« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

Malaysia Expands Natural Gas Fueling Infrastructure

Bernama. Petronas Malaysia NGV Sdn Bhd will increase the number of fueling stations selling natural gas to widen its usage and as an alternative to diesel, according to its executive director, Ismail Ahmad. The company plans to build at least 100 special service stations selling natural gas throughout the country... Read more →

A Physicist’s View of the World’s Energy Situation

Well, not just any physicist. Dr Steven Koonin, who was appointed BP’s Chief Scientist last year, appeared at a recent public Colloquium at Fermilab to discuss some of the technical, economic, and social considerations surrounding the challenge of ensuring adequate energy supplies in an environmentally acceptable manner. Koonin is currently... Read more →

Hatch Reintroduces CLEAR ACT to Promote Alt-Fuel, Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), supported by a coalition of environmental groups, automakers, and alternative fuel associations, re-introduced to Congress for the third time the CLEAR ACT—Clean Efficient Automobiles Resulting from Advanced Car Technologies. Is it any wonder [absent the “pathetic” lack of an energy policy] that we have dramatically increased... Read more →

China Sets Timetable for Euro-III and -IV Standards

China’s State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) issued five new standards on vehicle emissions, including the timeline for the implementation of the Euro-III and -IV standards for light-duty vehicles. Euro-III standards are to be implemented nationwide from July 1, 2007 and -IV standards from July 1, 2010. Read more →

Tracy, Calif to Add More CNG to Bus Fleet

The Record. Fresh off its $2-million acquisition of six CNG-fueled buses and a fueling station, the city of Tracy, California plans to add two more 30-foot CNG buses and quadruple the size of the fueling facility. The additional $750,000 comes from federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program (CMAQ).... Read more →

Corning Introduces New PM Filter; Bullish on Diesel Market

Corning will begin supplying a new, advanced diesel particulate filter to light-duty vehicle manufacturers later this year. The new Corning DuraTrap AT filter uses an advanced ceramic material and monolithic design to deliver a filtration efficiency of more than 90%. This new filter also provides excellent pressure drop performance to... Read more →

Enova Electric Drives in Two More Fuel Cell Prototypes

Enova Systems’s 120 kW HybridPower drive systems are being used in two different fuel cell-powered ground support equipment prototypes and tests for the US Air Force. In the first, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, which operates the Department of Defense (DoD) Fuel Cell Test and Evaluation Center (FCTec), is integrating the Enova... Read more →

ZAP to Use ABAT Lithium-Ion Polymer Batteries in EVs

ZAP will begin using Advanced Battery Technologies’ (ABAT) Lithium-Ion Polymer batteries in its electric vehicles. Under the first phase of a new agreement, ABAT will retrofit a range of ZAP electric vehicles with its Lithium Polymer batteries and chargers. According to ZAP, initial testing shows that the ABAT batteries will... Read more →

Delta to Use Ford Hydrogen-Fueled Tow Tractors

Ford Motor Company, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), TUG Technologies Corporation, Delta Airlines and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) announced a partnership that will put two hydrogen-fueled airport tow tractors into service at the Orlando airport. The M1A tow tractor uses a Ford Power Products 4.2-liter, V-6... Read more →

Australian Biodiesel Producer Scores with IPO

Daily Telegraph. The initial public offering of shares in Australian Renewable Fuels closed early due to strong demand, raising $20 million and giving the biodiesel producer a market capitalization of $108 million. The company said the offering closed two days early due to strong demand from investors, with the institutional... Read more →

VW Golf Diesel + DSG Reduces Fuel Consumption by 10.6%

Volkswagen is combining its diesel Golf Plus 2.0 TDI with its direct shift gearbox (DSG) to deliver up to a 10.6% reduction in fuel consumption and lower emissions compared to a Golf with a five-speed automatic transmission. A new Golf with the five-speed automatic gearbox would have a fuel consumption... Read more →

New Diesel Emissions Catalyst Technology from Engelhard

Engelhard Corporation is introducing a new platinum/palladium diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) technology that allows automakers to meet Euro IV emission regulations and also reduce their precious-metal costs. A diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) is a flow-through device installed on the exhaust pipe. As exhaust gases pass through it, the catalyst, carbon... Read more →

Peak Notes

It’s a busy time with respect to the discussion of Peak Oil. Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett goes back before Congress tonight (27 April) in his third Special Order presentation to the body on Peak Oil. Depletion Scotland, an organization that works closely with the Oil Depletion Analysis Center (ODAC), just... Read more →

Canadian Oil Sands Company to Build Mega Ethanol Plant

Suncor, the Canadian oil sands company, has received the final environmental approvals from Canadian federal and provincial governments for the construction of a Canadian $120 million (US $96.4 million) corn ethanol production facility. Work on the plant should be complete by mid-2006. Suncor’s new facility will produce approximately 200 million... Read more →

Fraunhofer Fuel Cell-Flywheel Hybrid Tram

Fraunhofer Institute for Transport and Infrastructure Systems (IVI) in Germany has developed a fuel cell-flywheel hybrid trolley (tram). The fuel cell-based system is a derivative of an earlier diesel-powered hybrid version. The two-car hydrogen AutoTram is powered by a 80kW Ballard fuel cell system and three electric motors. Roof-mounted tanks... Read more →

Honda Pushes into Residential Combined Heating and Power in the US

In a further extension of its work in distributed power generation and vehicle fueling, American Honda Motor Company is partnering with Massachusetts-based Climate Energy to bring micro combined heat and power (MCHP) co-generation technology to the home. The new MCHP system uses natural gas to provide residential heat efficiently, with... Read more →

First Major Missouri Biodiesel Plant Slated for Mexico (Mo.)

Moberly Monitor. Mid-America Biofuels, a partnership that includes a Missouri farmer-owned biodiesel business, Archer Daniels Midland, Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers, and MFA Oil Company plans to build the state’s first major biodiesel plant in Mexico, Missouri. The facility will use soybean oil as feedstock and have capacity to produce 30... Read more →

Ford Argentina Introduces Gasoline, CNG, Diesel FiestaMax

Although Ford halted North American production of its natural gas and compressed gas vehicles “to concentrate on fuel-efficient gas-electric vehicles” (earlier post), the manufacturer continues to introduce new CNG models internationally, where demand is much higher. The new Ford FiestaMax, just introduced in Argentina, is a case in point. The... Read more →

Hybrids Up 81% in 2004; California Leads Nation with 30%

Here at GCC, we track hybrid sales by the sales figures released by the manufacturers. (Earlier post.) Another view of the market comes from looking at the registrations of new vehicles. Nationwide registrations for new hybrid vehicles jumped 81% to 83,153 in 2004 compared to the prior year, according to... Read more →

Diesel Engine Manufacturers and CARB Clash on Flash

Four diesel engine manufacturers (Caterpillar, Cummins, Mack Trucks and Volvo) went to court Friday (through the EMA—Engine Manufacturers Association) in California on Friday to block the implementation of a rule set to take effect in a week regarding mandatory engine software upgrades to meet state pollution standards. The genesis of... Read more →

Update: UQM Powertrain for Series Propane-Electric Hybrid Shuttle

As noted in a previous post, a series hybrid electric shuttle bus powered by a UQM propulsion system is under test by a Tier One supplier. A Ford LSG 642 (6 cylinder, 4.2-liter) engine fueled by propane drives the generator. Maximum output at 2200 rpm (the UQM operating speed) is... Read more →

Malaysia Building First Biodiesel Refinery

Bernama. The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and Golden Hope Plantations are partnering to build a biodiesel plant in Labu in Negeri Sembilan—the first in the country. MPOB is investing RM 40 million ($10.5 million) in the plant, according to Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui.... Read more →

Iowa Governor Orders State Agencies to Improve Energy Efficiency; Mandates Hybrids, Alt- and Biofuels

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack issued a wide-ranging executive order (#41) Friday directing state agencies to improve upon their current practices of conserving energy. Among the directives stipulated in the order: To reduce energy consumption in all conditioned facilities owned by the State by an average of 15% by 2010, relative... Read more →

U of Minn Launches Wind-to-Hydrogen Project

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other dignitaries dedicated the only public large-scale wind research instrument in the United States designed to conduct research on converting wind power into hydrogen. The 1.65 MW research wind turbine will sit on a 230-foot high tower. Each blade is 135 feet long. The turbine... Read more →

Washington State Legislature Passes Bill Adopting California Emissions Regulations

The Washington state Senate this week passed an amended version of the bill, HB 1397 (earlier post) adopting California’s emission standards for light- and medium-duty passenger vehicles. The bill now heads to the Governor for signing into law. The Senate dropped some of California’s provisions, including a quota for zero-emission... Read more →

Tanker Aground in Dardanelles; Shipping Halted

Turkish Press. A diesel oil-laden tanker ran aground early Friday in the Dardanelles Strait, forcing Turkish authorities to shut the narrow waterway to maritime traffic, according to the Anatolia news agency. The 189-meter (620-foot) tanker lost its rudder while sailing through one of the narrowest points of the Dardanelles, which,... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler Pushes Sustainable Mobility at Shanghai 2005 Show

At the Auto Shanghai 2005 show, DaimlerChrysler is emphasizing its entire range of approaches to sustainable mobility for Asia as a whole, and China in particular. Making their Asian debuts at the show are the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Hybrid (earlier post) and a cutaway model of the fuel-cell version of the... Read more →

FedEx to Add up to 75 More Diesel Hybrid Trucks to Fleet

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. will purchase up to 75 more parallel hybrid diesel-electric trucks for its service fleet in the next 12 months, contingent upon pricing and availability. The announcement coincided with the unveiling of two FedEx hybrid trucks in Washington, DC, which brought the company-wide total... Read more →

ChevronTexaco: An Approach to Distributed Hydrogen Production

Clearly, one of the major requirements for a hydrogen-based transportation system is the production of the hydrogen itself. At the recent Hydrogen Expo USA in Washington, ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures (CTTV) and Modine Manufacturing presented a paper outlining their development of an innovative, distributed, natural-gas-fed, smaller scale Steam Methane reformer for... Read more →

Malaysian Biotech Firm Ups Palm Oil Yield 30%

The Star. Malaysian conglomerate Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd has launched its first commercial clonal oil palm, ABB1, which has the potential to enhance production yields by 30% compared with current seedling materials. Guthrie Biotech Laboratory, a wholly-owned subsidiary, produced the clonal oil palm. While the most successful commercial oil palm oil... Read more →

Thai Cabinet Encourages CNG, Ethanol, Biodiesel Use

Thailand’s Cabinet approved proposals by the Ministry of Energy that encourage the use of natural gas, gasohol (95% gasoline, 5% ethanol) and biodiesel as alternative fuels for vehicles. The plan includes tax incentives for motorists using NGV; more gasohol pumps at retail gasoline stations; and an increase in palm tree... Read more →

Electric Car Goes for Land Speed Record

A high-speed electrical car, powered by ABB motors and drives, will attempt to break the land speed record for an electrical vehicle on May 5 in Nevada. The 32-foot (10 meter) long, “e=motion” car will try to beat the current official FIA (Fédération Internationale d’Automobile) electric land speed record of... Read more →

NYC Legislation Mandates Increases in Fuel Economy, Reductions in Emissions

The New York City Council’s (NYCC) Committee on Environmental Protection passed a wide-ranging set of five initiatives, that, if passed by the full Council and then signed into laws by the Mayor, would implement stricter emissions standards as well as mandating a 20% increase in fuel economy by 2015 for... Read more →

Japanese/Thai Venture Plans 80K Gallon/Day Biodiesel Refinery

Bangkok Post. Revo International, a Kyoto-based biodiesel technology provider, has entered into a joint venture in Thailand to develop a one-billion-baht (approximately $25.4 million) biodiesel refinery in Chon Buri. The plant, expected to start operation in July 2006, will have a full capacity of 300,000 liters per day (approximately 79,250... Read more →

Toronto Transit Orders 150 Series Hybrid Diesel-Electric Buses from Orion

As anticipated (earlier post), the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has ordered 150 series hybrid diesel-electric buses from Orion Bus Industries, a division of DaimlerChrysler. The hybrids are part of a larger 330-bus order. These buses, to be delivered in 2006, will be TTC’s first hybrid models and will give Toronto... Read more →

CalCars (Plug-in Prius) Founder Felix Kramer on Science Friday

CalCars Founder Felix Kramer is talking with NPR Science Friday host Ira Flatow and phone callers this Friday, April 22, scheduled from 2:40-3:00 Eastern, 11:40-noon Pacific, etc. on your local NPR affiliate. Search for stations and confirm the schedule at http://www.npr.org/stations/. Streaming information is available at http://sciencefriday.com/streaming.html, and a podcast/downloadable... Read more →

BP Invests $130M to Up ULSD Production at Whiting Refinery

BP is investing some $130 million on new ultra low-sulfur diesel facilities at its Whiting, Indiana refinery. The addition of a new Distillate Hydrotreater (DHT) will allow the refinery, the fourth largest in the US, to produce approximately 36,000 barrels per day of the ultra low-sulfur diesel product. BP has... Read more →