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California Energy Commission awards $750K to Electricore to study standardization of plug-in vehicle batteries

The California Energy Commission has awarded Electricore, Inc. $750,000 to research value-based design options for the standardization of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) batteries. The project survey will include identifying barriers to standardizing, researching methods to implement battery system standards, and recommending potential paths to the commercial adoption of battery standards.... Read more →

PARC launches ARPA-E-funded co-extrusion printed battery project

PARC, a Xerox company, has launched a project with the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under the 2012 Open Funding Opportunity. (Earlier post.) The Printed Integral Battery Project will leverage a PARC invented co-extrusion (CoEx) technology (earlier post) to demonstrate a lithium-ion battery manufacturing process that... Read more →

Owens Corning presenting LifeMat glass non-woven solutions for flooded lead-acid batteries for stop-start engines

Owens Corning is exhibiting its newly-branded LifeMat glass non-woven solutions for flooded lead-acid batteries or start-stop systems at Baltimore’s Battery Council International (BCI). The LifeMat pasting mat contributes to extending the lifecycle of traditional lead-acid batteries by preventing positive active mass shedding. Owens Corning originally announced the product in conjunction... Read more →

2nd generation eDCT prototype unit, with both motors mounted at the same end of the transmission. Source: Vocis. Click to enlarge. During the coming month, UK-based transmission engineering and control specialist Vocis will launch an electric demonstrator vehicle fitted with the second generation of its multi-speed eDCT transmission for electric... Read more →

Cadillac advancing work on semi-automated vehicle technology Super Cruise

Development of “Super Cruise,” Cadillac’s semi-automated driving system (earlier post), is advancing to the next stage of development, including more real-world driving assessments and trials. Cadillac projects this technology could make its way into production models later this decade. In this next phase of development, engineers will drive Super Cruise... Read more →

Model of the integrated motor drive and battery charger. The image shows a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which also has a fuel tank and a combustion engine, but the technology system works equally well with a purely electric vehicle. Source: Chalmers. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology... Read more →

MTS introduces test solution for energy recovery systems in hybrids

MTS Systems Corporation, a global supplier of high-performance test systems and position sensors, announced the availability of the MTS ERS Test Solution, designed to help automotive companies introduce and optimize Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) in their hybrid-electric vehicles. The MTS ERS test system incorporates a virtual vehicle and physical test... Read more →

ES&T editorial calls Keystone XL a “pipeline to nowhere”

Editor-in Chief of the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Dr. Jerald Schnoor, also a professor in the departments of civil & environmental engineering and occupational & environmental health at the University of Iowa, has written an editorial for the journal in which he calls the Keystone XL pipeline a... Read more →

Former president of Shell Oil calls for aggressive action on alternative fuels to break oil monopoly on transportation

John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Company and founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy (CFAE), is joining the Fuel Freedom Foundation (FFF) Advisory Board. Fuel Freedom is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to opening the fuel market to allow alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas... Read more →

Savage expanding two Utah terminals to include crude-by-rail services

Savage is expanding the service offerings at its terminals located in Price and Salt Lake City, Utah, to include crude by rail transloading services, and associated car storage, on a manifest basis. These terminals will provide Uinta Basin crude, bound for key refinery markets, access to rail transportation. The Savage... Read more →

First production from Imperial’s Kearl oil sands project; “about the same” lifecycle GHGs as average of crudes consumed in US

Imperial Oil Limited has begun the initial development of the Kearl oil sands project (earlier post), which incorporates technology innovations to enhance environmental performance. Production of mined diluted bitumen from the first of three froth treatment trains has begun. Start-up of two additional bitumen froth trains will proceed in sequence... Read more →

EPA says methane emissions from natural gas production have dropped 36% from 2007-2011

In its recently released Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2011 (earlier post), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that methane (CH4) emissions from the field production of natural gas have declined by 36% from 2007 to 2011 (from 83.1 to 53.4 Tg CO2 eq),... Read more →

Engineering E. coli for high-specificity production of C5 alcohols isoprenol and prenol for biofuels

Researchers in China have engineered the bacteria Escherichia coli for the high-specificity production of the C5 alcohols isoprenol and prenol as next-generation biofuels. An open access paper on their work is published in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels. “To the best of our knowledge,” they wrote, “this is the first... Read more →

ECHA Board of Appeal annuls decision requiring more animal toxicity testing of HF-1234yf

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) Board of Appeal has annulled an ECHA decision requiring additional animal toxicity testing of the low global warming potential refrigerant HF-1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoropropene) and sent the case to ECHA for re-examination. The Board of Appeal found that ECHA’s decision breached Article 25(1) of the REACH Regulation... Read more →

UPM and VTT begin fleet tests of BioVerno wood-based renewable diesel in Golf 1.6 TDIs

Finland-based forestry-industry company UPM, VTT and VV-Auto Group will start fleet tests of renewable diesel produced mainly from crude tall oil, which is a residue of chemical pulp production, UPM BioVerno. (Earlier post.) The biofuel will be produced by UPM, fleet tests will be coordinated by VTT, and cars will... Read more →

Ford anticipates doubling hybrids production, spurred by comercial buyers and increasing market share

Ford expects to double hybrid vehicle production as companies procure Fusion and C-MAX hybrids for their company fleets, and as model year market share, according to R.L. Polk, has grown 13% since 2012. In the first quarter of 2013, Ford sold 10,266 Fusion hybrids and 8,511 C-MAX hybrids. Ford C-MAX... Read more →

U. Wisconsin team reports gross indicated thermal efficiency of RCCI operation near 60%

In a paper presented at the 2013 SAE World Congress, a team from the University of Wisconsin reported a gross indicated thermal efficiency of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) operation of near 60%, given optimized combustion management and thermodynamic conditions. That 60% gross engine efficiency provides a pathway to meet... Read more →

Infineon introduces new line of ultra-small Hall sensors; high precision and high energy efficiency

Infineon Technologies AG has launched Hall Sensors aimed at automotive and industrial applications demanding the highest precision, the lowest energy consumption and the smallest space requirements. The new TLE496x sensors—based on a new 0.35µm process technology developed by Infineon—are available in the world’s smallest package (SOT23) for Hall Sensors. Based... Read more →

The e-racer from the team at Hochschule Esslingen University of Applied Sciences Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS are using an electric race car designed by electrical engineering students from the e-racing team at the Hochschule Esslingen University of Applied Sciences (E.Stall) as a... Read more →

Jaguar Land Rover collaborating with Xchanging and Arynga for a software-over-the-air proof of concept

Jaguar Land Rover has been collaborating with Xchanging and Arynga to create a proof of concept that allows remote software and firmware updates to be sent to vehicles over standard network protocols. This solution was revealed at the GENIVI All Member Conference in Barcelona, Spain (23-26 April). The proof of... Read more →

Alberta’s IETP awarding $33M in allowances to 5 projects to reduce oil sands CO2 and water use, improve recovery

Alberta’s Innovative Energy Technologies Program (IETP) is supporting 5 new pilot projects to reduce energy use, water use and CO2 emissions in oil sands processing as well as improving the recovery of crude oil and bitumen in reserves that were once unrecoverable. The successful projects were submitted by Canadian Natural... Read more →

DOE to provide funding to advance performance of marine and hydrokinetic systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000848) to advance technology performance of existing marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) power generation systems through the development and application of innovative components that are designed and built specifically for MHK applications. The FOA is focused on improving the... Read more →

Clean Air Power receiving $2.6 million for US dual-fuel product

UK-based Clean Air Power, a developer of dual-fuel engine management software for heavy duty vehicles, has executed an agreement to receive around $2.6 million grant to support its development of a Genesis EDGE Dual-Fuel product for the US market as part of a larger $4.6-million program award from the California... Read more →

Combining two different types of enzyme systems could speed breakdown of biomass for lower cost biofuels

Enzymes could break down cell walls faster—leading to less expensive biofuels for transportation—if two different types of enzyme systems are brought together in an industrial setting, new research by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests. A paper on the work appears in the RSC journal Energy and... Read more →

The Twizy Renault Sport F1 concept. Click to enlarge. Renault engineers have built an “F1” concept version of the Twizy EV featuring a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) based on the solution used by Renault-powered Formula 1 race cars. Twizy Renault Sport F1 is consequently equipped with two electric motors—i.e.... Read more →

Modern Transportation launches LNG 12-liter engine tractor fleet

Modern Transportation, a provider of bulk logistics solutions, has deployed freight service to the Owens Corning Roofing Plant in Savannah, GA using trucks powered solely by 12-liter LNG-fueled engines. The high volume, dedicated service established between Sanford, NC and Savannah, GA on 18 April is the first built around commercial-order,... Read more →

U. Delaware and NRG Energy vehicle-to-grid project selling power to PJM

A vehicle-to-grid (V2G) project between the University of Delaware and NRG Energy has begun selling power to PJM Interconnection for the power grid. The University and NRG began work in September 2011 to move from research results to prepare to commercialize the technology, which provides a two-way interface between EVs... Read more →

Left: Structure of original TF motor. Right: new TF motor. -32% is the relative reduction in axial length compared to a conventional motor. Takizawa et al. Click to enlarge. Honda has proposed and is developing a Transverse Flux motor (TF motor) in order to shorten the axial length of the... Read more →

Volkswagen’s view of powertrain technologies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research. Click to enlarge. At the International Vienna Motor Symposium Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, gave a forecast of future drive system technologies.... Read more →

Chrysler to invest nearly $20M to increase capacity for torque converters for 9-speed transmission

Chrysler Group LLC will invest $19.6 million in its Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, to increase capacity of the torque converter the plant is machining for the nine-speed transmission. With this announcement, the company’s total investments in its US operations since June 2009 increase to more than $5.2 billion.... Read more →

Fiesta eWheelDrive. Click to enlarge. At Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium, Ford Motor Company and Schaeffler demonstrated the Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car. (Earlier post.) Powered by independent electric motors in each of the rear wheels, eWheelDrive technology could lead to improvements in urban mobility and parking by enabling smaller, more... Read more →

Sinopec reports bio-jet test flight successful; hydrotreated palm and waste cooking oil

Sinopec, China’s top oil refiner, announced the success of the first test flight powered by the company’s newly developed drop-in aviation biofuel product. (Earlier post.) An Airbus A320 owned by China Eastern Airlines completed an 85-minute flight using a 50% blend of Sinopec’s aviation biofuel, made from hydrotreated palm oil... Read more →

GEA updates study on beneficial externalities of geothermal energy

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has released an update to a 2005 paper published in the Electricity Journal that explored the beneficial externalities associated with using geothermal power instead of fossil fuels by comparing emissions levels of different fuel sources. The 2005 paper found roughly 1.6 cents/kWh of unrecognized value... Read more →

BMW, ChargePoint and DriveNow team for Bay Area Sustainability Hackathon for EVs, charging and mobility services

BMW, ChargePoint and DriveNow have teamed for BMW’s Bay Area Sustainability Hackathon focusing electric vehicles, EV charging and mobility services. More than 200 developers, entrepreneurs, electric vehicle experts and corporate executives are expected at the weekend event 27-28 April focusing on sustainability issues. The event takes place at the BMW... Read more →

US diesel car registrations increased by 24% from 2010-2012, hybrids up 33%

New diesel car registrations increased by 24.3% in the US from 2010 through 2012, according to data compiled for the Diesel Technology Forum by R.L. Polk and Company. The national registration information includes data for all types of passenger vehicles—cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and vans—in all 50 states and the... Read more →

MIT researchers propose subsea version of pumped hydro for renewable energy storage

Researchers at MIT are proposing using a variation on pumped hydroelectric systems for storage of electricity produced by offshore wind farms. The key to this Ocean Renewable Energy Storage (ORES) system is the placement of 30-meter-diameter hollow concrete spheres on the seafloor under the wind turbines. These structures would serve... Read more →

The Emgrand EC7-EV at Auto Shanghai. Click to enlarge. Geely Automobile Group and Detroit Electric Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership to co-develop battery-electric vehicles and related electric drive systems for the China market. Under the terms of the partnership, the first EV model—the Emgrand EC7-EV, based on Geely’s... Read more →

J.D. Power: vehicle owners interested in fuel economy technologies and in-vehicle smartphone integration for next car

Vehicle owners have a high interest in technology related to fuel economy, device/application linking for smartphones, wireless connectivity, natural language voice activation and a variety of infotainment features for their next vehicle, according to the new J.D. Power and Associates 2013 US Automotive Emerging Technologies Study. The study measures vehicle... Read more →

Euro Parliament committee approves new 95 g/km CO2 target for cars; super credits and a switch to WLTP

The environment committee of the European Parliament approved a draft law setting out a new CO2 target for cars of 95g CO2/km (153 g/mile) by 2020, down from 130 gCO2/km (209 g/mile) in 2015. The draft also sets indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in the range of 68-78 g/km... Read more →

Obama Administration announces 21M-acre oil and gas lease sale offshore Texas

The US Department of the Interior will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area. Proposed Lease Sale 233, scheduled to take place in... Read more →

Toyota to conduct public-road tests of ITS traffic-light driving support system

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will conduct public-road tests in Japan starting in May of a TMC-developed driving support system that uses ITS technology to transmit information from traffic lights to vehicles. The system is one of various Driving Safety Support Systems (DSSS) that are being promoted by the Japanese National... Read more →

Honda to build wind farm to cover 100% of electricity needs of Brazil plant

Honda Automoveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, will build a wind farm in the city of Xangri-lá in Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state in Brazil—approximately 1,000 km (621 miles) south of HAB’s automobile production plant in Sumaré, São Paulo. Equipped... Read more →

Volvo Car’s flywheel KERS system. Click to enlarge. Results of Volvo Car Group’s testing of kinetic flywheel technology on public roads during 2012 show that the flywheel technology combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% compared with a six-cylinder turbo... Read more →

Rennovia demonstrates production of HMD from renewable feedstocks; enabling production of 100% renewable nylon-6,6

Rennovia, Inc., a privately held company that develops novel catalysts and processes for the cost-advantaged production of chemical products from renewable feedstocks, has successfully demonstrated production of hexamethylenediamine (HMD) from widely available, renewable feedstocks. Coupled with Rennovia’s previously announced renewable adipic acid, this enables for the first time the production... Read more →

Stanford / SLAC’s new lithium-polysulfide flow battery design compared to conventional “redox” flow batteries. The new flow battery uses only one tank and pump and uses a simple coating instead of an expensive membrane to separate the anode and cathode. (Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC). Click to enlarge. Researchers from the US... Read more →

Working with Benteler-SGL, Henkel has developed a process for resin transfer molding (RTM) of glass-fiber-reinforced leaf springs that uses a polyurethane matrix resin. Compared to conventional leaf springs made of steel, these composite leaf springs are up to 65% lighter. With Loctite MAX 2, Henkel is offering a polyurethane-based composite... Read more →

US-China team reports that silicene could serve as basis for high-performance Li-ion electrodes

Researchers from Harvard University, Peking University, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences report in the ACS journal Nano Letters that silicene—the silicon analogue to graphene—could serve as high-capacity host of Li in Li-ion rechargeable batteries. Based on their theoretical findings, they conclude that in contrast to crystalline silicon, silicene layers... Read more →

This illustration depicts the synthesis of a new hydrogen-production catalyst from soybean proteins and ammonium molybdate. Mixing and heating the ingredients leads to a solid-state reaction and the formation of nanostructured molybdenum carbide and molybdenum nitride crystals. The hybrid material effectively catalyzes the conversion of liquid water to hydrogen gas... Read more →