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The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and the Union of the Electricity Industry (EURELECTRIC)—the association representing the common interests of the electricity industry at the pan-European level—have jointly agreed on the need for a single harmonized plug system (connector types/modes and communication) for... Read more →


Fuel-cell hybrid buses in regular service in Switzerland

PostAuto Schweiz AG has become the first company in Switzerland to deploy fuel-cell technology for public road transport. Since the end of 2011, five Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid models have been serving on routes in and around Brugg (in the canton of Aargau) as PostAuto vehicles. Over the next five... Read more →


Nanoneedles. Source: WSU. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Washington State University (WSU), led by Dr. Grant Norton, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, are developing a nanoneedle tin (Sn) anode material for Li-ion batteries. Elemental Sn is attractive as a high-performance anode material because of its high... Read more →


The new BMW ActiveHybrid 7. Click to enlarge. BMW is updating its flagship BMW 7 Series for 2013 with significant powertrain upgrades in the 740i/Li and 750i/Li models—including BMW’s 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission; and xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system, now available for the 740Li—as well as a completely new... Read more →


European Council and Parliament agree to limit sulfur content of marine fuels to 0.5% for all ships by 2020

European governments have agreed on legislation to limit the maximum sulfur content of marine fuels to 0.5% (5,000 ppm) for all ships from 2020, down from currently 3.5% for cargo vessels and 1.5% for passenger ships. The European Committee of Permanent Representatives endorsed the compromise agreed between the Council and... Read more →


Google’s technology campaign for autonomous driving

by Bill Cooke Search engine giant Google is looking for partners within in the auto industry to help launch one of the most significant applications of artificial technology over the next several years, the self-driving car. In a keynote address to the SAE 2012 World Congress on 25 April 2012,... Read more →


Clean Republic selects AllCell to supply Li-ion e-bike battery with 40-mile range

Clean Republic, one of the largest retailers of electric bike conversion kits in the US and owner of the Hill Topper and ProPack brands, selected AllCell Technologies to supply US made lithium-ion batteries. AllCell’s batteries are protected by the company’s proprietary thermal management system (earlier post), which limits maximum battery... Read more →


US Senate Armed Services Committee produces markup limiting DoD purchase of biofuels and prohibiting construction of biorefineries

The US Senate Committee on Armed Services completed its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. The bill emerging from the Senate committee authorizes $631.4 billion for national defense programs. The bill authorizes $498.0 million more than the President’s request for the base budget... Read more →


Improvement in fuel consumption (red line) from one of the case models using the POD learning model. Source: Malikopoulos 2010. Click to enlarge. Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is leading an effort to enable an automobile engine to function as an autonomous intelligent system capable of learning... Read more →


IEA: Global CO2 emissions up by 1.0 Gt (3.2%) in 2011 to record high

Global CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel combustion reached a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This represents an increase of 1.0 Gt on 2010, or 3.2%. Coal accounted for 45% of total energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011, followed by... Read more →


Orbital’s air-assisted direct injection can deliver similar droplet sizes for all size fuels. Spray shape is not affected by fuel type. Source: Orbital. Click to enlarge. Australia-based Orbital Engine has been contracted to supply spark-ignited heavy fuel engines for use in AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ (AAI) Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft... Read more →


Aviation and clean technology leaders launch Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative

United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust today have formed the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI), designed to advance aviation biofuel development in a 12-state region holding significant promise for biomass feedstock, technology development, job creation and sustainable commercialization. MASBI will... Read more →


Enova developing next-generation electric drive system “ACUMEN” by reaching out for emerging technologies from other sources

Enova, a developer of proprietary hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the commercial vehicle market, has begun development of its next-generation drive system, code-named ACUMEN. With the completion of its OMNI drive system (earlier post), Enova is now looking to further optimize its ability to... Read more →


BP agrees to add more than $400M in pollution controls at Whiting Refinery and pay $8M Clean Air Act penalty

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that BP North America Inc. has agreed to pay an $8 million penalty and invest more than $400 million to install advanced pollution controls and cut emissions from BP’s petroleum refinery in Whiting, Ind. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


US Army and Air Force planning to develop 1GW of renewable energy on installations by 2025

The US Army and Air Force are planning to develop 1 billion watts of renewable energy on their installations by 2025. The plan marks the latest milestone in a multi-year endeavor to find ways to make the military more energy efficient, said Katherine Hammack, the assistant secretary of the Army... Read more →


Skylark Restaurants in Japan to offer free EV recharging at 900 locations

Integrity Exports. The Skylark restaurant group in Japan plans to offer free EV public recharging at their 900 locations around Japan, with no obligation to be a customer of the restaurant. Initially, the chargers will be standard “slow” chargers, but if you combine a meal with a bit of shopping,... Read more →


New exhaust sleeving provides customizable flexible design for increased emissions performance

Federal-Mogul Corporation has enhanced its line of Thermflex exhaust insulating sleeves. The optimized design can now be tailored to fit any combination of exhaust pipe and tube geometries, helping to increase efficiency of a vehicle’s exhaust system, while protecting sensitive nearby vehicle components. Additionally, the unique flexible manufacturing process produces... Read more →


Nissan to begin production of e-NV200 electric LCV in FY 2013 at Barcelona

Nissan will begin production of its e-NV200 battery-electric compact van (earlier post) into production at its Barcelona plant in FY 2013, which will become the sole producer of the EV. The new model will be based on the existing NV200 currently produced at the plant. e-NV200 will become Nissan’s second... Read more →


WTW GHG emissions of vehicles across driving patterns and PHEV charging scenarios. Solid portions represent GHG emissions associated with gasoline propulsion. Patterned portions represent GHG emissions associated with electric propulsion. (Solid left bar = hydro electricity scenario.) Credit: ACS, Raykin et al. Click to enlarge. A new study by researchers... Read more →


UK says applications for latest North Sea drilling licensing round set record

The latest North Sea licensing round for oil and gas drilling has broken all previous records for the number of applications received by the UK Government. A total of 224 applications were submitted for the 27th Licensing Round covering 418 blocks of the UK Continental Shelf. It is the largest... Read more →


Daimler’s Japanese commercial vehicle subsidiary, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), has launched the sale of its Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid truck in Japan. The light duty truck, which celebrated its world premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show in November 2011, will also be introduced by Fuso in Europe... Read more →


GraalBio will use the Chemtex PROESA cellulosic ethanol process. Source: Chemtex. Click to enlarge. GraalBio, a biotechnology company of the Graal Group, is planning to build a commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil. The company will also install an agricultural station to develop new cane varieties... Read more →


Sundrop Fuels partners with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for inaugural drop-in biogasoline plant

Sundrop Fuels, Inc., a gasification-based drop-in advanced biofuels company (earlier post), is partnering with ThyssenKrupp Uhde for its inaugural biogasoline production facility near Alexandria, Louisiana (earlier post). Sundrop Fuels will convert sustainable forest residues and thinnings as feedstock combined with natural gas into bio-based “green gasoline” by using a commercially-proven... Read more →


DOE awards $150K SBIR Phase I grant to Axion Power to fund commercialization plan for PbC batteries in micro-hybrid vehicles

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant of $150,000 to Axion Power to fund a commercialization plan for the use of its PbC batteries (earlier post) in a low-cost, high-efficiency dual battery architecture for micro-hybrid vehicles. The PbC battery is... Read more →


Fiat and Mazda to partner on new roadster

Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. and Mazda Motor Corporation have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and manufacturing of a new roadster for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo marques based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture. The study calls for both Fiat and Mazda to develop two... Read more →


Researchers find that the global carbon pool in seagrass beds is as much as 19.9B metric tons

Per unit area, seagrass meadows can store up to twice as much carbon as the world’s temperate and tropical forests, according to a paper this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. The paper, “Seagrass Ecosystems as a Globally Significant Carbon Stock,” is the first global analysis of carbon stored in... Read more →


Johnson Controls introduces production process for lightweight door panels made of natural fibers

Johnson Controls is providing a series of innovative door panels, seat structures and instrument clusters for the new BMW 3 Series. The door panels are made using a combination of natural fibers and plastic that are 20% lighter than conventional components. The seat structures for the driver’s seat save three... Read more →


Participants in the driver acceptance clinics strongly desired the V2V safety features. Source: DOT. Click to enlarge. An overwhelming majority of drivers who have experienced technology that allows vehicles to communicate with each other have a highly favorable opinion of its safety benefits, according to data released by the US... Read more →


USGS/BOEM study identifies method to differentiate between natural seepage and produced oils in waters off Southern California

Resource managers now have a method to determine the source of oil found in the waters off Southern California and differentiate between naturally seeped oils and those produced by offshore oil and gas production. This method is detailed in a new joint report from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the... Read more →


Tesla schedules first Model S deliveries; personalization updates

Tesla Motors announced that the Tesla Factory will begin customer deliveries of the Model S on 22 June. In addition, the company announced several personalization updates to Model S: Adjustable regen. Owners will be able to adjust brake regen to suit their driving styles. In a post announcing the changes,... Read more →


The Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR)—a collaboration of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the nonprofit Sustainable Rail International (SRI)—plans to develop what it calls the most powerful carbon-neutral locomotive to date, proving the viability of solid biofuel and modern steam locomotive technology. The locomotive will... Read more →


Nuance unveils Dragon Drive! natural-language voice platform for connected vehicles

Nuance Communications Inc. unveiled Dragon Drive!, a new automotive-grade natural-language voice platform created and designed specifically for the connected car. Dragon Drive! enables automotive manufacturers and suppliers to deliver eyes-free, hands-free message dictation and direct access to content, music, and navigation, powered by the same core technologies used in Nuance’s... Read more →


DOE awarding $35.4M to 13 projects to advance deepwater drilling technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected for further development and awards totaling up to $35.4 million 13 projects aimed at reducing risks while enhancing the environmental performance of drilling for natural gas and oil in ultra-deepwater settings. Research needs addressed by the projects include (1) new and better... Read more →


ITM Power and Hardstaff Group to develop hydrogen-CNG fuel system for heavy-duty vehicles

UK clean fuel and energy storage company ITM Power and The Hardstaff Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and market a Hydrogen Compressed Natural Gas (HCNG) fuel system for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs). The Hardstaff Group provides solutions for the use of natural gas and biomethane in... Read more →


Neste Oil to launch the first diesel complying with Category 4 WWFC diesel specification; reduces fuel consumption by 5% and emissions

Neste Oil will launch a completely new grade of diesel fuel in Finland this fall: Neste Pro Diesel. The new fuel is the first to comply with the most stringent diesel specification (Category 4) drawn up as part of the Worldwide Fuel Charter (WWFC) by automotive manufacturers in Europe, the... Read more →


Consumer Reports survey shows high fuel costs cause downsizing, less driving; 73% would consider alt fuel vehicle

In Consumer Reports’ latest survey, 35% of US respondents report driving fewer miles than they did a year ago. Two-thirds of owners surveyed said they expect their next vehicle to get better fuel mileage than the one they’re driving now, and fuel economy topped the list as the most important... Read more →


Cumulative worldwide sales of TMC hybrids. Data: TMC. Click to enlarge. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced that global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles—passenger car and commercial—topped the 4-million unit mark as of 30 April. The company reached the 3-million mark with its hybrids in February 2011. Of these, the... Read more →


Enova delivers drive systems to First Auto Works (China); incremental order of components in Q2 and Q3

Enova Systems, Inc., a developer of proprietary hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the emerging green commercial vehicle market, has completed shipment of 50 hybrid drive systems to First Auto Works (FAW) to date in 2012 which fulfills the order of 50 systems announced in... Read more →


P&WC begins compressor demo for next-generation regional turboprop engine; 20% improvement in fuel burn

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has begun testing of the compressor for the next generation regional turboprop engine, a key step in the company’s technology demonstrator program. The high-efficiency compressor is a core element of the new engine and the test hardware has already run to the full range of... Read more →


Iran’s new oil find in Caspian Sea may be a supergiant with 8-10 billion barrels

FNA. Iranian oil officials announced that the in-place reserves of a newly found oil field in the Caspian Sea may contain 8 to 10 billion barrels of oil—i.e., supergiant field class. Managing director of Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO) Ali Osouli, announced that the newly oil layer found in... Read more →


GM China Advanced Technical Center begins magnesium casting, creates prototype part

The GM China Advanced Technical Center (ATC) in Shanghai announced that its micro-foundry and formability lab has successfully completed the initial low-pressure casting of a magnesium part, marking a milestone in lightweight automotive materials research. The team at the ATC carried out the melting and casting of magnesium ingot materials... Read more →


Overview of the Bluegas catalytic coal methanation process. Click to enlarge. GreatPoint Energy and China Wanxiang Holdings have officially closed their investment and partnership agreement which was highlighted during an official signing ceremony between senior US and Chinese government officials in 2012. As part of the transaction, GreatPoint Energy has... Read more →


Kandi advances plan for EV rental system pilot in China

China-based EV maker Kandi Technologies, Corp. presented results of a nine-month long feasibility study of its plan for a comprehensive Pure EV rental system for reducing traffic, parking and pollution problems in cities throughout China. First proposed by Kandi in August 2011, the plan envisions Hangzhou as the first test... Read more →


Torotrak and Univance enter cooperation and license agreement for variator components and assemblies

Gearless traction drive company Torotrak PLC has signed a cooperation and licence agreement with Univance Corporation, a leading developer and manufacturer of passenger and industrial vehicle transmission units and other automotive parts headquartered in Japan. The new non–exclusive license agreement allows Univance to develop, manufacture and supply core variator components... Read more →


XL Hybrids, Henley Transmission Services partner to certify AAMCO for hybrid conversion installation, servicing

XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1-3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), has signed an agreement with Henley Transmission Services, LLC, the largest franchise holder of AAMCO automotive service centers, to certify AAMCO technicians to install and service XL Hybrids’ hybrid-electric conversions.... Read more →


Volkswagen and BASF launch annual €50K Science Award for Electrochemistry

Volkswagen and BASF launched an international initiative to promote advanced research in the field of electrochemistry. The Science Award for Electrochemistry is to promote outstanding accomplishments in science and engineering from which stimulation may be gained for the development of high-performance energy storage devices. The Science Award will be offered... Read more →


Experimental results at part load (1500 rpm, 4.7 bar IMEPn) showing performance of jet ignition with vaporized gasoline. Results showed a 19% fuel economy improvement over conventional SI combustion at this operating point. Source: Mahle. Click to enlarge. Mahle Powertrain has refined its pre-chamber turbulent jet ignition combustion system (earlier... Read more →


MECA member companies sold 20,177 diesel retrofits in the US 2011

The total number of verified (US EPA- and/or California ARB-verified) diesel retrofit devices (for both on-road and off-road diesel engines) sold in the US (including California) by MECA member companies in 2011 was 20,177, according to the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA). Overall, these annual retrofit sales numbers are... Read more →