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Altairnano-Powered Dragster Sets New EV World Elapsed Time Record (corrected)

Dennis “Kilowatt” Berube set a new National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) elapsed time electric vehicle world record driving an electric dragster powered by Altairnano battery packs, achieving 7.956 seconds for the quarter-mile run. The elapsed time results edged out the prior record holder, the KillaCycle (earlier post) at 7.991... Read more →

Report: Nissan Targeting 15% Reduction in Vehicle Weight for 10% Improvement in Fuel Consumption

The Nikkei reports that Nissan Motor Co. is targeting an average 15% reduction in the weight of its vehicles by 2015, compared to the 2005 lineup, to reduce fuel consumption by 10%. Toyota has also set a weight-reduction goal for midsize cars set at approximately 10%. To achieve significant weight... Read more →

Peabody Energy Joins China’s GreenGen Near-Zero Emissions Coal Plant Project

US-based Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, recently became the only non-Chinese equity partner in China’s US$1-billion “GreenGen” project—the first near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant with carbon capture and storage in China. Overview of GreenGen process flow. Click to enlarge. Led by managing partner China Huaneng Group, the... Read more →

SunPine Developing Tall Oil Refinery for Production of Biodiesel or Renewable Diesel Feedstock

SunPine’s tall oil process produces either crude tall diesel for hydroprocessing at a refinery or standard biodiesel. Click to enlarge. SunPine AB is planning to build a production plant in Piteå, Sweden to convert crude tall oil (CTO) either to “crude tall diesel” for subsequent hydroprocessing at a refinery into... Read more →

Continental Automotive to Begin Series Production of Li-Ion Packs in 2008

Continental Automotive will begin series production of automotive lithium-ion packs in 2008, according to CEO Manfred Wennemer in an interview with auto motor und sport. It will not be a hundred thousand units a year, but certainly a few thousand.... This is the battery of the future: for both full-... Read more →

Bosch Looking for Sales of Almost $1.5B in Low-Price Vehicle Segment by 2010

In an interview with Germany’s auto motor und sport magazine, Bosch India Managing Director Dr. Albert Hieronimus said that the company wants to supply components and systems to manufacturers of low-price vehicles (LPV) such as Tata Motors in India, and that the company expects revenue from the LPV segment to... Read more →

Japan Aiming for 30% of Households to Have Solar Panels by 2030

Kyodo. The Japanese government will aim for 30% of all households to have solar panels installed by 2030 as part of its efforts to fight global warming. Under the target, the number of solar-powered households would increase to 14 million from the current 400,000, and the capacity of such generation... Read more →

New Mexico Car Dealers File Suit Against State’s Adoption of California Vehicle CO2 Standards

Las Cruces Sun-News. Three New Mexico car dealerships have sued the state Environment Department and other agencies, seeking to overturn New Mexico’s “Clean Car” regulations—which adopt the California CO2 emissions standards—before they go into effect. Zangara Dodge Inc. of Albuquerque, Auge Sales and Service Inc. of Belen and Phil Carrell... Read more →

NASA Sponsoring 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge; First Green Prize for PAVs

NASA and the non-profit CAFE Foundation have partnered to create a new Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs) Challenge for 2008 to advance five vital General Aviation Technologies: noise reduction, fuel efficiency, speed, safety and ease of use of the PAVs. As part of the $300,000 General Aviation Technology Challenge next summer... Read more →

Tesla to Use Interim Transmission to Get Production Roadster Out the Door

Faced with ongoing problems in developing a transmission that will deliver on the electric Roadster’s initial specification for acceleration (0-60 in 4 seconds), Tesla Motors will begin production in 2008 with an interim transmission design, according to CEO Ze’ev Drori. The interim transmission will support acceleration from 0-60 in 5.7... Read more →

Review Panel Recommends “No-Go” on Further Funding for Sodium Borohydride for On-Board Vehicular Hydrogen Storage

An independent technical review panel convened at the behest of the Department of Energy to consider the technical status and progress of R&D on the hydrolysis of sodium borohydride (NaBH4) for on-board vehicular hydrogen storage has unanimously recommended a “no-go” to further funding. Millenium Cell and others have been working... Read more →

Scania Enters Chinese City Bus Market with Euro 4 Buses

Scania is now delivering 25 Euro 4 articulated buses to the public transport company in Changzhou in the Jiangsu province in eastern China. Scania won the contract because of its emission technology, low operating cost and long service life, according to the company. Scania’s emission technology is based on EGR... Read more →

Kansas Launches Pilot Project Retailing Multiple Blends of Ethanol

The Kansas Department of Agriculture is launching a one-year pilot project that will allow flexible-fuel vehicle owners to purchase a range of ethanol blends such as E20, E30, E50 or E85. Currently there are 28 stations in Kansas selling E85 fuel. To ensure that owners of conventional vehicles don’t accidentally... Read more →

Researchers Develop New Class of Lithium-Rich Solids with High Lithium Ion Mobility

German researchers have developed a new class of inorganic ionic conductor featuring high lithium ion mobility. In ionic conductors, charge is not transported in the form of electrons as it is in metals; instead, the charge is transported in the form of charged particles—typically, lithium ions. This transport requires materials... Read more →

Mahindra & Mahindra Introduces New 2.2L Diesel for Scorpio SUV

Mahindra & Mahindra recently introduced its new Scorpio V-Series SUVs, equipped with the new “mHawk” 2.2-liter turbodiesel. The company will continue to offer the older CRDe 2.6-liter diesel models in the Scorpio line-up. The new mHawk 2.2-liter diesel. The four cylinder diesel features a variable geometry turbo and produces 87... Read more →

Brazil Requiring 2% Biodiesel Blend Starting 1 Jan 08

Brazil is instituting its compulsory 2% biodiesel blend in all diesel fuel (earlier post) beginning 1 January 2008. Meeting that target will require about 800 million liters (211 million gallons US) per year of biodiesel. Current production is around 300 million liters. Brazil currently has 44 biodiesel plants authorized by... Read more →

Honda Eyeing Mass Production of Fuel Cell Vehicles in 10 Yrs; No to Short-Range EVs

Honda Motor Co. may be able to start mass-producing fuel cell vehicles within 10 years, President Takeo Fukui said in an interview with Jiji Press. Fukui emphasized Honda’s intention to focus on fuel cell vehicles, rather than electric vehicles. Fukui indicated that electric vehicles are not attractive, citing their short... Read more →

EPA Publishes Draft Cruise Ship Discharge Assessment Report

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a report assessing the various waste discharges from cruise ships, and is seeking public input on the report, as well as input regarding options, alternatives, and recommendations about whether and how to better control and regulate the waste streams described. Cruise ships... Read more →

California May See More Than $4/Gallon Average Gasoline in Spring 08

Los Angeles Times. Analysts are predicting a steady increase in gasoline prices in the spring that could result in an average cost of $3.75/gallon across the US and more than $4.00/gallon in California. Ongoing higher demand is one factor, along with persistently strong crude oil prices and the absence of... Read more →

Petrobras Cracks 2M Barrels/Day Mark in Oil Production

Petrobras announced it set a new daily oil-production record in Brazil: 2,000,238 barrels, a mark only eight oil companies in the world have reached. Six new platforms went online in 2007 and, at peak production, they will add 590,000 barrels to the installed capacity (maximum lifting capacity the units were... Read more →

Guangzhou Honda to Develop New Brand for China in 2010

Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co. will introduce a new brand of car specifically for the Chinese market in 2010. Guangzhou Honda is a 50:50 joint venture between Guangzhou Automobile Group and Honda Motor Co. The joint venture will display concept vehicles and specifications in April at the Beijing auto show. Guangzhou... Read more →

Norske Skog Launching Wood Biomass-to-Liquids Joint Venture with Norwegian Forest Owners

Simplified wood biomass-to-liquids process. Click to enlarge. Norske Skog, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of newsprint and magazine paper, in cooperation with Norwegian forest owners, is establishing a joint venture to develop and produce synthetic fuels from Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) processes. A prototype facility will be built in connection with... Read more →

Munich Re Catalogs Natural Catastrophe Events in 2007; Less Extreme, But Greater in Number

Natural catastrophes 2007. Click to enlarge. The global insurance industry had to cope with far higher natural catastrophe losses in 2007 than in 2006, with its unusually low loss figures, according to the preliminary annual assessment by Munich Re, a global reinsurance firm. Despite the general absence of extreme events... Read more →

Researcher Exploring Microbial Conversion of Rotten Peaches to Hydrogen

A biosystems engineer at Clemson University (South Carolina) is investigating the use of Thermotoga neapolitana—an extremophile bacterium that can produce hydrogen by fermentation—to produce hydrogen from rotten peaches. The South Carolina Peach Council is funding research by Caye Drapcho and graduate assistant Abhiney Jain. There are more than 200 million... Read more →

Omnitek Joint Venture in Thailand to Accelerate Conversions of Diesel to Natural Gas

Omnitek Engineering Corp. and Omnitek Engineering Thailand Co. Ltd., have entered into a joint venture (JV) agreement in Thailand to sell Omnitek’s proprietary diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion kits and new natural gas engines used to repower existing diesel trucks and buses. Omnitek Corp. reports a 15% interest in the JV.... Read more →

Argonne Assesses a Variety of Total Energy Cycle and Emissions Pathways for Plug-in Hybrids; Focus on Charge Depleting Mode

Total energy values for different pathways and powertrains, with a focus on PHEV Charge Depleting mode. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, which has the lead role in DOE efforts to evaluate plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and PHEV technology, recently compared US... Read more →

First Vehicles Painted with Ford’s New Three-Wet Process on the Road

Ford Motor Company and U-Haul launched more than 200 Ford E-Series trucks painted with Ford’s new three-wet process (earlier post) which results in a 15% reduction in greenhouse gases, about a 10% cut in VOC emissions, and a cut in Ford’s production costs. U-Haul began renting the units to customers... Read more →

BLM Publishes Draft Environmental Study for Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resources on Public Lands; Proposes Allocating 1.9M Acres for Development

Most geologically prospective oil shale resources within the Green River formation basins in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Click to enlarge. As required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to guide future management of public... Read more →

Korea to Tighten Fuel Efficiency Standards 15% by 2012

Chosun Ilbo. Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said that it will tighten fuel economy standards for cars by 15% by 2012 compared to 2004, based on an agreement made with the auto industry in late 2005. Automakers are making efforts not only to enhance fuel efficiency by reducing... Read more →

Panasonic EV Energy Co. Starting Studies Geared to Mass Production of Li-Ion Cells for Toyota

Panasonic EV Energy Co., the battery-making joint venture between Toyota and Matsushita, has begun studies at its Omori factory geared to the mass production of lithium-ion batteries, said Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe in his end-of-year press conference. The Omori factory currently produces NiMH cells. Lithium-ion batteries are better suited than... Read more →

CN Acquires ANY and Rail Link to Oil Sands

CN (Canadian National Railway Company) is acquiring the Athabasca Northern Railway Ltd. (ANY), which has the rail link to the oil sands region of northern Alberta. CN’s purchase and rail-line rehabilitation plan are premised on long-term traffic volume guarantees that the company has negotiated with shippers Suncor Energy Inc., OPTI... Read more →

SEAT Introduces 62 MPG Ibiza Ecomotive

The SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive. Spanish automaker SEAT, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, has introduced the Ibiza Ecomotive, its most economical, least polluting production model to date. Deliveries are to begin in the spring. The Ecomotive, the SEAT analog to the Volkswagen Bluemotion models (earlier post), is based on the... Read more →

ARB Releases ETAAC Discussion Document on Achieving GHG Reductions; Roadmap for Transportation and Other Major Sectors

California GHG emissions by transportation mode. Click to enlarge. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has released the latest discussion draft to be considered at the upcoming meeting of the Economic and Technology Advancement Advisory Committee (ETAAC), 25 January 2008 in Sacramento. The ETAAC was formed by statute to advise... Read more →

MHI to License Flue Gas Carbon Dioxide Recovery Technology To GPIC in Bahrain

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) is licensing its carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery technology to Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), a manufacturer of fertilizers and petrochemicals in Bahrain. GPIC will use the technology to recover CO2 from flue gas emitted at its existing petrochemical plant and utilize the captured CO2 to... Read more →

Bolloré Group and Pininfarina to Produce and Sell Lithium-Metal-Polymer Electric Vehicle

Bolloré and Pininfarina are teaming up to create a 50/50 joint venture to produce a full electric vehicle to be marketed under the Pininfarina brand. The vehicle will be a four-seater powered by a lithium-metal polymer (LMP) battery developed by Bolloré, and will support a range of 250 km (155... Read more →

Canadian Startup Targeting Mineral and Bitumen Recovery from Oil Sands Tailings

Mine-based oil sands production, in which the oil sands dug up and processed to extract the bitumen, results in large amounts of tailings which have significant deposits of heavy minerals. Titanium Corporation, a Canadian start-up, has made the recovery of minerals such as titanium and zircon from tailings the core... Read more →

SunOpta and CMEC to Study Building 10M Gallon Cellulosic Ethanol Plant in Minnesota

SunOpta BioProcess Inc. (SBI) recently signed a Letter of Intent with Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-op (CMEC) of Little Falls, Minnesota to complete a feasibility analysis and engineering study leading to the parties jointly building, owning, and operating a 10 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant. The proposed plant will... Read more →

São Paolo Puts Ethanol Bus into Service in BEST Project; E25 Prius Hybrids Under Test

The Scania-based E95 bus in São Paolo. São Paulo, Brazil’s Sistema Metropolitano de Transporte (Metra—Metropolitan Transport System), has put into operation the first Scania-based E95 ethanol bus it will test as one element of Brazil’s two-part involvement in the BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport (BEST) project. (Earlier post.) Scania delivered the... Read more →

EPA Revising Rules to Allow Refineries to Recycle Oil-Bearing Hazardous Waste by Gasification

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is revising the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) oil-bearing hazardous secondary materials exclusion to allow for the recycling of materials generated by the petroleum industry—such as sludges or other byproducts—when they are gasified at a refinery for the production of synthesis gas fuel.... Read more →

Putin: St. Petersburg to Become One of World’s Biggest Auto Manufacturing Centers

Reuters. In an opening ceremony for Toyota’s new manufacturing plant in St. Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the city will become one of the world’s biggest auto manufacturing centers. “By 2015 St Petersburg alone will produce 1 million cars per year at five foreign-led plants,” Putin told an... Read more →

Petrobras and Total to Evaluate Oil Shale Opportunities in Africa and in the Middle East

General schema for a Gas Combustion Retort of the type used by Petrobras in its Petrosix oil shale production process. Click to enlarge. Petrobras and Total E&P Activites Petrolieres signed a cooperation agreement to evaluate the exploration, development, and production of oil extracted from oil shale deposits in specific regions... Read more →

VW Debuting 7-Speed DSG in Golf and Golf Plus

The 7-speed DSG offers improved fuel consumption and lower GHG emissions compared to other transmission options—even besting the manual. Click to enlarge. Source: VW The new Volkswagen 7-speed DSG automatic transmission (earlier post) is now available in selected countries in the Golf and Golf Plus with the 1.4 TSI and... Read more →

Nissan to Show Next-Generation Minivan Concept at NAIAS; “Environmentally Sensitive” Powerplant

Nissan will unveil its Forum concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. As a design exploration, Forum’s emphasis is limited to form and functionality, according to Nissan. However, the company notes, conceptually, a modern, next-generation family passenger vehicle would include a clean diesel or... Read more →

First Electric smart Delivered to Coventry City Council

The Coventry (UK) City Council has taken delivery of a fully electric smart car, the first of 100 cars to be delivered as part of a UK-based market trial for the introduction of the fully electric version. (Earlier post.) First electric smart delivered to Coventry City Council. The car will... Read more →