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Air Force Begins Testing Synfuel Blend in Fighter Engine

Engineers at the US Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) have begun testing a Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, the power plant for the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, with a blend of alternative synthetic fuel in the J-1 simulated altitude jet engine test cell. Once testing and... Read more →

CleanTech Biofuels and Green Tech America Enter Joint Research Agreement for Waste-to-Ethanol Project

CleanTech Biofuels, Inc. has entered into a Joint Research Agreement with Green Tech America, Inc., a company founded by Dr. Nancy Ho of Purdue University, whereby Green Tech America (GTA) will provide research and testing to CleanTech Biofuels on the fermentation stage of CleanTech’s municipal solid waste (MSW)-to-ethanol project. CleanTech... Read more →

California Gasoline Consumption Declining

California consumed 4.5% less gasoline, including aviation gas, in January 2008 than in January 2007, according to figures released by the State Board of Equalization (BOE). The BOE is able to monitor gallons through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors. California gasoline consumption. Click to enlarge. Total gallons of gasoline... Read more →

TNT Launches Australia’s First Hybrid Truck Fleet

A Hino hybrid truck. TNT Express Australia has put 10 Hino Hybrid trucks into service, becoming the first business in Australia to start operating a fleet of diesel-electric hybrid as replacements for conventionally powered vehicles. Speaking at the official launch of the hybrid truck fleet in Sydney, TNT Express Australia... Read more →

Electric smart Cars to Test Li-Ion Packs Next Year, Perhaps in LA

German magazine auto motor und sport reports that smart will begin testing lithium-ion battery packs in its smart electric vehicle next year. If the outcome is positive, said CEO Anders Jensen, the company may quickly decide on serial production. The smart car, said Jensen, “is predestined for alternative fuels. We... Read more →

Proton Motor To Partner With AVL on Fuel Cell Hybrid Powertrains

Proton Motor, a developer of industrial fuel cells, fuel cell systems and hybrid systems, and AVL List GmbH, an independent developer of powertrains, have signed a framework contract to collaborate on the development of fuel cell hybrid systems for powertrains as well as related measurement and diagnostic technology. AVL will... Read more →

Dyno Testing of Enova Systems Plug-In Hybrid School Bus Shows 70% Improved Fuel Economy and Significantly Reduced Emissions

Recent dynamometer test results show that IC Bus school buses using post-transmission plug-in hybrid drive systems from Enova Systems (earlier post) can improve fuel efficiency by more than 70% compared to standard diesel-powered school buses. The Enova hybrid drive systems installed in the IC Bus school buses also significantly reduce... Read more →

DOT to Provide More Than $153M to Chicago to Reduce Traffic Congestion

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has selected Chicago to receive more than $153 million in federal funding to support the reduction of traffic gridlock through the use of congestion pricing for street parking spaces and the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit system. The federal funds will be used... Read more →

European Biodiesel Board Files Complaint Against US Biodiesel Exports

The European Biodiesel Board (EBB) filed an anticipated joint anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaint with the European Commission against what it characterizes as unfair subsidized biodiesel exports from the United States. In the framework of the US policy adopted in 2004, biodiesel can be subsidized up to $264 per m3 (US$300/tonne,... Read more →

Carbon Pricing Can Cut CO2 Emissions from Power Generation Even Before New Tech Is Deployed

Levying an instantaneous price on carbon dioxide released by electric generators could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sector even before the deployment of lower-carbon generation technology, according to an analysis by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. Their report is scheduled for the 1 May issue of Environmental... Read more →

San Diego Launches CNG Hybrid-Electric Bus

The CNG hybrid bus. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has launched its first commercial bus with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) hybrid-electric drive system (CNG Hybrid Drive System). ISE Corporation (ISE) developed and supplied the system, a variant of its ThunderVolt gasoline hybrid drive, and integrated it into... Read more →

ISE Receives Order for 25 Gasoline Hybrid-Electric Drive Systems for Long Beach Buses

ISE Corporation (ISE) recently received an order from New Flyer of America (New Flyer) for 25 gasoline hybrid-electric drive systems to be applied in 40-foot buses. This new order will increase Long Beach Transit’s fleet of buses powered by ISE hybrid drive systems from 62 hybrid buses to 87 hybrid... Read more →

Advanced Low Temperature Diesel Combustion: Low Emissions and Better Fuel Economy

Researchers at Wayne State University and the US Army’s TARDEC (Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) are proposing a strategy to reduce the penalties in diesel engine performance, fuel consumption and HC and CO emissions associated with a low temperature combustion (LTC) operating regimes. LTC spans a number of approaches... Read more →

18% of Employees Signing up For Commuter Benefits Programs Were Solo Drivers

Although mass transit users are the most likely to participate in a consumer benefits program, 18% of participants in the survey had been solo drivers. Click to enlarge. Eighteen percent of employees signing up for tax-free commuter benefits switches from driving a car to commuting by mass transit to get... Read more →

University Spin-Off to Begin Field Trial of Methanogenic Degradation of Heavy Oil Next Month

Researchers from Canada and the UK expect to begin field trials next month on the ability of anaerobic microbes to process in-situ heavy oil to produce methane—i.e., methanogenic degradation of heavy oil. Scientists at Newcastle University, England, and the University of Calgary, Canada, have set up a company, Profero Energy... Read more →

Sweden Pushing Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Development

Sweden, home to an automotive cluster represented by brands such as SAAB, Scania and Volvo, along with some 1,000 suppliers, is looking to expand its research and development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Delegates from the Swedish automotive industry will be present at the upcoming Advanced Automotive Battery and Ultracapacitor Conference... Read more →

Mazda Wins Award for Diesel Emissions Catalyst Research

Mazda Motor Corporation will receive the “Outstanding Technical Paper Award 2008” at the 58th Annual Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (SAEJ) awards ceremony to be held in May. The company is being recognized for a method for the in-depth analysis of the combustion mechanism of catalysts in diesel particulate... Read more →

SONIC to Acquire Cold Cracking Process for Heavy Oil Upgrading

SONIC Technology Solutions Inc. will acquire Northern Oil Research Technologies Inc. (NORT), an Alberta-based oil process development company that developed and patented a low-pressure and temperature (cold cracking) chemical process for upgrading heavy crude oil (or bitumen) and is developing further processes to maximize the value from asphaltenes. SONIC has... Read more →

Total To Expand Oil Sands Position with Purchase of Synenco

Total agreed to acquire Synenco Energy Inc. for C$9 per share—approximately C$478 million (US$472 million)—a 16% premium over Friday’s closing price. Synenco’s main asset is a 60% stake in the oil sands Northern Lights Project in Alberta, Canada. Total’s oil sands projects. Click to enlarge. Synenco is the operator of... Read more →

New Hydraulic Oil Element in ZF 8-Speed Automatic to Better Support Microhybrid Start-Stop

ZF’s hydraulic impulse oil storage is a spring piston accumulator which directly supplies transmission oil to the shift elements which are essential for startup. Click to enlarge. In a presentation at the Vienna Motor Symposium last week, ZF introduced a new hydraulic impulse oil storage element that can be integrated... Read more →

ZF to Supply Six-Speed Transmission for New Nissan LCV in North America

ZF will provide a six-speed automatic transmission for a new light commercial vehicle (LCV), which will be designed and built specifically for the North American market by Nissan. This will be the first automatic transmission produced by ZF in North America. The transmissions will be produced in Gainesville, Ga., and... Read more →

Study: Steam Hybrids Using Waste Heat Recovery Could Reduce Fuel Consumption Up To 31.7%

Results of the study indicate that a steam hybrid using exhaust waste heat could reduce fuel consumption by up to 31.7%, depending upon drive cycle and vehicle. A study by researchers at Loughborough University and the University of Sussex, both in the UK, has concluded that using waste heat from... Read more →

Monsanto and Mendel BioTechnology to Collaborate on Seeds for Biofuel Crops

Monsanto Company and Mendel Biotechnology, Inc., a functional genomics company, will collaborate to enhance the development of Mendel’s BioEnergy Seeds & Feedstocks business. Mendel and Monsanto have worked together on the development of biotechnology traits in many crops, including corn, soy, cotton and canola. In this new collaboration, the two... Read more →

FedEx Hybrid-Electric Truck Fleet Surpasses Two-Million-Mile Mark

FedEx Corp.’s existing hybrid-electric truck fleet has passed the mark of two million miles of revenue service. FedEx is adding an additional 75 hybrid vehicles into service in the United States and Europe. The hybrid trucks improve fuel economy by 42%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30% and cut... Read more →

Indiana to Build Waste-to-Ethanol Facility Using Gravity Pressure Vessel Process

The GeneSyst process is based on the use of a gravity pressure vessel to convert municipal solid waste to ethanol. Click to enlarge. Indiana Ethanol Power LLC (IEP) has begun contract negotiations with the Lake County Solid Waste Management District (LCSWMD) to build a facility to convert commercial municipal solid... Read more →

Bike Sharing Program Comes to Washington, DC

Clear Channel Outdoor and the Washington DC District Department of Transportation are launching a self-service public bike rental program. The program will initially consist of ten rental locations with 100 bicycles. The bike stations, located at key locations in the central business district, are modular and the bicycles are ergonomic... Read more →

Report: Toshiba Targeting 2010 for Hybrid and EV Versions of SCiB Li-Ion Cells

The Nikkei reports that Toshiba Corp. is targeting a 2010 deadline for developing high-power and high-energy versions of its proprietary fast-charging SCiB Lithium-ion cells (earlier post) for use in hybrid and electric vehicles. The safety characteristics of SCiB allow recharge with a current as large as 50 amperes (A), allowing... Read more →

Report: Suzuki Plans to Launch Full Range Of Cars In India

The Nikkei reports that Suzuki Motor Corp. plans to provide a full lineup of cars in India, with the introduction of two compact models beginning this fall and large global strategic autos with engine displacements of more than 3 liters as early as 2010. Although low-priced small cars account for... Read more →

Airbus Forecasts World Aircraft Fleet to More than Double by 2026; Passenger Traffic to Grow 4.9% Per Year

Airbus forecasts a more than doubling of the world’s passenger aircraft fleet by 2026. Click to enlarge. Airbus’s Global Market Forecast (GMF) for 2007 through 2026 expects world passenger traffic to increase by 4.9% per annum and the number of frequencies offered on passenger routes to more than double. This... Read more →

DOE Initiates New Energy Frontier Research Centers; $100M for Multiple Awards Beginning in 2009

Cover of the 2007 BER report on needs for energy storage—one of 10 in the Basic Research needs series underpinning the EFRC initiative. Click to enlarge. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences is initiating Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) to accelerate the rate... Read more →

Solazyme Algal Biodiesel Demonstrates Superior Cold Weather Properties

A recent test of Solazyme biodiesel, Soladiesel (earlier post), through the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), by request of the US Department of Defense (DoD), demonstrated that Soladiesel has superior cold weather properties to any commercially available biodiesel. This makes it more suitable for cold weather climates where military bases have... Read more →

Texas Governor Requests EPA Cut Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements in Half Due to Grain Costs

An analysis by Texas A&M concluded that a waiver in the RFS would likely have only a small impact on the price of corn. (See below.) Click to enlarge. Texas Governor Rick Perry has requested that the US Environmental Protection Agency grant a national 50% waiver from the federal renewable... Read more →

A123Systems Launches Hymotion PHEV Conversion Module for Prius

EPA Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS) test results for an L5-equipped Prius. The heavy gray lines show when the engine is in operation. Click to enlarge. A123Systems has fully launched the Hymotion L5 plug-in hybrid module designed to convert a Toyota Prius, model years 2004 – 2008, into a plug-in... Read more →

Governors Protest NHTSA CAFE Rules Over GHG, Threaten Lawsuit

The governors of 12 US states have sent a joint letter to President Bush protesting the proposed rulemaking on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, proposed by NHTSA (earlier post), which gives the federal government authority over greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. The governors—of Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey,... Read more →

MIRA Introduces Plug-in Hybrid Retrofit System with Removable Li-ion Pack

The H4V on the test track. MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association), a UK-based automotive design, development and certification consultancy, has unveiled a plug-in hybrid retrofit system with the potential to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions by 39%, and applied it in a demonstrator vehicle. The ‘H4V’ (Hybrid 4 wheel... Read more →

Pavley or Not, California ARB Developing Scoping Plan For Further Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Passenger Vehicles

This chart by Dr. Lee Schipper plots real-world fuel consumption and emissions for national fleets calculated with VMT and fuel consumed. Note that Japan’s plot converges with that of the US before improving again recently. Click to enlarge. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires reduction of... Read more →

Researchers Develop Renewable Organic Electrode Material for Li-Ion Batteries

Simplified cycle life of a sustainable Li-ion battery. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Université de Picardie Jules Verne in France have developed a new renewable organic electrode material—the oxocarbon salt Li2C6O6—for lithium-ion batteries. The material demonstrates high capacity—better than some conventional inorganic electrode materials—and good thermal stability, although a relatively... Read more →

Coskata Chooses Site for Demo Syngas-to-Ethanol Plant

Coskata will use WPC plasma torches for the initial gasification of feedstock. Coskata proprietary microorganisms will ferment the cooled syngas to ethanol. Click to enlarge. Coskata Inc., a developer of syngas-to-ethanol technology, has announced the location of a 40,000 gallon per year cellulosic ethanol pilot plant. The $25 million project... Read more →

Injecting Sulfate Particles into Stratosphere Could Have Drastic Impact on Earth’s Ozone Layer

Earth’s ozone hole, shown in blue, could be exacerbated by some geoengineering efforts to mitigate climate change. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA A much-discussed geoengineering approach to offset global warming by injecting sulfate particles into the stratosphere would have a drastic impact on Earth’s protective ozone layer, according to a... Read more →

Oklahoma To Plant 1,100 Acres of Cellulosic Biofuel Crops

The Oklahoma Bioenergy Center (OBC), a state initiative, has secured land to enable the planting of more than 1,100 acres of production-scale demonstration fields for cellulosic energy crops, such as switchgrass and sorghum. Planting will take place within the next 45 days. The central piece of this effort is 1,000... Read more →

BP To Take 50% Stake in Brazilian Ethanol Company Tropical BioEnergia SA

BP announced today that it intends to take a 50% stake in Tropical BioEnergia SA, a joint venture established by Brazilian companies Santelisa Vale and Maeda Group, which is constructing a 435 million liter (115 million gallons) a year ethanol refinery in Edéia, Goias State, Brazil. The joint venture, in... Read more →