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Ethanol Producers to Go Public in $200M Worth of Offerings

Ethanol producers VeraSun Energy Corporation and Aventine Renewable Energy plan to go public in offerings that could raise $200 million or more. The companies have filed their S-1 registration statements with the SEC. VeraSun, which recently has closed deals with Ford and GM to expand E85 fueling stations in several... Read more →

Report: Toyota Plans Gasoline-Electric Hybrids for All Vehicle Classes by 2012

Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Toyota Motor plans to offer gasoline-electric hybrid versions for all vehicle classes to meet its target of quadrupling annual worldwide hybrid sales to 1 million vehicles by 2012, representing 10% of total annual new vehicle sales. Toyota will replace vehicle platforms as the models... Read more →

Microchannel Device for De-Sulfuring Military-Grade Fuel

The military is exploring the field use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electronic gadgets and facilitate communications, thereby avoiding use of generators that are noisy and create heat signatures. One barrier to that approach, however, is the source of the hydrogen. The military has no current plants to add... Read more →

Modifications on 125hp Rand Cam Sliding-Vane Rotary Engine Nearing Completion

Ebco Industries, under contract to REGI US, is implementing the same set of modifications done on the 42hp Rand Cam sliding-vane rotary engine on the diesel, 125hp version of the Rand Cam. (Earlier post.) The modifications include vane design to eliminate sealing and six additional cam designs with a special... Read more →

BP Australia to Provide More than Half of Country’s Target Biofuel Requirement by 2008

BP Australia has signed two contracts and a Memorandum of Understanding to provide more than 200 million liters of biofuels to Australian consumers per annum by 2008—more than half of the Federal Government’s national target of 350 million liters. BP is undertaking a number of actions to deliver on that... Read more →

Rapid Temperature Rise Above the Antarctic

Launch of a radiosonde balloon. A new analysis of weather balloon observations from the last 30 years reveals that the Antarctic has the same global warming signature as that seen across the whole Earth—but three times larger than that observed globally. The major warming of the Antarctic winter troposphere is... Read more →

New Pre-Treatment Process for Corn Stover Could Advance Cellulosic Ethanol

Researchers at Virginia Tech have developed a pre-treatment process for biomass that promises to reduce the processing cost of cellulosic ethanol. The challenge in using corn stover—the most abundant agricultural residue in the US—as an ethanol feedstock is in separating the sugars (that will be fermented into ethanol) from the... Read more →

UMaine Starts $10M Research Project on Integrated Forest Biorefinery

The American Forest & Paper Associations’s concept of a forest biorefinery. The University of Maine is embarking on a $10.35-million research project to develop an integrated forest biorefinery—one that allows mills to create new, high-margin revenue streams while maintaining their traditional production. This could be the first integrated forest biorefinery... Read more →

GM Collaborates with Abengoa Bioenergy And Kroger Stores To Bring More E85 Stations to Texas

General Motors announced plans to add E85 fuel pumps to approximately 20 Kroger fueling sites throughout the Houston and Dallas area through a collaborative partnership with the retailer and Abengoa Bioenergy. The collaboration is part of a broader, ongoing national GM campaign to boost the use and awareness of ethanol-based... Read more →

Russian Buses Orders 278 Cummins Westport CNG Engines; CARB Certifies Westport HPDI LNG Engines

C Gas Plus engine Russian Buses, of Moscow, Russia, has ordered 278 Cummins Westport C Gas Plus natural gas (CNG) engines for use in its LiAZ-5256 (250hp) and LiAZ-6212 (articulated, 280hp) buses. These buses will exclusively transport workers to and from the AutoVAZ car manufacturing plant located in Togliatti, Samara... Read more →

Citroën Introduces Start & Stop C2 in UK; Incentive Pays London Congestion Charge

A reversible starter/alternator handles the start and stop function. Citroën has announced the UK launch of a new C2 Stop & Start model, and is offering a cashback incentive of £1,696 (US$2,963) to buyers of all Citroën Stop & Start models (C2 and C3) sufficient to cover one year’s London... Read more →

NEC and Fuji Heavy Dissolve Li-Ion Joint Venture; Agree to Continue Partnership

NEC Corporation and Fuji Heavy Industries have dissolved NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd., a joint venture of both companies, which develops manganese lithium-ion rechargeable batteries for automobiles. Fuji Heavy Industries will transfer all of the shares it holds in NEC Lamilion Energy to NEC and NEC Tokin Corporation, a subsidiary of... Read more →

Startech Plasma Converter System in $15M Joint Venture Project in China

Startech Environmental Corporation’s Chinese distributor, GlobalTech Environmental Incorporated (GlobalTech), has signed a $15 million joint venture contract with the Liaoning Academy of Environmental Sciences for the establishment of the Liaoning GlobalTech Hazardous Waste Processing Facility Co. Ltd. using the Startech Plasma Converter System. The 20,000 pound-per-day Startech System—the first in... Read more →

DOE Issues $6M Solicitation for On-Board Vehicular Hydrogen Storage R&D

The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has issued a solicitation for applied research and development projects on hydrogen storage technologies for on-board vehicular applications. EERE is seeking applications in two categories. The first includes projects supportive of and complementary to the activities of... Read more →

Scuderi to Introduce Air-Hybrid Design at SAE World Congress

Rendering of the Scuderi air-hybrid. Click to enlarge. The Scuderi Group will introduce the design of an air-hybrid implementation of its split-cycle engine (earlier post) at the SAE World Congress in Detroit next week. Scuderi claims that the air-hybrid system doubles the fuel efficiency of todays conventional engines and reduces... Read more →

Tulsa Transit Adds a GM Diesel Hybrid Bus

The Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority announced the addition to its mass transit fleet of a Gillig bus powered by General Motors’ diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system. The city of Tulsa becomes the 33rd community to invest in transit buses powered by GM’s parallel hybrid technology, which is the basis for the... Read more →

FEV to Showcase New Engine Technologies and Diesel Hybrid Concept at SAE World Congress

FEV Engine Technology will feature a number of emerging technologies and a new diesel hybrid concept vehicle in its display at the SAE 2006 World Congress, in Detroit April 3-6. Among the advanced engine and vehicle technologies on display will be a new turbocharged, DI (direct-injection) gasoline engine; the latest... Read more →

US Announces New Fuel Economy Standards for Light Trucks

US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced the expected new fuel economy standards for light trucks today. This represents the first complete reform of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program for pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans since the program’s inception in 1979. The announced standards are only slightly... Read more →

O2Diesel Adds E3 Biofuels as CityHome Sponsor

E3 Biofuels, the developer of a manure-powered integrated ethanol plant in Mead, Nebraska (earlier post), has joined O2Diesel’s CityHome program as a sponsor. CityHome helps subnsidize the adoption of O2Diesel’s ethanol-diesel blend by transit and school bus fleets. StarTran Transit of Lincoln, NE was the first fleet to adopt CityHome... Read more →

BLM Drops ExxonMobil from Oil Shale RDD Project Bidding

Oil shale territory. The Grand Junction (Colorado) Sentinel reports that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has dropped ExxonMobil’s application for a 160-acre lease for oil-shale research, development and demonstration. (Earlier post.) According to the report, the BLM spokespeople present at an Open House on the project did not know... Read more →

European Environment Agency Report on the Transportation Dilemma

GHG emissions from transport in the EEA-31 (all EEA members except Cyprus) between 1990 and 2002 A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) highlights the 22% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector between 1990 and 2003—a period during which emissions from other sectors decreased. The... Read more →

New Cerium Oxide Nanotubes May Enhance Emission-Control Systems

Researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory have created and are investigating the properties of nanotubes made of cerium oxide. These cerium oxide nanotubes have potential applications as catalysts in vehicle emission-control systems and fuel cells. In a catalytic converter, ceria acts as a buffer, absorbing or releasing oxygen, depending on the... Read more →

Proposal: Bringing HCCI to Market with an Overexpanded Two-Stroke Cycle Engine

A sketch of the overexpanded two-stroke engine concept. The compressor (see below) is element #25. Engines utilizing homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) combustion regimes offer the promise of being cleaner-burning and more fuel-efficient than current engines—and hence are attracting a great deal of research attention and funding, especially for engines... Read more →

LA Metro Buys 96 More Natural Gas Buses

The Metro Liner. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) has exercised its first option to acquire 96 additional Cummins Westport 320-hp L Gas Plus-powered, compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled Metro Liners. LA Metro ordered its first 200 Metro Liners were ordered in 2003 and took delivery of... Read more →

UK Cuts its Carbon Dioxide Climate Change Target for 2010; Transportation a Stubborn Problem

Meeting the original domestic target of a 20% reduction in CO2 is proving too problematic for the UK. Reductions in the total GHG basket are tracking toward Kyoto targets. The UK has published a new Climate Change Programme (CCP06) that the government expects to reduce the country’s emissions of carbon... Read more →

ACS Symposium: Biofuels for Transportation

The 231st national meeting of the American Chemical Society featured a one-day symposium on Biofuels for Transportation during which fuel chemists and other scientists from across the United States and Europe presented research toward developing viable, cost-effective and high-performing biofuels. Much of the focus on the one-day event was on... Read more →

GEM Neighborhood EVs in France

Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a DaimlerChrysler company, will partner with Matra Manufacturing and Services to offer the range of GEM light electric vehicles in France. The vehicles will be available in two-passenger, four-passenger and utility versions. The GEM vehicles will provide a solution to the European customer looking for alternative... Read more →

Neste Oil and OMV Plan Large-Scale NExBTL Plant

Neste Oil Corporation and Austrian oil and gas group, OMV, are in negotiations to building a joint large-scale plant to produce Neste’s NExBTL bio-based diesel fuel. According to a memorandum of understanding, the 200,000 tonne/year facility will be located at OMV’s Schwechat oil refinery in Austria, with production beginning at... Read more →

Japanese Research Center Successful in Wood Biomass to Diesel Test

The new BTRC process (bottom) is more compact. The Biomass Technology Research Center (BTRC) of Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has succeeded in continuously synthesizing Fischer-Tropsch diesel from wood via a new compact process. This marks the first successful continuous production of Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) diesel... Read more →

Digging into the Mechanism for Carbon Monoxide Catalysis

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have worked with scientists from The Queen’s University of Belfast to explore the process of carbon monoxide (CO) oxidation in an effort to further reduce tailpipe emissions. In a study published online in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers... Read more →

Seattle Commission Turns in Recommendations for Meeting Kyoto Targets; Focus on Transportation

Seattle’s GHG emissions and Kyoto target. The 2012 column represents the business-as-usual scenario. The Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection convened by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has delivered its recommended actions for meeting or beating the greenhouse gas emissions-cutting goals of the Kyoto Protocol in Seattle. Of the 18 recommendations,... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler: How Does a Global Corporation Tackle Sustainability?

Defining Sustainability: Part Seven of Eight By Jack Rosebro Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. More than 100 Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell cars, trucks, and buses are operating worldwide. Last week’s installment of the current Green Car Congress series on sustainability reports discussed South Korea’s aggressive push to create its own hydrogen economy,... Read more →

Senators Obama and Lugar Introduce Alternative Fuels Act

US Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) last week introduced legislation designed to further promote the use of biofuels and alternative fuel technologies to decrease US dependence on oil. The American Fuels Act of 2006 (S. 2446) takes a multi-step approach that includes mandated levels of production and... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler to Absorb smart into Mercedes Organization, Cancel smart forfour

DaimlerChrysler has decided the fate of the smart car—it will focus on the smart fortwo car, and cancel the planned production of the smart forfour, subject to negotiation with Mitsubishi Motors and its other partners. Additionally, DaimlerChrysler will integrate smart into the Mercedes organization. The smart group had unveiled a... Read more →

Saab to Introduce E100 Flex-Fuel Hybrid Prototype

Saab will introduce a prototype of a flexible-fuel hybrid version of its 9-3 sedan at the Stockholm auto show next week according to a report in Sweden’s Dagens Industri. Saab has been developing the hybrid—which can run on pure ethanol (E100) as well as blends—in conjunction with Lund Technical University... Read more →

Top MTBE Manufacturer Slams EPA Ruling on Oxygenated Fuels

Lyondell Chemical, the top manufacturer of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in the US, has issued a statement sharply critical of the EPA’s ruling earlier this year to revoke the two percent oxygenation requirement for reformulated gasoline (RFG) nationwide. (Earlier post.) The company argues that the ruling will result in rapid... Read more →

Ontario Proposes Doubling the Retail Tax Rebate for Hybrids

In its new 2006 budget, the Ontario government proposes doubling the maximum retail sales tax rebate for qualifying hybrid electric vehicles from C$1,000 (US$857) to C$2,000 (US$1,713) for vehicles delivered to purchasers after 23 March 2006. The government currently refunds the eight per cent retail sales tax paid on an... Read more →

EPA and Univ. of Toledo Partner on $1M Hydraulic Hybrid Project

A series hydraulic hybrid. A pump/motor provides torque to the driveshaft. Source:NextEnergy The US Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Toledo have announced a three-year cooperative agreement worth about $1 million to improve and to optimize hydraulic hybrid vehicle components to maximize fuel economy benefits and minimize emissions. EPA... Read more →

Shell Joins California Climate Action Registry

Shell Oil Company has joined the California Climate Action Registry, a non-profit voluntary registry for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that was established by California statute in 2000. Shell Oil Company is the US affiliate of the Shell Group. As a member, Shell will work with the Registry to annually track,... Read more →

Chevron Update: US Production up 5%, International Production Down 4%

In an interim update on its first-quarter activities, Chevron reported that its combined oil and natural gas production for January and February in the US increased 5%, driven by the on-going restoration of storm-related shut-in volumes in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Chevron expects first-quarter production in the GOM to... Read more →

Urban Pollution from Traffic Still Pressing Problem in European Cities

Number of daily exceedances of the 50 µg/m3 limit value for PM10 in 20 European cities: observed and modelled. A new study released by the European Environment Agency (EEA) highlights that human exposure to increased pollutant concentrations in densely populated urban areas remains high. Air quality limit values, which are... Read more →

Polar Melting May Raise Sea Levels Faster than Anticipated

The height of the Greenland ice sheet at present (left) and during the last interglacial (about 130,000 years ago), as simulated by the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model coupled with an ice-sheet model. Source: Bette Otto-Bliesner, NCAR A set of papers published in the 24 March issue of Science suggests... Read more →

UK Exploring Use of Biodiesel and Straight Vegetable Oil in Commercial Fishing Vessels

The UK’s Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish), a cross-industry non-departmental public body (NDPB), has launched a project to develop biofuels for the commercial fishing industry. The UK fishing industry has seen its fuel prices double in the last 24 months, which, along with the increasing pressure to find greener alternatives... Read more →

EPA Tweaks Tier 2 Light-Duty Diesel Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making minor amendments to the Tier 2 emissions standards to be applied to light-duty diesel vehicles. The changes relax a very limited set of standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) for only high-altitude and high-speed/high-acceleration conditions. These alternative compliance options will last for only... Read more →

Mazda Delivers First Hydrogen Dual-Fuel Rotaries to Customers

Hydrogen RE with Iwatani International badging. Mazda Motor Corporation has delivered one RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle each to its first two corporate customers for this model: Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, and Iwatani International Corporation in Osaka, Japan. (Earlier post.) This marks the first commercial leasing of a hydrogen-gasoline... Read more →

Minnesota Legislators Introduce Bill to Accelerate In-State Development, Production and Purchase of Plug-in Hybrids

A bi-partisan group of Minnesota state senators and representatives have introduced a bill designed to encourage the development, production and purchase of plug-in hybrid vehicles in the state. The legislation defines a plug-in hybrid as including the ability to transfer electricity to a utility (vehicle-to-grid, or V2G—earlier post), and to... Read more →