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Nissan To Build Plant for Subcompacts in India

Nikkei. Nissan Motor will build a factory in India that will start operations in the latter half of 2009 with an annual output capacity of around 200,000 units, The Nikkei learned Sunday. Construction on the facility will begin this year, with an investment of ¥50-60 billion (US$420-504 million). The factory... Read more →

Angola Joins OPEC

Angola’s oil concessions. Click to enlarge. Source: Sonangol. At the OPEC meeting in Abuja, Nigeria earlier in December, the assembled members unanimously admitted the Republic of Angola—sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer behind Nigeria—as the twelfth full member of the organization, effective 1 January 2007. The Conference also decided to... Read more →

Ford to Introduce E85 Muscle Car Concept at Detroit Show

E85 muscle car: the Interceptor. Ford will introduce a Mustang-based E85 concept muscle car at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The Ford Interceptor uses a Ford Racing 5.0-liter V-8 “Cammer” engine running on E85 (85% ethanol blend). The 4-valve, dual overhead cam (DOHC) engine produces... Read more →

German Transportation Program for EU Council Presidency Focused on Safety, Fuels and Emissions; Transport Minister Rejects Speed Limits

The EU adds two new members (Bulgaria and Romania) in 2007, for a total of 27 countries. Click to enlarge. Germany takes leadership of the Group of Eight and the 6-month European Union Council Presidency in 2007. German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee, has presented his... Read more →

Pakistani Busmakers Cutting CNG Bus Prices by 15%

Gulf Times. Pakistani busmakers are cutting the prices of their locally produced and compressed natural gas (CNG) buses by 15% following the government’s decision early in December to zero-rate sales tax on the import and supply of all buses which can carry 40 or more passengers, including CNG buses. As... Read more →

Enova Systems Posts Larger 3Q Loss on Increased Operational Costs

Enova Systems reported a third-quarter loss of US$1.641 million—a doubling of its US$0.782 million loss in Q3 2005. The company, which develops and manufactures electric, hybrid and fuel-cell drive systems and management systems, attributed the increased costs to expanding product and marketing initiatives. Net revenues dropped to US$312,000 for the... Read more →

US Ethanol Industry Has a 4.9 Billion Gallon Year; Consumption Beats RFS Standard by 1 Billion Gallons

Iowa’s ethanol output, 1978-2006. Click to enlarge. US ethanol production in October tied the all-time high set in September 2006 of 333,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The US ethanol industry was averaging 310,000 bpd of production through October, an annualized... Read more →

New Mexico Governor Signs Executive Order on Climate Change Action

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order (2006-69) that specifies greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies to address climate change in New Mexico. The order creates a state government implementation team tasked with ensuring policies from the order are carried out. These policies include: Creating a market-based greenhouse... Read more →

Munich Re: Weather-Related Catastrophes Will Increase with Rising Loss Potentials

Cat 5 Cyclone Larry (at right) at landfall with winds of 180 mph. Source: Bureau of Meteorology Although the insurance industry was largely spared major losses from natural catastrophes in 2006, unlike in the previous two years, when hurricanes such as Katrina caused record losses, Munich Re Group’s outlook is... Read more →

Honda Sees Mass Production of Fuel-Cell Cars Possible by 2018

Honda Motor Co. thinks it will be able to mass produce fuel-cell vehicles for the general market by 2018, Honda President Takeo Fukui said in a recent interview with Kyodo News. Honda plans to begin leasing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle based on its FCX Concept in Japan and the United... Read more →

Uranium Oxide Spot Prices Almost Double in 2006

Uranium spot prices almost doubled during 2006, jumping from US$37.50/pound for U3O8 in January to $72/pound in December, according to pricing data collected by the Ux Consulting Company. The $72/pound figure is ten times the $7.10 price of uranium oxide at the end of 2000, unadjusted for inflation. In constant... Read more →

Gazprom Gains Controlling Interest in Sakhalin II

by Jack Rosebro Gazprom, Russia’s state-run natural-gas export monopoly, earlier this month agreed to pay Royal Dutch Shell and two Japanese companies US$7.45 billion in cash by April 2007 for half of the Sakhalin II oil and gas project off Russia’s east coast. Shell, Mitsui Co. and Mitsubishi Corporation all... Read more →

Lutianhua Group to Build World’s Largest DME Plant in China

Chinese petrochemical company Lutianhua Group Inc. is planning to build a plant capable of producing 1 million tonnes of dimethyl ether (DME) per year in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The plant would be the world’s largest DME facility to date. Lutianhua Group has already signed a technology licensing agreement... Read more →

Altair Nanotechnologies Completes Li-Ion Battery Pack Order for Phoenix Motorcars

Comparison of cycle life (18,000 cycles for Altairnano NanoSafe vs. 750 for conventional li-ion). Click to enlarge. Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. announced today that it shipped ten rapid-charge, high-power li-ion battery packs to Phoenix Motorcars, Inc. on schedule. The shipment of the ten 35 kWh battery packs fulfills and completes the... Read more →

O2Diesel Secures Additional $1 Million to Continue Fuel Development for DoD

O2Diesel Corporation has received an additional $1 million in funding from the Department of Defense for 2007 to continue its existing demonstration projects and develop a cleaner-burning alternative diesel fuel. O2Diesel has been under contract to develop a new fuel for the Department of Defense that will be composed of... Read more →

TfL Environmental Report Illustrates Difficulty in CO2 Reduction for Transport

TfL CO2 emissions. Click to enlarge. In its just-published Environmental Report 2006, Transport for London (TfL) notes that while it has made progress in providing a “cleaner and greener transport network” the challenge for emissions and CO2 reduction in the transport sector is a difficult one. Using the same sources... Read more →

PKM DUDA Entering the Biofuels Business with First Ethanol Plant

PKM DUDA, a group of capital-linked businesses from the agricultural and food sector in Poland with a primary focus on red meat production, is diversifying into the biogas and biofuels business. DUDA is partnering with Lurgi on the construction of a 100,000 tonne per year (33 million gallons US) bioethanol... Read more →

California Governor to Propose $95 Million for Cleantech, Biotech and Nanotech Research

California Governor Schwarzenegger will propose nearly $95 million in the state budget to create the Governor’s Research and Innovation Initiative. This initiative is designed to provide funding for major projects that will increase California’s economic strength in key innovation sectors, including cleantech, biotech and nanotech. As a part of his... Read more →

California ARB Awards $2.6 Million for Emissions Measurement and Reduction Technologies

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has selected 12 new proposals to receive this year’s Innovative Clean Air Technology (ICAT) awards. The $2.6 million, the largest yearly amount ever dispersed through ICAT, will help transition these projects from theory to working models that will illustrate their commercial potential. Of the... Read more →

Railpower Receives EPA Certification for Three-Engine Road Switcher

Railpower Technologies Corp., a developer of specialized energy technology systems for the transportation industry and manufacturers of the Green Goat hybrid switcher, has obtained US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification for its three-engine road switcher locomotive (model RP20-BD). Railpower is the first locomotive manufacturer to obtain EPA certification for a... Read more →

China Releases First National Climate Change Assessment; Proposes Increased Prices on Energy Products

Ministers release the assessment on climate change. China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and six other ministries jointly issued a preliminary report on the country’s first national assessment of climate change and its impacts. The full assessment will be fully released in 2007. According to the report, China’s average annual... Read more →

Solix and Colorado State University Commercializing New Algae-to-Biodiesel Process

A prototype of the Solix photo-bioreactor for algae production. Click to enlarge. Solix Biofuels Inc., a startup company based in Boulder, Colorado, is working with Colorado State University engineers to commercialize technology to produce biodiesel from oil derived from algae. Solix officials plan to have the technology on the market... Read more →

Nexant Forecasts Transition from First-Generation Biofuels

Current and emerging liquid biofuels technologies. Click to enlarge. Source: Nexant. A newly published study by energy consultant Nexant, Inc. concludes that the current generation of commercialized biofuels—biodiesel and bioethanol produced from grains and sugars—are likely transitional technologies. The study—Liquid Biofuels: Substituting for Petroleum—concludes that fatty acid methyl ester biodiesel... Read more →

New ACE Diesel Engine with Biodiesel Cuts NOx Emissions 80%

The Nikkei Business Daily reports that New ACE Institute Co. and the National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory have developed diesel engine technology that reduces emissions of oxides of nitrogen from engines fueled by rapeseed-based biodiesel blends by 80%. The engine uses a combination of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and... Read more →

Japanese Shochu Lees to be Recycled into Feed and Fuel Ethanol

The Saito Recycling Association in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan, contracted Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., (MES) earlier this fall to build a facility to recycle the lees—the solid and liquid dregs—from the production of shochu, a distilled Japanese liquor, into compound feed materials and ethanol. Shochu is enjoying a boom in... Read more →

Japanese Company Investing in New Coal Liquefaction Project in China

Interfax. Universe Gas and Oil Co. (UGO), a Japanese energy development company, plans to invest RMB 400 million ($51.28 million) in a coal-to-liquids project in northeastern China’s Jilin Province. Zhang Shuang, an official with the company, said the plant will have an annual capacity of 500,000 tonnes (about 3.7 million... Read more →

T.Rad Boosting Output Of Exhaust Gas Recirculation Coolers Globally

T.Rad’s EGR cooler accepted by Toyota. Nikkei. Japan’s T.Rad Co. is increasing its global production of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers for light duty passenger vehicles. The company will invest some ¥1 billion (US$8.4 million) to install production equipment at its Thai plant in early 2008 to make EGR coolers... Read more →

EPA Publishes Final Boutique Fuels List

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a list of boutique fuels that finalizes a draft list put forth in June. (Earlier post.) This list now serves as the basis for any future adoption of boutique fuels into State Implementation Plans. Boutique fuels are the specialized blends produced for... Read more →

Mitsubishi Heavy to Build Air Conditioners for Hybrid Vehicles

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) is establishing an automotive air conditioner business for supplying hybrid-electric vehicles. According to the report, the company has secured orders from two major US automakers, and will begin mass-producing compressors at a Mie Prefecture facility in 2007. A high-volume... Read more →

Large Philippine Coconut Biodiesel Project Planned; Output Bound for Japan

Philippine Star. Philippine company Bio-Energy NL Inc. plans to invest up to $300 million (roughly P15 billion) for an integrated coconut plantation and biodiesel plant in Northern Luzon in the Philippines. The coconut plantation will occupy 500,000 hectares of land and the refinery will have a capacity of approximately 300... Read more →

Report: Fuji Heavy To Stop Using Aluminum Outer Panels For New Cars

Nikkei. In light of soaring aluminum prices—which have more than doubled in four years—Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of Subaru brand automobiles, will not use aluminum exterior panels for car models that are redesigned or newly released in and after fiscal 2007. The company will instead use less expensive but... Read more →

Obvio! Selects Lotus Engineering to Develop Tri-Fuel Cars

The Obvio! chassis based on Niess Rings. Brazil’s Obvio! Automotoveiculos S.A. has selected the UK’s Lotus Engineering to develop two “trybrid” high-performance microsports cars for markets across the globe, in a deal potentially worth more than £70 million (US$137 million). The Obvio! 828 and 012 are the first products for... Read more →

Federal Court Strikes Down EPA 2004 Ozone Rule

In a unanimous decision, a federal court of appeals has struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling changing the 8-hour ozone standard, saying that the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by relaxing those limits. Challenging the ruling in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals were the California South Coast... Read more →

Volvo Introducing XC60 Concept with 3.2-Liter E85 Engine

The XC60 Concept is powered by an E85-optimized 6-cylinder engine. The powertrain for the All Wheel Drive Volvo XC60 Concept, due to make its world debut at the Detroit show in January, is a bioethanol engine. The powertrain for the Volvo XC60 Concept uses the same six-cylinder, 3.2-liter, in-line gasoline... Read more →

Albemarle Creates Alt-Fuels Division

Albemarle’s estimate of the growth of the GTL catalyst market. Click to enlarge. Albemarle Corporation, a leading global catalyst and specialty chemical maker, has created a new division focusing on alternative fuel technologies. To be led by Ray Hurley, formerly vice president for catalysts, the new division will focus on... Read more →

Science Names Research on Ice Sheet Melting One of Year’s Top Breakthroughs

The journal Science has named research on the accelerating melting of the great ice sheets as one of the runner-ups to the top scientific breakthrough of the year. Science heralded the proof of the Poincaré conjecture as the top breakthrough of the year (if not the decade). The journal noted... Read more →

Forecast Puts China’s Auto Sales at More Than 8 Million in 2007

Xinhua. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) is forecasting that the country’s sales will exceed eight million in 2007. CAAM earlier predicted that both China’s auto production and sales would exceed seven million in 2006. During the first 11 months this year, China’s auto production reached 6.59 million, a... Read more →

NY Upgrades CNG Fueling Site to Largest on East Coast

The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) and Clean Energy have completed an upgrade to the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station adjacent to the Perry S. Duryea, Jr. State Office Building on Veterans Highway in Hauppauge, NY, Suffolk County. The Long Island Power Authority and Keyspan were... Read more →

Canada Sets Biofuels Targets

Canada’s government has announced its targets for renewable fuel content in gasoline and diesel. The government also announced C$345 million (US$299 million) in assistance to farmers and rural communities to help them develop biofuels and other bioproducts. Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, announced that the Government will require an... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Fined $1.2 Million for Clean Air Act Violation

Mercedes-Benz will pay $1.2 million in civil penalties to resolve its failure to promptly notify the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about air pollution control defects on numerous 1998-2006 model vehicles. Mercedes must also improve its emissions defect investigation and reporting system to ensure future compliance, at an estimated cost of... Read more →

Valeo In Development Contracts for Camless Engine; Projections of Up To 20% Improvement in Fuel Efficiency

Valeo’s camless Smart Valve Actuation technology. Click to enlarge. AutoWeek reports that Valeo SA has several development contracts with automakers for its camless engine. Although Valeo would not confirm the contracts, a spokesperson said the supplier is working with several global automakers on camless engines. Camless technology is projected to... Read more →

UK Approves Construction of 1.3GW of Offshore Wind Power Capacity

The UK has given the green light for the construction of the world’s largest wind farm—the London Array—to be built in the Thames estuary off the Kent coast. The consent gives the go-ahead for the offshore sections of the 1,000MW wind farm which, if built, will displace nearly 2 million... Read more →

Oshkosh ProPulse Hybrid Drive System Uses Copper Motor Rotor Technology

The Oshkosh ProPulse series hybrid drive system (earlier post)—as applied in the military’s next-generation Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck HEMTT-A3 and in commercial vehicles—is using motors with die-cast copper rotors. The rotors in the 140hp (104kW) electric motors represent a breakthrough in motor technology developed by the Copper Development Association... Read more →

Renault Introduces Two B30 Light Commercial Vehicles

The B30 Trafic. Renault has introduced B30 (30% biodiesel blend)-compatible diesel versions of two of its commercial vehicles. Trafic 2.0 dCi B30 and Master 2.5 dCi B30 are the first expressions of Renault’s commitment to biofuels, made by the company as part of Renault Commitment 2009, whereby all diesel engines... Read more →

SunOpta and GreenField Ethanol Create Wood-Chip Cellulosic Ethanol Joint Venture; NY State Makes Two Wood Cellulosic Ethanol Development Awards

SunOpta has signed a joint venture agreement with GreenField Ethanol—formerly known as Commercial Alcohols, Canada’s leading producer of fuel ethanol—to develop and implement commercial scale processes for the production of cellulosic ethanol from wood chips, including the planned establishment of one or more commercial scale plants employing the new process.... Read more →

Ballard Selling E-Drive Operations to Siemens VDO

Ballard’s 100 kW integrated electric drive system. Ballard Power Systems is selling its electric drive (E-Drive) operations—based in Dearborn, Michigan—to Siemens VDO Automotive Corporation for approximately $4 million. Ballard E-Drive systems range in power ratings from 17 kW to 250 kW, covering a wide array of possible applications. Ballard provided... Read more →

Nissan, NEC To Partner to Develop Li-Ion Batteries For Cars

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Nissan Motor and NEC Corp. will partner in the development of li-ion battery technology for use in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell cars. The companies confirmed that such a partnership was under consideration, but said that details are not final. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun says... Read more →

NYSERDA Awards PHEV Conversion Contracts to Four Companies (corrected)

by Jack Rosebro The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has made awards from its $10-million New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative to four companies for the conversion of conventional hybrids to plug-in hybrids: Hymotion, Hybrids Plus, Electrovaya and EnergyCS. NYSERDA awarded Hymotion... Read more →

Mascoma Awarded $14.8M to Build and Operate Cellulosic Ethanol Demonstration Plant

Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol developer and producer (earlier post), has received a $14.8 million award from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to build and operate a biomass-to-ethanol demonstration plant in Rochester, New York, pending local... Read more →