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The Week in Sustainable Transportation (01/22/06)
Mike Millikin, 22 Jan 06

eurowaterways.jpgMike Millikin covers the continuing evolution of personal transportation at Green Car Congress.

New York Governor George Pataki unveiled a multi-faceted budget plan to encourage the production and use of renewable fuels in New York, promote the expanded use of hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles, and promote the development of plug-in hybrids. (GCC.)

Speaking in Detroit, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger called for the government to provide economic incentives for the production of flexible-fuel, hybrid, clean diesel, and other advanced-technology vehicles and parts in the United States. Gettelfinger proposed that assistance provided to the auto companies -- whether through the existing corporate tax rate reduction or the alternative of health care relief -- be expressly tied to the company's investment in the domestic production of flex-fuel and advanced technology vehicles and their key components.(GCC.)

The European Commission has proposed a seven-year plan to shift a greater percentage of freight traffic off the highways and onto the inland waterways in Europe. (GCC.)

Global demand for oil will increase by 2.2% in 2006, up from last year's increase of 1.3%, according to the International Energy Agency. The agency estimates that demand, driven by increasing consumption in China and the US, will average 85.1 million barrels per day, up from an average 83.3 mbpd in 2005. Demand in the US hit an all-time monthly high of 21.9 mbpd in December, growing by 1.7% compared with the same month in 2004. (GCC.)

The latest report on greenhouse gas emissions from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows a 2.0% increase in 2004 to 7,122.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from 2003's 6,983.2 MMTCO2e . Greenhouse emissions grew slower than the economy, hence the U.S. greenhouse gas intensity—the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of economic output—decreased by 2.1% in 2004. Transportation emissions of CO2 climbed 3.1% from 2003 to 2004, and account for the largest percentage of carbon dioxide emissions (32.4%). Almost all (98%) of transportation sector carbon dioxide emissions result from the consumption of petroleum products. (GCC.)

Statistics from the China Automotive Industry Association (CAIA) indicate that China has surpassed Japan as the second-largest auto market in the world, behind the US. (GCC.)


Toyota expects its sales of hybrids in the US to grow about 50% to around 225,000 units,with a hefty portion of that increase likely going to the new Camry Hybrid. Toyota anticipates total sales in the US to climb 5% to 10% from the 2.26 million units this year. Hybrids, in other words, will represent a bit less than 10% of sales. (GCC.)

In Japan, Toyota launched the completely redesigned Estima minivan. A new hybrid version will follow later this year. Toyota introduced a hybrid version of the Estima in 2001 (only in Japan), and has sold about 27,000 of them, making it the second-highest selling hybrid in Toyotaís lineup as of November of 2005. (GCC.)

A San Diego startup, Accelerated Composites, has designed and is building a two-seat, three-wheel diesel parallel hybrid—the Aptera—to achieve up to 330 MPG and sell for less than $20,000. (GCC.)

A hybrid bus purchasing consortium consisting of 11 transit agencies in California, Nevada and New Mexico has awarded a contract to Gillig Corp. for the purchase of up to 157 diesel-electric hybrid buses powered by GM's hybrid powertrain. (GCC.)

The Corpus Christi, Texas City Council approved a resolution directing the City manager to develop a program to encourage the future purchase of plug-in hybrids for the City fleet. (GCC.)


DaimlerChrysler has approved the use of B20 (20% biodiesel) in Dodge Ram pickup trucks, effective with the 2007 Model Year, and with the stipulation of the use of biodiesel fuel that meets the fuel specifications established by the US military. Initially, DaimlerChrysler is approving use of B20 in Dodge Ram pickups equipped with Cummins diesel engines for its military, government and commercial fleet customers only. (GCC.)

The Brazilian Ministry for Science and Technology has awarded Bosch its innovation prize for the Flex-Fuel engine management system. The "Technological Innovation Finep Award" was presented in the country's capital, Brasilia. (GCC.)

During the 80th International Green Week (Gröne Woche) event in Berlin, Volkswagen pushed for the development of a European E10 (10% ethanol) standard for gasoline. The current European fuel standard DIN EN 228 specifies 15% ETBE (ethyl tertiary butyl ether), or 5% ethanol by volume. The objectives of the EU biofuel directive for 2010, however, require a higher proportion of up to roughly 9% ethanol by volume in gasoline. Volkswagen is therefore actively supporting the drafting of a suitable European standard for the future E10 fuel. (GCC.)

CITGO Petroleum Corporation has taken the lead in adopting a new industry-wide specification applied to ethanol designated for blending with gasoline. The new limit would place the maximum level of sulfates in ethanol at 4 parts per million (PPM). The proposed standard was approved last December by the Gasoline Subcommittee of ASTM International, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials. (GCC.)

Renessen LLC, a biotech joint venture between Cargill and Monsanto, has announced plans for a pilot plant to test a new technology system in which new biotech corn hybrids with increased energy and nutrient levels will be combined with a novel dry corn separation technique designed for ethanol facilities. (GCC.)

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy will share resources and coordinate the study of plant and microbial genomics, and the Department of Energy will tackle the sequencing of the soybean genome as the first project resulting from the agreement. Soybean is of particular interest to DOE because it is the principal source of biodiesel in the US. (GCC.)


Degussa AG, a global leader in the field of specialty chemicals, is starting additional electrode production for large-volume lithium-ion batteries at the Li-Tech GmbH (SK Group) site in Kamenz/Dresden. The German site will target large-volume energy storage applicationsósuch as batteries for hybrid vehicles. (GCC.)

Firefly Energy has received a US patent for a new carbon-foam lead-acid battery technology that it believes has the potential to revolutionize the existing global lead-acid battery market as well as serve applications such as hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Firefly contends it can deliver lead-acid battery performance comparable to NiMH, but at about one-fifth the cost, and with greatly reduced weight compared to traditional lead-acid batteries. (GCC.)


Safe Hydrogen has been awarded $308,000 from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust SEED Program (Sustainable Energy Economic Development) to complete a three-year, $2.4-million DOE project designed to determine the functionality, cost and efficiency of Safe Hydrogen's pumpable hydride slurry. Safe Hydrogen has developed a pumpable magnesium-hydride-based fuel for vehicles that releases hydrogen as needed. (GCC.)

Hydrogen Engine Center is providing hydrogen-fueled remanufactured internal combustion engines to the industrial (e.g., ground support equipment) and power generation engine market. (GCC.)

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) is being awarded a patent on its new hydrogen dispenser control technology that provides dispenser control techniques to maximize the fill-up of hydrogen gas. (GCC.)

The South Carolina Department of Commerce introduced the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, a statewide initiative designed to promote the development and use of quality, cost effective and accessible hydrogen, fuel cells and related technologies. (GCC.)


GM is introducing the Chevrolet Captiva, its first diesel-powered compact SUV (earlier post), at the Geneva motor show in March with the first application of its new 2.0-liter turbo diesel delivering 150 hp and estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg US. (GCC.)


Velocys, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute, is receiving an additional $1m in funding from the Defense Department (DoD) for further work on compact Fischer-Tropsch reactors that could enable the production of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) synthetic fuels near the point of use. (GCC.)

DKRW has selected Rentech as its Fischer-Tropsch (FT) coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology provider for the integrated power and coal-to-liquids (CTL) project in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The first phase of the project is being designed to produce 10,000 bpd of CTL fuels from Carbon Basin coal and 200 MW of co-produced electric power. Ultimately, MBF&P intends to expand the CTL production capacity of the plant to a total of 40,000 bpd. (GCC.)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that eight proposals for oil-shale research development and demonstration (RD&D) leases filed by six companies have been deemed eligible for continued consideration. (GCC.)

Public meetings to obtain comments for the programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) required to support commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing on federal lands in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming have been the forum for the raising of a number of concerns, notably the large requirement for production water. (GCC.)


The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has approved an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will outline the most environmentally stringent lease agreement yet executed between a US port and a major shipping line. A ground-breaking component of the agreement is a requirement for lower-sulfur fuels in calling vessels' main and auxiliary engines. (GCC.)

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded a cost-shared contract to Shurepower, LLC for the installation and operation of electrified loading docks and parking spaces for heavy-duty diesel trucks and refrigerated trailers. With co-funding from the US EPA, this project seeks to demonstrate and to document the ability of electric-powered Trailer Refrigeration Units (TRUs, or "reefer units") to reduce air pollution, noise, and diesel fuel use. (GCC.)

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We also need 'clean communities.' My communities in Chicago are all landlocked with no parks in between so people are not encouracged to walk or meet their neigherbors and it's too trafficy with too many dogs

Posted by: Mark on 23 Jan 06

please allow us to enhance the reduction of GHG using our technoology as a requiste to fuel cell this JETSTAR product is enhancement to building hydrogen power as you drive therefore not storing hydrogen instead using it to the maximum burn rate. It is like having a gas pump on the back of your truck only using distilled water in this case!


Posted by: terren correia on 26 Jan 06

I am new to the WorldChanging blog and to this 'Week in Sustainable Transportation' column. Looks like a wonderful and encouraging resource. Many thanks.

I see that the column changed name a few months back from 'Week in Sustainable Vehicles'. That seems a great move. Sustainable vehicles are only a small part of the picture.

I would encourage the shift in emphasis that the name change suggests you are making. I would love to see a lot more on the wider policy issues in sustainable transportation, beyond the narrow focus on vehicles and fuels.

By the way, a recent academic article (with a focus on developing nations) offers some new evidence on the relatively poor cost-effectiveness of a fuels focus for CO2 reductions. It argues that efforts to achieve mode shifts are far more cost effective. See Lloyd Wright and Lewis Fulton (2005) “Climate Change Mitigation and Transport in Developing Nations,” Transport Reviews 25, 6, 691–717 (available via

Please keep up the great work. I don't mean this comment to be discouraging.

Posted by: Paul on 26 Jan 06

Nice info, very interesting. Thnx!

Posted by: Nio on 28 Jan 06



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