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In September, Czechoslovakia-based Škoda Electric introduced its first battery-electric bus. The company wants to build on the success of its trolleybuses, of which several hundred will be produced next year mainly for foreign customers. Škoda has also developed a hydrogen-powered and a hybrid bus. There is a growing emphasis in... Read more →

Schematic representation of the super-valent battery during charge/discharge process. Wang et al. Click to enlarge. A team from the University of Science and Technology Beijing is proposing a new super-valent battery based on aluminium ion intercalation and deintercalation. In an open access paper published in the Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific... Read more →

TÜV, one of the leading European technical certification centers, has certified that the Iveco Stralis Hi-Way Euro VI reduces fuel consumption 2.33% compared to the previous Euro V version, due to the catalytic reduction system HI-eSCR (High Efficiency SCR) patented by FPT Industrial and the aerodynamic optimizations introduced with the... Read more →

Nissan testing LEAF as electrical power storage and supply for office buildings; LEAF-to-Building a development of LEAF-to-Home

Nissan reports a successful early field test of a system that will allow companies to regulate their electricity bills using the batteries of Nissan LEAFs used by their staff to commute to work. “Vehicle-To-Building” allows up to six Nissan LEAF EVs to be connected to a building’s power distribution board.... Read more →

At the recent 43rd-Annual SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, Audi took the Powertrain category award for its turbocharged air duct applied on the A4 and A5 TDI and TFSI. Click to enlarge. The component, supplied by Röchling Automotive, combines the air-intake duct with charge air cooler... Read more →

Nissan and British Gas launch UK’s largest electric commercial vehicle pilot

Nissan and British Gas have launched the UK’s largest electric commercial vehicle pilot. British Gas is testing 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans (earlier post) throughout the winter to determine the future viability of battery-electric vehicle technology as part of its 13,000 home service vans fleet. The test is being run in... Read more →

Raízen breaks ground on Iogen cellulosic ethanol facility in Brazil

Iogen Corporation announced that Brazilian ethanol giant Raízen Energia Participações S/A has started construction of a commercial biomass-to-ethanol facility using Iogen Energy’s advanced cellulosic biofuel technology. (Iogen Energy is a joint venture between Raízen and Iogen Corporation. Earlier post.) The $100-million plant, to be located adjacent to Raízen’s Costa Pinto... Read more →

UK government awards £598K for hydrogen fuel cell range extender with micro-bead H2 storage for BEVs

The UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) have awarded £598,000 (US$980,000) to micro-bead hydrogen storage company Cella Energy (earlier post) and its partners MIRA, Coventry University and Productiv to develop a hydrogen generation system to extend the range of battery electric vehicles. The award... Read more →

Scania secures Australia’s first Euro 6 bus fleet order

The government of the Australian Capital Territory has selected Scania to supply a fleet of 77 Euro 6 city buses. Australian Capital Territory Internal Omnibus Network (ACTION), is the first Australian bus fleet operator to adopt Euro 6 technology. The Federal Government has yet to announce a date for the... Read more →

Study estimates 6% of lung cancer deaths in US and UK attributable to diesel exhaust

In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust (DEE) as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). (Earlier post.) Now, a study by researchers from the Netherlands, the US, and France estimates that approximately 6% of annual... Read more →

Advanced pre-collision safety system in 2014 Lexus LS helps avoid frontal collisions

The Lexus flagship 2014 LS sedan offers an Advanced Pre-Collision System (A-PCS) with collision avoidance assist designed to detect obstacles and bring the car to a full stop if needed. This system is designed to assist the driver in avoiding or mitigating collisions with vehicles and pedestrians under a wide... Read more →

Neste Oil awarded first RSPO-RED certificate for NExBTL renewable diesel production

Neste Oil is the first company to be awarded an RSPO-RED Supply Chain certificate under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) new, more demanding certification system. The certificate covers the production of NExBTL renewable diesel at Neste Oil’s refineries in Porvoo, Rotterdam, and Singapore. The RSPO’s new RSPO-RED overall... Read more →

UC Berkeley study quantifies LD gasoline on-road emissions

Based on on-road measurements in their study, a team from the University of California Berkeley has estimated that, as of 2010, light-duty (LD) gasoline vehicles were responsible for 85% of CO; 18% of NOx; 18% of organic aerosol (OA); and 6% of black carbon (BC) emissions from on-road motor vehicles... Read more →

EU agreement pushes full implementation of 95 g/km CO2 target for cars back 1 year to 2021, expands use of supercredits

The European Parliament (EP) and member state negotiators reached an informal agreement on new rules to achieve the 2020 CO2 emission target of 95 g/km for new cars. Under the new agreement, which must be approved by both the European Parliament and Council to enter into force, 95% of new... Read more →

BASF produces first commercial volumes of butanediol from renewable raw material

BASF has produced its first commercial volumes of 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable raw material, and is offering this product to customers for testing and commercial use. The production process relies on a patented fermentation technology from Genomatica, based in California. BDO and its derivatives are used for producing plastics, solvents,... Read more →

Report: Nippon Steel, ArcelorMittal to buy US auto steel plant for $1.95B

The Nikkei reports that Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal will jointly acquire a ThyssenKrupp automotive steel sheet plant in Alabama for approximately ¥200 billion (US$1.95 billion). The acquisition, which would more than double the buyers’ combined production capacity in the US, would be Nippon Steel’s largest every outside of Japan. According... Read more →

PDVSA and Eni inaugurate first heavy crude pipeline in Junin-5 in Orinoco belt

The Venezuela Minister of Petroleum and President of the state-owned company PDVSA, Rafael Ramirez, and a delegation of Eni, composed of the members of the board of directors and led by the Chief Executive Paolo Scaroni and the President Giuseppe Recchi, inaugurated the first pipeline to evacuate oil from the... Read more →

Honda begins building new automobile production plant in Brazil; starting with new Fit in 2 years

Honda Automóveis do Brasil Ltda. (HAB), the Honda automobile production and sales subsidiary in Brazil, has begun construction of its new automobile production plant in the city of Itirapina in the state of São Paulo (approximately 200 km (124 miles) northwest of the city of São Paulo). With an annual... Read more →

Ford recalling Focus Electrics over electric powertrain propulsion failure

Ford Motor is recalling certain model year 2012-2014 Focus Electric vehicles manufactured from 15 September 15, 2011 through August 23, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a powertrain control module software fault may result in a sudden loss of motive power, increasing the risk of a crash. According to the defect... Read more →

Low-temperature plasma-assisted combustion could improve jet aircraft performance and fuel consumption

Introducing plasma (ionized gas) to a combustion reaction can sustain combustion even in conditions that would otherwise snuff out the reaction: for example, at low air pressure, in high winds or when there’s low fuel. As such, low-temperature plasma-assisted combustion can potentially give an efficiency boost to high-performance aircraft. The... Read more →

Select Honda and Acura Vehicles now offering Siri Eyes Free integration

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. announced that select Honda and Acura models including the 2013 -2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX now offer Apple's Siri Eyes Free mode as a dealer installed accessory. Customers can visit a Honda or Acura dealership to purchase and install Siri Eyes... Read more →

SEAT and Gas Natural Fenosa partner to promote use of automotive CNG in Spain, including fleet vehicles

SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, and Gas Natural Fenosa have signed a strategic agreement to develop and to promote the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in the automotive field in Spain, in the coming years. The two-year agreement will include the incorporation of SEAT vehicles using Compressed... Read more →

Minimum number of publicly-accessible recharging points for electric vehicles in each member state. Click to enlarge. EU member states would have to ensure that specified numbers of publicly-available electric vehicle recharging points and hydrogen and natural gas stations are built by 2020, under a draft directive endorsed by the Transport... Read more →

TNO developing V2V Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system to help prevent accidents with cyclists

Dutch research organization TNO is developing a Cooperative Automatic Emergency Braking system (CAEB) for cars and trucks to help prevent accidents with cyclists, especially at and near junctions. The system relies on vehicle-to-vehicle communication between bikes, cars and trucks. The system is based on TNO’s intelligent Vehicle Safety Platform (iVSP)—the... Read more →

Ford recalling nearly 140,000 2013 Escapes with 1.6L EcoBoost engines over fire potential

Ford Motor Company is recalling 139,917 model year 2013 Escape vehicles manufactured 5 October 2011 through 2 June 2013 and equipped with 1.6L EcoBoost engines. These vehicles may experience localized overheating of the engine cylinder head which may cause cracks that could allow oil to leak; leaking engine oil may... Read more →

New study finds US anthropogenic methane emissions 1.5 times higher than previously estimated by EPA

Using a new methodology, a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has concluded that anthropogenic emissions of methane from agriculture and fossil fuel extraction and processing (i.e., oil and/or natural gas) are likely significantly greater than cited in existing studies. The researchers quantitatively estimated the... Read more →

Summary of significant emissions results from the fuel testing. Credit: ACS, Ratcliff et al. Click to enlarge. Results of a study led by a team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on the impact of butanol-gasoline blends on light-duty vehicle emissions suggest that widespread deployment of n-butanol or i-butanol in... Read more →

Marathon to serve as anchor shipper for Bakken Sandpiper Project pipeline

Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. announced that MPC will serve as an anchor shipper for the Sandpiper Project pipeline in the Bakken shale. MPC will fund 37.5% of the construction of the Sandpiper Project, which will become part of Enbridge Energy Partners’ North Dakota System when it... Read more →

Drawing of the 50 kWh pack and the twin charge ports for super-fast charging. Click to enlarge. Singapore-based TUM CREATE unveiled an electric taxi prototype designed for tropical megacities, codenamed EVA, at the Tokyo Motor Show. EVA serves as a platform to showcase the results of the work at TUM... Read more →

Pixelligent awarded $1M DOE SBIR grant for nanoadditives for advanced lubricants to reduce fuel consumption

Nanomaterials company Pixelligent Technologies has been awarded a $1-million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant by the Department of Energy (DOE). The two-year program will enable Pixelligent to accelerate the development of its nanoadditives for use in advanced lubricants to reduce fuel consumption and engine wear. The goal... Read more →

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $30 million to fund a new program focused on the development of transformational electrochemical technologies to enable low-cost distributed power generation. ARPA-E anticipates making approximately 12-18 awards under this FOA, with individual awards... Read more →

The judges of the 10th annual LA Auto Show Design Challenge named SAIC Motor the winner of the 2013 competition. SAIC Motor beat out eight world-renowned auto design studios for the honor with an innovative public transit solution aimed at alleviating urban problems such as air pollution and traffic congestion.... Read more →

Test drive of highway platooning with autonomous vehicles in the Netherlands

Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment Melanie Schultz rode in the first highway test drive of an autonomous car in the Netherlands. TU Delft, TNO, RDW and Connekt are collaborating in the Dutch Automated Vehicle Initiative (DAVI). The demonstration involves automatic, cooperatively driven cars where a car drives at... Read more →

Rosneft Board of Directors has approved a project plan for the development of the Kharampur gas field in West Siberia. The gas to be produced at Kharampur will be one of the key sources of supplies under the long-term contracts by Rosneft. Phase 1 of the project envisages the production... Read more →

Volvo Car Group signs $800M loan agreement with China Development Bank

Volvo Car Group and China Development Bank have signed a US$800 million loan agreement with a maturity in 2021. This loan will support Volvo Car Group in further developing its product program as well as strengthening the capital structure over the coming years. The first drawdown under the loan agreement... Read more →

Schematic of fuel use in driving. Fw = fuel consumption due to mass-induced loads; Fx = fuel cons. due to aerodynamic resistance and accessory power loads; Ff = fuel cons. due to mechanical losses in the engine; Fl = fuel cons. due to mechanical losses outside of the engine; Fload... Read more →

Nissan Motor Corporation has carried out the first public road test of Autonomous Drive (AD) (earlier post) on a Japanese highway. A Nissan LEAF electric vehicle equipped with the technology took to the Sagami Expressway in Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, with the prefecture’s Governor, Yuji Kuroiwa, and Nissan Vice... Read more →

While Hyundai, Toyota and Honda seized much attention over their presentations of fuel cell rollout plans (in the case of Hyundai) and concepts (in the case of Honda and Toyota) at the Los Angeles and Tokyo auto shows, Daimler used EVS27 in Barcelona as a forum to report on its... Read more →

EU and China to collaborate on low-carbon city projects

The European Union’s climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC, and the fourth largest city of China, Tianjin, have agreed to collaborate on the JiefangNan Rd New Meijiang pilot, a low-carbon city project. The agreement was signed in Beijing last week in the presence of China’s Premier Li Keqiang and President of the... Read more →

USC Viterbi engineers develop faster additive manufacturing process with multiple base materials

USC Viterbi School of Engineering researchers have developed a faster 3-D printing process and are now using it to model and fabricate heterogeneous objects, which comprise multiple materials. Although 3-D printing (additive manufacturing, AM) can provide faster, cheaper and more accurate manufacturing options, fabrication time and the complexity of multimaterial... Read more →

NETL researchers studying properties of foamy cement for use in tricky oil and gas wells

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are studying the physical properties of foamed cement—cement containing microscopic bubbles of nitrogen or air—under wellbore conditions to understand how they can be modified to lower the risk of spills. Dr. Barbara Kutchko, who leads the research team, is using a computed... Read more →

California Energy Commission to award up to $29.9M to hydrogen refueling infrastructure projects

The California Energy Commission (CEC) will award up to $29.9 million to projects to develop hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California (PON-13-607). The solicitation has two goals: 1) to develop infrastructure necessary to dispense hydrogen transportation fuel; and 2) to provide needed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funding to support hydrogen refueling... Read more →

GE Transportation wins first order for new marine diesel engine; 50% reduction in emissions

GE Transportation announced the first sale of its new 12V250 Marine Diesel Engine that is designed to meet EPA Tier 4i and IMO Tier III Emissions standards. GE’s technology eliminates the need for a urea-based after-treatment emissions reduction system, providing more valuable cargo space, and reduces emissions by 50%. In... Read more →

Volvo Group’s North American subsidiary, Nova Bus, and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) have entered into an agreement on an electrification project for the public transit system of Montréal, Canada. The MoU formalizes the intention of testing three Nova LFSe electric buses and two charging stations in Montréal.... Read more →

Statoil and NASA finalise research agreement; focused on frontier regions

Statoil and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) have formed a partnership to explore a wide range of technologies to assist Statoil in the search for oil and gas exploration and production efforts, which are increasingly moving into frontier regions. The contract with NASA is effectuated at Jet Propulsion... Read more →

Fisker Automotive files for Chapter 11, selling assets to Hybrid Tech Holdings

Fisker Automotive, Inc. and Fisker Automotive Holdings, Inc. (collectively, Fisker Automotive) have entered into an asset purchase agreement with Hybrid Tech Holdings, LLC (Hybrid) for the sale of substantially all Fisker assets. Hybrid is the lender under an approximately $170-million loan secured by first liens on substantially all of Fisker... Read more →

Dow Chemical exits Dow Kokam Li-ion battery venture; sells interest to MBP Investors

MBP Investors, LLC (MBP), an affiliate of Townsend Ventures (Townsend) has acquired Dow’s ownership interest in Dow Kokam LLC (Dow Kokam). The transaction makes MBP the majority owner of Dow Kokam, which includes the Midland Battery Park in Michigan and the Lee’s Summit facility in Missouri. Dow Kokam currently provides... Read more →

Lufthansa Group tests renewable farnesane component from Amyris in kerosene blend

As part of the EU “Blending Study” project, Lufthansa has conducted a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg. Experts involved in this project have been examining the possible impact on aircraft emissions and engine performance of blending farnesane, a new biokerosene component made from biomass sugars, with conventional... Read more →

Volkswagen Group to invest €84.2B (US$114B) in automotive division over next 5 years; China JVs to invest separate €18.2B (US$24.7B)

The Volkswagen Group will invest a total of €84.2 billion (US$114 billion) in its automotive division over the coming five years. Investments in property, plant and equipment in the automotive division will amount to €63.4 billion (US$85.9 billion). The Group will spend €41.2 billion (US$55.8 billion)—about 65%—of the total amount... Read more →