« October 2011 | Main | December 2011 »

California gasoline consumption down 1.7% in August, diesel consumption up 11.1%

California gasoline consumption fell 1.7% in August 2011, while diesel fuel consumption rose 11.1%, according to figures from the State Board of Equalization. California’s gasoline consumption declined 1.7% to 1.27 billion gallons in August 2011 compared to 1.29 billion gallons used in August 2010. In California, the average price for... Read more →

Nexen and CNOOC finalize JV for deepwater exploration in Gulf of Mexico

Canada-based Nexen Inc. and China-based CNOOC Limited have finalized a joint venture that will give CNOOC a working interest in up to six deepwater exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico. CNOOC is China’s largest producer of offshore crude oil and natural gas and one of the largest independent oil... Read more →

Nissan begins Japan sales of new quick charger for EVs; targeting sales of 5K units by March 2016

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has begun selling its new quick charger at Nissan parts companies throughout Japan. (Earlier post.) The newly-developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan, but is nearly half the size (by volume). The new quick charger offers many... Read more →

Honeywell to support development of AliphaJet process for renewable jet fuel

Honeywell will invest engineering services and equipment to accelerate the deployment of AliphaJet’s catalytic method for making jet biofuel from renewable products such as plant and animal triglycerides and/or fatty acids. (Earlier post.) AliphaJet will use Honeywell Controls, Instrumentation and Advanced Solutions, including its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) and... Read more →

Sharklet-fitted Airbus A320 successfully completes first flight-test; targeting 3.5% reduction in fuel burn

Airbus has completed the first flight of the Sharklet wing-tip devices on the company’s A320 development aircraft (MSN 001). Sharklets will replace the aircraft’s current wingtip fence. Offered as an option on new-build aircraft, Sharklets have been specially designed for the Airbus A320 Family to reduce fuel burn by up... Read more →

The Panasonic Group will supply the lithium-ion batteries for Toyota Motor Corporation’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid. (Earlier post.) This will be the first time for the Panasonic Group to supply its lithium-ion batteries for a mass production plug-in hybrid vehicle. Li-ion cell for Prius PHV. Click to enlarge. Given the growing... Read more →

Dynamotive, IFP Energies nouvelles, Axens, complete binding heads of agreement for commercial development of pyrolysis oil upgrading

Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN), Axens and Dr. Desmond Radlein completed heads of agreement for the development, scale-up and commercialization of the company’s proprietary pyrolysis oil upgrading process to produce second-generation biofuels. (Earlier post.) Renewable Oil Corporation Pty Ltd. (ROC) is a further counterpart of the agreement.... Read more →

MIT researchers developing algorithms to predict more accurately which cars are likeliest to run red lights

Researchers at MIT are devising algorithms for more accurately estimating driver behavior at road intersections—i.e., whether or not an oncoming car is likely to run a red light—and validating them using real traffic data. The team has introduced two classes of algorithms that can classify drivers as “compliant” or “violating”.... Read more →

Study finds higher gasoline taxes do not disproportionately impact the poor, especially in developing countries

Although increased gasoline taxation has been proposed as a very effective instrument to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a common argument against such a measure is that it is regressive—i.e., it hits poor people the hardest. However, a new study by researchers at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) finds that middle-... Read more →

European, North American, and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers call for global cooperation in promoting regulatory harmonization

At the Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting in Tokyo, the world’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines called for further progress in regulatory harmonization and closer cooperation among European, North American, and Japanese regulators in order to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption associated with on-road freight... Read more →

Amyris & Total expanding R&D partnership and forming joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize renewable fuels

International oil and gas major Total and renewable fuels and chemicals company Amyris, Inc. signed agreements to expand their current R&D partnership (earlier post) and to form a joint venture to develop, produce and commercialize a range of renewable fuels and products. Total and Amyris have agreed to expand their... Read more →

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is unveiling the EV-STER, a next-generation electric small sports concept model, at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011. The adoption of carbon materials made it possible to reduce the vehicle weight contributing to the vehicle’s high driving performance and range of approximately 160km. The new concept... Read more →

Cross Coupé plug-in hybrid concept. Click to enlarge. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Volkswagen is showcasing its concept of an SUV of the future: the Cross Coupé all-wheel-drive (AWD) plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) shows how Volkswagen designers could envisage a crossover between a four-door coupé and a compact SUV. The... Read more →

Teijin establishing CFRTP Pilot Plant for fully integrated production of composite products from carbon fiber

Teijin Limited will establish the first pilot plant for fully integrated production of carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) components from carbon fiber on the premises of its Matsuyama Factory in Ehime Prefecture, Japan. The new plant will feature Teijin’s mass production technology for CFRTP components, which significantly reduces cycle times... Read more →

Hydro-Québec pulls in $22M in licensing fees for manufacture of Li-ion rechargeable battery materials in Q3

In the third quarter of 2011, Hydro-Québec generated $22 million from the granting of sub-licenses for the manufacture of Li-ion rechargeable battery materials. In July, Hydro-Québec, Université de Montréal and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (France’s national center for scientific research), co-owners of the rights to key patents... Read more →

Newly developed 2.4L-class gasoline engine. Click to enlarge. In Tokyo, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. outlined its plans for next-generation automotive technology—which it is labeling “Earth Dreams Technology”—comprising a series of measures to improve the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines, transmissions, hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems and electric powertrains. Through... Read more →

France raising penalties and cutting incentives in lower carbon car purchase scheme

The French Government will reduce the purchase tax incentives for lower carbon cars and increase the penalties for high-pollution vehicles beginning in January. France’s bonus-malus scheme provides financial rewards for those who purchase or lease a new vehicle emitting less CO2 g/km while taxing more heavily polluting cars. The incentive... Read more →

EIA: US ethanol plants have nameplate capacity of 13.614B gallons per year

The 193 ethanol plants operating in the US as of 1 January 2011 have a nameplate capacity of 13.614 billion gallons per year, or 888,000 barrels per day, according to the first release of US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data on fuel ethanol production capacity. Annualized maximum sustainable capacity is... Read more →

A new study by economists at Oregon State University questions the cost-effectiveness of current biofuels and says they would barely reduce fossil fuel use and would likely increase greenhouse gas emissions. The researchers focused on the major mandated and currently used biofuels worldwide: corn ethanol, soybean biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol from... Read more →

Engineering E. coli for use in consolidated bioprocessing. Cellulose and hemicellulose are hydrolyzed by secreted cellulase and hemicellulose enzymes (cyan) into soluble oligosaccharides. β-glucosidase enzymes (red) further hydrolyze the oligosaccharides into monosaccharides, which are metabolized into biofuels via heterologous pathways. Bokinsky et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers with the US... Read more →

Nissan LEAF production in the UK receives £190M investment boost from EIB

The European Investment Bank has announced that it is supporting the production of the Nissan LEAF electric car in Sunderland (UK) with an investment injection of £190 million (US$297 million). The funding will go towards both the production of the Nissan LEAF and the lithium-ion batteries used in the vehicle.... Read more →

Shipping industry, Oxfam and WWF call on COP 17 delegates to provide IMO with clear guidance on reducing shipping GHG emissions; potential for contributing to Green Climate Fund

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP 17), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS, which represents more than 80% of the world merchant fleet), Oxfam and WWF called on delegates to give the International Maritime Organization (IMO) clear guidance on continuing its work on reducing... Read more →

LanzaTech joins China’s Yankuang Group on coal to fuel project

LanzaTech and Yankuang Group, one of China’s largest coal producers, will produce fuels and chemicals using LanzaTech’s biological fermentation process and synthesis gas from Yankuang’s coal gasification unit. The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in front of US Ambassador Gary Locke as part of a US Trade Mission... Read more →

Siemens Energy launched its new 6-megawatt (MW) direct-drive wind turbine at the European Offshore Wind Energy Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The new SWT-6.0 will be available with rotor diameters of 120 and 154 meters and is designed for the most challenging offshore sites. Prototype of the new SWT-6.0 wind... Read more →

EIU/Swiss Re report finds significant financial risk is most acute hazard for renewable energy sector

The renewable energy sector needs to improve risk management and access alternative sources of capital as operational risks rise and governments cut funding due to the uncertain economic environment, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) sponsored by Swiss Re. Based on a survey of 284... Read more →

Volvo Car Corporation DRIVe diesels with automatic transmission now deliver same fuel consumption as manual versions

Volvo Car Corporation’s 1.6-liter diesel combined with the automatic Powershift gearbox now delivers the same low fuel consumption and CO2 levels as the manual DRIVe versions. The combination of the four-cylinder, 1.6-liter diesel engine (115 hp) with the six-speed Powershift gearbox is available in four models: Volvo S60, V60, V70... Read more →

Prius PHV S. Click to enlarge. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has begun taking orders through Toyota dealers around Japan for the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid). (Earlier post.) TMC will launch the vehicle in Japan on 30 January 2012. The Prius PHV will be sold by all Toyota, Toyopet, Toyota Corolla... Read more →

According to a new report from Pike Research, worldwide revenue from fuel cell auxiliary power units (APUs) will reach $66 million annually in 2020, with a cumulative investment of more than $400 million during the period from 2009 to 2020. Although they represented 20% of all fuel cell systems shipped... Read more →

Projected population densities under the SANDAG 2050 RTP/SCS. Click to enlarge. The Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in the San Diego Superior Court against the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), challenging SANDAG’s $214-billion 2050 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (2050 RTP/SCS).... Read more →

Caterpillar announces the development of high performance MaK Dual Fuel engine

Caterpillar Marine Power Systems is developing the MaK M 46 DF, a new marine dual fuel engine platform for the commercial marine industry. The M 46 DF dual fuel engine carries a power rating of 900 kW (1,207 hp) per cylinder at 500 and 514 rpm in diesel and gas... Read more →

Kerstner converts the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL EV to a refrigerator van

Refrigerator van specialist Kerstner is presenting the first refrigerator van variant of the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL electric vehicle (earlier post) at the Solutrans trade show in Lyon/France from 29 November to 3 December. The flat refrigerator unit on the roof of the Vito is supplied with power from a separate... Read more →

Lower compression ratio helps extend engine load in diesel LTC

A team from the University of Windsor reports that a lower compression ratio helps to extend diesel engine load in Low Temperature Combustion (LTC), while a combination of both intake boost and injection pressure is necessary to maintain low-NOx and low-soot emissions, and to mitigate the fuel efficiency penalty. In... Read more →

GM outlines further steps on battery safety, customer satisfaction initiatives for the Volt; the importance of de-powering the battery after a severe crash

General Motors today announced initiatives for customer satisfaction and outlined its steps in battery safety research to ensure ongoing confidence in the safety of Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. On Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal safety defect investigation to assess the risk of a... Read more →

DOE selects 6 projects aimed at reducing drilling risks in ultra-deepwater for up to $9.6M in funding

The US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) recently selected six new natural gas and oil research projects aimed at reducing risks and enhancing the environmental performance of drilling in ultra-deepwater settings. The projects have been selected for negotiation leading to awards totaling $9.6 million, and will add... Read more →

Audi AG planning to acquire 49% stake in csi group of companies

Audi AG is planning to acquire a 49% stake in the csi group of companies. The company says it will use the acquired expertise to create additional capacity for the development of new models. The core areas of expertise of csi’s workforce of around 250 include interior and body development,... Read more →

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will display the Fun-Vii (Vehicle, interactive, Internet) concept vehicle at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011. The vehicle features personalization functions with the ability to alter the content displayed on the interior and exterior of the Fun-Vii with the same ease as downloading an application. Fun-Vii.... Read more →

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. are collaborating in the development of communications-linked next-generation vehicles. A part of this collaboration is their joint exhibition of a communications-linked electric commuter concept and an electrically power assisted bicycle concept at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011. Electric commuter EC-Miu.... Read more →

Diagrammatic view of a possible common feeding injection system application, from the patent document. Click to enlarge. Andrea Catania and Alessandro Ferrari at the Politecnico di Torino have developed a new fuel injection system (FIS) concept that does away with the rail from the high-pressure circuit of standard common rail... Read more →

Magna E-Car Systems launches demo fleet of 9 Chevrolet Equinox EVs; probing crossover-size EV performance

Magna E-Car Systems has developed a demonstration fleet of 9 electric vehicles based on the Chevrolet Equinox crossover. The demonstration project, undertaken jointly with General Motors (GM) and with assistance to Magna E-Car Systems from an Ontario (Canada) government grant, is intended to enable Magna E-Car Systems and GM to... Read more →

Emission reduction wedges for California in 2050. Williams et al. Click to enlarge. Technically feasible levels of energy efficiency and decarbonized energy supply alone will not be sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, according to a detailed modeling of the California economy performed by... Read more →

The converted Bit Viking. The twin LNG tanks are mounted on the deck. Click to enlarge. Wärtsilä Corporation has completed the conversion of the 25,000 dwt product tanker Bit Viking from heavy fuel oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) operation. The conversion enables the Bit Viking to qualify for lower... Read more →

First refueling station for LNG in Stockholm opens

The Greater Stockholm (Sweden) region’s first refueling station for liquefied methane gas, LNG/LBG, opened earlier this week. The filling station, Statoil Järna, is part of the BiMe Trucks project in which Volvo Trucks is one of the participating companies along with AGA, which supplies the liquefied gas. One of the... Read more →

Hybricon AB and Umeå Municipality have placed an Arctic Whisper fast rechargeable electric-drive bus in service running on Umeå’s busiest line. The first public installation of the Opbrid Bůsbaar charging station was inaugurated with a ribbon cutting by Umeå Municipality representatives. The Arctic Whisper is the first in a fleet... Read more →

MIT team provides insight into OER reaction in Li-air batteries to help improve performance

Studying the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in lithium-air batteries using first-principles calculations, researchers at MIT led by Dr. Gerbrand Ceder conclude in a paper published in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review B that the low charging rate and high overpotential of Li-air batteries is probably caused by the... Read more →

California ARB announces $11M FY2011-12 Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project solicitation

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced its $11-million fiscal year (FY) 2011-12 HVIP (Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project) Grant Solicitation. This solicitation is open to individuals, federal, state and local government entities and agencies, and organizations with heavy-duty vehicle, vehicle incentive, or air quality expertise. ARB has... Read more →

Mazda signs MoU with Sollers to establish joint venture production facility in Russia

Mazda Motor Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the intent to establish a joint venture production facility with OJSC Sollers. The proposed production facility is to be established in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District and supply several Mazda nameplates for the Russian market. Russia is... Read more →

Report: Toyota and BMW discussing broad partnership; diesel and hybrid technologies

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. is discussing a broad partnership with BMW AG, including procuring diesel engines. In August, Toyota announced a partnership with Ford to develop rear-wheel drive hybrid system for light trucks, among other technologies. (Earlier post.) Under the proposed arrangement, BMW will provide diesel engines... Read more →

NHTSA opens formal safety defect investigation of post-crash battery-related fire risk in Chevy Volts

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a formal safety defect investigation (NHTSA Action Number PE11037) to assess the risk of a battery-related fire in Chevy Volts that have been involved in a serious crash. In May, NHTSA performed a New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) side pole... Read more →

Aggregated damage costs by pollutant. The EEA quantified the damage costs arising from CO2 emissions based on estimated marginal abatement cost. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge. Air pollution from the 10,000 largest polluting facilities in Europe cost citizens between €102–169 billion (US$135–224 billion) in 2009, according to a new report... Read more →

ABB installing electric-vehicle fast chargers at BP service stations in Netherlands

Power and automation technology group ABB has started installing multiple fast-charging systems for electric vehicles (EVs) at some BP service stations in the Netherlands as part of a nationwide trial. ABB recently deployed the first two direct current (DC) Terra systems in the central city of Utrecht, which will be... Read more →