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D1 Oils Raises $47M in Second Placement

Reuters. D1 Oils, the UK-based biodiesel producer with a global distributed production strategy (earlier post) raised another US$47 million (£25.8 million) in a second share placement. The company went public last October, raising US$21 million ( £11.5m). Since then its has increased its production targets sevenfold in seven months. D1... Read more →

BMW Hints at a Future Supercapacitor Hybrid

Edmunds.com interviews BMW’s Professor Raymond Freymann, the managing director of BMW Group Research and Technology. An aeronautical engineer by training, he has been at BMW for almost 20 years. As the company has often said, BMW is bullish on hydrogen long-term, although not necessarily on fuel cells. Hence their emphasis... Read more →

Swiss Environmental Agency Calls for Mandatory PM Filters

With this year’s UN World Environment Day (5 June 2005) approaching, the director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Lanscapes (SAEFL), Philippe Roch, has called for specific action to improve air quality, reduce noise and provide ample green spaces in Switzerland’s towns and cities. Among the proposed... Read more →

Ford Product Development VP on Powertrain Futures

all4engineers runs an interesting, albeit short, interview with Richard Parry-Jones, Ford’s Executive Vice-President for product development, on Ford’s views and activities around different powertrains. Parry-Jones touches on electric vehicles (“very, very limited”); hybrids (significant, but not taking over); hydrogen and diesel. A few snippets: [On Hydrogen Internal Combustion engines] A... Read more →

Mazda Strengthens Global Environmental Charter

Mazda has updated its global environmental charter for the first time in 13 years. The revised plan defines the expanded scope of environmental initiatives for the entire Mazda group and reinforces the company’s worldwide corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. Mazda’s basic stated policy consists of three principles: To contribute to... Read more →

Rio de Janeiro Trash Fleet Adopts O2Diesel; First On-road Use of E-Diesel Blend in Brazil

Comlurb, the municipally owned trash collection company serving Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, has begun using O2Diesel’s proprietary ethanol-diesel fuel blend in its fleet of trash-hauling vehicles. Comlurb’s use of O2Diesel represents the first time that ethanol-diesel fuel has been used in a commercial on-road truck application in Brazil. Comlurb, one... Read more →

Corporate Leaders to Blair: Do More on Climate Change, We’ll Help

In a letter to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, leaders from thirteen major UK and international companies are offering to support the Government in developing new, longer-term policies for tackling climate change. The companies, members of the Corporate Leaders Group, argue that there is a need for urgent action to... Read more →

Blue Sun Plans to Open 10 New Biodiesel Stations on 4 July

Rocky Mountain News. Blue Sun Biodiesel plans to open 10 new biodiesel fueling stations in Colorado on July 4. The new stations, located in Vail, Glenwood Springs, Golden, Steamboat Springs and Grand Junction, among others, pump B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel). Jeff Probst, president and CEO of Fort Collins-based... Read more →

EPA Awards $75K for Waste-to-Biodiesel Project

The US Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $75,000 grant to a group of business and government organizations in Santa Cruz, Calif. to help fund a waste vegetable oil-to-biodiesel project. The grant—in the form of an EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Innovation Pilot—went to Ecology Action of Santa... Read more →

Australia PM Appoints Biofuels Taskforce to Consider Mandates

Australia Prime Minister John Howard has commissioned a taskforce to examine the latest scientific evidence on the impacts of ethanol and other biofuel use on human health, environmental outcomes and automotive operations. On this basis, and taking into account the most recent economic analyses of fuel supply in Australia, the... Read more →

Purolator Introduces Hybrids and FCV into its Fleet

Purolator Courier Ltd., Canada’s largest overnight courier company, formally introduced ten hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and one hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicle (FC-HEV) into its Toronto curb-side delivery fleet in a large-scale pilot program. The company plans to integrate an additional 20 HEVs into its fleet in other major metropolitan... Read more →

SwRI Tries to HEDGE with Advanced Gasoline Combustion Research Program

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is conducting a cooperative research program to develop a higher-efficiency gasoline engine for both light- and heavy-duty applications. The research consortium, known as HEDGE (High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine), seeks to develop new technologies for the gasoline engine market that will make the platform more competitive... Read more →

Nissan is Next: Hybrid Altima to be Produced in the US in 2006

Bloomberg. Nissan said that it will begin building a hybrid version of its Altima sedan at a US plant starting in late 2006. Nissan thus will become the second Japanese carmaker, after Toyota, to produce hybrid vehicles in the world’s largest auto market. The company will use either the Smyrna,... Read more →

Senate Committee Approves Energy Bill; Now to the Floor

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee wrapped up its work on the energy bill, approving it by a bipartisan vote of 21–1. It appears to be more aggressive than its counterpart from the House in a number of areas such as appliance efficiency standards and building codes. Although tax-incentive... Read more →

Japan and Brazil Cooperating to Promote Ethanol Use

Bloomberg. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva agreed on the need for more non-governmental cooperation to promote ethanol use, according to a statement released in Tokyo by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Japan expects to introduce more vehicle fuels containing ethanol, and will... Read more →

California Rolls out $54M Hydrogen Highway Plan

The California Environmental Protection Agency formally released the California Hydrogen Highway Network Blueprint Plan (CA H2 Net)—a blueprint that calls for the development of a network of hydrogen stations throughout California to help accelerate the transition to a sustainable hydrogen economy. The first phase of the Blueprint Plan calls for... Read more →

$1.5B Refinery for Vietnam—Its First

A consortium comprising JGC Corporation (Japan), Technip of France, Technip Geoproduction of Malaysia and Tecnicas Reunidas of Spain has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (Petro Vietnam) for the Dung Quat oil refinery to be constructed in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam.... Read more →

Vehicle-to-Grid Power Symposium in Seattle

A Seattle-based non-profit organization, Sustainable Ballard, is organizing a two half-day forum on Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) systems. The first afternoon session on 6 June is a technical symposium on V2G; the second on 7 June explores V2G possibilities in the Seattle area. As it sounds, the V2G concept is that battery,... Read more →

Mexico City Retrofit Pilot Reduces PM 90%; Full Implementation Delayed by Lack of ULSD

A year-long joint US-Mexico demonstration project is reducing PM emissions in a test fleet of 20 Mexico City buses by 90% and NOx emissions by 10%. More widespread implementation of the technology may be hampered by a lack of Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel, however. The Mexico City Diesel Retrofit... Read more →

DOE Announces Research Projects for Fuel Efficiency

The DOE announced six projects in a public-private partnership with itself, industry and academia aimed at improving the vehicle efficiency of cars and trucks. The six projects carry a value of more than $14 million, of which DOE is contributing approximately 50%. DOE has a goal of improving the efficiency... Read more →

Mazda Entering Crossover Segment with CX-7

Mazda is moving into the crossover segment. The company announced that the vehicle shown as the MX-Crossport at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit will formally move from concept to a production vehicle in 2006 to be named the Mazda CX-7. In Mazda’s new global naming strategy, crossover-type... Read more →

RailPower Develops Cabless Hybrid Locomotive; More Orders for the Green Goat

RailPower, makers of the Green Goat series hybrid switch locomotive (earlier post) has developed a cabless version aimed at the remote control switching market. BNSF has ordered four of the new GG20B cabless hybrids with delivery this year for operation in Texas. BNSF also announced that it plans to keep... Read more →

NOAA Forecasts Above Normal 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season; Possible Impacts for Gulf Oil Production

NOAA has forecast a 70% chance of an above-normal 2005 Atlantic hurricane season season, a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. This outlook is produced by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC), Hurricane Research... Read more →

Senate Committee Adopts 8-Billion Gallon Renewable Fuel Standard in Bill

The Senate Energy Committee today adopted an amendment to its energy bill that establishes a renewable fuels standard RFS of 8 billion gallons by 2012. Offered by Sens. Jim Talent (R-MO), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Ken Salazar (D-CO), the amendment passed on a strong, bipartisan voice vote.... Read more →

Nature: Congress Has Not “Grasped the Scale” of the Energy Problem

The lead editorial in the 19 May issue of Nature, the weekly, international, interdisciplinary journal of science, succinctly takes the US Congress to task on the energy bill currently under consideration. Access is limited to subscribers; I've cited some of the select bits below. [...]judging from the version of the... Read more →

DOE and USDA to Collaborate on Biomass-to-Hydrogen; DOE Awards $64M in Other Hydrogen Research

The Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working together to develop cost-effective technologies for hydrogen production from biomass resources. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two agencies today, DOE and USDA experts will meet regularly to share information on technologies and... Read more →

Westport HPDI-LNG Trucks in One-Year “Clean Air Corridor” Demo

Five heavy-duty trucks equipped with Westport Innovations’ High-Pressure Direct-Injection (HPDI) technology and fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) are beginning a one-year demonstration project along Canada’s busy Highway 401. Challenger Motor Freight will operate five new Volvo trucks equipped with 15-liter, 450-hp Cummins ISX engines equipped with Westport’s HPDI-LNG technology... Read more →

Fitch Agrees with S&P, Downgrades GM to Junk; Reliance on SUVs a Major Factor

For the second time in three weeks, GM’s credit rating was cut to junk status by a global rating agency. Fitch Ratings followed Standard & Poor’s action (earlier post), and downgraded GM to BB+ from BBB-. The action reflects the continuing decline in GM’s North American sales of key mid-size... Read more →

ZAP Places $1B Smart Car Order, Looks for Fulfillment Partners

ZAP has placed a purchase order for $1 billion worth of Smart Cars with smart GmbH. ZAP is waiting for confirmation that smart GmbH will fulfill it. However, Reuters reports that DaimlerChrysler’s Smart division was unaware of any such $1B order. ZAP says that it has received more than $1... Read more →

Honda Insight Tops in Tour de Sol Rally; Plug-in Prius Delivers Nominal 102 MPG (But Net 67 MPG)

A modified Honda Insight driven by Brian Hardegen of Pepperell, MA, was the top placing vehicle at the National 2005 Tour de Sol Monte Carlo Rally (earlier post), achieving 94 mpg. That leaves the 100-mpg Challenge on the able for next year’s event. The plug-in Prius demonstrated by Valence and... Read more →

Fuel Cell Car Wins Shell Eco-marathon with Equivalent to 9,024 MPG

Hydrogen-powered cars were the most efficient on the road during a record-breaking weekend at the Shell Eco-marathon at the Nogaro Motor Circuit in Gers, France, but two gasoline-powered cars used less overall lifecycle energy for the vehicles and the fuel. The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams to design and build... Read more →

Power Export Upgrade for the Diesel Hybrid RST-V

General Dynamics Land Systems has received a $5.9 million rider on its development contract to augment the currently specified features of the new hybrid diesel-electric Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V). The upgrade reflects design changes requested for various US Marine Corps (USMC) applications, including a 30-kW export power capability... Read more →

With Cayenne Sales Faltering, Porsche Picks Up the Pace on Hybrid Discussions

Reuters reports that Porsche will provide in mid-September the first details of plans to eventually build a hybrid version of its Cayenne SUV. A spokesmand for the company said that it is in talks with unspecified potential partners to develop a more fuel-efficient hybrid version of the Cayenne. The Handelsblatt... Read more →

New Mercedes Diesel V8 Delivers More Power with Fewer Emissions and Comparable Fuel Consumption

DaimlerChrysler continues down its diesel engine development path of delivering more power and torque with equivalent or slightly reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions with the introduction of its newest 4-liter V8. The new engine enters production this fall in the new E420 CDI. The 231-kW (314-hp) V8 develops maximum... Read more →

ZAP and Apollo Demo On-Board Ammonia Reformer for Alkaline Fuel Cell Car

ZAP and its technology partner Apollo Energy Systems announced the successful demonstration of an on-board ammonia reformer—the“Ammonia Cracker”—to produce hydrogen for use in a ZAP-Apollo alkaline fuel cell (AFC)-powered vehicle. In August 2004, ZAP announced a partnership with Apollo to develop a prototype alkaline fuel cell car based on the... Read more →

Royal Society Calls for Carbon Tax in UK

The Royal Society—the UK’s national academy of science—is calling for the government to implement a carbon tax on all emissions of carbon dioxide from all sectors including industrial, domestic and transport in light of the failure of current policy to reduce CO2 emissions. There are some tough political decisions to... Read more →

Cummins Diesel Engine Business Buoyed by China; Plans to Expand Joint Venture

Cummins, helped by demand in China and the success of its Dongfeng Cummins joint venture, reported its best financial year ever in 2004 with earnings of some $350 million on sales of $8 billion. Cummins has steadily diversified its business and production base. In the fourth quarter of 2004, and... Read more →

Indonesia Going Nuclear by 2017

Xinhua. Indonesian State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman said on Friday that the government would develop nuclear technology by 2017 for various peaceful purposes, including power generation. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. “The energy policy strategy is focused on the plan to develop... Read more →

Texas Petroleum Refinery Begins Blending B20

AGE Refining, an independent petroleum refinery based in San Antonio, TX is blending its own B20 (20% biodiesel) biodiesel product for sale to distributors. The B20 blend combines soybean-based biodiesel provided by Houston-based Gulf Hydrocarbon, and AGE’s own diesel product. This marks the first availability in Texas of biodiesel at... Read more →

Two Oregon Wineries Switch to Biodiesel

News-Register. Two wineries in western Oregon have switched to a B20 biodiesel blend. A local pertroleum distributor, R.D. Barker Petroleum Products of McMinnville, provides the fuel to Sokol Blosser Winery near Dayton and Argyle Winery in Dundee. Barker Petroleum gets its biodiesel from SeQuential Biofuels, with offices in Portland and... Read more →

Energy Future Coalition Urges Senate Support for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles, Plug-ins and Biofuels

The Energy Future Coalition released a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 45 top national security, labor, and energy policy experts to U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM), Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, which is currently marking up its version of the energy bill. The letter, which is a... Read more →

Merc E320s With New V6 Diesel Deliver Almost 50 mpg on Long-Distance Test Run

DaimlerChrysler has been working some standard E320 diesel sedans hard as part of its growing diesel campaign in the US. In April, three standard E 320s each completed a high-speed, 100,000-mile test run without problems. The cars established world records by covering 50,000 miles (80,467 kilometers) at 225.456 km/h (140.1... Read more →

Honda to Put Fuel Injection on All Motorcyles by 2007; Targeting Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reductions

Nikkei News reports that Honda will introduce fuel injection systems by the end of 2007 on all motorcycles it produces and sells in Japan to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. This advances by three years an earlier target the company had set for such implementation. Of the 61 models... Read more →