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Report: Honda plans to adopt new design and assembly methods to reduce vehicle weight

The Nikkei reports that Honda Motor Co. plans to make its vehicles lighter by adopting new design and assembly methods. Some of Honda’s new manufacturing methods involve welding outer panels to the frame, rather than assembling the ceiling, side and other panels, to reduce the use of bolts and reinforcing... Read more →

Osum Oil Sands closes $500M private placement; new investors include government of Singapore

Canada-based Osum Oil Sands Corp. has entered into definitive agreements with a group of investors to issue, on a private placement basis, $500 million in equity securities. The financing was led by a combination of new and existing shareholders. The new shareholder group was led by KERN Partners and included... Read more →

A123 Systems reports cooling system hose clamp misalignment issue with Fisker Karma battery pack; repairs underway

Li-ion maker A123 Systems issued a statement on Friday saying it had determined that some of the battery packs it produces for Fisker Automotive could have a potential safety issue relating to the battery cooling system. Specifically, certain hose clamps that are part of the battery pack’s internal cooling system... Read more →

Total transportation fuel use in California broken down by subsector and fuel type for each scenario: business-as-usual (BAU); plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs); and combined PEVs and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). Source: Yang et al. Click to enlarge. Without policy intervention, total travel demand in every transportation subsector in the state... Read more →

More than 50% of repeat car buyers in India are moving up-market to larger or more expensive vehicles

More than one-half of repeat car buyers in India select a model that is either larger or more expensive than the model they previously purchased, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The study finds that the premium compact car segment... Read more →

UCL study suggests reducing car use is the key to better health; the role of car sharing and other approaches

With just 39% of men and 29% of women in the UK reaching the Department of Health’s recommended level of health-enhancing physical activity, the answer to the UK’s growing obesity problem could depend on people choosing to swap car journeys for walking and cycling, according to a new study by... Read more →

Russia’s ё-AUTO and Latvia’s OSC collaborating on hybrid rally sports

ё-AUTO, the Russia-based developer of the ё-mobile hybrid, and OSC, the Latvia-based developer of alternative drive rally cars (OSCars), have signed an agreement on collaboration and strategic partnership in developing alternative transport in motorsports. Within the framework of this agreement, the companies will share vehicle engineering data and collaborate on... Read more →

Study explores emissions impact of hydraulic injector nozzle flow rate and high injection pressures on a light-duty diesel engine

A study by Carsten Rollbusch at Robert Bosch GmbH’s Diesel Systems, Engineering Vehicle and Engine Test Laboratory in Germany has found that a reduced hydraulic injector nozzle flow rate is beneficial for part-load emission performance, while in full-load operation, the beneficial effect of reduced flow rates cannot be detected. The... Read more →

Sears Home Services to install Plugless Power inductive charging systems for EVs

Sears Home Services, the residential and commercial installation arm of Sears Holdings, recently entered an installation agreement with Evatran, the developer of Plugless Power inductive charging systems for electric vehicles. Plugless Power is a Level 2 (240V at 30A, 3.3 kW rated power output) system, with a transfer efficiency of... Read more →

US DOT selects Battelle to develop transit DSRC safety retrofit package; interoperability with light-duty vehicle applications

The US Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has selected the Battelle Memorial Institute to develop a new Transit Safety Retrofit Package (TRP) that will be used as part of the Safety Pilot model deployment. The effective date of the award is 1 January 2012. The focus of this procurement is... Read more →

NRC approves rule to certify amended AP1000 reactor design; Chu: “an important milestone”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to approve a rule certifying an amended version of Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear reactor design for use in the United States. (Earlier post.) The amended certification, which will be incorporated into the NRC’s regulations, will be valid for 15 years. The AP1000 is a 1,100... Read more →

Design-driven engineering process. Coarse-grained mechanistic modeling identifies design parameters to produce targeted device outputs. Components meeting the design specifications are then engineered and individually characterized. Transcripts are designed with kinetic RNA folding simulations, enabling the assembly of component parts into physical devices. Finally, device functions predicted from the parameter inputs... Read more →

Nordic green signs Agency Agreement with BioMCN for bio-methanol

Nordic Green, a company focused on the introduction of bio-methanol, has signed an Agency Agreement with BioMCN, a producer of bio-methanol, for the representation and sales of bio-methanol in Nordic (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) and Baltic (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) countries. Nordic Green will also represent BioMCN worldwide... Read more →

Booz Allen Expands support to USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Program

Booz Allen Hamilton was recently awarded eight task orders to support the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) at the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). The task orders, spread across multiple Indefinite-Delivery – Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ)... Read more →

NOAA seeks comment on draft environmental impact statement on Arctic oil and gas exploration; incidental “take” authorizations

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is seeking public comment on a newly released draft environmental impact statement describing how offshore oil and gas activities in the US Beaufort and Chukchi seas could affect marine mammals and the Alaska Native communities that depend on them for subsistence. The document also... Read more →

New process reduces palladium loading by 60% to reduce costs for direct alcohol fuel cells

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new and significantly cheaper method of manufacturing direct alcohol fuel cells (DAFCs) fuel cells by preparing a palladium nanoparticle catalyst using atomic layer deposition (ALD). This ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells requires 60% less catalyst than current methods. Direct alcohol... Read more →

MIT researchers conclude fundamental changes in the US energy-innovation system are needed to meet challenges of climate change and energy supply

A three-year study by a team of researchers based at MIT has concluded that fundamental changes are needed in the US energy-innovation system. Without systematic, transformative changes, the US is unlikely to succeed either in averting the worst economic and environmental consequences of climate change or in achieving a secure,... Read more →

Li-ion maker Boston-Power adds $30M in funding; China expansion

Boston-Power, Inc. announced $30 million in new private equity. The funding was led by existing investor GSR Ventures. Long-standing Boston-Power investors Oak Investment Partners and Foundation Asset Management (FAM) also participated. ' The investment follows Boston-Power’s September 2011 announcement of $125 million in growth capital and Chinese government stimulus programs... Read more →

High-performance electric motorcycle developed based on AllCell battery with phase-change material thermal management

AllCell Technologies (earlier post) has teamed with two Purdue University engineering students to produce an electric motorcycle with leading performance and drive range. The 10.6 kWh lithium-ion battery incorporates AllCell’s proprietary thermal management material, allowing the students to quickly and easily design the high energy density system capable of delivering... Read more →

Algae.Tec and Lufthansa sign MoU to evaluate potential of algae-oil based aviation biofuels

Algae.Tec and Lufthansa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to evaluate jointly the potential for algae oil from Algae.Tec’s bio-reactors to be developed into a sustainable source of aviation biofuels. (Earlier post.) The Algae.Tec system combines closed control of algae production within an engineered modular environment and efficient downstream biofuel... Read more →

Honda is introducing new four-cylinder, two-wheel-drive versions of the Honda Crosstour crossover in the US next month, in an attempt to broaden the vehicle’s appeal through a lower price point and improved fuel economy. The 2.4-liter, 16-valve DOHC i-VTEC inline four-cylinder engine in the Crosstour 192 hp (143 kW) at... Read more →

The Ray EV. Click to enlarge. Kia Motors has introduced Korea’s first production electric vehicle from a major manufacturer. At the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this year, Yang Woong-chul, vice president of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, said that within the group, Kia will focus on electric cars, while Hyundai will... Read more →

DOE soliciting projects for improving environmental performance of unconventional natural gas technologies; $35M in funding

Research projects to study ways for improving the environmental performance of unconventional gas development are being sought by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a facility of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy. Total funding level is around $35 million; minimum cost share requirement are 20%... Read more →

EPA issues first National Standards for mercury and air toxics pollution from power plants

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), the first national standards for power plant emissions of mercury and toxic air pollutants (also known as hazardous air pollutants, HAPs) such as arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium, and cyanide. EPA also signed revisions to... Read more →

DOE awards nearly $7M to 4 projects to reduce costs of electric vehicle chargers by 50% over next 3 years

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding nearly $7 million in research and development funding to four projects to reduce the current costs of electric vehicle chargers by 50% over the next three years. This research will also promote smart charging capabilities that can help ensure electric vehicles enhance,... Read more →

Distance to 2015 target by individual manufacturers in 2010 (only manufacturers registering > 100 000 vehicles in Europe). The size of the bubble is proportional to the number of vehicles registered in Europe. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge. While most car manufacturers have already met their individual 2012 CO2 targets... Read more →

Imperial Oil sanctions Kearl Oil Sands expansion project

Imperial Oil Limited’s board of directors has approved the expansion phase of the Kearl Oil Sands Project, a surface mining operation under construction northeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Imperial Oil’s share of the Kearl Oil Sands asset is 71%. The Kearl expansion project is a key element of Imperial’s plan... Read more →

Thermoelectric startup GMZ Energy secures $14M in Series C funding

Thermoelectric material developer GMZ Energy (earlier post) has secured $14 million in Series C financing. The new investment was led by Mitsui Ventures and includes I2BF Global Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (a joint venture of GE, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and BP Alternative Energy. With... Read more →

Texas Forest Service preliminary estimates find 2011 drought killed 100-500M trees in state, equivalent to 2-10% of total

As many as 500 million trees scattered across Texas have died this year as a result of the unrelenting drought, according to preliminary estimates from Texas Forest Service. The numbers were derived by Texas Forest Service foresters, who canvassed local forestry professionals, gathering information from them on the drought and... Read more →

Novozymes in project to repower the maritime sector with biofuels

Novozymes, DTU (the Technical University of Denmark), Haldor Topsøe, MAN Diesel & Turbo, DONG Energy, and A.P. Møller - Maersk are collaborating in a 5-year project investigating repowering the maritime sector with biofuels. The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation will contribute DKK 56.3 million (US$9.9 million) in funding, with the... Read more →

APL sensor gives advance warning of catastrophic failure in Li-ion batteries

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., have developed an inexpensive sensor that can warn of impending catastrophic failure from thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries. The sensor is based on the researchers’ discovery of an intrinsic relationship between the internal temperature of lithium-ion cells... Read more →

Bob Lutz to introduce VIA Motors eREV Pickup Truck, SUV and Van at Detroit Auto Show

Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman of General Motors, will introduce an extended range electric (eREV) Pickup Truck, SUV and Van from VIA Motors, in a press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit on 10 January. VIA Motors has developed the first extended range electric powertrain... Read more →

Global coal demand has almost doubled since 1980, driven by increases in Asia, where demand is up over 400% from 1980-2010, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). In turn, China dominates Asian demand; demand in China increased almost five-fold between 1980-2010 and accounted for 73% of Asia’s consumption... Read more →

E300 BlueTEC HYBRID. Click to enlarge. Mercedes-Benz is is launching two new luxury hybrids in its core segment: the diesel-electric E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, and the gasoline-electric E 400 HYBRID. The new hybrid models, based on a modular hybrid system, make their world premiere at the Detroit Auto Show and... Read more →

Top: Conventional F-T process. Bottom: SRI process. Click to enlarge. Researchers from SRI International (SRI) are developing a methane-and-coal-to-liquids process that consumes negligible amounts of water and does not generate carbon dioxide. Based on data from bench-scale tests, SRI engineers estimate that the capital cost for a full-scale plant using... Read more →

A123 Systems to supply 1MW Li-ion grid storage system to Maui Electric Company; 2MW system for NSTAR demonstration

Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems will supply a Grid Battery System (GBS) to Maui Electric Company (MECO), a utility serving residents and businesses on the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai in Hawaii. To be installed at MECO’s Wailea Substation on Maui, the advanced energy storage system will be designed... Read more →

Renault and Boulogne-Billancourt open public test center for EVs

Renault and the city of Boulogne-Billancourt (France) opened the Renault ZE (Zero Emission) Center, the first such to be opened in Europe by a vehicle manufacturer. Its aim is to share the ZE experience with all visitors, in order to convince them of the credibility of Renault’s offering and the... Read more →

DOE awards B&W $2.8M for carbon capture research

Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group, Inc., a subsidiary of The Babcock & Wilcox Company, has been selected to receive $2.8 million in financial assistance funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to study chemical formulations to improve the performance of its Regenerable Solvent Absorption Technology (RSAT) process solvent... Read more →

SEI study outlines risks to global low-carbon technology push

A new report from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) finds that recent progress in developing and deploying low carbon technology is fragile, and advises that policy support must be stabilized globally to maintain momentum. The research was carried out in partnership with the 3C (Combat Climate Change) business leaders’ initiative.... Read more →

Toyota to debut NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept and Prius c at 2012 North American International Auto Show

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., will debut NS4, an advanced plug-in hybrid concept vehicle, at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The reveal will feature the world premiere of the concept vehicle as well as the North American debut of the Prius c hybrid during Toyota’s news... Read more →

SEKAB E-Technology ends its operational commitment in cellulosic ethanol pilot

Earlier this month, SEKAB announced that it is ending its operation and collaboration agreement for maintenance and operation of the cellulosic ethanol pilot plant owned by EPAB (Ethanol Pilot of Sweden AB). SEKAB E-Technology said that the development of the technology has advanced to the point where SEKAB’s need for... Read more →

EU commercial vehicle registrations up 8.4% in November

Demand for new commercial vehicles in November was up 8.4% in the EU, with 171,670 new registrations, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). The positive results were mainly supported by France (+9.9%), Germany (+13.9%) and the UK (+19.4%). Spain was the only major market to face... Read more →

Dow and AKSA forming JV for carbon fiber and derivatives; up to $1B investment in project within 5 years

The Dow Chemical Company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Dow Europe GmbH, and Turkey-based AKSA Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.Ş. signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture to manufacture and commercialize carbon fiber and derivatives. The joint venture will develop and globally market a broad range of products and technical... Read more →

Study using extreme value theory finds lack of uniform trends but increasing spatial variability in rainfall extremes in India

A new study utilizing extreme value theory (EVT) reports no evidence for uniformly increasing trends in rainfall extremes averaged over the entire Indian region. It does, however, find a steady and significant increase in the spatial variability of rainfall extremes over the region. These findings, published in Nature Climate Change,... Read more →

car2go completes pilot program, enters new agreement with the City of Austin’s Car-Share Austin Program; more than 21,000 registered members

car2go, the largest carsharing network in Austin, Texas, has completed its two-year car2go North America Pilot Program with the City of Austin. Under a newly signed agreement with the City of Austin’s Car-Share program, car2go will continue operations in Austin. car2go, developed by Daimler as the world’s first free-floating carsharing... Read more →

Federal Realty partners with Car Charging Group to install EV charging stations at retail sites nationwide

Federal Realty Investment Trust is partnering with Car Charging Group, Inc., a provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging services, to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across Federal Realty‘s portfolio of 18.6 million square feet of high quality retail assets in selected metropolitan markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and California.... Read more →

AGC to open facility for Li-ion cathode materials in China, doubling capacity; mobile devices and EVs

Japan-based AGC (Asahi Glass) will establish a new production and sales facility in China for cathode materials for the lithium-ion batteries (LiB) used in mobile devices and electronic vehicles, as part of its enhanced efforts in the LiB materials business. AGC Seimi Chemical Co., a subsidiary of the Company, will... Read more →

Kureha, Kuraray, ITOCHU in JV to commercialize new plant-derived hard carbon material for Li-ion batteries

Kureha Corporation and Kuraray have been developing a new hard carbon material—“Biocarbotron”—derived from plants for anodes in lithium-ion batteries (LiBs). Under a new agreement, Kuraray will provide capital and human resources to Kureha Battery Materials Japan (KBMJ), a joint venture established by Kureha and ITOCHU Corporation to manufacturer and sell... Read more →

Saft begins deliveries of first lithium-ion batteries produced by new Jacksonville plant

Saft has just started shipping the first Li-ion cells to roll off the production lines at its advanced automated lithium-ion battery factory, in Jacksonville, Florida. The first deliveries from Jacksonville have included hundreds of cells for battery assembly for European customers. Starting volume industrial-scale deliveries to customers from the Jacksonville... Read more →

Electrochemical characteristics of both Si NT and Si/Ge DLNT array electrodes. (a) Voltage profiles for the first cycle at a rate of 0.2 C. (b) Cycle performances. (c) Rate capabilities of Si NT and Si/Ge DLNT. (d) Impedance plots for the Si NT and Si/Ge DLNT. Credit: ACS, Song et... Read more →