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Maquette of the Can-Am plug-in Hybrid Spyder. Click to enlarge. The Centre de technologies avancées BRP at the Université de Sherbrooke (CTA) is receiving C$11.3 million (US$11.3 million) in financial support to develop a plug-in hybrid version of BRP’s (Bombardier Recreational Products) Can-Am Spyder roadster. The government’s Automotive Partnership Canada... Read more →

Wärtsilä introduces more powerful version of Wärtsilä 32 engine

Wärtsilä has introduced a more powerful version for marine applications of its popular medium-speed Wärtsilä 32 engine. First introduced in the 1980s, the Wärtsilä 32 has sold more than 4,000 units sold to the marine industry alone. The Wärtsilä 32 engine is sold into both the marine and land-based power... Read more →

California gasoline consumption rose 0.8% in 3Q 2010, diesel up 2.3%

California gasoline consumption increased 1.5% in September and increased 0.8% in the third quarter of 2010, according to figures from the Board of Equalization (BOE). Diesel consumption increased 0.2% in September compared to last year and 2.3% in the third quarter. Californians consumed 3.80 billion gallons of gasoline in the... Read more →

E10 coming to pumps in Germany 1 January

Deutsche Welle. Super E10 (10% ethanol-gasoline blend) will become available at the more than 14,000 service stations in Germany as of 1 January 2011. Previously, biofuel in Germany had only 5% ethanol content. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) estimates that around 90 percent... Read more →

Massachusetts sets state GHG emissions limit for 2020 at 25% below 1990 levels, releases plan with additional measures, including Pay As You Drive auto insurance

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles has set the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limit for 2020 required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 at 25% below 1990 levels, the maximum authorized by the Act, saying that measures already in place will get Massachusetts much... Read more →

Report: US to test Japan’s CHAdeMO quick charging system for EVs

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the US will incorporate 310 quick charges using Japan’s standardized CHAdeMO system (earlier post) in its large scale EV tests being held in Arizona, California, Texas, Tennessee, Oregon and Washington State. This will be the first time a large number of quick chargers using the... Read more →

DOE issues RFI on algae biomass supplies for advanced biofuels RD&D efforts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking input from industry, academia, and other biofuels stakeholders regarding supply systems and services for the production, handling, storage, transport and delivery of algae via a new Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000466). DOE may use the information in support of program planning and... Read more →

Example of the structure of a partially filled CoSb skutterudite. Source: C. Uher. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are working to improve the thermoelectric (TE) capabilities of filled skutterudites to the point that they could improve the performance... Read more →

TravelCenters of America LLC planning to install 50 on-island DEF dispensers in 2011

TravelCenters of America LLC confirmed its on-island DEF (diesel exhaust fluid for use with selective catalytic reduction exhaust aftertreatment systems) dispenser roll-out. TA expects to install about 50 on-island DEF dispensers at locations across the country in 2011. DEF is a nontoxic solution of 67.5% purified water and 32.5% urea.... Read more →

Report: Fuji Heavy Industries may suspend production of Stella EV with end of minivehicle production

Kyodo News reports that Fuji Heavy Industries may suspend production of its electric minivehicle, the Stella EV (earlier post). While details including the timing of the suspension have not been decided, the maker of Subaru brand cars may suspend production of the EV when it stops manufacturing the Stella minivehicle,... Read more →

Japan postpones launch of GHG emissions trading scheme until after FY2013

Nikkei. Japan’s government will postpone creation of a greenhouse gas emissions trading system until after fiscal 2013. It will continue with the introduction of an environment tax in the form of higher tax rates on fossil fuels depending upon the degree of CO2 associated, in FY 2011. The Democratic Party... Read more →

Noble Energy’s Eastern Mediterranean exploration. Source: Noble Energy. Click to enlarge. Texas-based Noble Energy, Inc. announced a significant natural gas discovery at the Leviathan exploration prospect offshore Israel. The results from the well confirm the pre-drill estimated resource range, with a gross mean for Leviathan of 16 trillion cubic feet... Read more →

Tokyo Institute of Technology and industrial partners to build floating offshore algae farms

The Nikkei reports that Tokyo Institute of Technology, Takenaka Corp. and other partners are planning to build an offshore pilot plant to grow algae for use in biofuel production. Takao Kashiwagi, a professor at the university, and six other people from the government, business and academic sectors will set up... Read more →

Ford equipping 2012 Focus with brake torque vectoring

Ford is implementing brake torque vectoring—a technology offered on some higher end vehicles—as standard in the 2012 Ford Focus. The new Focus is the first North American Ford vehicle to offer torque vectoring control. This is a technology that has been offered on high-end sports cars, yet Ford is making... Read more →

System for CO2 capture and storage using seawater could offer lower-cost option for coastal and developing areas

Greg Rau of the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Carbon Management Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reports in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology that a lab-scale seawater/mineral carbonate gas scrubber removed up to 97% of CO2 in a simulated flue gas stream at ambient temperature and... Read more →

IBM releases fifth annual “Next Five in Five“ list of near-term significant innovations; personalized routing for commuting/transportation makes the cut

IBM unveiled the fifth annual “Next Five in Five”—a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. Of the five, only one is directly transportation-related: Commuters will be able to quickly access personalized recommendations that help them... Read more →

Spain-based Repsol and China-based Sinopec successfully closed the agreement reached in October to develop jointly the exploration and production of its Brazil offshore assets and to create one of the Latin America’s largest private energy companies. Sinopec has provided $7.1 billion to Repsol Brazil, resulting in a company valued at... Read more →

SK signs MOU with Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics for stationary Li-ion energy storage systems

JoongAng Daily. SK Energy and Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop stationary Li-ion energy storage systems. Formosa Plastics Group is the largest company in Taiwan and the largest private petrochemical company in Asia. Under the MOU, a cathode developed and produced by Formosa will... Read more →

Mitsui Engineering and palm oil producer Sime Darby to partner on cellulosic ethanol from palm oil Empty Fruit Bunches; Inbicon technology

Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding and Malaysia-based Sime Darby Research Sdn. Berhad (SDR) (the research and development division of Sime Darby [SD], the world’s leading palm oil producer), have agreed to build and to operate a demonstration plant to produce cellulosic ethanol from palm oil Empty Fruit Bunches (EFB). MES has... Read more →

NEC to expand the production capacity of Li-ion battery electrodes with METI support; targeting 10M kWh/yr by 2012

The NEC Group announced that Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s (METI) “Regional Development Subsidy for Enterprises Creating Employment and Adding to a Low-Carbon Society” is supporting the company’s capital investment in reinforcing its production capacity of electrodes for rechargeable high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. This expansion is a major milestone... Read more →

Johnson Electric launches new micro motor product line

Johnson Electric introduced its Compact DC motor product line based on Johnson Electric’s proprietary Curve technology. The company says that the Compact DC micro motors offer the industry’s highest power density. Johnson Electric’s Curve technology is deployed within a DC motor platform with a novel 4 pole magnetic design in... Read more →

Newly engineered yeast can simultaneously ferment glucose and xylose to produce ethanol; significant cost benefits in ethanol production

A collaborative led by researchers at the University of Illinois and including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California at Berkeley, Seoul National University and BP have engineered a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae—the common industrial yeast—to co-ferment glucose and xylose simultaneously to produce ethanol. In a process of... Read more →

Carbon Sciences licenses catalyst technology for carbon dioxide reforming of methane from Univ. of Saskatchewan

Carbon Sciences Inc. (CSI), a company developing technology to transform carbon dioxide and methane into gasoline and other portable fuels (earlier post), has executed a worldwide exclusive license agreement with the University of Saskatchewan (UOS), Canada, for catalyst technology for the dry reforming of methane with CO2—a critical element of... Read more →

MHI and Dominion reach agreement to continue engineering and planning work in support of third unit at North Anna Nuclear Plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), through Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems Inc. (MNES), and Virginia Electric and Power Company have reached an agreement to continue pre-construction, engineering, and planning work in preparation for a third unit at Dominion’s North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in central Virginia. Dominion has selected MHI’s US-Advanced... Read more →

Sumitomo, Nissan and NEC to develop membership-based charging service for EVs in Japan

Sumitomo Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and NEC Corporation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote a new membership-based charging service for EV users that will be available for the first time nationwide in Japan. Under the MOU, the three companies will conduct a joint study to develop... Read more →

Finnair plans commercial use of NExBTL renewable jet fuel beginning in spring 2011

YLE.fi. Finnair plans to begin commercial use of NExBTL renewable jet fuel from Neste Oil beginning next spring. Lufthansa earlier announced that it will begin a six-month trial of NExBTL renewable jet fuel in April 2011 with an Airbus A321 on scheduled commercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route. (Earlier post.)... Read more →

One of the electric buses. Click to enlarge. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has started commercial operation of full-size battery electric buses on the Mt. Namsan circular routes as of 21 December. SMG has worked on the project to develop full-sized electric buses with local technology over the last one... Read more →

Capstone Turbine C30 CNG microturbine certified to 2010 emissions requirements for on-road heavy duty diesel engines for urban buses

Capstone Turbine Corporation has released configurations of the C30 compressed natural gas (CNG) microturbine that meet or exceed emissions standards, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2010 requirements for On-Road Heavy Duty Diesel Engines (HDDE) for Urban Bus. The C30 CNG microturbine is Capstone’s... Read more →

Audi to launch €11.6B investment program in 2011; focus on future technologies, including electric and hybrid drive systems

Audi plans to invest about €11.6 billion (US$15.3 billion) between 2011 and 2015, primarily in new products and technologies, as well as in upgrading its sites. This marks the largest investment program in the company’s history. About 80% of all investment—more than €9.5 billion (US$12.5 billion)—will go to developing new... Read more →

Beijing implements new traffic congestion control measures; quota for new license plates

On 23 December, the Beijing municipal government issued a number of new measures—including its first quota system for new license plates—effective immediately, aimed at curbing traffic congestion in Beijing. Purchasers of automobiles to replace old vehicles may continue to use the previous license plates and are therefore not subject to... Read more →

Saab Automobile divests transmission engineering to new company owned by consortium led by Fouriertransform

Saab Automobile has transferred its transmissions development work to a new company wholly owned by a consortium led by the Swedish state-backed venture capital investor Fouriertransform. The new company, called VICURA and to be formally established on 1 January, will be staffed by more than 50 former Saab Automobile Powertrain... Read more →

Automobile production in Japan dropped 6.7% in November, led by 30.3% decline in small cars

Automobile production in Japan dropped 6.7% year-on-year in November to 802,009 units, according to data from the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Passenger car production dropped 8.2% to 689,808 units, led by a 30.3% decline in small cars to 165,866 units. By contrast, production of standard cars of more than 2L... Read more →

Advanced biofuels conference in Singapore to focus on cellulosic and algal produced bioenergy

Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology and Singapore’s Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced the second Keystone Symposia conference on Biofuels in Singapore from 1-6 March 2011. The conference titled “Biofuels” will discuss: Bioenergy: The Options for an Economic and Sustainable Future, Sustainability of cellulosic ethanol (Biofuel... Read more →

Ford Auto Start-Stop. Click to enlarge. Ford will begin applying start-stop technology—currently used in Ford hybrids and some Ford cars in Europe—in conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America in 2012. When Auto Start-Stop debuts in North America, it will be available on gasoline-powered cars and utilities with either... Read more →

Honda EV testing program with Kumamoto Prefecture

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced its plan on the ongoing cooperation with Kumamoto Prefecture on Electric Vehicle Testing Program for next-generation personal mobility products, including electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric scooters and electric carts. Earlier on 15 December, Honda announced its Electric Vehicle Testing Programs in the US,... Read more →

Study finds ocean acidification is resulting in decreasing nitrification

Increasing oceanic acidity is decreasing nitrification, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients in the oceans; all organisms use nitrogen to make proteins and other important compounds. Some microbes can also use different... Read more →

Study finds autothermal reforming with WGS reactor preferred option for on-board reforming of biodiesel and bioethanol

A study by a team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) identified autothermal reforming in combination with a water gas shift reactor as the preferred option for on-board reforming of biodiesel and bioethanol into a hydrogen-rich gas suitable for high temperature PEM (HTPEM) fuel... Read more →

GM and HRL team use vertically aligned graphene nanosheets to increase Li-ion electrode high rate capability

Researchers from General Motors Global Research & Development Center and HRL Labs report enhancing the high rate capability of Li-ion anode materials through the used of vertically aligned graphene nanosheets on the current collector. Their paper is in press in the journal Electrochemistry Communications. In this paper, we demonstrated that... Read more →

China exempts consumption taxes on biodiesel retroactive to 1 Jan 2009

Xinhua. China has exempted consumption taxes on pure biodiesel made from waste animal fats or vegetable oils. The new policy is effective from 1 Jan. 2009 and taxes already paid will be refunded, according to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Administration of Taxation. The move is aimed... Read more →

Schematic of the solar reactor for the two-step, solar-driven thermochemical production of fuels. Click to enlarge. A team from Caltech, ETH Zürich and the Paul Scherrer Institute have devised a solar reactor for the two-step, solar-driven thermochemical production of fuels. In a paper published in the journal Science, they report... Read more →

Smith Electric Vehicles US finalizes purchase of Smith Electric UK for $15M; staging for IPO

Smith Electric Vehicles US (SEVUS) will finalize the purchase of its United Kingdom-based parent company, Smith Electric Vehicles (UK), creating the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles. The $15-million sale will be effective 1 Jan. 2011. Smith UK’s current owner, the Tanfield Group, will retain 49% equity in Smith... Read more →

Report: Sanyo To boost capacity for automotive Li-ion batteries

The Nikkei reports that Sanyo Electric Co. plans to raise its output capacity for automotive lithium ion batteries by 150% to the equivalent of some 1 million hybrid vehicles annually through a roughly ¥15 billion (US$180.7 million) investment in a key plant. Sanyo will boost production of lithium ion batteries... Read more →

Suzuki Motor and Mitsubishi Motors agree on OEM supply of compact passenger vehicles in Japan

Suzuki Motor Corporation (Suzuki) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) have mutually agreed on OEM supply of Suzuki’s SOLIO compact passenger vehicle to MMC. Suzuki will supply MMC with about 800 SOLIOs per month beginning from spring 2011. The OEM supply is expected to generate new customers for MMC, as it... Read more →

Eaton hybrid systems log 100M miles in service, reduce fuel consumption by 4M gallons

Eaton Corporation announced that customers of its hybrid systems have collectively accumulated more than 100 million miles of service, reducing fuel consumption by 4 million gallons of diesel fuel and harmful emissions by 40,000 metric tons. More than 4,500 of Eaton’s hybrid systems are in use today on city buses,... Read more →

Electrovaya completes C$5M financing; new Office of Chairman

Canada-based Li-ion battery maker Electrovaya Inc. has completed a financing for C$5 million (US$4.96 million). The funding is in consideration of a 6% secured promissory note in the aggregate principal amount of C$5 million and 500,000 common share purchase warrants issued to the lender. The promissory note matures in; and... Read more →

USABC awards $5.43M in advanced battery technology contracts to 5 firms

The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), an advanced research collaboration among Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company, announced approximately $5.43 million in advanced battery development and technology assessment contracts to five firms. The competitively bid contract awards are funded by the US Department of... Read more →

First example of a MOF in dehydration of carbohydrate to HMF

Researchers from China and the Netherlands report the use of phosphotungstic acid encapsulated in a metal-organic framework (MOF) as a catalyst for the dehydration of carbohydrates to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). This is the first example of the application of a metal–organic framework in carbohydrate dehydration. HMF is a renewable chemical platform... Read more →

Direct conversion of carbohydrates into HMF with germanium(IV) chloride in ionic liquids

Researchers in China report on the direct conversion of carbohydrates into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) catalyzed by germanium(IV) chloride in ionic liquids in a new paper in the journal ChemSusChem. The catalyst shows excellent activity for fructose dehydration, and a high yield of HMF up to 90% is obtained in 5 min.... Read more →

EPA proposes settlement agreements to address GHG emissions from power plants and petroleum refineries; issues final rules on GHG permitting framework

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered into two proposed settlement agreements to issue rules that will address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain fossil fuel-fired powerplants—electric generating units (EGUs)—and refineries. EPA also issued a series of rules that put the necessary regulatory framework in place to ensure that... Read more →

Daimler and GAZ partner on Sprinter production in Russia

Daimler and the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ signed a memorandum of understanding in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia with the aim of producing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans in Russia. Plans also call for local production of engines, transmissions, axles, and other components, which will then be used in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and... Read more →