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Ford, BASF partner to deliver auto industry’s first castor oil-based foam in the 2012 Focus

Ford and BASF have teamed up to develop a sustainable, plant-sourced castor oil-based foam product for the 2012 Ford Focus instrument panel. The new castor oil-based foam is significantly more durable than the previously used material, with a 36% better tensile strength (a measure of the foam’s ability to hold... Read more →

BIO: advanced drop-in biofuels for military use on a path to commercialization

Advanced biofuels can be commercialized rapidly for military use, on military timelines, with adequate support and coordination of efforts by the US Departments of Agriculture, Defense and Energy, according to comments submitted by The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to the Air Force’s Request for Information on the commercial status and... Read more →

GE, Nissan sign R&D agreement to fast track broader adoption of electric cars

GE and Nissan have signed a two-year research collaboration to speed up the development of a reliable, robust smart charging infrastructure to fuel mass market adoption of electric cars such as the Nissan LEAF. GE and Nissan have identified two key focus areas for the research efforts: the first relates... Read more →

Neste Oil ships operate successfully along the Arctic Northeast Passage

Two Neste Oil tankers successfully traversed the Arctic Northeast Passage between Murmansk and the Pacific Ocean in August and September this year. Only a few vessels including Neste Oil’s ships have operated along the route this year. The first Neste Oil tanker to traverse the route was the MT Stena... Read more →

California gasoline consumption down 2.8% in June, 3.6% in Q2

In California, gasoline consumption declined 2.8% in June 2011 and 3.6% in Q2 2011, according to figures from the State Board of Equalization. Diesel fuel consumption declined 3.1% in June 2011 and rose 0.9% in second quarter 2011. In June 2011, California’s gasoline consumption decreased 2.8% to 1.22 billion gallons... Read more →

The DeltaWing. Click to enlarge. Michelin will be the first major technical partner to support the Project 56 DeltaWing prototype car in the 2012 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin has developed a tire solution that pushes the performance envelope and matches the innovative DeltaWing strategy to... Read more →

(A) Plot of the efficiency vs. time for a wired configuration under AM 1.5 illumination. The traces are for solar cells of 7.7% PV efficiency. The cells were operated in a two-electrode cell configuration. (B) MS signal and SFE values for a wireless configuration. The cell was illuminated over the... Read more →

DOE finalizes $132M loan guarantee to support the Abengoa cellulosic ethanol project

The US Department of ENergy (DOE) finalized a $132.4 million loan guarantee to Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, LLC (ABBK) to support the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. The project is expected to convert approximately 300,000 tons of agricultural crop residues, including corn stover (stalks and leaves), into... Read more →

The BMW ActiveHybrid 5. Click to enlarge. BMW’s newest hybrid, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, will arrive in US showrooms in March 2012. BMW unveiled the Concept version of the 5 Series ActiveHybrid at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. (Earlier post.) Based on the BMW 535i Sedan, the ActiveHybrid 5... Read more →

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama marks start of 4-cylinder engine production

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama, Inc. (TMMAL), an engine-production subsidiary of Japan-based Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), held a line-off ceremony to mark the beginning of four-cylinder engine production. The 10-year old plant now has the capacity to produce approximately 216,000 4-cylinder engines, 146,000 V6 engines, and 144,000 V8 engines per year.... Read more →

DOE ARPA-E awards $156M to projects to 60 projects to accelerate innovation in clean energy technologies

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected 60 research projects for up to a combined $156 million in funding from the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The new ARPA-E selections focus on accelerating innovations in clean technology while increasing US competitiveness in rare earth alternatives and breakthroughs... Read more →

Pathways for producing liquid fuels from coal. The Accelergy/Yanjuang plant would combine the indirect (F-T) and direct pathways. Source: EMRE. Click to enlarge. Accelergy Corporation (earlier post) is partnering with the Yankuang Group, one of the largest coal companies in China, on a feasibility study for a joint, large-scale, low-carbon,... Read more →

(a) Chemical structure of the PEDT:PSSH polymer blend. (b) Formation of hydrated ionic conduction channels in the PEDT:PSSH film network due to the presence of the hydrophilizing SO3− groups. Xie et al. Click to enlarge. A team from the National University of Singapore's Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative (NUSNNI), led by... Read more →

Iowa State researchers developing low-cost thermochemical process to produce sugars from biomass for bio-fuels and -chemicals; “pyrolytic molasses”

Iowa State University (ISU) researchers have developed technologies to efficiently produce, recover and separate sugars from the fast pyrolysis of biomass. Fast pyrolysis involves quickly heating the biomass without oxygen to produce liquid or gas products. ISU’s Robert C. Brown calls the result of the process “pyrolytic molasses.” Low-cost sugars... Read more →

Reuters. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is shutting down its Pulau Bukom refinery in Singapore to get a fire that broke out on Wednesday under control, a senior company official told reporters. Shell is shutting more units in the vicinity of the area where the incident happened, Martijn van Koten, vice... Read more →

Nissan brings LEAF to new US markets

Nissan North America Inc. is expanding the availability of the battery-electric Nissan LEAF in the US. Orders for the 2012 Nissan LEAF begin today in Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. Deliveries of the LEAF, enriched for the 2012 model year with additional standard equipment including... Read more →

A highly porous form of Mg(BH4)2 (Mg green, BH4 blue, unit cells shown in red) reversibly absorbs H2, N2, and CH2Cl2. Source: Filinchuk et al. Click to enlarge. A team led by Yaroslav Filinchuk at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and Torben R. Jensen at the University of Aarhus... Read more →

CPT developing 48-volt electric supercharger for micro-mild hybrids

Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) is developing a 48-volt version of its 12 volt electric supercharger based on its variable torque enhancement system known as VTES. (Earlier post.) The higher-voltage variant will support moves by European vehicle manufacturers announced earlier this year to introduce 48 volt passenger vehicle power networks to... Read more →

USDA to make payments to more than 160 energy producers to support advanced biofuels

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make payments to more than 160 energy producers in 41 states to support and ensure the production and expansion of advanced biofuels. The payments are authorized under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels (Section 9005 of the 2008 Farm Bill) and are made... Read more →

Overview of the Plantrose supercritical hydrolysis process. Click to enlarge. Renmatix (formerly Sriya Innovations), which exited stealth mode earlier this year, unveiled its Plantrose process, a supercritical hydrolysis process to produce sugars from biomass with less expense. At Renmatix’s demonstration facility in Kennesaw, Georgia, the company has already scaled its... Read more →

EnerSys to launch a Li-ion battery joint venture in Germany with GAIA

EnerSys has entered into a definitive agreement to launch a joint venture in Germany to produce large format lithium-ion battery cells. EnerSys will have a majority interest in the joint venture in cooperation with GAIA Akkumulatorenwerke GmbH (GAIA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC). The joint venture... Read more →

Amyris and Michelin to partner to develop and commercialize renewable isoprene

Renewable chemicals and fuels company Amyris, Inc. and Michelin have signed a definitive agreement to collaborate in the development and commercialization of Amyris No Compromise renewable isoprene, the chemical building block in rubber tires and other products that use synthetic and natural rubbers. Under the agreement, Amyris and Michelin will... Read more →

Chrysler providing 10 PHEV Ram 1500 pickups to MBTA as part of demo project

Chrysler Group LLC, working in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE), will deliver 10 demonstration fleet Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) pickup trucks to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The PHEV Ram 1500 pickups are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will... Read more →

GM applies three-wet paint process to Chevy Sonic; new paint shop uses 50% less process energy per vehicle

General Motors is using a water-based “three-wet” paint process on the Chevy Sonic. The process, rising in use globally, eliminates the need for a primer bake oven, normally used between the primer and color-coating layers. The Orion Assembly Center allows three layers of paint to be applied one after another... Read more →

Gevo awarded $5M to develop cellulosic jet fuel; separate contract to supply alcohol-to-jet drop-in biojet fuel to USAF

Gevo, Inc. received a $5-million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the development of biojet fuel from woody biomass and forest product residues. The award is a portion of a $40-million grant presented to the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), a consortium led by Washington State... Read more →

USDA awarding $136M to five major research projects focused in part on developing cellulosic drop-in aviation fuels

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced five major agricultural research projects aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets, generating rural jobs, and decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Altogether, the five-year program will deliver more than $136 million in research and development grants to public and private sector partners in... Read more →

Westport LD announces new natural gas system for Ford Super Duty Pickups

Westport Innovations Inc. introduced the new WiNG system, an advanced, integrated, bi-fuel system for passenger and commercial vehicles targeting fleet customers. The Westport WiNG Power System will be available in the popular Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickup trucks sold and serviced through authorized Ford dealers. The F-250 and... Read more →

The QTR frames 6 strategies to adress US energy challenges. Source: QTR. Click to enlarge. The US Department of Energy released its inaugural Quadrennial Technology Review report (DOE-QTR)—an assessment of the Department’s energy technology research and development portfolios. The DOE-QTR establishes a framework for the Department’s energy technology activities, including... Read more →

3M and Umicore expand their Li-ion NMC cathode materials relationship

3M and Umicore have entered into a second technology license agreement that further expands the use of nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) Under the agreement, 3M grants Umicore license to a family of low cobalt NMC cathode material compositions for manufacture and sales... Read more →

The photos show wild type algae and magnetic algae placed in a test tube next to a permanent magnet. The wild type (left) settles to the bottom of the tube under the influence of gravity. The genetically transformed algae (right) stick to the wall due to magnetic attractions. Source: LANL.... Read more →

New iPhone application to help Dutch drivers reduce their fuel consumption

DriveGain and Ecofys have introduced a new iPhone application that helps Dutch drivers save fuel while driving. “Fueless” and is available to download now, in English and Dutch, for free from the Dutch iPhone AppStore. The application gives users audio and visual feedback on how they can increase their fuel... Read more →

BorgWarner supplies transmission components for Hyundai’s new 8-speed automatic transmission

BorgWarner is http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=4739720&access=RS transmission components, including friction plates and roller one-way clutches, for Hyundai’s new 8-speed automatic rear-wheel drive transmission. Designed and assembled by Hyundai POWERTECH, the company’s performance and R&D group, the new high-performance transmission features a multi-step design with a wide gear span. The transmission will drive the... Read more →

Oxidative coupling of methane company Siluria Technologies pulls in $20M in B round

Siluria Technologies, a startup developing novel catalysts for the oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) reaction to produce ethylene (C2H4) directly from methane (CH4) with high performance at low temperatures (earlier post), has pulled in $20 million in its Series B financing. Siluria’s Series B financing was led by the Wellcome... Read more →

DOE ROD for coal-based Texas Clean Energy Project sets in motion $450M of federal funding

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that—along with a signed cooperative agreement—will allow federal funding to be used to help build a 400 MW facility that combines integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power generation, urea production, and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, utilization, and storage... Read more →

European Commission announces public consultation on reducing CO2 emissions from road vehicles

The European Commission Directorate-General For Climate Action has launched a public consultation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from road transport. It aims at obtaining the views of individuals and organisations on the relevance and impact of the proposed strategy and legislation. The results will feed into the Commission’s decision-making on... Read more →

Chemical structures of fuels. Bisabolane (2); Hexadecane (3), a representative molecule for diesel; farnesane (4); and methyl palmiate (5), a representative molecule for fatty acid methyl esters. Source: Peralta-Yahya et al. Click to enlarge. A team from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has identified a... Read more →

US DOE awards $8.4M to 4 projects to improve engine and powertrain efficiency

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four projects for up to $8.4 million in awards over three to four years to develop and demonstrate technologies that increase the efficiency of engines and powertrain systems for future highway transportation vehicles. The projects will focus on new innovations that achieve... Read more →

Nikkei: Toyota’s new Aqua hybrid to offer industry-leading gas mileage

The Nikkei reports that the compact hybrid Toyota Motor Corp. plans to launch in January is expected to travel up to nearly 40km on a liter of gasoline (2.5 L/100km, 94 mpg US) under a new Japanese testing standard, which reflects actual driving patterns more closely than its predecessor. This... Read more →

Linc Energy announces discovery of significant oil shale deposit in South Australia

Underground coal gasification company Linc Energy announced the discovery of a “significant” oil shale deposit in South AUstralia’s Arckaringa Basin. The deposit is approximately 124m (406 feet) thick at a depth of more than 854m (2,801 feet) and covers an area of approximately 1,150 km 2 or 284,000 acres. The... Read more →

Autocar. UK-based Microcab will launch its new H2EV hydrogen fuel cell vehicle this week, with a small fleet of 8 units being given to West Midlands’ CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrator) trial to showcase and evaluate the cars. < Microcab H2EV. Click to enlarge.p>The Microcab consortium comprises RDM... Read more →

Ford breaks ground on US$350M transmission plant in Chongqing

Ford Motor Company and Changan Automobile Group broke ground today on a new US$350-million transmission plant in Chongqing, at their joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automotive (CFMA), bringing Ford and its partner’s total investment in China to US$3.5 billion. The addition of the new transmission plant brings Ford’s total investment... Read more →

Mercedes showcases Vito E-CELL electric van at Post Expo

The Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its Vito E-CELL electric van at the Post Expo trade fair for the logistics industry in Stuttgart. The Vito E-CELL has a maximum payload of around 900 kg (1,984 lbs) and a load compartment with no restrictions on use. Mercedes-Benz is offering exclusive road tests in... Read more →

WiTricity Corporation, IHI Corporation, and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation partner to develop easily deployable wireless charging systems for PEVs

WiTricity Corporation (WiTricity), IHI Corporation (IHI) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will join forces to research and develop easily deployable electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging systems readily compatible with electric grids. The partners say that the combination of three major players in the wireless charging, electric infrastructure, and EV areas... Read more →

Mazda launches second SKYACTIV model in Japan: facelifted Axela

Mazda Motor Corporation commenced sales of the facelifted Mazda Axela (known overseas as the Mazda3) in Japan. (Earlier post.) The updated Axela is Mazda’s second model in Japan following the Mazda Demio (known overseas as the Mazda2) to feature the company’s SKYACTIV technology. (Earlier post.) The facelifted Axela is Mazda’s... Read more →

California Energy Commission awarding almost $1.8M to 9 plug-in readiness projects

The California Energy Commission has accepted 9 projects in state for awards of generally $200,000 each to help prepare California regions for the rollout of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs). (Eight projects were initially accepted, and a ninth, which initially was rejected, was resubmitted and subsequently accepted.) Funds are to help... Read more →

Value of life-cycle emissions externality damages and oil premium costs from vehicles in 2010 $. Michalek et al. Click to enlarge. Strategies to promote adoption of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) with small battery packs offer more social benefits (i.e., air emissions and oil displacement... Read more →

Carbon Sciences adapting its dry reforming catalyst to target steam methane reforming market

Carbon Sciences, Inc., the licenser and developer of technology for the dry catalytic reforming of methane to produce gasoline and other transportation fuels (earlier post), now plans to commercialize its catalyst as a drop-in replacement in the existing billion-dollar catalyst market for steam methane reforming (SMR). Steam methane reforming (SMR)... Read more →

New method to use satellites to probe megacity NOx emissions

Researchers from Germany and the Netherlands have devised a satellite- ased method to measure both NOx emissions and lifetimes over megacities by analyzing downwind patterns of NO2 concentration. In a paper in the journal Science, they suggest that this should allow the types of results obtained for well-studied cities to... Read more →

Initial results of 2-year US field study on Mileage-Based Road User Charge

Researchers from the University of Iowa report the initial results of a 2-year field study evaluating the technical feasibility and user acceptance of mileage-based charging as a potential replacement for the current motor fuel tax in a paper in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board. The study... Read more →