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Fuji Heavy and Partners Working on Hybrid Storage with 100x Current Discharge/Recharge Speeds

Nikkei. A research group including Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell Ltd. is developing a storage cell for hybrid automobiles capable of recharging and discharging electricity at 100 times the current speeds. The partners, which include Nagasaki University and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, aim... Read more →

New Mexico Utility Switches Diesel Fleet to B20 Biodiesel

PNM, a New Mexico utility, has begun using B20 biodiesel in its diesel fleets in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The utility began phasing in the B20 for 240 diesel-powered vehicles—including medium-duty trucks, large trucks, backhoes, compressors and welding units—in July. Those 240 vehicles represent about 57% of the PNM diesel... Read more →

Port of Los Angeles Shares Air Quality Technology with China, Taiwan

An executive delegation from the Port of Los Angeles is visiting China and Taiwan this week as part of a mutual pact between the United States and China to manage air pollution derived from marine vessels and ports. China is the Port’s number one trading partner, with more than $64... Read more →

Caterpillar Retrofits Diesel Equipment at Port of Cleveland

In a demonstration of the effectiveness of its retrofit technology, Caterpillar is equipping all land-based equipment at the Port of Cleveland with emission-reducing catalyzed converter/mufflers (CCM). Port operator Federal Marine Terminals owns the 26 lift trucks and other machines being retrofitted under this effort. The project represents the type of... Read more →

Mitsubishi Racks Up 2,500 Orders in Two Weeks in Japan for New SUV

The hot Outlander In an indication that SUVs are still popular around the world, Mitsubishi Motors has already taken 5,000 orders in Japan for its new Outlander mid-size SUV, which launched two weeks ago on October 17. This greatly exceeds the monthly sales target of 2,000 vehicles. The company began... Read more →

Toyota Temporarily Trims Fleet Sales of Prius Due to Consumer Demand

Toyota Motor Sales is temporarily suspending model year 2006 Prius sales to government and rental fleets and cancelling existing order agreements due low inventories and an anticipated surge in retail demand. The company is advising commercial fleet buyers that availability will remain limited with longer than normal order-to-delivery timing (“possibly... Read more →

Hong Kong Environment Chief Looks to Hydrogen to Counter Air Pollution

The Standard. Hong Kong’s Secretary for Environment Works and Transport, Dr. Sarah Liao, countered criticism that not enough is being done to battle rising air pollution by pointing to the long-term promise of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Secretary has been vocal in her support for a hydrogen solution for... Read more →

Kansas Ethanol Consumption Rises Seven-Fold to 2% of non-Diesel Fuel Use

Kansans are using more ethanol in their vehicles, and more stations are set to start offering ethanol-blended fuels in the next year. According to fuel reports from the Kansas Department of Revenue, Kansans consumed more than 4.3 million gallons of ethanol (in E10 and E85 blends) in July and August... Read more →

GM and SAIC Announce Push to Develop and Produce Hybrids and Fuel Cell Vehicles in China

GM and SAIC Motor Corp signed a Memorandum of Understanding today in Shanghai that builds on earlier agreements to explore opportunities for the local application and production of energy-efficient and environmentally clean vehicles in China. GM and SAIC will pursue passenger car hybrid options as well as other clean-energy vehicle... Read more →

E3 Biofuels Building “Closed-Loop” Manure-Powered Ethanol Plant

E3’s closed-loop system E3 Biofuels is building a 20-mgpy (million gallons per year) ethanol plant at a cattle feedlot in Mead, Nebraska, that will be powered by methane from the cattle manure, greatly reducing energy costs while making environmentally sound use of animal waste. The use of manure as a... Read more →

Toyota Hits Some Challenges in Designing Hybrid Drivetrain for Tundra

AutoWeek. Toyota’s work on a hybrid drivetrain for its next generation Tundra full-size pickup (discussed at the Detroit Auto Show in 2004) is presenting some challenges. One of the sticking points, according to company executives, for a hybrid full-size pickup is the need to maintain towing and hauling power for... Read more →

Honda Making Significant Progress on HCCI Engine for Hybrid Application

Honda’s 4-stroke test-bed The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Honda may introduce an HCCI-type engine in a hybrid application that could result in a new Civic hybrid achieving as much as 65 mpg—30% better than the new 2006 version. According to the engineers who spoke to the WSJ... Read more →

Independence Biofuels Opens Pennsylvania Injection-Blending Facility

Independence BioFuels opened the East Coast’s first biodiesel injection-blending facility today in a ceremony with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Independence BioFuels is the first company on the East Coast to make a biodiesel injection-blending facility available for petroleum distributors. Injection-blending combines petroleum-diesel and biodiesel streams into one seamless product in... Read more →

Adelaide Seeking All-Electric Passenger Bus

The city of Adelaide, Australia, has issued a call for registrations of interest (ROI) for manufacturers to supply an all-electric passenger bus with a minimum seating capacity of 20 by June 2006. The ROI package does not provide final specifications. Rather, it sets out some general requirements to which interested... Read more →

Largest Cow Tallow-Biodiesel Plant in Brazil to Open in June

MercoPress. The Bertin Group, Brazil’s largest beef exporter, is building a plant to convert the cow tallow from its abattoirs into biodiesel. The US$18 million plant will begin production in June 2006 in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and is expected to produce 100,000 tons (approximately 23 million gallons... Read more →

PECO Gets Clean Cities Grant for Diesel Hybrid Bucket Truck Test

International-Eaton Hybrid Utility truck PECO, the Philadelphia electric and gas utility, has been awarded a federal Clean Cities grant for more than $83,000 to support the production and testing of a prototype hybrid bucket truck in the Philadelphia region. PECO is one of six recipients in the mid-Atlantic region. The... Read more →

Chongqing Leads China in Natural Gas Vehicles

Asia Pulse. Chongqing Municipality in southwest China is the country’s largest natural gas vehicle (NGV) industrial base, according to Li Kaiguo, director of the State Gas Vehicle Engineering Technology Research Center. At the end of September 2005, Chongqing had 24,371 natural gas vehicles, about one-sixth of the country’s total. Chongqing... Read more →

GM to Double its Crossovers During Next Four Years

General Motors will double its number of entries in the rapidly growing crossover vehicle segment to 14 during the next four years, according to Bob Lutz, vice chairman of product development. As buyers shrink from the full-size SUV segment, many are opting for crossovers—slightly smaller vehicles that combine aspects of... Read more →

Saft Leading New Electric Postman Helper Project

Saft, a leader in NiMH and Li-ion battery technologies, announced its participation in the European New Electric Postman Helper (NEPH) project (Eureka! Project 3364). Saft is the main participant in the project and France (Saft’s home base) the primary contributing country (59.7%). In the short term, the NEPH Project aims... Read more →

Husky to Build Second Major New Ethanol Facility in Canada

Husky Energy, a Canadian-based, integrated oil and energy company, is replacing its existing ethanol plant at Minnedosa, Manitoba with a new ethanol facility that increases the capacity of the original by a factor of 10. The new plant, to be constructed at an estimated cost of C$145 million (US$124.4 million),... Read more →

Malaysian Palm Oil Plantation Company to Build Biodiesel Plant in Europe

The Edge Daily. Malaysian palm plantation company Golden Hope Plantations Bhd (GHope) is exploring investing between MYR114 million (US$30.2 million) to MYR138 million (US$36.6 million) to build a Dutch biodiesel plant. GHope’s unit in the Netherlands is in discussions with an unnamed company in Europe for a plant with a... Read more →

Irish Infrastructure Firm Puts €30M into German Biodiesel

Business World. NTR, a private sector developer, financier and operator of public and environmental infrastructure in Ireland, has made an initial €30-million (US$36.5-million) investment in Emerald Biodiesel, a German biodiesel company. Emerald Bio-diesel GmbH, in which NTR is the major shareholder, will shortly begin construction of an integrated oil mill... Read more →

USPS Gets Two More All-Electric Azure CitiVans

Azure Dynamics has sold two new zero-emission, all-electric Azure CitiVans to the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and delivered them to the United States Postal Service (USPS) fleet serving the Flushing Post Office in Queens, New York. In June, Azure delivered a prototype series-hybrid electric CRV (Carrier Route Vehicle) to... Read more →

GM Begins Production of New Six-Speed, More Fuel-Efficient, Transmissions

GM has begun production of a new, modular family of Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmissions for rear-drive applications. The 6L80 six-speed transmission debuts in the 2006 Chevy Corvette, Cadillac STS-V and XLR-V, and several models of GM’s all-new 2007 full-size SUVs. Production of the transmissions is the culmination of a $450-million,... Read more →

Miljøbil Grenland Launches new Electric Vehicle Powered by Electrovaya Battery Pack

Miljøbil Grenland AS of Norway has launched a new electric car prototype powered by Electrovaya’s Lithium-ion SuperPolymer battery. Earlier this year, Miljøbil Grenland signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Electrovaya to market the Electrovaya Maya 100 electric vehicle and for other EV development activities. (Earlier post.) The new prototype, however,... Read more →

Second Brazilian City Switching to Ethanol-Diesel Blend

The Brazilian City of Maringá, State of Paraná, has joined Rio de Janeiro in using O2Diesel’s proprietary ethanol-diesel blend. The City of Maringá intends to gradually convert all 235 of its diesel-powered buses as well as other diesel equipment used by the municipality for maintenance and garbage collection services to... Read more →

Japan’s Environment Ministry Now Calls for Carbon Tax by 2007

Reuters. The Japanese Environment Ministry has again called for the introduction of a carbon tax, this time in January 2007, in an attempt to meet its targets for reducing CO2 emissions as set by the Kyoto protocol. But it also recommended delaying the application of the tax on gasoline, diesel... Read more →

Ford CEO Launches New Fiesta in India; May Build Hybrids There

In an indication of the increasing importance of the Indian market, Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO Bill Ford made his first visit to India this week to launch the Ford Fiesta, an all-new sedan developed specifically for that market by Ford’s global engineering team. As we accelerate our effort... Read more →

Texas Snags First Off-Shore Wind Farm in US

The wind farm area off of Galveston. Click to enlarge. The state of Texas has signed an agreement to allow the first major offshore wind-energy project in the United States to be built off Galveston Island. Galveston-Offshore Wind, a division of Louisiana-based Wind Energy Systems Technologies (WEST), will build the... Read more →

GM Opens Russian R&D Science Office

General Motors is opening a new R&D science office in Moscow to leverage Russian science institutes and universities on a broad array of technologies, including fuel cells, hybrid and electronic controls, and battery research. The initial project work will include materials, emissions control catalyst development, lightweight metal processing, hydrogen storage... Read more →

Air Resources Board Passes Idle-Shutdown Regulations for Heavy-Duty Trucks, Including Sleepers

The California Air Resources Board has passed the proposed regulation mandating idle-shutdown technology on future heavy-duty diesel engines and adding heavy-duty trucks with sleeper cabs to the current prohibition on diesel engines idling for more than 5 minutes. (Earlier post.) In 2004, California ordered operators of commercial trucks and buses... Read more →

Hydro Looking for Hydrogen Hybrid Car Users

A sketch of the proposed H2 filling station at Herøya. Hydro’s Ulf Hafseld is looking for a few good hydrogen car drivers. The target group is future-oriented local interests with an environmental profile. The HyNor project, which wants to build a hydrogen highway between the cities of Oslo and Stavanger... Read more →

Think Nordic Developing Hydrogen-Electric Plug-in Hybrid

TH!NK hydrogen Think Nordic, the designer of Ford’s earlier “TH!NK city” electric vehicle, is developing a prototype fuel cell-electric plug-in hybrid vehicle with partner Raufoss Fuel Systems. Supported in part by a NOK 11 million (€1.35 million; US$1.62 million) grant from the Research Council of Norway, the “TH!NK hydrogen” offers... Read more →

GM Drawing Up Contingency Plans for Boosting Production of Smaller Vehicles

The Financial Times reports that General Motors is drawing up stand-by plans to boost production of smaller vehicles in case the recent increase in US demand for fuel-efficient cars and light trucks continues into next year. In an interview with the paper, Rick Wagoner, chairman and chief executive, said it... Read more →

Canada to Fund C$42.5 Million in Energy Projects from Tar Sands to Solar Hydrogen

In its seventh round of project funding, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) will provide C$42.5 million (US$36 million) in new funding for clean energy projects. Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a foundation created by the Government of Canada that operates a $550 million fund to support the development and demonstration... Read more →

House Committee Releases Draft Plan for ANWR and OCS Drilling

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) introduced the Committee’s budget reconciliation plan today, which includes permitting coastal states to engage in natural gas-preferential leasing in federal waters off their shorelines (Outer Continental Shelf—OCS) and authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The committee... Read more →

Volvo to Develop and to Build Four Diesel Electric Hybrid Trucks for USAF

Volvo Powertrain will receive $3.5 million in federal funding to develop and to build four second-generation heavy-duty diesel-electric hybrid vehicles for the US Air Force, according to Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) Mikulski made the announcement at a press conference held at the Volvo Powertrain factory in Hagerstown, Md. The... Read more →

FlexCar Doubles San Diego Fleet with Civic Hybrids

The San Diego office of FlexCar has doubled its fleet to more than 20 with the addition of a set of new Honda Civic hybrids. Flexcar’s innovative program provides its members with on-demand access to a fleet of low emission vehicles, including hybrids, pickup trucks and minivans located throughout seven... Read more →

BOC Foundation Funds Hydrogen Solar Trial

Hydrogen Solar’s Tandem Cell produces hydrogen directly from sunlight and water. The BOC Foundation has awarded a grant to Hydrogen Solar Ltd for the development and demonstration of scalable photo-catalytic hydrogen production using a Tandem Cell array. In the first phase of the project, Hydrogen Solar will design, build and... Read more →

Quantum Contracted to Develop New Hydrogen & Oxygen Storage System

Lockheed-Martin has contracted Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies to develop a hydrogen and oxygen fuel storage module for a regenerative power supply system for space exploration. Meeting the requirements of the contract will likely advance Quantum’s current technology for hydrogen vehicle commercialization, according to Alan P. Niedzwiecki, President and CEO. Utilizing... Read more →

Coors Doubling its Fuel Ethanol from Waste Production

Denver Post. Coors Brewing Company is doubling its current production of 1.5 million gallons of ethanol per year from beer waste by adding a second ethanol processing plant at its Aurora, Colorado brewery. The ethanol is sold under a contract with Valero Energy Corp., which distributes the ethanol to Diamond... Read more →

Australia Pitches for a Piece of the Hybrid Future

The Age. The Australian state of Victoria is in talks with Toyota over adding Prius production to its plant in Altona, Victoria. Currently, Toyota employs 4,500 people and makes 100,000 internal combustion engine cars annually in Victoria, 60% of them for export to the Middle East. The government sees Prius... Read more →

Sumitomo Rubber to Introduce Lower-Petroleum Tires

Nikkei. Sumitomo Rubber Industries has developed and will launch next year a specialty tire made with a smaller-than-usual proportion of synthetic rubber, which is made from petroleum. Approximately 55% of the material in a conventional tire, including synthetic rubber and other polymers, is petroleum-derived. The new Sumitomo tire drops this... Read more →

San Diego Gas & Electric Contracts for 205.5 MW of Wind Power

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has contracted with enXco, a wind energy firm based in Escondido, Calif. to supply 205.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity to utility customers. In addition, SDG&E has issued two requests for offers (RFOs) to increase its portfolio of energy derived from renewable resources, including wind,... Read more →

Thailand Orders Public Transport Agencies to Deliver Natural Gas Plans

Bangkok Post. Thailand’s Transport Ministry has given public transport agencies three weeks in which to come up with plans for the use of natural gas for vehicles (NGV). Khamropluck Surasawadee, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said it was the ministry’s responsibility to demand transport agencies under its jurisdiction ensure their... Read more →