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MEMS-Based Turbine Chip for Portable Power

One component of the micro gas-turbine. Source: MIT MIT researchers are developing a gas-turbine engine the size of a quarter. The MIT micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based micro turbine is a 1 cm diameter by 3 mm thick silicon heat engine designed to produce 10-20 W of electric power. The resulting device... Read more →

Study: Synthetic Fuels from Nuclear Hydrogen and Captured CO2 Viable

A study published earlier this year by researchers at MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES) concluded that producing synthetic transportation fuels from nuclear hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide would be technically viable. Based on a reference year 2025 case, the report found that 43.1% of the CO2 projected... Read more →

BMW Introduces Intelligent Alternator Control with Regenerative Braking; Reduces Fuel Consumption by About 4%

At the Paris Auto Show, BMW introduced a system it calls Intelligent Alternator Control (IAC) to generate electric power for a car’s on-board network exclusively in overrun and during braking—IAC thus also incorporates a system for regenerating brake energy. The system is part of a larger BMW initiative to improve... Read more →

Volvo Unveils C30; US-Bound in MY 2008 or Later

Volvo C30 Volvo has unveiled its new C30, the smallest car in Volvo’s model range, at the Paris Auto Show. For the European market, Volvo will offer the C30 with a range of gasoline, flex-fuel and diesel engines that can deliver fuel consumption as low as 4.9 liters/100km (48 mpg... Read more →

Toyota Introduces Eco Drive Indicator to Encourage Better Driving; Up to 4% Improvement in Fuel Economy

Eco Drive Indicator. Click to enlarge. Beginning in October, Toyota Motor (TMC) will equip its new Japanese-market vehicle models using automatic transmissions with an Eco Drive Indicator, a feature intended to encourage environmentally considerate driving. The indicator is designed to help reduce CO2 emissions through helping drivers increase their vehicles’... Read more →

Energy and Auto Companies Outline Steps to Advance Hydrogen as a Transport Fuel in Europe

The energy companies Shell Hydrogen and Total France, along with automakers BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, GM, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, and Volkswagen AG have issued a common position paper defining a joint approach to advance hydrogen as a fuel for road transport in Europe. The companies have decided that a joint approach... Read more →

Taiwan Oil Firm Funding Coal-to-Liquids Study in Alaska

The proposed Cook Inlet Coal-to-Liquids Project. Click to enlarge. The Alaska Commerce Journal reports that Chinese Petroleum Corp. (CPC) of Taiwan will kick in $1.5 million to co-fund a preliminary feasibility study for an 80,000-barrel-per-day coal-to-liquids fuels plant near the Beluga coal fields on the west side of Cook Inlet,... Read more →

Chrysler Introduces 2.0-Liter Turbodiesel Concept at Paris Show

The Dodge Avenger concept car. Chrysler took the wraps off its Dodge Avenger concept car at the Paris Auto Show this week. The Avenger uses a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine and offers a lower rear diffuser to reduce vehicle drag and improve fuel efficiency. If the D-segment (mid-size) vehicle goes... Read more →

France to Accelerate E85 Support and Adoption

French Finance Minister Thierry Breton has outlined steps in an action plan to accelerate the adoption of E85 flex-fuel vehicles and infrastructure in France. E85 is currently not authorized in France. In June, however, the government launched its first tests of E85 vehicles. (Earlier post.) The E85 action plan begins... Read more →

GM’s Lutz: Not All Eggs in Hydrogen Basket, GM Studying Plug-Ins

Writing in GM’s FastLane Blog, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz outlined the company’s roll-out plans for the newly announced Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle. The purpose of the 100-plus fleet (earlier post) is to demonstrate the basic capabilities of the system and to raise national awareness. If progress continues on the... Read more →

Dresden and Leipzig to Buy Buses with GM Hybrid System

by Jack Rosebro The Hybrid Urbino. At this year’s Internationale Automobile-Ausstellung (IAA) commercial vehicle show, Polish bus manufacturer Solaris Bus & Coach Company confirmed that the first purchasers of the hybrid version of their 18-meter (60 foot) articulated Urbino bus, which uses GM’s Allison two-mode EDrive system, are the German... Read more →

Honeywell Introduces Parallel Sequential Dual-Stage Turbo for Diesels

Honeywell has introduced a parallel sequential dual-stage turbo system for diesel engines. The system makes its debut on the 4-cylinder engines of PSA group’s Peugeot 407 and 607, and the Citroen C5 and C6—the first such application on a four-cylinder diesel. Unlike a serial sequential turbocharging configuration, where a smaller... Read more →

Dutch Researchers Conclude Large-Scale Biomass-to-Liquids Processing Can be Economically Feasible Even with Imported Feedstock

General schematic lineup of the complete integrated system for FT crude production from pretreated biomass. Click to enlarge. Europe is working with a long-term vision of having 30% or more of the total transportation fuels consumption of the EU-25 come from biofuels by 2040. Asserting that one of the most... Read more →

ZAP Forms Joint Venture in China with XEBRA Manufacturer

ZAP has signed an agreement to form a joint venture with China auto manufacturer Shandong Jindalu Vehicle Company Ltd.—the manufacturer of the XEBRA electric micro-car which ZAP imports. (Earlier post.) The joint venture involves the design and manufacture of a new generation of low-cost advanced transportation vehicles that run efficiently... Read more →

Branson Outlines Plans to Cut Carbon Emissions from Aviation by Up to 25%; Calls for Global Air Industry Effort

The Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, Sir Richard Branson, today called on the global aviation industry to develop a shared solution to the growing issue of climate change. The move follows Virgin Group’s plans to invest $3 billion in renewable energy initiatives over the next ten years. (Earlier post.) Speaking in... Read more →

DOE Funds Six New Projects Aimed at Coal-to-Hydrogen Production and Hydrogen Combustion Engines

The Department of Energy announced funding for six cost-shared research and development projects investigating different aspects of coal-to-hydrogen production and the utilization of hydrogen or hydrogen/natural-gas mixtures in combustion engines. The total value of the six projects is nearly $18 million dollars, with DOE providing $12.9 million and industry partners... Read more →

NanoeXa and Argonne National Laboratory to Commercialize Next Generation Lithium Battery Technologies

NanoeXa and Decktron have entered into a definitive agreement with Argonne National Laboratory to develop and transfer into commercial use next-generation rechargeable lithium battery technologies from Argonne’s Battery Technology Department. NanoeXa is a South San Francisco, California-based nanotechnology clean energy company founded in 2005. Decktron is a Korean lithium battery... Read more →

Neste Oil Aims to Become World’s Leading Producer of Second-Generation Renewable Diesel

NExBTL, Neste’s second-generation renewable diesel, has outperformed FT GTL fuels in emissions tests. Click to enlarge. Neste Oil’s Board of Directors has approved a strategy aimed at making the company the world’s leading producer of second-generation renewable diesel fuel. The Finnish company has developed a refinery-based proprietary technology it calls... Read more →

The Plug-In and BEV Adoption Wild Card: Vehicle-to-Grid

A series of speakers at the California Air Resources Board Zero Emissions Vehicle Symposium explored a potential accelerated adoption scenario for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) that exploits the capabilities of vehicle-to-grid charging. The premise is that the additional cost to consumers of full-function zero-emission vehicles (ZEV)... Read more →

Iowa State Researchers Optimizing Production of Producer Gas from Biomass to Displace Natural Gas

Researchers from Iowa State University are working with Frontline BioEnergy to optimize a gasification process for the production of producer gas from biomass to replace the use of natural gas in ethanol plants. Many ethanol plants use natural gas to produce the heat required to create the steam to liquefy... Read more →

The Arguments for Hydrogen Combustion Engines

BMW envisions the development of hydrogen combustion engines that eventually use charged, direct injection to deliver high efficiency. The current Hydrogen 7 is represented by the H2-PFI column. Click to enlarge. Source: BMW Speaking at the California Air Resources Board Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Symposium, representatives from Sandia National Laboratories... Read more →

Lawsuit Over California Greenhouse Gas Auto Emissions Standards Will Go to Trial

San Jose Mercury News. US District Judge Anthony Ishii ruled on Monday that automakers can continue their lawsuit seeking to block California’s law regulating greenhouse gas emission standards for new vehicles beginning in 2009. The case will go to trial 30 January 2007. The Office of the California State Attorney... Read more →

Quantum’s Compressed Hydrogen Storage Path: Meeting DOE 2010 Gravimetric Density Target

A rendering of a projected advanced CH2 storage system. Quantum Technologies outlined a development path for its compressed hydrogen (CH2) storage systems that shows the company meeting the US Department of Energy’s 2010 hydrogen storage gravimetric density target. Speaking at the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Symposium being held by the... Read more →

NASA Study Finds World Warmth Edging Ancient Levels; 1° C Additional Warming Could Constitute Dangerous Change

Temperature change on average from 2001-2005. 2005 was the warmest ranked year on record. Dark red indicates the greatest warming and purple indicates the greatest cooling. Click image to enlarge. Credit: NASA A new study by NASA climatologists finds that the world’s temperature is reaching a level that has not... Read more →

VW Develops All-Electric Microbus Concept

The Chameleon electric microbus. Volkswagen of America Electronics Research Laboratory (ERL), located in Palo Alto, California, has taken a 1964 Deluxe Microbus and retrofitted it with a collection of new technologies, including an all-electric drive powered by lithium polymer batteries. VW ERL worked with Hybrid Technologies on the electric powertrain... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Will Offer Tier 2 Bin 5 BLUETEC Diesel SUVs in 2008

Mercedes-Benz today announced that it intends to offer BLUETEC diesel-powered versions of its M-, R- and GL-Class sport-utility vehicles that will meet EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 and CA LEV II emissions standards in the US beginning in CY 2008. (Earlier post.) When the Mercedes E320 BLUETEC hits salesrooms shortly,... Read more →

Chevron and Los Alamos Jointly Research Oil Shale Hydrocarbon Recovery

Oil shale bed. Chevron Corporation and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have created a joint research project to improve the recovery of hydrocarbons trapped in oil shales and slow-flowing oil formations. The goal of the Chevron-Los Alamos collaboration is to develop an environmentally responsible and commercially viable process to recover... Read more →

Quantum Signs Agreement With Miljo Innovasjon to Pursue JV for Electric Vehicles

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has signed a letter of understanding with Miljo Innovasjon AS of Norway that establishes the basis for discussions to structure a joint venture for the development and production of electric vehicles intended for markets in Norway, Europe, and China. The letter of understanding outlines several... Read more →

Honda Previews Next-Generation Engine and Power Technologies

The Tier 2 Bin 5 diesel engine and aftertreatment system. In May 2006, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui announced voluntary global CO2 reduction targets for its products and production activities—a 10% reduction by 2010 compared to 2000 levels—becoming the first automaker to do so. In the speech, he outlined a number... Read more →

ACEEE Releases Report on Plug-in Hybrids; Finds Benefits, But Issues

CO2 emissions associated with all electric use of a PHEV varies significantly with the regional power-generation mix—and, in some regions, also over time. Total US is the dashed red line. Click to enlarge. Plug-in hybrid vehicles could contribute greatly to reducing automobile oil consumption and emissions, but reaching those goals... Read more →

Honda Showcases FCX Concept, Sets 2008 Market Entry; Re-emphasizes T2B5 US Diesel for 2009

FCX Concept zips around the track in Japan. In a press event at its R&D facility north of Tokyo, Honda showcased its FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle (earlier post), putting it through its paces on the test track at about 100 mph. The company says it plans limited marketing in... Read more →

LLNL Licenses Carbon Aerogel for Hydrogen Production

The Regents of the University of California, under its US Department of Energy (DOE) contract to manage and operate Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have licensed the rights to manufacture and to market carbon aerogel worldwide to CDT Systems except for capacitor fields of use. The LLNL license—the second such to... Read more →

Clinton Initiative Wraps with $7.3B in Pledges; More Than $3.69 Billion in Investment for Energy and Climate Change Committed

The Clinton Global Initiative conference closed this week with 215 commitments valued at $7.3 billion from companies, governments and non-profit groups. Commitments were focused on the four themes of reducing climate change, disease, poverty and religious conflict. Although the headliner commitment was Sir Richard Branson’s estimated $3 billion pledge (over... Read more →

Shell and Anglo American Advance Monash Coal-to-Liquids Project

Energy Investments Australia Pty Ltd (Shell) and Anglo American plc have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) for the two companies to further advance the Monash Energy clean coal-to-liquids project—including carbon capture and sequestration—in the state of Victoria, Australia. (Earlier post.) This agreement is the first under a clean coal... Read more →

Report: Nissan to End Hybrids Agreement with Toyota; Developing Plug-In Hybrid Model

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Nissan will develop new hybrid vehicle technology on its own, thereby ending its reliance on a joint agreement with Toyota. The new compact car models—to be introduced in 2010—will be equipped with lithium-ion battery systems and include a plug-in hybrid vehicle model, according to unnamed... Read more →

New York Mayor Announces Environmental Initiatives; Full GHG Audit a First Step

Mayor Bloomberg announced his initiatives at Bloom Energy—formerly Ion America, a SORFC (solid oxide regenerative fuel cell) start-up. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a series of initiatives advancing an ambitious environmental agenda for New York City and its municipal government. Key components of the plan include the creation... Read more →

BASF Venture Capital Invests in Biotech Firm Targeting Biogenic Methane Production from Fossil Fuel Resources

A SEM image of in-situ microbes in coal. BASF Venture Capital America, Inc. is investing $3 million in LUCA Technologies. LUCA is developing a technology platform that uses microorganisms to reactivate or intensify the production of methane from finite fuels such as coal, shale or oil. (Earlier post.) LUCA is... Read more →

EPA Grants New Jersey $2.1 Million to Reduce Diesel Pollution

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $2.1 million in grants for New Jersey’s efforts to reduce emissions from diesel engines. The grants for reducing diesel emissions complement the state’s existing program which includes a three-minute idling law and a mandatory retrofit initiative affecting 40,000 vehicles in the state.... Read more →

Report: Toyota To Increase Prius Production in Japan by 50% in 2007

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Toyota will increase the production of the Prius in Japan by 50% to about 300,000 vehicles in 2007. Toyota currently manufactures the hybrid almost completely in Japan and exports the vehicles to 40 countries and regions. The company already plans to increase annual output... Read more →

BP Plans $3 Billion Reconfiguration of Midwest Refinery to Handle More Canadian Oil Sands Crude

BP has entered the final planning stage of a $3 billion investment in Canadian heavy crude oil processing at its Whiting Refinery located in northwest Indiana. BP America Inc. Chairman and President Bob Malone said the company intends to reconfigure its Whiting Refinery so most of its feedstock can be... Read more →

Researchers Caution on Potential of Energy Crops as Invasive Species

A research plot of Miscanthus. A University of Arkansas researcher and his colleagues are calling for caution in developing dedicated energy crops, citing the possibility of some of those biofuel crops becoming invasive species. Robert N. Wiedenmann, professor of entomology, and his colleagues S. Raghu, Roger C. Anderson, Curt C.... Read more →

Bunge and Investment Group Create Joint Venture Biodiesel Company

Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of global agribusiness company Bunge Limited, and Biodiesel Investment Group have created Biofuels Company of America (BCA), a joint venture that will build a 45-million gallon per year biodiesel plant adjacent to Bunge’s soybean processing facility in Danville, Ill. Work on the... Read more →

In Optimizing Hydrogen Storage, Larger Pores Not Necessarily Better

A ball-and-stick view of one of the compounds. Click to enlarge. Source: Angewandte Chemie One of the promising types of candidate materials for hydrogen storage is a class of substances known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs): three-dimensional crystalline networks held together by multiple bonds between charged metal ions and carbon-based... Read more →

ZF Introduces Eco-Life Commercial Vehicle Transmission With Learning Software

by Jack Rosebro ZF Eco-Life ZF Friedrichshafen AG has announced the production of a new six-speed automatic transmission, designed for city bus applications. The ZF Eco-Life can operate with higher fluid temperatures than previous transmissions, a requirement that ZF found to be important when integrating the transmission into powertrains that... Read more →

US DOE Releases Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

Technologies for strategic goal #1: Reducing Emissions from End Use and Infrastructure. Technologies shown are representations of larger suites. Transportation sector outlined in red. Click to enlarge. Source: DOE The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released the Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP) Strategic Plan, which details measures to accelerate... Read more →

Hybrid Technologies Places Lithium-Ion Powered Electric PT Cruiser as Taxi in NYC

Electric PT Cruiser as Yellow Cab. Hybrid Technologies will supply a lithium-powered L-PT Cruiser for use as a NYC Yellow Cab. The program was approved by a vote at a scheduled TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) hearing. The program utilizes article 14 of the TLC charters, which allows the introduction... Read more →