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Ceres Develops Plant Trait for Salt Tolerance; Potential Use for Millions More Acres of Marginal Cropland

Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. has developed a plant trait for salt tolerance that could bring millions of acres of abandoned or marginal cropland damaged by salts into use. Results in several crops, including switchgrass, have shown levels of salt tolerance not seen before. Ceres reported that its researchers tested... Read more →

Toyota, Hino and Showa Shell to Test FT Diesel and Renewable Diesel Blend in Hybrid Transit Bus

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Hino Motors Ltd. (Hino) and Showa Shell Sekiyu K. K. (SSSKK) plan to begin trials on 1 July of a diesel-electric hybrid transit bus fueled by a mixture of Fischer-Tropsch diesel (FTD)—specifically, Shell’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel—and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), a type of renewable diesel offering... Read more →

Toyota, Hino and Showa Shell to Test FT Diesel and Renewable Diesel Blend in Hybrid Transit Bus

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Hino Motors Ltd. (Hino) and Showa Shell Sekiyu K. K. (SSSKK) plan to begin trials on 1 July of a diesel-electric hybrid transit bus fueled by a mixture of Fischer-Tropsch diesel (FTD)—specifically, Shell’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel—and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), a type of renewable diesel offering... Read more →

SouthWest NanoTechnologies and OU Receive $500K Grant to Develop Carbon Nanotube Enhanced Cathode Materials to Improve Cycle Life for EV Batteries

SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. (SWeNT), a manufacturer of single-wall and Specialty Multi-Wall (SMW) Carbon Nanotubes (CNT), and the University of Oklahoma (OU) have been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). SWeNT was created in 2001 to spin off nanotube research developed... Read more →

Dynamotive and IFP Co-operate in Pyrolysis Oil Upgrading to Bio-Hydrocarbon Fuels

Canada-based fast pyrolysis company Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation and France-based IFP signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in the field of pyrolysis oil upgrading with the aim to produce second-generation hydrocarbon biofuels. Pyrolysis oils present several challenges for transportation applications as they are typically high in water, solids and... Read more →

ZeaChem’s process. Click to enlarge. ZeaChem Inc. announced the successful production of ethanol at a capacity that can be scaled to commercial production. ZeaChem currently uses harvested hybrid poplar trees as the feedstock of choice in its combined biochemical and thermochemical process for the production of ethanol. (Earlier post.) A... Read more →

OnStar Attracts 29,000+ Subscribers in China in First 6 Months, Expecting Nearly 200,000 by End of Year; The “Mobility Internet”

Six months after being launched, General Motors’ OnStar has become the largest in-vehicle communications provider in China with more than 29,000 subscribers. OnStar President Chris Preuss said he expects to have nearly 200,000 users in China by the end of this year. Preuss made the announcement Wednesday as part of... Read more →

New Cooperative Project for Electric Powertrains Between PSA Peugeot Citroën and Mitsubishi Motors

PSA Peugeot Citroën (PSA) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) have started a feasibility study for the development and supply of powertrains for electric vehicles, including an analysis on the packaging of batteries and its business viability. The first application of this new agreement will focus on light commercial vehicles. This... Read more →

Buehler to Supply Brushless Pump Drive for Inergy SCR Systems for US Diesel Cars

Buehler Motor, Inc., an international provider of mechatronic drive and pump solutions will supply brushless pump drives to Inergy Automotive Systems, a global Tier One automotive supplier of complete plastic fuel systems, energy and fluid storage technologies. The Buehler solution will drive Inergy’s DINOX select catalytic reduction (SCR) system designed... Read more →

DOE-Sponsored Field Test Demonstrates Viability of Simultaneous CO2 Storage and Enhanced Oil Recovery in Carbonate Reservoirs

A field test conducted by a US Department of Energy (DOE) team of regional partners has demonstrated that using carbon dioxide (CO2) in an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) method dubbed “huff-and-puff” can help assess the carbon sequestration potential of geologic formations while tapping US oil resources. The Plains CO2 Reduction... Read more →

Allison Transmission Prepares to Manufacture New Hybrid Commercial-Duty Truck Drive Systems in Indianapolis

Allison Transmission, Inc. dedicated a new hybrid drive system manufacturing plant in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Earlier post.) Once fully operational, nearly 100 manufacturing workers will be capable of producing more than 20,000 commercial-duty hybrid propulsion systems each year. Allison was being awarded a $62.8 million matching grant in 2009 by the... Read more →

Linc Energy and AFC Energy Successfully Test Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology With Underground Coal Gasification

Linc Energy Limited and AFC Energy, developer of low-cost alkaline fuel cells, have successfully combined syngas from underground coal gasification with the alkaline fuel cell technology to produce electricity at Linc Energy’s Chinchilla Demonstration Facility in Queensland. (Earlier post.) Linc Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Bond said his company’s exclusive... Read more →

Elevance Renewable Sciences to Form Joint Venture With Wilmar International To Build World-Scale BioRefinery

Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. (ERS) has entered into an agreement to form a joint venture with Wilmar International Limited (Wilmar), one of the largest global agribusiness groups, to construct a biorefinery based on Elevance’s core olefin metathesis technology for the production of high-value performance chemicals, advanced biofuels and oleochemicals from... Read more →

Tenneco and Sturman Industries Announce Joint Product Development Agreement

Tenneco Inc. and Sturman Industries have entered into a joint product development agreement to cooperate on designing a new generation of high performing ride control products. Under the agreement, Tenneco and Sturman will develop ride control damping systems that incorporate Sturman’s advanced digital valves and Tenneco’s expertise in adjustable damping... Read more →

The extended range electric vehicle drive system by Raser Technologies and its development partner FEV is targeted at providing up to 40 miles all-electric range for SUVs and light trucks. Click to enlarge. Raser Technologies, Inc. and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the... Read more →

Report Suggests Biorefineries May Have a Major Role in Mitigating Climate Change, Addressing Energy Security, and Creating Economic Growth

Biorefineries may have a major role to play in mitigating the threat of climate change; meeting the “seemingly boundless demand” for energy, fuels, chemicals and materials; and creating economic growth, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum: The Future of Industrial Biorefineries. The report defines a... Read more →

Federal Railroad Administration Seeks Applications for $2.3B in High-Speed Rail Grants

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will begin accepting applications for $2.1 billion in grants to continue the development of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors. In addition, FRA will make another $245 million available for individual construction projects within a corridor. Funds for both come from the... Read more →

US DOE to Award Up To $24 Million to Three Consortia for Algal Biofuels Research, Releases National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $24 million to three research consortia to tackle key hurdles in the achieving the commercial scale production of algae-based biofuels. DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi made the announcement while speaking in a plenary keynote... Read more →

SwRI’s HEDGE Technology Eliminates Low-Speed Pre-Ignition in Highly Boosted Engines

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has successfully demonstrated that its HEDGE (High-Efficiency, Dilute Gasoline Engine) technology, using cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and advanced ignition systems, suppresses low-speed pre-ignition in turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engines. (Earlier post.) Low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI) causes heavy engine knock and can seriously damage engine parts or cause... Read more →

European Batteries Oy Launches Li-ion Battery Plant in Finland

Finland-based European Batteries Oy held the grand opening of its new lithium-ion battery plant which manufactures large format prismatic 42 Ah, 3.2V LiFePO4 (LFP) cells, modules, packs and systems earlier this month. The annual production capacity is 100 MWh—enough for 3.000 full-electric cars, the company says. Plans have already been... Read more →

Dr. Tarascon’s view of the battery landscape for the next few decades. In a review of the challenges facing Li-ion battery development published in an open access paper in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, materials scientist Dr. Jean-Marie Tarascon of the Laboratoire réactivité et chimie des solides (LRCS)... Read more →

DSM and Roquette to Start Bio-based Succinic Acid Joint Venture

Royal DSM N.V., a global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company headquartered in the Netherlands, and Roquette Frères, a global starch and starch-derivatives company headquartered in France, signed a joint venture agreement for the production, commercialization and market development of bio-based succinic acid, subject to regulatory approvals and notifications. The... Read more →

Researchers Ask: If We Build Walkable Neighborhoods, Will People Walk?

A team at the University of Alberta (Canada) is studying the factors that influence the decisions made by key stakeholders involved in neighborhood development. Researcher Marianne Clark in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation interviewed 17 stakeholders in neighborhood development, including public health and municipal employees, city councilors, and... Read more →

MIT-ORNL Team Finds Thin Film Persksovite Material Shows Better Oxygen Reduction Than Bulk; Potential for Improved Power Production from SOFCs

Researchers from MIT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, led by MIT professor Yang Shao-Horn, found that La0.8Sr0.2CoO3-δ (LSC) epitaxial thin films deposited on the surface of a crystal of zirconia exhibit better oxygen reduction kinetics than bulk LSC. The finding could lead to more powerful solid oxide fuel cells in... Read more →

Australia Hosts First Climate Change Adaptation Conference

The first international conference held in Australia to discuss the science and options for adapting to climate change begins in the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center, Queensland, on 29 June. Almost 1,000 delegates from around the world are registered for the three-day Climate Adaptation Futures 2010 Conference, hosted by... Read more →

Report: Toyota To Supply Fuji Heavy With Subcompacts for Subaru

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. will supply small cars on an OEM basis to Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., the maker of Subarus, in which Toyota holds a 16.5% stake (earlier post), starting as early as this fall. This would be the first time that Toyota would provide finished... Read more →

Study Finds Upgrading of Palm Shell Bio-oil to Higher Value Fuel Hydrocarbons Economically Viable

A team from University Technology Petronas—established in 1997 when the Malaysian government invited its national oil company Petronas to set up a university—has found that the upgrading of bio-oil resulting from the pyrolysis of palm shell via hydrodeoxygenation into higher value fuel hydrocarbons can be economically viable. Their simulation study... Read more →

Biomass-to-Gasoline Company Considering Additional Plant in Montana

CORE BioFuel Inc., a Canadian biofuel company that is commercializing a biomass-to-gasoline production process, will pursue an additional production facility to be possibly located in northwest Montana. We are pleased with our progress in developing our demonstration production facility in British Columbia and we are now seeking potential sites for... Read more →

UN IPCC Selects 831 Authors for Fifth Assessment Report

The UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) last week released the final list of 831 selected Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review Editors for the three Working Group (WG) Reports of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to be published between 2013 and 2014. These experts will also... Read more →

Natural photosynthesis uses solar energy to recycle CO2 (and H2O) into new plant life (biomass) and ultimately fuels (biofuels). Sustainable tri-reforming uses CO2, renewable energy and CH4 (or biogas) to yield syngas and, ultimately, synthetic fuels and commodity chemicals. Jiang et al.Click to enlarge. In an open-access paper published in... Read more →

Markey Introduces Oil Spill Bill to Fund Research Into Prevention and Response

US Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the “Stop Oil Spills Act” (SOS Act), a bill to fund research into new oil spill prevention and response technologies. Following BP CEO Tony Hayward’s admission that his company did not have a “tool-kit” to respond to a sizeable spill from a deepwater well,... Read more →

MIT Report Finds Natural Gas Has Significant Potential to Displace Coal, Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Role in Transportation More Limited

Natural gas will play a leading role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions over the next several decades, largely by replacing older, inefficient coal plants with highly efficient combined-cycle gas generation, according to a major new interim report out from MIT. In the transportation sector, the study found a somewhat smaller role... Read more →

Four i-MiEVs join Transport for London Fleet

Transport for London (TfL) added four Mitsubishi i-MiEVs into its fleet as part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe. The four i-MiEVs, part funded by the Government’s Low Carbon Procurement Partnership (LCVPP), are the first step to achieving the 1,000 electric vehicles... Read more →

Toyota To Recall Up to 17,000 Lexus HS 250h Hybrids

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc., intends to conduct a voluntary safety recall of potentially 17,000 2010 model year Lexus HS 250h hybrid vehicles to address a compliance issue with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 301. As part of its annual compliance testing program, the NHTSA recently conducted a... Read more →

Amyris’ technology platform modifies microorganisms to leverage an isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway to produce a large variety of product molecules from sugar. Source: Amyris. Click to enlarge. Amyris, Inc. has entered into an off-take agreement with Shell for the supply of Amyris No Compromise diesel. The parties have agreed to the... Read more →

Li-ion Batterymaker Boston-Power Closes $60M in Series E Funding

Li-ion battery manufacturer Boston-Power, Inc. (earlier post), announced $60 million in Series E funding co-led by existing investors Foundation Asset Management (FAM) and Oak Investment Partners. Current investors Venrock and Gabriel Venture Partners are also participating. Boston-Power has attracted $185 million in investment since being founded in 2005. Boston-Power will... Read more →

BorgWarner Combined Regulated Two-Stage and VTG Turbo Technologies for New BMW 740d

Working with BMW, BorgWarner combined two advanced turbocharging technologies—regulated two-stage (R2S) and variable turbine geometry (VTG)— to accelerate BMW’s engine downsizing strategy without compromising power and torque. The combined system is applied in the new 740d, equipped with a 3.0L straight-six diesel offering up to 4% better fuel economy than... Read more →

European Auto Manufacturers Agree on First Phase of Specifications to Connect Plug-ins to the Grid

The European automobile manufacturers have agreed to a first phase of joint specifications to connect electrically chargeable vehicles to the electricity grid in a safe and user-friendly way. The agreement covers at current stage widely-used and ready-to-use infrastructure both on the side of the car and on the side of... Read more →

Renault and French Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission Sign R&D Agreement on Cleaner Vehicles and Sustainable Mobility

Renault and the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, le Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) have signed a cooperative research and development agreement that encompasses work on electric vehicles, new energies, and cleaner combustion engines. Under the terms of this agreement, cooperation between Renault and... Read more →

Cummins to Provide Euro VI Emission Technology to JV Partner in Russia

Cummins Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with KAMAZ Inc. to negotiate licensing its advanced Euro VI emissions technology to ZAO Cummins KAMA, the joint venture the Company operates with KAMAZ in Russia. Under terms of the agreement, Cummins will provide emissions technology that will allow the joint venture to... Read more →

Altair Nanotechnologies Signs Long-Term Supply Agreement With Proterra Inc. to Power Electric and Hybrid Transit Buses

Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. has signed a long-term supply agreement with Proterra Inc. to supply lithium-ion battery modules for incorporation into Proterra’s all-electric and hybrid-electric buses. The initial purchase order of $4.6 million is for delivery of modules through June 2011 with ongoing orders anticipated thereafter as Proterra continues to gain... Read more →

Study Suggests That Oxidative Aftertreatment Devices for Fossil Diesel Should Work Well with Renewable Diesel Fuels

Soot particulates generated from the combustion of renewable diesel fuels produced from hydrotreated vegetable oils have similar oxidation properties and surface structures to those generated from fossil diesel, according to a new study by researchers from Finland and Sweden. The finding implies that the oxidative aftertreatment devices designed for fossil... Read more →

FAA Awards Contracts for $125M to 5 Companies to Accelerate More Environmentally Friendly Aviation Technology; Renewable Fuels, Engines, Wings and Flight Management

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $125 million in five separate contracts to Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce-North America to develop and demonstrate technologies that will reduce commercial jet fuel consumption, emissions and noise. The contracts are part of the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions... Read more →

California ARB Awarding $200M to Reduce Diesel Emissions from Trucks, Locomotives, Harborcraft

The California Air Resources Board awarded $200 million in Proposition 1B funds to cut harmful emissions from heavy-duty trucks and other sources in the state’s four busiest trade corridors to clean up air pollution and protect community health. The Los Angeles/Inland Empire, Central Valley, Bay Area and San Diego/Border regions... Read more →

The e-Busz components. Click to enlarge. e-Traction, a European integrator of low-floor fleet buses, handed over the first of two e-Busz electric drive buses—featuring a third-generation wheel hub motor—to the Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram (RET), Rotterdam’s public transportation authority, in a ceremony last week under the Erasmus Bridge in downtown Rotterdam.... Read more →

CAS: China Led World in Patenting and Commercialization of Bioethanol in 2009; US Foremost in Third-Generation Bioethanol Research

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) reports that in 2009, China surpassed all other countries in the production of bioethanol patents, emerging as the global leader in the commercialization of bioethanol research. In the CAS Chemistry Research Report: China Takes Lead in the Commercialization of Bioethanol, CAS examines 40 years of scientific... Read more →

Amyris Enters Into Multi-Products Collaboration and Off-Take Agreements With P&G; First Amyris Product to Head to Commercial Scale Production

Synthetic biology company Amyris, Inc. has entered into a series of agreements with The Procter & Gamble Company. These agreements include collaboration terms focused on the use of Amyris’s renewable product farnesene (Biofene) in certain specialty chemical applications within P&G’s products. In connection with these collaboration agreements, the parties have... Read more →

A Microcab urban car. Click to enlarge. UK-based Microcab Industries Ltd. has ordered 10 Serenus high-temperature (HT) 3kW PEM fuel cell systems from Denmark-based Serenergy A/S for use in Microcab’s next generation of demonstration fuel cell hybrid vehicles. Microcab employs lightweight construction techniques and fuel cell hybrid powertrains with electric... Read more →