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DOE Makes Draft Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle R&D Roadmap Available for Comment

Preliminary schedule for PHEV work. Click to enlarge. The DOE Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies (FCVT) has developed a Draft Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle R&D Plan to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies critical for plug-in hybrid vehicles. (Earlier post.) This plan addresses all aspects of R&D from... Read more →

China’s Private Auto Fleet Climbs to 29.25 Million

Xinhua. The number of privately-owned automobiles in China reached 29.25 million at the end of 2006, up 23.7% over the end of 2005, according to the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Wednesday. The country sold more than seven million automobiles in 2006, including 3.8 million... Read more →

Study: Diesel PM Exhaust Poses Specific Risk to Commuters

Diesel fumes pose a specific health risk to commuters, according to a new report by the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). CATF investigated the exposure to diesel particles during typical commutes in four cities: Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; New York City; and Columbus, Ohio. In addition, CATF tested the air... Read more →

Kinder Morgan to Invest Up to $100 Million in Biodiesel Infrastructure

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners plans to invest up to $100 million to expand its terminal facilities to help serve the growing biodiesel market. KMP has entered into long-term agreements with Green Earth Fuels, LLC to build up to 1.3 million barrels of tankage that will handle approximately 8 million barrels... Read more →

New Data Analysis Links Atlantic Ocean Warming to Stronger Hurricanes

Hurricane Katrina. Source: NOAA. Atmospheric scientists have uncovered fresh evidence to support the theory that global warming has contributed to the emergence of stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. But the trend doesn’t hold up in the world’s other oceans. Scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated... Read more →

DOE Awards Up to $385 Million to Six Cellulosic Ethanol Plants; Total Investment to Exceed $1.2 Billion

The US Department of Energy will invest up to $385 million for six biorefinery projects over the next four years. When fully operational, the biorefineries are expected to produce more than 130 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. The solicitation, announced a year ago, was initially for three biorefineries... Read more →

Pacific Gas and Electric to Study Wave Power in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties

Pacific Gas and Electric Company took the first step towards developing generation projects that could convert the abundant wave energy off the coast of Mendocino and Humboldt Counties (California) into electricity by filing two preliminary permit applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The WaveConnect projects will begin with... Read more →

Air Products Introduces New Dual-Pressure Capable Hydrogen Fueling Station; First Public-View 700 Bar Station in US

Air Products and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) unveiled a new dual 700 and 350 bar (10,000/5,000 psi) pressure capable vehicle fueling station on the UCI campus. The 700 bar fueling station is the first in the United States to be sited at a location with wider accessibility for... Read more →

US Air Force Plans to Certify All B-52s for GTL-Blend Use by End of Year; On the Ground, More Electric Vehicles

If detailed analysis of flight test data and physical inspection prove out, the US Air Force plans to certify its entire B-52 bomber fleet for use of a GTL-JP8 blend by the end of the year. The Air Force recently concluded its flight and ground tests of the 50-50 GTL... Read more →

Five US Western States to Create Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative

At the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association, the governors of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington signed an agreement that directs their respective states to, within the next six months, develop a regional target for reducing greenhouse gases. During the next 18 months, they will devise... Read more →

PG&E Adds Four Phoenix Electric SUTs to Fleet

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has added four Phoenix Motorcars all-electric sport utility trucks (SUTs) (earlier post) to its clean fuel fleet. PG&E will test the Phoenix Motorcars SUTs in its daily operations across its 70,000 square mile service area in central and northern California. By adding the Phoenix Motorcars... Read more →

Researchers Identify Four Cellulase Genes in Termite Digestive System

The ability of termites to eat wood and break the cellulose down into glucose quickly and efficiently have made studying the insects a point of focus for a number of scientists, including Nobel laureate Steven Chu, now Director of the Lawrence Berkeley Labs, who would like to apply that capability... Read more →

Three Partners to Build Major Bioethanol Plant in Germany

EPURON, a subsidiary of Conergy AG, AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG and MAN Ferrostaal are jointly constructing one of the largest bioethanol plants in Germany with a planned annual capacity of 200,000 m³ (52.8 million gallons US). A Biofuel Quota Law, which came into effect on 1 January 2007 in Germany, obliges... Read more →

Toyota To Build SUV Plant in Mississippi

Toyota will build a new $1.3 billion plant in Mississippi with the capacity for 150,000 Highlander SUVs annually. Production is scheduled to begin by 2010. The plant is Toyota’s eighth assembly facility in North America. Toyota currently operates six vehicle assembly plants with one under construction in North America. These... Read more →

Report: Chrysler in Talks to Expand Ties with Chery

Chrysler reportedly is in talks to buy more parts and car models from China’s Chery Automobile Co. Chrysler is trying to add fuel-efficient vehicles to stem declining sales in the US, and in December agreed to buy small vehicles from Chery to cut costs. In December, DaimlerChrysler announced plans to... Read more →

Tests of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Diesel Beginning in Tokyo

Earlier in February, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Hino Motors, The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Nippon Oil Corporation (NOC) started a joint project aimed at commercializing what they are calling bio hydrofined diesel (BHD), a second-generation renewable diesel fuel produced by hydrogenating a vegetable oil feedstock. (Neste Oils’s NExBTL renewable diesel... Read more →

Danforth Center Receives $25M Gift to Create Institute for Renewable Fuels

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received a $25 million gift from Jack and Susan Taylor to create the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels. The Institute is named for the company founded by Jack Taylor in 1957 and still owned by the Taylor family. The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute... Read more →

EEA: Transport is a Key Obstacle to Reaching Kyoto Targets

The increase in greenhouse gas emissions from transport is linked to increasing volume and slower than expected efficiency improvements. Click to enlarge. Greenhouse gas emissions from transport remain a key, but avoidable, obstacle to the EU reaching its Kyoto climate change targets, according to a new report from the European... Read more →

Quantum Gets Funding to Expand Hydrogen Hybrid Escape Project for Army

Quantum Fuel Systems has received a contract to expand and to enhance its hydrogen vehicle and Mobile Hydrogen Infrastructure (MHI) programs for the US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). (Earlier post.) Under this contract, Quantum will complete the development of a 2008 Ford Escape Hydrogen Hybrid,... Read more →

Mercedes Introducing First Four-Cylinder BLUETEC Model in Geneva

The Vision C 220 BLUETEC. Mercedes-Benz is unveiling its BLUETEC emission-control technology in combination with a consumption-optimized four-cylinder engine at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. With output of 125 kW (170 hp) and a peak torque of 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), the Vision C 220 BLUETEC offers fuel consumption of... Read more →

Renault to Show E85 Flex-Fuel Mégane for Europe, B30 Engine for Cars

The E85 Mégane. At the International Agricultural Show in Paris next week, Renault will highlight a new E85 flex-fuel Mégane—its first flex-fuel vehicle in Europe—alongside a B30 biodiesel-compatible engine for passenger cars, the 1.5-liter dCi 85hp. As part of the Renault Commitment 2009, announced by CEO Carlos Ghosn early in... Read more →

Mahindra, Renault and Nissan to Build Major Production Plant in India

Mahindra, Renault and Nissan are partnering in the construction of what will potentially be one of the largest automotive production sites in India, with an ultimate production capacity of 400,000 units per year. The three have selected Chennai, in the state of Tamil Nedu, as the location of the site... Read more →

Report: DaimlerChrysler Considering All-Stock Sale of Chrysler to GM

DaimlerChrysler is weighing an all-stock sales option of Chrysler to GM, according to a report in the Financial Times. The other major rumored possibility for decoupling Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler is a cash sale to a private equity group or investors. (Earlier post.) DaimlerChrysler senior managers would be happy to take... Read more →

Researchers Use Ultrasonic Processing for Fast Biodiesel Production

An example of inline ultrasonic processing for biodiesel production. Click to enlarge. Source: Hielscher. Researchers at Mississippi State University report that ultrasonic processing used in biodiesel production delivers a biodiesel yield in excess of 99% in five minutes or less, compared to one hour or more using conventional batch reactor... Read more →

Delphi Increasing Fuel Handling and Injection System Development to Support Biofuels

Delphi’s Multec 3.5 E85 injectors allow for increased flow capacity for ethanol. Delphi manufactures products that can run on ethanol blends of up to E100. Delphi Corporation has increased its global development efforts of fuel-handling and injection technologies to support the rapid growth in biofuel usage. The company intends for... Read more →

Under New EPA MPG Method, All Estimates Drop; Hybrids Retain Most of Their Advantage Relative to Conventional

Hybrids retain most of their fuel economy advantages over their conventional counterparts under the new EPA method for estimating mpg, despite a decrease in the estimate resulting from the new method. Click to enlarge. The EPA has published estimates of the affect of the revised methods for estimating vehicle fuel... Read more →

Honda To Spend US$165M On Greening North American Coating Plants

Nikkei. Honda Motor plans to spend more than ¥20 billion (US$165 million) by 2009 to make two of its coating facilities in North America more environmentally friendly. Under the plan, production lines at Honda’s plants in Marysville, Ohio and Alliston, Ontario, Canada will shift to the use of water-based paint... Read more →

Sinopec, Saudi Aramco and Exxon Sign JV Contract for Expanded Refining Project in China

Sinopec, Fujian Province, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco have signed the contract for the Fujian Refining and Ethylene Joint Venture Project. At the same time, Sinopec, ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco signed the contract for the Fujian Fuels Marketing Joint Venture Project. The signing of the two joint venture contracts will lead... Read more →

Petrobras to Assess Oil Shale Production in Jordan

Brazil’s Petrobras has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources (MEMR) of Jordan to undertake a 2-year technical and economic viability study for the use of Petrobras’ oil shale technology—Petrosix—in Jordan’s Attarat field. Petrobras has been working on oil shale production since 1954.... Read more →

Greece Ramping Up Biofuels Production; Converting Sugar Plants to Ethanol Production

The Government of Greece plans produce 160 million liters (ML) (42.3 million gallons US) of biodiesel and 400 ML (105.7 million gallons US) of bioethanol annually by 2010, according to a report by the USDA. The Greek Ministry of Agriculture will ask the European Commission for permission to convert two... Read more →

Minnesota Considering $90M Push for Cellulosic Ethanol Development

Pioneer Press. Minnesota state officials are considering providing $90 million in incentives, spread over 10 years, to support the development of cellulosic ethanol production within the state. The state would also provide $10 million in incentives to encourage current corn ethanol producers to convert their plants to biomass power. Officials... Read more →

Delphi Develops World’s First Ammonia Sensor for SCR

Delphi’s ammonia sensor. Delphi has developed the world’s first automotive ammonia sensor. The new technology will allow direct closed-loop control of the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) systems used by an increasing number of diesel vehicles to reduce NOx. By directly measuring tailpipe ammonia, the sensor allows the injection of urea... Read more →

Minnesota Enacts 25% Renewable Portfolio Standard for Power Generation

States with an RPS. Click to enlarge. On Thursday, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed into the new Minnesota Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS requires that 25% of the state’s electricity comes from renewable power sources by 2025. Xcel Energy Inc., which delivers half of Minnesota’s electricity, would have to meet... Read more →

President Bush Promotes Goal of 20% Reduction in Gasoline Use; Focuses on Cellulosic Ethanol, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

POTUS meets a PHEV, complete with cord. Click to enlarge. Also on display was a Phoenix Motorcars electric SUT. White House photo by Paul Morse. Over the past two days, President Bush promoted the goal of reducing US consumption of gasoline by 20% with a visit to Novozymes in North... Read more →

Thai Government Drops Taxes on Natural Gas Vehicles

Thailand’s Government has eliminated taxes on new natural gas vehicles as part of its ongoing alternative fuels policy. Exemptions now apply to dedicated natural gas vehicle and engine imports to the country. CKD (completely knocked down) imports fueled by natural gas will have the current 30% tariffs eliminated while vehicles... Read more →

Researchers to Evaluate Feasibility of Cellulosic Ethanol from Sugarcane Bagasse

The State of Florida has awarded $990,532 to a joint effort between Florida International University (FIU) and Florida Crystals Corporation (FCC) to determine the technical feasibility of using Florida sugarcane bagasse as a feedstock for a large-scale cellulosic ethanol industry in the state. The primary technical goal of the project... Read more →

Australian Biodiesel Producer to Build Plant in New Mexico

Energea 120 t/d CTER process unit. Click to enlarge. American Renewable Fuels, a subsidiary of Australian Renewable Fuels Limited, will build a biodiesel production facility in Clovis, New Mexico with capacity to produce 75 million gallons of biodiesel each year. The plant will primarily use local animal tallow as feedstock... Read more →

China to Add 25,000 km of Oil and Gas Pipelines by 2010

China plans to build another 25,000 kilometers of oil and gas pipelines by 2010 to support economic development, according to the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau (CPPLB). Current pipelines in China total 40,000 kilometers. http://media.ford.com/The CPPLB builds more than 80% of China’s oil and gas pipelines and more than 75% of... Read more →

Florida Start-Up Targets Ethanol from Citrus Waste

A Florida start-up formed in 2006 plans to commercialize technology developed by the US Department of Agriculture in the 1990s to produce ethanol from citrus waste. (Earlier post.) Citrus waste is rich in pectin, cellulose and hemicellusic polysaccharides, which can be hydrolyzed into sugars and fermented into ethanol. Citrus Energy... Read more →

Harvest Energy Technology to Supply Hydrogen Generator to CPC in Taiwan

Harvest Energy Technology, Inc. (HET) has been awarded a contract to deliver a 100 Nm3/h (8.41 kg/hr) High-Pressure Steam Methane Reformer (HPSMR) hydrogen generator to the Chinese Petroleum Corporation (CPC) of Taiwan. The hydrogen generator will supply hydrogen for chemical feedstock and hydrogen refueling applications. The project is being managed... Read more →

Autostudi Shows Prototype Hybrid Fuel Cell Scooter

Autostudi, designer for Italian car companies such as Maserati, Ferrari, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, showed the Hysyrider, a prototype hybrid fuel cell scooter, at the International Engineering and Technology Fair in India. The Hysyrider. The Hysyrider is based on a hybrid architecture: a 300W fuel cell works in parallel with... Read more →

Honda Introduces Compact Crossover Vehicle; Up to 32 MPG

The new Crossroad. Honda Motor has introduced the new Crossroad, a crossover vehicle that combines the design and functionality of an SUV with the size of a compact car and the 3-row seating and 7-passenger capacity of a minivan in a package that delivers up to 32 mpg. The new... Read more →

Marubeni Establishes Biodiesel Company in Brazil

Marubeni Corporation, Japan’s fifth-largest trading company, is investing US$40 million to establish Agrenco Bio-Energia Ltda (ABE) in Brazil as a joint venture with Agrenco Group, a Brazilian grain trading company. ABE will produce biodiesel and soybean meal. ABE plans to construct three biodiesel production plants and two soybean oil crushing... Read more →

Odyne In Strategic Supplier Agreement With Bosch Rexroth for Plug-in Ramp-Up

Odyne’s basic series plug-in hybrid design is modular and scalable. Click to enlarge. Odyne Corporation, a developer of series-configuration plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, has entered a strategic supplier agreement with Bosch Rexroth for preferred pricing and a steady supply of electric... Read more →

Maryland Assembly Moving to Adopt California LEV Standards with CO2 Limits

Maryland (light green) is about to join the other 11 states (dark green) that have adopted the CA LEV program. Click to enlarge. The House of the Maryland General Assembly has passed the state’s Clean Cars Act (HB 131 / SB 103) by a vote of 122-16. The bill adopts... Read more →

Qatar and Shell Launch Pearl Gas-to-Liquids Project

Qatar and Shell formally launched the Pearl Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) project today with the laying of the foundation stone. Pearl GTL is not only the world’s largest integrated GTL project, but also the largest energy project ever launched within the borders of Qatar. Upstream some 1.6 billion cubic feet of wellhead... Read more →

Toro Commercial Equipment Biodiesel Ready By 2008

The Toro Company announced that all its diesel-powered golf course and sports fields and grounds equipment will be “Biodiesel Ready” by 2008. This includes the Toro Reelmaster, Groundsmaster, Greensmaster, Workman and MultiPro product families. Beyond these specific product families, Toro will continue to expand the use of biodiesel fuels in... Read more →