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Generic process flow diagram for lithium-ion batteries for vehicles (color coded to present LCI data sources). Source: “Application of LCA to Nanoscale Technology”. Click to enlarge. A recent Abt Associates, Inc. life-cycle study of three Li-ion battery chemistries for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-electric (BEV) vehicles generated a number of... Read more →

Abengoa recently inaugurated a demonstration plant using Waste-to-Biofuels (W2B) technology. The plant has a capacity to treat 25,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) from which it will obtain up to 1.5 million liters (396,000 gallons US) of bioethanol for use as fuel. The demonstration plant, located in Babilafuente (Salamanca,... Read more →

FTA to award up to $3M for RD&D on bus efficiency

The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award up to $3.0 million of Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 research funds for innovative research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects targeting bus efficiency enhancements, specifically enhanced electrification of accessories, and improvements in thermal management of bus bodies (FTA-2013-003-TRI). The FY 2012 FTA National... Read more →

Zero recalling some of its electric motorcycles due to Li-ion battery defect

Zero Motorcycles Inc. (Zero) is recalling certain model year 2013 FX motorcycles manufactured 28 January 2013 through 21 May 2013; and model year 2013 XU motorcycles manufactured 16 January 2013, through 20 May 2013. A manufacturing defect with the sealant material in the battery may allow water to penetrate the... Read more →

Light duty RCCI can deliver engine-out Tier 2 Bin 5 NOx; potential for 52% gross indicated efficiency

A study by Sage Kokjohn, Senior Engineer in Combustion Research at Cummins Inc., and Prof. Rolf Reitz of the University of Wisconsin found that reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) (earlier post) in a light-duty engine can meet Tier 2 Bin 5 NOx levels without aftertreatment, while offering a 4% improvement... Read more →

HEHC engine company LiquidPiston raises $2.25M

LiquidPiston, the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has raised $2.25 million in new funding, according to SEC filings. LiquidPiston’s X Engine is a non-Wankel rotary embodiment of the HEHC. Expected realized brake efficiency for the X engine is 58% (peak) and 50%... Read more →

Waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem raised C$50 million in latest financing round

Canada-based waste-to-biofuels company Enerkem Inc. recently closed a C$50-million (US$47.6-million) financing, which brings total equity investment raised by Enerkem in 2013 to C$87 million (US$82.7 million). Enerkem’s technology platform is a 4-step thermochemical process that consists of: feedstock preparation gasification cleaning and conditioning of syngas catalytic synthesis As part of... Read more →

NIST seeks proposals to establish new center of excellence on advanced materials research

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced a competition (2013-NIST-ADV-MAT-COE-01) to create an Advanced Materials Center of Excellence to foster interdisciplinary collaborations between NIST researchers and scientists and engineers from academia and industry. The new center will focus on accelerating the discovery and development of advanced materials... Read more →

Electrochemical and electrochemistry-associated behaviors of pouch-type LIB full cells using the organogel electrolyte (gel.ELF 1 PVA-CN). Two liquid electrolytes (liq.ELF and liq.ELF 1 Pullulan-CN) are included for comparison. Source: Kim et al. Click to enlarge. A research team at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), S. Korea, has... Read more →

Altairnano working with TAURON on Li-ion energy storage systems demonstration research project in Poland

Altairnano has entered into an agreement with TAURON Dystrybucja S.A. (TAURON) jointly to determine the necessary infrastructure needs for stationary energy storage systems based on lithium titanate batteries, and for the construction of power and frequency stabilization systems in Poland. TAURON is a subsidiary of TAURON Polska Energia S.A., Poland’s... Read more →

Chrysler’s 9-speed

Model-year 2014 marks the debut of Chrysler Group’s nine-speed automatic transmission. (Earlier post.) The advanced-technology gearbox enables aggressive launches, smooth power delivery at highway speeds and greater fuel efficiency than a six-speed automatic transmission. Its ratios are: 4.71 2.84 1.91 1.38 1.00 0.81 0.70 0.58 0.48 The wide ratio spread... Read more →

3.0L EcoDiesel. Click to enlarge. Chrysler’s 2014 Ram 1500 will offer a new, 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine, mated with the TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. Ram is now the only brand to offer a small-displacement diesel for its half-ton line of trucks. Branded EcoDiesel, the new 3.0-liter powerplant is a turbocharged 60-degree,... Read more →

Toshiba introduces new power amplifier IC for audio in cars with start-stop systems

Toshiba Corporation has launched a 4-channel power amplifier IC, TB2941HQ, that improves noise tolerance in audio systems in cars with start-stop systems. Samples are available now with mass production scheduled to start in July 2013. Engines of cars with start-stop systems often cut out, causing battery voltage to drop. By... Read more →

Westport acquires Clean Energy’s BAF natural gas vehicle business for $25M

Natural gas engine company Westport Innovations Inc. has acquired BAF Technologies, Inc. (BAF) and its subsidiary, ServoTech Engineering, Inc. subsidiaries of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., for $25 million in Westport stock. Westport and Clean Energy also announced a $5-million joint marketing and sales program. Westport believes that the amalgamation will... Read more →

Basic concept of a fuel cell barge. Although two containers are shown here, the actual number of containers would depend on the power and energy requirements of the vessel to be powered. Credit: Pratt and Harris (2013). Click to enlarge. A study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories found that... Read more →

Researchers discover method enabling use of iron nanoparticle catalyst for hydrogenation, replacing heavy metals

Researchers from McGill University, RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, Wako, Japan) and the Institute for Molecular Science (Okazaki, Japan) have discovered a technique enabling the use of iron nanoparticles as a catalyst for the industrially important hydrogenation process, making it more environmentally friendly and less expensive. Hydrogenation—which... Read more →

DOE launches public-private initiative to strengthen oil and gas industry cybersecurity; in search of resilient energy systems

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new public-private partnership to strengthen protection of the nation’s oil and natural gas infrastructure from cyber attacks. Led by the Energy Department in collaboration with industry experts, the Department of Homeland Security, and other stakeholders, the initiative will create a tool that allows... Read more →

TCO for selected gas and diesel vehicles over a 3 year timeframe. Source: UMTRI. Click to enlarge. Diesel vehicles generally saved owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a three to five year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to data compiled by the University... Read more →

DOE awards $3.5M for advanced nuclear reactor projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $3.5 million for four advanced nuclear reactor projects that go beyond traditional light water designs. These projects—led by General Atomics, GE Hitachi, Gen4 Energy and Westinghouse —will address key technical challenges to designing, building and operating the next generation of nuclear reactors.... Read more →

LA Metro to purchase up to 25 new BYD electric buses as part of $30M pilot project

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors approved a contract with BYD Motors for the manufacture and delivery of up to 25 new all-electric buses as part of a $30-million clean air bus technology pilot project. This marks the first time that all-electric transit buses will... Read more →

Four Bay Area local governments deploying 50 i-MiEVs

Four San Francisco Bay Area local government fleets—San Jose, Los Gatos, Campbell and Mill Valley—are deploying a total of 50 Mitsubishi i-MiEV EVs, representing the largest municipal fleet deployment of light-duty all-electric vehicles (EVs) in the US to date. Supporting the region’s efforts to establish the Bay Area as the... Read more →

New Open Fuel Standard Act would set minimum requirement for non-petroleum fuel capability in new automobiles

Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) introduced the Open Fuel Standard Act (H.R. 2493) which would require 30% of new automobiles in 2016, 50% in 2017, and 50% in each subsequent year, to operate on non-petroleum fuels in addition to or instead of petroleum based fuels. The... Read more →

GWP100 weighted specific climate impact (g CO2-eq per pkm) as a function of vehicle occupancy. Bold parts of curves indicate typical occupancy ranges. The envelope around the medium aircraft indicates one standard deviation uncertainty; otherwise uncertainties are indicated by selected bars at medium occupancy. Insert: Zoom in for bus, trains,... Read more →

Behind Audi’s 12th Le Mans win: less fuel, more speed

Audi posted its 12th Le Mans 24 Hour victory on Sunday in its Audi R18 e-tron diesel hybrid quattro. Post-race analysis showed that the victorious Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB) designated as car number ‘2’ made 34 pit stops at Le Mans and required 47... Read more →

Nismo and Williams Advanced Engineering to collaborate on development of high-performance road cars

Nismo, short for “Nissan Motorsports”, and Williams Advanced Engineering, a division of the Williams Group, will collaborate on the development of high-performance road cars. Using their specialist expertise of aerodynamics, simulation and material science, Williams Advanced Engineering will join the engineering development team from Nismo currently working on developing future... Read more →

Diamond Green Diesel beginning production of renewable diesel

Diamond Green Diesel (DGD), the joint venture between Valero subsidiary Diamond Alternative Energy LLC and Darling International Inc., has reached mechanical completion and the startup process will lead to full production of renewable diesel. (Earlier post.) Once in full operations, the 9,300 barrel-per-day plant will process recycled animal fat and... Read more →

FlowCath PEM fuel cell. Click to enlarge. UK-based ACAL Energy Ltd announced that its FlowCath platinum-free liquid cathode system has enabled a PEM hydrogen fuel cell to reach 10,000 hours’ runtime on a third-party automotive industry durability test without any significant signs of degradation. ACAL Energy’s approach is also significantly... Read more →

Integral Technologies and Delphi jointly to develop insulator technologies for wire and cable shielding with conductive plastics

ElectriPlast Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Integral Technologies, Inc., has entered into a co-development agreement with Delphi Automotive PLC jointly to develop automotive wire and cable insulation applications using ElectriPlast Conductive Resin Technology. Integral, a leader in electrically conductive hybrid plastics, and Delphi will focus their joint development efforts... Read more →

Ford and JMC announce plans for a new engine plant and two all-new Ford products in China

Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally was in China last week to celebrate the seven-millionth Ford Transit vehicle produced and the opening of the JMC Xiaolan Plant, a new commercial vehicle assembly plant in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. At the celebration, Ford and JMC also announced plans for a new engine... Read more →

Pie chart showing mean estimates by the USGS of technically accessible storage resources (TASR) for CO2 by region. Click to enlarge. The United States has the potential to store a mean of 3,000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in geologic basins throughout the country, according to the first detailed national geologic... Read more →

Components of the new 2500-bar DCR system. Click to enlarge. Global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation has developed a new 2500-bar diesel common rail (DCR) fuel injection system; DENSO says this is the currently the world’s highest injection pressure for a diesel common rail fuel injection systems comprising injector, fuel pump... Read more →

Honda researchers validate PM Index for direct-injection gasoline engines; gasoline quality matters

In a new paper in the International Journal of Engine Research, Koichiro Aikawa of Honda R&D and Jeff Jetter of Honda R&D Americas report that their “PM Index”—reported in a paper in 2010—applies well to direct-injection (DI) gasoline engines as well as to the port-fuel-injection (PFI) engines of their original... Read more →

Study shows LiFSI salt in the electrolyte improves performance of Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes

Researchers in Europe report that using the new salt lithium bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (LiFSI) rather than LiPF6 in the electrolyte improves the performance of Li-ion batteries with silicon anodes. A paper on their work is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. A good candidate for the next generation of... Read more →

New Golf TDI BlueMotion. Click to enlarge. Volkswagen’s third-generation Golf TDI BlueMotion, introduced as a concept at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris last September(earlier post), is rated with fuel consumption of 3.2 l/100 km (73.5 mpg US) on the NEDC—equivalent to 85 g/km CO2. This represents a 15% improvement... Read more →

ClipperCreek introduces 30 kW charging station for trucks

ClipperCreek introduced its 30 kW CS-100-3P 80 Amp, 3-Phase EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) for use with commercial truck applications at the Alternative Clean Transportation Expo today in Washington, DC. This technology represents the highest power EV charging station available for commercial trucking applications, the company said. We saw a... Read more →

Fiat City Brake Control wins the ‘Euro NCAP Advanced’ award

Fiat’s City Brake Control safety system, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid collisions and is active at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph) has won the Euro NCAP Advanced 2013 award. Optional on Fiat Panda and 500L,the innovative active safety system detects the presence of vehicles or obstacles... Read more →

MEPs strike 95g/km deal with Irish Presidency for car CO2 emissions

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) struck a deal with the Irish Presidency of the European Council to retain the 95g CO2/km by 2020 reduction target for average car emissions. The agreement still needs the official endorsement of EU member states. The agreement confirms the 95g/km by 2020 target for... Read more →

Drayson Racing sets new world electric land speed record

Drayson Racing has set a new World Electric Land Speed Record of 204.185 mph (328.6 km/h). Former UK science minister, businessman and racing driver Lord Drayson was behind the wheel of the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le-Mans Prototype. (Earlier post.) In near perfect conditions, the Oxford-based sustainable motorsport company smashed... Read more →

Engineered E. coli can mass-produce precursor to gasoline-like biofuel

By rerouting the metabolic pathway that makes fatty acids in E. coli bacteria, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School have devised a new way to make targeted precursors of high-octane biofuels. A paper on... Read more →

Battelle becomes exclusive distributor for Gridquant software; launches HELM-Flow for grid planning

Battelle has agreed to extend its existing relationship with Gridquant (earlier post) and become the exclusive distributor of Gridquant software in the United States, US territories, Canada and India. Battelle holds an equity stake in Gridquant and its software tools, including the patented Holomorphic Embedding Load-Flow Method (HELM™), technology based... Read more →

Obama: no Keystone XL if significant exacerbation of GHG; Canada: no problem

In his talk at Georgetown University outlining his climate action plan, President Barack Obama suggested that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would only be built if the project “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Now, I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the... Read more →

Navigant automotive Li-ion Leaderboard. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge. In a new Leaderboard report, Navigant Research ranks LG Chem as the top vendor for automotive Li-ion batteries, looking at all types of vehicles with electrified drivetrains, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery-electric vehicles... Read more →

NRC report finds transporting diluted oil sands bitumen through pipelines does not increase likelihood of release

Diluted bitumen has no greater likelihood of accidental pipeline release than other crude oils, according to a new report from the National Research Council (NRC). The committee that wrote the report found that diluted bitumen from oil sands has physical and chemical properties within the range of other crude oils... Read more →

Boulder Electric Vehicle and Coritech Services have demonstrated bi-directional DC fast charging, making Boulder Electric Vehicle the first electric truck company to implement Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) charging. At the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Washington DC, this week, the companies demonstrating their turnkey solution to V2G charging utilizing Boulder EV’s... Read more →

Audi’s e-gas plant. Click to enlarge. Audi has opened its e-gas plant in Werlte, making it the first automobile manufacturer to develop a chain of sustainable energy carriers. (Earlier post.) The Audi e-gas plant, which can convert 6MW of input power, utilizes renewable electricity for electrolysis to produce oxygen and... Read more →