A team led by Kanazawa University in Japan has developed a cleaner method for the recycling of several rare earths (REs) such as yttrium (Y) and europium (Eu) used as phosphors in fluorescent lamps (FLs). End-of-life FLs are a potentially huge source of REs, but harsh and polluting processes are... Read more →


Audi and Umicore developing closed-loop recycling for high-voltage batteries; 95%+ recovery of key elements

Audi and Umicore have successfully completed phase one of their strategic research cooperation for battery recycling. The two partners are developing a closed loop for components of high-voltage batteries that can be used again and again. Particularly valuable materials are set to become available in a raw materials bank. Even... Read more →


BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore partner to develop sustainable life-cycle loop for EV batteries in Europe

The BMW Group, Northvolt and Umicore have formed a joint technology consortium in order to work closely together on the continued development of a complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for electrified vehicles in Europe. The chief objective is to make battery cells sustainable by establishing a closed... Read more →


Audi is the first automobile manufacturer worldwide to receive a certificate from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). With the Performance Standard certification, the ASI confirms that Audi meets the ASI requirements for industrial users of aluminum and sustainably designs and manufactures the aluminum components of the battery housing of the... Read more →


The Volkswagen brand has introduced a new production strategy—TRANSFORM.TOGETHER—which targets a 30% increase in productivity worldwide by 2025 compared to 2018. Production is therefore making a major contribution to achieving the profitability target of over 6% for the brand. We must invest heavily in our future. Electromobility, autonomous driving, new... Read more →


Audi is now the first premium manufacturer to produce automobiles completely free of wastewater. At its site in San José Chiapa, Mexico, the company is using a new water treatment process that collects 100 percent of the wastewater produced there, purifies it and feeds large volumes of clean water back... Read more →


Daimler joins multiple initiatives for a sustainable raw material supply chain; future focus on battery cell supply chain

Daimler has joined the Responsible Cobalt Initiative, the Responsible Mineral Initiative, the Responsible Steel Initiative and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative. Joining the four initiatives takes a product’s entire life cycle into account—from development, via procurement and production to recycling. As part of the offensive for a sustainable raw material supply... Read more →


West Virginia University (WVU) researchers are opening a new facility to capture rare earth elements (REEs) from acid mine drainage (AMD) from coal mining. Through a collaborative research and development program with the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), WVU is opening the Rare Earth Extraction... Read more →


Neste exploring ways to use waste plastic as a raw material for fuels and plastics

Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, is now exploring ways to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for fossil refining. The aim of the development project is to proceed to industrial scale trial during 2019. The company’s target is to process annually more than one... Read more →


Volvo Cars announced its ambition that from 2025, at least 25% of the plastics used in every newly launched Volvo car will be made from recycled material. Volvo Cars also urged auto industry suppliers to work more closely with car makers to develop next-generation components that are as sustainable as... Read more →


How many vehicles can the earth sustain?

by Michael Sivak. ​One of the hallmarks of the good life in developed countries is the freedom to move about as we choose in personal vehicles. However, as populous developing countries are gaining in economic power, people in those countries are asking for the same mobility that people in developed... Read more →


At the Movin’On 2018 mobility summit, Michelin announced its ambition that by 2048, all of its tires will be manufactured using 80% sustainable materials (recycled and renewable materials) and that 100% of all tires will be recycled. Today, the world-wide recovery rate for tires is 70%; of that 70%, some... Read more →


Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Germany to be supplied with CO2-neutral energy from 2022

In Germany, all Mercedes-Benz plants will be supplied with CO2-neutral energy. The preparations for exclusively green electricity for a climate-friendly production in Europe are already well advanced. From 2022, the production of our Mercedes-Benz plants in Germany will operate CO2-neutral. Thereby, we completely forego coal-based electricity and obtain our electrical... Read more →


U of I team uses frontal polymerization for rapid energy-efficient manufacturing of polymers; saving 10 orders of magnitude of energy

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new polymer-curing process that could reduce the cost, time and energy needed, compared with the current manufacturing process. The findings, reported in Nature, state that the new polymerization process uses 10 orders of magnitude less energy and can cut two orders... Read more →


In Japan, Aichi Prefecture, Chita City, Toyota City, Chubu Electric Power, Toho Gas, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Toyota Industries have launched the Chita City and Toyota City Renewable Energy-use Low-carbon Hydrogen Project. The project is a first step toward realizing the 2030 vision of a low-carbon hydrogen supply chain formulated... Read more →


Dürr is building a paint shop in Mexico for the BMW Group that meets the requirements for connected Industry 4.0 production. This plant, featuring the first integrated smart factory concept from Dürr, is being built at the San Luis Potosí site. San Luis Potosí will build the BMW brand’s best-selling... Read more →


Goodyear offered a preview during the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show of its EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology, a prototype tire for the growing electric vehicle market that will be on the road by 2019 in Europe. Goodyear testing reveals that traditional tires can wear out up to 30%... Read more →


Volkswagen Saxony plants purchasing renewable power

The Volkswagen brand is stepping up the use of renewable energy in production with a view to further reducing its environmental footprint. Starting this year, the three production plants of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH have been supplied with Volkswagen Naturstrom electric power from 100% renewable sources by VW Kraftwerk GmbH. This... Read more →


Scania invests $178M in new foundry; 50% cut in energy consumption through process improvements and heat recovery

Scania plans to invest about SEK 1.5 billion (US$178 million) in a new foundry in Södertälje, Sweden, in order to triple production capacity and achieve a 50% reduction in energy consumption compared to the technology and methods used in the current foundry. Through more efficient materials handling and recycling, a... Read more →


BMW Group adopts new approaches for a more sustainable battery cell supply chain; focus on cobalt

Cobalt is one of the key components in production of electrified vehicles and is used in significant quantities in high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The challenge facing companies that work with cobalt as a raw material is that risks related to environmental standards and human rights cannot... Read more →


Global Mobility Report finds world not on track to achieving sustainable mobility

The transport sector is not on track towards achieving sustainable mobility, according to the newly published Global Mobility Report 2017 (GMR). The GMR is the first study to assess the global performance of the transport sector and the progress made toward four main objectives: universal access, efficiency, safety, and green... Read more →


Ecoclean cuts BMW engine plant robot cell power and water consumption by ~30%

At the BWM Group’s engine plant in Steyr (Austria), in a reference project accompanied by the Technical University of Vienna, Ecoclean Monschau (formerly Dürr Ecoclean) has significantly raised the energy efficiency of a flexible EcoCFlex Classic robot cell that had been in service for several years. The system’s electric power... Read more →


Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have found that the air pollution and greenhouse gas costs of shipping crude by rail are nearly twice as large as those for oil pipelines. Further, their estimates of air pollution and greenhouse gas costs are much larger than estimates... Read more →


Asahi Glass (AGC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have jointly started development of a new glass structure they call the “Ceiling-mounted Double Skin System.” This glass unit is designed to enhance energy savings of buildings such as car showrooms, capable of being flexibly opened or closed in response to weather... Read more →


GLBRC research review concludes cellulosic biofuels can benefit the environment if managed correctly

Cellulosic biofuels could provide an environmentally sustainable way of meeting energy needs—but with a few important caveats, according to a new review of research by a team from the US Department of Energy-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). Their paper is published in the journal Science. Although not yet... Read more →


UPS commits to aggressive goals for more alternative vehicles, fuel and renewable power by 2025

UPS announced new sustainability goals to add more alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles to its fleet while increasing its reliance on renewable energy sources. The goals, available in the company’s 2016 Corporate Sustainability Report, support UPS’ commitment to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from global ground operations... Read more →


GAC Motor targeting 1M unit sales by 2020, 20% new energy vehicles; entering US market by 2019; transition to electric “may be quite long”

GAC Motor was one of the few automakers, and the only Chinese auto brand, to take the main stage at last week’s Michelin Movin’On 2017 global sustainable mobility summit in Montreal. During his talk, Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, said that his rapidly growing company is targeting sales of... Read more →


UBC engineers use fiber from recycled tires to develop more resilient concrete

University of British Columbia (UBC) engineers have used polymeric scrap tire fibers (STF) to develop a more resilient type of concrete that could be used for concrete structures such as buildings, roads, dams and bridges, while reducing landfill waste. The researchers experimented with different proportions of STF and other materials... Read more →


At Movin’On 2017, Michelin presented its new Vision concept tire. The concept tire—which combines the functions of wheel and tire—is airless, connected, rechargeable, customizable and organic, is both a wheel and a tire. Michelin Group Executive Vice President of Research and Development Terry Gettys said that the VISION concept is... Read more →


Volkswagen brand intends to almost halve environmental impact of production by 2025 vs. 2010 baseline

The Volkswagen brand has set itself new, ambitious targets for reducing the environmental impact of production. By 2025, vehicles and components are to be produced in a way which is 45% more environmentally compatible than in 2010, the reference year for the current Think Blue. Factory. environmental program. (Earlier post.)... Read more →


By Craig Widtfeldt, RoboVent The automotive industry has made tremendous progress towards greener, more sustainable manufacturing processes. But how green are robotic welding cells? Robotic welding, by its nature, produces large volumes of toxic fumes that are dangerous to both human health and the environment. Manufacturers engaged in robotic welding... Read more →


GM earns EPA ENERGY STAR Award for Environmental Leadership; energy use per vehicle in manufacturing down 10% YoY

General Motors earned a 2017 EPA ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence award for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. GM’s commitment to reducing energy intensity saved $73 million in energy costs last year and avoided 388,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, equivalent... Read more →


by Craig Widtfeldt, RoboVent The next generation of cars will be cleaner and greener than ever—but a lot of the manufacturing processes that go into them are still pretty dirty. From the frame to the muffler, automotive manufacturing still involves welding, cutting, grinding and machining. These processes can create problems... Read more →


Researchers at George Washington University led by Dr. Stuart Licht (earlier post) have developed a new process that transforms CO2 into a controlled selection of nanotubes (CNTs) via molten electrolysis; they call the process C2CNT (CO2 into carbon nanotubes). This synthesis consumes only CO2 and electricity, and is constrained only... Read more →


WHO attributes more than 1 in 4 deaths annually of children under 5 years to unhealthy environment

In 2015, 5.9 million children under age five died. The major causes of child deaths globally are pneumonia, prematurity, intrapartum-related complications, neonatal sepsis, congenital anomalies, diarrhea, injuries and malaria. Most of these diseases and conditions are at least partially caused by the environment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports. WHO... Read more →


DOE to award up to $1.2M to project converting wastewater solids to biogas and liquid fuels; hydrothermal processing

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) announced a pilot hydrothermal wastewater processing project has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive up to $1.2 million in federal funding. SoCalGas is part of a consortium conducting the pilot, which will be required to share the cost at a... Read more →


Honda establishes Marine Science Foundation

Inspired by the Japanese concept of sato-umi—the convergence of land and sea where human and marine life can harmoniously coexist—Honda has established the Honda Marine Science Foundation, a new initiative to address marine ecosystem restoration and the impact of humans and climate change on oceans and intertidal areas. Committed to... Read more →


In a review paper in the journal Nature Materials, Jean-Marie Tarascon (Professor at College de France and Director of RS2E, French Network on Electrochemical Energy Storage) and Clare Gray (Professor at the University of Cambridge), call for integrating the sustainability of battery materials into the R&D efforts to improve rechargeable... Read more →


Toyota to collaborate in research for the creation of H2-based society in the United Arab Emirates

Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to collaborate with Masdar, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Air Liquide, and Toyota distributor Al-Futtaim Motors in a joint research program to explore the potential of hydrogen energy use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the creation of a sustainable, low-carbon society. As... Read more →


U of Birmingham scientists launch project to tackle global clean cold challenge

Scientists from the University of Birmingham launched a major research project to investigate how “clean cold” could help to achieve almost all of the United Nations’ (UN) global Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 Global Goals include abolishing poverty and hunger; providing good healthcare and education; raising peoples’ quality of life;... Read more →


Coal-tar-based pavement sealant a major source of PAH contamination in Milwaukee streams

Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is the primary source of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to streambed sediments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a US Geological Survey and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District open-access study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Pavement sealant is a black, shiny liquid... Read more →


Saint Jean Carbon building a high performance lithium-ion battery with recycled/upcycled material

Saint Jean Carbon Inc., a carbon science company engaged in the design and build of energy storage carbon materials, and a battery manufacturing partner will build a high-powered full-scale lithium-ion battery with recycled/upcycled material from an electric car power pack and upcycled anode material from Saint Jean Carbon. Saint John... Read more →


Harvard study finds human health risks from Canadian hydroelectric projects

In a new study, Harvard University researchers found more than 90% of potential new Canadian hydroelectric projects are likely to increase concentrations of the neurotoxin methylmercury (MeHg) in food webs near indigenous communities. The research is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. The research forecasts potential human... Read more →


Roskill forecasts demand for neodymium for magnets to result in supply deficit; substitutions by 2021

In its new rare earths market report with forecasts out to 2026, Roskill, a leader in international metals and minerals research, observes that the permanent magnet and catalyst sectors will continue to provide the largest markets for rare earths in the next ten years to 2026. Catalysts will continue to... Read more →


Aqua Metals has produced the first AquaRefined lead at its AquaRefinery in McCarran, Nevada. AquaRefining is a water-based, room-temperature process that is the only clean lead recycling method for lead-acid batteries (LAB). (Earlier post.) Through its own on-site assay, Aqua Metals has verified that the lead produced in the AquaRefining... Read more →


Inaugural meeting of Volkswagen Sustainability Council; Group makes €20M available for projects

Recently appointed by The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Council, recently appointed and comprising nine members from several nations—including Margo Oge, former director of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Transportation Air Quality—set the agenda for its work at its inaugural meeting on Monday. The Council elected Georg Kell, Founding... Read more →


Audi has put a new topcoat paint shop into operation at its plant in Ingolstadt. The new paint shop incorporates technologies such as air recirculation, dry separation and exhaust air cleaning that enable a significant reduction in the use of resources. Heating energy and water consumption per car are reduced... Read more →


Cooper Tire and BRDI consortium partners report significant progress on grant to develop guayule polymer for tires

At its recent annual meeting in Albany, Calif., the public-private consortium behind the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) grant, “Securing the Future of Natural Rubber—an American Tire and Bioenergy Platform from Guayule,” reported several key advancements emerging from the group’s work over the past year. Cooper Tire & Rubber... Read more →


General Motors plans to generate or source all electrical power for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100% renewable energy—such as wind, sun and landfill gas—by 2050. This new renewable energy goal, along with the pursuit of electrified vehicles and efficient manufacturing, is part of the company’s overall approach... Read more →


In a milestone for the low-carbon fuel project, LanzaTech has produced 1,500 gallons of jet fuel from waste industrial gases from steel mills via a fermentation process for Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech have been working together on the project since 2011. HSBC joined the partnership in 2014. The... Read more →