« January 2011 | Main | March 2011 »

EPA issues final approval for HFO-1234yf refrigerant for mobile AC systems

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued final approval for HFO-1234yf refrigerant (earlier post) in motor vehicle air conditioning systems. The chemical, which does not deplete the ozone layer, may now be used in air conditioning for new cars and light trucks. When used appropriately, EPA says, this chemical... Read more →

Ballard conditionally awarded C$7M by SDTC for fuel cell distributed power generation

Ballard Power Systems has been conditionally awarded up to C$7 million (US$7.2 million) by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to extend the operating life and lower the product cost of FCgen(TM)-1300, the fuel cell power plant that powers Ballard’s CLEARgen distributed generation system. The first application of this new lower... Read more →

Peugeot launching bookings for its numbered 3008 HYbrid4 Limited Edition

At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, Peugeot is launching bookings for its numbered 3008 HYbrid4 Limited Edition; only 300 units of the limited edition diesel hybrid will be produced. (Earlier post.) The 3008 HYbrid4 is powered by a 2.0-liter HDi FAP 120 kW (163 bhp) diesel engine with an electric... Read more →

BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën to invest €100M in JV on hybrid technologies

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën plan to invest €100 million (US$138 million) in their intended joint venture on hybrid technology named “BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification”. (Earlier post.) The new company will operate out of two locations: the greater Munich area, Germany and Mulhouse, France. 400 employees are expected... Read more →

Freescale introduces intelligent sensor for automotive lead-acid battery monitoring; addressing increasing electrical loads and stop-start

Freescale Semiconductor introduced the MM912J637 intelligent battery sensor (IBS), which accurately measures the voltage, current and temperature of lead-acid batteries and calculates the battery state, all while operating in harsh automotive conditions. The ability to accurately assess these battery parameters is becoming more important with increases in the number of... Read more →

Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. (OPT) has completed the first of its new generation utility-scale PowerBuoy device, the PB150. (Earlier post.) The PB150 PowerBuoy, with a peak-rated output of 150 kW, is the largest and most powerful wave power device designed by OPT to date, and is designed for use in... Read more →

Kia Motors signs agreement with Vodafone to develop telematics opportunities in Europe

Kia Motors Corp. signed an agreement with Vodafone Global Enterprise, the business within Vodafone which manages the communications needs of its largest multinational customers, to explore business opportunities in telematics services in Europe. Under the agreement, Kia will focus on creating new business opportunities based on automotive IT systems and... Read more →

China develops 3rd generation of automotive steel; light weight and safety

People’s Daily. The China Iron and Steel Research Institute Group (CISRI) recently held a press event in Beijing highlighting its successful development of a third generation of automotive steel, intended to significantly decrease vehicle weight and improve crash safety. According to the group, the newly-developed material is expected to be... Read more →

GS Caltex, JX Nippon Oil & Energy to set up JV for Li-ion anode materials

Dong-A Ilbo. GS Caltex, South Korea’s second-largest energy company, and Japan-based JX Nippon and Oil Energy (formerly Nippon Oil) will set up a joint venture to produce anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Under the agreement, a plant will be built in the Korean city of Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province, by... Read more →

Westport awarded C$2.3M by SDTC for natural gas fueling for high-horsepower applications such as mining, rail and marine

Westport Innovations Inc. has secured a funding commitment of C$2.3 million (US$2.35 million) from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop Westport HD technology for high-horsepower applications using high-pressure direct injection and/or natural gas/diesel dual-fuel approaches. Westport is proposing to significantly improve the cost structure for operators of high-horsepower equipment... Read more →

Shanghai OnStar breaks the 200,000th subscriber mark

Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co., Ltd. more than doubled its subscriber base in the last three months to surpass 200,000. Shanghai OnStar has responded to: More than 1,460 Automatic Crash Response victims with immediate crash notification. More than 50 stolen vehicle locations. More than 37,000 remote door unlocks for vehicle owners.... Read more →

Global sales of Nissan Qashqai (known as the Dualis in Japan and some other markets) models surpassed one million units as of 31 January 31. Launched in the European market in March 2007, Qashqai made its debut during the same year in Japan followed by Africa, the Middle East, Oceania,... Read more →

Study finds PHEVs will reduce net emissions of CO2 and NOx; upward pressure on SO2

Net emissions resulting from the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) depend on the efficiency of the conventional vehicle fleet; PHEV CD (all-electric, charge-depleting mode) efficiency; charging strategy; battery pack capacity; driving patterns; and generator mix used for charging. A team at Carnegie Mellon University has modeled the net... Read more →

Report: Japanese consortium to bid for high-speed rail project in California

The Nikkei reports that East Japan Railway Co. will team up with other Japanese firms, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Sumitomo Corp., Nippon Sharyo Ltd., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. in bidding for a high-speed railway project in California. The group will inform the California state government of... Read more →

Scotia Economics report sees double-digit increase in global vehicle production in first half of 2011; China to surpass European vehicle output this year

Rising global vehicle sales and profitability have encouraged automakers to continue to increase vehicle production, providing the global economy with some positive offset to the dampening impact of the recent surge in energy prices, according to the latest Global Auto Report released on Friday by Canada-based Scotia Economics. During the... Read more →

China adopts new car tax based on engine size to promote energy conservation

Xinhua. China’s legislature voted on Friday to adopt a new tax based on engine size to encourage the use of smaller engines in vehicles and vessels to reduce pollution and oil dependence. The law will go into effect on 1 January 2012. Under the old regulations, the same levy was... Read more →

Study finds that overfertilizing corn degrades capacity for cellulosic biofuel production

A study led by researchers from Rice University has found that overfertilizing corn grown for ethanol is bad for the production of cellulosic biofuel as well as for the environment. In a study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the team found that increases in biomass in... Read more →

Cella Energy Ltd named UK winner for Shell Springboard Awards 2011 for novel solid-state hydrogen storage technology

Cella Energy, developer of a novel hydrogen storage technology (earlier post), was named the UK winner for the Shell Springboard Awards 2011. Cella Energy’s invention uses nanotechnology to store hydrogen safely in tiny micro-beads (smaller than a grain of sand) which then release hydrogen when heated. Storing hydrogen in this... Read more →

Nickel Nitride for Li-ion anode material with good reversible capacity

Researchers in France and Spain have designed a nickel nitride material for use as an anode in Li-ion batteries that shows good reversible capacity. A paper on their work is published in the RSC Journal of Materials Chemistry. Nickel nitride was prepared through different routes involving ammonolysis of different precursors... Read more →

Teco to begin producing E-Bus hub motors in April, May

Taiwan’s Teco Group will start producing the first batch of in-wheel (hub) electric motors in April or May, according to the chairman C.K. Liu. The hub motors will be installed in electric buses in Japan, with each vehicle using eight such propulsion devices. Teco is also cooperating with Chinese partners... Read more →

New Ford Focus with Super Fuel Economy package EPA-certified at 40 mpg highway

The new Ford Focus (earlier post) with the SFE (Super Fuel Economy) package is EPA-certified at 40 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg city. Focus becomes the fourth vehicle in the Ford Motor Company vehicle lineup with an EPA-certified rating of 40 mpg (on either city or highway cycles)... Read more →

USDA expands efforts to develop crop insurance for biofuels producers

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will soon seek proposals to study the feasibility of providing crop insurance to producers of biofuel feedstocks, including corn stover, straw and woody biomass. These feasibility studies, funded by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) will join research efforts already underway for energy cane, switchgrass... Read more →

Zurich Financial Services Group collaborating with Rinspeed in developing new community platform to understand future mobility needs

Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) will be collaborating with innovative Swiss car manufacturer Rinspeed on initiatives to develop a better understanding of how people will drive in the future and how this will change insurance needs. As part of this co-operation, Zurich will support the development of “BamBoo”, a community... Read more →

Australian auto manufacturing industry collaborating on electric vehicles; launch of EV Engineering Ltd.

Leading companies in the Australian automotive manufacturing industry are collaborating on the design and engineering of electric vehicles with the launch of EV Engineering Ltd. EV Engineering will design and engineer seven proof-of-concept fully-electric versions of Australia’s number-one selling passenger vehicle, the Holden Commodore. This project will take place over... Read more →

Oxford Catalysts raises £21M to accelerate commercialization of synthetic fuels technology

The Oxford Catalysts Group has raised £21 million (US$34 million) before expenses from the conditional placing of 26,250,000 new shares, which will be used to accelerate its ongoing transition from a research and development organization to a commercial product company. In particular, additional staff will be hired to support its... Read more →

Kia Motors intends to join the Clean Energy Partnership to promote fuel cell electric vehicles in Germany

Kia Motor Corp. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with members of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) to help promote fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in Germany. The initial agreement was signed in Seoul, attended by Dr. Hyun Soon Lee, Vice Chairman and head of Hyundai-Kia R&D; Dr. Klaus... Read more →

Volvo Car outlines plans for strategic expansion in China, its “2nd home market”; R&D support for hybrids and EVs

Volvo Car Corporation, owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, outlined its plans for strategic expansion in China, which President and CEO Stefan Jacoby called the company’s second home market. Among the steps to be taken as part of its new 5-year plan in the country is building a new plant... Read more →

Report: Japan To Spend ¥110B to cut use of Chinese rare earth metals

The Nikkei reports that the Japanese government and private sector plan to invest ¥110 billion (US$1.3 billion) in efforts to reduce domestic industry’s dependence on rare-earth metal supplies from China by a third. Japan currently imports 90% of the rare-earth metals it uses from China. As the first step in... Read more →

California ARB formally considers 28 proposed new lower-carbon transportation fuel pathways

The California Air Resources Board formally considered the first 28 proposals for new ways to make low carbon transportation fuels under California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). (Earlier post.) Data related to the manufacture and production of the proposed fuels were presented by staff to ARB Executive Officer James Goldstene... Read more →

China BAK signs Li-ion high-power battery supply contract with Xidesheng Bicycle

China BAK Battery, Inc. was awarded a new contract to supply lithium-ion high-power batteries to leading e-bike manufacturer, XDS Shenzhen Xidesheng Bicycle Co., Ltd. in China. China BAK will supply 20,000 units of lithium-ion high-power batteries, which will be used to power Xidesheng Bicycle’s electric bicycles. Management expects to receive... Read more →

Amyris partners with Givaudan to develop key fragrance ingredient from Biofene

Amyris, Inc., a renewable hydrocarbons company, has entered into an agreement with Givaudan, the Swiss global leader in the fragrances and flavors industry. Under the agreement, Givaudan will develop a derivative of Biofene to be used as a building block for one of the most important proprietary fragrance ingredients in... Read more →

Fallbrook and ASL to develop EV transmission drives based on NuVinci CVP technology in Shanghai

Fallbrook Technologies (Fallbrook) along with global automotive consulting and technology development firm Advanced Strategic Leadership (ASL) Partners announced that China’s Shanghai (Yangpu District) government approved a proposal for an Electric Vehicle Design Center to develop prototype transmissions for electric vehicles leveraging Fallbrook’s NuVinci DeltaSeries technology. The approval follows the Yangpu... Read more →

Envergent’s RTP process to produce renewable hydrocarbon boiler fuel for Crane

Envergent Technologies’s RTP (Rapid Thermal Processing) technology (earlier post) will convert biomass feedstock into a renewable oil to heat and power the Crane & Co. Mass. facility where it produces paper used for US currency. RTP is a rapid thermal process in which biomass such as wood chips or straw... Read more →

DOE finalizes $96.8M loan guarantee for Oregon Geothermal Project; supercritical binary geothermal cycle

The US Department of Energy (DOE) finalized a $96.8 million Recovery Act supported loan guarantee to a project sponsored by US Geothermal, Inc. to construct a 23 megawatt (net) geothermal power project in Malheur County, in southeastern Oregon. DOE initially offered a $102.2-million conditional commitment for the project in June... Read more →

Port of Los Angeles provides AMP Mobile shore-side power to three different cruise lines

The Port of Los Angeles this month became the first port worldwide to provide Alternative Maritime Power (AMP)—shore-side electric power, also called “cold ironing” (i.e., shutting down all combustion)—to three separate cruise lines. In recent weeks, ships from Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have all taken... Read more →

ATP making strategic expansion into deepwater Israel

ATP Oil & Gas Corporation, an international offshore oil and gas development and production company with operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea, is expanding its deepwater operating and infrastructure expertise to offshore Israel. Subject to approval of the Ministry of National Infrastructures (MNI), ATP has signed... Read more →

Maxwell’s CEO pitches ultracaps for GM eAssist system

In a blog post, Maxwell Technologies president and CEO David Schramm argues that ultracapacitors would be a perfect fit for GM’s eAssist second-generation light electrification technology (Earlier post.) The eAssist system is slated to be GM’s current default mild hybrid system for electrification applications of 20 kW power or less.... Read more →

Criteria emissions by drive cycle. Source: Barnitt 2011. Click to enlarge. NREL’s Fleet Test and Evaluation Team recently completed a year-long technology evaluation of gasoline hybrid electric (gHEV) FedEx Express delivery trucks compared with conventional diesel vehicles. The team found that the gasoline hybrid electric (gHEV) trucks produced substantially reduced... Read more →

Morgan Technical Ceramics to supply precision ceramic pump components for hybrid and electric vehicles

Morgan Technical Ceramics (MTC), a business within the Morgan Ceramics Division of The Morgan Crucible Company plc., recently signed an agreement with a leading international provider of automotive mechatronic drive and pump solutions to supply ceramic components for hybrid and electric vehicles. The pumps will be used in a new... Read more →

US NRC panel’s summary estimates of the potential reduction in petroleum consumption by 2035 for vehicle powertrain types assuming that the entire potential of these technologies is used to improve fuel economy rather than performance. Source: George Eads. Click to enlarge. The Global Fuel Economy Initiative’s targets (earlier post) to... Read more →

New electric car sharing scheme for Brussels

Sustainable-mobility.org. Zen Car and the Société Régionale d’Investissement de Bruxelles will partner to set up an electric car sharing scheme in Brussels as of March. The project may be supported by the state. 29 cars will be put into circulation; charging will be possible at around fifteen parking spaces in... Read more →

Scanning electron microscope image of polyethylene microcapsules spin coated onto Li-ion battery anode. These microcapsules are thermally triggered during thermal runaway conditions and infuse the anode shutting down ion transport and preventing lithium fires. Photo credit: Marta Baginska. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are applying... Read more →

Sharp Corporation has developed an Intelligent Power Conditioner that enables batteries in electric vehicles to be used as storage batteries for the home. Sharp will be conducting tests to confirm the safety and reliability of this system, with the aim of making this device commercially available in the near future.... Read more →

Pilus Energy and Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies to combine bioreactors with fuel cells

Pilus Energy, a developer of biogas solutions has formeda strategic relationship with Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, Pte. Ltd. The aim of the partnership is to combine Horizon’s hydrogen fuel cells to Pilus Energy’s renewable hydrogen production platform, with the goal of providing a unique turnkey, end-to-end solution to generate... Read more →

Researchers from Korea and the US have developed a new concentration-gradient Li[Ni0.83Co0.07Mn0.10]O2 cathode material that offer high energy capacity and stability. The team of has published earlier on the benefits of the concentration-gradient approach. (Earlier post.) Their latest paper appears in the RSC Journal of Materials Chemistry. Discharge capacity and... Read more →

New toll system in LA county will enable high-occupancy/toll lanes, adjust rates based on traffic levels

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will convert portions of Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 from “car pool” or high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to ExpressLanes or high occupancy toll lanes, allowing people driving alone to travel in existing car pool lanes for a toll. To help manage... Read more →

Petrobras oil and gas output in Brazil and abroad up 5.4% in January

In January, Petrobras’s average oil and natural gas production in Brazil and abroad reached 2,661,843 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed), 5.4% higher than the volume registered for January 2010. Fields in Brazil alone achieved average oil and gas output of 2,422,624 boed, a 6% increase on January last... Read more →

Nuvera Fuel Cells receives 2nd order for fuel cell powered forklifts from Defense Logistics Agency

Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc. has received a follow-on order from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for 18 PowerEdge RL25 fuel cell units to operate at the Susquehanna Defense Distribution Supply Depot (DDSP) in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. The RL25 units have joined 20 fuel cell systems powered by Nuvera’s technology in... Read more →

Kangoo Maxi ZE. Click to enlarge. Renault is adding a fifth model to its lineup of four electric vehicles (earlier post), the new Kangoo Maxi ZE; Renault will thus have two electric vehicles in the small van segment by the end of 2011, the other being the Kangoo Express ZE.... Read more →