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Report: Toyota’s Operating Loss Will Widen to US$4.5B

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp.’s group operating loss for the year ending March 31 is likely to jump to ¥400 billion (US$4.5B) from the ¥150 billion it projected last month (earlier post). With the global economy quickly weakening, the automaker has been unable to halt the slide in... Read more →

Biosyncrude Gasification Process Could Produce Motor Fuel at Cost of Around $3/gallon

Overview of the Bioliq process. Source: Henrich et al. Click to enlarge. The Bioliq biosyncrude gasification process (earlier post) used in a large plant with a capacity of > 1 Mt/a can produce biosynfuel for about €1.04 per kg or €0.8 per liter (US$3.08/gallon US), according to an analysis by... Read more →

ATCO and Praxair Developing H2 Infrastructure for Oil Sands

ATCO Energy Solutions and Praxair Canada Inc. are pursuing the development of hydrogen storage and pipeline infrastructure in Alberta, focusing on opportunities northeast of Edmonton where the growth in heavy-oil processing in Alberta has created an increased demand for hydrogen. Hydrogen is used to remove sulfur so that the end-product... Read more →

Washington Governor and Legislators Introduce Climate Action Plan; $419M for Transportation Projects

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire and legislative leaders have introduced a Green Jobs and Climate Action legislative package that proposes investments totaling $455 million in the next biennium for energy-reducing transportation projects, energy efficiency projects, green buildings and clean-energy technology. Of the $455 million: $419 million goes to transportation projects and... Read more →

Turbine Truck Engines Enters Strategic Alliance With China Corporation; Two New Engine Designs to Result

Turbine Truck Engines, Inc. (TTE), the developer of the concept Detonation Cycle Gas Turbine (DCGT) for heavy-duty vehicle applications (earlier post), has signed a strategic alliance agreement with China-based Aerospace Machinery & Electric Equipment Company, Ltd. (AMEC). Details of the agreement call for the two companies to collaborate on the... Read more →

Risø DTU Developing Electrochemical Method for Diesel Exhaust Treatment

A sketch of a layered electrochemical filter to be used for removal of soot, hydrocarbons and NOx. The filter converts NO to elemental nitrogen and oxide anions at the electrodes (1). The oxide anions generated, from the reduction of NO, is transported through the electrolyte (2) to the next electrode... Read more →

USDA, DOE to Provide Up To $25M for Biomass Research and Development

The US Departments of Energy (DOE) and Agriculture (USDA) will provide up to $25 million in funding for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value bio-based products, subject to annual appropriations. USDA and DOE are issuing a joint funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for several... Read more →

JAL Conducts Successful Test Flight With Drop-in Biofuel Derived Primarily from Camelina

Japan Airlines (JAL) became the first airline to conduct a demonstration flight using a biofuel primarily refined from the energy crop camelina. (Earlier post.) It was also the first demo flight using a combination of three sustainable biofuel feedstocks—camelina (84%), jatropha (less than 16%), and algae (less than 1%)—as well... Read more →

Azure Dynamics Balance Hybrid Electric Shuttle Bus Completes Altoona Testing

Azure Dynamics’ Balance Hybrid Electric shuttle bus on the Ford E-450 chassis (earlier post) has been certified by Altoona testing, thereby enabling purchasers of these hybrid vehicles to apply for financial assistance from the federal government. Altoona testing subjects vehicle to a lifetime of usage in just a few months... Read more →

Marine Scientists Issue Monaco Declaration Calling for Immediate Action to Reduce Ocean Acidification

Projected spread of acidification of the oceans from 1994 (left) to 2100 (right). Green areas indicate waters supersaturated with aragonite carbonate and favoring shell formation, with darker color indicating more favorable conditions. Red areas are those where waters are under-saturated in aragonite and so hostile to shell formation by marine... Read more →

UK Grounds Maintenance Company Contracts for Four Ford-Smith Electric Vehicles Light Commercial EVs

Poole, UK-based Continental Landscapes has contracted for four battery-electric Ford Transit-based light commercial vehicles from Carillon Fleet Management: two 4.6-tonne Ford Transit beaver tail and two 3.5-tonne tippers. Carillion Fleet Management is one of only a few companies willing to underwrite electric vehicles on behalf of its customers, and has... Read more →

Austro Engine and Diamond Aircraft Receive EASA Type Certification for Turbo Diesel Airplane Engine

Austro Engine and Diamond Aircraft Industries have received EASA Type Certification for the Austro E4 turbo-diesel general aviation engine (the AE 300). The AE 300 is an inline four cylinder, 2.0-liter piston engine which uses Jet A1 or diesel fuel to produce 170 hp (127 kW). The AE 300 diesel.... Read more →

US Air Force Halts Coal-to-Liquids Plant Project

After a thorough review of project requirements and information submitted by a team of functional experts, Air Force officials have determined proposals received for a coal-to-liquid synthetic fuel plant on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., are not viable. The Air Force will no longer pursue possible development of a plant... Read more →

World Economic Forum Report: US$515 Billion Per Year Needed in Green Investments

A report released by the World Economic Forum during its annual meeting in Davos warns that to have a chance of limiting the average increase in global temperatures to 2°C, a level which an increasing number of experts already considers unsafe, at least US$515 billion per year will need to... Read more →

EERC and Tesoro Partner on $1M Project to Produce Refinery-Based Renewable Drop-in Fuels from Crambe and Other Oilseed Crops

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota is collaborating with Tesoro, an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products, on a $1-million project to evaluate renewable oil refining technologies for commercial production of renewable diesel fuel, jet fuel, and naphtha (a light hydrocarbon mixture... Read more →

Glaciers Worldwide Continuing to Melt at High Rates

Glaciers around the globe are continuing to melt at high rates, according to data from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Tentative figures for the year 2007 indicate a further loss of average ice thickness from more than 80 glaciers of roughly 0.67 meter... Read more →

Forecast: Demand for Catalysts in the Refining Industry to Reach $3.7B by 2011

Global demand for catalysts used in the refining industry is set to grow to about $3.7 billion in 2011 and then go on to reach $4.8 billion in 2015, according to a new research report from NanoMarkets. The report, “Opportunities for Catalysts in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries: An Eight-Year... Read more →

US Air Force Purchases F-T Synthetic Jet Fuel from Rentech for Testing

The United States Air Force has purchased Fischer-Tropsch synthetic jet fuel produced by Rentech at its fully-integrated synthetic fuels and chemicals facility in Commerce City, CO. The Air Force will use the purchased RenJet synthetic fuel for performance and emissions testing in a turbine engine. The Air Force is testing... Read more →

Study Concludes US LDV Fleet Needs to Reduce Carbon Emissions Per Mile By Up to 88% by 2050 to Meet 450ppm Stabilization Scenario; No Single Carbon Reduction Strategy Likely to Achieve This

Well-to-wheel carbon emissions limits (g/mi) for LDVs to meet target concentrations given a 2050 convergence date, two different VMT growth scenarios (0% and 1.7% per year), and a baseline LDV emissions share (25.3% of US emissions). Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have calculated... Read more →

Robotic Technology Purchases Beta Biomass Engine System From Cyclone Power Technologies for Use in Series Hybrid Power System

Rendering of EATR. Click to enlarge. Cyclone Power Technologies Inc., the developer of an external combustion engine (earlier post), has received a contract from Robotic Technologies Inc. (RTI), of Potomac, MD, to develop a beta biomass engine system which will be used in a series hybrid subsystem in RTI’s Energetically... Read more →

Scientists Publish Complete Genetic Blueprint of Sorghum

Scientists at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and several partner institutions have published the sequence and analysis of the complete genome of sorghum, a major food and fodder plant with high potential as a bioenergy crop. The genome data will aid scientists in optimizing sorghum... Read more →

Researchers Develop Method for Higher-Rate Solar Photocatalytic Conversion of CO2 and Water Vapor to Hydrocarbon Fuels

Product generation rates from a nitrogen-doped nanotube array film surface-loaded with both Pt and Cu catalysts. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Penn State have developed a method for the more efficient solar conversion of carbon dioxide and water vapor to methane and other hydrocarbons using nitrogen-doped titania nanotube... Read more →

Allison Transmission Breaks Ground on New Plant in India

Allison Transmission, Inc., a leading global supplier of commercial-duty fully automatic transmissions and hybrid propulsion systems, broke ground on a new India facility in Chennai. Once construction of the more than 203,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is completed, which is expected to occur in early 2010, it will also serve as the... Read more →

Komatsu to Begin Sales of Thermoelectric Generation Modules

Komatsu thermoelectric generation module. Click to enlarge. Construction-equipment manufacturer Komatsu Ltd. will launch the commercial production and sales of thermoelectric generation (TEG) modules beginning in May. Komatsu’s TEG modules, which are based on a bismuth (Bi) and tellurium (Te) material, have a conversion efficiency of 7.2% under a temperature differential... Read more →

UK To Provide £2.3B Support Package for Auto Industry; Focus on Low-Carbon Initiatives

The UK government introduced a £2.3 billion (US$3.3 billion) package of measures to support its domestic auto industry, including guarantees to unlock loans of up to £1.3 billion European Investment Bank (EIB) guarantees for investment in lower carbon initiatives; and loans or loan guarantees to support of up to £1... Read more →

EPRI and 5 Utilities to Study Adding Carbon Capture to Existing Coal Power Plants

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and five electric utilities in the United States and Canada will study the impacts of retrofitting advanced amine-based post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology to existing coal-fired power plants. In addition to the five host site companies, 15 other companies and organizations, including six... Read more →

UK Launches £27M Bioenergy Research Center

The Gribble, a marine wood borer with efficient gut enzymes for breaking down woody material, is the focus of one of the research hubs in the new Bioenergy Center. Source: BBSRC. Click to enlarge. The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has launched the £27-million (US$38.5 million) BBSRC... Read more →

Volvo Uses “Sunshine Simulation” to Test for Low Interior Emissions in Cars

There are no societal standards for in-car air, so Volvo Cars has created its own in-car air quality requirements that are used when developing new Volvo models. The Volvo standard has a low limit for TVOCs (Total Volatile Organic Compounds), as high levels in interior air would result in smell... Read more →

Senate Finance Committee Markup Proposes Doubling PHEVs Eligible for Tax Credits to 500,000 Units

A proposal in the stimulus package markup emerging from the US Senate Finance Committee modifies the plug-in electric drive motor vehicle credit by increasing the original 250,000 vehicle limitation to 500,000 four-wheeled units. It also modifies the definition of qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle to exclude low-speed vehicles. The... Read more →

NEC to Make Battery Partner NEC Tokin a Full Subsidiary; to Focus on Automotive Batteries

Nikkei. NEC is taking in NEC Tokin Corp., its partner in the automotive lithium-ion battery joint venture Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC) (earlier post), as a wholly-owned subsidiary. Tokin will undergo a full restructuring, closing three of its seven domestic plants and halving its workforce to 9,500. The entity will... Read more →

Brembo, Marelli and Pirelli Launch Tire and Wheel Collaboration

Brembo, Magneti Marelli and Pirelli are collaborating on wheel and tire technology. The “Cyber Tyre” an intelligent tire developed by Pirelli, will be integrated with Magneti Marelli electronic control systems and with Brembo’s evolved braking systems in order to realize ad hoc technology solutions, at the service of performance and... Read more →

Obama Memos on California Waiver and CAFE Create Opportunity for Harmonization of Federal and State Fuel Economy/GHG Standards in US

Outcomes for average fuel economy in MY 2015 under different rules and scenarios, including the original proposed CAFE from NHTSA, the California Pavley rules applied to the national fleet, and alternative scenarios from the NHTSA FEIS. Click to enlarge. On Monday, US President Barack Obama issued two memoranda, one, to... Read more →

Researchers Evaluate Climate Cooling Potential of Different Geoengineering Schemes

Schematic overview of the climate geoengineering proposals considered. From Vaughan and Lenton (2009). Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have carried out the first comprehensive assessment of the relative merits of different geoengineering schemes in terms of the climate cooling potential. Their paper appears in... Read more →

Ricardo Launches Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Battery System Development Facility in Detroit

Ricardo Inc. has launched a new Battery Systems Development Center at the Ricardo Detroit Technology Campus to provide complete vehicle systems integration for turnkey development and application of complete high-voltage battery-pack systems for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. Prototype battery pack systems will undergo development in specially-built development chambers... Read more →

Better Place, DONG Energy Close €103M Investment for Denmark Electric Car Network

Better Place, in conjunction with DONG Energy, has closed approximately €103 million (US$135 million) in equity and convertible debt for the initial deployment of their electric car charging network in Denmark. (Earlier post.) Under the terms of the agreement, DONG Energy will assist in the Better Place Denmark network rollout... Read more →

Fraunhofer Developing Hybrid Foams for Lightweight Automotive and Aerospace Construction

A research group comprising the Fraunhofer Institutes for Chemical Technology ICT, Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM, Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Silicate Research ISC and Mechanics of Materials IWM is developing multifunctional hybrid foams with improved mechanical, thermal and acoustic properties. Plastic foams are light and flexible but... Read more →

University of Nevada, Reno Researchers Harvest Their First Outdoor Cold-Weather Algae Crop

Researchers at the University of NEvada, Reno, have harvested their first outdoor cold-weather crop of algae as part of their collaborative algae-to-biofuels project with their industry partners Enegis, LLC and Bebout and Associates. The goal of the project is to develop a hardy variety of salt-loving algae as alternative biofuel... Read more →

University of Leeds and Zhejiang University to Collaborate on Energy Issues

The University of Leeds has formed a strategic research alliance with China’s Zhejiang University to focus on key energy challenges. The alliance will operate under the name UoL-ZJU International Centre for Sustainable Energy Sciences and Technologies, addressing issues such as cleaner coal utilization, pollution control, carbon capture and sequestration, alternative... Read more →

New Study Concludes Climate Changes Largely Irreversible for More Than 1,000 Years After CO2 Emissions Completely Stopped

A new study led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) senior scientist Susan Solomon shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped. A paper on the findings appears during the week of... Read more →

Opel To Introduce Ampera Extended Range Electric Vehicle At Geneva Motor Show

GM’s Opel will introduce its application of the Voltec extended range electric vehicle architecture in the form of the new Ampera. The five-door, four-seat Opel Ampera will be revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. For short trips up to 60 km (37 miles), the Ampera will run only on... Read more →

SAE Offering Tuition-Free Educational Training For Displaced Auto Professionals

SAE International is offering any unemployed automotive professional tuition-free educational classes at SAE Automotive Headquarters in Troy, Mich., during the months of February and March. Although tuition is free, there will be a $50-per-day materials fee for non-SAE members. SAE members’ fee is reduced to $25. Individuals who attend courses... Read more →

Researchers Identify Endophytic Bacteria That Increase Poplar Tree Growth; Implications for Increasing Biomass for the Production of Biofuel

Sample effects of two different endophytes (Enterobacter sp. 638, left; P. putida W619, right) on the rooting and shoot formation of poplar DN-34 after 10 weeks. Taghavi et al. (2009) supplemental material. Click to enlarge. Through work originally designed to remove contaminants from soil, scientists at the US Department of... Read more →

USDA to Advance Development of Advanced Biofuels and Other Renewables; Provide Support for Struggling Corn-Ethanol Industry

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will advance R&D and pursue opportunities to support the development of advanced biofuels, wind power, and other renewable energy sources, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack was discussing his priorities as Secretary of Agriculture during a teleconference call with the media. Vilsack said that... Read more →

DARPA Awards SAIC $25M Prime Contract to Develop Algae-Derived JP-8 Fuel

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) a prime contract to help develop an affordable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel (JP-8) from agricultural and aquacultural feedstock materials. Under this contract, SAIC will lead a team of industrial and academic organizations to develop an... Read more →

New Catalyst Can Efficiently Oxidize Ethanol to CO2 at Room Temperature; Boost for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells

Model of the electrocatalyst for ethanol oxidation consisting of platinum-rhodium clusters on a surface of tin dioxide. Click to enlarge. A team of scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Delaware and Yeshiva University, has developed a new... Read more →

Coulomb Technologies Lands $3.75M Series A Funding

Coulomb Technologies has secured US$3.75 million in Series A funding led by Estag Capital AG (Berlin, Germany). Coulomb has developed the ChargePoint Network, a networked vehicle charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles. (Earlier post.) The funding will enable Coulomb to continue the rollout of smart networked charging stations as a part... Read more →