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13 companies, 8 groups join DOE Workplace Charging Challenge

Thirteen major US employers and eight stakeholder groups have joined the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) new Workplace Charging Challenge to help expand access to workplace charging stations for American workers across the country. In a speech at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Chu outlined the new initiative, which... Read more →

EPA proposes 2013 standards for RFS; cellulosic biofuel at 14 million gallons

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the 2013 percentage standards for four fuel categories that are part of the agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program (RFS2). The proposal comes shortly after the DC Circuit Court vacated the EPA’s 2012 cellulosic biofuels standard for the RFS. (Earlier post.) The cellulosic biofuel... Read more →

2013 SAE International High Octane Fuels Symposium: the potential for high octane fuels (Part 1)

The 2013 SAE International High Octane Fuels Symposium (HOFS) this week in Washington, DC, explored the pros and the cons of high octane fuels, with a particular focus on using ethanol as the source of the octane improvement. The “obvious driver” for the consideration of a high octane fuel (HOF),... Read more →

Novozymes acquiring industrial enzyme business from Canadian Iogen Corporation

Novozymes is acquiring Iogen Bio-Products, the industrial enzyme business of Ottawa-based Iogen Corporation for C$67.5 million (US$67.4 million) and potential earn-out payments of up to C$12.5 million. The deal provides Novozymes with all commercial rights to Iogen Bio-Products’ existing product portfolio, pipeline, facilities and know-how. Novozymes acquires all of Iogen... Read more →

Sinochem enters Permian Basin shale via $1.7B agreement with Pioneer Natural Resources; 40% ownership plus funding for Pioneer

Sinochem Group signed a definitive agreement with Pioneer Natural Resources Company whereby Sinochem Petroleum USA LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinochem Group, will purchase a 40% undivided interest in approximately 207,000 net oil and natural gas leasehold acres held by Pioneer in the southern Midland Basin Wolfcamp play, part of... Read more →

Quantum enters into 3-year partnership agreement with Linde; supplying hydrogen refueling systems

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. has received a purchase order from Linde LLC, an affiliate of The Linde Group, for gaseous hydrogen refueling systems as the first order under the three-year partnership agreement. The hydrogen systems will be specially designed, built and commissioned in support of Linde’s USA-based hydrogen... Read more →

A prototype vehicle on the track from the Visio.M project. Click to enlarge. In Germany, the Visio.M consortium is developing a mobility concept for an efficient electric vehicle, making the design as light as possible while still delivering the best possible safety protection. Participants in the Visio.M consortium are, in... Read more →

GM investing $200M to expand powertrain engineering; consolidation in Pontiac

General Motors will invest $200 million into its Global Powertrain Engineering Headquarters to build a new 138,000 sq.-ft. test wing, which is expected to be completed during the second half of 2014. The plan is part of GM’s previously announced commitment to invest $1.5 billion in its North American facilities... Read more →

Honda and Acura to offer Apple’s Siri Eyes Free on select 2013 vehicles

American Honda will integrate support for Apple’s Siri into its 2013 Honda Accord and Acura RDX and ILX models as a dealer installed option. Later this year, owners with a compatible iPhone running iOS 6 can direct Siri to perform a number of specific tasks while they keep their eyes... Read more →

Optimization of high-speed crash avoidance in autonomous vehicles

Writing in International Journal of Vehicle Autonomous Systems, Matthew Best of Loughborough University (UK) explored the optimization of a vehicle’s standard brake, acceleration and steering control inputs in the context of avoiding collisions. He devised a computer simulation that allows all those parameters to be optimized concurrently during a safety... Read more →

Ionic liquids effective for pre-treating mixed blends of biofuel feedstocks

A collaborative study by researchers with the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a bioenergy research center led by Berkeley Lab, and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has shown that an ionic liquid proven to be effective for pre-treating individual biofuel feedstocks is also effective at pre-treating... Read more →

Climate and Clean Air Coalition to work with oil and gas companies to reduce emissions

More than a dozen Ministers from countries around the world released a statement earlier this week calling for accelerated action to substantially reduce venting, leakage, and flaring of natural gas from oil and gas operations worldwide. Specifically, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition intends to work with leading oil and... Read more →

New A123 Systems LLC emerges

Li-ion battery maker A123 Systems LLC, a newly formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Wanxiang America Corporation, has acquired substantially all of the non-government business assets of bankrupt A123 Systems, Inc. Included in the acquisition, which has received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), are... Read more →

NTSB issues sixth update on JAL Boeing 787 Li-ion battery fire investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board released the sixth update on its investigation into the 7 January fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston. The examination of the damaged battery continues. The work has transitioned from macroscopic to microscopic examinations and into chemical and elemental... Read more →

MAN B&W engines achieve Energy Efficiency Design Index compliance for two 180,000 dwt bulk carrier newbuilds

Chinese shipowner Centrans (Tianjing) Ocean Shipping has received EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index) compliance certificates for two 180,000 dwt newbuild Capesize bulk carriers (“bulkers”), an achievement it reports as being a first in the Capesize segment globally. The bulk carriers are each powered by a single MAN B&W 6S70MC-C8.2 low-speed... Read more →

CRC study finds that fuel systems in some modern vehicles fail with E15 use

A newly completed study (CRC Project No. AVFL-15a) by the Coordinating Research Council, a non-profit organization created and supported by the petroleum and auto industries, has found that some fuel systems in modern vehicles survive testing in mid-blend ethanol fuels, while others will experience complete failures that would prevent operation.... Read more →

Researchers demonstrate electrochemical synthesis of ammonia from air and water under mild conditions

Researchers from the University of Strathclyde and the University of St. Andrews have demonstrated that ammonia can be synthesized directly from air (instead of N2) and H2O (instead of H2) under a mild condition (room temperature, one atmosphere) with supplied electricity which can be obtained from renewable resources such as... Read more →

Commissioning of Westinghouse plasma biomass gasifier at waste to liquids facility in China

Alter NRG Corp. announced that Wuhan Kaidi, which purchased a Westinghouse Plasma gasifier design, and plasma torch systems, from Alter NRG in 2010, has successfully completed the commissioning of the unit at its demonstration facility in Wuhan, China. Westinghouse Plasma is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alter NRG that licenses and... Read more →

Commercial vehicle registrations in Europe down 12.4% in 2012, 23.4% in December

In December, new commercial vehicle registrations continued the downward trend which prevailed throughout 2012, amounting to 125,825 units, according to the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). Demand reached its lowest level since October 2009, at -23.4%, with downturns in major markets ranging from -15.5% in the UK to -20.3%... Read more →

SG Biofuels signs deals in Brazil to develop Jatropha as an alternative energy crop

SGB, Inc. (SG Biofuels) has signed agreements in Brazil with Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), the country’s leading agricultural research institution, and with Fiagril, one of the country’s leading biodiesel refiners, to advance the development of Jatropha as a next-generation energy crop. SGB’s strategic research partnership with Embrapa will combine... Read more →

DOE to award up to $6M for projects to develop advanced biomass supply chain technologies

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000836) for up to $6 million for projects that will develop and demonstrate supply chain technologies to deliver commercial-scale lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks affordably to biorefineries across the country. DOE’s updated Billion Ton Study (earlier post) finds that... Read more →

Fifth-generation Haldex coupling in the Golf 4MOTION. Click to enlarge. Volkswagen is expanding the new Golf range with versions with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. In this latest version of the Golf 4MOTION, Volkswagen is using a four-wheel drive system with an enhanced, fifth-generation Haldex coupling. Volkswagen is offering the new Golf... Read more →

DLR team testing automated parking system

Transport researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are testing a highly automated form of searching for available parking spaces in Braunschweig—i.e., automated valet parking. In so doing, DLR is completing another step in putting its Application Platform for Intelligent Mobility (Anwendungsplattform Intelligente Mobilität;... Read more →

A battery-powered, six-seat passenger transfer vehicle is now available in the UK. The Golia multi-passenger electric vehicle (EV) has full N1 type approval, a 30 mph (48 km/h) top speed and a quick-swap battery pack for extended hours operations. This compact minibus has a driver and passenger seat up front,... Read more →

Shell and Kinder Morgan plan to export LNG from the United States

Shell US Gas & Power LLC (Shell), a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, and Southern Liquefaction Company, LLC, a Kinder Morgan company and unit of El Paso Pipeline Partners, L.P. (NYSE: EPB), intend to form a limited liability company to develop a natural gas liquefaction plant in two phases... Read more →

European Commission selects Graphene as one of first €1B Future Emerging Technology flagships

The European Commission has chosen Graphene as one of Europe’s first 10-year, €1 billion (US$1.34 billion) Future Emerging Technology (FET) flagships. The mission of Graphene is to take graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to society, revolutionize multiple industries and create economic growth and new jobs in Europe.... Read more →

NREL acquires fuel cell hybrid vehicles from Toyota to support hydrogen infrastructure, production, and vehicle performance studies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently received four fuel cell hybrid vehicles—advanced (FCHV-adv) (earlier post)—on loan from Toyota through a two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. These vehicles will help NREL enhance its research related to hydrogen fueling infrastructure, renewable hydrogen production, and vehicle... Read more →

Single-module Cox powerhead unit. Click to enlarge. The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) has confirmed its order for the next prototype stage of development of a new high-performance, lightweight diesel engine intended for marine outboard applications on the fast, rigid inflatable boats used by the Royal Navy. The Cox Powertrain... Read more →

Daimler, Renault-Nissan Alliance Ford to develop common fuel cell system; targeting vehicles in 2017

Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed a three-way agreement for the joint development of a common fuel cell system to speed up availability of zero-emission technology and significantly reduce investment costs. The goal of the collaboration is to develop jointly a common fuel cell... Read more →

Pennsylvania DEP extends alternative fuel vehicle rebate program with additional $1.5M

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will extend the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program once it reaches its milestone of awarding 500 $3,500 rebates for large-battery system plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery-electric vehicles. As we approach this milestone, DEP and this administration remain committed to seeing this alternative... Read more →

€4.6M eNterop project for PEV-charging point interoperability kicks off

The eNterop project, the goal of which is to to ensure the smooth interoperation of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) and charging points from different manufacturers, recently had its kick-off meeting in Berlin. Funding for the €4.6-million (US$6.2-million) project is split 50/50 between the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi)... Read more →

NTSB update on JAL Boeing 787 battery fire investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a fourth update on its investigation into the Jan. 7 fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston. (Earlier post.) The event airplane, JA829J was delivered to JAL on December 20, 2012. At the time of the battery... Read more →

CCS infrastructure for six key CO2 emission prices. Sources are red and sinks are blue. The amount of CO2 captured (as a proportion of the maximum capturable amount) at each source is depicted by the dark wedges. Wedges for the sinks depict the amount of CO2 stored (as a proportion... Read more →

CRI Catalyst Company selects KBR to develop engineering packages for IH2 biomass-to-fuels process

CRI Catalyst Company (CRI) selected KBR as the preferred Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) partner supporting licensed design of IH2 technology commercial scale facilities, having greater than 330-tons/day dry biomass feed rates. The IH2 (Integrated Hydropyrolysis and Hydroconversion) is a new thermochemical process that employs a catalyzed fluidized bed hydropyrolysis... Read more →

Study finds urban waste heat affects temperatures across thousands of miles, warming some areas and cooling others

The waste heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas—which is distinct from the urban heat island effect—alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems, affecting temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to a new study published in the... Read more →

DC Circuit court vacates 2012 cellulosic RFS standard, affirms 2012 advanced biofuel standard

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled this week in a case (#12-1139) brought by the American Petroleum Institute (API) against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (earlier post), and vacated the 2012 cellulosic biofuel RFS standard while affirming the 2012 advanced biofuel standard. API... Read more →

TU Eindhoven starting e-bike and e-scooter trial

The Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e) in The Netherlands will begin an e-bike and e-scooter trial on 4 February; for six months, the university will make free electric bikes and scooters available to employees who live between 7-20 kilometers (4-12 miles) from campus. The €10,000 (US$13,500) trial is one of the... Read more →

Ben Franklin Transit and CCW developing battery-electric remanufactured transit bus

With the help of a CALSTART grant directed to Washington state by US Senator Patty Murray, Ben Franklin Transit is working with Southern California-based Complete Coach Works (CCW) to develop an all-electric remanufactured transit bus that has the capability of going more than 100 miles. The Zero Emission Propulsion System... Read more →

China is the world’s largest truck market. Click to enlarge. AB Volvo has signed an agreement with the Chinese vehicle manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (DFG) to acquire 45% of a new subsidiary of DFG, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV), which will include the major part of DFG’s medium- and... Read more →

DOE to award up to $12M to accelerate record-breaking solar cell efficiency

As part of the Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000806) for up to $12 million to develop innovative, ultra-efficient solar devices that will close the gap with the theoretical efficiency limit, or the highest potential percentage of sunlight converted... Read more →

In a new working paper, Prof. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan argues that to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, the proper policy focus should be upstream in sectors that provide the fuel, rather than downstream on the choice of fuels in the automobile. More specifically, he suggests... Read more →

Honda Transmission contracts with Juhl Wind for two utility-scale wind turbines at Ohio plant; up to 10% of electricity for operations

Honda Transmission Mfg. of America, Inc. announced an agreement with Juhl Wind, Inc. to develop, install, and operate two utility-scale wind turbines (each rated at about 2MW) to generate electricity for the plant’s operations. The plant manufactures automatic transmissions, gears and four-wheel-drive systems, including the next-generation Earth Dreams transmission technology.... Read more →

Forest BtL’s process. Click to enlarge. Finland-based Forest BtL Oy has licensed Carbo-V biomass gasification technology from Linde Engineering Dresden GmbH. The Carbo-V technology will be implemented in a new Biomass–to-Liquid (BtL) plant in Kemi, Northern Finland. The commercial operation for the production of biodiesel and naphtha via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis... Read more →

Volvo enhances mobile app to support V60 plug-in hybrid

Volvo Car has enhanced its mobile app, Volvo On Call, with a new design, extra features and added vehicle connectivity. The app also enables users to connect with the plug-in diesel V60 Hybrid. New functions specific to the V60 D6 AWD Plug-in Diesel Hybrid incude: Passenger compartment preconditioning. Allows the... Read more →

Maersk Line reaches 2020 CO2 target of 25% reduction; now targeting 40% reduction by 2020

Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipping company, has reached its 2020 target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% from its benchmark 2007 levels. The CO2 emissions of Maersk Line are measured in accordance with the methodology developed by the Clean Cargo Working Group (grams of CO2 per container carried... Read more →

Fuji Electric releases newly designed DC Quick Charging Station

Fuji Electric Corporation of America will introduce a new generation of UL-Certified 25kW DC Quick Charging Stations for electric vehicles, offering a slimmer, sleeker version to suit a wider variety of applications and site locations. The release will be the fourth generation DC Quick Charger for the power electronics manufacturer,... Read more →

The European Commission announced a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use. Policy initiatives so far have mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles, without considering fuels distribution. Efforts to provide incentives have been un-co-ordinated and... Read more →

Voith SensoTop technology nets up to 7% fuel savings for city transit buses

Field tests for Voith’s SensoTop transmission technology have shown a reduction in fuel use of up to 7% for heavy-duty transit buses. Savings were achieved across multiple transit authorities and routes varying in elevation and length. SensoTop represents an updated version of the software used to control Voith’s DIWA.5 transmission.... Read more →

Damaged electrode with sign of internal short circuit from the 787 Li-ion battery. Source: NTSB. Click to enlarge. At a briefing on the progress in the investigation of the Li-ion battery fire on-board a JAL Boeing 787 at Logan Airpot in Boston (earlier post), NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman reported that... Read more →

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will conduct test drives of the ATLAS F24 Refrigerator Truck by Li-ion Battery for a one-year period starting this month, in cooperation with Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. This vehicle is the first truck to sustain continued operation of its refrigerator and chiller compartments through a dedicated... Read more →