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Schematic illustrations of the TiSi2/V2O5 heteronanostructure design. The TiSi2 nanonet is directly grown on a current collector; V2O5 is deposited onto TiSi2 by a hydrolysis process. Upon annealing at 500 °C in O2, V2O5 nanoparticles form. Credit: ACS, Zhou et al. Click to enlarge. Using a highly conductive two-dimensional TiSi2... Read more →

With Iran’s current threat to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to sanctions as a backdrop, the US Energy Information Agency issued an update to its “World Oil Transit Chokepoint” brief (earlier post), noting that “Hormuz is the world’s most important oil chokepoint due to its daily oil flow... Read more →

China’s State Grid and BYD launch 36 MWh battery system for grid energy storage

BYD and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) have finished construction on what may be the world’s largest battery energy storage station. This large utility-scale project, located in Zhangbei, Hebei Province, combines 140 MW of renewable energy generation (both wind and solar), 36 MWh of energy storage and a... Read more →

California gasoline consumption declined 2.1% in September, 2.0% in Q3; diesel consumption Up 7.0% in September and 6.6% in Q3

In California, gasoline consumption decreased 2.0% in the third quarter 2011 and declined 2.1% in September, according to figures from the state Board of Equalization. Diesel fuel consumption increased 6.6% in the third quarter and rose 7.0% in September compared to last year. In third quarter 2011, California’s gasoline consumption... Read more →

California ARB witholding enforcement of LCFS post Federal Court injunction; appealing and seeking stay of injunction; Judge O’Neill’s 3 rulings

On Thursday (29 December 2011), Judge Lawrence O’Neill of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California issued three separate rulings in a set of federal lawsuits challenging the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union et al v. Goldstene). (Earlier post.) One of the court’s... Read more →

UK awards 46 new licenses to explore for oil and gas in North Sea

UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry set out his hopes for a “prosperous 2012” in the oil and gas sector, as he awarded 46 new licences to explore for oil and gas in the North Sea. These awards represented the second tranche of licenses from the 26th Seaward Licensing Round, which... Read more →

Shanghai OnStar launches Mobile Application II for smartphone-based turn-by-turn navigation

Shanghai OnStar unveiled Mobile Application II – Turn-by-Turn Navigation. The cloud-based mobile application enables OnStar subscribers across China to access the instant remote vehicle navigation service via their smart phones.The new application allows users to locate a point of interest on their mobile phones and then send it directly to... Read more →

BOEM completes draft environmental review for Central and Western Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed a draft environmental impact statement regarding multiple oil and gas lease sales tentatively scheduled between 2012 and 2017 in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico planning areas, offshore the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The proposed Outer... Read more →

Ford targeting 30% reduction in water used per vehicle by 2015

Ford plans to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30% globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009. If Ford meets the 30% goal, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 m3 (2,510... Read more →

Petrobras says that a new field, to be called Sapinhoá, in the offshore Brazil Guará area has an estimated total recoverable volume of 2.1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Sapinhoá is yet another enormous field discovered in the Brazilian pre-salt layer and one of the biggest in the country,... Read more →

Federal Judge rules California Low Carbon Fuel Standard violates Commerce Clause of US Constitution

Federal District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill, Eastern District of California, ruled on Thursday that the State of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program is in violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution and issued an injunction prohibiting its enforcement. (Earlier post.) The LCFS intends to reduce, on... Read more →

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has released a map of the areas that it considers to be Nebraska Sandhills, based on an analysis of a variety of existing data. NDEQ is conveying this to TransCanada for reference as the company develops a proposed new route for the Nebraska... Read more →

BP joins GE, Google Ventures, ConocoPhillips, and NRG Energy in biomass-to-gasoline startup CoolPlanet’s C Round

CoolPlanet BioFuels, Inc., a start-up company developing a technology that converts low-grade biomass into high-grade fuels, including gasoline, and carbon that can be sequestered (earlier post) announced that BP Technology Ventures has made an investment in the company’s C Round of financing. CoolPlanet’s renewable gasoline is chemically indistinguishable from gasoline... Read more →

Pike Research survey finds strong fundamental US consumer interest in EVs; price remains a significant barrier

To assess consumer demand, preferences, and price sensitivity for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Pike Research conducted a web-based survey of 1,051 US consumers in the fall of 2011 using a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample. The survey found that, based on Americans’ driving and... Read more →

Volkswagen targets reducing environmental impact of its plants by 25% by 2018

As part of its “Think Blue. Factory.” Initiative, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand has set targets to reduce for the environmental impact of all Volkswagen plants by 25% values by 2018. This applies especially to energy consumption, waste volumes, airborne emissions, water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. On the basis... Read more →

Toyota Tsusho JV to begin lithium production in Argentina in 2013; supplies for Toyota Motor

Nikkei. Toyota Group company Toyota Tsusho Corp. will begin lithium production in the Salar de Olaroz Lithium-Potash Project in Argentina in 2013 through its joint venture with Australian mining concern Orocobre Ltd. (Earlier post.) Results of a feasibility study at the site, a salt lake in northwestern Argentina, showed estimated... Read more →

Ceresana forecasts 17.8% annual growth in global bioplastics market to $2.8B in 2018; packaging & films and automotive & electronics to see the biggest gains

Market research firm Ceresana forecasts that the global bioplastics market will reach revenues of more than US$2.8 billion in 2018, reflecting average annual growth rates of 17.8%. With a roughly 48% share, Europe was the largest outlet for bioplastics in 2010, followed by North America and Asia-Pacific. Over the next... Read more →

Toyota Tsusho considering strategic partnership for developing and operating EV charging infrastructure in China

Japan-based Toyota Tsusho Corporation, a Toyota group company, is considering building a strategic partnership for the promotion and operation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure business in China. Partners would include China Potevio Company Limited, a major information communication systems company in China, and an automotive parts manufacturer, Chongqing Changpeng Industry... Read more →

New Chrysler 300 Luxury Series sedan mates 8-speed automatic to V6 Pentastar; up to 17% improvement in fuel economy

Designed to be the most fuel-efficient Chrysler flagship sedan yet, the new 2012 Chrysler 300 Luxury Series combines an eight-speed automatic transmission with the 292 hp (218 kW) 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine to deliver 31 mpg US highway (7.6 L/100 km). The new model delivers up to a 17% fuel... Read more →

Ground breaks on Washington West Coast Electric Highway

Officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT); Bellingham, Wash. Mayor Dan Pike; and local businesses including Starbucks and REI, celebrated the ground breaking of the state’s first DC fast charger and its segment of the West Coast Electric Highway. (Earlier post.) The state’s first public DC fast-charging station... Read more →

Nikkei reports Mitsubishi Motors to release electric light truck in FY12

The Nikkei reported that Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has started developing an electric light truck—its third electric vehicle—with a fiscal 2012 launch in mind. The new EV reportedly will be targeted at farmers, contractors and others who use light trucks for their work—applications in which limited range is less of an... Read more →

Alberta approves MacKay River Commercial Oil Sands Project; operating company a JV between AOSC and PetroChina

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (AOSC) announced that the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Environment and Water has issued full regulatory approval for the MacKay River commercial oil sands project to MacKay Operating Corp. MacKay Opco is a Calgary-based joint venture between AOSC (40%) and Cretaceous Oilsands Holdings Limited,... Read more →

EPA soliciting applications for interdisciplinary materials design centers applying life cycle perspective

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for interdisciplinary centers focused on the application of a life cycle perspective towards the development of materials. The aim of the center will be to develop methodologies and practices for materials... Read more →

Visualization of platinum coating in fuel cells. The red areas show high ion transfer activity, the turquoise-green elevations represent the nanoparticles. The picture shows that ion transfer is not uniform all over the coating. Picture: Sergei Kalinin Click to enlarge. A new microscopy technique devised by an international research team... Read more →

Eni signs 3 cooperation agreements with Angolan national oil company, including biodiesel

Italy-based energy major Eni signed three agreements to further strengthen its cooperation with the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol. Through the agreements, the two companies have established the framework for the development of joint mining initiatives in Angola and abroad; the execution of a pilot project in food and biodiesel;... Read more →

Capstone Turbine seeing microturbine sales to oil and gas industry at record pace

Microturbine company Capstone Turbine’s (earlier post) sales to the oil and gas industry worldwide are at a record pace, according to Jim Crouse, Capstone’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Over the last few weeks the company has announced deals from new and existing customers that will use the... Read more →

GE Transportation, the world’s leading maker of rail, mining and transportation-related products, plans to establish a new production facility in Grove City, Pa. in order to meet accelerating demand for remanufacturing services. GE Evolution Series locomotive engines in production at Grove City plant. Click to enlarge. The company will invest... Read more →

IBM and University of Guadalajara create Smarter Cities Exploration Center; transportation pilot seeks to reduce commuting time in city by 15%

IBM and the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) in Mexico have created a Smarter Cities Exploration Center. Supported by technical and intellectual guidance of IBM’s global research lab experts, the Center will be the first of its kind in Latin America, tasked with the mission to design solutions to tackle infrastructure... Read more →

Ballard signs LOI to provide hydrogen fuel cell modules to power 25 buses in Sao Pãulo, Brazil

Ballard Power Systems has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with The City of Sao Pãulo, Brazil for 25 FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell modules to power 25 buses in that city. Delivery of the modules is planned for 2012. A final agreement with The City of Sao Pãulo is now in... Read more →

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the 2012 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). (Earlier post.) The final 2012 overall volumes and standards are: Biomass-based diesel (1.0 billion gallons; 0.91%) Advanced biofuels (2.0 billion gallons; 1.21%) Cellulosic biofuels... Read more →

Lithium-sulfur battery company Sion Power recently reported to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it raised $50 million in equity sold to undisclosed investors. Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Lithium-Sulfur batteries (LSBs) use a lithium metal anode and a soluble polysulfide cathode. Lithium ions are stripped from the anode during discharge... Read more →

Land use in the US in 2007; total cropland at lowest level since 1945, while urban land use has quadrupled

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) recently released its Major Land Uses (MLU) study for the US for 2007. The MLU series is the only accounting of all major uses of public and private land in all 50 States. The US land area totals nearly 2.3... Read more →

Quantum and SB Electronics form technology partnership to launch next generation hybrid electric drive systems

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. and SBE, Inc. have formed a technology partnership. As part of this partnership, SBE, Inc. is providing a novel integrated capacitor/bus structure design solutions for Quantum power electronics for automotive applications. The SBE integrated module is an approach which offers many benefits such as... Read more →

Global R&D spending 2011. Size of circle reflects the relative amount of annual R&D spending by the country noted. Source: 2012 Global R&D Funding Forecast. Click to enlarge. The Battelle-R&D Magazine annual Global R&D Funding Forecast concludes that global research and development (R&D) spending will grow by about 5.2% in... Read more →

Mitsui Engineering and Toda Kogyo form JV for production of lithium iron phosphate for Li-ion batteries

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) and Toda Kogyo Corp. are jointly building a facility at the Chiba Works of MES for commercial production of lithium iron phosphate (LFP) with a capacity is 2,100 tons/year for Li-ion battery (LIB) cathode materials. The new facility for LFP production will start its operation in... Read more →

Oil wholesalers in Japan testing fixed-fee EV charging services at their affiliated fuel stations

JX Nippon Oil, Idemitsu Kosan Co, Cosmo Oil Co. and Showa Shell Sekiyu KK are collaborating to test a fixed-fee EV charging service at 27 of their affiliated gas stations in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture during the first quarter of 2012. The four partners have created the “EV Service Station... Read more →

Simulations of pulsing vortex generating jets, a type of flow control device, created on Ohio Supercomputer Center systems. Vorticity iso-surfaces are colored by velocity magnitude. Credit: Chen/OSU. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Ohio State University led by Dr. Jen-Ping Chen are working to improve the computational fluid dynamics (CFD)... Read more →

CSLM image (63x) of 3-day-old aerobically grown biofilm on CBD pegs. Autoflouresence of hydrocarbons from the tailings can be seen in the background and small clusters of cells are indicated with a white arrow. Source: Golby et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta are... Read more →

New oxygenate additive for diesel fuels from glycerol

Researchers from Tatung and National Cheng Kung Universities in China, and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, report manufacturing a new oxygenate additive for diesels (bio or petroleum) using glycerol (a major byproduct of biodiesel production), dimethyl sulfate (DMS), and sodium hydroxide pellets as raw materials. A paper on the... Read more →

JAPEX delaying final investment decision for Hangingstone oil sands project

Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX), will postpone making a final investment decision (FID) for the Hangingstone Oil Sands Expansion Project (earlier post) in Alberta Province, Canada, based on a longer-than-expected approval process with the Alberta authorities. Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited (JACOS), a consolidated subsidiary of JAPEX, is currently... Read more →

The Aqua hybrid. Click to enlarge. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) launched the Aqua gasoline-electric compact hybrid—to be marketed as the Prius c in the US—in Japan. The Aqua features a small 1.5-liter Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with reduction gear, which achieves fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L (83.3 mpg... Read more →

Lexus will unveil hybrid sport coupe concept at Detroit Auto Show

Lexus will unveil the “LF-LC” 2+2 sport coupe——a hybrid concept vehicle taking the new Lexus design direction one step further—at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new hybrid concept was designed by the company’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, California. The LF-LC features Advanced Lexus Hybrid... Read more →

Eltek to supply on-board chargers for Volvo Car Corporation plug-in hybrid program

Norway-based Eltek has signed an agreement with Volvo Car Corporation regarding deliveries of on-board chargers for a hybrid electrical vehicle program. Under the agreement, Eltek will supply complete water-cooled on-board chargers with volume production starting in 2012. The Eltek EV Powercharger 3000 is designed for maximal utilization of a 16A... Read more →

MHI delivers large-capacity Li-ion energy storage system for advanced microgrid study and verification testing at Shimizu Corp.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., (MHI) has delivered a large-capacity Li-ion battery energy storage system to the Shimizu Institute of Technology in Tokyo. The institute, a technology arm of Shimizu Corporation, a major Japanese construction firm, is presently conducting advanced studies, including verification testing, into various technological areas, including microgrids, which... Read more →

California ARB soliciting research suggestions for FY 2012-2013 plan; sustainable communities, behavior, pollutant exposure, air pollution science, GHG targets

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is soliciting research suggestions for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Annual Research Plan in the form of brief conceptual descriptions that address specified research gaps and support the Board’s ongoing regulatory and policy priorities. The deadline to submit research concepts is 31 January 2012. Proposed... Read more →

SandRidge Energy and Repsol enter $1B Mississippian oil play JV in Kansas

Oklahoma-based oil and gas company SandRidge Energy, Inc. has entered into a joint venture with a subsidiary of Spain-based Repsol YPF, S.A. Under the agreement, SandRidge will sell an approximate 25% non-operated working interest, or 250,000 net acres, in the Extension Mississippian play located in Western Kansas and an approximate... Read more →

Materials in clean energy technologies and components. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge. Several clean energy technologies—including electric vehicles, wind turbines, PV thin films and fluorescent lighting—use materials at risk of supply disruptions in the short term, with risks generally decreasing in the medium- and long-terms, according to the newly released... Read more →