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Chevron Corporation announced that it had conducted a successful production test on the St. Malo PS003 well in the prolific Lower Tertiary trend in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Oil flow rates, though limited by testing equipment constraints, exceeded 13,000 barrels of oil per day. Chevron’s Jack/St. Malo development is... Read more →

California Energy Commission awards $5M to sugar beet ethanol biorefinery demo

The California Energy Commission has awarded $4,998,399 to Mendota Bioenergy, LLC to support the design, construction and operation of an advanced biorefinery demonstration plant in the Mendota area (Fresno County), where sugar beets will be used to create advanced biofuel ethanol. The project is slated to use advanced enzyme and... Read more →

Johnson Controls, Inc. is slated to begin production this spring of Li-ion battery packs for Germany-based electric outboard motor manufacturer Torqeedo to power its electric boat motor, Deep Blue. Deep Blue. Click to enlarge. The Deep Blue motor delivers propulsive power of 29.7 kW (40.5 hp), equivalent, according to Torqeedo,... Read more →

New high-performance anode material for Na-ion batteries

A team from the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) and Gyeongsang National University (S. Korea) have developed SnO2@graphene nanocomposites for use as anodes in sodium-ion (Na-ion) batteries. The nanocomposite exhibited a high reversible sodium storage capacity of above 700 mAh g-1 and excellent cyclability, which the researchers ascribed to the... Read more →

Audi and BMW Group join Aluminium Stewardship Initiative; seeking a standard for sustainable aluminum

AUDI AG and the BMW Group, along with Hydro and Rexam, have joined the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. Aluminium is the world’s second most used metal after steel, and is of specific importance to the automotive industry due to its combination... Read more →

(a) Schematic pathway for a homogeneously catalyzed methanol reforming process via three discrete dehydrogenation steps. (b) Best performing catalysts. Nielsen et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Germany and Italy have developed an efficient low-temperature catalytic process to produce hydrogen from methanol. Hydrogen generation by this method proceeds at 65–95... Read more →

XL Hybrids hybrid drive unit in place. Click to enlarge. XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of... Read more →

Ballard ClearGen Fuel Cell System to operate using biomass-generated hydrogen in California

Ballard Power Systems announced the sale of a 175 kilowatt ClearGen distributed generation fuel cell system to the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe of Humboldt County, California. The fuel cell system will be integrated with a biomass gasifier and syngas purification unit to form an integrated biomass-to-fuel cell power solution. The... Read more →

Tanaka Precious Metals building dedicated plant for fuel-cell catalyst R&D and manufacturing

Tanaka Precious Metals is completing a dedicated plant for fuel cell catalysts within the premises of its Shonan Plant. With an investment of approximately ¥1 billion (US$10.8 million), the 1,000 square meter plant will host the merged and relocated fuel cell catalyst R&D, product inspection and shipment functions currently in... Read more →

Electric Defender research vehicle. Click to enlarge. Land Rover will unveil seven new battery-electric Defender research vehicles at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Although there are no plans for the all-terrain electric Defender to enter series production, the seven EVs will go into service in specialist real world trials later... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz has chosen a high performance polyamide largely made from renewable resources for the engine cover of the brand-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Around 70% of the raw materials used to make the polyamide 410 in DSM’s EcoPaXX Q-HGM24 reinforced compound are derived from the castor plant (Ricinus communis). Mercedes-Benz A-Class engine... Read more →

Boeing joins Univ. of British Columbia in composites research

Boeing has become the founding industrial member of the University of British Columbia’s Composites Research Network (CRN). The CRN will collaborate with other composite initiatives, such as the Canadian Composites Manufacturing Research and Development Consortium hosted by the Composites Innovation Centre in Manitoba. This collaboration has the potential to generate... Read more →

Continental and BMW Group working together to develop freeway-grade highly automated driving

Continental and the BMW Group are pooling their development capacities to define the long-term prerequisites for series introduction of highly automated driving on European freeways. In January 2013, the two companies signed an agreement to jointly develop an electronic co-pilot for this purpose. The overarching aim of the research partnership... Read more →

Westport launches Ford F-450 and F-550 with Bi-Fuel Westport WiNG Power System

Westport Innovations Inc. announced that its Westport WiNG Power System, a compressed natural gas (CNG) bi-fuel system, will be available for order on the Ford F-450 and F-550 Super Duty Chassis Cab trucks starting 1 April 2013. (Earlier post.) The trucks will make their debut at next week’s National Truck... Read more →

BASF to open R&D laboratory and application technology center for battery materials in Japan

BASF will open a new research and development laboratory and an application technology center for battery materials in Amagasaki, Japan. The facilities will be fully operational by the end of 2013. The laboratory will focus on researching electrolytes and electrode materials for high-performance batteries as part of BASF’s global R&D... Read more →

Ford contributes AppLink to open-source GENIVI Alliance

Ford Motor Company will contribute the software for AppLink, the Ford-developed in-car smartphone app interface, to the GENIVI Alliance. Ford becomes the first US automaker to contribute proprietary source code from one of its products to an open-source project. The AppLink software enables apps from connected smartphones to be controlled... Read more →

Levant LNG signs agreement with Gazprom subsidiary on negotiation of sales of LNG produced offshore Israel

Levant LNG, a subsidiary of Pangea LNG B.V., executed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) with Gazprom Marketing and Trading Switzerland AG (GM&T CH), a subsidiary of Russian gas major Gazprom, in which the parties agreed to negotiate in good faith a binding agreement for the sale of the LNG to... Read more →

New £22M venture in UK to help small firms commercialize new and low carbon automotive technologies

A new £21.8-million (US$33-million) initiative aimed at boosting component manufacturing in the automotive sector has been launched in the UK. The Proving Factory will be run by Tata Steel and and low-carbon vehicle engineering firm and LowCVP member, Productiv. Set up with £13 million (US$19.6 million) of Government funds matched... Read more →

California ARB approves AMP Electric Vehicles E-100 medium-duty electric truck as ZEV for California

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved AMP’s E-100 truck as a zero emission vehicle and eligible for sale in California for the 2014 model year, which began this January. We are extremely pleased that our AMP E-100 truck and its battery-electric power train has been approved by CARB... Read more →

New modeling study suggests wind farm power generation capacity has been significantly overestimated

Research in mesoscale atmospheric modeling by the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte’s Amanda S. Adams and Harvard University’s David W. Keith suggests that the power capacity of large-scale wind farms may have been significantly overestimated. Their open access paper appears in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Large-scale wind farms... Read more →

Shell to expand global LNG position with ~$6.2B deal with Repsol S.A.

Royal Dutch Shell plc has agreed to acquire part of Repsol S.A’s LNG (liquefied natural gas) portfolio outside of North America, including supply positions in Peru and Trinidad & Tobago, for $4.4 billion in cash. Shell will also assume and consolidate balance sheet liabilities predominantly reflecting leases for LNG ship... Read more →

The ZF 9HP 9-speed. Source: ZF. Click to enlarge. At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover will announce the first 9-speed automatic transmission for a passenger car; Land Rover is the lead partner on the project, working together with ZF. The ZF 9HP transmission (earlier post) is specifically designed... Read more →

Planned cellulosic biofuel production by 2015. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge. US Commercial-scale production of cellulosic biofuels reached about 20,000 gallons in late 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA estimates this output could grow to more than 5 million gallons this year, as operations ramp up... Read more →

Hyundai begins limited production of ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle for fleet use; 1,000 planned by 2015

Hyundai has begun assembly-line production of the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle for fleet use; the first ix35 FCV rolled off the line at its Ulsan manufacturing facility today. (Earlier post.) The vehicle will be displayed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. That ix35 Fuel Cell will be one of 17... Read more →

Screen shot of a Grid Command Distribution “heatmap” analysis for a neighborhood. Source: Battelle and AEP (data). Click to enlarge. Battelle recently unveiled its new Grid Command Distribution services and software for utilities. The software is a front-end for the open-source GridLAB-D, a distribution system simulation and analysis tool developed... Read more →

Zipcar places Honda Fit EVs into Portland fleet

Zipcar, Inc. has introduced the battery-electric 2013 Honda Fit EV (earlier post) into the Zipcar Portland fleet, with the first vehicles located at Portland State University (PSU). Charging stations for the EVs are provided by ECOtality, Inc.. The new Honda Fit EVs are located on PSU’s campus at Parking Structure... Read more →

Showa Denko starts volume production of water-based anode binder for Li-ion batteries

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has begun volume production of its “Polysol LB Series” water-based anode binder for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The product is a water-based emulsion containing acrylic synthetic resin particles, ensuring lower environmental impact at the time of production compared with solvent-based binders. It provides such advantages as low... Read more →

Report finds diluted oil sands bitumen not more corrosive than comparable heavy crude in pipelines

A new report by Penspen Integrity, commissioned by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), finds that diluted bitumen (dilbit, or synbit—bitumen extracted from oil sands and diluted with lighter crudes or synthetic crudes for transport through pipelines) is not more corrosive than comparable heavy sour crudes in pipelines—and in cases... Read more →

CalBattery licenses Argonne silicon-graphene material for high-energy Li-ion batteries; targeting commercial availability in 2014

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and California Lithium Battery, Inc. (CalBattery) have signed a licensing agreement for an Argonne-developed, silicon-graphene composite anode material for high-energy lithium batteries. CalBattery says it plans to move forward rapidly in the commercial scale-up and production of the novel composite... Read more →

Canada approves 25-year export license for LNG Canada JV

The government of Canada has approved a long-term export licence to LNG Canada Development Inc. to export liquefied natural gas from the terminal proposed by the Shell consortium in Kitimat, British Columbia. LNG Canada is a joint venture comprising Shell, Korea Gas Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and PetroChina International. Currently, all... Read more →

USAMP and A/SP receive $6M from DOE for automotive advanced high-strength steel project

The United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP), in collaboration with the Auto/Steel Partnership (A/SP), received a competitively solicited award for $6 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for its “Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) Approach to Development of Lightweight, Third-Generation Advanced High-Strength Steels (3GAHSS)” project. (Earlier post.)... Read more →

Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration and Production Corporation (Sinopec) executed an agreement which provides for Sinopec to purchase a 50% undivided interest in 850,000 of Chesapeake’s net oil and natural gas leasehold acres in the Mississippi Lime play in northern Oklahoma (425,000 acres net to Sinopec). The... Read more →

Porous Power introduces new line of ceramic-filled separators designed to improve Li-ion thermal stability

US-based Porous Power Technologies, LLC (PPT) (earlier post) has launched a line of ceramic-filled battery separators designed to improve significantly the thermal stability and safety of large-format lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, flat-cell consumer electronics, and many high-power applications. At high temperatures that can cause other separators to fail,... Read more →

Chromatin and Calgren Renewable Fuels sign multi-year alliance for locally-grown sorghum for ethanol production

Chromatin, Inc. and Calgren Renewable Fuels, an ethanol producer located in Pixley, CA, announced an alliance to develop a local supply chain for sorghum for the production of fuel ethanol and distiller’s grains. The multi-year agreement covers up to 30,000 acres of sorghum grain to be grown and supplied to... Read more →

Variation of indicated thermal efficiency with increased EER at 3500 rpm and light load. Zhuang and Hong, 2013. Click to enlarge. A new study by researchers at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) is contributing more detail on the leveraging effect of combining ethanol direct injection with gasoline port injection... Read more →

Cabot launches first graphene-based additive to improve energy density of lithium-ion batteries

Cabot Corp. launched LITX G700, the company’s first graphene-based additive for high energy density lithium-ion battery applications. (Earlier post.) Utilizing graphene material developed on the basis of a new technology platform, this new additive helps lithium-ion battery manufacturers improve cell performance. The LITX G700 conductive additive is a graphene-based additive... Read more →

Airbiquity partners with China Unicom to provide connected vehicle services in China

Airbiquity and China Unicom of Shanghai announced a partnership to provide telematics services for the Chinese automotive market, leveraging Airbiquity’s Choreo connected vehicle service delivery platform and China Unicom’s telecom infrastructure and service provider capabilities. The goal of the partnership is to provide comprehensive and advanced connected vehicle services for... Read more →

The demo screen of a research Cadillac ATS equipped with 4G LTE connectivity, first shown at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. Click to enlarge. At the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, General Motors announced a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with... Read more →

Datsun to launch in South Africa by end of 2014; also India, Indonesia and Russia

Datsun, a Nissan Motor Co. brand designing vehicles for high-growth markets, will return to South Africa. The first model to be introduced in South Africa will be a new passenger vehicle that will be launched by the end of 2014. This follows a global decision in 2010 to re-introduce the... Read more →

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have developed an efficient, autonomous solar water-splitting device based on a gold nanorod array in which essentially all charge carriers involved in the oxidation and reduction steps arise from the hot electrons resulting from the excitation of surface plasmons in the nanostructured gold (plasmonic water-splitter).... Read more →

Boeing-COMAC Center launches two new projects to support efficient air traffic management in China

Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) announced that the Boeing-COMAC Aviation Energy Conservation and Emissions Reductions Technology Center will conduct two new research projects on air traffic management to support the long-term efficiency, capacity and safety of China’s air traffic system. The Boeing-COMAC Technology Center, the companies’ collaborative... Read more →

Powertrain of the McLaren P1. Click to enlarge. McLaren Automotive will unveil the production-ready version of its P1 plug-in capable hybrid supercar at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. (McLaren had introduced a design study version of the P1 at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.) Deliveries are expected to commence in... Read more →

Virginia General Assembly moving forward with replacing gasoline and diesel fuel tax with sales tax; $100 annual tax for EVs, HEVs and alt-fuel vehicles

The Virginia General Assembly is moving forward with legislation (HB2313), that, among its other elements, would abolish the state’s gasoline and diesel fuel taxes and replace them with a sales tax. Currently, both gasoline and diesel carry a $0.175/gallon fuel tax. Beginning 1 July 2013, the gasoline tax would be... Read more →

EVs for use by Michelin and Siemens staffers in the project. (Photo: Sandra Göttisheim) Click to enlarge. Michelin and Siemens, in cooperation with research partners at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, are launching a project to demonstrate that the total... Read more →

Deutsche Telekom and IBM to integrate Machine-to-Machine communication and Smarter Cities data analysis technology for enhanced city services

Deutsche Telekom and IBM are collaborating to provide an integrated solutions portfolio that enables cities to make smarter use of their services through intelligent data capture and analysis. The Smarter Cities solutions will build on IBM’s Smarter Cities expertise (earlier post) and “big data” analysis capabilities combined with Deutsche Telekom’s... Read more →

Man sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for selling $9 million in fraudulent renewable fuel credits

US District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Rodney R. Hailey, of Perry Hall, Md., to nearly 12 years and six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for selling $9 million in renewable fuel credits which he falsely claimed were produced by his company, Clean Green... Read more →

Ioxus expects to announce its first ultracap-battery product with Enersys this year

Ultracapacitor-maker Ioxus expects to announce this year the first ultracapacitor-battery solution resulting from its partnership with Enersys (earlier post), says Chad Hall, Ioxus Co-Founder and VP of Sales and Business Development: a UPS system that will combine ultracapacitors and lead-acid batteries in a rack-mount application. Earlier this month, Ioxus and... Read more →

Daimler formally opens new R&D site in India; largest R&D center outside of Germany

Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) formally opened its new site in Bangalore. With 1,200 employees, MBRDI is the largest Daimler research and development center outside Germany. Our new center of competence in Bangalore gives us direct access to a highly qualified workforce and excellent networking with the locally based... Read more →