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DOE awarding up to $12M to three projects to support development and production of drop-in biofuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding up to $12 million to fund three small-scale projects in Illinois, Wisconsin, and North Carolina that aim to commercialize novel conversion technologies to accelerate the development of advanced, drop-in biofuels and other valuable bio-based chemicals. Using innovative thermochemical processes, the projects seek... Read more →

Reaction Design optimizes CHEMKIN-CFD for ANSYS FLUENT 13

Reaction Design, a leading developer of combustion simulation software, announced that the CHEMKIN-CFD module for simulating detailed chemistry in multi-dimensional reacting flows is now optimized for use with ANSYS FLUENT 13. CHEMKIN-CFD is used by more than 100 organizations worldwide and is available to ANSYS FLUENT licensees at no charge.... Read more →

Optimized fuel properties with regard to different emissions Janssen et al. Click to enlarge. Tailor-made fuels from biomass have the potential to reduce emissions of criteria pollutants as well as greenhouse gases significantly in low temperature diesel combustion, according to a new open access study by a team from the... Read more →

McMaster University receives nearly $2.2M for oil sands tailings research

Researchers at McMaster have received nearly C$2.2 million (US 2.25 million) to examine environmental processes in Alberta’ oil sands which could help speed up the land reclamation process for Syncrude. The project team, led by Lesley Warren, a professor in the School of Geography & Earth Sciences, was recruited by... Read more →

Particles of pure magnesium (left) can only collect a limited amount of hydrogen on their outer surfaces, and the process is slow. But when the magnesium is doped with iron (right), far more hydrogen is delivered through the iron layers, which also results in much faster charging. Credit: NIST. Click... Read more →

California gasoline consumption down 4.1% in May; price per gallon up 35%

California gasoline consumption declined 4.1% in May compared to May last year, marking the second consecutive month of declines at equal to or more than 4%, according to figures from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). In California, gasoline consumption in May 2011 was down to 1.24 billion gallons... Read more →

New Audi S models to feature new downsized 4.0L V8 with cylinder deactivation, energy recuperation and start-stop

Audi will present its new S models for the first time at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show (IAA). The new S6, S7 and S8 feature a new 4.0L TFSI V8 with cylinder deactivation (cylinder-on-demand), energy recuperation and start-stop system). This is a downsized platform from the prior 5.2L naturally aspirated... Read more →

Nanoslide uses twin-wire arc spraying to melt iron/carbon wires and spray the material onto the internal cylinder wall. Final finishing resulting in a mirror-like surface with fine pores. Click to enlarge. After five years and use exclusively in AMG engines, twin-wire arc spraying technology will now also be used in... Read more →

Volvo Buses developing a fast-charging plug-in hybrid bus; charging equipment at end stations of bus lines

Volvo Buses is currently developing a plug-in hybrid bus that can drive long distances silently and exhaust-free on only electricity. Three buses will be tested in Gothenburg, Sweden, supported by the European Union. The plug-in hybrid bus, supported by authorities including the Swedish Energy Agency, is essentially the same Volvo... Read more →

The permanent magnet synchronous motor from Siemens has its first application in the Volvo C 30 Electric. Click to enlarge. Volvo Car Corporation and Siemens intend to jointly advance the technical development of electric cars through an extensive strategic cooperation. The focus is on the joint development of electrical drive... Read more →

Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES), a global energy and gasification technology company that provides products and solutions to the energy and chemicals industries, has entered into a Technical Study Agreement with Ambre Energy of Australia to supply a proprietary gasification design to support Ambre’s development of a planned Coal to... Read more →

Univ. of Michigan receives grant from Alcoa Foundation for sustainable transportation research in Detroit, Beijing

The University of Michigan will receive a $250,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation to support U-M’s Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation (SMART) project. The grant will be used to develop and apply practical solutions to the challenges of sustainable transportation in the Detroit and Beijing regions. SMART is a... Read more →

Odyne Systems awarded $2.9M DOE and AQMD contract for hybrid truck systems

Odyne Systems LLC has been awarded a $2.9-million Department of Energy (DOE) Cost Shared Project with co-funding from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in California to further advance hybrid systems in commercial truck applications. Through this project, Odyne will install 7 Odyne Hybrid Power systems into bucket... Read more →

World ethanol and biodiesel production, 1975-2010. Source: Worldwatch Institute. Click to enlarge. Global production of biofuels increased 17% in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters (28 billion gallons US), up from 90 billion liters (24 billion gallons US) in 2009. High oil prices, a global economic... Read more →

$112.5M awarded to research consortia studying effects of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) Research Board announced that eight Research Consortia will be funded for the next three years with a total of $112.5 million to study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. These teams will investigate the fate of... Read more →

The Ford Evos Concept previews a new global design language for the next generation of Ford cars, MAVs and CUVs. Click to enlarge. Ford will unveil the Ford Evos Concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The company said the four-door, four-seat fastback concept with plug-in hybrid powertrain... Read more →

Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy issue RFI to advance drop-in biofuels for military and commercial transportation

Following up on their 16 August announcement of an investment of up to $510 million to produce advanced drop-in aviation and marine biofuels (earlier post), the US Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Navy (USDA, DOE, DON) issued a Request for Information (RFI) laying out the Administration’s goals, assumptions, and tools... Read more →

Honeywell’s UOP breaks ground on integrated biorefinery project in Hawaii for drop-in gasoline, jet and diesel from fast pyrolysis of biomass and catalytic upgrading

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has begun construction in Hawaii of a demonstration unit that will convert forest residuals, algae and other cellulosic biomass into renewable drop-in transportation fuels via a rapid pyrolysis process integrated with a catalytic upgrading process. Backed by a $25-million US Department of Energy (DOE) award,... Read more →

The East-Prinovozemelsky blocks on the Russian Arctic shelf have estimated resources of 35.8 billion barrels of oil and 10.3 tcm of gas, according to Rosneft. Inset at upper right shows location of blocks relative to larger Arctic. Click to enlarge. Rosneft and ExxonMobil have executed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement under... Read more →

Toyota Motorsport GmbH sets new lap record for an EV at the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit

Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) has set a new lap record for an electric vehicle (EV) at the legendary 20.8 km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. (Earlier post.) The TMG EV P001, with 100% electric powertrain and Jochen Krumbach at the wheel, set a new lap record of 7 min. 47.794... Read more →

Biodiesel catalyst company NextCAT awarded nearly $500,000 from NSF for Phase II SBIR

NextCAT, Inc., a Wayne State University (WSU) startup company seeking to commercialize a new class of biodiesel catalysts, has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $498,830. This brings NextCAT’s total grant funding to $1.3 million. NextCAT... Read more →

New strain of yeast more resilient for cellulosic ethanol production

A new strain of yeast—Saccharomyces cerevisiae NRRL Y-50049—successfully ferments hydrolyzed biomass sugars into cellulosic ethanol despite the stressful interference by inhibiting compounds such as furfural (2-furaldehyde) and HMF (5-hydroxymethyl-2-furaldehyde) in fermenters, according to molecular biologist Zonglin Lewis Liu with the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS). The... Read more →

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) released a new report evaluating how climate change may affect the environmental conditions measured and used in mathematical modeling for oil-spill trajectory analysis in the Arctic region. Key findings from the study include recommendations on the scientific methodology to use... Read more →

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, ROLF Import, and the Government of Russia’s Kaluga Region to collaborate on environmental protection; EVs and EV infrastructure

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC); ROLF Import, MMC’s exclusive distributor for the Russian market, and the Government of the Kaluga Region signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration between the three parties to improve the natural environment of the Kaluga region (southwest of Moscow). The MoU includes information sharing among... Read more →

Research project Turbosteamer, Generation 2. Click to enlarge. Despite improvements in engine efficiency—e.g., with technologies such as direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, exhaust-driven turbochargers, brake energy regeneration and Auto Start Stop function—about 60% of the generated energy is still lost, half of it being exhaust heat, with the remaining... Read more →

Mazda2 local assembly to commence in Vietnam

Mazda Motor Corporation will commence local assembly of the Mazda2 in Vietnam in October 2011. The Mazda2 five-door hatchback model with 1.5-liter gasoline engine will be produced at a newly-constructed assembly plant owned by Vina Mazda Automobile Manufacturing Co., Ltd in the Nui Thanh district of Quang Nam province. Sales... Read more →

Study finds that bioenergy crops could have a significant impact on the hydrologic cycle of a region

A new study led by Praveen Kumar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, details the links between the hydrologic cycle and large-scale land conversion for the cultivation of bioenergy crops, both now and as growing conditions change in the future. The findings, published this week in the journal Proceedings... Read more →

RøhneSelmer in Norway places early repeat order for 100 more Transit Connect Electric vans

Azure Dynamics Corporation announced that its Norwegian Ford dealership, RøhneSelmer, has signed an order for an additional 100 Transit Connect Electric vans. RøhneSelmer’s original order in March was for 58 units for various clients, among them Norway Post (Posten Norge AS). We sold 50 Transit Connect Electric vans before the... Read more →

Comparison of the volume of a newly developed connector to that of a traditional connector. Source: Hitachi Cable. Click to enlarge. Hitachi Cable, Ltd. has developed what it says are the world’s smallest compact connectors (as of 28 June, based on its research) for use in power harnesses for hybrid... Read more →

Government of Canada investing $6.5M in five next-generation auto R&D projects; total project value of $16M

The Government of Canada is supporting five new projects through the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative, including development of a battery pack thermal management system for hybrid electric vehicles; more efficient systems for wheel production; performance-enhancing catalytic converters; enhanced fuel cell technology; and improved automotive manufacturing workplace design and ergonomics. These... Read more →

European Commission launches public consultation on ending oil dependency in transport

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on long-term plans to end the EU’s oil dependency in transport. The European Commission recently adopted the White Paper “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area —Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system”, which also announced that the European Commission will... Read more →

Newalta awarded $60M contract to process Syncrude oil sands mature fine tailings

Newalta Corporation has signed a contract with Syncrude Canada Ltd. to process mature fine tailings (MFT) for a demonstration project. The contract is over a three-year period at Syncrude’s oil sands mine operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta. It follows Newalta and Syncrude working together for two years in trial projects... Read more →

W2 Energy reports progress in development of compressed air rotary engine; deployment in CAES system

W2 Energy, Inc. reports progress in its development of a commercially viable compressed air engine. W2 Energy has modified its SteamRay rotary engine—one of its portfolio of energy products—to run on compressed air up to 3600 PSI and is calling this compressed air engine the AirRocket. W2 has shipped a... Read more →

Researchers engineer yeast to co-ferment seaweed sugars for improved ethanol yield and productivity

A team from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and University of California, Berkeley, have engineered a new strain of yeast that co-ferments cellobiose and galactose from hydrolysates of seaweed, thereby converting the biomass into ethanol in half the time. Co-fermentation, notes Yong-Su Jin, a University of Illinois assistant professor of... Read more →

MIT researchers improve upon methods to model urban air pollution

Researchers at MIT have developed a new detailed air-quality model to simulate the effects of physical, chemical, and meteorological processing of highly reactive trace species in urban areas. The new metamodel is capable of efficiently simulating the urban concentration, surface deposition, and net export flux of these species that are... Read more →

A 2012 Chevrolet Sonic undergoes a Front Offset Deformable Barrier Crash Test at a speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) in the General Motors Vehicle Safety & Crashworthiness Lab at the GM Milford Proving Ground. The passenger side airbags were suppressed for this test. (Photo by John F. Martin for... Read more →

BioAmber siting biobased succinic acid, BDO plant in Ontario, Canada

BioAmber Inc., through its subsidiary Bluewater Biochemicals has selected Sarnia, Ontario, Canada as the location for its first North American biosuccinic acid plant. (Earlier post.) The Sarnia plant will have an initial capacity of 17,000 MT and will be commissioned in 2013. BioAmber plans to double capacity in Sarnia by... Read more →

Volkswagen opens first engine reprocessing facility in China

Volkswagen has opened its first engine reprocessing facility in China, its largest sales market. 15,000 engines per year are to be reprocessed at the plant in Dalian. The reprocessed engines will allow Chinese drivers to benefit for the first time from genuine Volkswagen parts that are up to 50% less... Read more →

The 508 RXH diesel-electric hybrid goes on sale in Spring 2012. Click to enlarge. Peugeot will introduce the 508 RXH diesel-electric hybrid, the third model in the 508 range and the second deployment of the HYbrid4 diesel-electric drivetrain following its release on the 3008 HYbrid4 (earlier post), at the upcoming... Read more →

General Motors launches Buick LaCrosse eAssist in China

General Motors launched the Buick LaCrosse with eAssist on August 25. The new model features a 2.4-liter SIDI intelligent direct injection engine along with advanced eAssist intelligent technology (light electrification, earlier post), which work together to reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared with the standard model. Deliveries to customers will... Read more →

Other environmental concerns have pushed ahead of climate change on a global average basis. Source: Nielsen. Click to enlarge. Concern about climate change/global warming among online consumers around the world took a back-seat to other environmental issues such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of... Read more →

Nikkei: higher auto output raises fears about parts shortages

The Nikkei reports that with the major Japanese automakers gearing up to sharply increase output in the second half of this fiscal year, shortages of tire and other autoparts are a growing concern. Bridgestone Corp. has notified automakers that orders for passenger car tires will likely exceed its domestic output... Read more →

First Navy Trainer completes biofuel flight at Patuxent River

A US Navy T-45 training aircraft completed a successful biofuel flight at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md on 24 August. The “Salty Dogs” of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 flew the high-performance jet trainer on a biofuel mixture of petroleum-based JP-5 jet fuel and plant-based camelina.... Read more →

University of Wisconsin seeking commercial partners for alkylphenol solvent-based method to convert biomass into furan derivatives for fuels and chemicals

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners for a novel, cost-effective method developed by University of Wisconsin, Madison researchers for producing furan derivatives such as hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), furfural, levulinic acid (LA) or γ-valerolactone (GVL) from biomass using alkylphenols as solvents. Such biomass-derived furan derivatives may substitute for... Read more →

Novel bacterium produces butanol directly from cellulose

Tulane University scientists have identified a novel bacterial strain, dubbed “TU-103,” that produces butanol directly from cellulose. Researchers David Mullin’s lab in Tulane’s Department of Cell and Molecular Biology identified TU-103 in animal droppings, cultivated it and developed a method for using it to produce butanol. A patent is pending... Read more →

Pennsylvania DEP awards nearly $517,000 in clean diesel grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) awarded $516,637 in clean diesel grants to four organizations. Each of the four recipients will match a percentage of the grant amount with their own funds to purchase compressed natural gas-powered vehicles; retrofit diesel engines with cleaner technology; replace older, more polluting... Read more →

Nikkei: Japanese Li-ion battery firms boost R&D to counter aggressive S Koreans

The Nikkei reports that Japanese makers of Li-ion batteries are boosting R&D to bolster their position as lower-cost South Korean rivals threaten to steal a slice of their market. Japanese manufacturers started developing Li-ion batteries for vehicles in the 1990s and have become world leaders. They are hoping to cash... Read more →

Masdar, RTI and US DOE partner in carbon capture research project using solid sorbent technology

Masdar is collaborating with RTI International, an independent non-profit research institute, on research project examining the use of solid sorbent technology for the capture of carbon dioxide from coal and gas-fired power station flue gases, targeting a significant cost reduction in carbon dioxide capture over the best available technology today.... Read more →

Block flow diagram for the production of gasoline from lignocellulosic biomass by aqueous phase hydrodeoxygenation of a solution produced by the hydrolysis of biomass. Li et al. Click to enlarge. A team lead by George Huber from U. Mass, Amherst and Charles Wyman from the University of California, Riverside (and... Read more →

New Capstone microturbines meet CARB requirements without aftertreatment

Capstone Turbine Corporation has released the C30 (30 kW) and C65 (65 kW) natural gas fueled microturbines that meet extremely low global emission standards, including California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for New On-Road Heavy-Duty Engines for Urban Bus—Hybrid service. (Earlier post.) The Capstone Natural Gas fueled microturbines are the... Read more →