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NHTSA, EPA propose first greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have announced a proposed rulemaking for the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. These vehicles make up the transportation... Read more →

Turbocharged HCPC engine scheme. Click to enlarge. A team from Universita degli Studi di Pisa (Italy) and Rolf Reitz at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are proposing a novel combustion concept—Homogenous Charge Progressive Combustion (HCPC)—based on a split-cycle principle to control HCCI combustion in diesel-fueled engines. Ettore Musu from the University... Read more →

Audi says A3 TDI performed “flawlessly” in extended drive on Rentech FT fuel

Audi reported that two Audi A3 TDI models running on Rentech, Inc. synthetic RenDiesel fuel—a Fischer-Tropsch fuel—flawlessly completed the 1,000-mile (1,600 km) ‘Eureka! Diesel Drives the Future’ tour spanning the length of California. (Earlier post.) The results of the driver were promising, Audi said, demonstrating that RenDiesel synthetic fuel can... Read more →

Alcoa Defense’s aluminum structure for Army demonstrator reduces weight by up to 10% and fuel consumption by 6-7%

Alcoa Defense has created an aluminum structure for the Army’s Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) that will make the vehicle up to 10% lighter than a comparably sized steel vehicle and reduce fuel consumption by 6-7% because the lighter vehicle frame enables a lighter engine, driveline and chassis. Alcoa supplied... Read more →

Northern Ireland’s DRD and DOE sign with Renault-Nissan Alliance to progress electric vehicles

Northern Ireland’ Department for Regional Development (DRD), Department of Environment (DOE) and the Renault-Nissan Alliance have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further the introduction of electric vehicles in the country. Under the MOU, joint working teams will be established to propose plans for an electric vehicle infrastructure network.... Read more →

Weyland Bioethanol begins production of cellulosic ethanol

Weyland Bioethanol has begun production of cellulosic bioethanol at its pilot plant in Bergen, Norway. The process is based on concentrated acid hydrolysis with Weyland’s core technology being a method (patent pending) for recovering acid consumed in the process, with recovery of more than 98.5%, according to the company. The... Read more →

System components of cyanobacterial ethanol life cycle analysis. Credit: ACS, Luo et al. Click to enlarge. Algenol Biofuels’ Direct to Ethanol technology is based on an intracellular photosynthetic process in cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that produces ethanol that is excreted through the cell walls, collected from closed photobioreactors as a dilute... Read more →

Linc Energy Limited spuds first Alaskan gas exploration well

Australia-based underground coal gasification (UCG) specialist Linc Energy Limited has spudded its first gas exploration well (LEA #1) on its oil and gas leases located in the Cook Inlet Basin, Alaska. The spudding of the LEA #1 well is the first drilling activity in Linc Energy’s Alaskan exploration program. The... Read more →

Chinese Government think tank calls for refocusing auto industry on environment-friendly and energy-saving targets

Xinhua. Liu Shijin, deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council, one of China’s top government think tanks, told a forum that the government should shift its guidance to automakers from mere pursuit of output capacity to environment-friendly and energy-saving targets. He also said that auto manufacturers... Read more →

Exploring the catalytic deoxygenation of bio liquids to form liquid hydrocarbons

Researchers from Tuskegee University, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Applied Research Associates and Florida State University report on efforts to develop an efficient method of removing oxygen from liquid biomass to produce petroleum-comparative liquid hydrocarbons using hydrogen and a NiMo/γ-Al2O3 catalyst in a paper in press in the journal Renewable... Read more →

Belfer Center report calls for policymakers to begin taking steps to change policies for funding US transportation infrastructure

US policymakers need to begin taking steps to change policies that fund the country’s transportation infrastructure, such as redefining the roles of federal and state governments and promoting research and demonstrations of VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and congestion fees, according to a new report published by the Belfer Center at... Read more →

Bosch Solar Energy, Bosch’s newest division, will present a new e-bike concept that combines at the upcoming Solar Power International 2010 (27-29 Oct) in Los Angeles that teams its high-performance thin-film solar modules with a new type of drive system for Bosch e-bikes. Bosch Solar e-bike concept. Click to enlarge.... Read more →

(a, b) Schematic illustration of formation of the ultralong hierarchical vanadium oxide nanowires during annealing. (c) Side view of two ultralong hierarchical vanadium oxide nanowires near each other. (d) Self-aggregation of short vanadium oxide nanorods. Credit: ACS, Mai et al. Click to enlarge. A team from Harvard University and the... Read more →

The roles for hydrogen and fuel cells in the energy mix. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a draft version of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan, which outlines the strategy, activities, and plans of DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. It... Read more →

The basic New Oil process. Click to enlarge. Louisiana-based startup New Oil Resources (NOR) is commercializing a near-critical (i.e., 320-390 °C, 200-420 bar) aqueous phase process which converts biomass containing cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin into a high-octane gasoline fraction. New Oil Resources licensed the technology (US Patent 6,180,845) in 2009... Read more →

Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million from the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) TIGER II program for major infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit, rail and ports. Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II received nearly 1,000... Read more →

Shanghai GM Begins Exports of Chevrolet New Sail to Chile; First Locally Developed Passenger Car from Global Brand Sold Worldwide

Shanghai GM, GM’s flagship passenger car joint venture in China, began exports of the Chevrolet New Sail to the Chilean market. (Earlier post.) Plans are in place to sell the small family sedan to additional markets in South America, North Africa and the Middle East. Authorized Chevrolet dealers will sell... Read more →

Toyota Tsusho Corporation is establishing the first global bio-PET (bio-derived polyethylene terephthalate) integrated supply chain including the procurement of bio-ethanol, production of bio-mono ethylene glycol, tolling business of PET, and marketing of bio-PET. Toyota Motor Company recently announced it will use bio-PET to make vehicle liner material and other interior... Read more →

ARB Soliciting Grantee for $19M Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Program

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is soliciting a Grantee for the $19 million Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), the first of several projects approved by the Board in the AB 118 Air Quality Improvement Program Funding Plan for Fiscal Year 2010-11. (Earlier post.) The HVIP is... Read more →

The US Navy began installing combustion trim loop systems this month on its Wasp-class amphibious ships to improve fuel efficiency and save up to 2,400 barrels of fuel per ship annually. The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) moored at Naval Station San Diego. (US Navy photo by... Read more →

Chrysler Group Pentastar V-6 with VVT. Click to enlarge. Chrysler has provided additional details on its Pentastar V-6 (earlier post), which is slated to be the workhorse engine across 13 models and will eventually replace seven different V-6 engines over the next three years. By 2014, the new V-6 is... Read more →

Siemens Adds Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to Smart Grid Solutions

Siemens Energy, Inc. launched a new product line of EV charging stations, which includes solutions for residential, public and commercial applications, including integration into the Smart Grid. Siemens’ UL listed electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) line includes wall-mountable, community multi-level and community multi-level II models. The company’s wall-mountable charging station... Read more →

NSF and DOE Award Virginia Tech $1.5M for Thermoelectric Materials Work

A team of Virginia Tech engineers has received a three-year, $1.5 million award from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy (earlier post) to develop new thermoelectric materials and specific designs to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollution. The researchers will use new techniques to rapidly synthesize skutterudites... Read more →

Contour Energy Systems Licenses MIT Carbon Nanotube Technology for Li-ion Battery Electrodes

Contour Energy Systems, Inc. has acquired a carbon nanotube technology that can significantly improve the power capability of lithium-ion batteries, through an exclusive technology licensing agreement with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). (Earlier post.) Early findings from researchers at MIT confirm that using carbon nanotubes for battery electrodes can produce... Read more →

Chevron Corporation has sanctioned development of the Jack/St. Malo project, its first operated project located in the Lower Tertiary trend in the deepwater US Gulf of Mexico. The Jack and St. Malo fields are located within 25 miles (40 km) of each other approximately 280 miles (450 km) south of... Read more →

USDA and FAA to Partner to Develop Biomass Feedstocks for Renewable Jet Fuel

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which they will work together with the airline industry over the next 5 years to develop appropriate feed stocks that can be most efficiently processed into jet fuel. Doing so will... Read more →

The US Navy will conduct a full power demonstration of a Riverine Command Boat (experimental) powered by an alternative fuel blend of 50% algae-based and 50% NATO F-76 fuel aboard Naval Base Norfolk, Va., 22 Oct. (Earlier post.) F-76 is the primary shipboard fuel used by the Navy. Riverine command... Read more →

Pollution Probe Report Finds That EVs Could Contribute Up to 37% of Toronto’s Annual GHG Reductions by 2030

Electric vehicles could contribute up to 37% of Toronto’s annual target for GHG emissions reductions by 2030, according to a new report released by Canada-based environmental NGO Pollution Probe. Higher reductions were associated with a greater proportion of commercial-duty electric vehicles within the vehicle mix. The report, “Unlocking the Electric... Read more →

DARPA Awards $1M to Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne To Design Engine for Transformer Vehicle

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne a contract, with a value up to $1 million, to design an engine for the Transformer (TX), a vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy concept study vehicle. The TX vehicle, still in its conceptual phase, will be designed to... Read more →

Argonne Launches New Modeling Tool to Replace PSAT; Helping Automakers Accelerate Development and Introduction of Advanced Technologies

The Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory unveiled a new plug and play modeling tool, Autonomie, that complements the automotive industry's interest in reducing costs by accelerating the development and introduction of advanced automotive technologies. Autonomie replaces and greatly expands on... Read more →

Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team to Use Blend Containing Virent’s Biogasoline in Races

F1 team Scuderia Ferrari will use a fuel containing Virent’s biogasoline, a renewable hydrocarbon fuel produced directly from plant sugars, for the last three races of the 2010 Formula One championship. Virent’s BioForming process—based on aqueous phase reforming—catalytically converts plant sugars directly into gasoline and gasoline blend components, like those... Read more →

The 2.0-liter engine will be one of the first on the market to combine gasoline direct injection (DI) with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and E85 flex fuel capability. Click to enlarge. The North American version of the 2012 Ford Focus will be powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC I-4... Read more →

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has certified the Chevrolet Volt as meeting California LEV-II ULEV (EPA Bin 4) emissions standards. For bi-, dual- or flex-fueled vehicles, the certification is based on the results testing with gasoline fuel—i.e, in this case, when the Volt’s range-extending engine is operating. Under California’s... Read more →

Volvo Trucks Begins Field Testing of LNG Diesel Trucks in Sweden

Volvo Trucks has begun public field testing with methane diesel trucks that can run on liquefied natural gas (methane) (LNG). When liquefied methane and diesel are used in a ratio of 75-25, a long-haul truck has an operating range 500 to 1000 km (311 to 621 miles), depending on driving... Read more →

Enova Announces Incremental 100 System Order from Smith Electric Vehicles

Enova Systems, Inc. has received an incremental order to deliver 100 electric drive systems to Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV), manufacturer of the all-electric Smith Newton truck. The order for 100 Enova 120kW drive systems will be installed into Smith Newton trucks in Kansas City, MO. This recent order follows three... Read more →

by Mike Millikin and Jack Rosebro The Volt drive unit combines two motors and three clutches to deliver four distinct operating modes to maximize efficiency and provide a seamless driving experience. Click to enlarge. During the serial media launch events for the Chevrolet Volt, GM provided more detail (subsequent to... Read more →

Mazda Launches Next-Generation SKYACTIV Technologies

Mazda Motor Corporation has launched its SKYACTIV next-generation technologies—including engines, transmissions, vehicle bodies and chassis—that will begin appearing in Mazda products from 2011. The Mazda Demio (known overseas as the Mazda2) will be the first model to feature SKYACTIV technology and will go on sale in Japan in the first... Read more →

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is soliciting additional research proposals; “Research Opportunities in Aeronautics 2010” (ROA-2010) has been modified to include new topics in support of the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project. With the amendment, the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project encourages proposals that develop improved prediction methods and technologies for lower... Read more →

Energy-Efficient One-Pot Process for Conversion of Biomass to HMF

A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences reports the production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from monosaccharide (fructose and glucose), polysaccharide (inulin) and the Jerusalem artichoke juice by a simple one-pot reaction including hydrolysis and dehydration using solid acid under mild conditions. HMF is a platform chemical that can be further... Read more →

Hydrogenics GmbH Awarded Contract for Fuel Cells for Aircraft Power Applications

Hydrogenics GmbH, the German operating unit of Hydrogenics, has been awarded a contract by Germany’s national research center for aeronautics and space (DLR) to supply a series of next-generation fuel cell modules for aircraft power applications. The DLR is currently working on several projects such as the Multifunctional APU and... Read more →

BMW Group and PSA Expand Cooperation to Hybrid Systems for Front Wheel Drive Vehicles

Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to expand their companies’ cooperation by including hybrid components for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The components are to be used in front-wheel-drive vehicles... Read more →

Dow Corning to Produce 100mm Silicon Carbide Epitaxy for Power Electronics

Dow Corning will begin production of 100 mm silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxy, providing a single source for SiC substrates used in power electronics device manufacturing. Dow Corning supplies SiC and silicon materials that can be used in high power applications such as high-tech communications, solar and wind energy systems, large... Read more →

Integrated conceptual lignocellulosic biorefinery for the production of renewable chemicals and liquid fuels. The four-step process to make straight-chain alkanes is highlighted in the shaded box. Source: Xing et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the University of Maine have developed a novel four-step... Read more →

ECOtality Outlines EV Infrastructure Plans for Phoenix Area; ~920 Level 2 Chargers, 40 Fast Chargers

ECOtality, Inc. outlined the company’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure plans for the metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona area at a press conference featuring key regional stakeholders. ECOtality released EV charging maps that reveal the potential locations for the company’s Blink EV chargers and discussed The EV Project’s progress alongside Litchfield Park Mayor... Read more →

Mastervolt and Steyr Motors Form Partnership on Series Hybrid Systems for Boats

Mastervolt and Steyr Motors, the Austrian specialist for marine diesel engines, have formed a working partnership to develop and distribute a range of series hybrid diesel-electric drive installations for boats. Steyr won a DAME award in 2007 for its parallel hybrid technology, and the company is now working with Mastervolt... Read more →

Los Angeles Building Out New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Key Transit Locations

The California Energy Commission recently announced EV Connect, a provider of electric vehicle infrastructure solutions and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting a pilot program to assess the integration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) into the transportation network and consumer behavior and ridership patterns. This... Read more →

smart car2go with solar roof. Click to enlarge. Daimler subsidiary car2go GmbH and Hamburg-based Europcar Autovermietung GmbH will launch the car2go mobility concept in Hamburg in spring 2011. Initially there will be 300 smart fortwo vehicles for the car2go scheme in the Hanseatic city. The cars being used are two-seater... Read more →