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Ethanol yield (g/L) for the Belgian and French field trials. Van Acker et al. Click to enlarge. The results of field trials with genetically modified poplar trees in Belgium and France shows that the wood of the modified poplar trees—down-regulated for cinnamoyl-CoA reductase (CCR), an enzyme in the lignin biosynthetic... Read more →

Nanocatalysts for in situ bitumen upgrading can produce higher quality liquid with lower environmental and cost impacts

Researchers at the University of Calgary have developed Ni−W−Mo ultradisperse nanocatalysts for the in situ upgrading of Athabasca bitumen. A report on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels. Current heavy oil and bitumen production processes are high-energy and water-intensive and, consequently, have significant environmental footprints... Read more →

ORNL: Speed synchronization through connected vehicle technology contributes to significant fuel economy improvements in conventional and hybrid vehicles

A study by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory earlier this year concluded that speed synchronization through connected vehicle technology can contribute to fuel economy improvement more than 4% for the conventional vehicle fleet and at least 7% for the hybrid electric fleet. The team introduced a simulation-based framework to... Read more →

Polypore and Sumitomo enter settlement and license agreement over battery separator coating

Polypore International, Inc. and Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. have entered into a Settlement and License Agreement which ends all outstanding worldwide litigation between the two companies related to Polypore’s intellectual property rights on battery separator coating. Under the License Agreement, Sumitomo Chemical has licensed Polypore’s intellectual property related to coating... Read more →

US production of biodiesel reached a high of 132 million gallons (500 million liters) in October 2013, according to the latest figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Biodiesel production during October 2013 was about 5 million gallons higher than production in September 2013. Click to enlarge. Biodiesel production... Read more →

New durable PEM fuel cell with platinum-free anode and carbon-free cathode

Researchers at the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have developed a prototype for single proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) with a mesostructured platinum-free WO3/C anode and a carbon-free Pt/WC cathode. This new PEMFC has a comparable power output to that of standard PEMFCs with commercial E-TEK... Read more →

FAA selects 6 sites for unmanned aircraft systems research for integration into US airspace

The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six research and test site operators across the US for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with the intent of delivering findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation’s airspace. In selecting the six test site operators, FAA said... Read more →

Zhongling Hangke New Energy to acquire 20% of Reg Technologies; proceeds supporting RadMax demo rotary engine

Reg Technologies Inc., developer of axial vane rotary engine technology (earlier post), has entered into a subscription agreement with an affiliated company of HK Zhongling Hangke New Energy Investment Holding Group Limited for a C$1,188,000 (US$1,116,000) private placement under which Zhongling will purchase up to 9,900,000 units of Reg Tech... Read more →

UC Davis report finds LCFS compliance costs may rise rapidly; recommends offsetting measures

A recent report prepared by UC Davis researchers for the California Air Resources Board (ARB) found that compliance costs for the Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS) may increase rapidly in the future if there are large differences in marginal costs between traditional fossil fuels and alternative, low-carbon-intensity fuels; or if... Read more →

Delphi to showcase safety and connectivity technologies at CES

Delphi Automotive PLC will showcase highly integrated active safety and connectivity technologies at the upcoming 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. These technologies will be key building blocks to achieving fully automated driving. The fact is, automated driving is happening now and will continue to expand in capabilities and mainstream use... Read more →

FuelCell Energy completes 14.9MW fuel cell park on schedule for Dominion

FuelCell Energy, Inc. reported the completion of the 14.9 megawatt (MW) Bridgeport fuel cell park and acceptance by Dominion, the project owner. The installation consists of five direct fuel cell power plants and an organic rankine cycle turbine for added output and further efficiency gains. The project was completed on... Read more →

Oak Ridge-GM prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil delivers 2% fuel economy improvement over 5W-30

A team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Motors, led by ORNL researcher Dr. Jun Qu, has developed a new group of ionic liquids as lubricant additives that could help improve the energy efficiency of cars and trucks. Prototype low-viscosity ionic liquid-additized engine oil demonstrated a 2% improved fuel... Read more →

Researchers at Tsinghua University have developed a high-power-density zinc-air fuel cell (ZAFC) stack using an inexpensive manganese dioxide (MnO2) catalyst with potassium hydroxide (KOH) electrolyte. As reported in a paper in the Journal of Power Sources, they achieved peak power in a ZAFC stack as high as 435 mW cm-2.... Read more →

Saint-Gobain Proppants and Texas A&M Energy Institute collaborate on investigation of proppants for hydraulic fracturing

Researchers from Texas A&M University’s Energy Institute and Saint-Gobain Proppants have begun a collaborative effort to better understand the behavior of proppants in hydraulic fracturing operations. The collaboration will initially involve research into the “down hole” performance of proppants in fractured wells. The collaboration will consist of two research projects:... Read more →

Nanoparticle-modified diesel reduces specific fuel consumption by 7%

In a study in the journal Fuel, researchers in India report that diesel modified with nanoparticles of aluminum (Al), iron (Fe) or boron (B) reduced specific fuel consumption by up to 7% compared with standard diesel. These “nano-fuels” showed reduced ignition delay, and longer flame sustenance. Emissions of CO and... Read more →

Chart Ferox, a.s., a member of Chart Industries’ Distribution and Storage (D&S) segment in Europe, has been awarded a contract by Hybrid Port Energy Gmbh & Co. KG (HPE) to provide LNG fuel storage and processing equipment for the LNG-Hybrid Barge, which will operate in Hamburg’s HafenCity. The LNG-Hybrid Barge... Read more →

Summary of the path to enable EVs to provide grid services. Source: CA ISO. Click to enlarge. The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) has released a blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid: “California Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services”. The VGI blueprint outlines three inter-dependent... Read more →

Study explores impact of changing gasoline and diesel taxes in Europe

Diesel is currently taxed at a lower level than gasoline in Europe; however, since 2011 the EC has been considering reversing that situation by making energy taxes systematically reflect the CO2 performance of the energy product. As on a volumetric basis, diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, the tax on... Read more →

Audi plans almost €22-billion investment through 2018; targeting 2M annual deliveries

Between 2014 and 2018, Audi will invest a total of around €22 billion (US$30 billion) into new models, innovations and the continuous expansion of the worldwide production network. 70% of the investment is intended for new models and technologies. The company’s sites in Germany will also benefit from the largest... Read more →

Mazda showcasing vehicle connectivity application platform at CES

Mazda Motor Corporation will exhibit its next-generation car connectivity system, Mazda Connect at the 2014 International CES. The company will also showcase an application platform created to encourage the development of applications for use in vehicles. This will be the first time Mazda has exhibited at CES, one of the... Read more →

NASA Glenn develops automated flywheel pulse-and-glide system; improving fuel economy up to 40-100%

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed an automated pulse-and-glide technique using a flywheel energy storage system for on-road vehicles; the technology, which NASA Glenn says can improve fuel economy over existing internal combustion or battery hybrid systems by 40-100%, is available for licensing. Drivers can use a manual... Read more →

Startup commercializing thermo-acoustic Stirling technology for combined heat and power for homes

Startup Nirvana Energy Systems, Inc., is developing the Thermo Acoustic Power Stick (TAPS)—a micro-combined heat and power (µ-CHP) system for home use that converts gas into electricity and provides for domestic water and space heating. Based in part on technology developed by Xerox PARC and further refined by NASA Glenn,... Read more →

Report: PM2.5 hits 390 µg/cubic meter in Shanghai, 5x national limit and 15.6x WHO safety guideline

The Shanghai Daily reported that PM2.5 concentrations peaked at 390 µg per cubic meter on Thursday—more than five times the nation’s limit of 75, and 15.6 times the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) safety guideline of 25 µg/m3. Due to the arrival of pollutants from north, the PM2.5 density soared to... Read more →

Schematic drawing showing the experimental setup of the existing open-cell approach using (a) ionic liquid as electrolyte and (b) using Li metal as lithium source and Li2O as solid electrolyte; (c) schematic drawing showing the setup of the new liquid cell battery. Credit: ACS, Gu et al. Click to enlarge.... Read more →

Volkswagen Group reports more than 100k diesel sales this year

Volkswagen Group of America reported that it has sold 100,000 TDI Clean Diesel vehicles from the Volkswagen and Audi brands this year—the first time it has reached this mark in a calendar year. Volkswagen and Audi currently offer 12 different TDI models in the United States. Volkswagen is responsible for... Read more →

Univ. of Tokyo researchers demonstrate new “oxygen-rocking” battery

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a battery based on the concept of a combination of a perovskite-type cathode and a low-electrode-potential anode that can achieve high energy densities through the use of organic rather than aqueous electrolytes. The work is derivative of their earlier investigation into a... Read more →

Mitsubishi Electric launches railcar traction inverter with 1st all-SiC power module

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has launched a railcar traction inverter system for 1,500V DC catenaries that incorporates the first all-silicon carbide (SiC) power modules made with SiC transistors and SiC diodes. The all-SiC inverter greatly reduces power loss, size and weight compared to conventional insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) power modules... Read more →

Contributions of various primary sources to tunnel PM mass. Credit: ACS, Bozlaker et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers led by a team from the University of Houston have characterized the platinum group elemental composition of PM2.5 and PM10 emissions—mainly from gasoline-fueled light-duty vehicles (LDVs)—in the Washburn Tunnel in Houston Texas... Read more →

Amyris meets funding milestones; $28M Private placement with participation from new and existing investors

Renewable chemicals and fuels company Amyris, Inc. will sell senior convertible promissory notes in a private placement for $28 million in cash proceeds. Under the terms of the agreement, one of Amyris’s largest stockholders, Temasek, in conjunction with new investors affiliated with Wolverine Asset Management, agreed to purchase an aggregate... Read more →

Kinder Morgan, Imperial Oil to build Edmonton crude oil rail terminal; $270M investment

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners L.P.and Imperial Oil formed a 50-50 joint venture to build a crude oil rail-loading facility in Strathcona County, Alberta, called the Edmonton Rail Terminal. The Edmonton Rail Terminal is currently being designed as a crude oil loading terminal capable of loading one to three unit trains... Read more →

Antelope Valley Transit Authority buying two BYD electric buses with inductive charging system with $1.9M grant

The Antelope Valley (California) Transit Authority (AVTA) is purchasing two BYD 40-foot, battery-electric buses as part of its clean bus initiative. The buses have been funded through a $1.9-million grant arranged by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich to support an electric bus demonstration project in the Antelope Valley. The... Read more →

KiOR expects to produce 920K gallons of cellulosic biofuels by year end; short-term focus on economics

Cellulosic gasoline and diesel company KiOR, Inc. expects that, given current and anticipated operations through the remainder of the year, its Columbus, Mississippi facility will produce approximately 410,000 gallons of renewable fuel during the fourth quarter of 2013, bringing full year production total from the facility to approximately 920,000 gallons.... Read more →

POET-DSM’s first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant on schedule for startup in first part of 2014

POET-DSM Advanced Biofuel’s first commercial cellulosic bio-ethanol plant remains on schedule for startup in the first part of 2014 as workers continue equipment installation and other activity through the winter. (Earlier post.) The plant, dubbed “Project LIBERTY,” will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel per year—later ramping up to... Read more →

ZENN to acquire 51% of EEStor; most recent 3rd-party testing of EESU problematic

Canada-based ZENN Motor Company Inc. will acquire a 51% controlling stake in its energy storage technology partner EEStor for staged cash payments totaling $1 million, and then reorganize the board and management of EEStor. ZENN has advanced EEStor $50,000 of the purchase price on the signing of the Investment Agreement... Read more →

Hyundai and Kia settling litigation over fuel economy reductions; valued at up to $395M

Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America have entered into settlement agreements with current and former owners and lessees of vehicles affected by the Hyundai/Kia November 2012 lowering of fuel economy ratings. (Earlier post.) The reductions in fuel economy affected approximately 27% of Hyundai 2011-13 model year vehicles, reducing their... Read more →

The US-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement, which establishes a framework for US offshore oil and gas companies and Mexico’s Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) jointly to develop transboundary reservoirs (earlier post), was enacted today as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act (H.J.Res.59) which President Obama signed into law. The Transboundary Agreement removes uncertainties... Read more →

Global geothermal industry passes 12,000 MW operational

The global geothermal industry surpassed 12,000 MW of geothermal power operational, with about 600 MW of new geothermal power coming online globally, according to a year-end update by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). New geothermal power came on line in Kenya, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Turkey, and Mexico, as well as... Read more →

Russia’s Gazprom has begun oil production at the offshore Prirazlomnoye field in the Arctic—the first development on the Russian offshore Arctic shelf. Prirazlomnoye, on the shelf of the Pechora sea, 60 km (37 miles) from shore (Varandey), was discovered in 1989; sea depth in the area of the field is... Read more →

Bio-isobutanol company Gevo, Inc. announced that the US Army has successfully flown the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on a 50:50 blend of Gevo’s ATJ-8 (Alcohol-to-Jet)—a renewable, drop-in alternative fuel for JP8 derived from isobutanol. (Earlier post.) This flight marks the first Army Aircraft to fly on the isobutanol ATJ... Read more →

UL approves use of up to 16% isobutanol in UL 87A pumps

Gevo, Inc. confirmed that Underwriter Laboratories (UL) has approved the generic use of up to 16% isobutanol in UL 87A pumps by any manufacturer meeting ASTM specifications. UL 87A pumps are for gasoline and gasoline/ethanol blends with nominal ethanol concentrations up to 85% (E0 - E85). The approval provides assurance... Read more →

New family of enzymes to degrade biomass into constituent sugars

Researchers from the University of York (UK) and Aix-Marseille Université (France) have discovered a new family of enzymes that can degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars. They report on the new family of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases in a paper in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs)... Read more →

Inland navigation vessels can now fuel with LNG in the Port of Amsterdam

Inland navigation vessels can now bunker LNG (liquefied natural gas) in the Port of Amsterdam. Greenstream was the first ship to moor alongside the Amerikahaven quay to bunker LNG. Built by Peters Shipyards, Greenstream is operated by InterStream Barging and has been chartered by Shell. The LNG was also supplied... Read more →

FTP cycle-weighted tailpipe emissions of N2O, NOx, and the sum of NMOG and NOx. The minimum in NOx and NMOG emissions for midlevel ethanol blends points to future opportunities for emission reductions from FFVs. Credit: ACS, Hubbard et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Ford Motor Company’s Research and... Read more →

Shanghai MHI Engine, JV with Shanghai Diesel Engine, begins mass production

Shanghai MHI Engine Co., Ltd., a manufacturer and marketer of diesel engines jointly established by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Shanghai Diesel Engine Co., Ltd. (SDEC)—a group company of SAIC Motor—has begun mass-volume production. The model launched on full scale is a diesel engine with 1,000-kilowatt (kW) class output... Read more →

Minor changes to an existing Federal tax incentive for second-generation biofuels (i.e., biofuel made from cellulose, algae, duckweed, or cyanobacteria) could mitigate the current elevated risk of investing in the industry that is retarding its advance, according to a new paper by a team from the International Council on Clean... Read more →

FAA issues Type Inspection Authorization for HondaJet; company expecting full type certification in 1Q 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the first Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) certificate for the HondaJet (earlier post) and also has certified Honda Aircraft Company’s customer service facility as a Part 145 repair station—two significant milestones in the development of the advanced light jet. Type Inspection Authorization signifies that... Read more →

Mercedes-Benz announced a strategic partnership with smart watch company Pebble Technology in the run-up to the 2014 International CES. The partnership gives Mercedes-Benz early access to some of the newest hardware and early releases of application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by the Silicon Valley-based company, allowing it to develop innovative... Read more →

FHWA awards Colorado $30M for CNG fueling stations

The Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program will provide $30 million to increase Colorado’s natural gas fueling infrastructure. The funds will provide for the statewide construction of compressed natural gas fueling stations and the purchase of natural gas vehicles (NGV). Increased use of natural gas as... Read more →

The Government of Greenland has decided to grant exclusive exploration and exploitation licences to three consortia in the following four blocks in the Greenland Sea area in North East Greenland: Statoil, ConocoPhillips and NUNAOIL are awarded an exclusive licence to exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Greenland Sea area,... Read more →