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Conference: Nanotechnology Holds Promise for Energy Breakthroughs

Nanotechnology holds promise for necessary breakthroughs in a number of critical energy sectors, including solar cells, thermoelectric conversion and transport, hydrogen storage, and electrochemical conversion and storage (i.e., batteries, capacitors and fuel cells), according to scientists participating in the first Energy Nanotechnology International Conference (ENIC2006) held June 26-28 at MIT.... Read more →

ORNL: Single Wide-Base Truck Tires Improve Fuel Economy

Replacing the standard two thinner tires per wheel with a single wide-base tire improves the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty tractor-trailer trucks and allows them to be made to run with more stability, according to studies by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Interstate tests by ORNL’s National Transportation Research Center show... Read more →

Forecast: German Gasoline and Diesel Consumption to Drop Combined 25% by 2025

Forecast German domestic consumption of petroleum fuels. Click to enlarge. In its just-released annual forecast to the German petroleum industry, the MWV (the Association of the German Petroleum Industry: Mineralölwirtschaftsverband), estimates that domestic consumption of gasoline and diesel will drop a combined 25.4% from 54.9 million tonnes of fuel consumed... Read more →

Ford to Establish Hybrid Development Center in Sweden; Volvo Cars to Invest $1.4 Billion in Environmental R&D

Ford Motor, through its subsidiary Volvo Cars, announced it will establish a development center for hybrid systems in Gothenburg, Sweden, to serve Ford’s Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe business units. In a related announcement, Volvo said that it will invest SEK 10 billion (US$1.4 billion) in environmental R&D... Read more →

GM India to Introduce Minicar in 2007; CNG and Diesel Variants of Optra

Coming to India? The Chevrolet Matiz/Spark minicar. The Hindu. GM will launch a minicar in India during the first half of 2007, according to GM India President and Managing Director Rajeev Chaba. The minicar—rumored to be the Chevrolet Spark (earlier post)—will be produced at the Halol facility, and benefit from... Read more →

Research Suggests Food-Crop Yields Under Future Greenhouse-Gas Conditions Will Be 50% Lower than Expected

Five major food crops—maize, rice, sorghum, soybeans and wheat—grown in open-air trials under carbon-dioxide levels projected for the future are producing significantly less than those raised in earlier greenhouse and other enclosed test conditions. As a result, scientists are warning that global food supplies could be at risk without changes... Read more →

2006 Solar Drag Race Results

Brooks cools off his solar panels. Click to enlarge. Sunlight-propelled dragsters competed down a quarter-kilometer raceway in the second annual Solar Drag Race held in Wenatchee, Washington on June 24th. Unlike other solar race events, solar drag racers do not use batteries or other pre-energized devices. The racers’ only fuel... Read more →

New Process for the Efficient Production of a Chemical Intermediate (HMF) from Sugar; Building Blocks for Plastics and Fuels

Click to enlarge. Source: James Dumesic Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed an efficient process to make a chemical intermediate called HMF (hydroxymethylfurfural) from fructose from biomass. HMF can be converted into plastics, petroleum or diesel fuel extenders, or even into diesel fuel itself. The two-phase process operates... Read more →

California and Sweden to Cooperate on Biomethane and Renewable Fuels

California and the Kingdom of Sweden have finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate with one another and the industry to develop bioenergy, particularly biomethane. Representatives from both governments signed the MOU in Stockholm this month identifying how the two states can benefit from enhanced information-sharing and interaction to... Read more →

EIA: US Energy-Related CO2 Increases 0.1% in 2005; Transportation CO2 Increases 0.2%

Transportation is the leading source for energy-related CO2 emissions. US energy-related emissions of CO2 rose 0.1% from 2004 to 2005, increasing from 5,903 million metric tons (MMTCO2) to 5,909 MMTCO2 in 2005, according to an early estimate from the US Energy Information Administration. Emissions from petroleum accounted for 43.75% of... Read more →

Shell, MAN and Connexxion Planning World’s Largest Hydrogen Public Transport Project

A new MAN H2ICE Bus for HyFleet:CUTE Shell Hydrogen B.V., MAN Truck & Bus Company N.V., and Connexxion Holding N.V. are working towards creating the world’s largest hydrogen-fueled public transport operation in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The project aims to have the largest hydrogen bus fleet operational in a single region... Read more →

Fiat Brazil Introduces Production Siena Tetrafuel and Prototype Electric Palio

Siena 1.4 Tetrafuel Fiat Automòveis, the Brazilian arm of Fiat Auto, has launched the world’s first four-fueled production vehicle, the Siena 1.4 Tetrafuel. The TetraFuel, shown earlier at the 2006 Challenge Bibendum, operates on natural gas, gasoline, pure ethanol (E100) or gasohol (20% alcohol/gasoline blends). The company also introduced a... Read more →

Ricardo and Technology Management Collaborate on SOFC Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Project

TMI’s radial flow cell. Technology Management Inc. (TMI), a leading Cleveland-based developer of modular solid oxide fuel cell systems (SOFC), is collaborating with Ricardo to develop an integrated multi-fuel auxiliary power unit (APU) for heavy-duty trucks. The APU could be used to power onboard electrical devices as an alternative to... Read more →

Russian President Opts for GEMs for the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg

GEMs for the G8 heading for St. Petersburg. At the selection of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government has purchased 30 four-passenger (e4) GEM electric vehicles for use during the upcoming G8 Summit. Each e4 is decorated with a participating country’s national flag and the official logo of the... Read more →

First Hydrogen Fueling Station in New England Opens

The station while undergoing testing. Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), EVermont, and other local businesses gathered for the dedication of New England’s first hydrogen fueling station, located at the Department of Public Works in Burlington, Vermont. The fueling station includes an Proton HOGEN H Series electrolyzer (12 kg/day, 40 kW at... Read more →

DOE to Invest $170 Million for Solar Energy RDD&D

US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman today announced $170 million over three years (from FY ’07-’09) for cost-shared, public-private partnerships to advance solar energy technology. This solicitation is part of the Solar America Initiative (SAI). The SAI aims to bring down the cost of solar energy systems to... Read more →

US Automakers Pledge to Double Output of Biofuel Vehicles by 2010

The three major US automakers—Chrysler, Ford and GM—today announced plans to double annual production of vehicles capable of running on renewable fuels to two million cars and trucks by 2010. The pledge toward more flex-fuel vehicles that can use E85 ethanol or biodiesel came in a letter to all Members... Read more →

City Engines In 30% HCNG Transit Bus Project

The 11-liter City Engine for HCNG City Engines is undertaking an 18-month low-emissions bus program to be funded jointly by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) and California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The LACMTA is the largest single operator of natural gas fueled transit buses... Read more →

NanoLogix to Build Hydrogen Bioreactor at Wastewater Plant

NanoLogix, a nanobiotechnology company engaged in the development and commercialization of technologies for the creation of hydrogen bioreactors, has signed an agreement for the construction and operation of a prototype hydrogen bioreactor at the City of Erie wastewater treatment plant. This project will utilize the proprietary intellectual property of NanoLogix... Read more →

DaimlerChrylser To Bring Next-Gen Smart Car to US in 1Q 2008

The current smart fortwo. DaimlerChrysler will bring the successor to the smart fortwo to the US market in 1Q 2008, according to Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management DaimlerChrysler AG. The new smart will be distributed by international automotive retailer UnitedAuto Group (UAG), which will establish between 30... Read more →

BP and Caltech to Explore Silicon Nanorod Solar Cells

BP and The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) are teaming up in a five-year program to explore the production of solar cells based on growing arrays of silicon nanorods rather than casting ingots and cutting wafers. Announced at the Photovoltaics Summit 2006 in San Diego, the project could drop production... Read more →

First Compilation of Tropical Ice Cores Shows Two Rapid Global Climate Shifts: 5,000 Years Ago and Today

The locations of ice cores and evidence for abrupt climate change approximately 5,000 years ago discussed in the research are shown, along with areas of large-scale ice retreat. Courtesy of Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center and three other... Read more →

Malaysia’s Palm Oil Production is Stagnating; Biodiesel Producers Keep Expanding

The Star. At a time when the country is looking to increase its production of palm oil to take advantage of the demand for the oil as a biodiesel feedstock as well as an edible oil, Malaysia’s palm oil yields and oil extraction rate (OER) are stagnating. The problem must... Read more →

University of British Columbia Wins Supermileage Competition with 3,145 MPG Vehicle

UBC team and winning vehicle. Click to enlarge. Photo: Morgan Lok The University of British Columbia (UBC) took first in the collegiate division at the recent SAE Supermileage Competition with a vehicle that achieved 3,145 mpg (0.075 liters/100km)—the equivalent of driving from Vancouver to Halifax on a gallon of gas.... Read more →

DuPont to Produce New High-Performance Bio-Polymers for Automotive, Other Markets

The DuPont Integrated Corn-Based Refinery concept has value-added chemicals such as Bio-PDO as a key output. DuPont expects to begin production in 2007 of new high-performance thermoplastic resins and elastomer products made from two of its latest bio-based materials. The products will be targeted for automotive, electrical/electronic and other industrial... Read more →

QGX Launches Mongolian Coal-to-Liquids Initiative

Baruun Naran is within trucking distance of major steel and power generation centers in northern China. Click to enlarge. QGX Ltd., a Canadian company that has been exploring for mineral deposits in Mongolia since 1994, has engaged Nexant, Inc., a global energy consulting company with core competencies in coal gasification,... Read more →

Syntroleum to Supply 100,000 Gallons of FT Fuel to DoD

Syntroleum has signed a contract to deliver 100,000 gallons of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthetic fuel to the US Department of Defense (DoD) for evaluation as part of a larger program aimed at long-term prospects for the domestic manufacture and supply of synthetic aviation fuels from FT plants. The government is currently... Read more →

CO2 Emissions from Aviation Growing Rapidly

Total aviation carbon dioxide emissions resulting from six different scenarios for aircraft fuel use. Click to enlarge. Carbon emissions from aviation could triple to 0.40 Gt carbon/year to account for 3% of the world’s anthropogenic carbon emissions by 2050 (relative to the mid-range IPCC emission scenario (IS92a)) according to the... Read more →

US Congress Looks to Canadian Oil Sands to Enhance Energy Security

The forecast growth in oil sands production (In-Situ and Mining). A new study released by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) of the US House of Representatives concludes that the accelerated development of huge reserves of unconventional oil in Canada will undermine the OPEC oil cartel in coming years. According to... Read more →

China’s Passenger Car Production Up 46.15% Through May

People’s Daily. The production and sales of passenger cars in China from January through May 2006 amounted to 2.1677 million vehicles and 2.1127 million vehicles respectively, up by 46.15% and 44.21% respectively, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Production and sales of commercial cars grew by... Read more →

Concept: Heavy-Duty Multi-Fuel Turbine for Class 8 Trucks

A rendering of a 540hp prototype. A Florida company, Turbine Truck Engines (TTE), is developing an implementation of a multi-fuel turbine for heavy-duty vehicle applications, and has recently completed the design of a fifth, 540hp prototype. The Dentonation Cycle Gas Turbine (DCGT), originally developed by Alpha Engines beginning in 1984,... Read more →

Polls: US Drivers Support Expansion of E85 Refueling Network; Have Misconception on Fuel Price

The House of Representatives will soon vote on a bill that would significantly increase the number of gas stations with ethanol or E85 fuel pumps nationwide. According to a just-completed series of snap polls conducted across the Autobytel online network, slightly more than half of the respondents support a “yes”... Read more →

New House Bill Would Make Ethanol and Biodiesel Tax Incentives Permanent

US Congressmen Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) have introduced the Renewable Fuels and Energy Independence Promotion Act (H.R. 5650), which would make the federal excise tax credit for ethanol and biodiesel permanent. The bill removes sunset provisions for ethanol and biodiesel incentives that accompanied the Volumetric Ethanol Excise... Read more →

Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership Forms

Three national Scandinavian hydrogen networking organizations—HyNor (Norway), Hydrogen Link (Denmark) and HyFuture (Sweden)— recently formed a joint Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership (SHHP). The SHHP vision is to make Scandinavia one of the first regions in Europe where hydrogen is commercially available and used in a network of refueling stations. The... Read more →

Quantum to Supply 4 Hydrogen Prius Hybrids to California ARB

Hydrogen demonstration stations in Southern California. The shaded circle denotes a 70-mile radius from AQMD headquarters. Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has received notice from the California Air Resources Board of its intent to lease 4 hydrogen-fueled Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles. These hydrogen hybrid vehicles will be put in service... Read more →

Showa Aircraft Introducing Two New EVs in Japan

Showa’s new e-Van electric commercial vehicle. Showa Aircraft Industry Co. announced that it is building two electric vehicles for the commercial and consumer markets. The firm plans to begin marketing a commercial minivehicle—the e-Van—in October, making use of a base model from Fuji Heavy Industries. This vehicle will use a... Read more →

SmartWay Partnership Targets Fuel Efficiency and Emissions Reduction Upgrades for West Coast Trucks

The US EPA, the US Department of Transportation, Oregon’s Departments of Transportation and Energy, and Cascade Sierra Solutions are partnering to upgrade 400 long-haul trucks from small-to-medium trucking firms in Oregon, California, and Washington with SmartWay upgrade kits. The kits package together a variety of fuel and emissions-saving technologies and... Read more →

SunOpta, Novozymes and China Resources Alcohol to Develop Cellulosic Ethanol in China

SunOpta’s BioProcess Group has signed a contract to sell a cellulosic ethanol pilot demonstration facility, based on SunOpta’s patented and proprietary biomass conversion technology, to China Resources Alcohol Corporation (CRAC) for research and development on cellulosic ethanol production at their facility in ZhaoDong City, Heilongjiang Province. As part of the... Read more →

IEA Report: World Can Halve Expected Growth in Oil and Power Consumption by 2050

More needs to be done with the fuel intensity of light-duty vehicles. Applying clean and more efficient technologies at hand or under development could halve the expected growth in both oil and electricity demand and return CO2 emissions to today’s levels by 2050, according to a new publication by the... Read more →

Oregon Formally Adopts California Low Emission Vehicle Rules; CO2 Restrictions Included

States that have adopted the California LEV rules. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) last week unanimously approved the permanent rules to adopt California’s Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards, including mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Eleven states have now adopted California LEV: California, Oregon,... Read more →

Chrysler to Offer First Mid-Size Sedan Diesel with 2007 Sebring; Only Outside of North America

The 2007 Sebring Chrysler is introducing its all-new 2007 Sebring with a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine for key diesel markets outside North America. This is Chrysler’s first mid-size sedan diesel offering. Models of the 2007 Sebring sold in North America have a choice of three gasoline engines: the new 2.4-liter... Read more →

Researcher Explores Mesquite-to-Ethanol

Texas had 3.8 million acres with moderate to dense mesquite in 1984; that has climbed to 6 million acres. A Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher is exploring the feasibility of harvesting and using rangeland woody plants, such as mesquite and red berry juniper, as an ethanol feedstock for a distributed... Read more →

Argonne Captures Images of Hydrogen Combustion in Working Engine

A view of hydrogen combustion through an endoscope. The red and yellow areas show the more intense temperatures. Engineers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have captured the first images of hydrogen combustion in an internal combustion engine operating at real-world speeds and loads. The hydrogen combustion... Read more →

DuPont Developing Bio-Based Polymers for Automotive Refinishing

DuPont is developing a new generation of tough, chip-resistant automotive refinish products reinforced with newly invented bio-based polymers derived from corn sugar. The new coatings—which may be available by 2008—will be made using renewably sourced intermediate ingredients that are biodegradable and virtually non-toxic. The bio-based polymers to be used in... Read more →

Vinod Khosla and Western Milling Form New Ethanol Producer

Western Milling, California’s largest grain milling company, and Khosla Ventures, a venture assistance and venture capital firm led by Vinod Khosla, one of the top venture capitalists, have formed a new ethanol producer, Cilion. Cilion will operate modular, standardized 55 million gallons per year ethanol plants that intend to be... Read more →

Report: GM Fast-Tracking Plug-in Hybrids

Bloomberg reports that General Motors is fast-tracking development of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in response to Toyota’s success with hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles. The plug-in, according to anonymous GM officials cited by the report, would have an effective fuel economy of more than 60 mpg—somewhat better than the Prius’s... Read more →