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Researchers Produce Ethane and Other Heavier Hydrocarbons From Methane Under Deep Earth Conditions; Further Deep Carbon Research

There has been some scientific debate for years over whether oil and natural gas hydrocarbons could have been created deeper in the Earth and formed without organic matter (abiogenic petroleum), in addition to their formation from living organisms that died, were compressed, and heated under heavy layers of sediment in... Read more →


The UK is planning to invest £1.1 billion (US$1.8 billion) in first big electrification of its rail network since the late 1980s, involving the London to Swansea and Liverpool to Manchester lines. This will result in the first electric main line trains running in Wales. Electrification on UK Rail Network.... Read more →


Time series of annual mean values of cloud and climate quantities averaged over the NE Pacific. (A) COADS cloud data. (B) ISCCP cloud data. (C) COADS SST data. (D) Hadley Centre SLP data. Clement et al. (2009), Science. Click to enlarge. Low-level stratiform clouds—which play an important climatic role because... Read more →


EIB to Contribute Up to €300M in Financing to Valeo for €645M Fuel Consumption and Emissions Reduction Projects

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant financing of up to €300 million (US$426 million) to Valeo for its current research projects aiming to reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of cars and improve active safety. The total research investment of Valeo, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers,... Read more →


Nissan Develops Two New Driver-Assist Systems for Curvy Roads

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed two advanced technologies designed to help drivers make smooth turns by synchronizing the vehicle’s navigation, engine, braking and steering systems. Both systems are scheduled for introduction on the new Fuga, which is set for release in Japan in fall 2009. By linking the existing... Read more →


Study Finds Ozone Concentrations at Current Clean Air Standards Levels Can Impair Even Healthy Lungs

Exposure to ozone at levels currently deemed safe by the NAAQS clean air standards can have a significant and negative effect on lung function, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis. The results are published in the 1 August issue of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of... Read more →


The city of Athens, Greece is buying 108 Mercedes-Benz Econic natural gas vehicles for use in refuse collection. Econic NGTs for Athens. Click to enlarge. The natural gas drive system produces up to 90% fewer particulate emissions than an advanced diesel vehicle, making a substantial contribution to improving air quality.... Read more →


Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), Honda’s automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, began sales of the City FFV (Fuel Flexible Vehicle) in Brazil. The production of the model is underway at HAB’s plant. The company is planning to begin export of this model to Mexico and other countries... Read more →


Irving Oil and BP Will Not Proceed With Proposed Second Refinery; Economy and Dampening Demand Cited

BP and Irving Oil will not be moving forward at this time with a proposed second refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, as a result of global economic and industry conditions. The joint technical and commercial feasibility study that the two companies have been conducting over the last 18 months... Read more →


USDA Study Finds Economic Benefits to Farmers from Waxman-Markey

A preliminary US Department of Agriculture (USDA) economic analysis of the impacts of House-passed climate legislation, H.R. 2454 (Waxman-Markey, earlier post) shows that the economic benefits to agriculture from the cap-and-trade legislation will likely outweigh the costs in the short term, and that the economic benefits from offsets markets will... Read more →


Solix Biofuels Begins Large-Scale Production of Algal Oil

Solix Biofuels has completed the construction of and begun algal oil production at its Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility. The Coyote Gulch Demonstration Facility is expected to be producing the equivalent of 3,000 gal·ac-1·yr-1 (11,000 L·ac-1·yr-1) of algal oil by late 2009. Solix uses a photobioreactor technology that houses closed-growth chambers... Read more →


The Ford Falcon (XT model shown) will be the first global RWD application of the new 2.0L EcoBoost engine. Click to enlarge. Ford Australia is investing A$230 million (US$188 million) to improve the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of its Australian-made models, including the first global rear-wheel drive application of... Read more →


Impact of the new chemistry on ambient air quality in the California South Coast Air Basin. (A) shows the base case peak concentrations for O3 (ozone), ClNO and HCl in parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv). (B) shows the additional concentrations on top of the base case due to inclusion of the... Read more →


A plot from the TIAX study of the ranges of well-to-wheel emissions for different types of crudes in different refinery areas in the US for gasoline production. The yellow bar is the range calculated for different conventional crudes. Click to enlarge. Two new lifecycle studies have found that direct greenhouse... Read more →


Oregon Governor Signs Climate Change Bills, Including Low Carbon Fuel Standard and B2

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed into law a series of bills constituting a climate change package that includes a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS), a B2 mandate, and other transportation-related measures. The series of bills the Governor signed into law today include: House Bill 2186. Authorizes the Environmental Quality Commission... Read more →


Daimler Boosts Power of 2010 Diesel smart fortwo by 21%; Fuel Consumption Remains the Same

For model year 2010 Daimler has given the smart fortwo cdi a 21% boost in power and approximately 18% more torque, without affecting the fuel consumption. As before, the fortwo cdi consumes 3.4 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (69 mpg US) (NEDC), with CO2 emissions of 88 g/km. In... Read more →


CT&T Plans US Joint Venture with PUES for EVs; In-Wheel Motors and Rapid Chargers

After recently announcing its entry into the US market (earlier post), South Korea-based EV manufacturer CT&T ), announced a joint venture with Tokyo-based PUES Corporation and E-1 Technology. The joint venture will bring a suite of EV technologies to the US, including advanced EV in-wheel direct drive motors and rapid... Read more →


Air Resources Board Amends Off-Road Diesel Emissions Rule to Aid Compliance

The California Air Resources Board adopted amendments to help business owners comply with its 2007 regulation aimed at reducing toxic diesel emissions from the state’s estimated 180,000 off-road vehicles such as tractors and bulldozers used in construction, mining and other industries. (Earlier post.) The changes to the regulation implement legislation... Read more →


BorgWarner has designed an optimally tuned turbocharger for Fiat Powertrain Technologies’ (FPT) new high-torque, 1.8-liter gasoline direct-injection engine (earlier post). The new turbo for the 1.8L GDI engine. Click to enlarge. Providing excellent response in the lower engine speed range, the new turbocharger design allows the engine to achieve a... Read more →


Balqon Offers Lithium-Ion Battery Option for Electric Drayage Truck

Balqon Corporation, an emerging developer and manufacturer of heavy-duty electric vehicles for Class 7 and Class 8 applications, is now offering lithium-ion batteries as an extended range alternative to lead-acid traction batteries for its entire product line of Class 8 yard tractors and drayage vehicles. (Earlier post.) In May 2009,... Read more →


The SOLO. Click to enlarge. Velozzi released a rendering and some preliminary detail on its upcoming electric-drive crossover, the SOLO. The SOLO is an extended range electric vehicle equipped with a combination of supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries for energy storage and a multi-fuel micro-turbine for the range-extending genset. The vehicle... Read more →


FISITA World Automotive Summit: Integrated Approach Needed to Reduce CO2 from Road Transportation

The key message that emerged from the first FISITA World Automotive Summit, held in Falkenstein, Germany 15 – 16 July 2009 was the need for an integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from the road transportation sector, according to the event summary provided by FISITA. The World Automotive Summit was... Read more →


Researchers Working to Develop Biomineralization Pathway to Produce Oxide Ceramics

Scientists from the University of Stuttgart are working in a cross-faculty research project to produce technically relevant oxide ceramics and organic/inorganic composite materials by biological means. Oxide ceramics such as zinc oxide, zirconia or titania can be used in photovoltaic or fuel cells and as very scratch-resistant coatings. These functional... Read more →


Azure Dynamics Partners with Turtle Top on Balance Hybrid; Two New Patents

Azure Dynamics Corporation is partnering with Turtle Top, a body manufacturer specializing in small to mid-sized buses and specialty vehicles. The agreement provides Turtle Top customers and dealers the opportunity to select Azure’s Balance Hybrid Electric drivetrain system on the Ford E-450 chassis. With the addition of Turtle Top, Azure... Read more →


Opel’s LPG range. Click to enlarge. Opel is now offering five dual-fuel LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)-powered Corsa, Meriva, Astra station wagon and Zafira models with a wide performance range, expanding its line of ecoFLEX models with alternative propulsion. The Opel LPG models can run on gasoline or LPG—the switch happens... Read more →


Tires Partly Made from Microcrystalline Cellulose

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that using microcrystalline cellulose (MCC)—a product that can be made easily from almost any type of plant fibers—to partially replace silica as a reinforcing filler in the manufacture of rubber tires might decrease the energy required to produce the tire, reduce costs, and... Read more →


Interim Report from National Research Council Urges DOE to Continue Support of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Research

An interim report by the National Research Council (NRC) assessing the strategy and structure of the Department of Energy’s FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership concluded that although the Obama Administration’s focus on nearer-term vehicle technologies to reduce petroleum fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is on the right track, there remains... Read more →


KLD Energy Technologies Names Former Tesla Science Director as CTO

Austin-based KLD Energy Technologies, Inc., developers of the patented Neue electric motor system technology (earlier post), has named Rob Ferber, former science director at Tesla Motors Inc., as its chief technology officer. With Ferber’s addition, KLD Energy Technologies is opening an office in San Jose, California. Ferber has 20 years... Read more →


DOE and USDA Award $6.3M for Genomics-Enabled Biofuels Research

The US Departments of Energy and Agriculture jointly selected seven projects for awards of up to $6.3 million towards fundamental genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. These grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program begun in 2006 that is committed to... Read more →


Researchers Develop Highly Active Sub-nanometer Platinum Catalysts for Fuel Cells

Researchers at Keio University in Japan have developed sub-nanometer platinum clusters with very high catalytic activity for the four-electron reduction of oxygen molecules. This could lead to a significant reduction in the amount of platinum needed in fuel cells. They presented their work in a paper published online in the... Read more →


Study Finds Both Unemployment Rate and Fuel Price Influence Buyers’ Decisions on Fuel Economy of Vehicles Purchased

From October 2007 to April 2009, the average fuel economy of purchased new light-duty vehicles improved from 20.2 mpg US (11.6 L/100km) in October 2007 to 21.3 mpg (11 L/100km) in April 2009. A new study by a two researchers at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) found... Read more →


Rocket Fueled with Renewable JP-8 Approaches the Sound Barrier

Renewable jet propellant-8 (JP-8) fuel developed and produced by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota powered a rocket built by Flometrics, Inc., a product engineering company specializing in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics based in San Diego, California. The fuel burn was so successful... Read more →


Report from the REFF-Wall Street; Themes in Renewable Energy Finance

by Bill Cooke Green Car Congress attended the Renewable Energy Finance Forum - Wall Street (REFF-Wall Street) conference (23-24 June) sponsored by Euromoney Energy Events and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). ACORE is an organization of member companies and institutions that are dedicated to moving renewable energy into... Read more →


A Child’s IQ Can Be Affected by Mother’s Exposure to PAHs Pollution in Urban Air

A mother’s exposure to urban air pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can adversely affect a child’s intelligence quotient or IQ, according to a new study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a component of the National Institutes of Health, the US Environmental Protection Agency... Read more →


ZENN Motor Increases Stake in EEStor to 10.7%; EESU Production Prototype Promised by End of 2009

Earlier in July, ZENN Motor Company Inc. (ZMC) increased its equity investment in energy storage developer, EEStor, Inc. with an additional US $5.0 million investment. The additional equity investment option was triggered by EEStor’s successful completion of permittivity testing on their Composition Modified Barium-Titanate powders (earlier post), a key milestone... Read more →


Next-generation CVT. Click to enlarge. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and its affiliate transmission supplier JATCO Ltd. have jointly developed a new generation of compact and lightweight continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). The next-generation CVT design features an innovative structure combining conventional CVT belt operation with an auxiliary gearbox and a significantly... Read more →


Warming Climate Threatens California Fruit and Nut Production

Winter chill, a vital climatic trigger for many tree crops, is likely to decrease by more than 50% in California during this century as global climate warms, making the state no longer suitable for growing many fruit and nut crops, according to a team of researchers from the University of... Read more →


The 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 Ti-VCT. Click to enlarge. Ford has officially announced the second member of its turbocharged, gasoline direct-injection EcoBoost family, a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder version that will go on sale next year. The first engine in the EcoBoost line, a 3.5L, V6 engine (earlier post), is being applied in... Read more →


DOE’s Upcoming Renamed DEER Conference Expands Technology Focus Beyond Diesel

The acronym is the same, but the US Department of Energy’s renamed 15th DEER conference (DEER 2009), to be held in Dearborn, Michigan 3-6 August, will feature a greatly expanded program extending well beyond its origin in diesel engine emissions reduction to include other engine technologies, advanced combustion processes, and... Read more →


Qteros Achieves Breakthrough in Performance of Q Microbe Process for Cellulosic Ethanol

Biofuel company Qteros, which is commercializing consolidated bio-processing technology, has shown that its Q Microbe process yields ethanol outputs of 70 grams per liter (9% by volume) in a single-step process on an industrially pre-treated biomass feedstock. A yield of 50 grams per liter is considered to be the threshold... Read more →


FedEx Converts 92 Delivery Trucks to Hybrids, Expanding Hybrid-Electric Fleet by 50%

FedEx Corp. has added 92 hybrid-electric trucks to its delivery fleet by converting standard FedEx delivery trucks to hybrid-electric systems. The addition of the 92 trucks increases the FedEx fleet of hybrid-electric vehicles by more than 50%, from 172 to 264. The hybrid conversions were produced in Charlotte, N.C. over... Read more →


German Government Backs New Consortium Focused on Developing New Battery Materials for Plug-ins

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is awarding €20 million (US$28.4 million) to a consortium of ten universities and non-university research institutions in southern Germany focused on the development of new materials for high-performance automotive traction batteries. The Verbund Süd der Initiative Elektrochemie für Elektromobilität (Consortium South... Read more →


US DOE Awards More than $47M in Recovery Act Funding to Advance Smart Grid Development; New Smart Grid Report and Smart Grid Clearinghouse

The US Department of Energy delivered more than $47 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for eight projects to further smart grid demonstration projects in seven states. Energy Secretary Chu also announced $10.5 million in Recovery Act funding available for local governments to develop emergency preparedness... Read more →


Intelligent Energy Raises $30M; Funding to Support Commercialization of Fuel Cell Power Systems

UK-based fuel cell and hydrogen systems company Intelligent Energy has raised $30 million from both existing and new investors. The company says the funds will support the acceleration of the commercialization of its fuel cell power systems into its targeted mass markets. The recent round of fundraising will be followed... Read more →


UOP to Offer Albemarle NEBULA Catalyst for Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel Through Hydroprocessing Alliance

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, will offer the Albemarle NEBULA hydrotreating catalyst for the production of high-quality, ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) as part of the Hydroprocessing Alliance, UOP’s strategic alliance with Albemarle Corp. NEBULA catalyst is an innovative material jointly discovered by ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and co-developed with Albemarle... Read more →


Air Force Office of Scientific Research Awards $3M for Research into Graphene Additives for Novel Aviation and Diesel Fuels

The US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has awarded an interdisciplinary team of scientists led by Princeton engineers a two-year, $3-million grant to develop nanoscale graphene additives for novel fuels to help supersonic jets fly faster and diesel engines cleaner and more efficient. The funding, which comes as... Read more →