« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

DuPont Acquires New Hydroprocessing Technology for Refineries

An onsite IsoTherming Technology hydrotreater. DuPont has acquired the IsoTherming hydroprocessing technology from Process Dynamics. IsoTherming uses a novel hydrodesulfurization reactor system that features lower capital and operating costs while supporting a faster way to produce low-sulfur products, reducing sulfur-based emissions in the process. According to an evaluation in 2003,... Read more →

Petrobras to Postpone Commercial Production of H-Bio

Folha de S. Paulo. Petrobras is postponing the commercial production of its renewable diesel fuel based on the hydrogenation of vegetable oil and mineral oil—H-Bio (earlier post)—due to high soy prices. Petrobras originally intended to develop H-Bio production in two refineries (Gabriel Passos - Regap, in Minas Gerais, and Repar,... Read more →

Vienna Talks Reach Consensus on Key Elements for Response to Climate Change; Targets 25-40% GHG Cuts Below 1990 Levels by 2020

A round of climate change talks under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded in Austria today with agreement on key elements for an international response to climate change. Negotiators officially recognized the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) indication that global emissions of... Read more →

EPA Releases First External Review Draft of New ISA of NOx for Public Comment and Peer Review

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released for public comment and independent expert peer review its first external review draft of the new Integrated Science Assessment for Oxides of Nitrogen—Health Criteria. Oxides of nitrogen is one of six principal (criteria) pollutants for which EPA has established national ambient air quality... Read more →

Hyundai To Introduce New Fuel Cell Vehicle Concept at Frankfurt Show

Hyundai Motor Corporation will unveil the i-Blue Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle concept at the 2007 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The all-new i-Blue platform, developed at Hyundai’s Design and Technical Center in Chiba, Japan, incorporates Hyundai’s third-generation fuel cell technology, currently being developed at Hyundai’s Eco-Technology Research Institute in Mabuk, Korea.... Read more →

Toyota Total European Hybrid Sales Accelerate Past 100,000 Units

Cumulative European sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrid vehicles have topped the 100,000 mark, according to Toyota Motor Europe (TME). Since hybrids were first launched in Europe in 2000, a total of 101,235 vehicles have been sold as of 31 July, 2007. This represents a rapid acceleration in the uptake... Read more →

Report: New US Vehicle Fuel Economy Increasing to Highest Level Yet

Detroit Free Press. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the owner of the CAFE program, estimates that 2007 model year fuel economy in the US will increase to 26.4 mpg US, surpassing the previous high of 26.2 mpg in 1987. The increase of 1 mile per gallon, or 3.9%, from... Read more →

Study: New US Vehicle CO2 Emissions Dip 3% from 2004 to 2005, But Remain Up 1.5% Since 1990

Average new car and light truck CO2 emissions rate. The sharp drop corresponds with the initiation of CAFE. Click to enlarge. Source: Environmental Defense While the average CO2 emissions rate from new vehicles sold in the US fell 3% from 2004 to 2005, it remained up a net 1.5% since... Read more →

Mexico City Outlines Green Plan

The government of Mexico City has proposed a wide-ranging “Green Plan” that, among other measures, will seek to better manage traffic flow, improve the emissions quality of the public transportation fleets, and put more emphasis on walking and cycling. The full Green Plan tackles the future of conservation; restoration of... Read more →

Saskatchewan Gets On Board the Oil Sands Train

Saskatchewan’s oil sands deposit is contained within the Mannville Group of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin which was deposited across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the US. Click to enlarge. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the eastern neighbor of Alberta, the locus of the oil sands boom in Canada, held... Read more →

Hyatt Puts Recharging Stations for Tesla Roadster in 3 Hotels

S.F. Chronicle. Hyatt is installing recharging stations for the Tesla electric roadster in three hotels: San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Sacramento, and Incline Village on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. A Tesla owner now can drive from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe without fear of running out of power. Granted, installing chargers... Read more →

Researchers Test On-Board System for Hydrogen Storage in Organic Hydride Liquids

Hrein Energy Inc., a Japan-based developer of hydrogen storage systems based on organic hydrides, has successfully field-tested an on-board version of its storage system to produce a hydrogen stream for use with gasoline in an automobile combustion engine. Hrein is targeting its system for eventual use with fuel-cell vehicles, among... Read more →

UK Liberal Democrats Outline Plan for Carbon Neutral Britain; Includes Mandatory Zero Carbon Cars by 2040

The UK’s Liberal Democrats party has outlined a plan for making Britain carbon neutral by 2050. The measures will be debated at the party’s conference in Brighton next month. The party’s proposed mitigation policy outlined in the paper ‘Zero Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead’ has three key elements:... Read more →

Mozambique Plans $550M Biofuels Project

Mail and Guardian. State-owned Mozambican Petroleum Company (Petromoc) is planning a $550-million biofuels project. In an interview with Reuters, Eugenio Silva, a senior Petromoc official, said it will create about 800 jobs and lead to a maximum annual production of 226-million litres [about 60 million gallons US] of ethanol and... Read more →

Ford Moving to the 3rd Generation of Fumes-to-Fuel with Fuel Cell Installation

Ford is installing the third generation of its patented Fumes-to-Fuel system (earlier post) at Oakville Assembly Plant in Canada. The pollution-control system converts emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the plant’s paint shop into electricity to help power the plant. The Oakville system will launch with an internal combustion... Read more →

Tohoku Elec Develops Process for Converting Biodiesel Byproduct Into Biodegradable Plastic

Nikkei. Tohoku Electric Power Co. has developed a process to convert glycerin, a major byproduct of biodiesel fuel production, into lactic acid for use in making polylactic acid (PLA), a type of biodegradable plastic. While researching production of large quantities of acetic acid from rice hulls, the firm’s R&D center... Read more →

VW to Offset One Year of Carbon Emissions for Each New VW Sold in US through End of Year

Volkswagen of America has partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset one year of carbon emission from each new Volkswagen vehicle sold in the US from 1 September 2007 through 2 January 2008. Working with Carbonfund.org, a non-profit carbon offset company, Volkswagen plans to reforest land in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley... Read more →

Full Compliance with US Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Regulation Coming Into Effect

With the TPMS, one of these symbols will light up on the dashboard when any tire is 25% under-inflated. September 1 marks the start of required 100% compliance with the US federal mandate for all new vehicles of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) or less gross vehicle weight to have a... Read more →

Toyota Launches New Mid-Size SUV in Japan

New car registrations in Japan by displacement and by year since 1998. Mini-vehicle class engines became the top-selling category in 2006. Demand for larger displacement engines has increased steadily for the past several years. Click to enlarge. Data: JAMA Toyota has launched a new mid-size SUV for the Japanese market:... Read more →

Statoil to Purchase 42.5% Interest in Baltic Biodiesel Company

The Baltic biodiesel plant. Statoil, the Norway-based integrated oil and gas company, has signed a letter of intent with SEB Venture Capital for the purchase of a 42.5% interest in UAB Mestilla. Mestilla is building the biggest biodiesel factory in the Baltic states. Owners of Lithuanian agricultural company Linas Agro... Read more →

Malaysian Biofuel Act on Hold; Producers Push Forward

Bernama. The Malaysian Biofuel Industry Act, designed to promote the domestic use of biodiesel (EnvoDiesel, a 5% palm diesel oil blend), is waiting for cabinet authorization for implementation. Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, however, said the timing must be right as the current high price... Read more →

Sun Grant Initiative BioWeb Project Growing

BioWeb, an Internet library of peer-reviewed papers and information related to bioenergy and bioproducts, is beginning to grow, with about 75 researchers having contributed to it so far. The site went live in April. Currently featured on the site is life cycle analysis (LCA) for corn grain to ethanol; corn... Read more →

Israel Corp to Invest $100M in Electric Car Venture Led by Agassi

Globes. Israel Corp., one of Israel’s major holding companies, will invest $100m in an electric car venture led by Shai Agassi, formerly the president of SAP. (Earlier post.) Other partners will invest an additional $100 million, bringing the total initial investment to $200 million. Israel Corp would own 33% of... Read more →

New smart fortwo BRABUS Models Offer 30% More Power

BRABUS, the tuning specialist, is introducing new models based on the new smart fortwo. This marks the second round and sixth year of the cooperation between smart and BRABUS. With a re-engineered 72 kW/97 hp three-cylinder turbo engine, the smart fortwo BRABUS and the smart fortwo BRABUS Xclusive offer 30%... Read more →

Mitsubishi to Show Euro 5 Diesel Concept at Frankfurt

MMC’s Concept-cX Among the vehicles Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will highlight at the Frankfurt Motor Show is a new diesel-powered Concept-cX SUV/sports hatchback crossover. (Earlier post.) MMC has decided to go regional with powertrain solutions matching different regional needs, driving patterns and infrastructures, and its emerging family of Euro-5 diesels... Read more →

Traffic Congestion System Analyzes Emerging Patterns for Better Guidance

Researchers in Sunnyvale, Calif., have developed an advanced traffic congestion tracking system that also crunches data from 14,000 sensors, in some cases every 30 seconds, to analyze evolving rush-hour patterns. As applied in www.BeatTheTraffic.com, the system can tell commuters how long they can expect to sit in their cars, which... Read more →

Nissan to Show New Electric Concept Car at Frankfurt

Nissan will introduce the Mixim, a three-seat, all electric, all-wheel drive concept vehicle at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Mixim is powered by two Nissan Super Motors (earlier post), one for each axle. Nissan also used the Super Motor in the Pivo concept introduced in 2005. Lithium-ion batteries provide the... Read more →

Ashok Leyland and Nissan to Form Partnership for Light Commercial Vehicles

Ashok Leyland and Nissan Motor signed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) for the formation of three joint venture companies supporting the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) business. This first stage of the partnership between the companies will include the development, manufacture and cooperation for distribution of LCV products under both the... Read more →

Volvo Demonstrates Trucks Running on Seven Different Renewable Fuels; Evaluates the Fuels

Volvo’s seven renewable fuel trucks and a summary chart of the fuel evaluation. More evaluation detail below. Click to enlarge. The Volvo Group showed seven of its diesel trucks modified to run on 100% renewable fuels: biodiesel, biogas, biogas combined with biodiesel, ethanol/methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), synthetic diesel and hydrogen... Read more →

ARB Issues Instructions on Reporting CO2 Emissions for MY 2008 and Beyond

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) issued a “mail-out” to all vehicle and engine manufacturers—whether on- or off-road; light-, medium- or heavy-duty; marine or terrestrial—notifying them of the requirement and procedure to report CO2 emissions from 2008 and subsequent model year vehicles and engines. The reporting requirement does not require... Read more →

Peugeot to Show Next Version of Diesel Hybrid Demonstrator at Frankfurt; A Step Closer to Commercialization in 2010

The diesel 308 Hybrid HDi. Peugeot will use the Frankfurt Motor Show for the world premiere of its new 308 Hybrid HDi, a diesel hybrid which emits 80g/km of CO2 and reduces fuel consumption by 58% in the NEDC Urban Drive Cycle compared to a standard 308 HDi. The new... Read more →

UN: Climate Change Mitigation Could Require Additional US$88B Annual Investment in Global Transport Sector in 2030

World transportation energy use under the mitigation scenario is still dominated by petroleum. Click to enlarge. Source: Greene (2007) The additional investment in the global transport sector required under a scenario for mitigating climate change by rolling back emissions in 2030 to current levels could reach US$88 billion annually by... Read more →

Companies to Introduce Lower-Cost Algae Production System

Single Simgae Bed (left); 1 Acre Notional Farm (right). Click to enlarge. Diversified Energy Corporation (DEC) has formed a partnership and licensing arrangement for an algae production system invented by XL Renewables, Inc. The system, called Simgae (for simple algae), utilizes common agriculture and irrigation components to keep costs to... Read more →

Energy Alberta Files Site Application for Oil Sands Nuclear Plant

Rendering of the heat transport system in the ACR-1000. Click to enlarge. Energy Alberta Corporation (Energy Alberta) has filed an application for a site preparation license for two twin-unit ACR-1000 CANDU nuclear reactors to provide power for the oil sands operations in Alberta. Energy Alberta, a privately held company incorporated... Read more →

UK Courier Company Buys Two Vectrix Electric Scooters

Lewis Day, a UK car and courier company, has purchased two Vectrix electric maxi-scooters (earlier post) for its London courier collection and delivery service. Lewis Day already has a fleet of 100 hybrid cars operating in the UK, but the Vectrix allows them to offer viable green transport for their... Read more →

Researchers Identify Sorghum Gene for Aluminum Tolerance; Implications for Increased Crop Yield in Acidic Soils

Aluminum toxicity in acidic soils limits crop production in as much as half the world’s arable land, mostly in developing countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Source: Cornell University Aluminum toxicity in highly acidic soils (which releases the aluminum from clay minerals) significantly reduces crop yields. These highly acidic... Read more →

Azure Dynamics to Deliver E-450 Hybrid for Fleet Testing

Azure Dynamics Corporation will deliver a gasoline parallel hybrid electric Ford E-450-based vehicle (earlier post) for industry viability validation, testing and demonstration within an unnamed North American company’s fleet. Azure signed a commercial development and cooperation agreement with the company. The parallel hybrid electric demonstration vehicle will be used to... Read more →

Toyota to Premiere “Radical” Small Car Concept at Frankfurt

Toyota will unveil a new small car concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Toyota said that it will also be celebrating 10 years of commercial success with hybrid technology and the Prius. Toyota will also introduce two new models into the Yaris line-up. The new Yaris 1.0-liter will showcase Yaris... Read more →

GM Baltimore Transmission Facility Achieves Landfill-Free Status

General Motors’ Baltimore transmission plant, which will build the two-mode hybrid transmission for GM’s full-size SUVs and pickups, has officially achieved “landfill-free” status, meaning it will no longer send any waste from its production operations to landfills. As of May, the GM Powertrain Baltimore transmission facility has been operating with... Read more →

Purdue Researchers Refine Aluminum-Gallium Alloy for On-Board Hydrogen Production; May Meet DOE 2010 Target of 6% Hydrogen Mass Density

Aluminum-Gallium (Al-Ga) phase diagram. The “Ga-rich liquid” refers to Prof. Woodall’s 1982 patent. (Below) Click to enlarge. Researchers at Purdue University have further developed their technology, announced earlier this year, for cost-effective hydrogen production via the splitting of water with an aluminum-gallium alloy. Aluminum reacts vigorously with water to produce... Read more →

UK Researchers Nearly Double Hydrogen Storage Capacity of Organic Polymer

A Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIM) has a rigid and contorted structure that can be used for hydrogen storage, among other applications. A team of UK researchers has created an organic polymer capable of storing approximately 3 wt.% hydrogen—nearly double the capacity of an earlier polymer they developed with 1.7... Read more →

TechDay 2007: Audi Targeting 20% Reduction in CO2 from its Vehicles by 2012

The emissions control system on the Tier 2 Bin 5 TDI. Click to enlarge. Audi used its TechDay event in Germany to outline its strategy for achieving a 20% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from its models by 2012. At the heart of the strategy are the next-generation,... Read more →

DOE to Provide Up to $33.8M to Further Development of Enzymes for Cellulosic Biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) published a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) that will make available up to $33.8 million to support the development of commercially viable enzymes to enable bio-based production of renewable biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. This FOA targets systems to hydrolyze and saccharify cellulosic biomass feedstocks,... Read more →

Heavy-Duty RV Maker Considering Hybrid or Hydrogen-Assisted Platforms

Kingsley Coach, a manufacturer of custom coaches mounted on class 7 or 8 heavy-duty chassis, is considering alternatives for a hybrid or hydrogen-assisted version of its K-3 model custom coach as part of an environmental and fuel economy push designed to make the K-3 the first hybrid RV model on... Read more →

BASF Catalysts Expands Auto Catalyst Plants in China and India

BASF Catalysts will nearly double its automotive catalyst manufacturing capacity at its plant in Shanghai, China, and triple capacity at its plant in Chennai, India, over the next few years to meet increasing demand. Domestic car sales in China and India are expected to grow significantly over the next few... Read more →

Isuzu and Hino to Develop Diesel Exhaust Aftertreatment Systems, Cabs for Heavy-Duty Trucks

Emissions targets in NEDO’s Clean Diesel Project. Click to enlarge. Isuzu Motors and Hino Motors have agreed to develop jointly diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems for heavy-duty trucks as well as passenger cabins. The alliance will help accelerate technology development at lower cost, ahead of Japan’s introduction in 2009 of stricter... Read more →

China Energy Increases DME Capacity Four Fold With Acquisition

China Energy Limited acquired 450,000 million tonnes per year of DME capacity for RMB397.8 million (US$52.6 million, €38.5 million) from Shandon Jiutai Chemical Technology Co. Ltd. and from Jiutai Chemical and Giant Energy Corp. (Hong Kong) Ltd. The acquisition of the new facilities raises the company’s DME capacity by four-fold,... Read more →