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Lithium Energy Japan Building Second Li-Ion Plant for Mitsubishi i MiEV

Nikkei. Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture between GS Yuasa Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp. (earlier post), plans to construct a battery factory in response to Mitsubishi Motors’ plans to boost production of its i MiEV electric vehicle. The joint venture will spend ¥2-3 billion (US$21-32 million) to... Read more →


Estimate: Japan FY09 Passenger Car Output To Revert To 1979 Level

The Nikkei estimates that Japan passenger car production in fiscal 2009 will likely decrease to 1979 levels, mostly due to a plunge in exports. The projection, which was compiled based on automakers’ data and interviews with company officials, calls for the eight Japanese passenger car firms to assemble 8.21 million... Read more →


Climate Disclosure Standards Board Proposes New Framework for Data Reporting at World Business Summit

The Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) introduced for public consultation a set of proposals designed to assist directors in the inclusion of climate change-related information in companies’ annual reports. Unveiled at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the proposals take the form of a global framework that... Read more →


Volkswagen and BYD Agree to Explore Partnership for Hybrids and EVs

Chinese carmaker BYD and Volkswagen have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries. Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, and Chairman of the Board of Management of BYD,... Read more →


The 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet. Click to enlarge. Fiat has launched a new 1.8-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine—the 1.8 Di TurboJet—in the Lancia Delta. Produced by Fiat Powertrain Technologies (FPT) and coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, the 1.8 Di delivers maximum power of 200 hp (147 kw)... Read more →


The Bucher CityCat H2 hydrogen street sweeper. Click to enlarge. Basel, Switzerland is testing the world’s first hydrogen fuel-cell street sweeper, developed by a Swiss research consortium led by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) and the Paul Scherrer Institute. EMPA computer simulations showed that the... Read more →


Toyota Begins Production of Highlander SUV in China

GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. (GTMC), a vehicle-production and sales joint venture between Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd., held a line-off ceremony today for the Highlander SUV, produced on GTMC’s new production line at its plant in Nansha District, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. The China-produced Highlander... Read more →


Waggling Air Flow Sideways Over Wings Could Cut Aircraft Fuel Consumption And Emissions by 20%

Aircraft wings which redirect air to waggle sideways over their surfaces could significantly reduce drag and thus cut fuel consumption and emissions by 20%, according to researchers at the University of Warwick (UK). The new approach, which promises to dramatically reduce mid-flight drag, exploits Helmholtz resonance—the same phenomenon that happens... Read more →


With Increasing Car Ownership, China’s Oil Demand to Increase by Up to 33% 2015

Reuters. An executive at Sinopec’s institute for economic and technology research predicted that China’s oil demand will increase by up to one third by 2015 as car ownership grows fast from its current low base. Despite the current economic slowdown and government energy saving efforts, oil demand in the second-biggest... Read more →


IMO Study Concludes Shipping Could Cut GHG Emissions by One-Fifth at Negative Cost to Industry

Shipping—responsible for almost 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions but not so far covered by any emissions reduction agreements—could reduce its climate impact by at least one-fifth at a negative cost to the industry, a new International Maritime Organization (IMO) report has concluded. In March, the second intersessional meeting of... Read more →


Obama to Nominate “Father of Green Chemistry” to head EPA R&D

President Barack Obama announced that he intends to nominate Dr. Paul T. Anastas to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development in the post of Assistant Administrator. Dr. Anastas, considered the ”Father of Green Chemistry“ is the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice... Read more →


Washington Governor Issues Executive Order Directing State Actions to Reduce Greenhouse Gases; Consideration of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Highway Electrification

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire issued an executive order directing a variety of state actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions including continued participation in the Western Climate Initiative to develop a regional greenhouse has emissions reduction program; an increase in transportation and fuel-conservation options including a low-carbon fuel standard; and the... Read more →


Oil sands supply chain. Source: Levi 2009. Click to enlarge. A new report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)—The Canadian Oil Sands: Energy Security vs Climate Change— claims that prudent greenhouse gas regulations can limit emissions from Canadian oil sands while still enabling robust development of the energy resource.... Read more →


Japan Automakers Plan to Step Up Exports of Small-Cars

Nikkei. Japanese automakers plan to increase exports of small cars with engine displacements of 1-1.5 liters by the end of 2010. Foreign demand for small cars has been growing in part because of stimulus measures in some countries to encourage consumers to replace their cars. But automakers expect demand will... Read more →


Schematic of downsized and supercharged four-stroke hybrid pneumatic spark injection engine. Source: ETH Zürich. Click to enlarge. Researchers at ETH Zürich, with partners Robert Bosch GmbH, Wenko Swissauto and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy are developing a downsized and supercharged hybrid pneumatic engine that they say can deliver a... Read more →


Survey: 75% of Americans Say New Energy Sources More Critical Than Fuel Efficient Cars

In a new Rasmussen telephone survey, 75% of Americans say finding new sources of energy will do more to help the environment than requiring automakers to produce more fuel-efficient cars. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 13% hold the opposite view. Younger Americans feel even more... Read more →


DOE Regional Partnership Begins Core Sampling for Large-Volume Carbon Sequestration Test

The Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, one of seven members of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships program, has begun collecting core samples from a new characterization well near Spectra Energy’s Fort Nelson natural gas processing plant in British Columbia, Canada. Core sampling, along with a... Read more →


In addition to increasing the overall budget, DOE is providing more funding to other segments within APEEM in FY2009. (Difference in pie chart size is representational, and not to scale.) Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) increased the budget for Advanced Power Electronics and Electric Machines (APEEM)... Read more →


Desulfurizing Diesel with Ionic Liquids at Room Temperature

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have demonstrated that ionic liquids are effective for the selective removal of aromatic heterocyclic sulfur compounds from diesel at room temperature. A paper describing their work was published in the current issue of the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Combustion of sulfur... Read more →


The Envera VCR mechanism. The rack and pinion can be located vertically (shown) or horizontally. Source: Envera. Click to enlarge. Envera LLC is nearing completion of a project to develop a new hydraulic actuator mechanism for its variable compression ratio (VCR) engine. Charles Mendler, the principal of Envera and the... Read more →


Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. has broken its own record for the world’s highest energy conversion efficiency in practical size (100 cm2 or more) crystalline silicon-type solar cells, achieving a efficiency of 23.0% (until now 22.3%) at a research level for its proprietary HIT ((Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar photovoltaic... Read more →


California-to-Canada Hydrogen Road Rally Starts 26 May

The 2009 Hydrogen Road Tour, an annual road rally to demonstrate the advancements in fuel-cell technology, will begin May 26 in San Diego, California and end June 3 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Organized by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), California Fuel Cell Partnership, National Hydrogen Association and US Fuel... Read more →


Reaction mechanisms for the deNOx reaction on an alumina-supported silver catalyst. Source: Thibault-Starzyk et al. Click to enlarge. Using a new experimental method, researchers in France and the UK have identified the key intermediate step in the reaction between carbon monoxide and nitric oxide on a silver-alumina catalyst for reduction... Read more →


Genome Alberta Announces Funding for Genomics Project to Reduce Environmental Impact of Oil Sands Production

Genome Alberta announced C$25.2 million (US$22.2 million) in public/private funding over four years for two new genomic research projects, one targeted at enhanced recovery of fossil hydrocarbon resources from oil sands and coal beds through biological processes, the other focused on discovering plant genes that can be sequenced and used... Read more →


Toyota Industries will begin selling a diesel-electric hybrid forklift in December in Japan. (Earlier post.) The new hybrid forklift. Click to enlarge. The new Geneo-Hybrid forklift has maximum load capacity of 3,500 kg, and combines a 2.5-liter diesel with a NIMH battery pack and motor. The system operates as a... Read more →


EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has reinstated the role of a key policy document created by agency scientists (the Staff Paper) that contains staff analyses of options for the administrator to consider when setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect human health and the environment. The new NAAQS review... Read more →


Cummins’ Light Duty Efficient Combustion technology is designed to scale down across smaller light-duty engines. Source: Cummins. Click to enlarge. Cummins is progressing in the development of Light Duty Efficient Clean Combustion (LDECC) technology for light-duty diesel engines. The objective of the DOE co-funded R&D program, which began in October... Read more →


Overview of the PEM process. Click to enlarge. Waste Management, Inc. and InEnTec LLC (earlier post) have formed S4 Energy Solutions LLC, a joint venture to develop, operate and market plasma gasification facilities using InEnTec’s Plasma Enhanced Melter (PEM) technology. The joint venture is expected to process waste from the... Read more →


SDK Reducing CO2 Emissions from Graphite Electrode Production

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has completed its shift in fuel from heavy oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its Omachi Plant, enabling the plant to reduce CO2 emissions by 10,000 tons a year. Although the Omachi Plant is mainly producing graphite electrodes for use in electric arc furnaces that... Read more →


Potter Drilling to Test Oxford Catalysts’ Instant Steam Technology in Drilling Geothermal Wells

Oxford Catalysts Group PLC has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Potter Drilling, Inc., a google.org funded company, to explore the incorporation of Oxford Catalysts’ Instant Steam technology (earlier post) into Potter Drilling’s hydrothermal spallation technology for drilling geothermal wells. Geothermal wells can be slow and expensive to... Read more →


Schematic illustration of a generic liquid-fuel energy cycle utilizing a renewable electrical source. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Northwestern University are proposing, and have begun experimental validation of, a renewable liquid-fuel energy storage cycle based on the co-electrolysis of H2O and CO2 using a solid oxide electrolysis cell... Read more →


Survey Finds Americans Believe Hybrid Technology Is Strategically Important for US, Too Expensive to Buy

A new Johnson Controls survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, finds that 88% of US adults believe the United States must become a leader in hybrid vehicles and 84% that the government should support the advancement of battery technology in this country. While the survey found that 90% of US adults... Read more →


Enerkem GreenField Alberta Biofuels Awarded Permit to Build Commercial Municipal Waste-to-Biofuels Facility

Enerkem GreenField Alberta Biofuels (EGAB) has successfully completed the necessary environmental regulatory process and has been granted a permit to commence construction of a commercial facility to produce biofuels and green chemicals from sorted municipal solid waste in Edmonton, Alberta. This will be North America’s first unconditional commercial permit to... Read more →


Energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 2.8% in 2008. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge. US carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels decreased by 2.8% in 2008 to 5,802 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2), down from 5,967 MMTCO2 in 2007, according to preliminary estimates released by the Energy Information Administration... Read more →


The actively coupled ultracapacitor-battery system has four primary components. Source: ANL. Click to enlarge. Work on a research project developing an actively coupled ultracapacitor-battery system targeted at plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) applications is attracting interest from a variety of OEMs both at a component and a system level, according... Read more →


Ceres National Switchgrass Field Trials Show Average 2008 Biomass Yields 50% Higher Than Federal Projected Yields for 2022

Yield results from energy crop company Ceres, Inc.’s nation-wide network of field trials showed that average biomass yields among switchgrass seed varieties tested last season were as much as 50% higher than the government’s projected yields for 2022. Proprietary varieties sold under the company’s Blade Energy Crops brand were consistently... Read more →


New MIT Analysis Finds Global Warming Could Be Double Previous Estimates

A new comprehensive MIT study of the probabilistic projections of climate change in this century found that absent aggressive intervention, warming will likely be about twice as severe as previously estimated by the MIT model six years ago. The new projections, published this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal... Read more →


by Bill Cooke EngineLab GUI. Source: EngineLab. Click to enlarge. EngineLab, a new technology company focused on automotive electronics embedded system design, is planning to revolutionize the engine control business by applying advanced technologies developed for consumer electronics to a vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The company is especially excited... Read more →


Left: The SpeedStart B-ISG. Right: Installation in Volvo demonstrator with INA damper. Source: CPT. Click to enlarge. Controlled Power Technologies has developed the first belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator (B-ISG) to use a conventional 12-volt vehicle electrical system with the high power output necessary to provide excellent stop-start functionality on the... Read more →


Linde to Supply Hydrogen to CITGO’s Illinois Oil Refinery for ULSD Production

Linde has executed a new long term contract with PdV Midwest Refining LLC to supply hydrogen to the company’s CITGO Lemont, Illinois, oil refinery. The hydrogen will be produced by a new plant that Linde is building for CITGO’s production of ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel. The plant, which is... Read more →


Quallion Applies for Recovery Act Funding for $220M Li-ion Plant in California

Quallion LLC, a developer of customized lithium ion batteries for medical, military, aerospace, and vehicle applications, has submitted a proposal to the US Department of Energy (DOE) for a grant under the Recovery Act–Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. The company hopes to build a new $220M lithium... Read more →


Obama Announces New National Fuel Policy; Two Harmonized Standards, with Fleet Average of 35.5 mpg, 250 gCO2/mile by 2016

US President Barack Obama today announced a new harmonized national policy intended to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for all new cars and trucks sold in the US. The resulting new standards will cover model years 2012-2016, and will require an average fuel economy standard of 35.5... Read more →


LS9 and Procter & Gamble Form Sustainable Chemicals Partnership

LS9, Inc., a developer of fermentation-derived hydrocarbon biofuels, has formed a strategic partnership with Procter and Gamble—one of world’s largest consumer products companies. This new partnership supports the joint development and commercialization of LS9 technology to produce key chemicals used within the P&G portfolio of consumer products. The partnership includes... Read more →


Valero Has Become a “Significant” Investor in Cellulosic Ethanol Company Qteros

Qteros, a Massachusetts startup (formerly SunEthanol) commercializing consolidated bio-processing (CBP) technology based on the “Q Microbe” (Clostridium phytofermentans), announced that Valero Energy Corp. has become a significant investor. Valero has established its investment in Qteros through its acquisition of certain assets of Verasun Energy. (Earlier post.) First discovered in Western... Read more →


A123Systems scalable prismatic module is reconfigurable for applications ranging from 1 kWh to more than 100 kWh. Source: A123Systems. Click to enlarge. At the Department of Energy (DOE) Annual Merit Review for the Hydrogen and Vehicle Technologies Programs, A123Systems co-founder Ric Fulop described the progress the company has made with... Read more →


The fourth-generation power cell. Click to enlarge. Hitachi, Ltd. and Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd., which develops and manufactures lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications, have developed a lithium-ion battery having a power density of 4,500 W/kg—1.7 times the output of the company’s current generation of mass-produced, automotive lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


Daimler Takes 10% Stake in Tesla; Strategic Partnership to Collaborate on Future Models

Daimler AG has acquired an equity stake of nearly 10% in Tesla Motors Inc. The two companies have already been working closely to integrate Tesla’s lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics into the first 1,000 units of Daimler’s electric smart car. (Earlier post.) This investment deepens the relationship between the... Read more →