US DOE to award $625M for Quantum Information Science Research Centers; Argonne quantum loop testbed

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $625 million (DE-FOA-0002253) over the next five years to establish two to five multidisciplinary Quantum Information Science (QIS) Research Centers in support of the National Quantum Initiative. The National Quantum Initiative Act, signed into law by President Trump in December... Read more →


Metal particles from the abrasion of brake pads (brake abrasion dust, BAD) may cause inflammation and reduce the ability of immune cells to kill bacteria, similarly to particles derived from diesel exhaust particles (DEP), according to a new study led by researchers at King’s College London. The researchers say this... Read more →


UWaterloo: ridesharing links could boost transit use in the suburbs; gaming the system

Integrating ridesharing with transit in poorly serviced suburban neighborhoods could be an effective way to get people out of their cars and boost ridership, according to the findings of a new study by researchers at the University of Waterloo. The researchers found that two-thirds of people who took advantage of... Read more →


Rio Tinto has awarded Perth-based company Mondium a contract valued at approximately US$276 million (A$400 million) for the design and construction of the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 (WTS2) mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The WTS2 is part of Rio Tinto’s Greater Tom Price operations in the... Read more →


NREL study finds high-pressure hydrogen pipeline system could potentially make hydrogen cost-competitive with gasoline

A new study by a team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concludes that a high-pressure, scalable, intra-city hydrogen pipeline system could improve the economics and logistics of hydrogen delivery, making it potentially cost-competitive with gasoline. An open-access paper on the work is published in the journal Transportation Research... Read more →


DOE launches Energy Storage Grand Challenge

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of next-generation energy storage technologies. The Grand Challenge builds on the $158-million Advanced Energy Storage Initiative announced in President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request. The vision for... Read more →


The Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda will be the first FCA models to adopt the group’s new hybrid technology. The 500 and Panda will be available with a new gasoline mild hybrid engine that combines the latest 3-cylinder FireFly 1.0-liter engine family with a 12-volt BSG electric motor and a... Read more →


14 US fleets launch ACT Fleet Forum; best practices on adopting advanced, clean transportation technologies

Fourteen leading US fleets announced the formation of the ACT Fleet Forum, an educational initiative to share best practices between participating fleets, as well as top technology providers and fuel suppliers on adopting advanced, clean transportation technologies. Facilitated by clean transportation consulting firm Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA), the ACT... Read more →


California ARB awards $24M to 3 school districts to promote zero-emission vehicles, clean transportation options

The California Air Resources Board announced a new program that will fund a variety of projects promoting zero-emission transportation options for students, parents and staff members served by school districts in California. Grant winners for the new two-year Clean Mobility in Schools Pilot Project are: El Monte Union High School... Read more →


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) produces annual congestion measurements for the 52 largest urban areas in the United States using data from the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS). For the past five years, FHWA has measured the average length of time per day that monitored roadways were at... Read more →


by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research. Since 2011, I have periodically examined changes in the proportion of persons with a driver’s license as a function of age. The previous study compared data for 1983 (as the baseline) with those for 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. The results showed that between... Read more →


Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a quantum chemistry simulation benchmark to evaluate the performance of quantum devices and guide the development of applications for future quantum computers. Their findings were published in an open-access paper in npj Quantum Information. Quantum computers use... Read more →


Quantum Information Edge alliance launches to accelerate quantum computing R&D

A nationwide alliance of national labs, universities, and industry launched in December to advance the frontiers of quantum computing systems designed to solve urgent scientific challenges and maintain US leadership in next-generation information technology. The Quantum Information Edge strategic alliance is led by t Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more →


A study by an international team of researchers warns that the global transition to global low-carbon energy technology could be at risk unless new international agreements and governance mechanisms are put in place to ensure a sustainable supply of rare minerals and metals. Their paper is published in Science. Climate... Read more →


GM sold more than 1M crossovers in US in 2019, more than 1M full-size trucks

General Motors Co. delivered 2,887,046 vehicles in 2019 in the United States. The total included more than 1 million crossovers for the second year in a row, an increase of 12.7% compared to 2018, and more than 1 million full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. Fourth quarter North American wholesales declined... Read more →


Michelin and Faurecia formalize hydrogen JV; €140M initial investment

In late November, Michelin and Faurecia formalized the creation of Symbio, A Faurecia Michelin Hydrogen Company, a joint venture combining all their hydrogen fuel cell dedicated activities, with the aim of becoming a world leader in hydrogen mobility. The two partners had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2019.... Read more →


DOE awards $25M to improve natural gas operations

The US. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 16 projects to receive nearly $25 million in federal funding for cost-shared projects to advance natural gas infrastructure technology development. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will provide federal funding for these projects. These projects aim to develop tools, methods, and technologies to enhance... Read more →


Hyundai Motor Group to invest $87B over next 5 years; 44 electrified vehicles; new EV development system; hydrogen plans

Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) will invest more than KRW100 trillion (US$87 billion) over next 5 years—KRW20 trillion (~US$17.4 billion) annually to enhance its leadership in vehicle electrification, autonomous driving and mobility services, said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Group, at the company’s 2020 New Year ceremony at... Read more →


From the 2010 model year through to September 2019, 14.6% of new vehicle sales in the United States have been pickup trucks, according to JATO Dynamics. From a 13.1% market share in 2010, pickups have grown to claim a 16.8% market share in 2019. Source: JATO Dynamics In contrast, pickups... Read more →


Study links closing of local automotive assembly plants in US to increase in deaths from opioid overdoses

Closing of local automotive assembly plants may lead to increases in deaths from opioid overdose, according to a study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings highlight fading economic opportunity as a driving factor in the... Read more →


Nigeria LNG moves ahead with $10B expansion; 30 Mtpa

The partners in Nigeria LNG (NLNG)—Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%) and Eni (10.4%)— have taken the final investment decision (FID) for the expansion project of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Bonny Island. This brownfield development, which is expected to start-up in 2024, will... Read more →


Researchers suggest that air quality tests need simplifying to help reduce dangerous emissions

New methods of testing and simulating air quality should be considered in order to help policy makers have a more accurate understanding of how emissions affect air pollution levels, new research suggests. In a review published in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, the authors claim that... Read more →


Sweden launches inquiry on how to ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and phase-out fossil fuels

The Government of Sweden has launched a study to offer proposals on how to implement a ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars, and the timeline for the phase-out of fossil fuels. The final report is to be presented by 1 February 2021. Sven Hunhammar will chair the... Read more →


On a per-capita basis, the number of vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) on the nation’s roads varies from a low of 5,300 annual miles in the District of Columbia to 16,900 annual miles in Wyoming. These data are for 2017, the most recent year for which vehicle miles of travel are available.... Read more →


ExxonMobil announced an oil discovery offshore Guyana at the Mako-1 well southeast of the Liza field, marking the 15th discovery on the Stabroek Block. Mako-1 encountered approximately 164 feet (50 meters) of a high-quality oil bearing sandstone reservoir. Mako-1, drilled in 5,315 feet (1,620 meters) of water, is located approximately... Read more →


Study suggests global impact of obesity may be extra ~700MT/y CO2eq: about 1.6% of worldwide GHG emissions

A new analysis led by a team from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, estimates that on a global scale, obesity contributes to extra GHG emissions of ~49 megatons per year of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq) from oxidative metabolism due to greater metabolic demands; ~361 megatons per year of CO2eq from food... Read more →


ExxonMobil has started oil production from the Liza field offshore Guyana ahead of schedule and less than five years after the first discovery of hydrocarbons, which is well ahead of the industry average for deepwater developments. The Liza Phase 1 development is approximately 190 kilometers offshore in water depths of... Read more →


Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors intend to form strategic alliance; Volvo to transfer UD Trucks to Isuzu

The Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with the intent to form a strategic alliance within commercial vehicles in order to capture the opportunities in the ongoing transformation of the industry. In a first step, the intention is to establish a global technology partnership and... Read more →


Groupe PSA and FCA agree to merge; 4th largest OEM by volume, 3rd by revenue

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Peugeot S.A. signed a binding Combination Agreement providing for a 50/50 merger of their businesses to create the 4th-largest global automotive OEM by volume and 3rd-largest by revenue. The companies said the their gains in efficiency derived from larger volumes, as well as the benefits... Read more →


ARPA-E to award up to $50M to scale up high-risk ARPA-E funded technologies

The US DOE’s ARPA-E issued a funding opportunity announcement () for up to $50 million in funding for a new program, Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP). The SCALEUP program aims to support the scaling of high-risk and potentially disruptive ARPA-E funded technologies across the... Read more →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced a Notice of Intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to advance innovations that will build new markets for H2@Scale. (Earlier post.) H2@Scale supports innovations to produce, store, transport, and utilize hydrogen across multiple sectors, covering collaborations between various industry stakeholders... Read more →


Of the 28.4 quadrillion Btu (quads) of energy consumed by the US transportation sector in 2018, 1.4 quads (4.9%) were produced from biomass, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). Fuel ethanol made up 81.4% of biomass-based transportation fuels in 2018, followed by biodiesel (17.1%) and other (1.5%). Note:... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This analysis examined recent changes in the frequency of telecommuting in the United States. Of particular interest were the changes in telecommuting as a function of worker’s gender. Because various occupations differ in the extent to which they allow workers to telecommute, and the occupations differ in... Read more →


California Energy Commission approves first local energy efficiency standards that go beyond 2019 statewide requirements

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved six applications for local energy ordinances that exceed statewide requirements of the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. There is a clear mandate to decarbonize our energy systems and our economy. At the state level, we should partner with, learn from, and support local jurisdictions... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. Ten years ago, I published an analysis showing that the risk of driving in the United States was lowest during late winter and early spring and highest during fall. That analysis covered years 1994 through 2006. The present study examined whether this pattern still holds. The calculations... Read more →


Intel Labs unveiled what it believes is a first-of-its-kind cryogenic control chip—code-named “Horse Ridge”—that will speed up development of full-stack quantum computing systems. Horse Ridge will enable control of multiple quantum bits (qubits) and set a clear path toward scaling larger systems—a major milestone on the path to quantum practicality.... Read more →


Annual petroleum production in the United States doubled from 6.8 million barrels per day (mmbd) in 2008 to 15.3 mmbd in 2018, according to the US Department of Energy (DOE). Record levels of production began when the 11.8 mmbd in 2014 topped the previous high of 11.3 mmbd from 1970.... Read more →


Volkswagen has successfully launched its sub-brand JETTA in China with the new SUV VS5 and the VA3 sedan. Since market entry in September, nearly 30,000 vehicles were delivered to customers; almost 80% of JETTA deliveries were SUVs. This makes the JETTA launch the most successful recent brand introduction in China,... Read more →


OC&C survey finds US consumers lag behind major industrialized countries in embracing electric/hybrid vehicles

Americans are much less likely than consumers in other major industrialized countries to purchase an electric vehicle or hybrid, largely because of concerns over access to charging stations away from home, according to a survey by global consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants. The survey, which included 10,000 respondents across five... Read more →


China continues to be the leading country for e-mobility in terms of industry and market, according to the E-Mobility Index 2019 from fka GmbH and Roland Berger GmbH. Although Germany takes the lead from France in terms of technology for this latest report, China is catching up quickly and ranks... Read more →


According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average fuel economy for all light vehicles on the road today is 22.3 miles per gallon (mpg) and the average annual miles driven is 11,484 miles. The Federal tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon, and each state has a gasoline tax,... Read more →


Haldor Topsoe and Sasol unite to offer customers single-point licenses for proven gas-to-liquids solutions

Sasol and Haldor Topsoe, two of the global leaders in gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology, have entered into a collaboration agreement to offer single-point licensing of proven and bankable GTL solutions to produce diesel, kerosene and naphtha from natural gas. The Sasol-Topsoe partnership is a response to growing worldwide demand for efficient... Read more →


by Michael Sivak. This article is the latest in a series that examines recent changes in various aspects of road transportation in the United States. The focus here is on distance driven per person as opposed to total distance driven (which depends, in part, on the continuously increasing size of... Read more →


Audi increases upfront expenditure for electric mobility; €12B by 2024

Audi AG plans an outlay of approximately €37 billion for research and development expenditure and investment in property, plant and equipment over the next five years (2020 to 2024). The current planning reflects a significant improvement in investment and cost discipline, as well as the strong prioritization of investments in... Read more →


Skeleton Technologies launches SkelCap SCA0300 ultracapacitor platform

Skeleton Technologies, a European provider of ultracapacitors and ultracapacitor energy storage systems for automotive, transportation, and grid applications, is bringing to market a new ultracapacitor product platform, the SkelCap SCA0300, to address the fast-growing markets in manufacturing and warehouse logistics. The strict power quality requirements in manufacturing are driving the... Read more →


Starting 1 January 2020, the Volkswagen Group’s Car.Software organization will operate as an independent business unit. As a Group company, the Car.Software organization will centralize the associates and subsidiaries within the Group that develop car software and software for the digital ecosystems. Initially, around 3,000 digital experts from the software-related... Read more →


CEC funds $11M project to fast-track commercialization of clean energy technologies: CalTestBed

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has launched a new funded program to help speed the commercialization of clean energy technologies. The California Test Bed (CalTestBed) initiative is designed to reduce the stumbling blocks of time, cost, and bureaucracy most entrepreneurs face when trying to bring breakthrough concepts to market. The... Read more →


California prohibits state purchase of ICE sedans, effective now; to stop buying from GM, Toyota, FCA and others over emissions fight

On Friday, the California Department of General Services (DGS) that, effective immediately, it is prohibiting purchasing by state agencies of any sedans solely powered by an internal combustion engine, with exemptions for certain public safety vehicles. A second policy, currently being developed by DGS, will require state agencies, starting on... Read more →


The number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) often mirrors changes in the price of gasoline, according to data presented bybthe US Department of Energy (DOE). The figure below shows the percentage change in gasoline prices and VMT from one year to the next (e.g., January 2009 data were compared with... Read more →