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Switzerland Proposes Crackdown on Particulate Matter

The head of the Swiss Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communication (UVEK), Moritz Leuenberger, has proposed a nine-point action plan to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM). UVEK (Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation) estimates that ambient particulate pollution in Switzerland—named the biggest environmental and public health... Read more →

Petrobank Ready to Fire Up its THAI Oil-Sands Process

The THAI process. Not to scale. Click to enlarge. Petrobank, a Calgary, Canada-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company, is commissioning its WHITESANDS oil-sands pilot project using the proprietary in-situ THAI combustion process. Pre-ignition warming is scheduled to begin in February, with combustion initiating by May 2006. The... Read more →

Ag Groups Oppose Biofuel Plants in Counties with Ag Restrictions

The Missouri Soybean Association (MSA) and Corn Growers Association (MCGA) jointly announced their opposition to building biodiesel and ethanol facilities in counties that have adopted health ordinances to restrict livestock and poultry production. According to MSA and MCGA leadership, soybean and corn farmers cannot afford to invest in biodiesel and... Read more →

Gulf Report: Destruction, Spills and 17% of Production Still Shut-in When Hurricane Season Hits

This double-hulled barge spilled 3 million gallons of oil after ripping into a submerged, wrecked oil platform. (See below) The US Minerals Management Service (MMS) has just released its analysis of the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), detailing... Read more →

Suzuki to Bring Subcompact Swift to North America

Nikkei. Suzuki Motor announced that it will export its new Swift subcompact to North America as early as 2007 to take advantage of a growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Suzuki unveiled the new Swift in March 2005 at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show. The subcompact is a global car—designed for... Read more →

Hydrogen Engine Center Focuses on Industrial and Power Engine Applications

The 4.98-liter hydrogen engine. An Iowa-based engine developer—Hydrogen Engine Center—is seeking to expand its role in the industrial (e.g., ground support equipment) and power generation engine market with a set of internal combustion engines designed for use with hydrogen and other alternative fuels. The company’s founder, Ted Hollinger, believes that... Read more →

US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up 2% in 2004, Intensity Down 2.1%; Transportation Leads

Annual change in US GHG Emissions, 1996–2004. Click to enlarge. The latest report on greenhouse gas emissions from DOE’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows a 2.0% increase in 2004 to 7,122.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from 2003’s 6,983.2 MMTCO2e. The EIA attributes the large growth in... Read more →

Demonstration Project for Electric-Powered Trailer Refrigeration Units

Block diagram of TRU refrigeration. Shurepower will provide a demonstration of plug-in support. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded a cost-shared contract to Shurepower, LLC for the installation and operation of electrified loading docks and parking spaces for heavy-duty diesel trucks and refrigerated trailers.... Read more →

UAW President Calls for Incentives for US Production of Flex-Fuel, Hybrid and Clean Diesel Vehicles

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Ron Gettelfinger, the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), called for the government to provide economic incentives for the production of flexible-fuel, hybrid, clean diesel, and other advanced-technology vehicles and parts in the United States. The International Union, United Automobile,... Read more →

Bosch Wins Brazilian Prize for Flex-Fuel Engine Management System

The basic components of the Bosch flex-fuel system. Legend available here. The Brazilian Ministry for Science and Technology has awarded Bosch its innovation prize for the Flex-Fuel engine management system. The “Technological Innovation Finep Award” was presented in the country’s capital, Brasilia. The award-winning Flex Fuel technology developed by Bosch... Read more →

Los Angeles Port Lease Agreement Mandates Lower-Sulfur Marine Fuel, Cold-Ironing, LPG Yard Tractors

Berths 206-209, site for the greener agreement. The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will outline the most environmentally stringent lease agreement yet executed between a US port and a major shipping line. A ground-breaking component of the agreement is a requirement for cleaner... Read more →

Biotech JV to Pilot New Corn Hybrid and New Ethanol Process

Renessen LLC, a biotech joint venture between Cargill and Monsanto (earlier post), has announced plans for a pilot plant to test a new technology system in which new biotech corn hybrids with increased energy and nutrient levels will be combined with a novel dry corn separation technique designed for ethanol... Read more →

DoD Extends Compact Gas-to-Liquids Development Project with Velocys

Velocys’ microchannel reactor enables the downsizing of FT GTL plants. Velocys, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute, is receiving an additional $1m in funding from the Defense Department (DoD) for further work on compact Fischer-Tropsch reactors that could enable the production of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) synthetic fuels near the point of... Read more →

Max Planck Institute: Don’t Blame the Plants

The authors of a recent study published in Nature that revealed the surprising discovery that plants produce the greenhouse gas methane have issued a press release correcting widespread media misinterpretations of their results. These misinterpretations ranged from blaming plants for global warming to calling into question the relevance of reforestration... Read more →

GTI Awarded Patent for Hydrogen Dispenser; Aid to Maximizing Hydrogen-Vehicle Range

Gas Technology Institute (GTI), the leading research, development and training organization serving the natural gas industry, is being awarded a patent on its new hydrogen dispenser control technology. The hydrogen dispenser control technology and algorithm, called HydroFill, was developed as part of a collaborative advanced hydrogen station technology initiative between... Read more →

Electric Motor Developer to Acquire Geothermal and Waste-Heat Power Generation Company

A concept behind a binary-cycle geothermal plant. Source: DOE. Raser Technologies, a developer of advanced electronic motors (Symetron—earlier post) and founding member of the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium Development, is acquiring Amp Resources, a company focused on geothermal and waste-heat power generation. Raser will acquire Amp and its portfolio of... Read more →

South Carolina Forms Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance

The South Carolina Department of Commerce introduced the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, a statewide initiative designed to promote the development and use of quality, cost effective and accessible hydrogen, fuel cells and related technologies. The Alliance, a 501(c)(3) corporation will serve as the primary facilitator on hydrogen... Read more →

European Commission Proposes Shifting More Freight from Roads to Waterways

The EU25 has more than 35,000 kilometers of inland waterways used for transport. Click to enlarge. The European Commission has proposed a seven-year plan to shift a greater percentage of freight traffic off the highways and onto the inland waterways in Europe. Called NAIADES—Navigation And Inland Waterway Action and Development... Read more →

Toyota’s Hybrid Outlook in the US for 2006

Jim Press, the President of Toyota Motor Sales in the US, has spent part of last week speaking to different conferences organized around the Detroit auto show, including the Automotive Analysts of New York Conference and the Automotive News World Congress, about Toyota’s outlook for the coming year. Toyota expects... Read more →

Firefly Energy Awarded Patent on New Foam Lead-Acid Technology; Targeting Hybrids and Plug-ins

100x magnification sketch of the network of foam pores. Pore size may vary by application. Firefly Energy (earlier post) has received a US patent for a new carbon-foam lead-acid battery technology that it believes has the potential to revolutionize the existing global lead-acid battery market as well as serve applications... Read more →

Startup Introduces 330MPG Diesel Hybrid Design

A rendering of the Aptera Accelerated Composites, a San Diego, California-area startup, has designed a two-seat, three-wheel parallel hybrid—the Aptera—to achieve up to 330 MPG and sell for less than $20,000. The Aptera hybrid is to be built from lightweight composites, and designed to deliver its 330 mpg in normal... Read more →

BLM Announces First Cut on Oil Shale RD&D Proposals

Location of the Green River formation and main basins. Click to enlarge. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that eight proposals for oil-shale research development and demonstration (RD&D) leases filed by six companies have been deemed eligible for continued consideration. The eight proposals were among 20 nominations the BLM... Read more →

USDA and DOE to Partner on Genomics Research; DOE to Tackle Soybean Genome

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy will share resources and coordinate the study of plant and microbial genomics, and the Department of Energy will tackle the sequencing of the soybean genome as the first project resulting from the agreement. Soybean is of particular interest to DOE because it is... Read more →

Degussa Expands Production for Lithium-ion Electrodes Targeted at Hybrid Applications

Degussa AG, a global leader in the field of specialty chemicals, is starting additional electrode production for large-volume lithium-ion batteries at the Li-Tech GmbH (SK Group) site in Kamenz/Dresden. The Kamenz facility complements Degussa’s production capacities in China through the joint venture Degussa-ENAX (Anqiu) Power Lion Co. Ltd., Anqiu. (Earlier... Read more →

Transit Agency Consortium to Buy Up to 157 GM Diesel-Hybrid Buses

A hybrid bus purchasing consortium consisting of 11 transit agencies in California, Nevada and New Mexico has awarded a contract to Gillig Corp. for the purchase of up to 157 diesel-electric hybrid buses powered by GM’s hybrid powertrain. The purchase contract, spearheaded by the San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD)... Read more →

DKRW Selects Rentech for Medicine Bow Coal-to-Liquids Plant

Rentech has signed a Master License Agreement (MLA) with DKRW Advanced Fuels, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DKRW Energy, for the use of Rentech’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology. Concurrent with the signing of the MLA, DKRW-AF’s wholly owned-subsidiary, Medicine Bow Fuel & Power LLC (MBF&P), signed an individual site license... Read more →

Volkswagen Advocates European E10 Standard

During the 80th International Green Week (Grüne Woche) event in Berlin, Volkswagen pushed for the development of a European E10 (10% ethanol) standard for gasoline. The current European fuel standard DIN EN 228 specifies 15% ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether), or 5% ethanol by volume. The objectives of the EU... Read more →

IEA Forecasts 2.2% Increase in Global Oil Demand in 2006, Up From 2005

Global demand for oil will increase by 2.2% in 2006, up from last year’s increase of 1.3%, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) January Oil Market Report. The agency estimates that demand, driven by increasing consumption in China and the US, will average 85.1 million barrels per day, up... Read more →

Revised Numbers: Total US Oil Consumption Dips in 05 But Transportation Demand Increases

Total US Petroleum Consumption. Click to enlarge. Revised numbers in the DOE’s Energy Information Administration’s January Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO) indicate a drop in total US Oil Consumption in 2005 of 0.4% from 20.73 million barrels per day in 2004 to 20.65 million barrels per day in 2005. Earlier... Read more →

NY Governor Unveils Energy Plan with Support for Renewables, Plug-in Hybrids and Hydrogen Vehicles

New York Governor George Pataki today unveiled a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan to encourage the production and use of renewable fuels in New York, promote the expanded use of energy-efficient cars and vehicles, and spur new renewable energy research and job creation in the state. Pataki will include most of the... Read more →

GM’s Diesel Captiva Compact SUV Promises 29MPG

The new Captiva GM is introducing the Chevrolet Captiva, its first diesel-powered compact SUV (earlier post), at the Geneva motor show in March with the first application of its new 2.0-liter turbo diesel delivering 150 hp and estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg US. Three engines initially will be available... Read more →

Toyota Launches Redesigned Estima Minivan in Japan; New Hybrid Version to Follow

The new Estima Toyota announced today that it has begun nationwide sales in Japan of the completely redesigned Estima minivan. Toyota first launched the Estima in 1990. In 2001, it introduced a hybrid version of the Estima (only in Japan), and has sold about 27,000 of them, making it the... Read more →

Safe Hydrogen Receives Funding to Complete Pumpable Hydride Slurry Project

Pouring the hydride slurry. Safe Hydrogen, LLC. of Lexington, Mass has been awarded $308,000 from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust SEED Program (Sustainable Energy Economic Development), a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), to complete a three-year, $2.4-million DOE project designed to determine the functionality, cost and efficiency of... Read more →

CITGO Leads in Adopting New Sulfate Limits in Ethanol

CITGO Petroleum Corporation has taken the lead in adopting a new industry-wide specification applied to ethanol designated for blending with gasoline. The new limit would place the maximum level of sulfates in ethanol at 4 parts per million (PPM). The proposed standard was approved last December by the Gasoline Subcommittee... Read more →

BLM Meetings on Oil Shale and Tar Sands Development Surface the Water Issue

Oil shale areas in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Click to enlarge. The Bureau of Land Management, part of the US Department of the Interior, has begun public meetings to obtain comments for the programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) required to support commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing on federal... Read more →

China Now the World’s Second Largest Auto Market

People’s Daily. Statistics from the China Automotive Industry Association (CAIA) indicate that China has surpassed Japan as the second-largest auto market in the world, behind the US. The total number of automobiles sold in the Chinese market reached more than 5.9 million in 2005, outstripping the 5.8 million of the... Read more →

Indian Manufacturers Introduce Hydrogen and Hybrid Vehicles

A conventional Alpha Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra introduced a hydrogen-fueled three-wheeler and a prototype for a diesel hybrid SUV at the Auto Expo in New Delhi. Tractor maker Sonalika Group also introduced a hydrogen-powered three-wheeler. Mahindra & Mahindra’s HY-Alpha three-wheeler fuels a single cylinder combustion engine with 1.3... Read more →

Caliber Makes its Entry at Detroit Show

2007 Caliber At the Detroit show, Chrysler formally introduced the Dodge Caliber entry-level vehicle (earlier post), its World Engine-based replacement for the Neon. Dodge Caliber is the first Chrysler Group vehicle to offer the full range of World Engines (1.8-, 2.0- and 2.4-liter, generating 148 hp, 158 hp and 172... Read more →

US-Organized Climate Change Coalition Meets in Australia

Ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States launched the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP-6) this week in Sydney. Those six countries consume about half the energy supply of the work and emit about half of all greenhouse gases (the “coalition of... Read more →

CTL/GTL Partners Dissolve Joint Venture

Rentech and Headwaters Technology Innovation Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Headwaters Incorporated, have dissolved their 50/50 joint venture named FT Solutions, LLC. They formed the joint venture in June 2004 to combine each company’s respective iron-based Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids technologies for use in global Headwaters projects and for all Headwaters and... Read more →

Detroit 2006: Is the Market Schizophrenic, or Changing?

At the unveiling of a concept version of a Camaro (400 hp V8 with Active Fuel Management—displacement on demand—and fuel economy of 30+ mpg) at the Detroit auto show, Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman of global product development, cracked: It’s two markets. The whole country is schizophrenic. At one end... Read more →

GM Sells More Than 9M Vehicles Worldwide for the First Time in 27 Years

GM worldwide sales. Click to enlarge. General Motors sold 9.17 million cars and trucks around the world in 2005, up 2% from the 8.99 million vehicles sold in 2004, according to the final sales figures for the year. In North America, vehicle sales dropped 4% to 4.5 million units in... Read more →

Biodiesel Groups Recommend Action Plan for Minnesota Quality Problems

Adopting BQ-9000 is one of the recommended steps. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the Minnesota Biodiesel Council (MBC) today presented an action plan to the Minnesota Department of Commerce to increase quality control measures and ensure that only high-grade biodiesel is released into the state’s diesel fuel pool. Quality... Read more →

Peugeot Launches New 207 Small Car Line

Peugeot 207 Peugeot today introduced its new 207 small car, the successor to—but not replacement for—the highly successful 206. (Peugeot produced 5.35 million 206 units in the seven years from 1998–2005). Peugeot is introducing the 207 with a range of six engines: three gasoline, three diesels. The 207 will also... Read more →

Hydrogenics to Supply Hydrogen Refuelling Station for Wind Hydrogen Project

ND wind has potential to produce large amounts of electricity and hydrogen. Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Bismarck, N.D.) has awarded Hydrogenics Corporation a contract to supply an electrolyzer-based hydrogen vehicle refuelling station for installation in Minot. The station is one of the first United States-based hydrogen fueling stations to use... Read more →

California PUC Adopts $2.9 Billion Solar Energy Initiative

The California Public Utilities Commission today voted to adopt a $2.9-billion plan designed to add 3,000 MW of solar capacity to homes and buildings in California by 2017. This is the largest solar program of its kind in any state in the country. Referred to as the California Solar Initiative... Read more →