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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (9/3/06)
Mike Millikin, 3 Sep 06

525056_44934252.jpg Mike Millikin covers the ongoing evolution of sustainable mobility at Green Car Congress.

The California Assembly passed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 that is intended to bring statewide emissions of greenhouse gases back down to 1990 levels by 2020—an estimated cut of 25%. (More...)

A group of climate scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany has used data from the last great Ice Age to conclude that a doubling of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere would cause a global temperature increase of around 3°C. This is in line with previous estimates using other methods, mainly computer models. (More...)

Online travel services Travelocity and Expedia both have begun allowing customers to purchase carbon offsets when they buy travel. Airline travel currently accounts for about 13% of U.S.-transportation-based emissions of carbon dioxide. (Earlier post.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from new cars sold in the EU-15 dropped in 2004 to an average 12.4% below 1995ís level, according to the European Commissionís annual report on CO2 emissions from new cars. In 2003, average new car CO2 emissions were 11.8% below 1995. Commissioners welcomed the report, but noted that the auto industry will need to make major additional efforts to meet its commitments to cut average CO2 emissions to 140g/km by 2008/9, a reduction of around 25% from 1995 levels. (More...)

US Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) called for a set of immediate actions to address US transportation energy vulnerability, including flex-fuel capability in all new light-duty vehicles, accelerated investment in cellulosic ethanol and the institution of more aggressive fuel economy standards. (More...)

LIGHT-DUTY HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is sending an invitation in September bills to its 5.1 million customers to sign the Plug-in Partners online petition to encourage automakers to develop and to deploy plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). (More...)

HEAVY-DUTY HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Lines) and TCM Corporation are testing the use of a hybrid-electric transfer crane that has been jointly developed by the two companies. A transfer crane loads and unloads containers in container terminal yards in ports. Diesel engines typically provide the power for moving the cranes and loading/unloading the shipping containers. (More...)

BATTERIES and ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Researchers at the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) in Japan have devised a new type of cathode that improves the performance of lithium-ion batteries that use an ionic liquid as the electrolyte. (More...)

Researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have devised a new approach to synthesize an electrode material for lithium-ion batteries that provides superior power and charge retention. (More...)

BIOFUELS

US ethanol production—the vast majority from corn—increased in June to 318,000 barrels per day (bpd), an increase of nearly 28% from June 2005 and an all-time record, according to statistics released by the Renewable Fuels Association. Demand for ethanol also rose to record levels in June at 395,000 bpd. That represents a 46,000 bpd jump from May and an increase of more than 42% from the same period a year ago. Imports and stock draw downs made up the gap. The US consumed 283 million barrels of gasoline in June 2006—0.6% more than in June 2005—or 9.4 million barrels per day. (More...)

Mascoma Corporation, a new cellulosic ethanol company founded by researchers at Dartmouth, has brought on a former SunOpta executive as the companyís Chief Technology Officer. (More...)

BlueFire Ethanol has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Petro-Diamond, Inc. for that companyís purchase of the ethanol produced from BlueFireís first North American Biomass-to-Ethanol conversion facility located at a Southern California landfill. (More...)

DuPont and Bunge have expanded their three-year soy collaboration beyond food and nutrition products to include biofuels, industrial applications and other opportunities. (More...)

Researchers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have discovered that cellulose undergoes a transformation from a crystalline form to an amorphous gel-like one—very similar to a starch gel&mdasg;in water at high temperature (320°C) and pressure 25 (MPa). Gelatinization is a key step in the conversion of starch to glucose, which is then fermented to create ethanol. (More...)

China has joined Malaysia in a bilateral research and development partnership to further develop biofuel and biomass production technologies. (More...)

HYDROGEN

Honda has extended the driving range on its FCX fuel-cell vehicle to 210 miles by upgrading the refueling software. The unmodified 2006 FCX offered a range of 190 miles. (More...)

The Greater Hartford (Connecticut) Transit District has contracted with UTC Power of South Windsor, Conn., for the company and its partners to provide a 40-foot hybrid-electric fuel-cell-powered transit bus that will be used in revenue service. (More...)

Hy-Drive Technologies has entered into a definitive marketing, distribution and manufacturing agreement with Canadian-based Mining Technologies International Inc. (MTI) for use of Hy-Drive on-board Hydrogen Generating System (HGS) in below- and aboveground mining equipment. (More...)

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have conducted successful test flights of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a 22-foot wingspan powered by a 500-watt fuel cell. (More...)

Boeing reportedly hopes its light-aircraft prototype powered by a hydrogen fuel cell will make its maiden flight within the next 12 months. (More...)

Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) and Indiaís Grasim Industries Ltd. have signed a joint technology and marketing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bring HECís hydrogen engine technology (earlier post) to the chemical industry. (More...)

FuelCell Energy announced an advanced fuel-cell stack design that boosts the power output of its stationary Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants by 20%. The company is incorporating the enhancement across its entire line of power plants. (More...)

Air Liquide’s hydrogen business in the US doubled between 2000 and 2004 and has doubled again from 2004 to the present due to US refinersí increasing reliance on heavier crudes and the need to comply with new regulations such as the mandated switch to Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel. (More...)

NATURAL GAS

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel Station at Ontario International Airport (ONT). The public will also have access to the on-airport station which will be close to local streets, highways and freeways, and open 24 hours a day. (More...)

Tampa, Florida-based US Energy Initiatives Corporation announced final delivery in Thailand of its dual-fuel conversion system for use in the General Motors Thailand (GMTH) Colorado Pickup. US Energy is an ISO-9001 certified manufacturer of a patented dual-fuel diesel-to-natural gas conversion technology: the Hybrid Fuel System (HFS). (More...)

Within five to six years, 20% of government-owned vehicles and taxis in Abu Dhabi—one of the emirates of the UAE—will be running on compressed natural gas, according to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). (More...)

OTHER

Changes to the engine management software along with new low-rolling resistance tires have netted a 3-mpg increase (7%) in highway mileage for the 2007 Ford Focus 2.0-liter with a manual transmission. (More...)

Researchers at the University of Texas have developed an on-board device that dramatically reduces start-up emissions of unburned hydrocarbons. The on-board distillation system (OBDS) extracts high-volatility components from gasoline and stores them for exclusive during start-up and warming. (More...)

Los Alamos National Laboratory has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with PerriQuest Defense Research Enterprises, LLC to advance Plasma-Assisted Combustion for commercial refinement and implementation. The technology enables the development of cleaner-burning or more fuel-efficient engines. (More...)

Siemens VDO engineers are working on plans to integrate the motor, steering, shock absorbers and brakes directly into the wheels of future cars. The eCorner concept replaces the conventional wheel suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers; mechanical steering; hydraulic brakes; and internal combustion engines with integrated in-wheel systems. Siemens VDO says that although it will naturally continue to invest in optimization of conventional internal combustion engines in an effort to completely exhaust their potential, its focus for the future is on these in-wheel systems. (More...)

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