Michael Millikin edits Green Car Congress, the best site on the web for news about emerging green vehicle technologies. He writes a weekly wrap-up for Sustainability Sundays. Take it away, Mike:
The California Cars Initiative, the non-profit organization behind the Plug-in Prius, announced that it will be working with William McDonough to integrate Cradle-to-Cradle approaches in its future technology development work. (GCC)
In a speech to Ford employees, Ford CEO Bill Ford Jr. vowed a major push in hybrids, targeting a production capability of at least 250,000 hybrids per year by 2010, and stated that more than half of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products will have hybrid capability by then. (GCC)
DaimlerChrysler is holding talks with other automakers and suppliers to find partners for its work on mild hybrids. The automaker introduced two mild hybrid prototypes at the Frankfurt IAA: a gasoline direct injection mild hybrid, and a diesel mild hybrid augmented with SCR emissions reduction. The mild hybrid project would be separate from DaimlerChrysler's alliance with GM and BMW on the development of the full two-mode hybrid system, and could lead to production versions of both gasoline and diesel vehicles. (GCC)
China's Dongfeng Electric Vehicle Company, a joint venture company of Dongfeng Automotive, showed off two hybrid prototypes nearing production and introduction to China's market: a hybrid bus and a hybrid sedan. (GCC).
Carlos Ghosn, joint chief executive of Nissan and Renault, continues to describe gasoline-electric hybrids as a "terrible business prospect." He made his latest remarks during an update for the media on the status of Nissan's business plan. Although Nissan plans to introduce a hybrid version of its Altima based on Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive next year, Ghosn is a skeptic and views the Altima hybrid as a niche solution for specific markets. (GCC)
Sanyo Electric plans to raise monthly production of NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles from the current 1 million units to up to 2.5 million by the end of fiscal 2005. (Each hybrid battery pack can contain hundreds of batteries; the Ford Escape hybrid battery uses 250 cells, for example.) (GCC)
On the mass transit front, newly completed research conducted by the University of Connecticut finds that particle emissions from two GM parallel hybrid diesel-electric buses purchased by CTTransit and emissions from two comparable CTTransit diesel buses were statistically identical. The research also found that fuel economy for the hybrids was only some 10%-15% better, compared to the claims of up to 50% improvement from the manufacturer. (GCC)
Washington Metro, however, is opting for the GM route, ordering a total of 50 GM diesel hybrid buses made by New Flyer. (GCC)
LA Metro is buying 200 new buses, six of them gasoline-electric series hybrids, manufactured by new Flyer and using the ISE Thundervolt hybrid powertrain. (GCC)
TransLink, the transit agency for the greater Vancouver, British Columbia area, is running a set of concurrent tests with hybrid, CNG and B20 biodiesel buses to determine the most suitable and cost-effective technology for the region. (GCC)
Ford Motor Company is delivering five hydrogen hybrid Ford Focus Fuel Cell vehicles as part of a five-city 30 car-program for testing of fuel-cell technology. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will get three vehicles and Progress Energy will receive the other two. (GCC)
Toyota Motor is putting US$2 million into research with Savannah River National Laboratory (South Carolina) to develop a lighter-weight and cost-effective hydrogen fuel storage system for future hydrogen-powered automobiles. (GCC)
Ballard Power Systems, the biggest maker of automotive fuel cells, is seeking investment from China as it tries to break into the China market. (GCC)
Engineuity, an Israeli startup, is working on a technology for on-board hydrogen production for use with a modified internal combustion engine. The technology is based on a high-temperature process causing a light metal wire (e.g., aluminum or magnesium) to react with water, producing a hydrogen/steam stream. The hydrogen/steam mixture entering the engine is oxidized by air, thereby using both the chemical energy stored in the hydrogen and the thermal energy produced by the reaction. (GCC).
In the same speech in which he announced a tenfold increase in hybrids production (above) Bill Ford Jr. also announced that the company will offer new Flex-Fuel versions of the F-150, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Town Car in 2006 for a total production of some 280,000 E85-capable vehicles next year. (GCC)
Panda Energy will build a $120-million, 100-million gallon ethanol plant in Haskell County, Kansas, fueled by renewable biogas generated from cattle manure. This is the third such plant Panda has announced this year. (GCC)
Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) plans to expand its ethanol capacity by 500 million gallons per year through the construction of two new dry corn milling facilities. ADM is by far the largest producer of ethanol in the US, with current capacity of 1,070 million gallons per year—some 26% of current total national capacity according to figures from the Renewable Fuels Association. With the newly announced expansions, ADM will increase its capacity by 50%. (GCC)
Thai Oil, the leading petroleum refinery in Thailand, is in the planing stages for an ethanol plant that would produce the fuel from cassavas. Production capacity for the plant will range between 1-2 million liters per day (264-528 thousand gallons US). Correspondingly, costs will range from US$150-250 million. (GCC)
UK-Based D1 Oils will open its first Indian biodiesel refinery in Chennai early next year. (GCC)
Business interest in synthetic fuels and unconventional oil recovery (oil sands, oil shale) is surging.
Rentech, Inc., the developer and licensor of a proprietary Fischer-Tropsch process, closed an offering 13,436,000 shares of its common stock at a price of $2.30 per share for net proceeds of $30,902,800. The company intends to use the proceeds to continue to move forward with its domestic commercialization efforts on its six announced Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) opportunities as well as to fund its general operations. (GCC)
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is continuing his campaign for the development of a coal-to-liquids industry - using Montana coal - with the convening of an energy futures symposium next month in Bozeman, Montana. (GCC)
Headwaters Technology Innovation Group (HTIG), a subsidiary of Headwaters, Inc., has delivered a feasibility study to Philippine President Gloria Arroyo that concludes that a proposed hybrid coal-to-liquids project for the Philippines is both technically and economically feasible.
The hybrid plant consists of a direct coal liquefaction unit (DCL), an indirect coal liquefaction unit (coal gasification and syngas cleaning unit plus a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis unit) and a power block. Its output of 60,000 barrels per day of synthetic fuel would meet 15% of the Philippine’s transportation fuel needs. (GCC)
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has received 19 applications for parcels of public land to be leased in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for research development and demonstration projects in oil shale production.
Among the companies that have applied are Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, EGL Resources Inc., Independent Energy Partners, Kennecott Exploration Co., Natural Soda Inc. and Phoenix Wyoming Inc. The last oil shale boom in the late 1970s ended in a bust in 1982, when Exxon shut down its Colorado operations. (GCC)
Chattanooga Corp successfully tested its upgrading process (the Chattanooga Dry Process) to convert oil shale and oil sand to high-grade, low-sulfur, synthetic crude oil on Colorado oil shale. A major focus of the company earlier had been oil sands production in Canada.
Upgrading is a key step in the converting the bitumen in oil sands or the kerogen in oil shale (as well as in the processing of very heavy crude oils) into useful, lighter-grade synthetic oil. The Chattanooga process is designed with a number of benefits in mind: greater process efficiency, the emission of fewer greenhouse gases, elimination of water pollution and greatly reduced water usage, among others. (GCC)
The Orange County (CA) Transportation Authority (OCTA) has ordered 50 compressed natural gas (CNG), 40-foot buses from New Flyer to be delivered in 2006, with options for 150 buses in 2007 and 177 buses in 2009. (GCC)
British engineers have developed a simple mechanism for recovering energy from engine exhaust gases that could potentially reduce vehicle fuel consumption by up to 10%. The TIGERS—Turbo-generator Integrated Gas Energy Recovery System—consortium (a Foresight vehicle project) diverts exhaust gases to drive a small switched reluctance generator to create enough electricity to power a car's electrical system. (GCC)
wish we humans work on
1. GM crops to produce more Ethonol and Bio diesel (jetropha or algae)
2. hybrids using diesel. if disel is less polluting why hybrids should be only petrol based?
3. more flxifuel vehicles