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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (10/22/06)
Mike Millikin, 21 Oct 06

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For the first time, NASA scientists have analyzed data from direct, detailed satellite measurements to show that ice losses now far surpass ice gains in the shrinking Greenland ice sheet. The study appeared 19 Oct in Science Express, the advance edition of Science. (More...)

The European Commission has its Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which calls for actions to make energy appliances, buildings, transport and energy generation more efficient. The goal is a 20% savings in energy by 2020. (More...)

Vattenfall (Swedish energy company) CEO Lars Josefsson proposed a worldwide, adaptive carbon reduction burden-sharing framework to be implemented over the next 100 years, as part of a path towards a low carbon emitting society. Vattenfall is building a pilot coal-fired generation plant with carbon capture and storage in Germany. (More...)

Norway’s Ministry of the Environment has issued a carbon dioxide emission permit to Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA in conjunction with its planned co-generation plant in Mongstad, which will also entail the world's largest carbon capture and storage project yet. (More...)

New research commissioned by Shell Springboard concludes that the challenge of tackling climate change could create a market of up to £30 billion (US$56 billion) for British business over the next ten years. (More...)

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. George E. Pataki have agreed to explore ways to link California’s future greenhouse gas emission credit market and the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) upcoming market. (More...)

According to the just-released monthly statistical report from the American Petroleum Institute, refining activity in September set records for both gasoline and distillate production. For gasoline, output totaled 9.1 million barrels per day, the highest ever for the month of September and nearly 7% higher than the amount produced in September two years ago—the large jump due in part to depressed production following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Distillate (diesel) production averaged nearly 4.4 million barrels per day, the highest for any month ever. Utilization of refinery capacity averaged 93.0 percent, the highest for the month in three years.

This September's gasoline deliveries—a measure of demand—increased more than 4%. Taking out the impact of the hurricanes in 2005, September’s gasoline deliveries would have shown an increase of a little more than 2% from the prior year.

The API also noted that US petroleum imports (crude & products) in September 2006 increased 8% to 14.243 million barrels per day compared to 13.215 million barrels per day in September 2005. Total imports in September 2006 represented 69.2% of total domestic petroleum deliveries.

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Odyne Corporation, a Long Island (NY)-based designer and manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty plug-in hybrid electric propulsion systems, has acquired Technology Integration Group, Inc., in a merger transaction concurrent with the closing of a $3.1 million private placement. (More...)

Hymotion, a developer of plug-in hybrid technology, announced the two-phased conversion of a Prius into a plug-in hybrid for Veridian Corporation, a large Ontario-based utility company. Phase one was the basic conversion of the Prius using Hymotion’s battery pack. The second phase will involve adding solar panels to the roof of the vehicle and to the roof of Veridian headquarters for daytime charging. (More...)

Infineon Technologies AG has introduced the first two members of its new family of electronic power modules designed for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) motor drive systems. (More...)

Ford Motor Company has selected Delphi Corp to provide the battery pack systems and thermal management systems for the coming 2008 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid vehicles. Delphi announced that it will also provide hybrid vehicle electronics for several other yet-to-be announced vehicle customers. (More...)

BATTERIES AND ELECTRIC

Tesla Motors was named a recipient of the Global Green USA Product/Industrial Design Award for its work in developing the Tesla Roadster (earlier post), an all-electric, lithium-ion battery-powered sports car. (More...)

Electro Energy (EEEI), a developer and manufacturer of advanced rechargeable batteries, will receive $1 million from the 2007 budget of the US Department of Defense (DOD) for continued development of its bipolar wafer-cell Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery for advanced military aircraft applications. The company's CEO stated that the ongoing DOD funding will allow Electro Energy to continue development of its patented bipolar wafer-cell technology for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as well as for stationary applications. (More...)

ExxonMobil Chemical’s affiliate in Japan, Tonen Chemical Corporation (TCC), will feature its microporous film lithium-ion battery (LIB) separators designed for hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications at the upcoming 22nd Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS 22), Yokohama, October 23-28. (More...)

Raser Technologies, a technology licensing company established to develop and license advanced electric motor, controller and related technologies, announced that it plans to unveil a new more powerful electric motor design for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles next week at EVS-22. (More...)

Degussa AG, the global specialty chemicals company, has established a chair for Applied Materials Sciences for Energy Storage and Conversion at Münster University (Germany) in collaboration with Chemetall GmbH and Volkswagen AG. Their goal is to establish an internationally competitive research program on energy storage in large-volume lithium-ion batteries with a focus on automotive applications. (More...)

HYDROGEN

Proton Energy Systems, a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp., will install a hydrogen-fueling system in the New York City metropolitan area—the city’s firs—as prime contractor to Shell Hydrogen. (More...)

The Federal Transit Administration announced $49 million in federal grants for research into multiple aspects of commercializing hydrogen fuel-cell buses. (More...)

BIOFUELS

O2Diesel Corporation, a provider of ethanol-blended diesel fuels (e-diesel) for centrally fueled fleets, has entered into an agreement with Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) in Richland, Washington, to begin testing a blend of its O2Diesel e-diesel in combination with a B20 biodiesel blend in 20 transit buses. The new fuel is a blended Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel alternative which is 28% renewable, consisting of bioethanol, O2Diesel’s biomass-based fuel technology and biodiesel. (More...)

Brazilian bus company Viação Itaim Paulista (VIP) has begun powering a fleet of 1,880 buses in São Paulo, South America’s largest city, with a blend of 30% biodiesel, 8% ethanol and 62% petroleum diesel. (More...)

Neste Oil, Helsinki City Transport (HKL), and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV) have signed a letter of understanding covering extensive trial use of Neste Oil’s second-generation NExBTL renewable synthetic diesel to power buses and waste disposal trucks across Greater Helsinki. Neste Oil’s refinery-based proprietary NExBTL technology is based on the high-pressure hydrogenation of fatty acids. The product is a synthetic diesel fuel, free of oxygen and aromatic compounds. Side products include propane and gasoline. The process can use a flexible input of any vegetable oil or animal fat to produce a product with characteristics similar to Fischer-Tropsch output. (More...)

Chevron Technology Ventures LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chevron Corp., has become a member of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). (More...)

The Portland (Oregon) Water Bureau switched its fleet of diesel-powered vehicles to B99—a fuel more than 99% biodiesel. The 84-vehicle diesel fleet is the largest in the country running on B99, according to Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard. The city has also now requiring all solid-waste hauling franchisees to use B20 biodiesel blends in their refuse vehicles. (More...)

INEOS Enterprises, a leading global manufacturer of refined petroleum products and basic, intermediate and speciality chemicals, plans to grow its biodiesel business across Europe significantly. The first step in its strategy is to achieve at least 2 million tonnes (about 604 million gallons US) biodiesel output by 2012, with some 1.2 million tonnes by 2010. (More...)

Ecuador's La Fabril, one of the largest producers of palm-oil biodiesel and currently the largest exporter of biodiesel into the United States, is now producing palm-oil biodiesel that has a sub-zero Celsius cloud point. (More...)

Underwriters Laboratories has suspended the authorization to use UL Markings (Listing or Recognition) on components for fuel dispensing devices that specifically reference compatibility with alcohol-blended fuels that contain greater than 15% alcohol—e.g., E85. Fuel dispenser components as they relate to use with traditional fuel blends (e.g., E15 or less) are unaffected by this decision. (More...)

DIESEL

Sunday, October 15 marked the official arrival of new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) in US retail pumps. ULSD contains a maximum of 15ppm sulfur, down from the 500ppm maximum of the low-sulfur fuels it replaces. (More...)

Cummins Inc. and Beijing-based Beiqi Foton Motor Company (Beiqi Foton) are forming a 50/50 joint venture company—Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Company Limited (BFCEC)—to produce two types of Cummins light-duty, high-performance diesel engines in Beijing. (More...)

Soot particles from the exhaust of diesel trucks constitute a major contributor to the alarmingly high rates of asthma symptoms among school-aged children in the South Bronx, according to the results of a five-year study by researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. (More...)

SYNTHETICS

In a comparative study of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) diesel and conventional Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) (and blends), researchers at the University of Birmingham (UK) and Brunel University (UK) have found that the optimized use of GTL and GTL blends can reduce NOx and PM emissions simultaneously while providing improvements in engine thermal efficiency. (More...)

The US Congress has approved $1.3 million in FY 2007 funding for the further development of a synthetic fuels project by Velocys, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute. This project, which is being conducted in conjunction with the US Army National Automotive Center (NAC), has the goal of developing a compact, microchannel reactor-based Fischer-Tropsch process to transform natural gas, coal and other non-petroleum resources into liquid fuels. (More...)

OTHER

American Honda Motor announced the availability of the natural-gas-fueled 2007 Honda Civic GX for the New York State market. The Civic GX will be on sale at five Honda dealers on Long Island and fourteen additional dealers throughout the state, marking the first time the Civic GX is available for retail sale outside of California. (More...)

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $400,000 contract to TIAX, a leading collaborative product and technology development firm, to develop sensor technology to help control the start of combustion (SOC) in low-temperature combustion (LTC) engines. (More...)

Scientists at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center have formulated the chemistry to replace 40% of the standard petroleum-based polyol—one of the many ingredients used to create the polyurethane foams used in vehicles for seat cushions, seat backs, arm rests and head restraints—with a soy-derived material. (More...)

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