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Increasing Number of Cars in Delhi Undoing Clean Air Gains; A Call to “Reverse Automobile Dependence”

More than half of the Indian cities monitored during 2004 recorded critical levels of PM10. Click to enlarge. The increasing number of private vehicles in Delhi is putting the city at risk of losing its hard-won gains in cleaner air, according to a new publication from the Centre for Science... Read more →

Ford Talks Up Sustainability at LOHAS 2006; Investigating Plug-In Hybrids

by Jack Rosebro Escape Hybrid at LOHAS 10. Yesterday, Ford Motor Company’s Niel Golightly, the automaker’s director of sustainable business strategies, presented some of Ford’s recent initiatives toward sustainability at the LOHAS 10 (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) conference in Santa Monica. Ford is a major sponsor of the event,... Read more →

Diester Contracts Another Esterfip-H Biodiesel Plant from Technip

The dual-reactor Esterfip-H process flow diagram. Diester Industrie, the French biodiesel pioneer, has awarded Technip, one of the top five global providers of full-service engineering and construction services in the hydrocarbons and petrochemicals industries, a turnkey contract for another new biodiesel plant based on the Axens Esterfip-H process. The plant... Read more →

Portland, Maine, METRO adds CNG to Transit Fleet

John Deere 6081H CNG engine Portland, Maine, METRO is introducing CNG to its fleet with the addition of 13 new CNG-powered transit buses and a CNG refueling station. The natural gas fueling station will also be used by the Portland School Department and made available to fuel other vehicles that... Read more →

Senators Propose $100 Rebate to Offset Gas Prices; $2.9 Billion in Funding for Cellulosic Biofuels, Batteries and Plug-ins

Senate Energy Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM) introduced the “Gas Price Relief and Rebate Act of 2006,” filed as one of the 140 Senate amendments to H.R. 4939, the Supplemental Appropriations bill. The amendment, co-sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Charles Grassley (R-IA, and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee),... Read more →

Motiva Moving Ahead on 325,000 Barrel-per-Day Refinery Expansion in US

Motiva Enterprises LLC—a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining Inc.—announced that it has made significant progress toward expanding refining capacity in the United States. The company has completed initial project scoping and process design for a potential 325,000-barrel-per-day crude throughput increase at the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery in Texas.... Read more →

New System for Efficient Cooling of Hybrid Drivetrains

ORNL R134a integrated cooling system with floating loop. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the National Transportation Research Center, part of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), are developing a new approach to cooling the power electronics and motors of hybrids that could lead to better performance, improved... Read more →

A Compact Brayton-Cycle Engine and Biomass Process for Mixed-Alcohol Fuels

The StarRotor compact Brayton cycle engine. A Texas A&M chemical engineering professor has developed a process to convert biomass to a mixed alcohol fuel that contains more energy than fuel ethanol. He has also developed a compact Brayton-cycle engine (the same thermodynamic cycle employed by jet engines) capable of being... Read more →

London’s Red Double-Deckers Go Greener

The Enviro400 double-decker. Transport for London (TfL) is putting into service 39 new double-decker diesel buses built by Alexander Dennis that are almost 20% more fuel efficient than their predecessors and that meet Euro-4 standards of emissions. The new Enviro400-model buses, which will be put into operation over the next... Read more →

Nine States, Washington, DC, and New York City Sue EPA Over Refusal to Act on Global Warming

Nine state Attorneys General today sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to adopt strong emission standards to reduce air pollution from new power plants across the nation. The District of Columbia and the City of New York also joined in the legal action. The Clean Air Act... Read more →

Bush Administration Seeks Authority to Change Fuel Economy Standards for Cars

The Bush Administration is seeking to restructure the fuel economy standards for passenger cars. Secretary of the Department of Transportation Norman Mineta has sent Congress a letter asking for the authority to reform fuel economy standards for passenger automobiles for the first time, likely using an approach comparable to that... Read more →

Corning Introduces New Cordierite Filter for Light-Duty Diesel Vehicles

Corning Incorporated will begin supplying a new, advanced cordierite (magnesium aluminum silicate—Mg2Al4Si5O18) diesel particulate filter to light-duty diesel vehicle manufacturers. This is the second cordierite filter for light-duty diesel applications that Corning has launched. In 2005, Corning introduced DuraTrap AT filters, which are being used by leading automakers for light-duty... Read more →

DOE Seeks to Identify the Potential Role for Ammonia in a Hydrogen Economy

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a paper—Potential Roles of Ammonia in a Hydrogen Economy: A Study of Issues Related to the Use of Ammonia for On-Board Vehicular Hydrogen Storage—to identify, evaluate, and summarize the key issues and advantages and disadvantages associated with ammonia for on-board vehicular hydrogen... Read more →

Oxford Catalysts Group Goes Public in £15 Million IPO

Oxford Catalysts Group, which has developed new catalysts that, among other things, transform waste methane into hydrogen for use with fuel cells or into Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels (earlier post), has gone public on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in an IPO that raised £15 million (US$18.8 million)—£14... Read more →

GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW Advanced Hybrid System: Two Variable Modes and Four Fixed-Gear Ratios

Advanced Hybrid System Daimler Chrysler, GM and BMW are providing more detail on the new advanced hybrid system the three companies are co-developing. Because of its low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is commonly referred to as the 2-mode hybrid. (Earlier post.) However, the system... Read more →

European Biodiesel Production Climbs 65% in 2005 to Hit Record

The EU-25 (plus 4 candidate states). Biodiesel production in the 25 European Union member countries (EU-25) hit a new record in 2005, shooting up 65% from 2004 to 2005, an increase from 1.9 million tonnes to 3.2 million tonnes (about 966 million gallons) according to figures released by the European... Read more →

US Registration of Diesel Light-Duty Vehicles Jumped 31% in 2005

Total light- and medium-duty diesel sales and market share. Click to enlarge. Data compiled by R.L. Polk & Co. and released by the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) show that registration of light-duty diesel passenger vehicles in the US jumped 31% in 2005 from the year before. Registrations of light- and... Read more →

The Oil Drum: “A Plague o' Both Your Houses!”

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, as Mercutio lays dying, he curses the two families whose rivalry led to his death: “A plague o' both your houses!” The editors of The Oil Drum, an online forum that encourages an open, rational, and fact-based discussion of energy issues, have taken a similar—albeit... Read more →

Indonesia Considering Compulsory Fuel Conservation Measures

Jakarta Post. The Indonesian government is considering the enactment of new legislation instituting compulsory fuel-savings measures because the voluntary energy conservation program it encouraged last year has proven ineffective. The government will study legislation on energy conservation in other countries, including Japan, to ensure that the new Indonesian legislation is... Read more →

Cincinnati Metro Fueling with B50; Transit Agency One of the Largest Biodiesel Users in US

B50 bus in Cincinnati. Beginning this month, Cincinnati (Ohio) Metro is fueling all of its buses with a B50 biodiesel blend (50% biodiesel). Metro intends to use the 50% blend in months when the average temperature is higher than 40º F (April to October) and switch back to a B20... Read more →

Measuring the Development of Urban Sprawl in the US

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto, the Neptis Foundation and the London School of Economics have tracked the evolution of land use in the continental US over time to create a picture of patterns of urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is widely regarded as an important environmental and... Read more →

Biomethane Focus for Sustainable Transportation in Europe

Biomethane is emerging as a key area of focus for the natural gas vehicle industry in Europe, according to an industry panel and press conference held at the annual meeting of the European Natural Gas Vehicle Association this week in Brussels. Biomethane, also called biogas, is identical to conventional fossil-fuel... Read more →

Ford Partners with TerraPass for Consumer Carbon Offsets

The Ford-TerraPass Greener Miles sticker. Ford Motor Company and TerraPass (earlier post) have a joined in a partnership to market TerraPass-branded carbon offsets to all drivers of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars and trucks. Under the joint marketing program, to be called Greener Miles, Ford dealers will be given brochures... Read more →

National Coal Council Sets an Aggressive Transportation Fuel and Energy Agenda

In April 2005, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman asked the National Coal Council (NCC) to conduct a study and prepare a report identifying the challenges and opportunities for more fully exploiting US domestic coal resources. The first volume of the report is now in, and proposes an eight-point aggressive expansion of... Read more →

Basque Hydrogen Fuel Cell Scooter

Basque fuel-cell scooter. A pair of Basque engineers have designed a scooter powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell. The fuel-cell scooter derives from a prior project to design a fuel-cell powered electric bicycle undertaken by the Cidetec-IK4 Electrochemical Technological Centre in collaboration with the Department of Sustainable Development of the Regional... Read more →

President Bush Tries to Tackle High Fuel Prices

Average US retail gasoline prices, all grades, all formulations. President Bush today announced a range of measures in an attempt to curb the current increase in fuel prices, if not reduce them. The approach, which he outlined in remarks to the Renewable Fuels Association annual meeting in Washington, DC, consists... Read more →

Hydro Introduces New High-Output PEM Electrolyzer

Inergon unveiled at the Hannover Fair. Hydro, the Norwegian energy and aluminum company, has launched a new high-output PEM electrolyzer for on-site hydrogen generation. The new Inergon offers up to 10 Nm3/hour hydrogen production capacity. Electrolyzers based on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology normally offer capacities of less than 1... Read more →

US Senate Committee Convenes Hearing on Coal-to-Liquids

The US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a full-committee hearing on the economic and environmental issues associated with coal-to-liquids processing, and on the implementation of the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 addressing CTL. Testifying at the hearing were Dr. Clarence Miller, of the Department... Read more →

UN Agency Sees Biofuels Providing up to 25% of Global Energy; Sets Up International Bioenergy Platform

Under the pressure of soaring oil prices and growing environmental constraints due to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, momentum is gathering for a major international switch from fossil fuels to biofuels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. FAO’s focus on the issue lies... Read more →

Internet-Based Truck Stop Electrification Locator Mapping Program

A sample TSE map, showing locations (red triangles) in California. Click to enlarge. A new internet-based Truck Stop Electrification Station Locator (TSE) helps truckers find truck stops with idle-reduction facilities: on-site systems that can substantially cut fuel use while reducing engine emissions. Truck stop electrification—similar to “cold-ironing” for ships at... Read more →

Average UK New Car CO2 Emissions Down 1.2% to 169.4 g/km in 2005

The average new car sold in 2005 in the UK emitted 1.2% less CO2 than models registered the year before—a drop from to 169.4 g/km in 2005, according to the latest SMMT New Car Registrations by CO2 Performance report. The latest decline contributes to a 10.7% decrease from models registered... Read more →

Canadian Provincial Carrier to Test B2 Biodiesel in Half its Fleet

The Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) will test a B2 (2% biodiesel) blend in half its buses in the coming year. STC plans to blend the fuel in its storage tanks in Saskatoon and use the mixture in all buses which fuel at that facility, approximately 54% of its fleet. State-owned... Read more →

Survey Says: One-Third of US Auto Buyers Likely to Consider Hybrid, Diesel- or Ethanol-fueled Vehicle for Next Car

Vehicle types considered. Click to enlarge. A recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal Finance Poll found that one-third (33%) of US adults who plan to purchase or lease a new vehicle say they are most likely to seriously consider an alternative-fueled vehicle for their next purchase. Most (92%) of... Read more →

Dana Corporation Featuring Fuel-Cell Work at Hannover Fair

Dana is developing a variety of OEM fuel cell components for both stationary and mobile applications. Dana Corporation, a leading supplier of axle, driveshaft, engine, frame, chassis, and transmission technologies. is featuring a range of its fuel-cell technologies and capabilities at the Hannover Fair 2006, April 24-28, in Hannover, Germany.... Read more →

Repsol YPF Leads Biodiesel Research Project

Repsol YPF, the Spanish-Argentine oil and gas group, is leading a four-year, €22 million (US$27 million) Spanish research project on biodiesel with 14 other companies. Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, through the CDTI (Center for the Industrial Technological Development), the project is intended to support... Read more →

Santander and BP Solar Partner in Major Euro Photovoltaic Project

Map of yearly total solar radiation in Europe. Source: PVGIS Santander, a leading European and Latin American banking group, and BP Solar are developing the largest project for the investment in photovoltaic solar energy yet in Europe. The project will deploy up to 278 photovoltaic solar energy facilities in Spain... Read more →

Brazil to Achieve Self-Sufficiency in Oil—At Least for Awhile

The P-50 rig The recent activation of Brazil’s newest offshore rig—the P-50—sets the country on the path to self-sufficiency—at least for awhile—in oil. The new rig will boost Petrobras’ total oil production to an average 1.9 million barrels per day this year—more than the average consumption of 1.85 million barrels... Read more →

Bush’s Earth Day Message: Hydrogen, Plug-Ins and Ethanol

President Bush chose the California Fuel Cell partnership as the venue for an Earth Day address on advanced transportation, during which he emphasized hydrogen as the future solution, but referenced hybrids, plug-in hybrids and ethanol as being important transition technologies in the short-term. Before touching on the solutions for the... Read more →

Companies Partner to Advance Metal-Bath Gasification Technique for Coal-to-Liquids

Depiction of the HydroMax process. Diversified Energy Corporation and Alchemix Corporation are working together to accelerate the development of Alchemix’ HydroMax process, a distinct approach to gasification for hydrogen production or the production of a syngas for Fischer-Tropsch conversion into liquid fuels. Although HydroMax can process a variety of hydrocarbon... Read more →

Syngenta to Introduce High-Amylase Corn Seed in US for Easier Ethanol Production

Shanghai Daily. Syngenta AG, the world’s biggest maker of agrichemicals and plant seed, will introduce the first enzyme-enhanced corn seed designed to cut the cost of the production of ethanol into the US market in 2007. Syngenta modified the seeds genetically to express high levels of a novel alpha-amylase enzyme—a... Read more →

Japanese Gasoline Sales in FY05 Drop for 1st Time in 21 Years

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that gasoline sales in Japan in fiscal year 2005 dropped for the first time in 21 years on factors such as surging prices and more fuel-efficient cars. Gasoline sales had previously fallen just twice since 1950: in 1974, during the first global oil crisis, and... Read more →

Montgomery County, Maryland Acquiring Five GM Hybrid Buses

Ride On, the Montgomery County (Maryland) Division of Transit, is adding five buses powered by General Motors’ diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system to its mass transit fleet, thereby becoming the 36th community to invest in hybrid buses using the GM-Allison powertrain. Buses powered by GM&tsquo;s parallel hybrid technology deliver better fuel... Read more →

Twin Cities Transit System to Increase Percentage of Biodiesel in Bus Fuel; Will Order 20 More Hybrid Buses

One of the Metro Transit GM hybrid buses Metro Transit buses serving the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, will begin using a 5% biodiesel blend (B5) in July for its fuel and will begin a comprehensive test of an 8% biodiesel blend (B8) for potential future use shortly... Read more →