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VW’s Winterkorn underscores VW’s CO2 targets with Greenpeace, with caveat about customers

At the beginning of the Geneva Motor Show this year, the Volkswagen Group announced it was committed to reducing the CO2 output of its European new car fleet to 95 grams per kilometer by 2020. (Earlier post.) This commitment was underscored by Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Executive... Read more →

Brown and Yale chemists demonstrate technology to convert CO2 to acrylate

Researchers at Brown and Yale have demonstrated a new enabling technology that could use excess carbon dioxide to produce acrylate, an important commodity chemical used to make materials from polyester fabrics to diapers. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Organometallics. Chemical companies churn out billions... Read more →

UNSW team develops bio-inspired catalytic approach to chemical reduction for production of fuels and chemicals

Scientists at the University of New South Wales (Australia) have developed a new bio-inspired method for carrying out chemical reduction—an industrial process used to produce fuels and chemicals. A report on their work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. Chemical reduction involves the addition of electrons to a substance,... Read more →

Refreshed Buick LaCrosse adds radar- and camera-based safety features

Buick introduced the refreshed 2014 LaCrosse, which among other enhancements, offers new radar- and camera-based safety features. These include Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Change Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Automatic Collision Preparation. GM’s Safety Alert Seat works with these features, providing seat... Read more →

While much of the motivation for next-generation batteries comes from transportation, Lux Research’s analysis concludes that the automotive market will be the last to adopt next-generation batteries due to the extreme cost sensitivity of automakers, stringent safety and lifetime requirements, and long, cautious adoption cycles. Hence, makers of next-generation batteries... Read more →

Eaton launches new family of 16-speed UltraShift PLUS transmissions for Navistar linehaul applications; 2-4% improvement in fuel economy

Eaton has launched a new family of UltraShift PLUS transmissions designed exclusively for Navistar to maximize fuel efficiency in linehaul applications. To be co-released by the two companies, the new 16-speed direct drive automated mechanical transmissions are designed with a small 17$ step between gears to optimize time in a... Read more →

Total injected hot fluid and total produced liquid for the nanocatalyst experiments at temperatures of 320 and 340 °C. Credit: ACS, Hashemi et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Calgary are developing ultra-dispersed (UD) nanocatalysts for the in situ upgrading of heavy oil and bitumen from deep... Read more →

US DOI finalizes plan for oil shale and oil sands research, demonstration and development

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar last week announced the Department of the Interior’s final plan for encouraging research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of oil shale and oil sands resources on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. (Earlier post.) The Record of Decision (ROD) and... Read more →

Rolls-Royce plc has signed a contract for the delivery of its Azipull (azimuthing pulling propeller) propulsion and control system for the Fjellstrand battery-electric ferry. (Earlier post.) Azipull is designed to offer efficient propulsion and maneuvering on higher speed vessels (Typically 20-25knots). The streamlined leg and skeg recover swirl energy from... Read more →

NAMII selects awardees of initial call for additive manufacturing applied research

NAMII, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, awarded on August 2012 (earlier post), and driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), announced the awardees of its initial call for additive manufacturing (AM) applied research and development projects from NAMII members. NAMII will provide $4.5 million in... Read more →

PCAST suggests 6 key components for climate change strategy to President Obama; adaptation and mitigation

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a letter to President Obama describing six key components the advisory group believes should be central to the Administration’s strategy for addressing climate change. The letter, responding to a request by the President last fall for input, calls for... Read more →

Ford focusing NA growth plans on “super segment”

Ford’s plan for growth in North America is focused on four key vehicle segments (subcompact, compact cars, small utility vehicles and midsize); what Ford is now calling the super segment. Since 2009, 38% of Ford’s growth has come from vehicles in this super segment, which includes Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and... Read more →

California ARB considering regulations for alternative diesel fuels; focus on biodiesel

The staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is holding a public meeting on 23 April in Sacramento to discuss regulatory concepts for establishing fuel requirements for alternative diesel fuels (ADF), including biodiesel, renewable diesel and other emerging diesel fuel substitutes. ARB’s goal is to conduct public meetings leading... Read more →

Mack showcases natural-gas-powered MACK Pinnacle built for UPS

Mack Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, unveiled its 12-liter natural-gas-powered MACK Pinnacle Axle Back model during the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS). The natural gas-powered Mack Pinnacle, offering a liquefied natural gas (LNG) solution for on-highway applications, was built for UPS. The addition of the natural gas-powered Pinnacle expands... Read more →

Volvo Trucks introduces Volvo D13-LNG engine for North American Market

Volvo Trucks showcased its prototype D13-LNG engine, its first integrated natural gas solution for the North American market, in a Volvo VNL daycab during the 2013 Mid-America Trucking Show. The Volvo 13-liter compression-ignition engine, utilizing a small amount of diesel fuel to ignite the LNG, delivers diesel-like durability and performance... Read more →

Renault Trucks offering stop-start systems on Master light commercial vans

Renault Trucks, a subsidiary of the Volvo Group, is offering a stop-start system on selected Master light commercial vans. The system enables operators to reduce their fuel consumption by approximately 5%. The system puts the engine on standby when the vehicle is stationary (at traffic lights or a stop sign,... Read more →

IBM researchers have discovered a new way to operate memory and logic chips by using ionic liquid electrolytes. The materials science breakthrough, reported in a paper published in the journal Science, could pave the way for a new class of non-volatile memory and logic chips that would use less power... Read more →

American Honda installs 1MW Bloom Energy solid oxide fuel cell system at Torrance campus

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has installed a new 1MW solid oxide fuel cell system from Bloom Energy (earlier post) on its Torrance, California campus. The fuel cell system comprises five energy servers each producing 200 kW of power, and will provide 25% of Honda’s electricity needs for its 1.13... Read more →

ARPA-E to award up to $20M for technologies for primary domestic processing of light metals (Al, Mg, Ti); vehicle lightweighting

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000882) for up to $20 million for the Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) program. METALS is to support the development of innovative technologies for cost-effective processing and recycling of... Read more →

Kia updates Optima hybrid for MY2013; more power, better fuel efficiency

Kia Motors America (KMA) has introduced the updated 2013 Optima Hybrid, featuring a more performance-driven and fuel-efficient powertrain as well as more cargo space and premium features. Kia first introduced the hybrid in 2011. For 2013, the Optima Hybrid features numerous powertrain refinements including a more robust 35 kW (47... Read more →

Ford cuts global water use 8.5% per vehicle from 2011 to 2012; total usage down 62% since 2000

Ford has reduced the average amount of water used to make each of its vehicles by 8.5% between 2011 and 2012—putting the company more than halfway toward its current goal of using an average of 4 cubic meters per vehicle globally by 2015. Since 2000, Ford has reduced the amount... Read more →

Cartoon of the process. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Columbia University have developed a biological process utilizing autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) for the conversion of methane (CH4) to methanol (CH3OH). A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. In fed-batch reactors using mixed... Read more →

Toshiba develops low-power operating system for many-core LSI for embedded applications

Toshiba Corporation has developed a low-power operating system (OS) for many-core processors, targeting application in embedded systems, including automotive products and digital consumer products. An evaluation of the OS on the company’s own many-core processor recorded a 24.6% power reduction against the standard OS when running a super resolution program... Read more →

Scania Streamline G-series unit. Click to enlarge. Scania unveiled its new Streamline series of trucks that will enable customers to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8%. The Scania G- and R-series long-haulage trucks feature new low-drag looks and full air deflector kits. Potential fuel savings in long-haulage are up... Read more →

California ARB adds another $6M to Clean Vehicle Rebate Program

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has put an additional $6 million into the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Along with another infusion of $4.5 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) two weeks ago (earlier post), the combined $10.5 million is expected to extend the rebate program until next... Read more →

Daimler and University of Stuttgart partner on research on lightweight construction

Daimler and the University of Stuttgart signed an additional long-term cooperation agreement which will entail doctoral candidates and employees from the Institute for Aircraft Design carrying out joint research with lightweight construction experts from Daimler into fundamental matters in the field of production, simulation and design of FRP/CRP (fiberglass reinforced... Read more →

ArcelorMittal Vega in Brazil strengthens automotive steel portfolio

ArcelorMittal Vega in Brazil has completed a US$10-million investment to install a new post-treatment technology on its galvanizing line #1. The new technology improves Vega’s coated sheets for the stamping process, making the line particularly attractive for car manufacturers worldwide, the company said. Using the new coating technology, a liquid... Read more →

NHTSA introduces SaferCar app for iOS devices

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced a new iOS app for iPhones and iPod Touches that will provide real-time vehicle safety information to consumers from NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov site. Development is also underway for a version compatible with Android devices. NHTSA’s SaferCar app allows users... Read more →

Process of biomass pretreatment, acid hydrolysis and sugar extraction using alkaline solutions. Sun et al. Click to enlarge. A team from the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a novel one-pot process to extract sugars liberated from biomass in aqueous ionic liquid (IL) solutions. The new... Read more →

Allison TC10 transmission for heavy-duty trucks showed average 5% fuel economy improvement in test fleets

Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. announced that test fleet users achieved an average 5% fuel economy improvement with the Allison TC10 tractor transmission over their current manual and automated manual transmissions. The TC10 10-speed transmission is targeted at Class 8 tractors used primarily in urban environments (“Metro”), which represent ~30% of... Read more →

The amount of traffic and pattern of changes in average speed with vehicles equipped with the system. Click to enlarge. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. conducted public-road testing of its new traffic congestion minimization technology (earlier post) in Indonesia and verified the effectiveness of the technology in delaying the development of... Read more →

Down to the wire for final round of public voting in DOE Apps for Vehicles challenge

The public voting period for the final round of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) $50,000 Apps for Vehicles Challenge began on 18 March, and runs through 25 March. (Earlier post.) Nearly 40 teams initially submitted ideas for the $50,000 Apps for Vehicles Challenge that seeks to improve safety and... Read more →

New organization pushing for fully electrified door-to-door multi-modal surface transport in Europe

The newly formed Platform for the Electrification of Surface Transport held its inaugural meeting in Brussels. The group brings together eleven organizations from across industries and transport modes—Alstom, AVERE, CER, ETRA, EURELECTRIC, EUROBAT Going Electric, Nissan, Polis, UITP, and UNIFE—and is committed to the promotion of further electrification of surface... Read more →

PHEV powertrain company ALTe in new commercial vehicle JV in China with Henan Benma; target 10K units/year

ALTe Powertrain Technologies (ALTe), developer of a range-extended plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) powertrain for light commercial fleet vehicle applications (earlier post), will establish a new commercial vehicle manufacturing Joint Venture with the Henan Benma Company (Benma) in the Henan province of China. Henan Benma was originally part of a... Read more →

California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation projects and $1.8M for 20 energy research projects

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects including biodiesel production, power control electronics for medium-and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and buydowns for propane vehicles. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. In addition, CEC awarded $1,815,274 to fund... Read more →

Axion Power completes new continuous roll carbon sheeting production process for PbC anode material

Axion Power International, Inc. , the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC batteries and energy storage systems (earlier post), has completed and begun operating its new improved continuous roll carbon sheeting line. The carbon sheet is a critical component of Axion’s proprietary negative electrode. To date, it has been manufactured by... Read more →

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation announced that its Shenandoah-2 well in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico encountered more than 1,000 net feet of oil pay in multiple high-quality Lower Tertiary-aged reservoirs. The Shenandoah-2 well, located in Walker Ridge block 51, was drilled to a total depth of 31,405 feet (9,572 meters) in... Read more →

Mærsk Group exploring use of lignin-based marine biofuels; CyclOx and B21st

With an annual fuel bill of US$7 billion for vessel operations, the Mærsk Group continually considers ways to reduce its bunker fuel consumption. Greater efficiency is the primary way of achieving this; alternative fuels are another. Mærsk Group is currently involved in two projects focused on realizing the marine fuel... Read more →

California ARB considering four new low-carbon fuel pathways; Neste renewable diesel and sugarcane molasses ethanol

California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff has posted four new Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) pathways to the LCFS web site. (Earlier post.) Among the new pathways to be considered is the production of renewable diesel from Australian tallow at Neste Oil’s Singapore plant. Others are sugarcane molasses ethanol from... Read more →

Peterbilt extends natural gas engine lineup with Cummins Westport 2013 ISX12 G

Peterbilt Motors Company announced the availability of the new 2013 Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine. Peterbilt has been manufacturing trucks featuring liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel systems solutions for heavy-duty over-the-road, regional and vocational applications since 1996. Based on the Cummins ISX12 diesel... Read more →

Tesoro to purchase algae-derived green crude oil from Sapphire Energy

Sapphire Energy has entered into a commercial agreement with Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Tesoro Corporation. Under the agreement, Tesoro will purchase crude oil from Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm in Columbus, New Mexico, which recently reached a new milestone: continuous cultivation and crude oil production.... Read more →

Oxford Catalysts sues CompactGTL for patent infringement on small-scale GTL

Velocys, Inc., the US subsidiary of Oxford Catalysts Group, a developer of smaller scale Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technology,filed a case in the UK High Court against CompactGTL Limited alleging infringement of a number of the Group’s patents. The Group says that it owns or has exclusive licence to the world’s largest... Read more →

Los Angeles takes steps to transition out of coal-fired power earlier than required by state law

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has taken steps to transition out of the use of coal-fired electricity earlier than mandated by California state law. Representatives of LADWP and Salt River Project have reached sufficient progress on the principle terms to sell LADWP’s stake in Navajo Generating... Read more →

Study explores impact of alcohol-gasoline blends with early inlet valve closing at low and moderate loads on EGR tolerance

A team from Brunel University, MAHLE Powertrain and University College London studied the combined effects of different inlet valve operating strategies on combustion, performance and emissions with different ethanol and 1-butanol blends with gasoline in a single-cylinder spark-ignition research engine equipped with a fully variable valvetrain. Their paper is published... Read more →

US manufacturing sector energy use and energy intensity down since 2002

Total energy consumption in the manufacturing sector decreased by 17% from 2002 to 2010, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. Manufacturing gross output decreased by only 3% over the same period. Taken together, these data indicate a significant decline in the amount of energy used per unit... Read more →

Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge. A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2... Read more →

NuHub, the State of South Carolina and Holtec International, Inc., a diversified energy technology company supplying equipment and systems for the nuclear, solar, geothermal and fossil power generation sectors of the energy industry, are teaming up to compete for the second round federal funding opportunity from the US Department of... Read more →

Ultracapacitor manufacturer Ioxus introduced three new modules: the iMOD 16V/500F, 80V/12F and 48V/165F, which all deliver higher power and energy densities as compared with competitive products, according to the company. The iMODTM 16V/500F provides power density up to 95% greater than modules currently on the market. iMOD 48V/165F. Click to... Read more →