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New Glasses for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell and Electrolyzer Cell Seals

Virginia Tech professor of materials science and engineering Peizhen (Kathy) Lu has developed new barium oxide-, calcium oxide-, magnesia-, and alkali oxide-free glasses that can be used as sealants in both solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOFC/SOEC). SOFCs operate by separating oxygen ions from air, which... Read more →

Mitsui Chemicals Begins Operations of Pilot Plant for Methanol Synthesis from CO2

Mitsui Chemicals (MCI) has begun operating its pilot plant for synthesizing methanol from CO2. (Earlier post.) The pilot plant will produce approximately 100 tonnes of methanol per year as a base material for plastics from the CO2 released during ethylene production at the Osaka Works petrochemical complex. In MCI’s CSR... Read more →

Possible Feedback Mechanism Between Tropical Cyclones and Global Warming

Tropical cyclones could be a significant source of the deep convection that carries moist air upward to the stratosphere, where it can influence climate, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard, published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters. Using 23 years of infrared satellite imagery, global tropical... Read more →

DOE Issues RFI for Fuel Cells For Combined Heating and Power and APU Applications; Reflective of New Direction for Hydrogen Program

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000111) seeking input from stakeholders and the research community on proposed technical and cost targets for fuel cells designed for residential combined heating and power (CHP) and auxiliary power unit (APU) applications. This is a Request for... Read more →

Vehicle Electrification a Key Strategic Initiative for Magna; Steady Increases in Capabilities and Technology Portfolio Over Past Few Years

Canada-based international auto supplier and contract assembler Magna International, now with a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of Opel from General Motors (earlier post), sees vehicle electrification as one of its key strategic initiatives. Accordingly, it has been steadily increasing its capabilities with hybrid and electric vehicle technologies over... Read more →

Japan Auto Production Falls 47.1% in April, Exports Drop 64.7%

Production of light-duty vehicles, trucks and buses in Japan fell 47.1% year-on-year in April, marking the seventh consecutive month of declines, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA). Japan’s exports of cars, trucks and buses fell 64.7% in April from the year-earlier month, also falling for the seventh straight... Read more →

Fuji Heavy To Start Selling Diesels In Japan In 2011

Nikkei. Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subarus, is planning to introduce diesel light-duty vehicles in the Japan market as early as 2011. The automaker will introduce passenger cars powered by a diesel version of its unique boxer engine, aiming to develop diesel models of its existing car lines.... Read more →

Application of PTWA Coating to Ford ZETEC 1.4 Liter VCT Engine. Click to enlarge. The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation is awarding the inventors of the Ford-patented Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) technology used to apply coatings on engine cylinder bores the 2009 National Inventor of the Year Award. Ford... Read more →

Map of the assessment units (AUs) of the CARA is color-coded for mean estimated undiscovered oil. Only areas north of the Arctic Circle are included in the estimates. Black lines indicate AU boundaries. Source: USGS CARA. Click to enlarge. The US Geological Survey (USGS) has completed a geologically-based assessment of... Read more →

New York City Department of Sanitation Testing Four Different Hybrid Trucks

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will be testing in daily operation three different types of hybrid refuse collection trucks and a hybrid rack truck. The trucks were unveiled at the Parks & Recreation Department’s 21st Annual Vehicle & Equipment Show in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. The... Read more →

Renault and Nissan to Accelerate Cooperation, Seeking €1.5 billion in Free Cash Flow in 2009 from Synergies

Ten years into their Alliance, Renault and Nissan are taking the cooperation to a higher level. In 2009, identified synergies are to contribute €1.5 billion (US$2.1 billion) in free cash flow divided evenly to the Alliance partners. A small, dedicated team has been set up to foster deeper, broader cooperation... Read more →

Report Finds Rate of Growth of Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Sharply Increased Between 2000 and 2005

Anthropogenic global greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15% between 2000 and 2005, a sharp increase in the expected rate of growth, according to a new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). It also showed that global annual emissions of greenhouse gases increased from 24 billion tonnes of... Read more →

Lexus HS 250h Extends Electrification of Drivetrain to Transmission Fluid Pump

The hybrid transaxle in the upcoming Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedan (earlier post) will use an electric transmission oil pump in place of a mechanical pump, further shifting ancillary loads from mechanical to electrical propulsion, according to Toyota. Toyota and Lexus hybrid transaxles have up to now used low-pressure mechanical... Read more →

The hydraulic hybrid refuse truck. Click to enlarge. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has launched field tests of Bosch Rexroth’s Hydrostatic Regenerative Braking (HRB) parallel hydraulic hybrid system to assess HRB’s viability for use as an alternative drive system for the department’s refuse trucks. Bosch Rexroth says... Read more →

Office of Naval Research Awards Altair Nanotechnologies $3.8M Contract for Second Phase of Shipboard UPS System

Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. was awarded a $3.8 million contract award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). This award is for the continued research and design of Altairnano’s large-scale nano lithium titanate energy-storage systems for possible use as a 500 kW uninterruptible power supply (UPS) on Navy ships. On Navy... Read more →

Quallion Seeking $9M from California Energy Commission in Cost Sharing for Li-Ion Battery Manufacturing Facility

Quallion LLC has submitted a final proposal to the California Energy Commission for cost sharing on the expansion of the company’s California lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. If granted, the Energy Commission will provide up to $9 million in cost sharing for Quallion’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility if the company receives... Read more →

Tesla Launches Safety Recall Covering All 345 Roadsters Manufactured Before 22 April

Tesla Motors has launched a safety recall covering all 345 Tesla Roadsters manufactured before 22 April 2009. Tesla decided to inspect the rear, inner hub flange bolts on several Roadsters after one owner reported uncharacteristic handling. After a root-cause analysis, Tesla determined that the rear, inner hub flange bolts on... Read more →

Britain’s first full scale rail crash test in more than 20 years drew stakeholders from across the rail industry to the Motorail Logistics site at Long Marston, where vehicle engineering specialist MIRA performed a live impact demonstration on 14 May. The event showcased technology transfer opportunities between road and rail... Read more →

New Albemarle Catalyst Boosts Refinery Gasoline Yields

Albemarle Corporation has introduced a new catalyst specifically designed for application to gas oil feeds to increase naphtha yields by as much as 3% while significantly reducing coke, a critical advantage for refiners. The new “GO-ULTRA” products can deliver these results while also providing a marked improvement in bottoms cracking... Read more →

Velocys Awarded Commercialization Grant for Microchannel Reactor Technology for Hydroprocessing to Upgrade Fischer-Tropsch Fuels and Heavy Petroleum Feedstock

A collaboration led by Velocys, Inc., the US subsidiary of UK-based Oxford Catalysts Group PLC, has been awarded a $5-million, 2.5-year commercialization grant to apply Velocys’ microchannel reactor technology to hydroprocessing for transportation fuels. (Earlier post.) The project focuses on hydrocracking to upgrade Fischer-Tropsch fuels and heavy petroleum feedstock for... Read more →

Visteon Files for Chapter 11 Reorganization in United States

Global automotive supplier Visteon Corporation and certain of its US subsidiaries voluntarily filed petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. The petitions were filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. No Visteon subsidiaries or joint ventures outside the US are part of... Read more →

GM approaches to extending the operating range of classic HCCI. Adapted from Yun et al. (SAE 2009-01-0499) Click to enlarge. General Motors last week again highlighted the progress it is making with advanced HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) gasoline engines by showcasing a demonstrator unit. GM has also begun to... Read more →

California ARB Fines BP $1M for Fuel Infractions, Mostly for Clerical Errors

The California Air Resources Board has fined BP West Coast Products more than $1 million for 17 violations of California’s clean air regulations relating to fuels. Most of the violations were clerical errors that led to inaccurate reporting to enforcement officials. While the mistakes did not lead to increased emissions,... Read more →

US Energy Secretary Calls Tax Hike on Gasoline “Not Politically Feasible”

In an interview with the Financial Times, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that raising US gasoline prices to levels comparable to Europe’s through taxes or regulation is not politically feasible. In the past Mr Chu, a Nobel laureate, has argued that if the US wanted to reduce its carbon... Read more →

As areas with permafrost thaw and more old carbon is released, the carbon balance changes. Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation. Click to enlarge. Permafrost thaw will make potentially significant contributions to atmospheric concentrations of carbon more rapidly that previously thought, according to a new study published in the 28... Read more →

Valence Applies for $225M in DOE Funds for Advanced Battery Production Facility

Valence Technology, Inc. submitted a grant application requesting $225 million to the US Department of Energy under the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. This initiative supports the construction of facilities to manufacture advanced battery technology components for electric vehicles. The company’s proposed facility in Leander, Texas would... Read more →

The California Air Resources Board to Hold ZEV Symposium in September

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Symposium beginning at 1:00 pm PST on 21 September, and running throughout the day on 22 September. Topics for this day and a half Symposium will include current status on fuel cell technology, fuel cell vehicles, battery... Read more →

The measurement method is based on the differences in color of electrode material after intercalation of different amounts of lithium. Shown is an example of graphite from Maire (2008). Click to enlarge. Researchers from General Motors R&D Center and the University of Michigan are developing a method for the direct... Read more →

Spirit Avert AG is seeking to raise CHF166 million (US$152 million) in financing to serve as the capital for mindset AG and its planned production of the E-Motion extended range electric vehicle for the European market. The initial production target is 10,000 units per year. The Mindset E-Motion. Click to... Read more →

Nissan and Europcar Form EV Partnership

Nissan and Europcar—the European leader in passenger car and light utility vehicle rentals—are forming a partnership to market electric vehicles by 2010 and advance zero-emission mobility on a global scale. This partnership between Europcar Groupe and Nissan is unique in the vehicle rental market. Electric vehicles will be rolled out... Read more →

More Than $467M in Recovery Act Funding for Geothermal and Solar Energy Projects

President Obama announced more than $467 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act will go to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of geothermal and solar energy throughout the United States. Geothermal Energy. Harnessing heat from the Earth for heating applications and electricity generation, geothermal plants can... Read more →

Projected growth in world carbon dioxide emissions. Source: IEO2009. Click to enlarge. World marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 44% between 2006 and 2030, driven by strong long-term economic growth in the developing nations of the world, according to the reference case projection from the International Energy Outlook... Read more →

Sveaskog, a publicly owned Swedish forest company, has started using the first example of the El-forest F14 forestry machine, the world’s first forwarder to utilize electric-hybrid technology. The series hybrid F14. Click to enlarge. The El-forest F14 is a series hybrid involving a smaller diesel engine that drives a generator... Read more →

by Bill Cooke Farmers’ Ethanol biorefinery process. Click to enlarge. Wendel Dreve and Marion Gilliland have dedicated the past five years to pursing their dream of transforming the corn ethanol industry. Their company, Farmers’ Ethanol, plans to combine energy and food production within the same facility and by doing so... Read more →

New Tool to Assist in Deciding Whether to Use Managed Relocation of Species in Adaptation to Climate Change

A new tool to help decision-makers determine if, when and how to use managed relocation of species to help them adapt to rapid climate change and other threats is described in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by a multi-disciplinary working group. Partially... Read more →

A prototype electric minivan for the USPS. Click to enlarge. Chrysler LLC has submitted three proposals representing a request for $224 million in funding to two US Department of Energy (DOE) initiatives: the Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative and the Transportation Electrification Initiative. With a 50/50 cost... Read more →

A cutaway model of the future B-Class F-CELL. Click to enlarge. Daimler’s A-Class F-CELL hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will cap five years of road trials in the US with its participation in the California to Canada Hydrogen Road Tour 09 (earlier post). The recently converted A-Class F-CELL “plus” with 700 bar... Read more →

Neste Oil Begins Construction of Rotterdam NExBTL Plant

Neste Oil laid the foundation stone for its NExBTL renewable diesel plant in the Port of Rotterdam. Upon completion, the plant will be the largest renewable diesel plant in Europe with an annual production capacity of 800,000 metric tonnes (about 245 million gallons, or 5.8 million barrels). The investment cost... Read more →

Celgard Seeks DOE Grant for Expansion of Electric Drive Vehicle Battery Separator Capacity

Celgard, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Polypore International, Inc. and a leading global supplier of microporous separators used in primary and secondary (rechargeable) lithium-ion batteries, recently submitted an application for grant funding under the US Department of Energy (DOE) Electric Drive Vehicle (EDV) Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative (DE-FOA-0000026). Celgard... Read more →

Solazyme Testing BlueFire Ethanol Cellulosic Sugars in Its Microalgae Renewable Oil Production Process

Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil production company and leading algal synthetic biology company, is testing sugars, produced through BlueFire Ethanol Fuel’s patented process, for compatibility with its renewable oil process to produce the oil cost effectively and at scale. Our technologies are a great fit for each other. Our patented... Read more →

Belfer Center Brief Urges Higher, Stable Energy Prices to Achieve Long-Term Energy Policy Objectives

Higher and stable energy prices would help achieve all US energy policy objectives in the longer term—improved oil security, lower greenhouse-gas emissions, more efficient operation of the electricity system, more incentives for private-sector innovation in energy technologies, and more incentives for consumers to purchase cleaner and more energy-efficient products—according to... Read more →

Mazda Motor Corporation delivered the first Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid to Iwatani Corporation, an energy development company based in Japan. The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is Mazda’s latest hydrogen rotary engine (RE) vehicle which uses hydrogen as a fuel and features a unique hybrid system. (Earlier post.) Mazda Premacy... Read more →

Imperial Oil To Move Ahead With Kearl Oil Sands Project

Imperial Oil Limited’s board of directors approved the first phase of the Kearl oil sands project, a surface mining operation northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Imperial is an affiliate of Exxon Mobil Corporation, which owns 69.6% of the outstanding shares. The Kearl project is envisioned to be developed in three... Read more →

Broad-Based Challenges in Battery Implementation

In an invited paper presented at the 215th biannual meeting of the Electrochemical Society (ECS 215) being held in San Francisco this week, Professor Esther Takeuchi of the University of Buffalo provided a broad overview of the challenges “in implementing the science we develop” in commercially viable battery solutions, using... Read more →