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Storing Hydrogen in Single-Walled Nanotubes

SSRL is investigating hydrogen storage in carbon nanotubes for use in vehicles. Researchers at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL, a division of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)) have successfully demonstrated hydrogen storage through chemisorption in single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCN) of 5.1±1.2 wt. %—very close to the DOE FreedomCAR target of... Read more →

EPA Drops Oxygenation Requirements for Reformulated Gasoline

In a move authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the EPA is revoking the two percent oxygenation requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG) nationwide. Currently, about 30% of gasoline is RFG. Oxygenates are fuel additives (alcohols and ethers) that contain oxygen which can boost gasoline’s octane quality, enhance combustion,... Read more →

Energy Conservation, Japanese-Style

The Washington Post reports on comprehensive energy-saving measures being taken in Japan in response to a “national battle cry against soaring energy prices.” The small mountain town of Kamiita—chosen as an exemplar by the Japanese media—shut off the heating system in the town hall this winter. Employees work bundled in... Read more →

Current Climate Models May Underestimate Future Warming

A team of scientists analyzed three long sediment columns cored from the seafloor off Suriname to determine ancient ocean temperatures. The black box marks their research location. Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found evidence that tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures may have once reached 107°F (42°C)—about 25°F (14°C)... Read more →

EIA’s Forecast for 2030: Gasoline Continues to Dominate

The EIA forecasts growth in transportation energy consumption to hit almost 40 quads by 2030. The DOE’s Energy Information Administration has released the final version of its Annual Energy Outlook for 2006 (AEO2006), with projections through 2030. The EIA had earlier released a preview version. (Earlier post.) The EIA factored... Read more →

DOE Grand Challenge Project Completes Sequencing of Cyanobacterium

A Department of Energy Grand Challenge project led by Washington University in St. Louis has resulted in the rapid sequencing and annotation of a cyanobacterium that could yield clues to how environmental conditions influence key carbon fixation processes at the gene-mRNA-protein levels in an organism. Learning the intricacies of these... Read more →

Axeon Acquires Advanced Batteries to Develop Li-Ion Systems for Hybrids

Axeon Holdings—developers of microprocessor architectures optimized to support machine learning—is acquiring Advanced Batteries (ABL)—a designer and manufacturer of high-performance lithium-ion batteries—the better to address the developing market for alternative power sources for electric (EV) and hybrid electric (HEV) vehicles. (ABL operates as MPower.) The two Scottish companies will develop a... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors Develops Green Plastic: Bamboo-Fiber Reinforced Plant-Based Resin

Bamboo-fiber prototype Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, with cooperation from the Aichi Industrial Technology Institute has developed an automotive interior material which uses a plant-based resin, polybutylene succinate (PBS), combined with bamboo fiber. Parts made from the material will be used in the interior of a new-concept minicar, to be launched in... Read more →

Tucson to Receive $500K Federal Grant for Natural Gas School Buses

The Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) will receive a Clean School Bus USA award totaling $493,003 from the Environmental Protection Agency to be applied to the purchase of 19 new compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses. TUSD currently has 5 CNG buses. The award was given based on the District’s... Read more →

Volkswagen Introduces Crossover Concept with Twincharger Engine

The Concept A Volkswagen has unveiled its new Concept A—a crossover between a sports car and an SUV—that uses a 100 kW (150 hp) implementation of its new 1.4-liter Twincharger (TSI) engine. The Twincharger, introduced in August 2005, combines the low-end power boost provided by a mechanically-driven compressor (supercharging) with... Read more →

MIT Develops New Lithium Battery for Hybrids

The structure of lithium nickel manganese oxide consists of layers of transition metal (nickel and manganese, blue layer) separated from lithium layers (green) by oxygen (red). Image: Ceder Laboratory Hybrid Electric Vehicles require rechargeable batteries that combine high energy density with high charge and discharge rate capability. Researchers at MIT... Read more →

Ozone: Unsafe Even at Very Low Levels

Even at very low levels, ozone—the principal ingredient in smog—increases the risk of premature death, according to a nationwide study to be published in the April edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The study, sponsored by the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control, and performed by Yale University... Read more →

Ford Europe Exec: Addressing Climate Change Requires Radical Change of Mindset

Stating that tackling the challenge of climate change requires a “complete and radical change of mindset,” Lewis Booth, Ford executive vice president overseeing Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group, said the company acknowledged the importance of climate change and the responsibility to take action. Booth made the remarks in... Read more →

PG&E Adds Three Fuel-Cell Vehicles to Fleet

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) added three DaimlerChrysler hydrogen fuel-cell (F-Cell) vehicles to its fleet—the fourth-largest alternative-fuel truck fleet in the US. PG&E’s three F-Cells are part of DaimlerChrysler’s 100-plus fuel cell vehicle fleet; powered by Ballard stacks, it’s the largest fuel cell vehicle fleet in the world. The... Read more →

Sales of New Nissan Minicar Top 10,000 Units in Two Weeks

The Moco Sales of Nissan’s new Moco minicar reached 10,320 units in the two weeks since its introduction in Japan. Nissan had planned for monthly sales of 4,400 units. The Moco (which comes in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive models) features a 658cc engine in both turbo and non-turbo versions.... Read more →

Clean Diesel Technologies Introducing Urea-Dosing Units for SCR into Europe

Clean Diesel Technologies, a developer of chemical and technological solutions to reduce engine emissions, is introducing integrated urea-dosing units into Europe to work with existing Selective Catalytic Reduction Systems (SCR). SCR systems have become the technology of choice for the majority of heavy duty diesel truck and bus manufacturers to... Read more →

IEEE and IEE Team on Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference

The upcoming IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference (VPPC 2006) is, for the first time, being co-sponsored by the UK’s IEE (Institution of Electrical Engineers) and will be held in Windsor, England in September. The three-day conference is also co-sponsored by the IEEE Power... Read more →

Ford to Build Hybrids in Canada by 2010

Ford of Canada is on track to become the first automaker to bring hybrid vehicle production to Canada when the Oakville Assembly Complex (OAC) adds hybrid versions of the all-new Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX to its assembly line by 2010. In preparation, Ford is investing C$1 billion (US$864 million)... Read more →

Engineered Plant Enzyme Increases Carbon Dioxide Uptake

RuBisCo catalyzes the rate-limiting step in biological carbon dioxide fixation. Source: Emory University In research recently completed at Emory University School of Medicine, scientists have discovered a mutant enzyme that could enable plants to use and to convert carbon dioxide more quickly, effectively removing more greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere.... Read more →

Quantum to Build Hydrogen-Fueled Escape Hybrid for US Army

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has been awarded a contract to develop a hydrogen-fueled Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle for the US Army National Automotive Center (NAC). Quantum will evaluate different hydrogen-fuel system configurations, considering the feasibility of bi-fuel (switchable between gasoline and hydrogen) and dedicated hydrogen systems. Quantum will then... Read more →

Mazda Begins Leasing Dual-Fuel Hydrogen Vehicle

RX-8 Hydrogen RE Mazda Motor Corporation has begun leasing the RX-8 Hydrogen RE (earlier post) to its first two corporate customers: Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. and Iwatani International Corporation, both companies operating in the energy sector. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE is equipped with a rotary engine, and features a dual-fuel... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Delivers 10,000th BlueTec Truck

Slightly less than a year after the market launch, Mercedes-Benz has delivered its 10,000th commercial truck with BlueTec diesel technology for Euro-4 and Euro-5 level emissions control. The 10,000 BlueTec vehicles delivered so far account for approximately two-thirds of the Euro-4/Euro-5 trucks currently operating in Europe, according to DaimlerChrysler. Around... Read more →

China Seeks to Assign Officials Accountability for Environmental Quality

Xinhua. China will take into account environmental quality in evaluating the performance of regional officials. The measure is an attempt to curb “reckless” pursuit of GDP growth at the cost of the environment. According to the decision of the State Council on strengthening environmental protection, the consumption of resources, environmental... Read more →

Penn. Awards $3.7 Million in Alt-Fuel Grants; Support for Plug-in Hybrid Bus and Biodiesel from Algae Included

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced the investment of $3.7 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants (AFIG), in amounts ranging from $500 to $2 million, for 23 projects. Among the awards are a grant for $112,000 toward participation in a buyer’s consortium for the commercial development of a plug-in electric/biodiesel hybrid... Read more →

Iveco Provides Diesel Hybrid Vans for Turin Games

The Ecodriver in Torino. Iveco, a Fiat Group company and a major global manufacturer of commercial vehicles, has provided two hybrid versions of its Daily transport van to Gruppo Torinese Trasporti (GTT), the company that runs public transport in and around Turin, for use during the Olympics. The Daily Ecodriver... Read more →

Nissan Begins Testing the X-TRAIL FCV in Canada

X-TRAIL FCV (2005) Nissan Canada (NCI) will begin testing a new X-TRAIL FCV (fuel-cell vehicle) in and around the Greater Vancouver area. The 70 MPa (10,000 psi) high-pressure hydrogen-powered Nissan X-TRAIL FCV is the company’s most-recent developmental fuel-cell vehicle. Equipped with the first-ever Nissan-constructed fuel cell stack, the X-TRAIL FCV... Read more →

GM Refreshes Meriva Minivan, Downsizes Diesel

Opel Meriva GM’s Opel has refreshed its best-selling Meriva minivan, replacing a 1.7-liter diesel with an award-winning entry-level 1.3-liter diesel engine, and offering a new, more fuel-efficient 1.6-liter gasoline engine for the line. Since its debut in 2003, the five-seat Meriva has become the segment leader in Europe, selling more... Read more →

Kyoto Countries Below Reduction Target, But Within Striking Distance

The industrialized countries that have ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol are tracking to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of a combined 3.5% below 1990 levels during the first commitment period (2008–2012), according to the acting head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Richard Kinley. Under the... Read more →

Fiat Announces Hydrogen Transport Program with Piedmont

2006 Panda Hydrogen Fiat and the Italian Region of Piedmont will work together on a wide-ranging cooperative program for hydrogen-fueled transport. Mercedes Bresso, President of the Italian Region of Piedmont, and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, made the announcement at an event at Hy Park, a dedicated area showcasing hydrogen... Read more →

Hyundai Considers Hybrids and Natural Gas Vehicles for India

Business Standard. Hyundai Motor (HMC) is exploring the possibility of introducing hybrid vehicles as well as vehicles running on compressed natural gas (NGV) in the Indian market, according to a manager for the company in India. Hyundai unveiled a mild-hybrid version of the Accent sedan in december 2005 at the... Read more →

Volvo Trucks North America Introduces New Engines for 2007 Compliance

Volvo Trucks North America unveiled its previously announced new family of heavy-duty diesel engines—the 11-liter D11, 13-liter D13 and 16-liter D16—that meet the upcoming 2007 US emissions standards (earlier post). Volvo Trucks North America will use high-performance cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and diesel particulate filters (DPF) to meet the... Read more →

Nanosensor Company Growing Cryosorptive Hydrogen Storage Portfolio

Nanomix Inc., a nanotechnology company specializing in nanoelectronic sensors for industrial and biomedical applications, has been awarded two additional US patents related to cryosorptive hydrogen storage technology. These follow three earlier patents issued to Nanomix in this field. The patents describe the storage of hydrogen using new nanostructured materials that... Read more →

More Hybrids to Enter Chinese Market at Year’s End

Xinhua. Hybrids from a number of different Chinese automakers—including the Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DFM), Chang’an Motor Corp, Chery Auto Company and the China FAW Group Corporation—will enter the Chinese market at the end of 2006, according to Wan Gang, head of a national team of experts on the hybrid automobile... Read more →

China to Invest US$15 Billion in Coal-to-Liquids Plants

China Oil News. The Chinese government plans to make a major investment of about US$15 billion in coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants (both direct and indirect) over the next 5 to 10 years as part of an effort to reduce dependency on oil imports. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said... Read more →

Hybrid Technologies to Produce Electric Version of Mullen GT

The conventional Mullen GT. Hybrid Technologies, the manufacturer of specialty electric vehicles including electric versions of the Mini Cooper and Smart car, has formed a joint venture with Mullen Motors to produce an electric version of the Mullen GT. Hybrid will introduce its “Carbon Fiber Super Car” at the 2006... Read more →

Cummins Diesels Ready for 2007 Emissions Standards

Cummins Inc. announced the readiness of its on-highway engine product line to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards for 2007. Cummins will continue to use its cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) technology with the addition of exhaust aftertreatment provided by the... Read more →

The Slippery Task of Defining Sustainability

Part One of Seven By Jack Rosebro One metaphor for an unsustainable world: the funnel, as used by The Natural Step. Click to enlarge. The concept of sustainable development has moved to the forefront of many of today’s environmental movements. Sustainability means, in its simplest form, nothing more complex than... Read more →

US May List Polar Bear as Endangered Due to Global Warming

Ursus maritimus. Photo: USFWS The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it is opening the formal process that could result in the listing of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act based on “substantial scientific and commercial information” submitted in a December lawsuit... Read more →

Washington State House Passes Renewable Fuel Standard

The Washington State House of Representatives has passed a renewable fuel standard (HB 2738) that mandates 2% minimum annual sales of biodiesel within that state, and a minimum 2% ethanol content for all gasoline sold in the state. The legislature opted for the 2% sales standard for biodiesel rather than... Read more →

Report: Forest Waste Could Provide 50% of Maine’s Energy Needs

Biomass-derived fuels could meet 50% of Maine’s needs. The Fractionation Development Center (FDC), a Maine non-profit group, has released a plan detailing how the state could turn its vast quantities of forest waste into a range of biofuels and chemicals, providing up to 50% of the state’s annual energy needs.... Read more →

Canadian Insurer Offers 10% Discount to Drivers of Hybrids

Québec-based Desjardins General Insurance, the property and casualty insurance arm of Desjardins Group, Canada’s largest cooperative financial group, is introducing an additional 10% discount on the automobile insurance premium for hybrid vehicles. Desjardins said that the initiative is in line with the sustainable development policy it adopted in October 2005.... Read more →

BP and Edison Plan Major Hydrogen Power Project for California

Components of the Carson Project. Click to enlarge. BP and Edison Mission Group (EMG), a subsidiary of Edison International, announced that they are planning a new $1-billion hydrogen-fueled power plant in California that would generate electricity with minimal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The first-of-its-kind plant would be located alongside BP’s... Read more →

Greater Cleveland RTA Unveils GM Diesel Hybrid Bus Rapid Transit Vehicle

An early rendering of the hybrid BRT vehicle. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) unveiled the prototype Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicle powered by GM’s diesel-electric hybrid system that will be used as one component of the city’s Euclid Corridor Transportation Project. The hybrid vehicles will run on what... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler Delivers 5 Fuel Cell Cars to LAX

F-Cells to LAX DaimlerChrysler delivered five F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for use in its fleet. The vehicles will be fueled at BP/Praxair’s retail-designed hydrogen fueling station at LAX. The five DaimlerChrysler hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are joining the largest alternative-fuel airport fleet in... Read more →

US 2005 Trade Deficit Jumped to $725.8 billion; Petroleum Cost Largest Single Factor

The growing trade gap. Click to enlarge. According to figures released today by the US Department of Commerce, the US trade deficit—the difference between good and services imported and exported—rose 17.5% in 2005 to a record $725.8 billion. In 2005, the US posted exports of $1,271.1 billion and imports of... Read more →

Ford Joins European Alternative Fuel Initiatives

New Ford Focus FFV Ford is joining two European alternative fuel projects, PROCURA and BEST. PROCURA (derived from “procurement”) is a three-year project that began today in Utrecht (Netherlands). It follows the January 25 launch of the BEST (BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport) initiative in Stockholm (Sweden) (earlier post). Both projects,... Read more →

China BAK Battery Signs Manufacturing Agreement with A123Systems

China BAK Battery, one of the largest manufacturers of Lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery cells, announced that it has formed a contract manufacturing partnership with A123Systems, a developer of high-power Nano-Phosphate Li-Ion battery technology based on patented nanotechnology licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (earlier post). China BAK Battery... Read more →