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Chevrolet Volt demo vehicles begin arriving at dealerships

Chevrolet dealerships in the initial launch markets of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, DC will be receiving dedicated Volt demonstration vehicles for customer test drives over the next few weeks. We know the best way to experience the Volt is to get behind... Read more →

California gasoline use up 0.9% and diesel down 3.8% in October 2010

California gasoline consumption increased 0.9% year-on-year in October 2010, while diesel fuel consumption declined 3.8 percent, compared with October 2009, according to figures released by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). In October 2010, Californians used 1.257 billion gallons of gasoline compared to 1.246 billion gallons in October 2009.... Read more →

PetroChina offers INEOS $1B for a 50% share in its European refining business; two joint ventures result

PetroChina International (London) Co. Ltd. submitted an irrevocable offer to INEOS of US$1.015 billion for a 50% share in its European refining business. This business includes the refineries at Grangemouth in Scotland and Lavéra in France. The partnership with PetroChina will comprise a trading joint venture and a refining joint... Read more →

Quantum awarded contract for high-capacity NGV storage systems; 500-mile range for heavy-duty trucks

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. has secured a new purchase contract from a leading Utah-based natural gas vehicle integrator to supply a series of large capacity natural gas vehicle tanks for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that operate long distances. The Quantum next-generation high-capacity Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) storage system... Read more →

TAU developing software tool to improve bike sharing systems management

Engineers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel are developing a mathematical model to lead to a software solution to improve urban bike sharing systems management. Bike sharing allows a subscriber to take a bike from one of hundreds of locations in a city, use it, and return it to... Read more →

Fuel and vehicle propulsion strategy. (Source: ERTRAC) Click to enlarge. Alternative fuels have the potential gradually to replace fossil energy sources and make transport sustainable by 2050, according to a report presented to the European Commission last week by the stakeholder expert group on future transport fuels. The EU will... Read more →

Ford designates BAF Technologies as Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous fuels

Ford Motor Company has designated BAF Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., as a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous-fueled vehicles. BAF’s alternative fuel vehicle upfitting capabilities include aftermarket compressed natural gas (CNG) conversions of Ford-manufactured vans, cutaway shuttles, taxis, pick-ups and light-duty trucks. To ensure... Read more →

ECOtality’s Blink Network integrates with Cisco’s Home Energy Management Solution

EV charging equipment supplier ECOtality, Inc. has completed development for integrating the Blink Network charger interface with the Cisco Home Energy Management Solution (HEMS). The Blink Network charger interface will now be accessible through the Cisco Home Energy Controller (HEC), where Blink EV Home Charging Station owners can access information... Read more →

Examples of degradation effects causing Li-ion battery power or capacity fading. Source: Roland Matthé, GM. Click to enlarge. With the Volt extended range electric vehicle and the Leaf battery electric vehicle now on the market, joining an ever increasing array of hybrids, and with next-generation versions of all of these... Read more →

OriginOil lands first order for industrial-scale algae oil extraction system; Bio-CCS

OriginOil, Inc. has received the first commercial order to deploy its algae oil extraction system in an industrial setting. MBD Energy (MBD) recently committed to purchase an initial OriginOil extraction unit for piloting at one of Australia’s three largest coal-fired power plants. (Earlier post.) MBD Energy expects OriginOil technology to... Read more →

Siemens series hybrid drive system Elfa reduces fuel consumption in buses by about one-third

City buses equipped with the new Siemens series hybrid drive system Elfa consume one-third less fuel than conventional buses, according to the company. Rather than powering the rear axle via an automatic transmission, as usually, the diesel engine in the Elfa system drives a generator that uses power electronics to... Read more →

Queensland government halts UCG trial at Kingaroy plant, allows Linc Chinchilla to continue

The Queensland (Australia) Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Kate Jones announced that the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) trial plant near Kingaroy will not be allowed to recommence. Minister Jones said Cougar Energy could not demonstrate to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and the independent Scientific Expert... Read more →

Linc Energy acquires more UCG coal exploration acreage in Alaska

Linc Energy Ltd has acquired the grant of 181,414 acres of Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) coal exploration licences in Alaska from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority following a competitive bidding process. This is an excellent outcome for Linc Energy which greatly advances our strategic goal to bring commercial UCG... Read more →

Researchers determine Agave is a high-yielding bioenergy crop

Scientists found that in 14 independent studies, the yields of two Agave species greatly exceeded the yields of other biofuel feedstocks, such as corn, soybean, sorghum, and wheat. Additionally, even more productive Agave species that have not yet been evaluated exist. Agaves are succulents with large rosettes of thick fleshy... Read more →

Example of micro fibers produced with 20 wt % AB (ammonia borane) in water as core solution, showing smooth (nonporous) and cylindrical (noncollapsed) fibers; from a 2010 paper by the scientific team. Credit: ACS, Kurban et al. Click to enlarge. Cella Energy, a new spin-off company from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton... Read more →

Technip launches Vertiwind floating wind turbine project

Technip, in association with Nénuphar, Converteam and EDF Energies nouvelles recently launched the Vertiwind project to test a pre-industrial prototype of a vertical-axis offshore floating wind turbine. The partners of the project are Seal Engineering, ISITV, IFP Energies nouvelles, Arts et Métiers, Bureau Veritas, Oceanide. Free of the constraints related... Read more →

Charging infrastructure anecdote from AABC

During his presentation on challenges for battery development for an extended range electric vehicle to the AABC event in Pasadena this past week, Roland Matthé, GM’s technical manager for the Voltec Battery System, as an aside touched on another challenge: finding an appropriate plug. I noticed [a charging outlet] was... Read more →

New BMW 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for US offers performance of a six

BMW this past week announced the return of a four-cylinder engine to the US BMW line-up for the first time in since 1999 (earlier post), and has now provided a few more details. Like the company’s latest 3.0-liter turbo inline six, the new 2.0-liter engine will combine twin-scroll turbocharging with... Read more →

Trial begins of new intelligent multimodal travel management service in European cities

EU-funded scientists are piloting a service that will allow people to determine the best way of making journeys in cities. As well as helping individuals find the most efficient route and travel mode, the systems should cut congestion and lower the environmental impacts of road transport. The system was presented... Read more →

University of Victoria to retrofit research ship with fuel cell hybrid system

The University of Victoria (Canada) will use a portion of $13.3 million in funding provided by the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund for ocean research projects to refit the former Coast Guard vessel Tsekoa II for ocean research in the Strait of Georgia and off the west coast of Vancouver... Read more →

Sakhalin-1 project drills world’s longest extended-reach well

Exxon Mobil subsidiary Exxon Neftegas Limited has successfully drilled the world’s longest extended-reach well at the Odoptu field, offshore far east Russia. The Odoptu OP-11 well reached a total measured depth of 40,502 feet (12,345 meters or 7.67 miles) to set a record for extended-reach drilling (ERD). The Odoptu OP-11... Read more →

HR Biopetroleum buys out Shell’s share in Cellana algae biofuels venture

HR BioPetroleum, Inc. (HRBP), a Hawai’i-based and -founded renewable biofuels company, will acquire Shell’s shareholding in Cellana, a joint venture between Shell and HRBP. (Earlier post.) On 31 January 2011, HRBP will become the sole owner of Cellana, including its six-acre demonstration facility in Kona, Hawaii. In 2007, HRBP and... Read more →

MAN Diesel & Turbo introduces new LPG marine engines; can run on DME

MAN Diesel & Turbo is introducing its Liquid ME-GI (Liquid Gas Injection) engines for marine applications. The Liquid ME-GI is powered by LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas), a smaller market than LNG but of significance in certain segments such as the small tankers that ply river traffic and coastal shipping routes,... Read more →

CMU study concludes diesel and hybrid vehicles can retain more value than PFI gasoline vehicles despite higher new car price

A new Carnegie Mellon University study released at the Washington Auto Show finds that for passenger cars, aadvanced vehicles with higher fuel economy—i.e, turbocharged direct injection diesels or hybrids—retain more value than a paired conventional vehicle—i.e., port fuel injected (PFI) gasoline—during periods of higher fuel costs. For trucks, they also... Read more →

General Motors India introduces locally-developed 1.2L Smart-Tech Engine

General Motors India has introduced its new Smart-Tech engine. The 1.2-liter Smart-Tech engine was created by the GM Technical Centre-India in Bangalore in cooperation with GM’s new engine plant in Talegaon. It will be produced at the Talegaon facility for a range of new models offered by GM in India.... Read more →

Alberta conditionally approves Total’s new Joslyn oil sands mine

A Joint Review Panel of the Government of Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has conditionally approved Total’s Joslyn oil sands mine. (Earlier post.) The project is to be located about 70 kilometers north of Fort McMurray. It consists of an oil sands surface mine and ore preparation and bitumen... Read more →

Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Thailand’s PTT Chemicals in R&D agreement to commercialize proprietary green algae

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the PTT Chemical Public Company Ltd. (PTT) in Thailand have signed a research and development collaboration agreement for commercial development of BGU’s proprietary green algae strain. The agreement is for the production of dihomo gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA- Omega 6) using BGU’s mutant strain... Read more →

Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute awards firm contract for Altairnano Energy Storage System

Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. has been awarded a firm contract with the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI) of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa to supply a one-megawatt ALTI-ESS energy storage system for a test of wind energy integration. (Earlier post.) The system will be installed at the Hawi wind farm... Read more →

BMW powertrain strategy. Click to enlarge. For the first time in more than a decade, BMW will once again offer a four-cylinder engine in the United States, said Jim O’Donnell, president BMW North America, in remarks at the Washington DC Auto Show. The new four-cylinder engine combines twin-scroll turbocharging with... Read more →

Researchers identify dozens of new microbial enzymes in cow rumen that could contribute to breakdown of biomass for biofuel production

Researchers have used a metagenomic analysis to discover dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen—the cow’s primary grass-digestion chamber—that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source. The study, reported in the current issue of the journal Science, tackles a major barrier to the... Read more →

Statoil Canada oil sands SAGD project produces first oil

Statoil Canada has produced first oil from its SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) Leismer Demonstration Project (LDP) in the Canadian oil sands after initiating steam injection in September 2010, one month ahead of schedule. LDP, approved to 10,000 barrels per day (bpd), is the first phase of the Leismer project, which... Read more →

Tesla to use Umicore in Li-ion battery recycling program in Europe

Tesla Motors has launched a recycling program in Europe for its Li-ion battery packs, and will recycle its battery packs at Umicore’s UHT facility in Belgium. (Earlier post.) The Brussels-based materials technology company will use the expended pack material to produce an alloy that will be further refined into cobalt,... Read more →

Umicore acquires Lithium-ion cathode material patents from FMC Corporation

Materials technology group Umicore has acquired a set of product and process patents covering high-end Li-ion active cathode materials from FMC Corporation. This patented technology increases the performance and safety for Li-ion batteries using lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) and mixed metal lithium oxides (NMC) as cathode material. The patent family... Read more →

Chevrolet accelerates Volt rollout; available nationwide by end of 2011

Chevrolet is stepping up the national rollout of the Volt, and plans to have Volts in all participating dealerships in every state by the end of this year. Chevrolet Volts have been delivered to customers in the Washington DC area, as well as California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and... Read more →

Volvo to unveil V60 diesel Plug-in Hybrid at Geneva Motor Show

At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Volvo Cars will unveil the V60 diesel Plug-in Hybrid—a virtually production-ready car with carbon dioxide emissions below 50 g/km, which translates into fuel consumption of some 1.9 L/100 km (124 mpg US). (Earlier post.) All-electric range is up to 50 km (31 miles), with... Read more →

GE Capital, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips form $300M JV to fund emerging energy technology

GE, NRG Energy, Inc. and ConocoPhillips have formed a joint venture—Energy Technology Ventures—and have committed $300 million in capital to it to fund approximately 30 venture- and growth-stage companies over the next four years. Energy Technology Ventures will invest in, and offer commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy... Read more →

smart USA delivers first retail electric drive vehicle

smart USA Distributor LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., delivered the first smart fortwo electric drive to a retail customer in the United States. The smart fortwo electric drive is powered by a 30 kW magneto-electric motor and 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. According to the US EPA LA4... Read more →

US VP Biden outlines 3-part plan to have 1M advanced technology vehicles on US roads by 2015

In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama highlighted his goal of making the United States the first country in the world to put one million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015. Following a tour of the Ener1, Inc. factory today, Vice President Biden outlined... Read more →

ONR, USMC successfully demonstrate alternative energy systems at forward operating bases in Afghanistan

To cut down on convoys trucking fuel to forward operating bases, as well as to implement the Department of the Navy’s vision for energy efficiency, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and elements within the US Marine Corps (USMC) have successfully demonstrated their goal to reduce petroleum and energy usage... Read more →

GM Ventures makes $7M strategic investment in Envia Systems for advanced Li-ion cathode materials

General Motors Ventures LLC has invested $7 million in Newark, Calif.-based Envia Systems to provide GM’s battery engineering team with access to advanced lithium-ion cathode technology that delivers higher cell energy density and lower cost. In a separate agreement, GM has secured the right to use Envia’s advanced cathode material... Read more →

Researchers at the Technische Universität Dresden have designed packing of carbon nanotubes with three and four different orientations of tube axes that are stable and can store hydrogen with uptake amounts up to 19.0 wt% at 77 K (-196 °C)) and 5.5 wt% at 300 K (27 °C)), approaching the... Read more →

EU approves grant for Chemrec biomethanol, bioDME plant

The European Union has approved the SEK 500 million (€55 million, $75 million) R&D grant awarded by the Swedish Energy Agency towards the industrial scale demonstration biofuels plant based on Chemrec’s gasification technology at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. (Earlier post.) The plant will produce the renewable and... Read more →

US’ 2nd-largest petroleum refinery to pay more than $5.3M for Clean Air Act violations

Hovensa LLC, a joint venture between subsidiaries of Hess Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., and the owner of the second-largest petroleum refinery in the United States, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of more than $5.3 million and spend more than $700 million in new pollution controls that... Read more →

LPI’s HEHC cycle. Click to enlarge. LiquidPiston, Inc., the developer of an efficient naturally aspirated rotary engine that can fire on both gasoline and diesel (earlier post) has closed a $5-million Series B investment round. Northwater Capital and Adams Capital Management were joined by unnamed angel investors. The LiquidPiston engine... Read more →

Sandia researchers optimizing endophytic fungi-derived renewable hydrocarbons for current and advanced combustion engines

Engine experts and biofuels researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working on a project that aims to modify endophytic fungi to produce optimized fuel-type hydrocarbons. Endophytes are a class of fungi that live between plant cell walls; the cellular material in those plant walls can be converted into hydrocarbon compounds... Read more →

Honda Soltec to release new enhanced thin-film solar cell in 2011

Honda Soltec Co., Ltd. will this year release a new thin-film solar cell with an even more compact design than the current model to allow efficient installation on a wide range of roof shapes. The module conversion efficiency of the new solar cell module is expected to exceed 13.0%, ranking... Read more →

Maryland, DOE and Daimler Trucks North America begin deployment of 143 heavy-duty hybrid electric and hybrid hydraulic trucks

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has launched the deployment of 143 heavy-duty Freightliner hybrid electric and Freightliner Custom Chassis hybrid hydraulic trucks under the Maryland Hybrid Truck Initiative (MHTI). MHTI is utilizing $5.9 million in grant funding... Read more →

UBE targeting functional electrolytes for automotive applications

UBE Industries, which last week announced a new electrolyte development center for large Li-ion batteries in Europe (earlier post), is targeting the development of functional electrolytes for Li-ion batteries for automotive applications. At the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) in Pasadena this week, Yoshihiro Ushigoe, manager of the electrolyte development... Read more →