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Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission Recommends Congestion Pricing Plan for New York City

The TCMC plan institutes a congestion charge zone south of 60th Street in Manhattan. Click to enlarge. The independent New York City Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission (TCMC) has recommended an alternative congestion pricing plan that, according to its research, will reduce traffic levels in all five boroughs while raising nearly... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz Citaro G Bluetec Hybrid Bus Given 2008 DEKRA Environmental Award

The Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid urban bus. The Mercedes-Benz Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid urban bus was presented with the 2008 DEKRA environmental award at the World Mobility Forum in Stuttgart, Germany. The Citaro G BlueTec Hybrid, announced in 2007 (earlier post), is a series-hybrid articulated bus featuring a downsized diesel... Read more →

ECOtality’s eTec Completes SuperCharge System Installation at Long Beach Airport

Long Beach Airport and Electric Transportation Engineering Company (eTec), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ECOtality, Inc., have completed the installation of five Dual Port SuperCharge systems at Long Beach Airport. The five stations will be used to recharge a fleet of electric baggage tractors and belt loaders that service JetBlue and... Read more →

Study Compares Use of Hydrous and Anhydrous Ethanol Fuels in Direct-injection, Turbocharged Engine

Comparative testing by engineers at Orbital Corporation of hydrous (E93h, E87h, E80h) and anhydrous (E100) ethanol fuels on a direct injection multi-cylinder turbocharged engine found that the engine may be operated at high load with the same output and efficiency, with either hydrous or anhydrous ethanol. Orbital published its results... Read more →

Biofuel Centre at Napier University Focusing on Biobutanol

The Times. The Biofuel Research Centre at Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland (earlier post) is focusing on developing biobutanol as a second-generation biofuel. The centre opened last month and is designed to bring together industry, government, academia and the public to further research and understanding of second-generation biofuels. The most promising... Read more →

Suncor Board Approves C$20.6B Oil Sands Expansion

The diagram depicts the assets of the 200,000 bpd “Voyageur” expansion program; however, Voyageur will be operated on an integrated basis with existing operations. Click to enlarge. The Board of Directors of Suncor Energy gave final approval to a C$20.6 billion (US$20.7 billion) investment to boost crude oil production at... Read more →

Youngman Automotive Signs Second Exclusive Distribution Agreement with ZAP for North American Bus Market

Youngman Automotive Group, one of China’s leading bus manufacturers, has signed a second exclusive distribution agreement with ZAP that grants it the rights to distribute the full line of Youngman buses in North America. In October 2007, the two companies signed a joint venture agreement to manufacture, market and distribute... Read more →

PACCAR to Use SCR and EGR for 2010 Engine NOx Requirements

PACCAR, manufacturer of light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates, stated in its Q4 2007 Earnings Statement that it will use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) in combination with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in its PACCAR engines for Kenworth and Peterbilt to meet the NOx requirements... Read more →

DOE Restructures Its Approach to FutureGen

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is restructuring its commitment and approach to the planned $1.5-billion FutureGen project, which would have resulted in the construction and operation of a prototype 275 MW plant that would co-produce electricity and hydrogen from coal with essentially zero emissions, including carbon dioxide emissions, which... Read more →

SwRI Full-Load Study of Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine Indicates Higher Power, Torque and Efficiency Than Conventional Engines of Equal Displacement

The first independent laboratory study of the Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine (earlier post) under full-load conditions indicates that a gasoline-fueled version of the engine will have higher power, torque and efficiency ratings than the current state-of-the-art turbocharged gasoline engines of equal displacement on the road today. The Full Load (FL) Study... Read more →

Isuzu Leaving the US Passenger Vehicle Market in 2009

Isuzu Motors America, Inc. will discontinue distributing new Isuzu passenger vehicles in North America effective 31 January 2009. The discontinuation of passenger vehicles results from the prospective cessation of production by GM of the Ascender sport utility vehicle and the i-290 and i-370 pickup trucks. It has always been our... Read more →

Altairnano Signs $2.5M US Navy Contract for Li-ion Backup Systems

Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. has signed a $2.5 million contract with the United States Navy for the development of lithium-ion battery backup power systems in Naval applications. Under the terms of the contract, Altair will develop an optimized battery cell employing its nano-sized lithium titanate (n-LTO) electrode materials and then demonstrate... Read more →

France May Change Biofuels Policy

Reuters. The French government may revise its biofuels policy and has asked the French agency for environment and energy management ADEME to review biofuels technology with a focus on the second generation of biofuels. After establishing aggressive biofuel blend targets—7% by 2010 and 10% by 2015—that outpace the implementation of... Read more →

BMW to Introduce 320d Convertible, 125i Coupé and New EfficientDynamics Concept at Geneva Motorshow

BMW will stage the world debuts of the new 320d Convertible and 125i Coupé along with a new EfficientDynamics concept car at the upcoming Geneva Motorshow, 6-16 March 2008. The 320d Convertible uses the same 1,995 cc engine from other 320d models in the 3 Series range to offer 177... Read more →

Oxford Catalysts Continues Lab Expansion to Accelerate Commercialization

In an addition to the purchase of two Amtec Spider16 high throughput screening gas phase reactor systems (earlier post), startup Oxford Catalysts plans to purchase three additional rigs, including a small scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) rig, a reforming test rig, and a hydrodesulfurization (HDS) test rig, along with associated analytical and... Read more →

Five New Major CALSTART Fuel Cell Bus Projects in California Now Underway

CALSTART, the California operating division of WestStart, a North American advanced transportation technologies consortium, has secured and launched contracts for five major fuel cell bus technology development projects in California with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The projects represent an important component of CALSTART’s overall hydrogen pathways strategy. The newest... Read more →

Daimler AG and Deutsche Post World Net Launch Hybrid Truck Trials in Europe

Deutsche Post World Net has launched a European trial of hybrid trucks from Daimler AG, and is the first logistics company in Europe to test hybrid trucks in its operations. The trial, officially launched with the handover of the first two vehicles—a Mercedes-Benz Atego BlueTec Hybrid and a Mitsubishi Fuso... Read more →

Cellulosic Ethanol from Wood Waste to Premiere at Twelve Hours of Sebring

KL Process Design Group (KL) of Rapid City, SD, will supply the American Le Mans Series with cellulosic E85 racing ethanol for the 2008 season. The fuel, produced from waste wood, will be used for the first time during the season opener— Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March... Read more →

Genetically Engineered E. Coli Shows Increased Hydrogen Production Up to 141 Times Greater Than Wild Type

Schematic of fermentative hydrogen production in E. coli. Hydrogen is produced from formate by the formate hydrogen lyase (FHL) system, which is activated by FhlA and repressed by HycA. Evolved hydrogen is consumed through the hydrogen uptake activity of hydrogenase 1 and hydrogenase 2. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Texas... Read more →

US DOE Selects First Round of Small-Scale Biorefinery Projects for Up to $114M in Federal Funding; Total Project Investment of More Than $331M

Major DOE Biofuels Project Locations. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $114 million, over four years, (Fiscal Years 2007-2010) in four small-scale biorefinery projects to be located in Commerce City, Colorado; St. Joseph, Missouri; Boardman, Oregon; and Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Combined with industry... Read more →

NREL Evaluation of Gen II BAE/Orion Series Hybrid Transit Buses Finds Lower Fuel Economy than Gen I, But Much Lower Total Cost per Mile

Comparison of the cumulative total and propulsion-related maintenance costs per mile for Gen I and Gen II BAE/Orion series hybrid transit buses. Click to enlarge. Second-generation BAE/Orion series hybrid transit buses in service in New York City exhibited 6.8% lower fuel economy than the Gen I hybrids with similar usage... Read more →

Infineon Launches New Automotive Microcontroller Family to Cut Fuel Consumption and Emissions

To meet the performance requirements of next generation emission standards, Infineon Technologies has launched the new AUDO FUTURE family of 32-bit microcontrollers—the industry’s highest performing and most integrated microcontroller family for automotive powertrain and chassis applications, according to the company. Volume production of the chips is planned for mid-2009. The... Read more →

Bergstrom, Firefly Energy to Test, Co-Market NITE Sleeper Cab Cooling System Powered by Oasis Group 31 Battery

Bergstrom Inc., the makers of the NITE no-idle thermal system for truck sleeper cabs, and Firefly Energy Inc. will test and co-market the NITE system alongside Firefly Energy’s Oasis BCI Group 31 truck battery (earlier post). The agreement is designed to give drivers and fleets a cost-effective means to achieve... Read more →

China’s CATARC to Work with Adura Systems on Series Plug-in Hybrid Buses

Adura Systems, Inc., a self-described “stealth-mode” startup, announced that it has signed an agreement with China’s automotive policy advising agency, the Chinese Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC), to partner in developing series plug-in hybrid buses. Adura and the Center will work together to develop and field the prototypes over... Read more →

DOE Issues $6M Solicitation for Vehicular Hydrogen Storage R&D

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a solicitation for new applied research and development projects for viable hydrogen storage technologies for on-board vehicular applications. Projects may support existing DOE Hydrogen Storage Centers of Excellence or may be independent R&D projects. The total funding available for all new awards is... Read more →

US DOE and State of Hawaii Sign Agreement to Increase Renewable Energy Technologies in Hawaii; 72% Reduction in Current Oil Consumption by 2030

The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the State of Hawaii signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a long-term partnership designed to transform Hawaii’s energy system to one that utilizes renewable energy and energy efficient technologies for a significant portion of its energy... Read more →

Scientists Link Methane Formation by Bacteria in Shale Rock to Increases in Atmospheric Methane During Deglaciation; Production of the Gas Was Relatively Rapid

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Amherst College have linked the methane production of a subsurface consortium of fermentative and methanogenic bacteria in shale rock to increases in concentrations of atmospheric methane associated with the retreat of the continental ice sheets. The study also concluded that these bacteria produced... Read more →

Fiat to Develop and Deploy Its First Dual Clutch Transmissions for Small- and Mid-Sized Cars

Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) will produce a new transmission—the C635—for use on small- and mid-sized cars. The new transmission will be offered in three versions: manual, Dual Dry Clutch (DDCT, a robotized transmission with dual dry clutch), and robotized. This will be Fiat’s first dual clutch transmission. The new FPT... Read more →

Volvo’s Nova Bus Secures Order for 141 Hybrid Buses from Vancouver

Nova Bus, a subsidiary of Volvo Bus Corporation, has received an order for 141 hybrid buses from TransLink, the Greater Vancouver (Canada) Area transit authority. The contract includes an option for an additional 110 buses. The Nova LFS HEV features the GM Allison EP40 hybrid drive system coupled with the... Read more →

Enova Delivers Two Retrofitted Hybrid Vehicles to Cox Communications

Enova Systems has designed, integrated and delivered a GM 1500 Silverado Pickup and a Ford E250 Cargo Van retrofitted with Enova’s Post-Transmission Parallel Hybrid Drive System to Cox Communications. In 2007, Enova delivered 13 GMC 2500 Service Vans retrofitted with similar hybrid drive systems to Verizon for testing. (Earlier post.)... Read more →

Florida Tech Receives $415,000 State Grant for Algal Biofuels Research

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has awarded a $415,000 grant to a Florida Tech project for the production of biofuels and animal feed from microalgae. The University is collaborating with Aurora Biofuels Inc. of Alameda, CA., at Florida Tech’s Vero Beach Marine Laboratory. Aurora will also provide... Read more →

Automakers Continue to Lobby Against California Vehicle GHG Emissions Regulationss

Reuters. Concerned that California's initiative to regulate greenhouse gas emissions will prevail in court, even after the EPA denied to grant the state the required waiver (earlier post), automakers and their allies have stepped up their lobbying efforts to try to convince states that actually implementing the standards could further... Read more →

Lifan to Apply First China-made VVT Engine in 620 Sedan

The Lifan 1.8-liter VVT engine. China automaker Lifan will apply its new 1.8L VVT gasoline engine, China’s first domestically produced variable valve technology engine, in the new Lifan 620 sedan. The engine (B4L18), which has been in development for two years with support from Ricardo, delivers maximum power of 100... Read more →

Survey: US New-Car Shoppers Do Not See Diesels as a Likely Mainstream Powertrain

According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study, only six percent of new-car shoppers in the US think that diesel is most likely to succeed in becoming a mainstream vehicle powertrain type, compared to 40% identifying hybrids, 20% selecting hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and 17% citing flexible-fuel systems.... Read more →

Researchers Demonstrate 7 wt% Hydrogen Storage Capacity in Carbon Nanotubes

AFM images of the same tubes before and after hydrogenation. (a) Before hydrogenation, a SWNT with the diameter of ~1.8 nm; (b) diameter of the tube in panel a increased to ~2.1 nm after hydrogenation; (c) before hydrogenation, a SWNT with diameter of ~1.0 nm; (d) the tube in panel... Read more →

Xethanol Receives $500K Grant for Citrus Waste Ethanol Plant

Southeast Biofuels LLC, a subsidiary of Xethanol Corporation, has received a $500,000 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to support its work on converting citrus waste to ethanol. (Earlier post.) Xethanol is negotiating an agreement to locate a demonstration plant for converting citrus peel waste into... Read more →

Volvo Cars Uses Only Hydropower for Manufacturing Facilities in Sweden and Belgium

Volvo Cars now relies solely on hydropower from its electricity suppliers for its manufacturing facilities in Sweden and Belgium. We aim to use renewable energy to the greatest possible extent and hydropower is the best alternative that our suppliers can offer at present. —Magnus Hellsten, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing at... Read more →

Whale-Watching Ship with Hydrogen Fuel Cell APU to Launch in April

As part of its current hydrogen research project SMART-H2 (earlier post), Icelandic New Energy plans to launch a whale-watching ship equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell auxiliary power unit (APU) on 24 April. The ship shuts down its main diesel engines when passengers are watching whales; the APU will provide... Read more →

Mexico’s Cantarell Continues Steep Decline in Oil Production in 2007

Average daily production by year from the combined fields of the Cantarell complex. Click to enlarge. Oil production from Mexico’s giant Cantarell offshore complex continued its steep decline in 2007, dropping to a combined average 1.458 million barrels per day (mbpd) of production from all the fields, down 18% from... Read more →

Rentech’s Integrated Biomass-Coal-to-Liquids Demonstration Unit Tracking to Start Fuels Production in Spring 2008

Rentech’s 10 barrel per day Product Demonstration Unit (PDU) at its Energy Technology Center in Commerce City, Colorado is tracking to begin production of synthetic diesel and aviation fuels from a combined feed of coal and biomass (CBTL, coal-biomass-to-liquids) on a demonstration scale in spring 2008. The PDU is expected... Read more →

Researchers Develop System for Photocatalytic Production of Hydrogen Without Noble Metal Catalyst

The supramolecular system for photocatalytic H2 production uses Ruthenium (left) as the photosensistizer and cobaloxime catalytic centers (right). Click to enlarge. Researchers at the joint Laboratoire de Chimie et Biologie des Métaux (LCBM), CEA-CNRS-Université Joseph Fourier, have developed a new supramolecular system for the photocatalytic production of hydrogen that uses... Read more →

Antonov Joint Venture With Loncin For New 6-Speed AT Proceeding to Plan, Cooperation with Geely Ended

The new AT150 automatic transmission will first be targeted at domestic China manufacturers, but eventually will be exported. Click to enlarge. Transmission developer Antonov plc says that it is making “considerable progress” in China, with its cooperation with Loncin on developing a small six-speed automatic transmission proceeding according to plan... Read more →

Shell to Present New Energy Scenarios to 2050: Scramble and Blueprints

As part of its on-going methodology of scenario-assisted planning, this year Shell will present two new global scenarios looking out to 2050: Scramble and Blueprints. Shell last issued a set of global scenarios in 2005, looking forward to 2025. Shell uses scenarios to help review and assess strategy. The scenarios... Read more →

Senators Introduce Bill to Direct EPA to Grant California Waiver

States that have adopted California Motor Vehicle GHG Standards (as of end of 2007) are in dark green, with the date of the enabling legislation or order. States considering adopting the standards are in light green. Source: EPW Click to enlarge. US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate... Read more →

Peabody Energy Acquires Equity Interest in Substitute Natural Gas Producer GreatPoint Energy

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, is taking a minority position in GreatPoint Energy, Inc., a company that is commercializing a proprietary technology to convert coal, petroleum coke and biomass into pipeline-quality natural gas (substitute natural gas, SNG) while enabling carbon capture and storage. Overview of the bluegas... Read more →

Fiat Adds New 1.6 Multijet 16v Diesel to Bravo Lineup

The Fiat Bravo 1.6 Multijet. Fiat has added a new 1.6 Multijet 16v turbodiesel engine to its Bravo compact model lineup. Introduced last year, the Bravo is performing well, with 90,000 vehicles sold in Europe during 2007. Fiat had targeted sales of 70,000. The new 1.6-liter diesel is available in... Read more →

Freightliner Begins Production of Diesel Hybrid Class 6 Beverage Truck

The M2 106 Hybrid drop-frame beverage truck. Freightliner Trucks has begun production of its Business Class M2 106 Hybrid drop-frame beverage truck. The Class 6 truck features the Eaton medium-duty hybrid electric system (earlier post) and is designed specifically to address the challenges of hauling loads in an urban setting.... Read more →

Alberta to Rely Heavily on Carbon Capture and Storage in Oil Sands for 50% Cut in GHG Emissions by 2050

The Canadian province of Alberta will use carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a major component of a proposed plan to cut projected greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. Alberta’s GHG reduction commitments. Click to enlarge Alberta’s emissions are projected to grow to 400 million tonnes by 2050, largely... Read more →