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Ford Will Issue Report on Global Climate Change

Ford Motor Company announced today it will issue a report on climate change by the end of the year. The report will examine the business implications of greenhouse gas emissions, with reference to government policies and regulations, Ford’s product and manufacturing facilities actions, and advanced technology development. We have long... Read more →

Two Indiana School Corporations Switch to B5 Biodiesel

The Tribune. Two Jackson County, Indiana, school corporations have switched to B5 blends for their school buses. Seymour Community Schools began powering its 40 buses early in March. Medora Community Schools completed negotiations with the Jackson-Jennings Co-op, the biodiesel provider) to use B5 as well. Read more →

Ford Delivers First Fuel Cell Cars in Canada to Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program

Ford Motor Company delivered five Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) (earlier post) to the Vancouver Fuel Cell Vehicle Program (VFCVP) for real-use testing in selected fleets. The five Ford Focus FCVs are the first “customer-ready” vehicles to be delivered by Ford, which plans to place 25 more vehicles in... Read more →

New On-Board Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Delivers 50% Efficiency

Northwestern University researchers have developed a new small solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that converts iso-octane (C8H18), a highly-pure hydrocarbon compound that is a component of gasoline, to hydrogen, The hydrogen is then used by the fuel cell to produce electrical energy with an overall fuel efficiency of up to... Read more →

Montebello, Calif, Buys Five Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Buses

SGVT. Montebello, California, is adding five gasoline-electric hybrid buses to its fleet. The hybrids are built by NewFlyer, and use the ISE Thundervolt gasoline-electric series hybrid system. (Earlier post). State and federal transportation grants are picking up the $2.55 million cost. Three of the buses (the GE40LF) will replace three... Read more →

Millenium Ecosystem Assessment

WorldChanging offers good links to and an assessment of the UN report released today: the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment. The vast majority of news reports about the Assessment emphasize its dark, “sobering” presentation. This isn’t surprising—the planet’s environmental systems are under a lot of stress, and if things don’t change, we’re... Read more →

Brookhaven Workshop on Biodiesel

Brookhaven National Laboratory, in partnership with the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition, the Town of Brookhaven and the Northeast Regional Biomass Program, is hosting a one-day seminar for public- and private-sector individuals and organizations who are interested in the production, supply, uses and benefits of renewable biodiesel fuel. The... Read more →

Syntroleum Targets Small- to Mid-Sized Gas Fields for GTL

Syntroleum Corporation commemorated the successful production of more than 140,000 gallons of ultra-clean synthetic fuels at its gas-to-liquid (GTL) fuels plant at Port of Catoosa, Oklahoma. The plant also manufactured 60,000 gallons of additional products, such as syncrude. The Catoosa plant, designed and constructed under DOE’s Ultra-Clean Fuels program, is... Read more →

ArvinMeritor Developing New All-Electric Commercial Vehicle

ArvinMeritor, an $8B Tier One supplier to the auto industry, is developing an all-electric drivetrain for commercial vehicles with Unicell, a medium-duty body builder. The resulting new Class 4 medium-duty vehicle (GVWR of 16,000 lbs), which is being designed for a fleet customer, will use a fully-electric drivetrain and will... Read more →

Diesel Passenger Vehicles in US Grew 56% in Five Years

The number of light and medium-duty diesel passenger vehicles registered in the US grew 56% from 2000 through 2004, from 301,741 to 468,990. That represents an increase in marketshare of 1.14 percentage points, from 2.25% in 2000 to 3.37% in 2004, according to research done by Polk Automotive for the... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler Deal with DOE on Fuel Cells

DaimlerChrysler, like GM (earlier post), has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to further develop fuel cell vehicles in the United States. DaimlerChrysler will invest more than $70 million in this partnership. The five-year agreement, part of the DOE Controlled Fleet and Hydrogen Infrastructure Demonstration... Read more →

Toyota to Introduce Highlander Hybrid in June

Following closely on its introduction of the Japanese version of a hybrid Highlander (earlier post), Toyota has announced that it will introduce the seven-passenger hybrid SUV to the US market in June. The Highlander Hybrid uses a new version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain specifically developed for the mid-size... Read more →

GM to Build 40-Vehicle Fuel Cell Demonstration Fleet

GM and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have entered into a five-year, $88-million agreement to build a 40-vehicle hydrogen fuel cell demonstration and testing fleet. Under the program, GM will spend $44-million to deploy fuel cell vehicle fleets in Washington D.C., New York , California and Michigan. The DOE... Read more →

SeQuential to Open All-Biofuel Station in Oregon

AP. SeQuential Biofuels, a biofuels marketer and distributor in Eugene and Portland, Oregon, plans to open an all biofuel retail service station in September or October in Eugene. The proposed SeQuential station is a pioneering effort because all the fuels it would offer would be earth-friendly to some degree, managing... Read more →

Commercial Automotive Fuel Cells by 2010 or Bust

Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) fuel cells, released its “Technology Roadmap” leading to a commercially viable fuel cell by 2010. The Road Map, announced to coincide with the start of the National Hydrogen Association’s Annual Hydrogen Conference in Washington, D.C.,... Read more →

Danish Towns Fund Hydrogen Train

The Engineer reports that three Danish towns in Ringkøbing Amt (county) in Western Jutland—Vemb, Lemvig and Thyborøn—will put up funding for a hydrogen-fueled train running along the 59 km railway line connecting them. The line is operated by the Vemb-Lemvig-Thyborøn Jernbane (VLTJ) railway (Lemvigbanen). The county of Ringkøbing is home... Read more →

Switzerland Taxes Heating Oil, Tries Voluntary Tax on Transportation Fuels

The Swiss government, which has been trying to work through a number of different proposals on a carbon tax (earlier post), decided last week to start by levying a 9 centime (approx $0.075) per liter tax on heating oil, but only opted for a trial 1–1.6 centime (approx. 0.8 cents... Read more →

New Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) Based on the Prius Introduced

Valence Technology, a developer of large-format Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and EnergyCS, a developer of integration control systems, are introducing a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) concept car based on a 2004 Toyota Prius. To be shown at the 21st Worldwide International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS... Read more →

Nanostructured Catalyst Produces Hydrogen from Ammonia

Researchers at Rutgers are exploring the use of an iridium-based nanostructured catalyst to extract hydrogen from ammonia for use in a fuel cell. The research team found that iridium heated to temperatures above 300 ºC (approx. 600 ºF) in the presence of oxygen morphs into uniform arrays of nanosized pyramids.... Read more →

New York City Opting for Hybrid Buses as Standard, Halting CNG

NYT. New York City Transit (NYCT) has decided to link its clean bus strategy to diesel hybrids alone, and to halt its purchases of CNG buses and the accompanying infrastructure build-out as well. The New York Times reports that the decision will be presented tomorrow (Monday). NYCT has been very... Read more →

Greenergy, Tesco Parnter on 100,000 Tonne/Year UK Biodiesel Plant

Greenergy Fuels and Tesco, one of the top international retailers, have secured funding for the building of a £10 million ($18.7 million, €14.4 million), 100,000-tonne per year biodiesel refinery in the UK—the largest single-line biodiesel production facility in the country. Scheduled to open Q2 2006, the plant will use rapeseed... Read more →

Italy Cuts Tax Relief for Biodiesel

A new report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network (FAS/GAIN) projects a major decrease in Italian biodiesel production due to legislative changes that cut the amount of biodiesel eligible for tax relief. Recent Italian legislation cut the amount of biodiesel production eligible for tax relief from... Read more →

Construction to Begin on Largest North American Biodiesel Refinery

North Dakota Biodiesel plans to build what will be the largest biodiesel refinery in North America. The $50-million plant in Minot, ND, will produce 100,000 tons of biodiesel from canola per year: approximately 2,055 barrels per day. Construction is due to begin in August, with the first product available in... Read more →

Bangkok Int’l Motor Show Opens with Focus on Alternative Fuel and Fuel Efficiency

Bangkok Post. The Bangkok International Motor Show—billed as the second-largest car exhibition in the region—opened today with a focus on alternative-fuel engines and fuel-efficient cars. Alternative-fuel engines and fuel-efficient cars attracted heavy interest among visitors to the Bangkok International Motor Show yesterday, a reflection of growing consumer unease in light... Read more →

More Guessing...Er, Forecasting...Hybrid Market Size

AutoWeek notes that analysts are having a difficult time predicting the growth of the hybrid market. Estimates of annual U.S. hybrid sales in 2010 run from a conservative 535,000 by J.D. Power and Associates to 3.5 million in a Booz Allen Hamilton forecast. J.D. Power’s forecast assumes a $4,000 premium... Read more →

GM’s Lutz: Toyota Scored a Major Coup with Hybrids

During a session at the Morgan Stanley Global Automotive Conference in New York, Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman, Product Development, and Chairman, GM North America, gave his take on the importance of a number of technologies in the auto industry. (Webcast here.) Hybrids, he noted, are of growing importance: Whether... Read more →

EPA Approves Draft Permit for New $2.5B Oil Refinery

The US EPA has approved Arizona state regulators’ draft permit for a proposed $2.5-billion oil refinery in Arizona, according to the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. This would be the first refinery built in Arizona and the first new refinery in the United States in nearly 30 years. Expected output... Read more →

Automakers, Canada Strike CO2 Deal

The Globe and Mail reports that automakers have struck a voluntary deal with Candada to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles by 5.3 million metric tons by 2010. Canadian Environment Minister Stéphane Dion had previously threatened to impose emissions limits on the sector if a voluntary deal couldn’t be reached.... Read more →

Toyota Brings Electric Personal Transit Concept to New York: the i-unit

Toyota is bringing its i-unit concept electric personal transit vehicle to the 2005 New York International Auto Show for its North American debut. The concept vehicle had appeared earlier at the Tokyo Motor show last year. The components are made with decomposable and recyclable materials to reduce impact on the... Read more →

More GM E85 Promos

Following on its announcement of providing 28 Flex-Fuel Avalanches to member states of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition (earlier post), GM has announced several other E85 promotions: The company will provide an E85-capable Avalanche to the Illinois Corn Growers Association for use in the state as part of a campaign to... Read more →

Toyota Launches Two Hybrid SUVs in Japan—Coming to America Soon

Toyota launched the hybrid versions of its Kluger and Harrier SUVs today in Japan. The Kluger is sold in North America as the Highlander; the hybrid Harrier is the Japanese version of the Lexus RX400h (earlier post). Toyota announced the hybrid Highlander at the Detroit Auto Show last year, and... Read more →

$4 Million for New CNG Buses at Los Angeles Airport

The managers of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) have awarded a $4.2-million contract to North American Bus Industries for the purchase of six 60-foot articulated CNG buses. The new buses will shuttle passengers between remotely parked jumbo aircraft and the terminals. LAX requested the buses, three of which will replace... Read more →

New, Safer Catalyst Boosts H2 Production from Syngas

Ohio State University researchers have developed a chemical catalyst that increases hydrogen production via coal gasification without using a toxic metal common in other catalysts. The new catalyst uses a combination of iron and aluminum (Fe-Al) with other metals (such as cobalt (Co) or copper (Cu)) to harvest hydrogen from... Read more →

Rockefeller Invests in Chinese Synthetic Fuel Company

AFX. The Rockefeller family is taking a $100 million stake (31%) in China’s Shandong Jiutai Chemical Co, and teaming up on the construction of a $677-million (5.6 bln yuan) dimethyl ether (DME) production facility. DME is a clean-burning, synthetic substitute for diesel. (Earlier post.) The new project, with an annual... Read more →

Vectrix Readies its Electric and Fuel Cell Hybrid Scooters for Market

Car Buyer’s Notebook reports that Vectrix is preparing to launch its VXe plug-in electric scooter internationally. The $10,000 rechargeable electric scooter will go on sale in Europe first, late this year or early in 2006. The VXe combines a 30 Ah, 125 volt Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery pack and... Read more →

Rep. Bartlett: Peak Oil is the Coming Tsunami

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) presented a cogent 60-minute backgrounder to the House of Representatives on peak oil and its implications. His speech, which is worth reading in its entirety, is a clear overview of the theory and the current state of affairs. He challenges the economists’ stance that higher prices... Read more →

New Nanotube Could Produce H2 from Sunlight and Water

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are investigating the use of a new type of nanodevice for photocatalytic solar hydrogen production from water. The new devices are porphyrin nanotubes—nanotubes made entirely of oppositely charged porphyrin molecules that self-assemble in water at room temperature. (Electron microscope image of porphyrin nanotube at right.)... Read more →

Some European States Delay in Implementing EC Biofuels Directive

The European Commission has issued letters of formal notice to nine Member States that have not yet communicated their target for the share of biofuels in 2005, as required by Directive 2003/30/EC, the European legislation on biofuels. The directive requires that 2% of all diesel and gasoline sold be biofuels... Read more →

Illinois Funds E85 Fueling Stations

Illinois is making $500,000 in funding available to establish new E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) facilities at retail gasoline outlets in the state. My administration is committed to working to reduce gas prices by supporting ethanol as a practical alternative. With soaring gas prices, ethanol is a cleaner-burning and cheaper... Read more →