Since 2000, the global rate of decarbonization has averaged 0.8%; from 2010 to 2011, global carbon intensity fell by just 0.7%. Because of this slow start, global carbon intensity now needs to be cut by an average of 5.1% a year from now to 2050. This required rate of decarbonization has not been seen even in a single year since the mid-20th century when these records began. Keeping to the 2 °C carbon budget will require “unprecedented and sustained” reductions over four decades, according to the PwC analysis. Even to have a reasonable prospect of getting to a 4°C scenario would imply nearly quadrupling the current rate of decarbonization.
Berkeley study identifies diesel as main source of vehicular secondary organic aerosols
October 23, 2012
A study led by researchers at UC Berkeley has found that diesel exhaust forms about seven times more secondary organic aerosols (SOA) than gasoline exhaust for the same mass of unburned fuel emissions and, given emission factors, can be expected to form 15 times more SOA than gasoline per liter of fuel burned. The study determined that, depending on a region’s fuel use, diesel exhaust is responsible for 65% to 90% of vehicular-derived SOA, with substantial contributions from aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons.
The new findings contradict previous research focused on the LA Basin which concluded that gasoline vehicles contributed more to the production of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) than exhaust from diesel vehicles. (Earlier post.)
ERTOC: optimizing CO2 of shipments down to an individual consignment level
October 22, 2012
|ERTOC 7.5-tonne demonstrator. Click to enlarge.|
The Efficient and Reliable Transportation of Consignments (ERTOC) project, a two-year research collaboration between Ricardo, GS1 UK, Unipart Logistics, IRIS Technology and Coventry University, has delivered a viable prototype demonstrator. The goal of ERTOC was to develop a standards-based open-architecture data hub to enable freight users and operators to make more informed choices based on the efficiency and increased awareness of the true financial and environmental cost of transporting goods.
The data hub integrates driver behavior monitoring and coaching, consignment tracking and vehicle tracking and fleet management using telematics-based services. Information from each of these functions is provided via a platform-independent, open application program interface (API).
Comparative study finds that B20 increases emission rates of a number of pollutants in both light- and medium-duty diesel engines at idle
October 20, 2012
|Emission rates for the 1.7 and 6.4 L engines at idle. Panels show (a) PM2.5, (b) elemental carbon (EC), (c) NOx, (d) CO, (e) formaldehyde, and (f) sum of target VOCs. Credit: ACS, Chin et al. Click to enlarge.|
A new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan compared regulated and unregulated emissions from both light-duty passenger car (1.7 L) and medium-duty (6.4 L) diesel engines at idle and load, using a biodiesel blend (B20) and conventional ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. Their paper appears in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
They found that the level of emissions of regulated and unregulated pollutants in diesel exhaust depends on fuel, load, engine calibration, and exhaust aftertreatment technology. Among the findings were that at idle, B20 increased engine-out and DOC-out emission rates of CO, NMHC, PM2.5, elemental carbon (EC), formaldehyde, benzene, and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds) for both the 1.7 L/2002 calibration and 6.4 L/2004 calibration engines.
Harvard team finds that the phase of atmospheric secondary organic material affects chemical aging; may require revision of regional and global climate models
October 17, 2012
|This diagram illustrates the effect of phase on the chemical reactivity of adipic acid, a common atmospheric particle. (Image courtesy of Kuwata Mikinori.) Click to enlarge.|
Atmospheric chemists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have found that the phase of secondary organic materials (SOM) in the atmosphere—solid, semisolid, or liquid—can effect their chemical reactivity (chemical aging) in the atmosphere. In certain solid and semi-solid phases, the materials appear to resist chemical aging almost entirely.
The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate that phase can be a key regulator of the reactivity of atmospheric SOM particles, and may call for a revision of regional and global climate models.
LanzaTech exploring lipids production as part of its CO2 to acetic acid plans; pathways to renewable fuels
Earlier this week, LanzaTech announced a partnership with Malaysia’s Petronas to extend the core LanzaTech proprietary CO gas fermentation process to include CO2-containing gases from a variety of sources—including refinery off-gases and natural gas wells—to produce acetic acid, a high-value chemical with applications in the polymers and plastics markets— as well as a possible intermediate for the formation of lipids. (Earlier post.)
In a presentation at the 1st Conference on CO2 as Feedstock, held last week in Essen, Germany, LanzaTech CSO Dr. Sean Simpson described the company’s progress on developing a CO2 pathway. In 2011, LanzaTech announced that it had demonstrated the continuous fermentation of CO2 in the presence of hydrogen to acetic acid, using their modified microorganisms.
Petronas and LanzaTech partner on CO2 to chemicals technology
October 15, 2012
|Petronas and Lanzatech are partnering to extend LanzaTech’s CO fermentation technology to consume CO2 for the production of acetic acid. Source: LanzaTech. Click to enlarge.|
LanzaTech, a producer of low-carbon fuels and chemicals from waste gases, and Petronas, the national oil company of Malaysia, will work together to accelerate the development and commercialization of technologies to produce sustainable fuels and chemicals using CO2 as the carbon source.
LanzaTech’s proprietary fermentation process converts carbon monoxide in industrial waste gases, reformed natural gas and gas derived from any biomass source into low-carbon fuels and chemicals. LanzaTech and Petronas will work together to extend this technology to include CO2-containing gases from a variety of sources—including refinery off-gases and natural gas wells—to produce acetic acid, a high-value chemical with applications in the polymers and plastics markets.
Researchers describe the “where” and “when” of life cycle emissions from gasoline and ethanol in the US
October 11, 2012
|Contributions of regions to total life cycle emissions for three fuels (µg per vehicle-mile traveled per km2 land area). Dashed lines show US average emissions. Credit: ACS, Tessum et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from the University of Minnesota have produced a spatially and temporally explicit life cycle inventory (LCI) of air pollutants from gasoline, ethanol derived from corn grain, and ethanol from corn stover for the contiguous US (the lower 48 states). A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Life cycle inventories have typically been presented at global, national, or regional levels—sufficient for understanding global processes such as climate change and fossil fuel depletion, but insufficient for the analysis of local processes such as air pollution, according to the researchers. The spatially (12 km grids) and temporally explicit LCI not only provides the level of detail necessary to perform detailed LCIA (life cycle impact assessment) of air pollutant emissions, it also gives information on spatial and temporal trends that can be useful in policy making and regulation, the authors suggest.
Researchers identify ignition behavior of catalysts in catalytic converters; more efficient catalysts for cold-start conditions
October 08, 2012
Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology (Austria), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck-Society (Germany) have identified the inherent reaction behavior of different catalysts for ignition in the CO oxidation reaction in catalytic converters.
The results, presented in an open access paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition, can make it possible to perform targeted searches for manufacturing processes for catalytic converters with lower ignition temperatures—i.e., for catalytic converters that can operate more efficiently just after a cold-start.
Direct injection of both fuels in RCCI may offer a way to decrease HC and CO emissions without sacrificing efficiency and NOx/PM benefits
September 25, 2012
|Diagram of direct injector placement used in the study; future work will use a more parallel alignment of the injectors. Wissink et al. Click to enlarge.|
By using a new strategy entailing the direct, separate injection of both low- and high-reactivity fuels, researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found another method for combustion phasing control of RCCI (reactivity controlled compression ignition) that offers the potential of decreasing the emissions of unburned hydrocarbons (UHC) and CO without sacrificing the benefits of RCCI: high efficiency and near zero levels of NOx and soot. (Earlier post.) Martin Wissink from the team presented a paper on the work at the ASME 2012 Internal Combustion Engine Division Fall Technical Conference in Vancouver, BC, this week.
RCCI is a promising dual-fuel, compression-ignition engine low-temperature combustion (LTC) strategy that uses in-cylinder fuel blending with at least two fuels of different reactivity and multiple injections to control in-cylinder fuel reactivity to optimize combustion phasing, duration and magnitude.
Daimler balks at use of low GWP R-1234yf refrigerant, citing new internal safety findings; wants to continue using R-134a (updated)
Daimler announced that findings from a new internal investigation have raised questions on the safe usage of R-1234yf as a replacement refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems. Due to the new findings of this study and the high safety demands at Mercedes-Benz, Daimler says that it will not use this chemical in its products. The company stated that it therefore wishes to continue to use R-134a refrigerant in its vehicles.
Over the last several years, the automotive industry has been tracking to replace the mobile air conditioning (MAC) refrigerant R-134a, which has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,430, with the lower-GWP refrigerant R-1234yf (GWP = 4). In 2009, for example, a two-year Cooperative Research Program conducted through SAE International to investigate the safety and environmental performance of R-1234yf concluded that it could can be used as the global replacement refrigerant in MAC systems and could be safely accommodated through established industry standards and practices for vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing, and service. The report was the third SAE report to evaluate the new refrigerant. (Earlier post.)
California ARB holding hearing on adopting amendments to LEV III to support compliance options using new Federal GHG regulations
September 14, 2012
The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) will conduct a public hearing on 15 November in Sacramento to consider adopting amendments to the Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV III) greenhouse gas emissions standards, and additional minor revisions to the LEV III criteria pollutant and Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations, approved by the Board earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The objective of the rulemaking is to follow through on the commitment made to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by ARB Chairman Mary Nichols in 2011 and in Board Resolutions 12-11 and 12-21 to propose for adoption appropriate language to accept manufacturer-demonstrated compliance with the new final national passenger motor vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for MYs 2017–2025 (earlier post) as an option to achieve compliance with California’s separate but aligned regulations for those model years.
CPT launching water-cooled electric supercharger for commercial diesel engines
September 12, 2012
|Cobra electric supercharger. Click to enlarge.|
At the 17th Supercharging conference this week in Dresden, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) will launch what it says is the first water-cooled electric supercharger developed for “quasi-continuous” boosting of commercial diesel engines, including those developed for off highway applications. The fully integrated electric supercharger includes all control and power electronics.
The Cobra (Controlled Boosting for Rapid Response Applications) technology is aimed at off-road vehicles and on-road heavy goods and passenger vehicles exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight. Below this GVW the technology has already been acquired by Valeo as a supercharger for cars and light commercial vehicle applications. (Earlier post.) Cobra is particularly relevant to Tier 4 Interim legislation that comes into effect this year for off-road vehicles, according to the company.
Renault Trucks introducing medium- and heavy-duty Euro VI engines at IAA
|Euro VI-compliant DTI 11. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Trucks will present its Euro VI compliant engines at the IAA show in Hanover. These will equip its trucks when the new standard becomes compulsory in January 2014 (January 2013 for new homologations).
To comply with the new regulation, the manufacturer is using different technologies, choosing the most appropriate and efficient in regards to the engine’s size and future application. This strategy will enable Renault Trucks to pursue a number of different aims: supply its customers with Euro VI compliant engines, while at the same time offering competitive fuel economy , reliability and maintainability similar or superior to the previous Euro V engines.
Study projects net cooling of climate from ship emissions through 2050
September 09, 2012
|Shipping-induced global temperature change in 2050 using different parameterizations of Indirect Aerosol Effect (IAE). Credit: ACS, Lund et al. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study by an international team calculated that shipping causes a net cooling of climate across all parametrizations of the indirect aerosol effect (IAE) and scenarios throughout the period 1900−2050. This continued shorter-term cooling response caused by certain emissions does not negate the necessity for reductions in CO2 emissions, which are crucial to limiting the long-term warming impact of the sector, the researchers cautioned.
The team from Center for International Climate and Environmental Research—Oslo (CICERO); Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR); University of Hawaii at Manoa; and Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) estimated the global-mean radiative forcing (RF) and total net surface temperature change from the shipping sector for a range of emission scenarios using a simple climate model (SCM). The paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Delphi starts production of new heavy-duty common rail systems for EURO VI; 2700 bar injection pressure with 3000 bar capability
September 06, 2012
|Delphi F2e ultra high pressure heavy duty diesel common rail injector. Click to enlarge.|
Delphi Automotive has begun production of its advanced common rail technologies for heavy-duty diesel fuel injection equipment (FIE) that will meet the requirements of Euro VI and other demanding global emissions standards.
The systems were previewed as a development project at the IAA in 2008. Since then, the company has secured three contracts for these systems for a lifetime value expected to exceed €3.7 billion (US$4.7 billion), according to David Friday, Delphi Diesel Heavy-Duty managing director.
2013 Accord featuring first use of new Honda emissions aftertreatment catalyst and new technology to weld together steel and aluminum
|The new catalyst enhances the performance of palladium, also allowing a reduction in rhodium use. Click to enlarge.|
The 2013 Honda Accord, due to go on sale in the US on 19 September, features the first use of a new Honda-developed catalyst which significantly reduces the precious metals required in catalysts for emissions aftertreatment. Honda will continue to adopt this catalyst sequentially to other models.
The 2013 Accord also features first use of a new technology for the continuous welding of the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminum. Honda applied this for the first time to the vehicle subframe, a key component of a vehicle body frame. Honda will expand application sequentially to other models after the Accord.
Study finds clear trend of increasing NOx with higher biodiesel blends with CARB diesel; NOx neutrality achieved by blending in renewable or GTL diesel
August 30, 2012
|NOx emissions results of biodiesel, renewable, and GTL diesel fuel blends, and CARB diesel fuel for 2006 Cummins ISM. Credit: ACS, Hajbabaei et al. Click to enlarge.|
A study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) and colleagues at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) found a relatively clear trend of increasing NOx emissions with increasing biodiesel blend level at levels of B20 and above for CARB-like/high cetane diesel fuels. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
They also found that increasing renewable diesel (Neste Oil’s NExBTL) and gas-to-liquids (GTL) diesel blends showed NOx reductions with rising blend level. Blending GTL or renewable diesel fuels with various levels of biodiesel or by using di-tert-butyl peroxide (DTBP) can achieve NOx emissions neutrality with the CARB diesel, according to their results. The study is part of a larger program conducted by ARB in conjunction with UC Riverside, UC Davis and others to develop diesel formulations with higher levels of renewable biofuels.
NHTSA and EPA issue final CAFE/GHG rule for MYs 2017-2025; 40.3–41.0 mpg for MY 2021, estimated 48.7–49.7 mpg for MY 2025, 163 gCO2/mile for MY2025
August 28, 2012
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the final rule for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for MYs 2017-2025 for passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles. (Earlier post.) These rules represent the continuation of a harmonized and consistent National Program. (Earlier post.)
Consistent with its statutory authority, NHTSA developed two phases of standards in this rulemaking. The first phase, from MYs 2017-2021, includes final standards that are projected to require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, a range from 40.3—41.0 mpg US (5.84 to 5.74 L/100km) in MY 2021. The second phase of the CAFE program, from MYs 2022-2025, includes standards that are not final, due to the statutory requirement that NHTSA set average fuel economy standards not more than 5 model years at a time.
MIT study suggests carbon tax could help reduce US deficit, lower other taxes, reduce emissions
August 27, 2012
A new report from MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change suggests that a tax on carbon emissions could help raise the money needed to reduce the US deficit, while improving the economy, lowering other taxes and reducing emissions.
In the report—Carbon Tax Revenue and the Budget Deficit: A Win-Win-Win Solution?—John Reilly, co-director of the Joint Program and co-author Sebastian Rausch, now at ETH Zurich University, calculated the impact a carbon tax starting at $20 per ton would have using a national economic model that details energy, taxes and household incomes. They found that the tax would raise $1.5 trillion in revenue, which could then be used to reduce personal or corporate income taxes, extend the payroll tax cut that expires this year, maintain spending on social programs—or some combination of these options—while reducing the deficit.
Honda discloses estimates of annual greenhouse gas emissions related to its operations and customer use of products
August 25, 2012
|Honda GHG emissions by Scope. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. disclosed estimates of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to Honda including emissions from Honda’s global business operations and customer use of Honda motorcycles, automobiles and power products. Honda is the first mobility company to do so, according to its internal research.
The estimates of GHG emissions were calculated in conformity with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol—a guideline determined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute for GHG accounting. The GHG Protocol defines three scopes of emissions by categorizing different business activities. Honda has been disclosing all Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions since 2009 and disclosed a part of Scope 3 emissions (global Category 11 emissions) for the first time on June 20, 2012. With the new disclosure of all Scope 3 emissions—which includes customer use—Honda has disclosed all GHG emissions defined by the GHG Protocol.
J.D. Power and Associates study finds EPA emission-compliant heavy-duty engines yielding increase in engine problems, decline in satisfaction
August 23, 2012
Technology changes related to revised emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks are causing an increase in heavy-duty truck engine problems and a decrease in overall satisfaction with the powertrain, according to the JD Power and Associates 2012 US Heavy-Duty Truck Engine and Transmission Study.
Now in its 16th year, the study measures satisfaction with engines and transmissions among primary maintainers of heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks that are one model-year old. Satisfaction is measured based on eight key factors: engine reliability and dependability; engine warranty; acceleration when fully loaded; electronic control module; accessibility to components for service or maintenance; vibration at idle; maintaining speeds on grades; and average fuel economy.
Federal Appeals Court vacates EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
August 22, 2012
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held in a 2-1 opinion that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had overstepped its authority with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), and, as a result, vacated the regulation (USCA Case #11-1302). CSAPR (also called the Transport Rule) was finalized in July 2011 and replaced and strengthened the requirements of the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ordered EPA to revise in 2008. (Earlier post.)
Carried long distances across the country by wind and weather, power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) continually travel across state lines. The rule was intended to improve air quality by cutting SO2 and NOx emissions that contribute to pollution problems in other states. (The so-called “good neighbor” provision.)
New mixed-oxide catalysts shown as viable substitute for platinum catalysts for diesel exhaust aftertreatment
August 17, 2012
|NO conversion versus ramp-up and ramp-down temperatures for MnCe-7:1 (●), SmMn2O5 (□), GdSrCeMn7O14.83 (■), and Pt (○). Credit: Science, Wang et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at nano-material catalysts startup Nanostellar and colleagues at the University of Kentucky and Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China have shown that mixed-phase oxide materials based on Mn-mullite (Sm, Gd)Mn2O5 are an efficient substitute for the current commercial platinum (Pt)-based catalysts for the aftertreatment of diesel exhaust.
Under laboratory-simulated diesel exhaust conditions, this mixed-phase oxide material was superior to Pt in terms of cost, thermal durability, and catalytic activity for NO oxidation. The new material is active at temperatures as low as 120 °C with conversion maxima of ~45% higher than that achieved with Pt. A paper on their work is published in the journal Science.
Union Pacific Railroad investing $20M to test emissions-reducing locomotive technology in California; moving toward Tier 4 compliance with combination of EGR, DOC and DPF
August 14, 2012
Union Pacific Railroad is investing $20 million to test new technology designed to reduce diesel emissions from freight locomotives in California. A series of 25 experimental locomotives will be based in two Union Pacific rail yards in California as part of a test of emissions-reducing technologies.
One locomotive in this series of 25 will be based in Roseville to test the combined use of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), and diesel particulate filtering (DPF). In testing the combined benefits of these three technologies on one freight locomotive, this Union Pacific unit is the closest an Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) locomotive has come to achieving US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tier 4 locomotive standards.
Researchers develop new highly efficient core-shell catalyst for methane oxidation; potential for reducing emissions from automotive engines
August 13, 2012
|A representation of the newly developed catalyst on an aluminium oxide surface depicts the core-shell structure. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, along with collaborators from Italy and Spain, have designed new core-shell type catalysts inspired by the concepts of supramolecular chemistry that oxidize methane 30 times better than do currently available catalysts. (Supramolecular chemistry is an interdisciplinary field covering the chemical, physical and biological features of chemical species of higher complexity that are held together and organized by means of intermolecular (non-covalent) binding interactions.) A paper on the new catalysts developed by Cargnello et al. is published in the journal Science.
The new approach in catalyst structure is important for catalyst-assisted combustion in gas turbines fueled with natural gas, and may also help to address methane emissions in the automobile exhaust within the temperature range required for emission control, comments Dr. Robert J. Farrauto of Columbia University in a Perspective piece accompanying the report in Science.
NOAA, partners find about 98% decline in VOCs concentrations in LA Basin over last 50 years despite 3x increase in use of gasoline and diesel
August 09, 2012
In California’s Los Angeles Basin, levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) pollutants have decreased by about 98% since the 1960s, even as area residents now burn approximately three times as much gasoline and diesel fuel. Between 2002 and 2010 alone, the concentration of VOCs dropped by half, according to a new study by NOAA scientists and colleagues, published in the AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research.
VOCs, primarily emitted from the tailpipes of vehicles, are a key ingredient in the formation of ground-level ozone which, at high levels, can harm people’s lungs and damage crops and other plants. The magnitude of the drop in VOC levels was surprising, even to researchers who expected some kind of decrease resulting from California’s longtime efforts to control vehicle pollution.
6 shipping carriers become inaugural participants in Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index
Six shipping carriers have become the inaugural participants in the Port of Los Angeles Environmental Ship Index (ESI), an international clean air program that rewards ocean carriers for bringing their newest and cleanest vessels to the Port. Developed through the International Association of Ports & Harbors’ World Ports Climate Initiative, the ESI program is the first of its kind in North America and the Pacific Rim.
The web-based ESI program, already underway at 14 European ports, offers immediate and significant clean air benefits by rewarding vessel operators for voluntary engine, fuel and technology enhancements that reduce emissions from ships beyond the regulatory environmental standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Study finds that under business-as-usual scenario, average global air quality to worsen; China, North India and Middle East are the hot spots
August 02, 2012
|Population-Weighted Multi Pollutant Index (PW-MPI) values for different regions. Source: Pozzer et al.|
Under a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, a rapidly increasing number of people worldwide will experience reduced air quality by 2050, according to a new simulation of the atmosphere done by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. China, North India and the Middle East are expected to be especially affected by a drastic decrease in air quality.
Following this BAU scenario, the researchers projected that air quality for the global average citizen in 2050 would be almost comparable to that for the average citizen in East Asia in the year 2005—an outcome which underscores the need to pursue emission reductions, according to the authors.
NPC report to Energy Secretary finds light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles could reduce per-mile GHG at least 40% by 2050; additional strategies required for further reductions
|Projected range of impact of demand, fuel efficiency improvements, and alternative fuel-vehicle systems on light-duty fleet GHG emissions. Source: NPC. Click to enlarge.|
Transportation in the United States could evolve at an accelerated rate, depending on the speed of technology advancements and the economic viability of alternative fuels and vehicles, according to a comprehensive report approved and presented to the Secretary of Energy by the National Petroleum Council (NPC). However, sustained and focused efforts by industry and government are essential for progress to continue and accelerate.
Among the findings of the two-year study are that—if technology hurdles and infrastructure challenges can be overcome—economically competitive low-carbon fuels and improvements in fuel economy will result in substantial reductions in GHG emissions. On a stand-alone basis, all light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles have the potential to reduce per-mile GHG emissions by at least 40% in 2050, relative to 2005 average fleet levels. However, projected 2050 transportation demand, relative to 2005, counteracts per-mile GHG reductions.
ICCT-ClimateWorks: well-designed vehicle standards and fuel feeds could reduce combined US, China and EU CO2 emissions by 1.3 Gt in 2030, boost economy
July 29, 2012
The US, China, and the EU could reduce their combined annual CO2 emissions by 1.3 Gt in 2030 by implementing well-designed vehicle performance standards and fuel fees, according to a new analysis by a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the ClimateWorks Foundation.
Cumulative CO2reductions from 2010 through 2030 would total almost 10 Gt, with a cumulative net savings of $800 billion to $1.5 trillion over the same period, according to the recently published paper, “How Vehicle Standards and Fuel Fees Can Cut CO2 Emissions and Boost the Economy” The study is the second installment of the ClimateWorks “Policies That Work” series.
Researchers report on potential long-range atmospheric emissions impacts of increased ethanol fuel use in North America
July 28, 2012
A study by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota; University of Colorado, Boulder; National Center for Atmospheric Research; and NASA Ames Research Center have used an ensemble of aircraft measurements combined with the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model to to gauge potential long-range emissions impacts of increased ethanol fuel use in North America. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Ethanol is emitted to the atmosphere by both natural and anthropogenic processes; examples of the latter include industrial processes, biomass combustion and use as a biofuel mixed with gasoline. (Terrestrial plants are thought to be the dominant global source of atmospheric ethanol.) In the atmosphere, ethanol is a precursor of acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN).
Global CO2 emissions up 3% in 2011; per capita CO2 emissions in China reach EU levels
July 20, 2012
|CO2 per capita emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production from the top 5 emitting regions. Click to enlarge.|
Global emissions of CO2 increased by 3% last year, according to the annual report “Trends in global CO2 emissions”, released by the EC Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). At 3%, the 2011 increase in global CO2 emissions is above the past decade’s average annual increase of 2.7%.
Weak economic conditions, a mild winter, and energy savings stimulated by high oil prices led to a decrease of 3% in CO2 emissions in the European Union and of 2% in both the United States and Japan. Emissions from OECD countries now account for only one third of global CO2 emissions—the same share as that of China and India combined, where emissions increased by 9% and 6% respectively in 2011. In China, the world’s most populous country, average emissions of CO2 increased by 9% to 7.2 tonnes per capita—within the range of 6 to 19 tonnes per capita emissions of the major industrialized countries.
Working paper argues new US energy efficiency regulations are ineffective at GHG reduction and incorrectly override consumer preference
July 14, 2012
Recent US energy regulations proposed or enacted by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the US Department of Transportation (DOT, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have a negligible effect on reducing greenhouse gases. Instead, according to a new working paper by a duo from The Brookings Institution and Vanderbilt University, the bulk of the estimated benefits from the regulations stem from private benefits such as fuel savings to consumers, based on the regulators’ presumption of consumer irrationality.
“Rather than squander societal resources on more ineffective policy efforts, a more productive approach would be to search for policy options that offer greater potential for making a serious dent in greenhouse-gas emissions,” the authors conclude in their paper.
CALSTART study concludes zero-emission I-710 freight corridor achievable; hybrid truck with catenary or in-road power most feasible option
July 12, 2012
|I-710 Corridor Study Area. Click to enlarge.|
A study by CALSTART, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commercialize clean transportation technology, has concluded that the development of a heavy-duty vehicle or vehicle system (truck and infrastructure power source) that can move freight through California’s busy I-710 Corridor with zero emissions (ZE) with a 2035 horizon year has no major technological barriers. In fact, the report suggests, there are several technical approaches that can achieve the desired outcome.
Of the possibilities, CALSTART determined that a “dual mode” or “range extender” hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with some EV-only capability was seen as the most feasible solution for achieving the ZE corridor, particularly if combined with an infrastructure power source such as catenary or in-road, which would allow for smaller battery packs aboard the vehicles. The most significant barriers would be a sustainable overall economic and business case and corridor market mechanisms.
EC proposes 95 grams CO2/km target for new cars by 2020, 147 grams for light vans; super credits for cars below 35g
July 11, 2012
The European Commission today proposed targets for the further reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) by 2020. The proposals will cut average emissions from new cars to 95 grams of CO2 per km (g CO2/km) in 2020 from 135.7 grams in 2011 and a mandatory target of 130 grams in 2015. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g CO2/km in 2020 from 181.4 grams in 2010 (the latest year for which figures are available) and a mandatory target of 175 grams in 2017.
The proposals would amend two existing regulations establishing binding requirements for manufacturers to meet the 2015 mandatory target for cars and the 2017 target for vans. Implementing measures for the regulations are already in place and CO2 emissions from new vehicles are monitored annually.
New inventory of black carbon emissions from China finds 2007 levels higher than previously reported
July 08, 2012
|BC emission map of China at 0.1° × 0.1° for year 2007. East and West China are separated by a dashed line from Qiqihar, Yinchuan, to Kunming. Major emission areas are marked. Credit: ACS, Wang et al. Click to enlarge.|
A new black carbon (BC) emissions inventory from China found BC emissions levels in 2007 of 1,957 Gg BC—higher than reported in earlier studies. The inventory also forecasts that BC emissions in China in 2050 will be 920–2,183 Gg/yr under various scenarios, with the industrial and transportation sectors standing to benefit the most from technological improvements. The paper by researchers from Peking University and Environment Canada appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Black carbon is released into the atmosphere via incomplete combustion of carbonaceous fuel and is of major concern because of the impact on climate systems. BC emissions from Asia have been identified as a major cause of changing monsoon, the occurrence of the atmospheric brown cloud, and the retreat of Tibetan glaciers, in addition to impacting global temperature rise. (Earlier post.) Asia contributes more than half of global anthropogenic BC emissions and China is the largest emitter, according to the researchers.
Navistar to adopt SCR technology to meet 2010 EPA requirements; “In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+)”
July 06, 2012
Perforce shifting from its advanced EGR-based strategy, Navistar International Corporation will introduce engines combining advanced in-cylinder management with urea-based aftertreatment (selective catalytic reduction, SCR) to meet 2010 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations and to position the company to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) rules in advance of 2014 and 2017 requirements. Navistar expects the In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+) technology to be available beginning early 2013.
Navistar said it will continue to build and ship current model trucks in all vehicle classes using appropriate combinations of earned emissions credits and/or non-compliance penalties (NCPs) during the transition to ICT+. In June, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the EPA’s interim final rule on the use of non-conformance penalties (NCPs) in order to sell diesel engines with emissions levels above 0.20g NOx.
Volvo Trucks introducing new Euro 6 engine
July 05, 2012
|Volvo D13 Euro 6 with EGR and aftertreatment system. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks is introducing a Euro-6-compliant heavy-duty engine, with NOx emissions lowered by 77% and PM emissions halved compared to Euro 5. The first implementation of the new engine is the D13 460 hp (343 kW) unit.
The Volvo D13 for Euro 6 is based on Volvo’s Euro 5 engine. Just like that unit, the new engine is an in-line six cylinder engine with unit injectors and catalytic exhaust treatment (SCR). In order to meet the new emission requirements, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is also used, as well as a diesel particulate filter (DPF)—systems that Volvo Trucks has already been using for several years in the US and Japan.
NOx emissions exceeded limits in 12 European countries in 2010
July 02, 2012
|2010 NOx emissions (all sectors) and ceilings for 12 EU countries exceeding their limits. Source: EEA data viewer. Click to enlarge.|
Air pollution emitted from sources such as traffic, industry and households is still above internationally agreed limits in 12 European countries, according to newly published data. The accompanying report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms an initial assessment published earlier this year, showing 12 EU Member States exceeded limits under the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive in 2010. (Earlier post.)
Under the NEC Directive, countries were obliged, by 2010, to meet ceilings for four important air pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants are harmful to both people and the environment, causing respiratory illnesses, acidifying soil and surface water, and damaging vegetation.
Federal-Mogul introduces new range of low- and zero-copper brake pad materials to meet new legislation
June 25, 2012
|Federal-Mogul developed its Eco-Friction range ahead of legislations set to reduce the amount of copper that can be used in brake pads. Click to enlarge.|
Federal-Mogul Corporation has developed a range of zero-copper and low-copper brake pad formulations using a new tribological fingerprinting process. The company says it has already secured new customer contracts for the low-copper and zero-copper Eco-Friction brake pads for vehicle platforms in North America and Europe.
Copper is a key ingredient in high-performance brake pad formulations, limiting pad and rotor wear, noise and judder and contributing to friction stability over a wide range of operating temperatures. The metal makes up 5 to 20% of the friction material mass in typical Non-Asbestos Organic (NAO) and Low-Steel formulations used in North America, Asia and Europe. The presence of copper in brake pads, however, is being regulated and may eventually be eliminated due to concerns regarding its environmental impact.
EPA proposes updates to annual PM2.5 national air quality standard
June 15, 2012
|Projected non-attainment by county in 2020 under the range of the proposed new limits. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed updates to its national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5). These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including premature death, heart attacks, and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children.
EPA’s proposal would strengthen the annual health standard for PM2.5 to a level within a range of 13 µg/m3 to 12 µg/m3. The current annual standard is 15 µg/m3, which has been in place since 1997. By proposing a range, EPA said it will collect input from the public as well as a number of stakeholders, including industry and public health groups, to help determine the most appropriate final standard to protect public health. Other aspects of the proposed rulemaking include:
WHO IARC classifies diesel exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)
June 13, 2012
After a week-long meeting of an expert working group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust (DEE) as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer. The summary of the evaluation will appear in The Lancet Oncology as an online publication ahead of print on 15 June 2012.
The working group also concluded that gasoline exhaust was possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), a finding unchanged from a previous evaluation in 1989. In 1988, IARC classified diesel exhaust as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A). An Advisory Group which reviews and recommends future priorities for the IARC Monographs Program had recommended diesel exhaust as a high priority for re-evaluation since 1998.
CNG vehicle converter BAF acquires auto emissions solutions provider ServoTech Engineering
June 11, 2012
BAF Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., has acquired ServoTech Engineering, Inc., an auto emissions solutions provider. BAF, the leading US provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions, recently produced its 20,000th compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle conversion. BAF is the first CNG converter to be recognized as a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous fuels.
Dr. Hamid Servati, ServoTech’s current president, will continue to lead the new BAF subsidiary’s operations. As a Ford Qualified Calibration Modifier (QCM), ServoTech has direct access to the Ford engine calibration strategy. Each vehicle converted by BAF is registered through Ford Quality Fleet Care (QFC) for all warranty and service work.
Nissan establishes Zero Emission Fund; CO2 offset credits for LEAF owners in Japan
|Flows for the Zero Emission Fund. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. launched the Nissan Zero Emission Fund, a new fund for individual Nissan electric vehicle (EV) owners in Japan which converts the amount of CO2 emissions that are offset by driving the 100% electric Nissan LEAF to generate credits.
Through participation in this fund program, Nissan LEAF owners will be able to generate CO2 emissions credits certified by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and sold to the Green Investment Promotion Organization, an organization that promotes investment in low carbon emissions. Profits earned by the sale of the credits will be invested by the fund to support the installation of quick charging facilities and forest conservation activities.
Study estimates the composition of non-exhaust atmospheric particulate matter from traffic
A study by a team of researchers in the UK has estimated the contributions of brake dust, tire dust, and resuspended dust to non-exhaust traffic particles as 55.3 ± 7.0%, 10.7 ± 2.3%, and 38.1 ± 9.7%, respectively, at their sampling site at Marleybone Road, London.
Increasingly stringent environmental regulations have resulted in substantial reductions in the exhaust emissions from road traffic, the team notes in a paper describing their work in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. However, these reductions in combustion emissions have not been accompanied by similar reductions in nonexhaust emissions—i.e. the abrasive emissions from brake, road, and tire wear, and the resuspension of materials from the highway surface. As a result, these non-exhaust emissions make up a similar proportion of the airborne particulate matter (PM) resulting from vehicle use as exhaust emissions.
New fuel-efficient bulk carrier concept design; DNV estimates new tankers, bulkers and container vessels will be up to 30% more energy efficient by 2020 than newbuilds today
June 05, 2012
|The Green Dolphin. Click to enlarge.|
The Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute (SDARI) and development partners DNV and Wärtsilä have unveiled a new Handysize—i.e., ships with a cargo-carrying capability of less than 60,000 metric tonnes—bulk carrier concept design: the Green Dolphin. The Green Dolphin leverages existing technologies to meet shipowners’ needs for fuel efficiency and operational flexibility while also being ready for future environmental regulations.
Separately, DNV is predicting that by 2020, new tankers, bulkers and container vessels will be up to 30% more energy efficient than today’s newbuildings. DNV predicts that one-third of the reductions will be cost-effective for shipowners. The Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) will be the driver for the remaining two-thirds of the efficiency gains.
Study finds diesel oxidation catalyst eliminates mutagenicity of diesel exhaust in gas phase
May 27, 2012
A team of researchers in Germany has found that the mutagenicity of diesel engine exhaust (DEE) is eliminated in the gas phase by a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), but only slightly reduced in the particle phase. In a study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they investigated the influence of different diesel fuels and the exhaust after-treatment with a DOC on the genotoxicity of DEE using the bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames test) and a detailed characterization of the emitted particles.
Further benefits of the DOC they found include a reduction of total hydrocarbons of up to 90%; and of carbon monoxide of up to 98%. Total particle mass (TPM) was reduced by 50% with the DOC in common diesel fuel and by 30% in the other fuels.
MECA member companies sold 20,177 diesel retrofits in the US 2011
May 21, 2012
The total number of verified (US EPA- and/or California ARB-verified) diesel retrofit devices (for both on-road and off-road diesel engines) sold in the US (including California) by MECA member companies in 2011 was 20,177, according to the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA).
Overall, these annual retrofit sales numbers are relatively small compared to the total number of diesel engines currently operating in the US (up to 20 million based on EPA estimates), MECA noted. Of the 2011 total:
Study finds that optimizing engine parameters for renewable diesel can reduce PM and NOx both by more than 25%
May 19, 2012
|Relative changes in PM characteristics (PM, Ntot, GMD, FSN, and SA) on (a) 50%, (b) 75%, and (c) 100% loads and (d) NOx emissions due to engine parameter adjustments at the studied engine loads. Credit: ACS, Happonen et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team of researchers in Finland reports that by adjusting engine parameters for the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) renewable diesel fuel across a range of loads (50%, 75%, and 100%), particulate matter and NOx emissions can both be reduced by more than 25% relative to the values from using HVO with standard engine conditions.
Further, the emission reduction was even higher when the target for adjusting engine parameters was exclusively to reduce either particulates or NOx. The study appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.