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ICCT Releases New Report Comparing Global Fuel Economy and CO2 Standards

Comparison of global fuel economy standards, normalized to CAFE mpg. The projection for Canada is calculated based on the voluntary GHG targets.The shaded area under the California line represents the uncertain amount of non-fuel economy related GHG reductions that manufacturers will generate. Click to enlarge. With debate on light-duty vehicle... Read more →

Southern Research Institute Evaluates Off-Road Clean Diesel Technologies for New York State

Southern Research Institute has completed the first round of installations and testing of clean diesel technologies for the Clean Diesel Technology/Off-Road Field-Testing Program at the New York City Department of Sanitation in Maspeth, Queens, NY. The purpose of the program is to evaluate and improve diesel emissions from off-road equipment,... Read more →

Mazda to Deliver Rotary Hydrogen Vehicle to Japan’s METI

Mazda Motor Corporation will deliver one dual-fueled RX-8 Hydrogen Rotary Engine (RE) vehicle (earlier post) to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) on 1 August. The dual-fuel system enables the driver to select either gasoline or hydrogen fuel with the flick of a switch. METI will use the... Read more →

Marathon Oil Acquiring Western Oil Sands for $6.2 Billion

With the acquisition, Marathon gains a 20% stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP). Click to enlarge. Marathon Oil Corporation, the largest refiner in the US Midwest, is acquiring Canadian oil sands company Western Oil Sands, Inc. in a transaction valued at C$6.5 billion (US$6.2 billion). Under the terms... Read more →

DuPont and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Collaborate on Crop Genetics Research

DuPont and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have entered into a multi-year research collaboration to conduct crop genetics research on yield enhancement and develop enabling technologies in corn, soybeans and other important agricultural crops. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business and leader in agricultural plant... Read more →

Miles Electric Vehicles Announces Initial Dealers

Miles Electric Vehicles announced the initial group of dealerships it has appointed to sell its all-electric cars and trucks, including its highway-speed vehicle (HSV), due to arrive in showrooms in 2008. Among the 30 new car dealerships initially selected to become Miles Electric Vehicle franchisees are the Cardinale Automotive Group... Read more →

GM Two-Mode SUVs to Offer 40% Improvement in City Fuel Economy

The forthcoming Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon two-mode hybrids will offer a fuel economy improvement of approximately 40% in city driving compared to conventional models of the SUVs, according to GM. The V-8 powered two-mode hybrids are combined with GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology. The Tahoe Hybrid will... Read more →

Toyota to Offer Lower-Priced, New Standard Prius for 2008, Cuts Price on Camry Hybrid

Toyota announced that it will offer a new lower-priced standard Prius with the 2008 lineup. The base MSRP for Prius ranges from $20,950 for the newly introduced standard model to $23,220 for the Touring model. Base MSRP for the standard model 2007 Prius was $22,175. The new Prius arrives in... Read more →

“Chalcogels”: New Aerogels For Water Decontamination, Hydrogen Purification

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have created new aerogels that could cleanse contaminated water and potentially purify hydrogen for use in fuel cells. Argonne materials scientists Peter Chupas and Mercouri Kanatzidis, along with colleagues at Northwestern and Michigan State universities, created and characterized six different... Read more →

Limited Function Plug-in Retrofit

An Illinois company is offering a limited-function “plug-in” retrofit that uses grid-recharged batteries to power an electric motor integrated into the drive train that provides drive assistance to a conventional rear-wheel drive vehicle. NetGain Technologies’s EMIS (Engine Motor Interface System) requires 48 or 72 volts of additional battery power. The... Read more →

Shell Exec Signs On as President of LS9

LS9, Inc., a startup founded in 2005 to apply synthetic biology technology to the production of proprietary biofuels (earlier post), has named Robert Walsh its new President, effective immediately. Walsh will lead the rapid commercialization of LS9 DesignerBiofuels products, including a pilot facility leading to commercial production. LS9 DesignerBiofuels products... Read more →

Mitsubishi to Show Concept Euro 5 Diesel Compact Crossover at Frankfurt

Sketch of the Concept-cX. Mitsubishi Motors will unveil the Mitsubishi Concept-cX at the 62nd Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA—the Frankfurt Motor Show) in September. The compact crossover uses a new high-output, high-efficiency 1.8-liter diesel engine, featuring a variable geometry (VG) turbocharger and a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) with diesel particulate filter... Read more →

Study: Frequency of Atlantic Hurricanes Doubled Over Last Century; Climate Change Fueling Much of the Increase

A new statistical analysis of hurricanes and tropical storms in the north Atlantic found that about twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago. The study, by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Peter Webster of the Georgia Institute... Read more →

Study: Biofuel Potential in Oregon May be Costly and Limited; Results More Widely Applicable

The adoption of biofuels in Oregon could reduce the state’s fossil fuel use by less than one percent, but at a much higher cost to society than more direct approaches such as a gasoline tax or raising fuel economy standards, according to a study by the Oregon State University (OSU)... Read more →

Thailand Boosting Palm Oil Production for Biodiesel

TNA. Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has drawn up a plan to develop and enlarge the palm oil growing area between 2008 and 2012. Theera Wongsamut, deputy permanent secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives, said his ministry planned to increase Thailand’s palm oil plantation area by another 2.5 million rai... Read more →

Survey Finds Strong Support Among Voters for Mandatory Auto Fuel Efficiency Increases

Voters showed a preference for the 35 mpg by 2020 proposal. A recent poll from more than 30 congressional districts across Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan found strong voter support for the US House to pass fuel efficiency standards at least as strong as those passed... Read more →

University of Nottingham Establishes Carbon Capture and Storage Center; One Focus To Be on Serpentinization

The University of Nottingham (UK) is establishing a Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage (CICCS) with £1.1 million (US$2.23 million) in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The center, which is due to open in October 2007, will develop novel technologies to trap and... Read more →

UD-Led Team Sets Solar Cell Efficiency Record of 42.8%; Joins DuPont on $100M Project

The lateral solar cell architecture with a specially designed concentrator contributes to the enhanced performance. Click to enlarge. Using a novel technology that adds multiple innovations to a very high-performance crystalline silicon solar cell platform, a consortium led by the University of Delaware has achieved a record-breaking combined solar cell... Read more →

Renault and Bajaj Confirm Preliminary Deliberations on Low-Cost Car

Renault and Bajaj Auto confirmed that they are in preliminary deliberations to jointly understand customer requirements and business potential for “very competitive vehicles”—i.e., small, low-cost (~US$3,000) cars in India. If concluded favorably, this could lead to a long-term partnership between Renault and Bajaj for the development of the business so... Read more →

LiquidPiston Closes $1.25M Venture Seed Round; Funding to Develop HEHC-Cycle Engine

The Liquid Piston engine. A) full housing. B) Transparent housing showing principle components. Click to enlarge. LiquidPiston, developers of a new engine architecture they claim will achieve 50% fuel efficiency (compared to the ~30% of existing engines) and drastically reduce pollutant emissions (earlier post), closed a $1.25 million seed investment... Read more →

Hampton Roads to Replace Trolleys and Electric Buses with Diesel Series Hybrids

The Virginian-Pilot. Hampton Roads Transit (Virginia) will spend $20.2 million on up to 40 new diesel-electric buses, replacing Norfolk’s blue NET electric buses and Virginia Beach’s red trolley service. The NET buses, which serve downtown Norfolk, are a battery-powered fleet with limited range. They must return to HRT’s service facility... Read more →

Pairing of Different Bacteria Enables a Cellulose-Fed Microbial Fuel Cell

Careful pairing of bacteria can create a microbial fuel cell (MFC) that consumes cellulose and produces electricity, according to researchers at Penn State. No currently known bacteria that allow termites and cows to digest cellulose can power a microbial fuel cell; those bacteria that can produce electrical current cannot eat... Read more →

Johnson Controls to Show Concept Car at Frankfurt IAA; Plug-in Hybrid Battery Pack

At this year’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Johnson Controls will present a new concept car that, among other advanced technologies, will feature a plug-in hybrid battery. A sketch of the Johnson Controls concept car. Click to enlarge. Johnson Controls–Saft Advanced Power Solutions, LLC, a joint venture between Tier 1... Read more →

Eastman to Develop $1.6B Gasification Facility in Texas; Air Products to Sell the Hydrogen

The basic gasification process. Click to enlarge. Source: Eastman Eastman Chemical Company plans to develop a $1.6 billion petroleum-coke fed gasification facility to be located in Beaumont, TX. The plant will produce low-cost intermediate chemicals such as methanol, hydrogen and ammonia. The Beaumont facility will also be designed to capture... Read more →

New York City Congestion Pricing Plan Moving Forward

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Eliot Spitzer, Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Joseph Bruno agreed to authorize implementation of a meaningful congestion reduction plan for New York City. (Earlier post.) The deal authorizes the city to take the first steps toward a three-year pilot project for congestion pricing,... Read more →

ARB Adopts Landmark Off-Road Emissions Rules

The off-road sector that will be regulated (gold wedge) accounts for a large component of the state’s mobile source diesel emissions. Click to enlarge. Source: ARB The California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted pioneering—and controversial—NOx and PM regulations aimed at reducing toxic and cancer-causing diesel emissions from the state’s estimated... Read more →

Nissan Develops New Catalyst Material with Half the Precious Metal Components

Nissan’s new material halves the use of precious metals. Click to enlarge. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new catalyst for gasoline-powered cars that utilizes only half the precious metal components compared to conventional catalysts currently available. Nissan will introduce the new catalyst in future products starting in fiscal... Read more →

Researchers Discover New Thermophilic Bacterium That Converts Light into Chemical Energy

A team of researchers has discovered a novel thermophilic bacterium that transforms light into chemical energy in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. The discovery of the chlorophyll-producing bacterium, Candidatus Chloracidobacterium (Cab.) thermophilum, will be described in the July 27 issue of the journal Science in a paper led... Read more →

UCLA Study Identifies Synergy Between Diesel Particles and Cholesterol in Enhancing Heart Disease

A new UCLA study identifies a synergistic interaction between fine particles found in diesel exhaust and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that enhances vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, significantly increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Published in the 26 July edition of the online journal Genome Biology, the findings are... Read more →

ZAP XEBRA Electric Truck Achieves 100-Mile Range with Li-Ion Batteries

ZAP’s all-electric XEBRA city-truck traveled more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) on a single charge at a Danish laboratory using a lithium-ion battery system. The standard lead-acid battery-powered XEBRA has a single-charge range of 25 miles (40 km). ZAP has two XEBRAs in Denmark undergoing refinement with new lithium batteries... Read more →

Maxwell Ultracaps Cleared for Vehicle Applications in China

Maxwell Technologies’ ultracapacitor products have been certified by the official testing agency of the People’s Republic of China for energy storage applications in vehicles. The certification protocol included testing for electrical, mechanical, thermal, safety and lifetime performance. The certification clears the way for Maxwell to market its BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor products... Read more →

Sonex Aircraft and AeroConversions Show Electric Propulsion System for Sport Aircraft

The basic elements of the E-Flight electric propulsion system. Click to enlarge. At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007, Sonex Aircraft and AeroConversions Products introduced their E-Flight Initiative, including a proof-of-concept prototype electric powerplant installed in a Waiex airframe. (Earlier post.) The most significant portion of E-Flight is the development of the... Read more →

Global Wind Power Capacity Increased Almost 26% in 2006

Global wind power capacity increased almost 26 percent in 2006, exceeding 74,200 MW by year’s end, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Global investment in wind power was roughly $22 billion in 2006, and in Europe and North America, the power industry added more capacity in wind than it did in... Read more →

Study: Increasing Levels of Surface Ozone Reduce Plant Growth and Add to Global Warming

Scientists from three UK research institutes—the Met Office, the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology—have found that projections of increasing levels of ozone near the Earth’s surface could lead to significant reductions in regional plant production and crop yields. Their research is published online in the... Read more →

W2 Energy to Build Bench-Scale Coal-to-Liquids Plant

W2 Energy Inc., the developer of a GAT (Gliding Arc Tornado) plasma reactor for biomass gasification for power and fuels generation, will build a bench-scale coal-to-diesel plant at its Toronto facility. Until now W2 Energy has concentrated fully on biomass as a feedstock for gasification and conversion to liquid fuels.... Read more →

Toyota to Provide PHEVs to Two UC Campuses

Toyota Motor Sales, USA will provide Toyota plug-in (PHEV) hybrid prototypes (earlier post) to the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), as part of its on-going sustainable mobility development program with... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Presents the Combined SI-CAI “DiesOtto” Concept Engine

Mercedes-Benz provided some details on its DiesOtto engine project: a 1.8-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder gasoline direct injection engine that supports a switch to controlled auto ignition (CAI) under certain operating conditions. When starting and under full load, the fuel/air charge is ignited by a spark plug, as in a conventional spark-ignition... Read more →

GM to Invest $6 Billion in Daewoo Automotive Technology

AFP. GM plans to invest more than $6 billion dollars in its Daewoo Automotive Technology (GM DAT) subsidiary in South Korea over the next four years, according to Michael Grimaldi, president and chief executive of GM DAT. “Strategically it’s important for GM,” Grimaldi told a meeting of the Detroit Society... Read more →

GM to Invest $6 Billion in Daewoo Automotive Technology

AFP. GM plans to invest more than $6 billion in its Daewoo Automotive Technology (GM DAT) subsidiary in South Korea over the next four years, according to Michael Grimaldi, president and chief executive of GM DAT. “Strategically it’s important for GM,” Grimaldi told a meeting of the Detroit Society of... Read more →