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Navigant: US to remain largest national plug-in vehicle market over next 10 years; Tokyo to take metro market lead spot from LA

Navigant Research forecasts that the United States will remain the largest national market for light-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) during the next 10 years, with LD PEV sales exceeding 514,000 in 2023. Currently, North America is the strongest market for light duty PEVs with nearly 100,000 sold in 2013, according... Read more →

ABB announced that its Terra 23/53 range of fast chargers has successfully passed the new European certification process for DC fast chargers at Applus+ IDIADA, the independent certification house in Spain. The ABB multi-standard chargers are compliant with CHAdeMO 1.0, the CE standard and new industry guidelines for multi-standard fast... Read more →

The voestalpine Group producing ultra-high strength automotive components in US

The steel-based technology and capital goods group voestalpine’s 17th production site in the United States began operation, manufacturing ultra-high strength body-in-white components for premium car manufacturers in Cartersville, Georgia. This completes the first phase of the Group’s internationalization program in the automotive sector. Since 2012, voestalpine has invested more than... Read more →

Neutron crystallography shows this iron catalyst gripping two hydrogen atoms (red spheres). This arrangement allows an unusual dihydrogen bond to form between the hydrogen atoms (red dots). Source: Liu et al. Click to enlarge. Using neutron crystallography, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and their colleagues at Oak Ridge... Read more →

Transport Canada orders removal of least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars within 30 days, non-compliant cars within 3 years

Transport Canada is ordering the least crash-resistant DOT-111 tank cars be removed from dangerous goods service within 30 days. These are older cars that have no continuous reinforcement of their bottom shell, said Transport Minister Lisa Raitt. There are roughly 5,000 of these tank cars in North America that must... Read more →

Dearman-led consortium awarded $3.1M to develop waste-heat-recovery system using liquid air engine

A consortium led by the Dearman Engine Company has been awarded £1.86 million (US$3.12 million) in the latest round of IDP10 funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board to support the development of a heat-recovery system for urban commercial vehicles. The tenth competition under the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform’s... Read more →

Tesla and Sixt Leasing partner in Switzerland; monthly Model S payments start at about US$920

Tesla has expanded its strategic relationship with Sixt Leasing to include Switzerland as well as Germany. With 10% down on a 36-month lease, Sixt offers payments of approximately CHF 810 - 950 (US$919 - $1,078) per month, depending on the mileage selected by the customer. Tesla suggests that Model S... Read more →

EPA revises 2013 cellulosic biofuel standard down to 810,185 gallons; 0.0005%

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised the 2013 cellulosic biofuel requirements for obligated parties (e.g., refiners) under the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 program down to 810,185 ethanol-equivalent gallons, or a 0.0005% ratio of the renewable fuel volume to the non-renewable gasoline and diesel volume used in 2013. In... Read more →

HELLA and Vahle developing wireless charging systems for plug-in vehicles

HELLA is working with Paul Vahle GmbH to develop wireless (inductive) charging systems for plug-in vehicles. The cooperation between Vahle and HELLA combines the expertise and experience of both companies in the field inductive charging. Based in Kamen, Germany, Vahle has 15 years of experience in contact-free energy transfer in... Read more →

California Energy Commission approves plans to invest nearly $500M in electricity R&D and alternative fuels

The California Energy Commission has unanimously approved two major investment plans that could total nearly a half a billion dollars. One will fund clean energy research that benefits electricity ratepayers. Another is an annual clean transportation investment plan that is designed to spark innovation in projects that will help transform... Read more →

Land Rover introduced the Range Rover Hybrid Long Wheelbase at the Beijing motor show. Together with the Range Rover Sport Hybrid (earlier post), it will be the first diesel hybrid from any manufacturer to be offered in China. Land Rover has identified China as a potentially strong market for its... Read more →

Lufthansa to evaluate Gevo Alcohol-to-Jet renewable fuel for commercial aviation use

Bio-isobutanol producer Gevo, Inc. has come to an agreement with Lufthansa under which the carrier will evaluate Gevo’s renewable jet fuel with the goal of approving the alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) for commercial aviation use. (Earlier post.) Lufthansa’s testing is being supported through work with the European Commission. ATJ, like the... Read more →

EV3-850 combined with PowerPhase HD220. Click to enlarge. UQM Technologies Inc. and Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. are collaborating to offer an integrated electric motor and multi-speed transmission system for commercial vehicle applications that will benefit from a full system approach. This system is engineered to provide commercial vehicle manufacturers with... Read more →

GM restructures global engineering organization; focus on quality and safety

General Motors is restructuring its Global Vehicle Engineering organization to form two new organizations—Global Product Integrity and Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems—to improve cross-system integration, deliver more consistent performance across vehicle programs and address functional safety and compliance in its vehicles. A vehicle is a collection of 30,000 individual parts.... Read more →

HELMETH project targeting >85% efficiencies for power-to-gas; high-temperature electrolysis

The HELMETH (“Integrated High-temperature ELectrolysis and METHanation for Effective Power to Gas Conversion”) project, coordinated by Karlsruhe Institue of Technology (KIT) is targeting power-to-gas (PtG) system efficiencies of more than 85% through better synergies with existing process steps. Power-to-gas (e.g., Audi e-Gas) uses renewable electricity for the production of hydrogen... Read more →

Motive Power & Equipment Solutions, Inc. (MP&ES), a provider of new and remanufactured locomotives, introduced the Greenville locomotive, an ultra­low emissions Gen Set locomotive powered by a combination of natural gas and diesel fuels. The Greenville. MP&ES has been evaluating technology options and developing system designs for natural gas locomotives... Read more →

EPA orders rare earth mine in California to correct hazardous waste violations

The US Environmental Protection Agency ordered Molycorp Minerals, LLC, to pay a $27,300 penalty for improper management of hazardous waste at its San Bernardino County mine and mineral processing facility. The violations were discovered as part of unannounced EPA inspections in October 2012. EPA testing at the facility determined that... Read more →

Crumb rubber from old tires can lower road noise and reduce need for road maintenance

With funding from The National Science Foundation (NSF), Magdy Abdelrahman, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at North Dakota State University, is experimenting with “crumb” rubber—ground up tires of different sized particles—and other components to improve the rubberized road materials that a number of states already are using... Read more →

Renewable Energy Group has sold 1 billion gallons of biodiesel

Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) announced that it has sold a cumulative one billion gallons of biodiesel during its 17-year history. The company started by marketing 30,000 gallons of biodiesel in 1996; last year, it sold more than 258 million gallons. REG said that it achieved this milestone through investments... Read more →

Plug Power and Hyundai Hysco sign MOU to form fuel cell JV in Asia

Plug Power Inc. signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hyundai Hysco Co. Ltd. (Hysco) to create a joint venture partnership to develop and to sell hydrogen fuel cells in countries throughout Asia using Hysco’s advanced stack and plate technology. Specifically, the proposed five-year joint venture will develop, manufacture... Read more →

Toyota’s FPEG features a hollow step-shaped piston, combustion chamber and gas spring chamber. Click to enlarge. A team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. is developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) featuring a thin and compact build, high efficiency and high fuel flexibility. Toyota envisions... Read more →

Harman and Tsinghua University establish joint research lab with focus on connected vehicles

Harman International Industries, Inc. has entered into an agreement with China’s Tsinghua University to establish a new joint research laboratory focused on creating disruptive innovations for future vehicles. Based in Beijing, the Harman-Tsinghua Automotive Innovation joint lab will focus on both technical and business considerations of the connected car, and... Read more →

EU-funded project develops diesel engine for light helicopters

EU-funded scientists developed a novel 320 kW (429 hp) diesel engine for light helicopters as an alternative to conventional turboshaft engines. The technology demonstrated substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Helicopters conventionally employ a turboshaft engine that has a much better power-to-weight ratio compared to diesel engines. However, engine... Read more →

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pursuing investigations into the use of a non-catalytic in-cylinder reforming process—i.e., the conversion of liquid hydrocarbon fuel to a hydrogen- and CO-rich syngas—potentially for controlling combustion phasing in homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and other forms of advanced combustion. When fuel is injected... Read more →

DENZA. Click to enlarge. Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT) officially unveiled its DENZA all-electric vehicle at Auto China 2014, in Beijing. The world premiere of the serial production model is the culmination of cooperative efforts at the 50:50 R&D technology joint venture established by Daimler and BYD... Read more →

Contribution of modeled CO2 emissions from SOC to the life cycle of biofuel from corn residue. Error bars are ± one standard deviation. Liska et al. Click to enlarge. Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and under some conditions can generate more greenhouse... Read more →

SAE publishes technical paper on hydrogen fueling standard

SAE has published the technical paper on hydrogen fueling, and the SAE J2799 standard. (Earlier post.) The SAE J2601 (Hydrogen fueling standard) will be published, possibly within the next month. In March, SAE International’s Fuel Cell Standards Taskforce reported the completion of two technical standards: SAE J2601, “Fueling Protocols for... Read more →

Siemens and BAIC form JV to produce high efficiency electric powertrain systems for NEVs

Siemens AG and Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd. (BAIC), one of the major Chinese carmakers, signed a joint venture agreement at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition and outlined their plan to utilize Siemens’ electric drive train components in a range of BAIC new energy vehicles (NEVs). The JV,... Read more →

Toyota Racing scored a one-two finish (#8 taking first, #7 second) from pole position in the Six Hours of Silverstone with its new TS040 HYBRIDs (earlier post) in a the first race of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship season. Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid with two energy recovery systems (earlier... Read more →

Among Volkswagen’s premieres at Auto China 2014 in Beijing was the MQB-based New Midsize Coupé concept car. The New Midsize Coupé is shorter than the Jetta but is wider than the Passat—thus qualifying for the mid-size segment. Volkswagen said that the concept—a fusion of A and B segments—demonstrates the flexibility... Read more →

GM’s China JVs investing $12B between 2014-2017 to expand; GM outlines China market trends

In conjunction with the start of Auto China 2014 in Beijing, GM China President Matt Tsien announced that GM’s China joint ventures will make capital expenditures of about $12 billion between 2014 and 2017. That investment will help GM step up its pace by funding facility and capacity expansion and... Read more →

2015 Lexus NX 300h. Click to enlarge. Lexus introduced the NX compact crossover and hybrid at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. (Earlier post.) The all-new NX is Lexus’ first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment. The Lexus NX compact crossover offers the brand’s first gasoline turbo engine in... Read more →

Volkswagen Group launching major electro-mobility campaign in China; $25B on new vehicles, technologies and plants up to 2018

The Volkswagen Group is launching a major electro-mobility campaign in China—the the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history, said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG, on the eve of the Auto China motor show in Beijing. The initiative gets underway with the launch this year of... Read more →

Audi TT offroad concept. Click to enlarge. Audi is presenting an Audi TT offroad concept at the Beijing International Automobile Exhibition. Like many of the brand's new production models, the Audi TT offroad concept is also based on the versatile modular transverse matrix (MQB). The TT concept features a plug-in... Read more →

Scientists at Rice University have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in crude oil and natural gas while they’re still in the ground. The nanoreporter is based on nanometer-sized carbon material developed by a consortium of Rice labs led by... Read more →

Ioxus to provide ultracapacitors for Long Island Railroad wayside energy storage system

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being fitted to the railway wayside traction power on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). The ultracapacitors will provide voltage support to assist the traction power system, capturing and storing the energy produced by the train, using it to facilitate better acceleration and allowing for greater energy... Read more →

Fiat Group Automobiles, Chrysler Group International and GAC Group to Produce Jeep vehicles in China for Chinese market

Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., Chrysler Group International LLC and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group) have reached an agreement to expand the joint venture partnership. Under the agreement, the joint venture, GAC Fiat, will begin localized production of three new Jeep vehicles for the Chinese market, expanding the portfolio... Read more →

Renesas remained the leader in the automotive semiconductor market in 2013, with the company’s dominance in microcomponents and logic integrated circuits (IC) helping it to hold a half-billion-dollar gap over the second-place competitor, according to analysis by IHS Technology. Japan-based Renesas posted automotive semiconductor revenue of $2.9 billion last year,... Read more →

State Department providing more time for agency feedback on Keystone XL

On Friday, the US State Department notified the eight federal agencies involved in the process (the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) that it will provide them more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project.... Read more →

Magna producing all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate module for 2014 Nissan Rogue

Magna International’s Magna Exteriors operating unit is producing the North American automotive industry’s first all-thermoplastic, fully recyclable liftgate module for the 2014 Nissan Rogue crossover utility vehicle. The Rogue liftgate is unique in that all materials are fully olefinic and therefore fully recyclable at the end of the vehicle’s life,... Read more →

USDA researchers develop new pyrolysis processes for bio-oil production

Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have developed and have filed a patent on a new fast pyrolysis process called Tail Gas Reactive Pyrolysis (TGRP), which removes much of the oxygen from bio-oils without the need for added catalysts. Fast pyrolysis is the process... Read more →

Light-duty VMT is beginning to decouple from traditional drivers. Source: EIA. economic Click to enlarge. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) is in the process of staging the release of the full Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014), its annual report on projected energy use and analysis of select energy topics.... Read more →

New composite cathode material for Li-sulfur batteries

Researchers from The University of Queensland (Australia) have devised a composite cathode material for lithium-sulfur batteries: graphene-wrapped carbon nanospheres with sulfur uniformly distributed in between, in which the carbon nanospheres act as the sulfur carriers. The graphene contributes to direct coverage of sulfur to inhibit the mobility of polysulfides, whereas... Read more →

DOE to issue funding opportunity for analysis to support hydrogen and fuel cell manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), intends to issue a funding opportunity FOA titled “Clean Energy Supply Chain and Manufacturing Competitiveness Analysis for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies” (DE-FOA-0000854). FCTO’s Manufacturing R&D Program... Read more →

Navy researchers produce high-performance renewable fuels by combining heterogeneous catalysis with biosynthesis

A team from the Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake, with colleagues from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), have demonstrated that renewable high density fuels with net heats of combustion ranging from ~133,000 to 141,000 Btu gal-1—up to 13% higher than commercial jet... Read more →

According to EPA’s most recent data from the EPA Moderated Transaction System (EMTS) used to establish a transparent market for RINs, biofuel producers produced 57,860 gallons of cellulosic biofuels during the first quarter of 2014—the vast majority of that being D3 cellulosic biofuel (57,388 gallons), the remainder (472 gallons) being... Read more →

EnerG2, NW Natural partner on adsorbed on-board storage for CNG vehicles

EnerG2, a manufacturer of advanced nano-structured materials for next-generation energy storage (earlier post) and NW Natural, an Oregon gas distribution company, are partnering to improve the fuel storage on board vehicles that use Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by using a new adsorbed natural gas technology. The adsorbent material packs inside... Read more →

A 12m Solaris battery-electric bus with electrical traction and on-board power supply equipment from Vossloh Kiepe has entered passenger service with the Braunschweiger Verkehrs-AG as the first of five such buses. For the first time, the modular system from Vossloh Kiepe has been combined with the PRIMOVE inductive charging system... Read more →