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DOE to Provide Up To $32M to Increase Generation from Existing Hydropower Facilities

The US Department of Energy will award up to $32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernize the existing hydropower infrastructure in the US, increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The funding is designed to support the deployment of turbines and control technologies to increase power generation and environmental stewardship... Read more →

Solix Biofuels Completes $16.8M Series A Funding

Algal fuels company Solix Biofuels, Inc. completed its $16.8 million Series A funding with the addition of the international investment group, Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL). Solix will use the additional funding to complete construction and begin operations at its Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility, which is expected to be in... Read more →

EPA Grants California Vehicle GHG Regulations Waiver

The US Environmental Agency (EPA) has granted California’s waiver request enabling the state to enforce its greenhouse gas emissions standards (Pavley I) for new motor vehicles, beginning with the current model year. According to evidence submitted by California during the waiver process, an EPA official said, automakers are currently already... Read more →

BAF Technologies Begins Converting 600 AT&T Vehicles To CNG in 2009

Dallas-based BAF Technologies has begun converting 600 AT&T Ford E-Series vans to dedicated CNG technology in 2009. This is part of AT&T’s plan to invest up to $565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles over the next 10 years. AT&T expects to spend an estimated $350 million to... Read more →

Rear view of the fuelcell hybrid switch locomotive. The dual Ballard fuel cell stacks are to the left (i.e., rear) of the switcher. Source: Vehicle Projects. Click to enlarge. BNSF Railway and Vehicle Projects Inc. of Denver/Golden, Colo., a developer of large fuelcell vehicles such as mine loaders and mine... Read more →

“Sulfate Lens” Enhances Climate Warming Properties of Atmospheric Soot

Particulate pollution thought to be holding climate change in check by reflecting sunlight instead enhances warming when combined with airborne soot, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. They report on their work in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online... Read more →

China Moving Ahead with Shenhua CTL Project; NuCoal in Canada Focusing on CTL Gasoline Project

Project developers in both China and Canada are moving forward with new coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuel facilities, according to the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition (CTLC). China’s Shenhua Energy Co Ltd recently announced that will begin construction on a CTL plant in October 2010. (Earlier post.) The plant will be jointly developed with South... Read more →

EPA Proposes Stronger Air Quality Standards for Nitrogen Dioxide

EPA has proposed revisions to the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air quality standard, the first adjustment since 1971. The proposed changes reflect the latest science on the health effects of exposure to NO2, which is formed by emissions from cars, trucks, buses, power plants, and industrial facilities and can lead to... Read more →

Toyota and Aston Martin Collaborate on iQ-Based “Cygnet” Luxury Commuter Car

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and Aston Martin are collaborating on the “Cygnet”—a new luxury commuter car based on the iQ platform (earlier post) that will be exclusively built for and sold to Aston Martin owners. The new “Cygnet” would pair Aston Martin’s trademark design flair with the Toyota iQ’s highly... Read more →

Dow Planning to Build and Operate a Pilot-Scale Algae-to-Ethanol Biorefinery with Algenol Biofuels

The Dow Chemical Company plans to work with Algenol Biofuels, Inc. to build and operate a pilot-scale algae-based integrated biorefinery that will produce ethanol, located at Dow’s Freeport, Texas site. Dow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Membrane Technology & Research, Inc. are... Read more →

Analysis of Dynamotive Upgraded BioOil Confirms Gasoline, Jet, Diesel and Vacuum Gasoil Fractions

Independent distillation analysis of upgraded BioOil samples from Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation (earlier post) confirmed gasoline, jet, diesel, and vacuum gasoil fractions, establishing the potential for development of synthetic hydrocarbon mobile fuels, according to the company. The Dynamotive process, developed by Dr. Desmond Radlein and his research team, involves pyrolysis... Read more →

Electric motor and power electronics package for the be bop Z.E. Click to enlarge. Renault will make its Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. prototype electric vehicle (earlier post) available for test drives. The technology seen on this car is very similar to that which will feature on the brand’s upcoming... Read more →

Citroën has released first details of the new C3, a completely redesigned successor to the popular supermini, which has sold more than 2 million units worldwide. The new C3 and Zenith windshield. Click to enlarge. From launch, an HDi 90 powered version will be available emitting 99 g/km CO2—the first... Read more →

High CO2 and Drought Conditions Result in Increase in Toxic Compounds, Decrease in Protein Content and Decreased Yield in Plants

Researchers at Monash University in Victoria, Australia have found an increase in toxic compounds, a decrease in protein content and a decreased yield in plants grown under high CO2 and drought conditions. The research, to be presented by Dr Ros Gleadow on 29 June 2009 at the Society for Experimental... Read more →

The Chinchilla Demonstration Facility combines UCG and GTL technologies Click to enlarge. During the first half of 2009, the Linc Energy Limited Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) to Liquids demonstration plant at Chinchilla (earlier post) ran four major production campaigns each of which has seen further improvements in plant performance, according... Read more →

Sanyo To Hike NiMH Battery Output 3.5x in FY09 Due to Hybrid Car Demand

Nikkei. Sanyo Electric Co. will more than triple its production of NiMH batteries for hybrids, citing growing demand for these vehicles. In fiscal 2008, Sanyo made such batteries for hybrid cars at a rate of 1 million units a month. And when it announced its business results in mid-May, the... Read more →

Tsinghua Researchers Find that Sugarcane Juice is a Good Fermentation Feedstock for Algal Biodiesel

Researchers at Tsinghua University in China have shown that sugarcane juice is a good feedstock for biodiesel production, when used to support the growth of the alga Chlorella protothecoides by heterotrophic fermentation. In fermentation in a 5-liter bioreactor, algae using sugarcane juice hydrolysate (SCH) grew faster than algae using glucose.... Read more →

China Reclassifies New-Energy Vehicles

Caijing.com. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has reclassified “new energy” vehicles into three categories. The three categories include start-up technology, which is still at the research level such as fuel cell vehicles; developing technologies, such as hybrid engines using lithium-ion batteries; and mature technologies which have achieved standardized... Read more →

Researchers Suggest Organic Computing Approach to Traffic Light Control

An organic computing-based approach to traffic light control, might help solve the problem of controlling road traffic in congested areas and avoid traffic jams and gridlock, according to research published this month in the International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems. The organic approach to traffic light control in... Read more →

Scania ethanol buses for SL. Click to enlarge. Scania has sold 85 ethanol-powered articulated buses to Busslink, operator of bus services for Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), the regional public transport company in the Swedish capital. Scania’s ethanol bus features a modified diesel engine running on a mixture of 95% ethanol with... Read more →

Report: Japan to Issue Solicitiation for Development of Microwave-Based Space Solar Power System

The Nikkei reports that the Japanese government will soon issue a public solicitation for firms to participate in a project to develop technologies for a space solar power system that would beam electricity generated by orbital solar panels and converted into microwaves in space down to the earth. The hope... Read more →

DoD Researchers Work to Increase the Production of Higher Chain Hydrocarbons from CO2 Using a Traditional Fischer-Tropsch Catalyst

Researchers at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Center for Applied Energy Research at the University of Kentucky are investigating the hydrogenation of CO2 using a conventional Fischer-Tropsch cobalt catalyst for the production of valuable hydrocarbon materials. Other studies have shown the ability to convert CO2 primarily to... Read more →

Madison Gas and Electric Plans Electric Vehicle Charging Network

As part of several technology demonstration projects under study, Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) has purchased six Coulomb Technologies electric vehicle charging stations from Carbon Day Automotive, Chicago, Ill. Electric cars and trucks charged at the stations will have their emissions offset through renewable energy. The project is the first... Read more →

ASTM Approves First Standard for Traffic Intersection Movement Data

Being able to compile and interpret data on how traffic turns through an intersection could have an impact on future environmental and safety decisions regarding intersection geometry and traffic control. However, until recently no standard has existed to properly obtain and use this data. Now, ASTM International Committee E17 on... Read more →

GM Picks Michigan Plants for Future Small Car

General Motors selected its assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich. and stamping facility in Pontiac, Mich., to build its future small car, which will add to the automaker’s growing portfolio of US-built, fuel-efficient cars, including the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. Today’s announcement will restore approximately 1,400 jobs in total—1,200 at... Read more →

House Passes Waxman-Markey Energy / Cap-and-Trade Bill

The US House of Representatives on Friday narrowly passed H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, sponsored by Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. (Earlier... Read more →

Chinese Researchers Show Enhanced Hydrogen Production from Corn Stover by Anaerobic Fermentation

Researchers at Zhengzhou University, China, have shown the enhanced production of hydrogen from pretreated corn stalk biomass by mixed culture using manure from the lesser panda as the source of the hydrogen-producing bacteria. The study is reported in Issue 54 (8)the Chinese Science Bulletin, a journal co-sponsored by the Chinese... Read more →

Nissan Launches Intelligent Driver Project in UK; First Such Outside of Japan

Nissan has launched the Nissan Intelligent Driver Project (NIDP): an eight-month study of drivers in the United Kingdom (UK) beginning this month that uses satellite navigation systems, mobile phone technology and advanced vehicle telematics to analyse driving habits and suggest ways of improving fuel economy. Reduction in fuel consumption and... Read more →

Global CO2 emissions from fuel use and cement production by region. Source: PBL. Click to enlarge. Very high oil prices up to the summer of 2008, together with a worldwide financial crisis have caused a halving of the annual increase in global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from consumption of... Read more →

AFC and University of Witwatersrand Sign Exclusive Agreement to Commercialize Fischer-Tropsch Fuels and Chemical Feedstocks in the Americas

Alternative Fuels Corporation (AFC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of G4G Resources Ltd. and the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (Wits) signed an exclusive representation agreement to commercialize the Fischer-Tropsch-based fuel and chemical production process developed by the Centre of Materials and Process Synthesis (COMPS) located at The University of Witwatersrand,... Read more →

Chemrec Grant Application for Full-scale Black Liquor to Fuel Plant Passes Hurdle

The Energy R&D Board of the Swedish Energy Agency has selected an investment grant application from Chemrec for further consideration. The SEK 500 million ($64 million, €45 million) grant application is for an industrial scale production plant for renewable automotive fuel from biomass through gasification of black liquor. Planned location... Read more →

ASTM Aviation Fuel Subcommittee Passes Specification Enabling Use of Synthetic Fuel in Aviation

The ASTM International Aviation Fuels Subcommittee having responsibility for jet fuel (D02.J0.01) formally voted upon and passed a new fuel specification, labeled DXXXX until final issuance, that will enable use of synthetic fuels in commercial aviation. The specification describes the fuel properties and criteria necessary to control the manufacture and... Read more →

Verenium and BP Invited to Begin Negotiations for Next Phase of DOE Loan Guarantee Program for Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

Cellulosic ethanol company Verenium Corporation and BP announced that their jointly-owned, commercial cellulosic ethanol project, located in Highlands County, Florida, has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to enter the due diligence phase of its Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Under this program, the DOE may provide... Read more →

California Congressional Delegation Backing Quallion’s Bid for DOE Li-ion Funding

On behalf of the California Congressional Delegation, Representative Brad Sherman has submitted a letter to the US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu supporting Quallion LLC’s application for funding under the Department of Energy’s Electric Drive and Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. (Earlier post.) Quallion, the largest US manufacturer... Read more →

Compromise Amendment to Waxman-Markey Bill Prohibits EPA From Using Indirect Land Use Change Metrics on Biofuels for 5 Years While National Academies Research the Issue

A compromise between House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman on the Waxman-Markey energy and cap-and-trade bill (H.R. 2454) (earlier post) due for a vote in the House this week prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from imposing indirect land use change... Read more →

Infrared reflective glass is the more efficient—and costly—technology for reducing vehicle cabin temperature. Click to enlarge. The California Air Resources Board adopted a regulation that will require new cars sold in California starting in 2012 to have windows that reflect or absorb heat-producing rays from the sun. This will help... Read more →

DOE Announces Availability of $3.9 Billion to Invest in Smart Grid Technologies and Electric Transmission Infrastructure

The Department of Energy is soliciting applications for $3.9 billion in grants to support efforts to modernize the electric grid, allowing for greater integration of renewable energy sources while increasing the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation’s transmission and distribution system, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment... Read more →

Amyris Renewable Products Demonstration Facility. Photo: Business Wire. Click to enlarge. Amyris Brasil Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento, Ltda., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc., opened the Amyris Renewable Products Demonstration Facility in Campinas, Brazil. The facility, located in the midst of the sugarcane processing industry, secures the final development... Read more →

EU and US Transportation Research Coordinating Bodies Call for Closer Collaboration to Drive New Innovations

The European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI) and the US Transportation Research Board (TRB) have assessed how the differences between the research cultures of the EU and the US can be used to drive new innovations in joint research projects. The EU and US transport research coordinating bodies studied... Read more →

GAO Report Concludes Plug-in Vehicles Offer Potential Benefits, but High Costs and Limited Information Could Hinder Integration into the Federal Fleet; Recommended Actions

The US federal government has set a goal—via Executive Order 13423—for federal agencies to use plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) as they become available at a reasonable cost. In response to a request from Representatives Henry Waxman (Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce); Edolphus Towns (Chairman, Committee on Oversight and... Read more →

Renault Enters Two New EV Partnerships with Global Financing and Fleet Management Companies

Renault has entered two new EV partnerships: one with Arval, a BNP Paribas subsidiary; the other with ALD Automotive, a global provider of financing and vehicle fleet management services. Arval is a major player in multi-brand full service leasing and corporate fleet management, with 602,000 vehicles leased and 688,000 vehicles... Read more →

UK SMMT Creates Industry-wide Electric Vehicle Group

The UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has formed a new Electric Vehicle Group comprising volume manufacturers, niche vehicle producers and component suppliers. Seeking to interact with government, stakeholders and industry both in the UK and internationally, the Electric Vehicle Group will promote a collaborative industry-wide approach to... Read more →

Mazda Motor Corporation has begun sales of the freshened Mazda Biante range for the Japanese market. On models equipped with a 2.0L direct-injection engine, the top-selling front-wheel drive (FWD) 20S model grade now offers fuel economy of 13.6 kilometers per liter (7.4 L/100km, 32 mpg US) on the 10-15 cycle,... Read more →

The new 3.0-liter gaosline engine combines turbocharging, direct fuel injection and VALVETRONIC for the first time. Click to enlarge. For its Technology Day 2009 in Germany, BMW focused on describing its work with aerodyanmics, engines and transmissions in the context of its EfficientDyanmics development strategy. The company presented the capabilities... Read more →

2010 BMW 1 Series Offers Two Additional Engine Variants; Brake Energy Regeneration and Start Stop Standard

The MY2010 BMW 1 Series Coupé will offer two additional engine variants, one in the BMW 120i Coupé, the other in the BMW 118d Coupé. The new models will go on sale in September 2009. The new BMW 120i Coupé is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with BMW High Precision... Read more →

Sonic and Shell Canada Jointly Apply For Oil Sands Process Patent

Sonic Technology Solutions Inc. and Shell Canada Energy have jointly filed a patent application for the recovery of bitumen from oil sands. The patent application was filed jointly under a Collaboration Agreement between SonoOil—a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sonic working with Shell to develop oil sand extraction process innovations—and Shell. Sonic... Read more →

Modec Lands £3M Order for 100 Electric Vans from France

Birmingham Post. UK electric van manufacturer Modec has received a £3 million (US$4.9 million) order from a new French distributor, ElecTruckCity, for 100 units. Forty have already been sold. The Coventry pioneer announced the deal after its distinctive urban delivery van—the first of its kind to be designed specifically as... Read more →

Amended Waxman/Markey Energy and Climate Bill Removes GHG Emissions Standards for Aviation

The amended version of the Waxman-Markey energy and cap-and trade bill (H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, earlier post) to be voted on by the House on Friday contains a number of changes to the original. Among these is the removal of provisions for greenhouse... Read more →