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ZENN Motor Company Makes Equity Investment in EEStor

Feel Good Cars Corporation, operating as ZENN Motor Company, has made a US$2.5 million equity investment in Austin-based energy storage developer, EEStor. The negotiated investment terms also grant ZENN an additional investment option of up to US $5 million on the same terms, following EEStor’s successful completion of its next... Read more →

British Columbia Providing C$45M More for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses; Contributing to the BC Hydrogen Highway

The BC Hydrogen Highway. British Columbia is providing C$45 million (US$40.6 million) more toward the production of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses and accompanying fueling stations in Whistler and Victoria. Premier Gordon Campbell made the announcement at the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells 2007 international conference and trade show in Vancouver.... Read more →

Arctic Sea Ice Melting at Faster Rate Than Projected

The dotted line represents the average rate of melting indicated by computer models. The blue area indicates the spread among the different models (+/- one standard deviation). The red line shows the observed rate of Arctic ice loss. Click to enlarge. (Illustration by Steve Deyo, ©UCAR) Arctic sea ice is... Read more →

Congressman Introduces $300M Plug-In Hybrid Bill

US Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) introduced legislation to provide $250 million in annual funding from 2008-2012 for the research and development of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as $50 million in annual funding for pilot deployment programs. The proposed legislation offers grants to state and local authorities to carry... Read more →

Firefly Energy Selects First Contract Manufacturer for Carbon-Graphite Foam Batteries

Firefly Energy Inc., developer of a carbon-graphite foam lead acid battery for commercial and military uses, has formed a battery manufacturing partnership with NorthStar Battery Company to enable prototype and production support of Firefly’s “3D” battery technology to serve the US Army. (Earlier post.) Under a product design provided by... Read more →

Ceres and Rohm and Haas Collaborate to Develop Methacrylate Monomers from Cellulosic Ethanol Crops

Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. and Rohm and Haas Company are collaborating on a three-year project to determine if energy crops planted for cellulosic ethanol could simultaneously produce methacrylate monomers, a key raw material used in the manufacture of many products including paint and coatings, building materials, and acrylic sheet... Read more →

Beijing Temporary Traffic Restrictions Cut NOx By 40%

The Chinese government’s restrictions on Beijing motorists during a three-day conference last November succeeded in cutting the city’s NOx emissions by 40%. Harvard University researchers Michael B. McElroy, Yuxuan Wang, and K. Folkert Boersma used data from the Dutch-Finnish Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) to assess the drop in emissions. The... Read more →

Chrysler Announces Hybrid Version of New Aspen Full-Size SUV

MY 2007 Aspen. The new Aspen full-size SUV will join the Dodge Durango as Chrysler’s first volume production hybrids next year. Both vehicles will use a 5.7-liter HEMI engine coupled with the advanced two-mode hybrid technology being co-developed by GM, DaimlerChrysler and BMW (earlier post). The HEMI engine will continue... Read more →

Argonne Develops New NOx Catalyst; Up to 95-100% NOx Removal

A new cerium-oxide catalyst developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory is showing promise for the efficient reduction of NOx emissions in diesel engine exhaust. The technology has been under development for a number of years and has a patent pending. A number of companies have... Read more →

“E85 Everywhere” Rallies for More E85 Stations in Minnesota

A public-private partnership—E85 Everywhere—held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul to promote increased investment in more Minnesota E85 service stations. The partnership aims to increase the number of E85 outlets in Minnesota from the current 310 stations to 1,800 in the next several years. Absent the... Read more →

Germany Unveils 8-Point Plan to Cut GHG Emissions 40% by 2020

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel unveiled an eight-point plan to cut the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels by 2020. Germany’s “wedge” strategy for cutting GHG by 40%. Click to enlarge. This is double the amount pledged by the EU in March. At that time, EU leaders said... Read more →

Researchers Develop Device for the Photochemical Splitting of Carbon Dioxide

Solar splitting of CO2. Click to enlarge. Chemists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have demonstrated the feasibility of the solar splitting of carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen. Because their device is not yet optimized, they still need to input additional energy for the process to... Read more →

VW Introduces New TSI Engine and 7-Speed DSG Gearbox; More Power, Less Fuel

VW introduced a new member of its turbocharged gasoline direct-injection TSI engine family at the Vienna Motor Symposium: a 1.4-liter, 90 kW (122 hp) version that develops up to 200 Nm (148 lb-ft) of torque. The company also introduced a new 7-speed double shift gearbox (DSG). With a 7% increase... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Shows Upcoming Natural Gas Sprinter at UK Commercial Vehicle Show

The Sprinter 316 NGT prototype. Mercedes-Benz had its prototype Sprinter 316 NGT natural gas van on display at the Commercial Vehicle show in the UK. The new version of the dual-fuel van is slated for series production in 1Q 2008. Although DaimlerChrysler has offered a natural gas version of the... Read more →

Statoil to Acquire North American Oil Sands Corporation

Statoil ASA is acquiring North American Oil Sands Corporation (NAOSC) for about US$2 billion. NAOSC, a Calgary-based company, operates 257,200 acres (1,110 square kilometers) of oil sands leases located in the Athabasca region of Alberta, north-east of Edmonton. Today’s acquisition is an important strategic move which supports our global growth... Read more →

Siemens VDO Developing Modular Engine-Emissions Management Systems for Euro-6 Diesels

The different elements of systems optimization. The blue shaded elements are assigned to fuel injection equipment providers such as Siemens VDO. Click to enlarge. Source: Siemens VDO At the 28th International Vienna Motor Symposium this week, Siemens VDO discussed its work in developing a system-based approach to combustion optimization and... Read more →

New Nanocomposite Process Improves Barium Titanate Capacitors

Scanning electron micrographs of barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanocomposites with polycarbonate (left, top and bottom) and Viton (right, top and bottom) polymer matrices. The images show the dramatic improvement in film uniformity. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a new technique for creating films of barium titanate (BaTiO3)... Read more →

Stanford Study on Ethanol Emissions Generates Counter Arguments and Rebuttal

Last week’s publication of an article in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) by Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson, in which he projects that fleet-wide use of E85 in the United States could increase the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations (earlier post), has stimulated counter arguments from several groups, including... Read more →

Smith Electric Vehicles Closes Deal for 55 Newtons

On the heels of its introduction of the 3.5t electric Edison and related contract announcements (earlier post), Smith Electric vehicles announced that TNT Express has contracted for 55 Newton 7.5t trucks (earlier post). The Newton uses four Zebra 278V batteries to provide power for an Azure Dynamics drivetrain at speeds... Read more →

Canada Announces a Mandatory 20% Cut in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2020 and 50% Cut in Industrial Air Pollution by 2015

Percent of total Canadian emissions of air pollutants (2002). Click to enlarge. Source: Environment Canada John Baird, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, today unveiled Turning the Corner: An Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, which imposes greenhouse gas and toxic air pollution reduction targets on industry. The... Read more →

Researchers Identify Structural Mechanism of Hot Water Pretreatment of Corn Stover for Cellulosic Ethanol Production

A magnified image of a cornstalk particle shows the many tiny pores that pretreatment opens up. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Purdue University have discovered that particles from cornstalks undergo structural changes when processed to produce ethanol, an insight they said will help establish a viable method for large-scale production... Read more →

Toyota to Continue Providing Residential Fuel Cell Cogeneration System

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will continue providing its city-gas-powered 1 kW residential fuel cell cogeneration system to Toho Gas Co. as part of the 2007 Large-Scale Stationary Fuel Cell Demonstration Project of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Toyota’s residential fuel cell cogeneration system combines a stationary fuel... Read more →

Study: Hybrid Vehicle Battery Market to Reach $2.3B by 2015; Could Top Conventional Automotive Battery Market

Global sales of hybrid vehicles, estimated at 384,000 vehicles in 2006, will reach 1.1 million units in 2010 and 2 million units by 2015, according to a new study, The 2007 Advanced Automotive Battery Industry Report, published by Advanced Automotive Batteries, a battery consultancy headed by Dr. Menahem Anderman. The... Read more →

More on the IAV “Hybrid Rear Axle”—An Active Differential with Hybrid Functionality

An example of the IAV active differential integrated in the rear axle of a SUV application. Click to enlarge. IAV Automotive Engineering has developed a rear-axle differential with integrated motors that can enable a parallel hybrid powertrain without affecting existing engine/transmission configurations. (Earlier post.) The open differential gearbox incorporates two... Read more →

EnerDel to Deliver Lithium-Ion Battery Samples for HEVs in June 2007

EnerDel, the lithium-ion battery subsidiary of Ener1, has received orders to deliver Li-ion battery samples based on its proprietary technology to a leading European OEM automotive company and to a leading tier-one automotive supplier. The samples will be tested as part of programs to use Li-ion batteries in hybrid electric... Read more →

Toyota Announces Preliminary Fuel Economy Ratings for LS 600h L

Toyota has released the preliminary EPA fuel economy ratings for the high-end luxury LS 600h L hybrid: 20 mpg city, 22 mpg highway, 21 mpg combined. (Earlier post.) The hybrid’s powertrain, comprising a 5.0-liter V-8 engine and two electric motors, delivers a combined output of 438 hp. Fuel economy for... Read more →

Nanoexa Delivers Advanced Lithium-Ion Cathode Technology

Nanoexa, a nanotechnology-based energy company, has delivered new lithium-ion cathode technology to Decktron, Nanoexa’s publicly traded subsidiary in Korea. Decktron, a manufacturing company, will apply the new technology to the development of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries. To be used in combination with existing intellectual property from Argonne National... Read more →

California Will Sue if EPA Too Slow on Waiver

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today said that the state will sue the US Environmental Protection Agency if the agency acts too slowly on the waiver required for the state’s implementation of its greenhouse gas regulations. (Earlier post.) The governor was discussing alternative energy and climate change at the Milken Institute’s... Read more →

Pennsylvania Receives Plug-in Hybrid School Bus

The Nazareth Area School District will become the first school district in Pennsylvania to operate the new plug-in hybrid school bus built by IC Corporation and Enova Systems. (Earlier post.) A total of 19 hybrid buses have been awarded to states around the country by Advanced Energy, a non-profit corporation,... Read more →

Maryland Governor Signs Clean Car Bill Adopting California Emissions Standards

Twelve states (dark green), including California, are now under the California emissions standards with their greenhouse gas limits. Five more (yellow) are actively considering joining. Click to enlarge. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a number of environmental bills into law, including the Maryland Clean Cars Act. (Earlier post.) This makes... Read more →

USDA Research Suggests the Amount of Corn Stover Available for Ethanol Production Must Be Reduced to Preserve Soil Quality

The US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) has undertaken a large-scale, five-year project to determine the amount of crop residues (e.g., corn stover, cover crop) that must remain on the land in order to maintain soil organic carbon (SOC) and sustain production. The Renewable Energy Assessment Project... Read more →

Phoenix Motorcars and UQM to Develop Plug-In Series Hybrid Sport Utility Truck

The all-electric version of the Sport Utility Truck (SUT). Phoenix Motorcars and UQM Technologies will collaborate on the development of a plug-in series hybrid model of the sport utility truck currently produced and sold by Phoenix as an all-electric vehicle. (Earlier post.) The Phoenix Sport Utility Truck is a five-passenger... Read more →

Saft Adds Lithium Iron Phosphate Technology to Line-up

Saft Space and Defense Division (SDD) has added a new lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) technology to its product line-up. Saft will present this new product at the Advanced Automotive Battery and Ultracapacitor Conference (AABC) jointly with its supplier, Phostech, in May. Saft says that these are the highest performance LiFePO4... Read more →

HEC Ships Hydrogen-Fueled Genset for Chemical Industry Application

Hydrogen Engine Center has shipped its proprietary hydrogen-fueled Oxx Power Generator Set (genset) to Grasim Industries Ltd., an Aditya Birla Group company based in India. (Earlier post.) This culmination of the eight month collaboration between HEC and Grasim signifies the first installation of a hydrogen-fueled generator system powered by hydrogen... Read more →

Researchers Identify Key Steps in the Enzymatic Breakdown of Cellulose; Implications for Biofuels Production

The SDSC simulations show the enzyme complex changing shape to straddle a broken cellulose chain. Click to enlarge. Image courtesy of Ross Walker and Amit Chourasia, SDSC and Michael Crowley and Mark Nimlos, NREL. A central bottleneck in the production of cellulosic ethanol is the sluggish rate at which the... Read more →

GM Vauxhall Begins B30 Commercial Van Customer Trials in UK

The B30-compatible Vivaro. GM’s Vauxhall has introduced B30-compatible models of its Vivaro and Movano panel vans, and will begin trials with two key fleet customers. The biodiesel B30-compatible models use the existing 2.0 CDTI Vivaro and 2.5 CDTI 98 hp and 118 hp Movano engines, and offer up to 20%... Read more →

US EPA Opens Comment Period on California Waiver for Regulating Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The US Environmental Protection Agency today opened the public comment period on California’s nearly 16-month-old request for a federal waiver to begin regulating automotive greenhouse gas emissions. This marks the agency’s first official action in response to the Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. (Earlier post.) EPA Administrator Stephen... Read more →

Boeing and Virgin Atlantic to Partner on Biofuels, Ground Operations Conservation; Largest 787 Order Yet for Europe

Boeing and Virgin Atlantic announced an environmental partnership, which includes an order for 15 787-9 Dreamliners, marking the largest 787 order to date for Europe. The environmental partnership includes a joint biofuel demonstration aimed at developing sustainable fuel sources suitable for commercial jet engines and the aviation industry. The demonstration,... Read more →

Gas-to-Ethanol Company Receives $3.5M in Funding

LanzaTech, the New Zealand-based developer of a process using bacterial fermentation to convert carbon monoxide into ethanol, has secured US$3.5M in Series A funding, led by Khosla Ventures and supported by two existing New Zealand based investors. (Earlier post.) The technology could produce 50 billion gallons of ethanol from the... Read more →

Montana Enacts Law Enabling Medium-Speed Electric Vehicles; First in Nation

Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has signed into law SB 185, a bill that allows neighborhood electric vehicles equipped with the proper safety features to travel up to 35 mph on city and county roads. NEVs previously were in the same category as golf carts, and were prohibited... Read more →

EPA to Award $700,000 in Clean School Bus Grants to Midwest School Districts

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5’s Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative expects to award some $700,000 this year in grants for school bus diesel-emission reduction projects in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Project proposals will be accepted until 22 June and final awards are expected to be... Read more →

Kiwi CO-to-Ethanol Company Receives Khosla Funding

New York Times. LanzaTech, a New Zealand company that has developed a fermentation process in which bacteria consume waste carbon monoxide from industrial processes and produce ethanol, has secured financing from Khosla Ventures. ean Simpson, LanzaTech’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, said the company would use the $3.5 million investment... Read more →

Researchers Propose Biofuels Rating System

One illustrative example of a Green Biofuels Index based on global warming impact and a feedstock rating. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are proposing a biofuels rating system—based on a full lifecycle analysis—that would reflect the positive or negative environmental impacts of a particular fuel.... Read more →

Reports: Despite Aspirations to Sustainability, EU Heavily Subsidizing Road and Air Transport—and Sprawl

By Jack Rosebro The Øresund bridge linking Denmark and Sweden opened in 2000. CEE Bankwatch Network, which monitors and analyzes the environmental and social effects of international development finance, has released a report entitled Lost In Transportation, in which it calls on the European Investment Bank (EIB) to halt its... Read more →