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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (10/15/06)
Mike Millikin, 14 Oct 06


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released a new study that concludes global carbon dioxide emissions could double by 2050 given a business-as-usual (BAU) approach combined with the rapid economic growth of emerging countries such as China and India and continued more moderate growth in today’s advanced economies. The only scenario of the six considered in the report that led to stabilized CO2 concentrations by 2050 incorporated possible emission reductions due to a greener fuel mix, annual energy efficiency gains over and above the historic trend, and widespread use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. (More...)

Speaking at the Latsis Symposium "Research Frontiers in Energy Science and Technology” at the Swiss Federal institute of Technology in Zürich, Didier Stevens, who manages government affairs for Toyota of Europe, noted that given the anticipated worldwide demand for increased vehicle production, it is quite possible that even in a best-case scenario—one in which clean technologies and efficient transportation strategies are rapidly adopted by all countries—accelerated economic growth and subsequent vehicle production may dash all hopes that Toyota (or any other vehicle manufacturer) currently has of even stabilizing its overall greenhouse gas emissions within the next few decades, much less reducing it. (More...)

In a speech to the Renewable Energy Conference co-sponsored by the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, President Bush said that Americans have to change their energy habits “if we want to remain the economic leader of the world” and that he worried that the current drop in gasoline prices would blunt the desire for alternatives. (More...)

US consumer searches for fuel-efficient vehicles have started to decline. According to the most recent Consumer Search Index report, cars such as the Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris and Honda Insight top the list of new and used vehicles with the largest decline in search volume over the past month. While searches for fuel-efficient vehicles have declined, searches for large luxury SUVs have increased significantly. (More...)

In the current release of its Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the US Energy Information Administration projects an increase in US demand for oil of 1.7% in 2007 (350,000 barrels per day), to 20.96 million barrels per day. (More...)


AutoNation, Inc., the US’ largest automotive retailer, has joined the Plug-In Partners campaign calling on automakers to manufacture plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. (More...)

ABQ Ride, the Albuquerque, New Mexico transit agency, will add 35 new 40-foot hybrid-electric buses to the city fleet in 2007. ABQ Ride will also purchase six hybrids for the Rapid Ride routes. The additional 41 hybrids will bring the total in the ABQ Ride fleet to 53, representing 36% of the 148-vehicle fleet. (More...)

Enova Systems, developer of drive systems and related components for electric, hybrid-electric, and fuel-cell-powered vehicles for original and retrofit applications, warned today that slow orders and delivery delays will have a substantial impact on its anticipated revenues for 2006. (More...)


Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) has unveiled a new, single-motor research electric car based on its i minicar. The new Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (i MiEV) will be used for joint research programs with Japanese power companies beginning this year, and in fleet tests in 2007. Mitsubishi had earlier planned to begin selling electric cars in Japan in 2010. (More...)

Chinese carmaker CMEC has announced a two-seater all-electric vehicle with a 100km (62 mile) range, designed for export to the European market that looks virtually identical to the current smart fortwo. (More...)


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it will provide $12 million in funding for several major advanced fuel-cell bus projects to CALSTART, the California operating division of WestStart-CALSTART. The projects will advance fuel-cell activities across California—in Oakland, San Francisco, the Coachella Valley and Southern California. (More...)

Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH (PM) recently delivered one of its first fuel-cell hybrid buses to the City of Barth, Germany (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). (More...)

Ballard Power Systems has signed a follow-on supply agreement with General Hydrogen Corporation for 2,900 Mark 9 SSL fuel cells valued at approximately US$22 Million. These fuel cells are for integration into General Hydrogen’s Hydricity packs that are being sold to customers converting from conventional lead-acid batteries in their materials-handling fleets. (More...)

The Linde Group—the new name for the combined Linde AG and BOC Group plc—has officially inaugurated the Linde Hydrogen Center in Lohhof near Munich, Germany. The €3-million (US$3.8-million) center combines the functions of a hydrogen filling station with those of a technology test center, a training center and a presentation platform. (More...)

The London Hydrogen Partnership has released a report that concludes it is theoretically possible for the city of London to generate 141 tonnes of hydrogen per day from waste, using both gasification/pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion of all municipal and commercial waste. Of that 141 tonnes, 68 tonnes could come from just municipal waste—conceivably under the control of a single waste authority. The daily 141 tonnes could potentially fuel a fleet of 13,750 fuel-cell hybrid and hydrogen hybrid internal combustion engine buses. (More...)


The US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Energy (DOE) are allocating nearly $17.5 million to 17 biomass research, development and demonstration projects. DOE funds go to three projects developing cellulosic biomass. USDA will provide funding to address such topics as feedstock production and product diversification. (More...)

The two departments also announced $4 million for biomass genomics research for the development of bio-based fuels. (More...)

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $1.6 million for the sequencing the DNA of six related strains of Cyanothece photosynthetic bacteria that biologists at Washington University in St. Louis will examine for their potential as sources of biofuel—especially ethanol. (More...)

Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc., a privately-held company applying advances in synthetic biology to produce high-value pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and biofuels, has raised $20 million in a first round of venture funding. Amyris Biotechnologies uses synthetic biology techniques to create new metabolic pathways in industrial microbes to produce novel or rare chemicals. Amyris’ primary project to date has focused on the use of synthetic biology to address supply and cost constraints limiting the use of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin. With the new funding, Amyris will work on producing biofuel molecules—ethanol, butanol, or other hydrocarbons. (More...)

Senators Tom Harkin (D, IA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) have introduced a bill (S. 4003) that would direct the Department of Energy to study the feasibility of constructing one or more dedicated ethanol pipelines for distribution of the fuel from the Midwest to the East and West. (More...)

The city of Oneonta, New York (in the central part of the state, population approximately 14,000) has switched most of its diesel fleet—including 14 transit buses and nearly all of the fire department’s trucks and ambulances—to B20 biodiesel. (More...)

DaimlerChrysler will begin delivering each new 2007 Dodge Ram diesel pickup truck to owners fueled with B5 soybean biodiesel. (More...)

Chevron Energy Solutions (CES), a Chevron subsidiary that develops energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, will conduct preliminary work to prepare a proposal for the development of efficient ethanol production plants for Ethanex Energy. (More...)

In a speech to the USDA/DOE Renewable Energy Conference, Red Cavaney, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), argued for wider use of ethanol at lower blends of up to E10, rather than localized use of E85 in flex-fuel vehicles. (More...)

Total has opened its first flex-fuel E85 pump in Paris in the service station at Porte d’Orléans. Total has already identified 70 points of sale in its network suitable for E85 distribution; it plans to find at least an additional 130 more to bring its total E85 stations to 200 throughout France. (More...)

In a speech to an agricultural conference, French President Jacques Chirac asserted the important role of non-food agriculture for France and Europe, and called for the immediate launching of two pilot projects to develop second-generation biofuels. Second-generation biofuels include cellulosic ethanol and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) Fischer-Tropsch synthetics. (More...)

VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has launched a gasification test plant project designed for the development of second-generation transport biofuels as well as power-generation applications (gas turbine and fuel cell power plants), and the generation of hydrogen for transportation. (More...)

Austrian biofuel company Biolux Biofuels has begun construction on a wholly-owned biodiesel plant in Nantong City in east China’s Jiangsu Province. The €120-million project—the largest Austrian agrarian investment yet in China—will have an annual capacity of 300,000 tonnes (90.6 million gallons US) of biodiesel produced from 800,000 tonnes of rapeseed. (More...)


Statoil, together with PetroSA (formerly Mossgas) and Lurgi, has successfully demonstrated its gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology for the production of synthetic fuels and chemicals. The three partners formed GTL.F1 last year, a company that will scale up and commercialize the GTL technology. (More...)


Cummins has selected its Columbus (Indiana) Engine Plant (CEP) as the production facility for its new family of light-duty, clean-diesel engines, which the company plans to begin manufacturing by no later than 2010. DaimlerChrysler will be the major customer for the engine, which will be designed to power vehicles below 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight for a number of automotive applications. (More...)

Cummins also entered into a long-term agreement with Corning for the supply of Corning emissions-control products. This multi-year agreement will help Cummins meet EPA 2007 regulations which take effect Jan. 1, 2007. (More...)

Volkswagen and its premium Audi unit, BMW and DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes-Benz will all reportedly use the BLUETEC system developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch to meet US Tier 2 Bin 5 requirements for diesel light-duty vehicles starting in 2008. (More...)


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October 16, 2006
COMMUTING IN AMERICA....Via James Joyner, it appears that the Transportation Research Board has released its third study on commuting patterns and trends. As you can see in the chart below, the main finding is pretty stark: the number of workers has increased by 31 million since 1980 while the number of workers who drive alone to work has increased by 34 million. Despite the population increase, carpooling is down (except in the West), transit use is down (except in the West), walking is down, and motorcycle use is down. The only bright spot is an increase in people like me, who work from home.

The author of the report also produced a "top ten" list of commuting tidbits. Here are the top five:

Sharp increases in proportion of workers traveling more than 60 and even more than 90 minutes to work.

Rise of the “donut” metro; big work flows in to and out to the suburbs.

Continued, pervasive, and substantial increases in working at home.

Significant increases in percentage of workers leaving for work before 6 am.

Dramatic increases in those workers leaving their home county to work.

Why are more people leaving for work before 6 am? The increase seems to be way out of proportion to the average growth in commuting time, which has risen only four minutes in the past 20 years.

Posted by: gmoke on 16 Oct 06



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