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US Signs Multilateral Agreement for Nuclear Energy Development

Reinforcing its focus on developing new nuclear power technologies, the US has signed a multilateral cooperative research and development agreement aimed at next-generation nuclear energy systems. The other signatory countries are Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. All are part of the 11-country Generation IV International Forum (GIF). Other... Read more →

Nissan Plans 4X Increase in CVTs over Next 3 Years

Nissan Motor says it plans a fourfold increase in its vehicles fitted with continuously variable transmissions (CVT) over the next three years. This would bump the number of CVT-fitted units sold by 2007 to some 1 million (24% of global sales), up from an estimated 250,000 (7% of global sales)... Read more →

Azure Dynamics to Provide Hybrid Powertrains to SEV

Azure Dynamics has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Smiths Electric Vehicles (SEV) to integrate Azure Dynamics powertrain technology in current and next-generation electric vehicles built by SEV. The first vehicle will be available in May 2005 with production units becoming available later in the year. The next generation... Read more →

NYC on Track for World’s Largest Hybrid Bus Fleet

Orion Bus Industries, a division of DaimlerChrysler, has completed deliveries of its first 125 diesel-electric series hybrid buses for MTA New York City Transit and has begun delivering the next set of 200. By the end of 2005, MTA’s fleet of 4,215 vehicles will have 325 hybrid buses, or 7%.... Read more →

Dynetek Providing 700-bar H2 Storage to Nissan

Dynetek is providing the new 700-bar (10,000 psi) high-pressure hydrogen storage system to Nissan for use in its X-TRAIL fuel cell vehicle. Nissan announced the transition to the higher-pressure storage system when it unveiled its in-house developed fuel cell stack. (Earlier post.) The 700-bar storage cylinder increases hydrogen storage capacity... Read more →

When More is Less: Toyota’s new 3.5-liter V-6 for the Avalon

When Toyota redesigned its 2005 Avalon (shown last month at NAIAS), it used a new gasoline engine with 15% larger displacement that delivers 33% more horsepower—and decreases fuel consumption by 5%, while dropping emissions from LEV to ULEV status. The new all-aluminum V-6 is the most powerful V-6 Toyota has... Read more →

Florida Adds 21 Escape Hybrids to State Fleet

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has received the first two of 21 Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs. The addition of the 21 Escape hybrids will bring DEP’s hybrid fleet to 71. The DEP fleet also contains more than 200 alternative fuel vehicles. Combined, the alt fuel and hybrids constitute... Read more →

Canada and the Automakers

Although the government of Canada has yet to strike an accord with automakers over CO2 and fuel consumption reductions (earlier post), it reaffirmed its intention to do so in its just-released 2005 Budget Plan. Vehicles produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases—about one-quarter of Canada’s annual emissions—and other harmful substances. Two-thirds... Read more →

The Diesel Shift: Denso Opens Diesel Center in Germany

In yet another proof point of the fundamental aspect and size of the shift to diesel in Europe, Denso, a leading international supplier of automotive systems and components, is opening an engineering facility for diesel engine components in Germany. The new facility will design and evaluate fuel injection systems for... Read more →

Munich Re Issues Annual Catastrophes Report, Focuses on Climate Change

Munich Re, the largest reinsurer in the world, has just released its report Topics Geo—Annual Review: Natural Catastrophes 2004. (Full report here.) An early corporate voice expressing concern over the potential impact of global warming and resulting climate change (since each disaster hits it economically), Munich Re sees those concerns... Read more →

Ford Introducing H2 Combustion Engines to Industrial Marketplace

Ford Power Products (FPP), a division of Ford Powertrain Operations, is introducing hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines (H2ICEs) to the industrial marketplace. This parallels Ford Motor Company’s introduction of the E-450 commercial hydrogen-powered shuttle bus. (Earlier post.) FPP currently has two different hydrogen engines prototyped for the industrial marketplace: a 4.2-liter... Read more →

“Hybrid Car Parade” to Converge on Maryland Capital in Support of Clean Cars

Car Buyer’s Notebook notes that more than 100 hybrid cars and SUVs will rally this Saturday in Annapolis, MD, in support of the Maryland Cleaner Cars Act. (HB 564) If passed and signed into law, the bill will require Maryland to adopt the Lower Emission Vehicle-II (LEV-II) standards set by... Read more →

EPA Grants $1.6M for Diesel Emissions Reduction Projects

The US EPA is awarding $1.6 million to 18 grantees for projects to demonstrate effective emissions reduction strategies for diesel fleets. The grantees are State and local governmental organizations, including air agencies and port authorities, and non-governmental organizations. The announcement follows on the heels of an independent report released yesterday... Read more →

“Extreme” Plug-In Flywheel Hybrid Promises a Possible 250 MPG

AFS Trinity Power Corporation has unveiled a flywheel-supported hybrid technology that the company anticipates will enable fuel economy in the 200–250 mpg range. The Extreme Hybrid drivetrain—under development for light duty and heavy duty vehicles—is a plug-in hybrid that gets most of its power from the grid. The flywheel system... Read more →

NexTech Awarded Nearly $3 M Towards Development of Fuel Cell APUs

NexTech, a manufacturer of materials and components for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), has received nearly $3 million in awards towards the further development of SOFCs for use in transportation and aerospace auxiliary power unit (APU) applications. The U.S. Commerce Department’s Advanced Technology Program (ATP) will provide up to $2... Read more →

Tennessee Reduces County’s Speed Limits to Improve Air Quality

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is reducing the speed limit for commercial trucks on interstates and controlled access highways in Hamilton County (which includes Chattanooga) from 70 mph to 55 mph. The Mayor of Chattanooga and the Mayor of Hamilton County had requested the reduction to reduce emissions in... Read more →

CATF Report: Diesel PM Annually Kills 21,000 in US; Legacy Retrofits and Clean Fuels Could Save 100,000

A new study just released by the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) concludes that diesel fine particle emissions (PM2.5) from the US fleet directly contribute to the premature deaths of some 21,000 people in the US every year. CATF commissioned the report, Diesel and Health in America: The Lingering Threat,... Read more →

San Joaquin Angles for 34 More Diesel-Hybrid Buses

The Record. The San Joaquin, Calif, Council of Governments is expected Thursday to award $15 million to the district to buy 34 more diesel hybrid buses that will serve Stockton city and routes connecting cities in San Joaquin County. San Joaquin brought in two GM-Allison diesel hybrids (manufacturd by Gillig)... Read more →

Rolls-Royce Funds African D1 Biodiesel Refinery

D1 Oils, (earlier post) the rapidly globally expanding UK biofuel refiner, has agreed to terms with Rolls-Royce to finance a D1 20 refinery in Durban, South Africa. The D1 20 modular biodiesel refinery (at right), is designed to produce 8 million liters per year of biodiesel (some 2.1 million gallons... Read more →

Nissan Announces its First In-House Fuel Cell Stack

Nissan announced that it has designed and developed its first in-house fuel cell stack, as well as a new 700 bar hydrogen storage system. The automaker had been using United Technologies stacks in earlier fuel cell prototypes. The new technologies offer improved acceleration, performance and driving range. Nissan’s fuel cell... Read more →

$1M in Alternative Fuel Grants from Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently awarded more than $1 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG). Pennsylvania’s AFIG program currently reimburses up to 20% of the applicant’s eligible costs of an alternative fuel project. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell recently signed into law Act 178 of 2004 that... Read more →

Volvo to Use Elements of 3CC Concept in Production Model

Car Buyer’s Notebook reports that Volvo will use elements of its 3CC concept car (earlier post) in a production hatchback due out in 2006. Volvo discussed the production plans at the Detroit Auto Show. Although the 3CC is an electric car (and I’d be surprised if Volvo brought an all-electric... Read more →

ERTRAC Delivers its European Research Agenda for Sustainable Mobility

Earlier this month, ERTRAC (the European Road Transport Research Advisory Council) formally delivered its Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), an important element in the effort to cope with challenges posed for sustainable mobility, to an EU commission. ERTRAC, founded in 2002, comprises more than 60 representatives from the auto industry, road... Read more →

Matt Simmons: Saudi Arabia May Already Have Peaked

Matthew Simmons, the energy investment banker whose analysis we have cited here numerous times on GCC, suggests in an interview with Aljazeera that the world may already have passed peak production of oil. “If Saudi Arabia have damaged their fields, accidentally or not, by overproducing them, then we may have... Read more →

Pollution Levels Remain High (or Rising) in Indian Cities

Press Trust of India. Despite the introduction of CNG almost two years ago in an attempt to improve the capital’s air, nitrogen dioxide levels in Delhi are rising. Although levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2) have dropped, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have increased some 20% at peak since 2002, raising the... Read more →

Quantum Picks Up Patent for Tranportable H2 Fueling

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies has been awarded a US patent for portable and transportable hydrogen refueling systems. Quantum’s patent covers portable and transportable hydrogen refueling systems that incorporate self-contained hydrogen producing subsystems or accept low pressure hydrogen from external sources, and are capable of compressing and dispensing at either 5,000-... Read more →

Hyundai, Partners Open H2 Fueling Center

Hyundai Motor, Co. in partnership with UTC Fuel Cells and ChevronTexaco, has opened a hydrogen fueling station at the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center in Chino, Calif. The project is part of a Department of Energy-sponsored Hydrogen Fleet and Infrastructure Demonstration Validation Program. The new hydrogen station will support a fleet... Read more →

Ballard: “Technology Hat Trick” with Fuel Cell Design

Ballard Power Systems engineers have demonstrated a fuel cell stack that can start repeatedly from -20° C (-4° F) and operate for more than 2,000 hours at a substantially reduced cost with no performance tradeoff. Freeze-start capability, increased durability and cost reduction are three of the crucial performance goals the... Read more →

DOE Co-Funds 12 Projects to Increase Engine Efficiency

The US DOE announced $87.5 million in co-funding to support 12 projects developing advanced combustion engine and waste heat recovery technologies. The projects, with a total value of $175 million (50%, or $87.5 million, of which is contributed by industry) focus on increasing engine efficiency while maintaining low emissions. The... Read more →

$2 Billion for H2 Infrastructure Required by 2012

A new market research study from ABI Research concludes that some $2 billion—whether from government or industry—must be invested in creating a hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure by 2012 if market expectations are to be met. The study, Hydrogen Infrastructure, also evaluates the production and distribution pathways that will be essential... Read more →

CalPERS Pushes for More Environmental Data from Corporations

The CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) (CalPERS) Board approved a plan to improve corporate environmental data transparency. Among the initiatives of the plan is support for shareholder proposals at Ford and GM—and possibly other auto makers—that request a report on each company’s plans to comply with California’s new CO2... Read more →

Montana Senate Gives Preliminary Approval to E10 Measure

Great Falls Tribune. The Montana state Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would require the use of Montana-made ethanol to create an E10 blend (10% ethanol) for most fuel sold in the state. The mandate would go into effect once the Montana ethanol industry can produce 55... Read more →

Fortum Building Biodiesel Plant in Finland

Fortum, a €11.7 billion ($15.2 billion) Finnish energy company serving the Nordic markets, is building a biodiesel plant at its Porvoo oil refinery. The plant, which is due to come online in the summer of 2007, will have an annual capacity of approximately 170,000 tons of biodiesel—roughly 3,500 barrels per... Read more →

Oil to Provide More than 50% of China’s Energy in 5 Years

Bloomberg. China will rely on oil for more than 50% of its energy within five years. Coal currently supplies two-thirds of China’s energy. Speaking at the International Petroleum Week conference in London, Gao Shixian, Director of Center for Energy Economics and Development Strategy of Energy Research Institute in China, said... Read more →