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ASTM Approves New Biodiesel Blend Specifications, Including B20

The new B6-B20 biodiesel (fatty acid methyl ester) blends will have a blue label at the pump to distinguish the fuel from others. B100 will have its own blue label. Click to enlarge. The ASTM International D02 Main Committee approved a trio of ASTM specifications for biodiesel blends after more... Read more →

Azure Dynamics Signs First Dealer for E450 Hybrid

The hybrid E450 Cutaway and Strip Chassis drive system. Click to enlarge. Azure Dynamics Corporation has signed up its first dealer, Palmetto Truck Center, for the Balance Hybrid Electric E450 commercial vehicle. Azure Dynamics entered an agreement with Ford Motor Company in 2006 enabling Azure to develop a hybrid electric... Read more →

Chrysler Reduces Production Due to Dropping Minivan and Truck Sales

In response to larger economic conditions and dropping sales, Chrysler LLC announced that it will indefinitely idle the St. Louis South Assembly Plant effective 31 October 2008 due to volume declines in the total minivan vehicle segment. The South Assembly Plant produces the Dodge Grand Caravan and Dodge Cargo Van... Read more →

Tesla to Build Electric Sedan in California; State Introduces New Incentive for ZEV Manufacturers

Enticed partly by a new package of incentives, Tesla Motors has decided to build the assembly plant for its upcoming electric sedan in California at a still-to-be-determined site in the San Francisco Bay Area rather than in New Mexico as it had earlier announced. (Earlier post.) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger,... Read more →

Sweden and US Expand Cooperation with Volvo on Alt Fuel and Hybrid R&D

The governments of Sweden and the US are extending their cooperation with the Volvo Group on R&D on alternative fuels and hybrid solutions with a combined US$18 million grant from the US Department of Energy and the Swedish Energy Agency. Volvo will provide a matching $18 million, for a combined... Read more →

ASTM Beginning Work on New Specification for Synthetic Jet Fuel

The standards organization ASTM is beginning work on developing a specification for producing jet fuel with hydrocarbon components from non-conventional sources—i.e., synthetic. The title and scope of the specification are under development with a new ASTM subcommittee, D02.JO.06, and will be initially characterized as work item WK20470. In the ASTM... Read more →

Survey: 94% of US Consumers Have Made Lifestyle Changes Due to Gasoline Prices

High gas prices have caused 94% of consumers to make lifestyle changes to keep costs down, according to a survey conducted by DMS Research and sponsored by MapQuest. Among the changes are more careful route planning (57%), walking or biking more (24%), partially filling gas tanks (31%), and making a... Read more →

Study: Growing Bioenergy Crops on Abandoned Farmland Could Meet 8% of World’s Current Energy Need

Growing biofuel crops on the 385-472 million hectares of once-productive abandoned agricultural land globally could meet up to 8% of the world’s current energy demand, according to a recent report from researchers at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Their work was published online 25 June in the... Read more →

Thai Oil Delays Cassava Ethanol Project

Bangkok Post. Thai Oil Plc, Thailand’s largest oil-refining company, plans to delay its cassava-based ethanol investment plan because of rising cassava prices. The company had planned to invest 5.1 billion baht (US$152 million) in an ethanol plant with production capacity of 500,000 liters (132 thousand gallons US) per day, with... Read more →

Swiss and Chinese Researchers Hit New Efficiency Benchmark for Solvent-Free Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) professor Michael Grätzel, Shaik Zakeeruddin and colleagues from the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have achieved a record light conversion efficiency of 8.2% in solvent-free dye-sensitized solar cells. A report on their work was published online 29... Read more →

Maruti Suzuki Launches Dual-Fuel Maruti 800

Maruti Suzuki India recently introduced the Maruti 800 Duo, a new variant of its low-cost, entry-level car that runs on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and gasoline. Maruti Suzuki introduced factory-fitted alternative fuel models beginning in 2001. Coinciding with the launch of the Maruti Duo, the company announced that it has... Read more →

China Unveils New Turboprop Regional Aircraft

Xinhua. China Aviation Industry Group Corporation, newly formed by the combination of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II), introduced the first China-made turboprop regional aircraft, the MA600. The 60-seat MA600 is 300 kilograms lighter than the older MA60. The turboprop is... Read more →

Public-Private Partnerships Advance Mascoma Cellulosic Ethanol Plant in Michigan

Mascoma Corporation has entered into a series of strategic relationships to further its efforts to build its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant based on its consolidated bioprocessing methodology in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Earlier post.) Agreements with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), JM Longyear, and alliances formed with Michigan State... Read more →

GreenField Ethanol and Enerkem Partner on Commercial MSW-to-Ethanol Facility in Alberta

Enerkem’s four-step process uses gasification and catalytic synthesis to convert waste to liquid fuels. Click to enlarge. The city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has signed a 25-year agreement with GreenField Ethanol, Canada’s largest ethanol producer and Enerkem, the developer of a thermochemical (gasification and catalytic synthesis) process to produce synthetic... Read more →

Survey: Price of Fuel, Not Environment, Now Tops Canadians’ Concerns

Globe and Mail. A survey conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV found that concerns about the environment—last year’s top issue in a similar survey—have been pushed to number 3 by anger at soaring gasoline prices. The survey, one of a regular series conducted by... Read more →

Cornell Researchers Develop New Method for Self-Assembly of Metals Into Ordered, Porous Structures; Potential Benefit for Fuel Cells and Catalysts

Ligand-coated platinum nanoparticles (blue and gray balls) nestled amongst the block co-polymers (blue and green strands). The self-assembly of platinum nanoparticles through the use of ligands and polymers is the key first step to a new method for structuring metals developed by Cornell Researchers. Click to enlarge. Image courtesy of... Read more →

Ford Gives 2009 Escape and Mariner Hybrids a Mid-Term Boost; Electric Drive Now Up to 40 mph

The 2009 Escape Hybrid. Ford has given its 2009 Escape and Mariner models a new engine—a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with intake variable cam timing (i-VCT) for enhanced fuel economy and performance. (Earlier post.) This basic engine platform carries over to the hybrid models of the Escape and Mariner, with... Read more →

Russia’s Gazprom Proposes Network of CNG Filling Stations in Europe

RIA Novosti. Russia’s Gazprom is proposing opening a chain of natural gas vehicle filling stations across Europe. “We propose drawing up a joint project to establish a chain of natural gas filling stations to our European partners,” Alexei Miller [chairman of Gazprom’s Management Committee] told an annual shareholder meeting. “There... Read more →

Audi A4 2.0 TDI Efficiency Marathon Shows Fuel Consumption of 3.44-3.65 L/100 km (64-68 mpg US)

Twenty randomly selected readers of a motoring magazine and a team of two from Audi tested the efficiency potential of eleven new Audi A4 2.0 TDIs (88 kW /120 hp), driving from Basel to Vienna and back (1,650 km / 1,025 miles) on a single tank of fuel. All eleven... Read more →

International Study Shows Global Gains in Consideration of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

1st International Continental Hybrid Survey: Consumer acceptance of Electric Cars. Click to enlarge. Electric cars and vehicles with hybrid drive are generating strong interest among motorists worldwide, according to a survey commissioned by international automotive supplier Continental. A total of 36.0% of those surveyed were willing to buy a car... Read more →

Audi Introduces New 3.0 TFSI Direct Injection Supercharged Engine

Audi has introduced a new top end to its V6 engine range: the 213 kW (290 hp) 3.0 TFSI with gasoline direct injection and compressor supercharging. The “T” in the Audi engine designation no longer exclusively denotes turbo versions. The new V6 will go into production later this year. Audi,... Read more →

European Biodiesel Production Growth Slows to 16.8%

Statistics from the European Biodiesel Board (EBB) show a much lower rate of production growth in the year 2007 compared to previous years, which the EBB attributes to market conditions and competition from US B99 imports (earlier post). Production increased 16.8% in 2007 to 5.7 million tonnes, from 4.9 million... Read more →

New Molecular Markers Up Soybean Productivity

DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has identified and incorporated new proprietary molecular markers into its soybean research program. The new markers significantly enhance the company’s ability to bring to market soybeans resistant to three common destructive soybean pests—Asian Soybean Rust, soybean aphids and frogeye leaf spot. These molecular markers will help... Read more →

Report Projects 4% Shrinkage of US Vehicle Fleet in Face of $7/Gallon Gas by 2012

CIBC’s Rubin projects a decrease in the US vehicle fleet of 10 million by 2012 as scrappage overtakes new sales. Click to enlarge. CIBC World Markets Managing Director/Chief Economist and Chief Strategist Jeff Rubin is projecting a shrinkage in the US vehicle fleet of 10 million vehicles in light of... Read more →

Report: China To Offer Tax Break For Buyers Of Hybrids and Diesels

The Nikkei reports that China will waive its 10% vehicle purchase tax on hybrids and diesel-engine vehicles. Currently, when buying an automobile or motorcycle in China, the buyer must pay for the price of the vehicle, which includes a consumption tax of 17%, plus a purchase tax of 10% on... Read more →

California Air Resources Board Releases GHG Emissions Reduction Plan

GHG reductions from the transportation sector account for the largest sectoral reduction in the ARB Scoping Plan. Click to enlarge. The California Air Resources Board released its Climate Change Draft Scoping Plan that outlines a course to reduce California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% over the next 12 years.... Read more →

Volkswagen Unveils PHEV Prototype at Launch of German Government PHEV Fleet Project

The Golf TwinDrive PHEV. Volkswagen chairman and CEO Prof. Martin Winterkorn and German Federal Environment Minister (Bundesumweltminister) Sigmar Gabriel introduced a prototype VW plug-in hybrid electric vehicle—the Golf TwinDrive—at the launch of a four-year PHEV fleet and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project supported by the German Federal Government. Eight German alliance... Read more →

ITS to Showcase Heavy-Duty Plug-in Hybrid Retrofit at Sydney Truck Show

The Argosy Hybrid. Click to enlarge. Innovative Transport Solutions Pty. Ltd., an Australian startup that developed a retrofit plug-in hybrid electric conversion system for heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post), has entered into an alliance with Australia’s Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry (CRC for Forestry) and TimberCorp to produce a purpose-built 6x6... Read more →

Energtek and DML PTE Form $25M JV to Market ANG Technology in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore

Energtek Inc., developer of adsorbed natural gas (ANG) supply systems (earlier post) and DML PTE Ltd. have formed a $25M joint venture—Energtek Far East PTE—to commercialize ANG Technology in Southeast Asia. ANG storage material. Click to enlarge. Source: Energtek. ANG technology allows storing natural gas under lower pressures than compressed... Read more →

Hitachi Metals Develops Neodymium Magnet Material Resistant to Higher Temperatures

Nikkei. Hitachi Metals Ltd. has developed a neodymium magnet that can withstand temperatures more than 20% higher than normal without sacrificing magnetic strength. The new magnet is well suited for high-performance traction motors in hybrid cars, delivering enough magnetic force at high temperatures to design the magnet 20% lighter and... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors and Harbin China Powertrain JV Sign AT Licensing Agreement

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (MMC) signed a technology licensing agreement with its powertrain joint venture enterprise in China—Harbin Dongan Automotive Engine Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (DAE)—covering production of 4- and 5-speed automatic transmissions. MMC made a 15.3% equity investment in DAE on its establishment in 1998 and has to date provided engineering... Read more →

EIA Projects World Energy Use to Grow 50% Between 2005 and 2030; Transportation Accounts for 74% of Increase in Use of Liquids

The IEO2008 projects an increase in liquids consumption even in a high-price scenario. The high-price case sees a decline in conventional liquids production compared to today and a stronger increase in unconventionals. Click to enlarge. Data: IEO2008 World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 50% between 2005 and... Read more →

Federal Court Rules That Automakers To Get No Extra Time if California CO2 Regulations Implemented

The US District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled that automakers should not be given extra time to comply with a California law regulating greenhouse gas emissions should the US EPA grant the state the required waiver. The ruling is the latest in a series of legal setbacks... Read more →

Air Liquide Adding Major New H2 Production Unit for Neste NExBTL Plant in Rotterdam

In Rotterdam, Air Liquide has won a long-term contract to supply hydrogen to Neste Oil’s NExBTL Renewable Diesel plant. (Earlier post.) To meet Neste’s requirements, Air Liquide is investing in a new world-scale hydrogen production unit (Steam Methane Reformer, SMR) with a production capacity of 130,000 m3/hour. This represents an... Read more →

Euro Parliament Committee Backs “Green Award” Purchasing Criteria for Public Vehicles

A European Commission proposal to promote clean and energy-efficient road transport by requiring public authorities to consider not only the cost, but the environmental impact, of the vehicles that they plan to purchase was backed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The total annual... Read more →

Ghosn: Nissan Can Lead in Mass-Marketing EVs

Nissan will focus on battery electric vehicles (EVs) as a core product and will offer a range of high-quality products that are reliable, well-engineered, attractive and fun to drive, said Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in a speech at the company’s annual general shareholders meeting in Japan. Ghosn said that zero-emissions... Read more →

DOE to Invest Approximately $1.3B to Commercialize CCS Technology in Revamped FutureGen Program

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to invest in multiple commercial-scale Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) or other advanced coal power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology under the Department’s restructured FutureGen program. (Earlier post.) The solicitation is seeking multiple cost-shared... Read more →

smart fortwo Sales in US hit 10,000 in Less Than Six Months

smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., delivered the 10,000th smart fortwo at smart center Bloomington, in Bloomington, Minnesota. This sales milestone was accomplished in less than six months from the initial sales launch of the vehicle in the United States. The smart fortwo went on... Read more →

US Conference of Mayors Calls for Fuel Life-Cycle Analyses; Halt to Purchasing of Oil Sands-Derived Fuels

At its 76th Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida (20-24 June), the US Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution encouraging the use of life cycle analyses that evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions from the production—including extraction, refining, and transportation—of fuels, including unconventional and synthetic fuels. The resolution further encouraged mayors to... Read more →

RAND Study Concludes Major Progress in Technology Needed for 25% Renewable Energy Use to Be Affordable

Sample incremental cost of renewables substitution curve under one set of assumptions. Click to enlarge. Major progress in renewable energy technology is needed if the United States desires to produce 25% of its electricity and motor vehicle fuel from renewable sources by 2025 without significantly increasing consumer costs, according to... Read more →

CAS Researchers Encapsulate Tin Nanoparticles in Nanospheres for Li-ion Anode Materials

The structure and the lithiation process of the tin nanoparticles encapsulated with elastic hollow carbon spheres. Click to enlarge. Image: Prof. Li-Jun Wan Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Key Laboratory of Molecular Nanostructure and Nanotechnology have successfully designed and synthesized tin-based nanostructured anode materials for high-performance lithium-ion... Read more →