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California Energy Commissioner Anthony Eggert, Director of California Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office of Economic Development (GoED) Joel Ayala, and officials from Propel Fuels, CALSTART, and East Bay Clean Cities, formally launched Propel’s San Francisco Bay Area operations, which will include more than 20 stations across the Bay, with up to 10... Read more →

According to a new report from Pike Research, worldwide installed revenues for stationary energy storage systems for the electricity grid will grow at a strong pace in the coming decade, increasing from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $35.3 billion annually by 2020. Worldwide installed revenue opportunity by energy storage on... Read more →

Process flow diagram for biodiesel production through intracellular lipid hydrolysis and supercritical in situ transesterification (SC-IST/E) using ethanol (EtOH). Credit: ACS, Levine et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed and demonstrated the feasibility of a two-step hydrolysis-solvolysis process to produce biodiesel directly from wet... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors to Premiere the European-spec i-MiEV at the 2010 Paris Motor Show

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will introduce the European-spec version of its i-MiEV electric vehicle at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. Compared with the Japanese market version, the European-spec i-MiEV includes specific features such as: new design to the front and rear bumpers to meet EU regulations, re-arranged center stack in... Read more →

California Gasoline Demand Down 0.1%, Prices Up 24% in May

California’s gasoline consumption declined 0.1% compared with the same month last year although the average price at the pump increased 24% to $3.14 per gallon, according to figures from the state’s Board of Equalization (BOE). Gasoline consumption edged down 0.1% in May 2010 when Californians consumed 1.290 billion gallons of... Read more →

KBR Awarded Contract by Chemetall Foote Corp. for Lithium Hydroxide Operation Expansion

KBR’s Downstream business unit has been awarded a contract to provide engineering and procurement services to Chemetall Foote Corp. (a subsidiary of Rockwood Holdings, Inc.) for the addition of lithium hydroxide production at its current operation in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The project is funded in part by a $28.4-million... Read more →

University of Alberta Researchers Find That Oil Sands Industry Is Releasing More Pollutants Into Athabasca River System Than Previously Estimated

New research from a team at the University of Alberta, Canada, finds that Alberta’s oilsands industry is releasing more pollutants into the Athabasca River, its tributaries and its watershed than previously estimated. An open access article on their study was published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy... Read more →

Colorado State University Professor Developing Anaerobic Digester With Lower Water Requirements; Targeted at US Western States

A Colorado State University professor is developing an anaerobic digester that turns animal waste into methane using much less water than conventional technology, making it more economically feasible and easier for use by feedlots and dairies in Western states. Anaerobic digesters are often applied at large animal feeding operations elsewhere... Read more →

InterAcademy Council Report Terms UN IPCC Process a Success Overall, Calls for Reform in Management Structure

A new report from the InterAcademy Council, an organization of the world’s science academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences, found that the process used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to produce its periodic assessment reports has been a success overall, but that IPCC needs to reform... Read more →

DOE to Host Series of Biomass Program Webinars; Algae Biofuels Webinar First Up

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Biomass Program is hosting a Webinar on Wednesday, 8 September 2010, from 2:00–4:30 p.m. EDT entitled “The Promise and Challenge of Algae as a Renewable Source of Biofuels.” This Web conference marks the first in the Biomass Program’s Webinar series, which will cover many... Read more →

Four samples of the first proposed label design with the letter grade. From left to right: EV, PHEV, gasoline/diesel, gasoline/diesel. Color is integral to the new schemes. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are jointly proposing changes to... Read more →

Microwave Technology Company Develops Production Process for Lithium-ion Cathode Materials

Spheric Technologies, a Phoenix, Arizona, high temperature microwave technology company, has developed what it says is a production process for lithium iron phosphate cathode material for Li-ion batteries. The Spheric process uses unique precursors and applies microwave in the drying and synthesis stages, yielding a phase pure product requiring little,... Read more →

New Alliance Including Eaton, IBM, AECOM, and Beiqi Foton to Advance EVs in China

Eaton Corporation announced the formation of an alliance to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles in cities across China. NESTIA, the New Energy Sustainable Transportation International Alliance, includes Eaton, AECOM, IBM, vehicle manufacturer Beiqi Foton Motor Co., lithium-ion battery manufacturer MGL and electric motor provider Broad Ocean. The announcement took... Read more →

Scania Signs Development Agreement with Porsche for Next-Generation of Truck Cabs

Scania has selected Porsche Engineering Group GmbH as its partner in the development of the next generation of truck cabs. Porsche Engineering Group GmbH provides highly advanced engineering services in areas such as material analysis and structural testing, as well as design of production equipment and logistics. Customers include both... Read more →

The 1.6-liter GTDi T3 and T4 will be available in the all-new Volvo S60 and V60. Click to enlarge. Volvo is expanding its engine range with the T3 and T4, two new four-cylinder turbocharged 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engines. The 1.6 GTDi T3 with 150 hp (110 kW) and the... Read more →

Statoil Receives First Delivery of Cellulosic Ethanol from Inbicon

Statoil, which earlier contracted for the first five million liters (1.32 million gallons US) of Inbicon second-generation bio-ethanol (earlier post), has just received the first consignment of 28,500 liters (7,500 gallons US). Statoil received the first delivery of second generation bio ethanol from Inbicon's demonstration plant at the Asnæs powerplant... Read more →

Researchers Isolate Two Enzymes from Termites to Break Up Lignin; Potential Boon to Cellulosic Ethanol

A team of researchers from the University of Florida and the biotechnology company Chesapeake-PERL Inc. of Savage, Md. have isolated two enzymes termites use to break up lignin. During ethanol production, lignin molecules are clumped around the sugar molecules, forming a barrier the microbes often can’t penetrate; the material must... Read more →

Los Alamos County, NM Takes Delivery of Refuse Truck with Eaton Hydraulic Hybrid Launch Assist

Los Alamos County, new Mexico recently took delivery of the first hydraulic hybrid refuse truck in the State of New Mexico: a Peterbilt Model 320 equipped with Eaton’s hydraulic launch assist system (HLA) (earlier post) and a Wayne Curbtender residential automated side loader. The truck will be used in daily... Read more →

American Process Waste-to-Cellulosic Ethanol Project Launches in Michigan

American Process Incorporated (API) recently launched a waste-to-cellulosic ethanol biorefinery project in Alpena, Michigan. API is one of Michigan’s bioenergy Centers of Energy Excellence (COEE). In November 2008, API, in partnership with San Antonio’s Valero Energy Corporation, received $4 million from the COEE program to establish a pilot scale biorefinery... Read more →

Nissan Exec Predicts Global Auto Sales of 70M This Year; Market Led by China

Xinhua. Nissan expects global auto sales to reach 70 million units this year, as China continues to lead the new car market, according to Dr. Andy Palmer, Senior Vice President and Executive Committee member of Nissan Motor. China became Nissan’s second-largest market in 2009, Palmer said. In 2009, global auto... Read more →

Foton Motor and Freescale Semiconductor Establish Automotive Joint Lab; Focus Includes EV and Hybrid Technology

China-based Foton Motor and Freescale Semiconductor have established the Foton-Freescale Automotive Joint Lab. The lab is Foton Motor’s first formal cooperation project in automotive electronics. The Foton-Freescale Automotive Joint Lab is committed to co-developing silicon, software and system-level solutions for use in the next generation of Foton vehicles. The two... Read more →

The AFD development at the Muskeg River Mine from the air. Source: Shell Canada. Click to enlarge. Shell Canada has started its commercial-scale Atmospheric Fines Drying field demonstration for managing tailings from its oil sands operations. Tailings are a mixture of fine clay, sands, water and residual bitumen produced through... Read more →

Mississippi Approves $75M Loan to Catalytic Pyrolysis Startup KiOR for Biomass to Renewable Oil Plant

Clarion Ledger. KiOR, developer of a catalytic pyrolysis process to produce renewable oil from biomass, will receive a $75-million state-backed loan from Mississippi to bring the first three of its full-scale production facilities to the state. The Legislature swiftly pushed through House Bill 8—the incentive package, to lure Houston-based biofuel... Read more →

Algae.Tec Signs MOUs for China and Australia to Deploy Algae Bioreactor Technology

Australia-based Algae.Tec Limited, which has secured the exclusive global rights to an algae growth and harvesting system (the McConchie-Stroud System) that produces algal products (such as algal oil and biomass) that can be used to generate sustainable bio-fuels, signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) for non-binding commitments to deploy the... Read more →

NSF Awards RAPID Response Grant to Modular Genetics and University Collaborators to Develop Bio-Dispersants for Oil Spill Clean-Up

The US National Science Foundation has awarded a one-year, $200,000 RAPID Response grant to synthetic biology company Modular Genetics, Inc. and scientists and engineers at Columbia University, Iowa State University (ISU) and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center to support work on production and testing of bio-dispersants that can replace... Read more →

Elk Horn, Iowa Claims Highest Concentration of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Elk Horn, Iowa, population approximately 600, has four public EV charging stations, giving it the highest concentration of public charging stations anywhere. The community has plans to build four more stations there in the next few months, bringing the total to eight. In an interview with AASHTO’s Transportation TV, Mike... Read more →

Perspective: The Gulf Coast Claims Facility Limits BP’s Liability and Guarantees Continued Operation in the Gulf of Mexico

In an article posted on the Donovan Law Group website, Brian Donovan, attorney, marine engineer and CEO of Renergie, Inc. contends that the structure of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) limits BP’s liability via the systematic postponement, reduction or denial of claims against BP; guarantees BP’s continued long-term operation... Read more →

Ionic Liquids Process Recovers Bitumen from Utah Oil Sands With Little Water Use

A team at Penn State University has demonstrated that a previously developed method employing ionic liquids (ILs) together with a nonpolar solvent such as toluene can effect a separation of bitumen from oil sands in the Western US at ambient temperatures (~25 °C), although with greater difficulty than Canadian oil... Read more →

Chery and BenQ Forming JV for Li-ion Separator Films

China-based Chery Automobile and Taiwan-based BenQ Corp. are establishing a 50:50 joint venture to produce lithium-ion battery separator films. Construction on the plant, to be based in Wuhu in east China’s Anhui province, where Chery is based, will start in 2011. BenQ is a leading provider of IT and digital... Read more →

Rechargeable Zinc-Air Battery Company Approved to Receive $6.8M in Loans and Tax Credits from the State of Oregon and City of Portland

ReVolt Technology, LLC, a company that is developing rechargeable zinc-air batteries (earlier post), has been approved to receive a package of loans and tax credits from Oregon and Portland authorities totaling approximately $6.8 million, including support from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP), which is... Read more →

by Jack Rosebro A Chicago Fire Department firefighter using a hydraulic cutter to remove the roof off of a pre-production Chevrolet Volt during a demonstration at the 2010 Fire-Rescue Conference International in Chicago. Click to enlarge. Using a pre-production example of the Chevrolet Volt as a teaching tool, General Motors... Read more →

SunHydro to Receive 10 Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicles

SunHydro announced an agreement with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS) to place 10 Toyota Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV-adv) in the Connecticut area this fall. The vehicles will support the new SunHydro solar-powered hydrogen fueling station, located at Proton Energy Systems’ headquarters in Wallingford, Conn. SunHydro is leading... Read more →

New RNP Flight Path Designed by GE Aviation Debuts at Bradley International

American Airlines Flight 1916 on Thursday became the first US flight to use a publicly available, commercially designed instrument flight path in its touchdown at Bradley International Airport. Naverus, a part of GE Aviation, designed the path, which incorporates Required Navigation Performance technology (RNP), a core component of the FAA’s... Read more →

New York MTA Orders Up To 475 CNG Buses from New Flyer

The Board of the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has awarded New Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. a contract for up to 475 buses. The contract is for 135 40-foot compressed natural gas (CNG) heavy-duty transit buses with options for up to an... Read more →

NASA Awards Contract to NEI and UCSD to Develop Nanoscale Materials for High Energy Density Li-ion Batteries

NASA has awarded a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract to NEI Corporation and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) to develop and implement high energy density cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. NEI is the prime contractor and UC San Diego is the subcontractor. NEI expects sample... Read more →

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has developed a generator-integrated hybrid turbocharger for marine propulsion diesel engines which utilizes engine exhaust gas not only to drive the turbocharger but also to generate electricity. Cutaway view of MET83MAG hybrid turbocharger. Click to enlarge. The MET83MAG is capable of supplying all electric power... Read more →

Shell and Cosan Sign Binding Agreements on $12B Joint Venture for Sugar Cane Ethanol and Next-Generation Fuels

Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and Cosan S.A. signed binding agreements on a proposed $12-billion joint venture. (Earlier post.) The joint venture, which still requires regulatory approval, will produce and commercialize ethanol and power from sugar cane and distribute a variety of industrial and transportation fuels through a combined distribution... Read more →

Bunge Invests in Renewable Oil Company Solazyme

Bunge Limited, a leading global agribusiness and food company, has joined Solazyme’s Series D round as a strategic investor. Solazyme is an algal biotechnology company that produces renewable oils and biomaterials in standard fermentation facilities. The strategic investment represents a foundational step for the two companies to collaborate at critical... Read more →

Corning to Expand Light-Duty Diesel Filter Capacity in Germany

Corning Incorporated will invest $44 million to increase the company’s light-duty filter capacity in Kaiserslautern, Germany. This expansion, expected to begin early production in the second half of 2011, will increase the company’s capacity to manufacture current and future generations of light-duty diesel DuraTrap AT filters. Tighter emissions regulations continue... Read more →

Audi Boosting Production Capacity for A1 by 20%

In response to reports from its dealers, Audi is increasing the production capacity of the new A1, which goes on sale tomorrow in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland, followed by most other European markets from mid-September, by 20%. The Audi A1 is initially launching with three engine options: the... Read more →

B9 Coal Assembles Consortium to Combine Underground Coal Gasification, Alkaline Fuel Cells and Carbon Capture and Storage

UK-based B9 Coal, established in 2009 with the objective of developing projects combining Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and alkaline hydrogen fuel cells, is bringing together a consortium including WSP Group, AFC Energy and Linc Energy to develop such a project. The 500 megawatt (MW)... Read more →

Better Place Extends Tokyo Battery Swap Trial for Additional Three Months

Better Place has extended its switchable-battery electric vehicle (EV) taxi pilot in Tokyo (earlier post) to operate through the end of the year. By extending the trial—which involves three exchangeable-battery EV taxis—Better Place says it will be able to further evaluate and optimize the design and integration of the components... Read more →

Mazda and Ford JV to Invest $350M to Build Next Generation Compact Pickup Truck in Thailand

Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company’s joint venture, AutoAlliance (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (AAT), will invest US$350 million in its pickup truck plant to support the production of Mazda and Ford’s next generation pickup trucks. The investment will enable production of the new compact pickups to commence in mid-2011. The... Read more →

One of many Cruze incremental engine technologies to improve fuel efficiency is the variable displacement oil pump. The pump body pivots (blue lines) causing the vanes (red lines) to move resulting in just the right volume of oil being pumped. When less oil is pumped less energy is needed which... Read more →

Pratt & Whitney Completes First PurePower PW1524G Engine

Pratt & Whitney has completed assembly on its first PurePower PW1524G engine for the Bombardier CSeries aircraft (earlier post) and will deliver the engine to the company’s West Palm Beach, Fla., facility later this month to initiate testing. The PurePower family of engines is designed to power the next generation... Read more →

NETL Researchers Develop Way to Rapidly and Continuously Form Synthetic Natural Gas Hydrates

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have developed a process and related technology to rapidly and continuously form synthetic natural gas hydrates with just water and methane, using much less pressure and cooling than is required to liquefy it. Conventionally, natural gas is cooled... Read more →