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Two new germanium-free ultrafast solid Li electrolytes

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Germany report the development of two ultrafast solid Li electrolytes which are germanium-free—i.e., based exclusively on abundant elements. Both compounds—Li10SnP2S12 and Li11Si2PS12 feature extremely high Li ion diffusivities, with the Si-based material even surpassing the present record holder, the... Read more →

New GM Performance and Racing Center to house electric motor lab and gear center

General Motors has begun construction of a facility for advanced race engine design and development, as well as an electric motor laboratory and gear center. The new GM Performance and Racing Center (GMPRC) is located next to the GM Powertrain Engineering headquarters in Pontiac, Mich. Engineers and technicians from GM’s... Read more →

Liquid metal battery company Ambri raises $35M in Series C

Ambri, developer of Liquid Metal Battery grid-scale energy storage technology, closed a $35-million Series C equity financing. The round was funded by new investors KLP Enterprises, the family office of Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock, and Building Insurance Bern (GVB), the Swiss Insurance company, as well as existing investors, including... Read more →

FuelCell Energy receives contract for two 2.8MW direct fuel cell power plants from utility

FuelCell Energy, Inc. has received a contract for two 2.8 megawatt DFC3000 fuel cell power plants from United Illuminating (UI), part of UIL Holdings Corporation. One direct fuel cell system will be located in Bridgeport, Connecticut as part of a distributed renewable power generation project that also includes a solar... Read more →

UK APC selects four powertrain projects for $51M in funding; contributing to next-gen Ford EcoBoost

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable recently announced the first four automotive technology projects to be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) (earlier post) with grants totaling £30.3 million (US$51 million); the projects that will help develop next-generation engines (including the Ford EcoBoost) and see Formula 1 technology applied in... Read more →

Fuel efficiency scores (FES) of the 13 largest US airlines on domestic operations in 2012. An FES of 1.00 corresponds to average in-use fuel efficiency in 2012; values above or below represent airlines that performed better or worse, respectively. 2010 industry average is also shown. ICCT. Click to enlarge. The... Read more →

A new assessment conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has identified more than 65 gigawatts of untapped hydropower potential in US rivers and streams. The greatest hydropower potential was found in western US states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Wyoming led... Read more →

LLNL partners with FATHOM to develop new additive manufacturing technology

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has entered into a technology development partnership with FATHOM, a company specializing in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. The collaboration combines FATHOM’s advanced industry knowledge with LLNL’s research and development capabilities and broad domain expertise in applied science and engineering to commercialize new additive manufacturing... Read more →

ARPA-E to award up to $30M for methane monitoring and $30M for localized thermal management in buildings

ARPA-E has issued two separate funding opportunity announcements for a total of up to $60 million for two new programs to (1) detect and measure methane emissions (DE-FOA-0001128) and (2) to develop innovative localized thermal management systems that cut the energy needed to heat and cool buildings (DE-FOA-0001127). The Methane... Read more →

DOE to award up to $10M for projects advancing Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Office of Vehicle Technologies (OVT) Program, has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001106) to award up to $10 million for projects to accelerate the introduction and penetration... Read more →

The MY14 B-Class Electric Drive. Click to enlarge. The Mercedes-Benz MY14 B-Class Electric Drive (earlier post)—the first electric offering for the brand in the United States—is priced at $41,450, excluding $925 destination and delivery. Customers may be eligible for federal tax credits (which run up to $7,500) or state/local tax... Read more →

UK to invest $841M from 2015-2020 to boost ultra low emission vehicle industry

The UK government announced plans to invest £500 million (US$841 million) between 2015 and 2020 to boost the ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) industry and help drivers both afford and feel confident using electric cars. The automotive industry is worth £11.2 billion (US$18.8 billion) to the UK economy, the government... Read more →

California joins H2USA to advance hydrogen transportation

The California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board announced that, in its latest effort to advance hydrogen transportation, California has joined H2USA, a public-private partnership led by the US Department of Energy. (Earlier post.) H2 USA is dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of clean transportation solutions, primarily fuel cell electric... Read more →

Change in market share for different vehicle categories. Source: CFA. Click to enlarge. For the first time, more than 50% of the current year’s light-duty (LD) vehicles in the US get more than 23 mpg (10.2 l/100 km), according to an analysis by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). CFA... Read more →

Study finds São Paulo switch from ethanol to gasoline dropped local ozone levels by 20%, increased CO and nitric oxide concentrations

A study by a pair of researchers at Northwestern University found that when fuel prices drove residents of São Paulo, Brazil, to switch from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20%. At the same time, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up.... Read more →

Volvo Car Group’s first self-driving Autopilot cars test on public roads around Gothenburg

Volvo Car Group’s project ”Drive Me”—with 100 self-driving Volvos on public roads in everyday driving conditions (earlier post)—is moving forward. The first test cars are already rolling around the Swedish city of Gothenburg, with the Autopilot technology performing well, according to the company. The vehicles in the pilot project are... Read more →

Ames Lab researchers observe rare-earth-like magnetic properties in iron

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have observed magnetic properties typically associated with those observed in rare-earth elements in iron, albeit at cryogenic temperatures. These properties are observed in a new iron-based compound that does not contain rare earth elements, when the iron atom is positioned between two... Read more →

XL Hybrids converted commercial vehicles log 1M miles in six months

XL Hybrids, Inc., a developer of hybrid electric powertrain conversion technology for commercial and municipal fleets, announced that fleet customers employing the XL3 hybrid electric system (earlier post) in their service, delivery and cargo fleets have driven a combined total of one million miles within the first six months of... Read more →

Global Bioenergies awarded key US patent on butadiene process

Global Bioenergies announced that the USPTO has granted a key patent relative to its butadiene process. The patent, Nº 8,703,455, protects an essential step of Global Bioenergies’ process to produce bio-sourced butadiene. Butadiene is a key petrochemical: Approximately 10 million tons of butadiene are currently produced annually from oil, representing... Read more →

Google focusing autonomous driving development on mastering city street driving; patents piling up

Over the past year, Google has shifted the focus of its autonomous vehicle project onto mastering city street driving, according to Chris Urmson, Director, Google Self-Driving Car Project. (Urmson was the technical team leader of the CMU team that won the DARPA 2007 Urban Challenge, an autonomous vehicle race.) Google’s... Read more →

Toyota is establishing a new headquarters in North Dallas (Plano), Texas for its North American operations. Within the next three years, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing (Erlanger, KY); sales and marketing (Torrance, CA); and corporate operations (New York, NY) will relocate to a single campus in Plano.... Read more →

Westport and Weichai launch WP12 engine and begin development of WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0 technology

Westport Innovations Inc. has launched the final customer validation units of the next-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0, earlier post) on the Weichai Westport WP12 engine platform. The Weichai Westport WP 12 HPDI is China’s first engine featuring Westport HPDI technology, delivering the power and performance of... Read more →

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) features several accelerated retirements cases that represent conditions leading to additional coal and nuclear plant retirements in order to examine the potential energy market and emissions effects of the loss of this capacity. CO2 emissions are significantly reduced when compared to the Reference case... Read more →

TDK licenses WiTricity patent portfolio for wireless charging of plug-in vehicles

WiTricity announced an intellectual property license agreement with TDK Corporation which will enable TDK to commercialize WiTricity’s patented technology to create wireless charging systems for carmakers. Next-generation electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) will be able to charge by simply parking over a TDK wireless charging pad.... Read more →

SOLAR-JET concentrated thermochemical reactor. Red arrow indicates ceria reduction (oxygen evolution); blue arrow indicates oxidation (fuel production). Click to enlarge. The EU-funded SOLAR-JET project has demonstrated the production of aviation kerosene from concentrated sunlight, CO2 captured from air, and water. The process has also the potential to produce any other... Read more →

Si-anode company Nexeon commissions new manufacturing facility; >20t per year of product

Nexeon, a UK-based silicon anode company (earlier post), has completed the construction and commissioning of its process development and manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Oxfordshire. The plant is capable of producing more than 20 tonnes of product a year, and has been built to be highly versatile and able... Read more →

ORNL researchers show bifunctional electrolyte boosts capacity of lithium-carbon fluoride battery by 26%

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have shown that a new bi-functional electrolyte in a lithium-carbon fluoride (Li-CFx) primary battery system can generate 26% higher capacity than the theoretical maximum if each component were to act independently as well as extend the lifespan of the device. The solid electrolyte... Read more →

Honda’s engine technology roadmap and the key role of HLSI, as presented at the 2013 Aachen Colloquium by Toshihiro Mibe, Managing Officer, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Automobile R&D Center. Click to enlarge. Honda is developing a Homogeneous Lean Charge Spark Ignition (HLSI) combustion engine as one of the key elements... Read more →

Cyclic performance of the new composite GeO2/Sn-Co-C composite compared to GeO2 and Sn-Co-C anodes. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Argonne National Lab have proposed a novel composite Li-ion anode material of GeO2–Sn30Co30C40, which combines the advantageous properties of Sn–Co–C (long cycle life) and GeO2 (high... Read more →

IPCC chapter co-ordinating lead author expresses frustration with government approval process for scientific report

On Friday, Dr. Robert N. Stavins, the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group and a 5-year veteran of the Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel... Read more →

CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency) and its industry partners plan to conduct a A$1-million (US$930,000) trial of the Direct Injection Carbon Engine (DICE) in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley—the second largest and lowest-cost brown coal resource in the world—with the aim of reducing emissions from brown coal-generated electricity by 50% compared to... Read more →

Capacity and coulombic efficiency versus cycle index of Li-PGN cathodes at a rate of ~1C. The performance of various other cathode materials (LiCoO2, LiFePO4, LiNi0.75Co0.10Mn0.15O2 and Li3V1.98Ce0.02(PO4)3/C) measured at comparable current densities has been included for comparison. Mukherjee et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed... Read more →

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Powering Imagination LLC have agreed to create an electric flight program focused on reducing aircraft emissions and noise through the development of electric propulsion systems. Powering Imagination LLC was founded by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of aviation pioneers Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, to promote sustainable aviation... Read more →

The successful first public flight of the electric E-Fan experimental aircraft took place during the E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux. Click to enlarge. The Airbus Group’s electric E-Fan experimental aircraft made its first public test flight at E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux, France. The electric E-Fan training aircraft is an innovative technology... Read more →

Sirrus unveils new chemistry platform for adhesives, coatings and inks; lower energy requirements

Sirrus, a manufacturer of high-performance monomers formerly known as Bioformix, has successfully developed a new chemistry platform that promises to transform a range of adhesive, coating, printing and resin applications for the automotive, building and construction, packaging, electronics and other industries. Sirrus’ unique 1,1-disubstituted alkene monomer technology, and the combination... Read more →

On Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Manufacturers Performance Report that assesses the automobile industry’s progress toward meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for cars and light trucks in the 2012 model year—the first year of the 14-year program. The report shows that automakers’ combined calculated overall... Read more →

California Air Resources Board adds another $25 million to expand clean vehicle rebate program

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted to immediately expand the funding and current waiting list for incentive funds that help consumers buy zero-emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Board’s action expanded the current $5-million waiting list, established last month, by an additional $25 million to accommodate expected market growth... Read more →

ARB adopts changes to California’s Truck and Bus Regulation; additional time for small fleets

The California Air Resources Board adopted amendments to its Truck and Bus Regulation that will provide new flexible compliance options to owners of aging diesel fleets and recognize fleet owners that have made investments to comply, while also protecting air quality. Background. The Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted in... Read more →

Byogy’s four-step process for the conversion of ethanol to renewable jet fuel. Click to enlarge. Byogy Renewables and airline partner Avianca Brasil (earlier post) have launched an initiative to support advanced testing to accelerate the approval by ASTM of Byogy’s alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel. (Earlier post.) The Avianca/Byogy Team will perform... Read more →

The Explorer is a SWASH (Small Waterplane Area Single Hull) vessel with a torpedo-shaped float located centrally underneath the hull. The boat’s propulsion system is also located in this tube. Copyright: Abeking & Rasmussen AG. Click to enlarge. A diesel hybrid-electric pilot boat is under test on the Elbe River... Read more →

Mitsubishi Heavy selling MLiX Li-ion rechargeable battery business to Delta Electronics; focus shifting to ESS systems

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) is selling its Li-ion rechargeable battery business to Delta Electronics. MHI will focus on energy storage system (ESS) products using Li-ion batteries. Under the brand name MLiX, MHI designs and manufactures prismatic cells, modules, CMU (Cell Management Unit) / BMU (Battery Management Unit), packs and... Read more →

Nissan has begun tests on innovative coating technology that repels mud, rain and everyday dirt. The specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic coating has been applied to the bodywork of the all-new Nissan Note to create a “self-cleaning car”. Nissan is the first carmaker to apply the technology, called Ultra-Ever Dry,... Read more →

WSU researchers develop simpler drowsy driver detection system

Researchers at Washington State University Spokane have developed a new way to detect when drivers are drowsy. The technology is based on steering wheel movements—which are more variable in drowsy drivers—and offers an affordable and more reliable alternative to currently available video-based driver drowsiness detection systems, the researchers suggest. Video-based... Read more →

Novozymes sales of enzymes to the bioenergy industry increased by 34% in Q1

Novozymes reported that sales of its enzymes to the bioenergy industry increased by 34% in Q1, driven by three enzymes that promise to improve profits for producers of corn ethanol: Avantec, Spirizyme Achieve and Olexa. The enzymes enable producers to squeeze up to 5% more ethanol out of corn while... Read more →

EcoCAR 3 competition to use Chevy Camaro as base vehicle

General Motors is continuing its partnership with the US Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory for the EcoCAR 3 collegiate advanced vehicle technology competition. and will donate a Chevrolet Camaro to each one of the 16 universities that were recently selected for the exclusive competition. For EcoCAR 2: Plugging... Read more →

Iowa Legislature passes biofuel bill; butanol blends, E-15 and biodiesel tax credits extended

Both houses of the Iowa Legislature have passed a bill (SF2344) providing for biobutanol-blended gasoline; modifying the rate of the E-15 plus gasoline promotion tax credit; and extending provisions for a biodiesel production refund. The legislation, which Governor Terry Branstad is expected to sign into law, enables the sale of... Read more →

Nissan launches new lower emission, higher spec NV400 range

In Europe, Nissan has upgraded its NV400 panel vans and factory-built conversions range, replacing four versions of the chassis, tipper and dropside turbo engine with a single 2.3-liter Euro 5 turbodiesel engine which delivers an improvement in fuel economy and reduces CO2 emissions by 8g/km. The updated variants maintain their... Read more →

Capacity and rate performance of CAM-7 cathode material. Click to enlarge. Lab-based technology development company TIAX will spin out its Advanced Battery Materials & Design Division on 1 May to become a separate company—CAMX Power LLC—to be co-located with TIAX and operate as its subsidiary. CAMX Power will focus on... Read more →

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is launching the Advanced Engine Fluids (AEF) consortium to better understand fuel and lubricant chemistry and its effects on engine combustion. The AEF consortium will research the impact of fuels and lubricants on engine combustion and the requirements needed for optimizing future engine technologies. These automotive... Read more →

Offering a higher-octane gasoline to the consumer market in the US as the standard grade could deliver an incremental 4.5% to 6% reduction in fleet fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, on top of a projected 26.8% reduction by then in the baseline case (i.e., without higher octane... Read more →