« June 2009 | Main | August 2009 »

NASA and CAFE Foundation Announce $1.5M Green Aircraft Challenge

The NASA Innovative Partnerships Program and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation today announced the Green Flight Challenge. The contest is a flight efficiency competition for aircraft that can average at least 100 mph on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles per gallon. The prize... Read more →

Basic OIGI system for CNG or LNG. Click to enlarge. US-based BAF Technologies, a provider of natural gas conversions for select light- and medium-duty vehicles, has entered into an exclusive distributorship agreement with UK-based T. Baden Hardstaff to retrofit existing heavy-duty on-road vehicles to dual-fuel operation. The agreement will provide... Read more →

Estimates of potential for gasoline consumption reduction in the US light duty fleet in 2020 and 2035 relative to 2007. Projected consumption assumes efficiency improvements in powertrain and vehicle are offset by increases in performance, size and weight. Improvements result from an optimistic scenario achieving doubling of new vehicle fuel... Read more →

Hybrid DLC-Battery Energy Storage System for Streetcars

Siemens earlier this year launched a new hybrid energy storage system for streetcars that combines a double-layer capacitor (DLC) and NiMH battery pack. Streetcars equipped with the Sitras HES hybrid energy storage system can be driven up to 2,500 meters (1.6 miles) without an overheadcontactt line (OCL). Vehicles equipped with... Read more →

Zero Motorcycles launched the Zero DS, a fully electric dual sport motorcycle for on and off-road riding. Zero has equipped its latest model with aggressive suspension, rugged wheels and dual sport tires. The DS is powered by Zero Motorcycles’s Z-Force electric drivetrain. The Zero DS. Click to enlarge. With a... Read more →

New Flyer Defers Indefinitely Production of 140 Diesel-Electric Hybrid Buses Due to Delays in Customer Receiving State Funding

New Flyer Industries Inc. will defer indefinitely the production of 140 diesel-electric hybrid articulated buses (representing 280 equivalent units or EUs) under a major US customer order that was planned to commence this week as a result of delays in the customer receiving state funding. All of these 140 buses... Read more →

Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets. Bottom: lateral and edge views. Source: MSU, XG Sciences. Click to enlarge. A Michigan State University (MSU) researcher and his students have developed a nanomaterial—xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets—that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more... Read more →

(Top) a conventionally calcined zeolite membrane and (bottom) an identically oriented membrane that has undergone rapid thermal processing (RTP). Red and green regions in the 3D schematics are indicative of zeolite crystal grains and defects/grain boundaries, respectively. Credit: Jungkyu Choi, University of California, Berkeley; Mark A. Snyder, Lehigh University; and... Read more →

Ford Investigating Mouldable Wood-Plastic Compound for Greater Recyclability and Lower CO2 Balance

Ford researchers at Ford’s European Research Centre in Aachen, Germany are investigating an innovative, new wood-plastic compound (WPC—also known as liquid wood. The new liquid wood material is derived from a rubber compounding process. The new material is being assessed in a three-year project which started in May 2009. Until... Read more →

DOE To Provide Up to $30B in Loan Guarantees for Renewable Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $30 billion in loan guarantees, depending on the applications and market conditions, for renewable energy projects. Another $750 million will support several billion dollars more in loan guarantees for projects that increase the reliability, efficiency and security of the nation’s... Read more →

Occidental Petroleum Announces Significant California Oil and Gas Discovery

Occidental Petroleum Corporation recently announced a significant discovery of oil and gas reserves in Kern County, California. Occidental believes there are between 150 million and 250 million gross barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) reserves within the outlined area where Oxy has drilled six wells to date to delineate the discovery.... Read more →

EnerDel Teams With Nissan on Electrolyte Research at Argonne Lab

Lithium-ion automotive battery producer EnerDel and Nissan Motor Co. are teaming up to co-fund research at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) on a new electrolyte for lithium-ion batteries. EnerDel, Nissan and ANL are not disclosing a great deal of information about the R&D project at this point. Dr. Khalil Amine of... Read more →

South Korea’s POSCO and SK Energy to Develop Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas

South Korea-based POSCO, a global steel producer, and SK Energy Co., Ltd., an energy and petrochemical producer, have signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean government to develop coal conversion technologies, including synthetic natural gas (SNG) produced through a coal-to-gas conversion process utilizing low-quality coal. Domestic production of... Read more →

Former Chevron CTO Joins LiveFuels Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Don Paul, who retired from Chevron as vice president and chief technology officer and currently directs the Energy Institute at the University of Southern California (USC), has joined algae biofuels company LiveFuels, Inc.’ scientific advisory board. We know today that biofuel technology can create renewable materials which integrate into... Read more →

Researchers at the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have discovered an innovative way to use bees, pollen, and helium-filled balloons to verify that no carbon dioxide leaks from carbon sequestration sites. The new methods can determine environmental impact without disrupting habitats surrounding sequestration sites. The carousel,... Read more →

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Signs Cooperative Agreement with Algal Oil Producer SunEco Energy

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America, and algal oil producer SunEco Energy signed a cooperative agreement, which could lead to J.B. Hunt becoming a significant purchaser of biodiesel made from natural algae oil using SunEco Energy’s proprietary technology. J.B. Hunt runs... Read more →

BP & Verenium Cellulosic Ethanol JV to Operate as Vercipia Biofuels

The BP and Verenium Corporation 50-50 cellulosic ethanol joint venture announced earlier this year (earlier post) will operate under the name Vercipia Biofuels, and plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Florida. Vercipia continues to focus on the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility located in Highlands County, Florida.... Read more →

Ricardo Launches Consortium to Evaluate Lubricant Challenges of Future Low Carbon Engine Technologies

Ricardo has launched a new consortium to evaluate the lubricant innovations required to enable implementation of many very promising low-friction and high-efficiency engine technologies and increasing use of biofuels. While previous advances in engine technology have been based on separate and parallel developments by the fuels and lubricants industries, it... Read more →

Elektromotive Lands EV Infrastructure Deal with KAUST in Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a new graduate-level research university located in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, has commissioned UK-based Elektromotive to install 150 Elektrobay charging stations across its campus by September 2009—one of the largest single EV infrastructure deals so far. KAUST will use the Elektrobay charging points... Read more →

Projected hydrogen fuel cell system costs. Click to enlarge. The United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) recently published a whitepaper on the importance of continued research of hydrogen as a low-carbon transportation solution, in the context of the proposed cutting of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle research in the Department... Read more →

Projected cumulative greenhouse gas reductions from 2010-2050 by strategy category under maximum deployment scenario. Data: Moving Cooler. Click to enlarge. Although innovations in vehicle and fuel technology will have a substantial effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the US, those gains will largely be offset by increases... Read more →

By 2055, wildfires in the western United States could scorch about 50% more land than they do now, causing a sharp decline in the region’s air quality, according to a new study by atmospheric researchers at Harvard. This potential leap in destructiveness and pollution—mainly from an increase in wildfire frequency—is... Read more →

EERC Awarded Subcontract to Help Produce 100% Renewable Jet Fuel from Algae

The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota has been awarded a subcontract by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to help produce renewable jet fuel from algae. The effort is being funded by the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)... Read more →

Neste Oil’s Second Renewable Diesel Plant Commissioned at Porvoo

Neste Oil has increased its capacity to produce NExBTL renewable diesel following the start-up of a second dedicated NExBTL plant at the company’s main refinery at Porvoo, Finland. The new plant will be capable of producing 170,000 t/a of NExBTL renewable diesel. The start-up of the plant in June went... Read more →

BMW to Pull Out of Formula One at End of Season; “CO2 Champion” Concept Car for IAA in September

BMW is realigning its motor sports activities, and is ending its participation in Formula One at the end of 2009. While it will remain active in motor sports, said Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, it will focus on close-to-production motor sports. In line... Read more →

Ape Calessino Electric Lithium. Click to enlarge. Piaggio has introduced the refreshed 2009 range of the Ape Calessino, including a new electric version powered by lithium-ion batteries. The three-wheeler Ape has been on sale for more than 60 years, and has sold more than 2 million units in five continents.... Read more →

SymPowerco’s Flowing Electrolyte DMFC replaces a proton exchange membrane with a flowing electrolyte to reduce methanol crossover. Source: SymPowerco. Click to enlarge. SymPowerco Corporation, holder of a direct methanol fuel cell technology, has acquired 70% ownership in both Highline Hydrogen Hybrids, Inc. (HHHI) and Hoss Motor Sports, Inc. (HMSI) in... Read more →

US Government Providing $2M to Supplement $20M in California Funding to Reduce Emissions at Port of Oakland

The San Francisco Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced a new $2 million federal grant to supplement the $20 million in state and local funds to install diesel exhaust filters and replace old trucks to reduce particulate emissions at the Port of Oakland. This program is an partnership between... Read more →

This year’s Gulf of Mexico dead zone is smaller than forecasted, measuring 3,000 square miles. However the dead zone, which is usually limited to water just above the sea floor, was severe where it did occur, extending closer to the water surface than in most years. Deadzone on July 27,... Read more →

Artistic impression of the Shell FLNG design. Source: Shell. Click to enlarge. Shell Gas & Power Developments BV signed a master agreement with a consortium comprising Technip and Samsung for the design, construction and installation of multiple floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities over a period of up to fifteen... Read more →

Smith Delivers First Electric Trucks to Major US Corporations

Smith Electric Vehicles US delivered the first electric Newton trucks—the largest commercially available battery-electric-powered truck—to four Fortune 500 companies and two utility companies in an event hosted at the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the National Mall in Washington DC. (Earlier post.) First recipients include: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)... Read more →

EV Company Coda Automotive Closes $24M Series B Round; New Investors Include Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Jr. and Farallon Capital Founder Thomas Steyer

California-based electric car and battery company, Coda Automotive, closed of a Series B investment round totaling $24 million. The capital will be used to support the development and 2010 California market entry of its all-electric sedan and funding of its battery manufacturing joint venture. The Series B investment round held... Read more →

UK Launches New £90M Program for Low Carbon Aircraft Engine Technology

The UK has launched a new research program aiming to strengthen the supply chain for the UK’s aero-engine industry and accelerate the development and introduction of low carbon aircraft engine technology. The total cost of the project including government and industry investment is expected to be around £90 million (US$148... Read more →

Total energetic debt of 1 MJ of biodiesel and its distribution within the production chain. According to the study, only the wet extraction on low-N grown algae has a positive balance. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Biodiesel production from microalgae, while looked upon as an environmentally advantageous source of fuel,... Read more →

UF Identify New Bacterium to Enhance Cellulosic Ethanol Production

A team of researchers at the University of Florida has found that the aggressively wood-decaying bacterium Paenibacillus sp. JDR-2, isolated from decaying sweet gum tree wood, is able to utilize methylglucuronoxylose (MeGAX1), a product that accumulates during acid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass. “The ability to utilize MeGAX1 provides a novel... Read more →

University of Calgary Study Finds Large-Scale Adoption of PHEVs in Alberta Could Support Wind Power; PHEV GHG Benefits Range from 40-90% in Emissions Reduction

The environmental benefit of a large-scale deployment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in the Canadian province of Alberta could vary significantly, ranging from a 40% to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gases, according to a study by electrical engineers at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering. The... Read more →

Electrolyzed Water for More Efficient Fuel Production from Ethanol Waste Products

Using electrolyzed water rather than harsh chemicals could be a more effective and environmentally friendly method in the pretreatment of ethanol waste products to produce an acetone-butanol-ethanol fuel mix, according to research conducted at the University of Illinois. When ethanol is produced, distiller’s dried grain with solubles (DDGS) is a... Read more →

The converted EV. Click to enlarge. Electric vehicle manufacturer Think Global and Ener1, one of its battery partners, are supplying a fully integrated electric drivetrain powered by a lithium-ion battery system to Japan Post for the conversion of delivery vehicles as part of a comprehensive road-testing program. Japan Post is... Read more →

Oregon Governor Signs Bill Allowing Sale of Premium Gasoline Without Ethanol for Certain Non-Road Uses

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski recently signed HB 3497 to amend Oregon’s ethanol mandate by allowing service stations to sell premium, higher-octane gasoline without ethanol for certain uses. House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) and Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg) introduced HB 3497 to provide a fix for certain classes of engines... Read more →

Iran Heavy Diesel Engine Mfg. Co. Developing V-12 Natural Gas/Diesel Engine

PressTV. Iran Heavy Diesel Engine Mfg. Co.(DESA) is designing a V-12 engine that will run on a blend of 80% natural gas and 20% diesel. DESA was established four years ago to design, develop and manufacture medium-duty diesel engines for automotive, industrial and power generation applications. It unveiled its first... Read more →

Flightglobal. The European project DREAM (valiDation of Radical Engine Architecture systeMs) began wind tunnel open-rotor blade testing in Russia earlier this month; results will be available by the end of the year. An open rotor engine is a modified turbofan, with the fan blades placed outside the engine nacelle. Last... Read more →

McLaren Snags First F1 KERS Win; Custom A123Systems Cells with More Than 20,000 W/kg

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team scored the first win for a KERS-equipped car at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. According to the McLaren synopsis, driver Lewis Hamilton benefited from KERS to charge down to the first turn alongside Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. He out-braked Mark Webber to briefly... Read more →

Joule Biotechnologies uses proprietary, highly-engineered product-specific organisms to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. Click to enlarge. Joule Biotechnologies, Inc., a bioengineering startup, unveiled its Helioculture technology—a system that leverages highly engineered photosynthetic organisms to catalyze the conversion of sunlight and CO2 to usable transportation fuels and chemicals. Among the co-founders... Read more →

UQM Technologies to Supply EV Propulsion Systems to Coda Automotive

UQM Technologies has completed an agreement with Coda Automotive, a California-based electric car and battery company, to supply UQM PowerPhase 100 electric propulsion systems to Coda Automotive for a period of ten years. Initial shipments under the agreement are expected to begin later this calendar year and ramp up prior... Read more →

Behr America Forms New Battery Cooling Group

Behr America has formed a Battery Cooling Group at its headquarters in Troy to meet the increasing demand for thermal-management technology. The new group, managed by Fred Pumper, manager, Thermal Solutions and Validation Test, Behr America, will focus on growing the company’s battery cooling activities as well as support Behr’s... Read more →

Targeted Growth Increases Algae Oil Content by 400%; Partnering with UOP on Algal Biojet

Bioscience firm Targeted Growth (TGI) says it has developed a method to increase the lipid content of algae by approximately 400%, thereby increasing oil yield per acre and decreasing the cost of algae production. TGI molecular biologists and their collaborators have identified and tested every active gene in sequenced cyanobacteria... Read more →

Long-term discharge curve of the newly developed lithium-air cell. Source: AIST. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Japan’s AIST (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology) are developing a lithium-air cell with a new structure (a set of three different electrolytes) to avoid degradation and performance problems of conventional lithium-air... Read more →

OriginOil, Inc. has succeeded in extracting algae oil on a continuous basis without cell sacrifice in the laboratory at bench scale. The company is scaling the process up to an intermediate 20-gallon tank size. This new ‘milking’ process will join the company’s Cascading Production technique to create a combined cycle... Read more →

MAGE enables the rapid and continuous generation of sequence diversity at many targeted chromosomal locations across a large population of cells through the repeated introduction of synthetic DNA. Wang et al., Nature. Click to enlarge. A new cell programming method called Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE) promises to give biotechnology,... Read more →

EV prototype based on the newly developed EV platform. Click to enlarge. Nissan Motor Co., previewed its electric vehicle (EV) platform on a Tiida-based prototype in Japan. Nissan’s EVs go to market in the US and Japan in 2010. It also showcased a EV-IT system developed to support electric driving... Read more →