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Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE in Cold Weather Testing in Hokkaido, Japan

Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE during cold weather testing. Click to enlarge. Mazda Motor Corporation is joining forces with the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau (HRDB) to test the cold weather performance of its Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (earlier post). The tests are scheduled to run from 19 to 23 February 2007.... Read more →

Ethanol Plant Co-Located with Coal Power Plant Begins Operation

Headwaters Incorporated and Great River Energy, an energy provider headquartered in Elk River, Minnesota, announced today the start-up of Blue Flint Ethanol LLC in Underwood, ND. The ethanol plant is co-located with the 1,100 MW Coal Creek Station and will use excess heat from the adjacent power plant to process... Read more →

Engineuity Raises $2.2 Million for Hydrogen Work

Globes. Engineuity has raised $2.2 million from BHCO to further the development of its on-board hydrogen generation system. (Earlier post.) The technology is based on a high-temperature process causing a light metal wire (e.g., aluminum or magnesium) to react with water, producing a hydrogen/steam stream. The hydrogen/steam mixture entering the... Read more →

Poll: Enhanced Fuel Economy Remains Top Priority for European Vehicle Owners

For the second year in a row, the Harris Interactive AutoTECHCAST Europe poll indicates that vehicle owners in five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) have chosen enhanced fuel economy as the top automotive technology that they are very or extremely likely to purchase for their next... Read more →

EnerDel Li-Ion Battery Exceeds More USABC Phase 1 Power-Assist Goals for Hybrid Electric Vehicle Batteries

Ener1 announced that the lithium-ion battery pack from its EnerDel subsidiary met and exceeded additional USABC (US Advanced Battery Consortium) phase-one power-assist performance goals for hybrid electric vehicles in independent laboratory testing. Ener1 announced successful completion of an earlier round of USABC testing in January. EnerDel is one of four... Read more →

Scania to Acquire GM Powertrain Plant in Sweden

Scania has signed a memorandum of understanding with GM Powertrain to acquire its production plant in Södertälje Sweden. The acquisition will enable Scania to increase engine component production capacity and to start production of a new generation of extra high-pressure injectors (XPI). It´s an important step in the task of... Read more →

Scania to Test E95 Diesel Hybrid Buses in Stockholm

In collaboration with Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), the regional public transport company in Stockholm, Scania will carry out large-scale testing of series hybrid electric buses. The tests will begin during 2008 and run for at least one year. A prototype is expected to be completed in May 2007. A Scania E95... Read more →

NJ Towns Increasing Purchases of Hybrids

Asbury Park Press. The township of Woodbridge, NJ is about to announce the single-largest purchase of hybrid vehicles to date in Middlesex County—twelve 2006 Ford Escape hybrid vehicles are expected to be added to Woodbridge's fleet, which already has one. Old Bridge, North Brunswick and Edison also have recently added... Read more →

Imperium Renewables Closes $214M Financing; Planning 400M Gallon per Year Capacity

Biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables, Inc. has closed its Series B round with $113 million of private equity and has mandated Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking to act as sole book-runner and lead arranger of a $101 million Senior Secured Credit Facility. Imperium exects to complete construction on its Port... Read more →

FedEx Puts Four Hybrid Trucks into Service in Denver

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., introduced four hybrid electric medium-duty trucks into service in the Denver metropolitan area, thereby increasing its operating hybrid fleet in the US to 93 trucks. Developed in cooperation with Environmental Defense and Eaton (earlier post), the hybrids improve fuel economy by 57%, cut... Read more →

Nissan Leases X-TRAIL Fuel Cell Vehicle for Limo in Japan

Fuel cell for hire. Click to enlarge. Nissan Motor has leased the latest version of the X-TRAIL hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle to Kanagawa Toshi Kotsu to be used as part of their chauffeur-driven hired-car fleet. This is the first time that a fuel-cell vehicle has been made available for hired-car services.... Read more →

Global Roundtable on Climate Change Calls for Post-Kyoto Framework Based on Science-Based Targets

A group of more than 85 companies and organizations from around the world—including GE, major power companies, and AB Volvo—have endorsed a post-Kyoto framework for affecting change at the levels of policy and industry, particularly in regard to creating sustainable energy systems necessary for achieving economic growth. The Path to... Read more →

EPA Releases Draft 2007 Greenhouse Gas Inventory; Transportation Largest End-Use Sector

US end-use sector emissions of greenhouse gases. Click to enlarge. The transportation sector in the US accounts for approximately 33% of total greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, and again represents the largest share of any end-use economic sector, according to a just-published draft of the US Greenhouse Gas Inventory... Read more →

Headwaters and CONSOL Energy Form Alliance to Explore Coal-to-Liquids Developments

Headwaters Incorporated has formed an alliance with CONSOL Energy, Inc. to investigate development of coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants utilizing CONSOL Energy’s eastern and western coal reserves. Headwaters’ proprietary Fischer-Tropsch catalyst can be used in an indirect coal liquefaction plant to convert coal-derived syngas into synthetic diesel and other fuels. The company... Read more →

Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Abandon Planned $7B Gas-to-Liquids Project

Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corporation have decided “not to progress” their planned Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) project. The two entities will instead pursue the development of the Barzan Project in Qatar’s North Field. The Qatar GTL project, with a planned initial capital investment of $7 billion, would have been the world’s... Read more →

EU Environment Ministers Agree to 20% Cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2020

EU environment ministers meeting in Brussels today agreed in principle to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 with the intent of contributing to holding global warming to a maximum 2°C over the next century. They also agreed to commit... Read more →

Florida Plug-In Hybrid School Buses to Go into Service

The Manatee School District in Florida will unveil its two plug-in hybrid school buses from IC Corporation next month. Drivers and mechanics have been training to operate and to maintain them. Manatee’s hybrids are part of a 19-bus order placed by a group of school districts, state energy agencies and... Read more →

Sinopec and Syntroleum Announce Joint Technology Development Plan for GTL/CTL in China

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) and Syntroleum Corporation (Syntroleum) announced more details on their recently-signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on the development and marketing of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) and Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) technology in China. (Earlier post.) The MoU establishes a joint technology development effort to advance GTL and... Read more →

Johnson Controls Expands Into Solar, Geothermal, Wind, Biomass and Other Renewables

Johnson Controls, Inc. is expanding its business into designing, installing and servicing geothermal, solar, biomass, wind and other renewable sources as energy supply options for customers. Johnson Controls is a global leader in interior experience, building efficiency and power solutions. Johnson Controls provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles,... Read more →

Volvo Makes $1.1B Bid for Nissan Diesel

AB Volvo has made a SEK 7.5-billion (US$1.1-billion) public offer to acquire the Japanese truck manufacturer Nissan Diesel. Volvo already owns a 19% holding in Nissan Diesel and preference shares which can be converted to an additional 27.5%, after full dilution. Volvo’s offer for Nissan Diesel represents a premium of... Read more →

Tesla Motors to Build Assembly Plant in New Mexico to Produce WhiteStar Electric Sports Sedan

Tesla Motors will build its new automobile assembly facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Construction on the 150,000 square foot plant will begin in April 2007, at the latest. The New Mexico plant will be the company’s first assembly facility in the United States, and will produce the WhiteStar, an upcoming... Read more →

Aisin Seiki To Boost Supply Of Motor Systems For Ford Hybrids

Aisin AW’s own HD-10 2-motor FWD hybrid system. Aisin Seiki Co., an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp., plans to increase its supply of core motor systems for hybrid vehicles to Ford Motor Co., according to The Nikkei. The Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid are equipped with Ford’s first-generation... Read more →

Researchers Developing Software to Model Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies on Transportation

The University of Michigan is leading a four-university team in a $1.9-million project to develop software to help analysts craft greenhouse gas reduction policies in the transportation industry. The premise for the research is the belief that significant greenhouse gas emissions in the United States will not decrease unless environmental... Read more →

IATA Calls for Air Traffic Management Improvements to Reduce CO2 Emissions

The Director General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for improvements in air traffic management to reduce aviation’s CO2 emissions. Every minute of flying-time that we can save, reduces fuel consumption by an average of 62 liters and CO2 emissions by 160 kilograms. Governments are quick to... Read more →

AC Propulsion Delivers First eBox EV Conversion

The eBox. AC Propulsion, the maker of the tzero electric sports car, has delivered its first eBox electric vehicle to actor Tom Hanks. The eBox, a converted Toyota Scion xB, made its public debut in December 2006 and uses an AC Propulsion drive system combined with a 35 kWh li-ion... Read more →

AMEC Wins Coal-to-Chemicals Design Contract in China

AMEC, the international project management and services company, has been appointed by the Shenhua Ningxia Coal Group (SNCG) to carry out the initial engineering design for the offsite and utility facilities on a US$1.5 billion coal-to-chemical production complex in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China. AMEC has been... Read more →

Honda to Triple Supply of Civic Hybrids in the UK; London Congestion Charge Accelerating Demand for Hybrids

Honda is tripling the supply of its gasoline-electric Civic Hybrid in the UK to 3,000 during 2007 to meet projected demand resulting from the expansion of the London congestion charge zone. (Earlier post). SMMT (The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) figures show that from 2005 to 2006, the percentage... Read more →

Court Finds Danisco Willfully Infringed Novozymes Enzyme Patent

A federal court in Delaware ordered Danisco to pay damages of $4,088,584 plus prejudgment interest for infringing a Novozymes patent on an enzyme used to manufacture bioethanol. The federal court also found that Danisco wilfully infringed Novozymes’ patent and that the case was exceptional. As a result, the court doubled... Read more →

New Indian Company to Target Entry-Level Market With Diesels

The Telegraph. The former president of Hyundai Motors India, B.V.R. Subbu, has co-founded a new auto company—MLR Motors Ltd.—that is planning to introduce a low-cost, entry-level diesel car in 2009. Two versions of the car are planned with engine displacements of 900 cc and 1,500 cc; gasoline and CNG versions... Read more →

E85 Fueling Infrastructure Development in US May Hit Bumps

Development of a more wide-spread E85 refueling infrastructure is fundamental to any wider-spread usage of the 85% ethanol blend, and the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) has established continued funding for E85 infrastructure as its highest legislative priority. However, in an update to its members, the NEVC noted that it... Read more →

Venture Vehicles Developing 3-Wheel, Tilting Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle

The VentureOne. Venture Vehicles Inc. formally announced the development of a 2-passenger, 3-wheel, tilting, plug-in series hybrid electric vehicle under the working name VentureOne. In addition to the low-emission, flex-fuel hybrid model, Venture Vehicles is also developing a zero-emission all-electric version that will have an all-electric range of nearly 200... Read more →

New High-Density, Lower-Pressure Adsorbed Natural Gas Tanks from Corncobs

From cob to tank. Click to enlarge. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, NSF Using corncob waste as a starting material, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) and Midwest Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City have created carbon briquettes with complex nanopores capable of storing natural gas at an unprecedented density... Read more →

Transport for London Increases Priority of Programs to Reduce Car Travel

TfL wants to reduce the percentage of car journeys from 41% to 32%—on top of a larger journey base. Click to enlarge. Transport for London (TfL) will increase the priority it gives to Travel Demand Management (TDM)—programs that encourage people to reduce their reliance on the private car for short... Read more →

EPA Awards $145,000 for Diesel Retrofit Projects

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this week made two awards totalling $144,876 for two separate diesel retrofit projects, one to Wisconsin, the other to the American Lung Association. A $50,000 grant goes to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for a project to cut emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks that... Read more →

Views on 2010 and Beyond for Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Efficiency, Climate Change, and Customers

At the Clean Heavy Duty Vehicle 2007 conference organized by WestStart-CALSTART, the US Army National Automotive Center, and the Federal Transit Administration, a panel of seven engineering managers from top OEMs and powertrain suppliers provided a quick overview of likely technology scenarios for 2010 and what might lay beyond. The... Read more →

Ethanol Demand Driving Expansion of US Corn Crop; USDA Projects 31% of US Corn for Ethanol in 2016

Projected production and use of corn in the US. Click to enlarge. Source: USDA. Demand for ethanol will push US corn output to more than 14 billion bushels by 2016, 4.3 billion (30.7%) of which will be used to produce approximately 12 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, according to the... Read more →

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Issue RFP for LNG Truck Fleet

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—the US’ two leading container ports—have issued a joint Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Truck Program. An LNG-powered truck fleet could help the world’s fifth largest port complex reduce particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx)... Read more →

Volvo Starts Hybrid-Electric Refuse Vehicle Project in Sweden

The basic I-SAM hybrid system. Click to enlarge. The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded SEK 9.8 million (US$1.4 million) to AB Volvo to support the application of hybrid technology in heavy vehicles—specifically, two refuse collection trucks in Gothenburg and Stockholm. The goal of the project is to achieve fuel savings... Read more →

Headwaters Moving Forward on Philippines Hybrid Coal-to-Liquids Plant

Headwaters, Inc. is starting the second phase of a $2.8 billion, three-phase project that will result in the construction of a commercial-scale hybrid coal-to-liquids plant consisting of a direct coal liquefaction unit (DCL), an indirect coal liquefaction unit (coal gasification and syngas cleaning unit plus a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis unit)... Read more →

As Congestion Zone Expands West, London Prius Sales More Than Double

With the central London congestion charge zone extending west to take in an even greater slice of the capital next week (earlier post), sales of the Prius—which is exempt from the daily £8 charge—in London jumped up 135% in January from the year prior. Other London boroughs and authorities in... Read more →

Siemens VDO Completes Acquisition of Ballard E-Drive Business

Siemens VDO Automotive Corporation today officially completed the acquisition of Ballard Power Systems Inc.'s Electric Drive Business, solidifying the company’s long term commitment to the hybrid electric vehicle market and further electrification of the powertrain. (Earlier post.) The Ballard Power System Corp. Dearborn (MI)-based employees will join Siemens VDO’s Powertrain... Read more →

Thermoelectric Milestone from UC Berkeley: Organic Thermoelectric Material

A benzenedithiol molecule trapped between two gold surfaces. Click to enlarge. Credit: Ben Utley. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have successfully generated electricity from heat by trapping organic molecules between metal nanoparticles to create an organic thermoelectric material. The new UC Berkeley study marks the first time the... Read more →

Feel Good Cars Completes C$10M Offering; Funding for EESTOR Payments

Feel Good Cars Corporation, makers of the ZENN neighborhood electric vehicle, has raised C$10 million (US$8.6 million) with its offering of 3,773,585 common shares. Net proceeds from this financing will be used to repay short-term loans and interest thereon, to fund the payment of future milestone payments to EEStor, Inc.,... Read more →

South African Researchers Planning Coal-to-Liquids Plant in China

Researchers from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Centre of Material and Process Synthesis (COMPS) are planning to build a pilot coal-to-liquids (CTL) project in the Shaanxi province in China. The R75-million (US$10.5-million) pilot project is expected to be 30% more efficient than the current technology and will consist... Read more →

Canada Introduces Two New Programs to Support Consumers in Selecting Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

The Canadian government has introduced two new programs, with a combined total of C$35 million in funding, to help Canadians choose more eco-friendly vehicles. The C$21-million ecoENERGY for Personal Vehicles program will provide fuel consumption information and decision-making tools such as vehicle labels, guides and interactive websites, to encourage consumers... Read more →