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BNSF Completes Third Rail Line through Cajon Pass

BNSF Railway recently completed construction of a third main rail line through Cajon Pass in Southern California that will increase capacity on BNSF’s Chicago to Los Angeles Transcontinental (Transcon) route from 100 to 150 trains a day. The $90 million project adds almost 16 miles of third main track to... Read more →

Suzuki Launches New Minivehicle in Japan; To Use CVTs Across Minivehicle Lineup

Suzuki Motor Corporation introduced the new Alto Lapin minivehicle for the Japan domestic market. The redesigned vehicle with 2WD and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offers 24.5 km/L fuel economy (57.6 mpg US, 4.1 L/100km) on the 10-15 cycle. Additionally, the company plans to apply CVTs throughout its minivehicle lineup,... Read more →

New Global Survey Finds Consumers Want Government Action on Climate Change; Decreasing Willingness to Take Personal Action

Percentage of respondents ranking climate change higher than global economy. Click to enlarge. The results of a new global survey released by the HSBC Climate Partnership show that consumers want governments to stop haggling on carbon concessions and act. The Climate Confidence Monitor 2008 surveyed 12,000 people across 12 markets... Read more →

Mitsubishi Chemical Group To Boost Li-ion Anode Material Output Capacity 70%, Enter Separators Market

Nikkei. Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. will spend ¥ 1 billion (US$10.5 million) to raise production capacity of lithium-ion anode materials by roughly 70% by next fall. Although battery sales are struggling amid the slumping cellular phone market, the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp. unit expects demand to recover in 2010 or later.... Read more →

Europe Closing in on 6% Lower Carbon Road Fuel Standard by 2020

Europe is moving closer to finalizing a new fuel quality law which will require fuel suppliers to cut full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from road fuels by 6% between 2010 and 2020. ENDS (Environmental Data Services) reports that the cuts are expected to come from production efficiency improvements and a... Read more →

T3 Motion Contracts for 4,000 Low Speed EVs from Korea for Sale to US Law Enforcement

T3 Motion, the provider of a three-wheel electric vehicle to the public safety and private security markets, has contracted for 4,000 e-ZONE low-speed electric vehicles from Korea-based CT&T for sale to police departments in the US for use in applications such as parking enforcement. The contract is worth around US$50... Read more →

Evaluation of Shared Low-Speed Link to Public Transit Finds Demand Higher Among Day Users Than Commuters

Researchers from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis have published an evaluation of the results of the 16-month EasyConnect field test in the San Francisco Bay area. EasyConnect was launched in August 2005 to test and evaluate the potential for a shared-use low-speed mode vehicle service at bridging... Read more →

Report: Climate Change Puts Forests and People At Risk; Adaptation Required to Avert Crisis

Examples of measures for forest adaptation. Click to enlarge. Unless immediate action is taken, climate change could have a devastating effect on the world’s forests and the nearly 1 billion people who depend on them for their livelihoods, according to a team of scientists from the Center for International Forestry... Read more →

Beijing Won’t Restrict Private Car Purchases to Ease Traffic, Pollution

Beijing will not restrict the purchase of private cars as proposed by some residents to help ease traffic jams and stem pollution, according to Wang Haiping, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. He said it would be an irresponsible move while China is trying to... Read more →

Suzuki to Lease MIO Methanol Fuel-Cell Mobility Scooter to Shizuoka Prefecture

Suzuki Motor Corporation will lease its MIO fuel-cell mobility scooter to the Shizuoka prefectural government for a collaborative trial from 28 November. Suzuki showed the MIO as a reference exhibit at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 and at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in 2006 and 2007.... Read more →

Ineos Cuts European Biodiesel Plant Plans

FT. Ineos has cancelled plans to build four biodiesel plants in Europe. In a statement, the company said that it remained committed to biofuels but was cutting back on “all non-essential growth capital expenditure” in the face of the “continued and prolonged global economic downturn”. Ineos Enterprises, a leading global... Read more →

Hy9 to Provide Membrane Technology to ExxonMobil for On-Board Reformer Project

MHT. Hy9 Corp., a producer of membrane and fuel processing systems, will provide membrane technology for ExxonMobil’s on-board fuel cell reformer project. (Earlier post.) Exxon Mobil Corporation is partnering with QuestAir Technologies, Plug Power Inc. and Ben Gurion University on plans to commercialize an on-vehicle hydrogen production system for use... Read more →

Opel Flextreme EREV Wins red dot design award

GM’s Opel Flextreme extended range electric vehicle concept car (earlier post) has received the prestigious red dot award in a ceremony in Singapore. The Opel Flextreme was conceived at General Motors’ European Design Center and premiered in 2007 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. The Opel Flextreme is... Read more →

Germany Aiming for 1M EVs and PHEVs by 2020

Battery costs are the largest hurdle for a successful market for electric vehicles, according to a VW presentation at the conference. Click to enlarge. The German federal government wants to take strong measures towards electric and hybrid vehicles in the next ten years, with the goal of putting one million... Read more →

Volvo Launches Two E85 Models in Thailand

Volvo Car Thailand introduced the Volvo C30 1.8F (Flexifuel, E85) and Thailand’s first and only locally produced Flexifuel car, the Volvo S80 2.5FT. The announcement came in parallel with the efforts of Ministry of Energy, PTT Plc and Bangchak Petroleum to sell E85 fuel commercially. To produce E85-compatible cars and... Read more →

Smith Electric Vehicles Shortlisted for UK £50M Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Program

Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) is one of a small group of van manufacturers to reach the second stage of the UK’s £50 million (US$76.5 million) Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Program (LCVPP). The scheme, funded by the Department for Transport and operated by Cenex (Centre of Excellence for low carbon and... Read more →

Report: China to Put 60,000 New Energy Vehicles Into Trials in 11 Cities

Gasgoo. China will put 60,000 new-energy vehicles—including fuel-cell vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and battery-electric vehicles—into trials in 11 cities over the next few years to support the development of a fuel-efficient, alternative-energy auto industry, according to a report in sina.com. Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang said earlier this week that... Read more →

Global Recycling Company Recupyl Obtains €14.5M Investment

Overview of Recupyl’s process for recycling Li-ion batteries. Click to enlarge. France-based Recupyl SAS, a global recycling company, has received a commitment for a €14.5-million (US$18.7 million) capital injection from investors including its original backer Aloe Private Equity, as well as new investors, led by AGF Private Equity, to fund... Read more →

Total Lithium-Ion Battery Sales Forecast To Double By 2012 to US$13.1B

Nikkei. Market researcher Fuji-Keizai Co. forecasts that global sales of rechargeable batteries for all applications will surge 43% from 2007 to ¥3.61 trillion (US$37.9 billion) in 2012, led by a doubling of lithium-ion battery sales. Sales of lithium ion batteries are seen growing to ¥1.25 trillion [US$13.1 billion] in 2012,... Read more →

British Columbia Joins California Challenge of Denial of Automotive GHG Waiver; Province Converting 34 Vehicles to Plug-in Electrics

The Province of British Columbia, Canada (BC) has filed a legal brief with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in support of California’s legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which denied a waiver to implement the AB 1493 (Pavley) greenhouse gas emissions standard... Read more →

Report: Economic Slowdown Also Slowing More Ambitious GHG Reduction Plans

Reuters reports that in the face of the global economic crisis, many industrialized nations are shelving ambitions for the deepest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. About 190 countries meet for UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, next week with scant mention of a deal in Vienna last year... Read more →

USDA Seeks Public Comment on Deregulating Corn Genetically Modified to Facilitate Ethanol Production

The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking public comment on a petition submitted by Syngenta Seeds, Inc. to deregulate corn genetically engineered (GE) to express high levels of a novel alpha-amylase enzyme—a thermal-tolerant digestive enzyme that turns the corn’s starch into sugar for... Read more →

2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season One of the Most Active in 64 Years

The 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially comes to a close on Sunday, marking the end of a season that produced a record number of consecutive storms to strike the United States and ranks as one of the more active seasons in the 64 years since comprehensive records began, according to... Read more →

Study Finds Rate of Ocean Acidification Faster than Expected

University of Chicago scientists have found that the ocean is growing more acidic faster than previously thought. In addition, they have found that the increasing acidity correlates with increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a paper published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on... Read more →

American Honda Introduces New Micro CHP Deluxe System; More Electric Power

American Honda Motor Company, Inc. introduced its all-new Micro-sized Combined Heat and Power (MCHP) Deluxe cogeneration unit last week at the US Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Honda MCHP, introduced in Japan in 2003 and in the US in 2007, is a... Read more →

IndyCar Series Partners with APEX-Brasil as Official Ethanol Supplier

The IndyCar Series—which has been using ethanol since 2006—has made APEX-Brasil the official ethanol supplier to the IndyCar Series beginning with the 2009 season. The multi-year deal names APEX-Brasil an official partner of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500, which includes cooperation from UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry... Read more →

New 1,000km Rail Line for Coal Transport from Inner Mongolia

China Daily. Next year, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region will start the construction of a 1,000-km (621-mile) rail line to transport coal to ease the country’s coal transportation bottlenecks. The new line is expected to transport 200 million tons of coal annually; the project is in line with the government’s... Read more →

Asahi Kasei, Mitsubishi Plastics Each Bolster Li-Ion Battery Separator Operations

Nikkei. Asahi Kasei Corp. and Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. said separately that they will strengthen their operations for lithium-ion battery separators. Asahi Kasei will invest 9 billion yen [US$94.2 million] to double production capacity by spring 2010 at two domestic sites—an existing plant in Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, and a facility under... Read more →

European Commission Proposes €200B Economic Recovery Plan; €5B Green Cars Initiative

The European Commission presented a €200 billion (US$257 billion) Recovery Plan—equivalent to 1.5% of European GDP—to pull Europe’s economy out of its current crisis. One of the elements of the plan is a €5 billion (US$6.4 billion) “European green cars initiative”. The plan will use a wide range of policies... Read more →

Opel Presents Fuel Cell Vehicle Test Fleet with Nine Business Partners in Berlin

Opel has launched the European component of GM’s biggest-ever test program for fuel cell vehicles. Nine companies will be the first to operate the GM/Opel HydroGen4 zero emission vehicles in the Berlin area: ADAC, Allianz, Coca-Cola, Hilton, Linde, Schindler, Axel Springer, Total and Veolia. Members of the HydroGen4 fleet in... Read more →

VERBIO Grain Ethanol Can Emit Up to 80% Less CO2 on Lifecycle Basis Than Gasoline

Greenhouse gas emissions of the individual ethanol production process steps. Red line is the German BioNachV basic value. Click to enlarge. Bioethanol produced from grain (rye or wheat) by German biofuels producer VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG can emit up to 80% less CO2 than gasoline on a lifecycle basis, depending... Read more →

Neste Oil to Introduce NExBTL Heating Oil in January

Starting in January 2009, Neste Oil will introduce heating oil containing 2% NExBTL fuel. Neste will gradually increase the blend component to 10% by 2016. NExBTL is a process for the production of renewable synthetic diesel via the high-pressure hydrogenation of fatty acids. (Earlier post.) The blended heating oil is... Read more →

Texas Governor Strongly Urges US EPA Against Regulating GHGs

Texas Governor Rick Perry strongly urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against passing a proposed framework for regulating greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) due to what he called its devastating implications for Texas’ economy and energy industry. Implementing such regulations would cripple the Texas’ energy sector, Perry said. Rather than adopting... Read more →

CAC Files Brief In Support of California’s Efforts to Enforce GHG Standards for LDVs

The Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on behalf of a coalition of State and local government organizations to support California’s efforts to enforce its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas emissions standards for light duty vehicles (LDVs). The case in... Read more →

SAIC Motor to Invest US$293M in Hybrid and Electric Drive Vehicles

Reuters. SAIC Motor Corp, China’s biggest automaker, plans to set up a venture with its state-owned parent that will invest 2 billion yuan ($293 million) to develop clean-energy cars. The SAIC group will hold a 90 percent stake in the venture, which will focus on the development of hybrid and... Read more →

Mazda Introducing Mazda3 with Low Precious Metal Three-Way Catalyst

Mazda’s new catalyst structure. Click to enlarge. Mazda Motor Corporation will introduce the new Mazda3 (known as Mazda Axela in Japan) 5-door hatchback at the Bologna Motor Show on 3 December. The introduction of the second generation Mazda3 5-door hatchback follows on the unveiling of the 4-door sedan version last... Read more →

VTT Launches ENERFISH Project for Biodiesel from Fish Waste

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and its partners have launched ENERFISH, a three-year project concerned with producing biodiesel from the waste generated at a fish processing plant. To ensure the viability and rapid commercialization of the technology, the partners are constructing a biodiesel production plant next to the Vietnamese... Read more →

Toyota To Cut Output 20% At French Plant From January

Nikkei. Toyota Motor Corp. will cut production at its French factory by 20% from January through March, following similar moves in the US, Britain and Turkey. The facility, which assembles the Yaris subcompact and currently produces 65,000 vehicles a month, will reduce output to about 50,000 units per month. Toyota’s... Read more →

Saft and ABB Develop New High Voltage Li-ion Battery System for Grid Stabilization

Saft and ABB have developed a new high voltage Li-ion battery system designed to improve the stability of power distribution grids. The new system combines dynamic energy storage provided by Saft’s 5.2 kV battery, which will help respond to disruptions in the grid, with ABB’s SVC (Static Var Compensation) Light... Read more →

WMO: Atmospheric Concentration of Greenhouse Gases Continues to Increase

Changes in atmospheric radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases and the 2007 update of the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI). 1990 is the reference year. Click to enlarge. Levels of climate-warming greenhouse gases continue to increase in the atmosphere, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2007 Greenhouse Gas... Read more →

U-M Researchers Developing Interactive Tool to Assess Viability of Transportation GHG Reduction Technologies and Policies; PHEVs as Test Case

Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) are launching a project to develop a Web-based, interactive modeling tool that can be used to analyze the likely impact and potential viability of proposed technologies and policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the light-duty vehicle sector. As a test case for... Read more →

NaturalDrive CNG Retrofit for 2008 Chevrolet Impala Receives EPA Certification

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certified NaturalDrive Partners, LLC’s dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) retrofit of 2008 Chevrolet Impala sedans powered by 3.5-liter and 3.9-liter V6 engines in models LS, LT, LTZ, as well as law enforcement packages 9C1 and 9C3. The retrofitted CNG Impala reduces NOx and... Read more →

VeraSun Receives Non-Binding Indication of Interest For Purchase of Substantially All of Its Assets

VeraSun Energy Corporation, one of the US’ largest ethanol producers, recently received a non-binding unsolicited indication of interest with respect to the purchase of substantially all of its assets. The company intends to pursue this indication of interest to its conclusion and evaluate other proposals it may receive in accordance... Read more →

Portugal and Renault-Nissan Alliance Implement EV Agreement for 2010

The Government of Portugal and the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced a comprehensive partnership to deliver zero emission mobility to Portugal from 2010. The plan will utilize electric vehicles supplied by the Alliance, and will leverage an extensive charging network that will be built across Portugal over the next three years. In... Read more →

Report Outlines Transport Policies for Cutting GHG Emissions from UK Transport by 26% by 2020

A new research report recommends a comprehensive package of transport policies that could reduce UK transport sector greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020 from 2006 levels. The research comes as the Climate Change Bill passes into law and the Committee on Climate Change prepares to release its first proposal... Read more →