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Toyota Sustainability Report 2006: Environmental Costs Are 2.3% of Sales

Cover of Sustainability 2006 Toyota Motor has released its 2006 sustainability report, summarizing its efforts on sustainability from environmental, social and—for the first time—economic frames of reference. The Japanese version of Sustainability Report 2006: A New Future for People, Society and the Planet is available on Toyota’s website; the English... Read more →

Monsanto: Breeding and Biotech Research Complements Push to Biofuels

Monsanto is focused on three crops for biofuels: corn, rapeseed and soybeans. Click to enlarge. Monsanto’s corn and oilseeds breeding and biotech are complementary to the overall push to biofuels, according to Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President Robb Fraley. In an investor presentation providing an update on the... Read more →

Minnesota Governor Pushes for EPA Testing of Flex-Fuel Conversion Kit

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking it to consider using Minnesota as a site for testing XcelPlus FlexTek E-85 conversion kits. (Earlier post.) The Governor said he wants to offer tax breaks for low and moderate income families who convert their vehicles... Read more →

Modine Introduces Fuel-Cell-Based CO2 Heating and Cooling System for Trucks

The CO2 Idle Reduction Cooling and heating system Modine Manufacturing Company, a specialist in thermal management systems and components, has introduced a fuel-cell idle-reduction (idle-off) air-conditioning and heating system that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) for cooling. The new idle-off system can be used for both cooling and heating the sleeper... Read more →

Results of Trial of Supercritical Fluid Process for Hydrolysis of Biomass for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Phase diagram for CO2. Source: Los Alamos National Lab Globex, a waste-to-cellulosic ethanol startup, announced that trials of its new supercritical fluid (SCF) technology have demonstrated a lignin removal of more than 50% at ambient temperatures into a SCF 4-liter pressure vessel. The material used in the trial was common... Read more →

Potential Leakage and Toxicity Problems with CO2 Sequestration

Cross-well seismic difference tomogram of the Frio Brine project shows the CO2 plume. Results from a field test on CO2 sequestration in an old brine-filled oil reservoir suggest that the mixture of CO2 and brine dissolves minerals in the rock walls, including carbonate, that could lead to pathways in the... Read more →

Report: South Africa May Crack Down on SUVs and Off-Road Vehicles

Sunday Independent. The South African government may consider imposing penalties to slow the rapid growth in sales of SUVs and off-road vehicles, which have continued to rise despite soaring fuel prices, according to Nhlanhla Gumede, the chief director of hydrocarbons in the department of minerals and energy. The government had... Read more →

Report: Chiyoda, Toyo Engineering To Build Pearl GTL Facilities In Qatar

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Japanese engineering firms Chiyoda Corp. and Toyo Engineering Corp. have each won orders from the Royal Dutch Shell Plc group to build gas-to-liquid (GTL) production facilities for the Pearl GTL project in Qatar—one of the largest GTL projects currently planned. Shell and partner Qatar... Read more →

SIAM Proposing Testing for CNG-Hydrogen Vehicles in New Delhi

Business Standard. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has submitted a proposal to the ministry of non-conventional energy sources to conduct pilot testing of vehicles running on a blend of CNG and 10% hydrogen in New Delhi. SIAM, which represents the major automakers in India, will collaborate with Indian... Read more →

California ARB Awards Grants for Three Hydrogen Stations; Selects a Range of Hydrogen Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board is awarding grants to three proposals for new Hydrogen Highway fueling stations in California. The demonstration stations, the first to be co-funded by California, will help build hydrogen infrastructure. Criteria for the stations include a 30% reduction in greenhouse gases and 20% use of renewable... Read more →

Shell Canada Proposes Expansion of Athabasca Oil Sands Project

Shell Canada’s oil sands portfolio in Alberta. Shell Canada has formally proposed to its joint owner partners in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) proceeding with a 100,000-bpd (barrel per day) expansion of the oil sands mining operation—Expansion 1—despite surging costs. The company used the issuing of the proposal as... Read more →

New Mexico Commuter Train to Run on B20 Biodiesel Blend

The Rail Runner commuter train runs every weekday. New Mexico’s new Rail Runner commuter train will use a B20 blend of biodiesel supplied by Amigo Petroleum, beginning immediately. The Rail Runner is one of the first commuter rail systems in the country to use biodiesel. The Rail Runner’s five locomotives... Read more →

Bill: ANWR Revenue to Support Development of Cellulosic Ethanol, Solar, Fuel-Cells and Coal-to-Liquids

US Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced the “American-Made Energy Trust Fund” bill ( H.R. 5890). The bill’s provisions would increase the tax credits for cellulosic biomass ethanol, extend tax incentives for solar and fuel cell property, promote coal-to-liquid fuel activities, and open up ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) for oil... Read more →

GS CleanTech to Offer Biomass Gasification and Fuels Technology to Improve Corn Ethanol Yield

GS CleanTech Corporation has signed an agreement with ZeroPoint Clean Technology, Inc. for the exclusive rights to distribute and use ZeroPoint’s proprietary biomass gasification, biomass gas-to-liquids (BTL) and fuel-reforming technology in the ethanol production industry. GS CleanTech initially plans to offer the gasification and BTL technology as an element in... Read more →

Electro Energy Joins Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium

Electro Energy Inc., a developer and manufacturer of bi-polar rechargeable batteries, has joined the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium. The Consortium, founded in August 2005 by Raser Technologies, Pacific Gas and Electric, Maxwell Technologies, and Electrovaya, brings together component suppliers working to accelerate the commercial production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles... Read more →

Delphi Developing Direct Injection Systems to Support Flex-Fuel Engines

Delphi Multec Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) Injector. Delphi is developing flex-fuel capability for its coming Multec direct injection gasoline (DIG) systems, thereby giving automakers the ability to extend the performance and efficiency benefits of direct injection gasoline engines into a flex-fuel application. The current Delphi Multec gasoline multi-port injector systems... Read more →

GE Plastics Launches New Family of Waste-Derived Resins for Automotive Industry

GE Plastics has introduced two new resins to its portfolio: Valox iQ and Xenoy iQ resins. The new products, which the company announced in Japan, are immediately available to global automotive and non-automotive manufacturers. Valox iQ resins are created with polybutylene terephthalate (PBT)-based polymers derived from 85% post-consumer plastic waste.... Read more →

ADM Plans to Build Biodiesel Plant in Brazil

Archer Daniels Midland Company announced plans to build a biodiesel production facility in Rondonopolis, Mato Grosso, Brazil with an annual capacity of 180,000 metric tons (54 million gallons US). The plant will use soybean oil as its feedstock and is competitively positioned to meet the large anticipated demand from soybean... Read more →

Kuwait May Link Rate of Oil Production to Level of Oil Reserves

Dar Al Hayat. Kuwait’s parliament is considering a bill that would link the rate of oil production to the assessed amount of the country’s crude oil reserves. The proposal came after Petroleum Intelligence Weekly published a report suggesting that Kuwait’s oil reserves were only 48 billion barrels—less than half the... Read more →

Hydrogenics Receives Order for Fuel-Cell Hybrid MidiBus

The fuel-cell hybrid Midibus Hydrogenics Corporation has received a US$460,000 order for a Fuel Cell Hybrid MidiBus (earlier post) from Rheinbahn Rheinische Bahngesellschaft AG, the public transit authority of the greater metropolitan Dusseldorf area in Germany. The fuel cell and 72V alkaline battery system produces 25 kW of total power... Read more →

Qatar Petroleum and Shell Launch Integrated Pearl GTL Project

The layout of Pearl GTL plant in Ras Laffan measures 1.6 by 1.4 kilometers. Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell have launched the massive integrated Pearl Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) project in Qatar, with an eventual projected GTL fuel output of 140,000 barrels per day. The Pearl GTL project includes the development... Read more →

IATA: Airlines Need Alternative Fuels

International air passenger traffic grew 6.7% in the first half of 2006 compared to 2005, and international air freight traffic increased 5.2% over the same period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In June, the passenger load factor rose to 78.3%, more than 1.5 percentage points higher than... Read more →

Survey: US Consumer Awareness of E85 Flex-Fuel Vehicles High, Buying Interest Split About 50:50

Two-thirds of consumers surveyed are familiar with E85 flexible fuel vehicles, and more than one-half are interested in purchasing such a vehicle, according to the latest Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST, a study conducted bi-annually among adult vehicle owners in the United States. The survey was conducted online between 15 May 15... Read more →

Two Dutch Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles: NEV and Scooter

HydroGEM, with loading platform removed. Two hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles have emerged from Dutch labs recently: the HydroGEM, a fuel-cell powered version of a GEM Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV), built using a Dutch fuel-cell stack; and the Fhybrid scooter. The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) in Petten developed the... Read more →

GM Posts 2Q Loss of $3.2 Billion; Auto Operations Profitable for First Time Since 2004

GM 2Q earnings, 2005 vs 2006. Click to enlarge. General Motors Corp. today reported a net loss of $3.2 billion for the second quarter of 2006, compared to a loss of $987 million for the year-ago quarter. The net loss reflected a loss of $4.3 billion in charges for restructuring... Read more →

Cummins to Produce High-Performance, Light-Duty Diesel Engines for Automaker

Rendering of the V6 member of the engine family from Cummins-DOE Light-Duty Diesel project. Cummins Inc. has reached agreement with a major automotive manufacturer serving the North American market to produce and market a light-duty, diesel-powered engine. For competitive reasons, Cummins’ original equipment manufacturer partner in the venture has asked... Read more →

SAE Tackles Research on Mobile Air-Conditioning Systems with Low Global-Warming Impact

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has launched a new Cooperative Research Program to develop mobile air-conditioning systems that are more efficient and less harmful to the environment. Automakers have determined that new refrigerants must be screened and identified by the second quarter of 2007. The cooperative research will save... Read more →

DaimlerChrysler Readying 2nd-Generation F-Cell Test Vehicle; Targeting 2012-2015 for Commercial Intro

The second-generation B-Class F-Cell. DaimlerChrysler estimates that the marketing of hydrogen fuel-cell drive systems will begin sometime between 2012 and 2015, according to a recent fuel-cell workshop held by the company in Germany. DaimlerChrysler is thus readying its second-generation of F-Cell B-Class fuel-cell test vehicles—announced last year (earlier post)—with an... Read more →

E85 Consumption in Minnesota Increases Almost 6x in Two Years

Minnesota—which leads the US in the per-capita use of ethanol and biodiesel—has added more than 60 new E85 fueling sites in seven months. The state now has more than 250 E85 stations with another 20 expected by mid-August. On average, two new E85 outlets have opened every week since January.... Read more →

Honda to Sell HondaJet in US, Partner with Piper

HondaJet’s patented over-the-wing engine-mount configuration enables positioning the HF-118 engines on the upper surfaces of the wing to reduce drag at high speed, improving fuel efficiency. Honda plans to enter the HondaJet (earlier post) in the growing very light jet (VLJ) market, with the process of accepting sales orders expected... Read more →

11 States to Receive IC’s New Hybrid School Buses

Hybrid school bus. Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofit corporation, has awarded a contract for up to 19 hybrid school buses for school districts in 11 states to IC corporation. Advanced Energy issued its RFP for the contract on 22 June. IC Corporation, in collaboration with Enova Systems, unveiled the... Read more →

CalCEF Invests in Electric Car and Biodiesel Companies

The California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), a $30-million public benefit investment fund created via the PG&E bankruptcy settlement to spur investment and innovation in California’s clean energy economy, announced a summary of its Fund 1 Portfolio. Among the investments in the portfolio are Tesla Motors (earlier post), makers of an... Read more →

DOE JGI Sequences, Releases Genome of Symbiotic Tree Fungus

Laccaria bicolor and Douglas fir. Source: INRA. The US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) has determined the DNA sequence of Laccaria bicolor, a fungus that forms a beneficial symbiosis with trees and inhabits one of the most ecologically and commercially important microbial niches in North American and... Read more →

Brazil May Accelerate B5 Mandate from 2013 to 2010

Brazil is evaluating the possibility of accelerating the implementation of a mandated B5 biodiesel blend (5% biodiesel) from 2013 to 2010. A transition to a B2 blend is targeted for 2008. Each percentage point of a biodiesel mix will save Brazil roughly the equivalent of US $140 million per year... Read more →

Northern Ireland Proposes Mandatory Solar or Wind on All New Buildings

The Government of Northern Ireland is proposing changes to the Building Regulations which will make the use of renewable energy compulsory in all new buildings from 2008, according to Secretary of State Peter Hain MP. The changes, which all apply to all new homes, company and public buildings, will make... Read more →

Researchers Design Lithium-Coated Buckyball with 13 wt.% Hydrogen Storage

A lithium-coated fullerene (buckyball) as a potential material for hydrogen storage. Yellow represents lithium atoms, and black represents carbon atoms. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have described a potential new hydrogen storage system for vehicular applications based on lithium-coated buckyballs. The new material promises a gravimetric storage... Read more →

China National Offshore Oil Corp. in Biodiesel Deal with Malaysia

Bernama. China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), China’s third-largest oil company, is partnering with a Malaysian firm to develop palm-oil biodiesel. CNOOC Oil base Group, a subsidiary of CNOOC, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bio Sweet Sdn Bhd, a company which specializes in biotech and palm-oil biodiesel research... Read more →

Westport and Cryostar SAS Complete Agreement for LNG Tank Pump Technology

Layout of the HPDI LNG fuel system. The cryogenic pump is part of the tank module. Click to enlarge. Westport Innovations and Cryostar SAS, a division of the BOC Group and a leader in cryogenic pump products, completed a License and Supply Agreement for the development, manufacture and supply of... Read more →

BAE Systems Develops Human-in-the-Loop Simulation for Hybrid Design

BAE Systems engineers have developed a human-in-the-loop simulation capability to support the design of Hybrid Electric Drive systems for future vehicles. BAE Systems has been using modeling and simulation capabilities for more than two decades in the development and integration of combat vehicles and technology, and is now applying this... Read more →

Hydrogenics Receives Order for Forklift Fuel-Cell Power Pack from Japan

Hydrogenics Corporation has received an order for a HyPM Fuel Cell Power Pack (FCPP) to be integrated into a Japanese OEM’s Class 1 forklift, with delivery scheduled for late in 2006. This is the third material handling OEM to trial a Hydrogenics FCPP in their forklift truck platform as a... Read more →

Indonesia Targets 10% Biofuel Use by 2010

Indonesia’s oil production. Click to enlarge. Xinhua. Indonesia is targeting a 10% domestic usage of biofuels by 2010, according to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro. The Minister said that the biofuel would be made from casava, sugar cane, palm and castor. To meet the goal, the minister... Read more →

Study: Fuel Cell Development in the UK is “Relatively Neglected”

A new study funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) concludes that development of the hydrogen fuel cell has been relatively neglected through insufficient support from industry and government. The study suggests that the nature of fuel cell technology as a disruptive innovation is one of the... Read more →

Railpower Scales Back its Production Target for 2006

Railpower RP switcher. Railpower Technologies, makers of systems for hybrid locomotives and switch engines and derivative markets, recently announced that it does not expect to meet its unit production target of 90 to 100 locomotives for 2006 and its gross margin target of 30% by the end of the fourth... Read more →

Chinese Research on AlI3 Electrolytes for Energy Storage and Conversion

A research team consisting of members from Fudan University in Shanghai and the Chinese Academy of Science has been exploring the use of an AlI3 ethanol electrolyte for inexpensive and environmentally benign electrochemical energy conversion and storage devices. The team developed dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) using AlI3 and a new... Read more →

Bishop of London Declares Flying on Holiday and Gas Guzzlers As Sinful

Times of London. The Bishop of London has declared it sinful for people to contribute to climate change by flying on holiday, driving a gas-guzzling car or failing to use energy-saving measures in the home. Richard Chartres will encourage vicars to preach more green sermons and warn congregations that it... Read more →

Volkswagen Introduces Natural Gas Caddys

The Caddy Ecofuel. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge) is introducing natural gas versions of its Caddy van in both cargo and passenger (Caddy Life) models. The Caddy EcoFuel, first shown at the Frankfurt auto show in 2005 (earlier post) uses a 2.0-liter engine that delivers 80 kW (109 hp) of... Read more →

Report: Honda Building Parts Plant for New Small Hybrid

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Honda plans to build a new manufacturing plant to produce key components to be used in its hybrid cars, including a new small hybrid targeted for a 2009 release. Due to come online in 2008, the new plant will enable the automaker to quadruple... Read more →

Three Tri-Fuel Hydrogen/E85 Pickups on Display at North Dakota State Fair

Door of H2ICE Silverado highlights its role in the Wind to Hydrogen project. Click to enlarge. The University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), along with a group of utility and other private sector partners from around the state, will be showcasing a variety of hydrogen-fueled vehicles... Read more →

Westport Innovations and Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. Form LNG Tank Joint Venture

BWI LNG tank. Westport Innovations and Beijing Tianhai Industry Co. have formed a 50:50 owned, independent joint venture company—BTIC Westport (BWI)—to market liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel tanks for medium- and heavy-duty transportation applications. (Earlier post.) BWI combines BTIC’s world-class cryogenic manufacturing expertise with Westport’s LNG tank and natural gas... Read more →