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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (11/26/06)
Mike Millikin, 26 Nov 06

In a speech at the London School of Economics on Tuesday, US Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the incoming Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, warned that the US will not be able to take sufficient action to curb its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the timeframe scientists say is necessary. (More...)

Scientists at UC Irvine have determined that levels of atmospheric methane—an influential greenhouse gas—have stayed nearly flat for the past seven years, which follows a rise that spanned at least two decades. (More...)

Fully 78% of Americans want Washington to impose a 40 mile per gallon (mpg) fuel-efficiency standard for American vehicles, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) national opinion survey released by the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI). (More...)

Ministers from the seven Parties of the international nuclear fusion project ITER (China, European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America) signed the agreement to establish the international organization that will implement the project. (More...)

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Toyota Motor Corp reportedly plans to commercialize a diesel hybrid subcompact car as early as 2010 in cooperation with Isuzu Motors Ltd., according to “informed� but unnamed sources. (More...)

China’s Chery Automobile has introduced a production-ready hybrid version of its popular A5 sedan at the 2006 Ninth Beijing International Auto Exhibition. The new A5 ISG is a parallel hybrid with an all-electric capability at start-up or speeds below 40 kph (25 mph). (More...)

Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s leading sport utility maker, plans to sell its SUVs and pickup trucks in the United States through an American distributor, bringing Indian-made vehicles to the United States for the first time. Mahindra plans to initially introduce a sport utility vehicle and a pickup in the US. A hybrid version of the SUV would follow. (More...)

AFV Solutions (AFVS) has entered into an agreement with Baolong Group Company, Ltd., a Chinese multi-purpose vehicle manufacturer, jointly to market, sell, manufacture and/or assemble light- to heavy-duty hybrid vehicles. (More...)

Avago Technologies introduced the industry’s first automotive-grade 10 MBd digital interface optocoupler for hybrid-electric and electric vehicle applications. (More...)

ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Axeon Holdings has received a ÂŁ1.3-million (US$1.7-million) order to supply electrical vehicle manufacturer Modec with the first 50 Sodium Nickel Chloride battery packs for its new light-duty commercial zero-emission vehicle. (More...)

Fraunhofer USA, the American subsidiary of Germany’s largest research and development organization, recently won four major awards amounting to $2.9 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. One award is for tailoring laser processing technologies to the specific needs in the packaging and assembly of high-capacity batteries and fuel cells. (More...)


BIOFUELS

Colusa Biomass Energy Corporation (CBEC) has completed its first-ever rice straw harvesting operation in Colusa County, California. The company plans to build a biorefinery to convert waste rice straw into ethanol. (More...)

Dyadic International, a biotechnology company developing enzymes for use in the production of cellulosic ethanol, has entered into a $13-million private placement of its common stock with institutional investors. Dyadic uses a number of proprietary fungal strains to produce enzymes and other biomaterials, principally focused on a system for protein production based on the patented Chrysosporium lucknowense fungus, known as C1. (More...)

Broin Companies, the US’ largest dry mill ethanol producer, plans to build a cellulosic ethanol production facility in the state of Iowa with a completion date expected in 2009. (More...)

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) released a report, Achieving Sustainable Production of Agricultural Biomass for Biorefinery Feedstock, that details the potential of cellulosic biomass as an energy resource and the promise of no-till farming for greater residue collection. It also proposes guidelines and incentives to encourage farmers to produce, harvest and deliver sufficient feedstock to the growing biorefinery and biofuels industry in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. (More...)

A report published by the European Union Select Committee of the UK’s House of Lords assesses the varied progress of EU member states in promoting the use of biofuels and concludes that without the implementation of a range of additional measures, the EU-wide target of 5.75% market share for biofuels by 2010 will not be met. (More...)

The Argentine Biofuels Chamber (ABC) is a new professional international trade association representing the biofuels industry in Argentina. Its mission is to coordinate and interact with a broad range of cooperators from the public and private sectors as well as academia. (More...)

In the Philippines, a congressional bicameral conference committee approved the proposed Biofuels Act of 2006 which requires the use of alternative fuels in the country. After ratification by the two chambers, the bill will be sent to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her signature. (More...)

A Dutch consortium is converting a conventional methanol plant in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, to produce biomethanol. The output—ultimately an estimated 1 billion liters (264 million gallons US) per year—will be directed to addressing the European Union’s requirement for a 5.75% biofuel component by 2010. Biomethanol can be blended directly into gasoline and serve as a substitute for MTB. (More...)

HYDROGEN

On 11 Dec, an international collaboration lead by RENZ (Renewable Energy New Zealand), a New Zealand-based Charitable Trust, will introduce an on-board electrolysis unit that produces and injects small amounts of hydrogen into the combustion cylinders of an engine. The result is improved combustion with lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions. (More...)

Imperial College (UK) has established the Imperial Hybrid Racing program, a multidisciplinary project bringing together students from across the School of Engineering in partnership with the Business School to design, build and race a zero-emission hybrid fuel-cell racing car. (More...)

Siemens Power Generation announced the successful testing of its latest solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology that incorporates its high-power density technology being developed under the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA). (More...)

Researchers at the University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada) have developed a lightweight, non-metal compound (a phosphonium borate) that releases hydrogen when heated above 100° C and reabsorbs it at room temperature. The compound would support just a low-density storage system at this point: only 0.25 wt%, compared to the Department of Energy’s target of 6.5 wt% by 2010 for storage density for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. (More...)

NATURAL GAS

German registrations of compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger cars in October 2006 climbed 2,180 units, more than 300% of the October 2005 figure. From January to October 2006, Germans registered 9,231 natural gas passenger cars, representing a 47% increase year-on-year. There are now more than 50,000 natural gas vehicles on the road in Germany. (More...)

SYNTHETICS

While Shell Canada is moving ahead with a C$10- to C$13-billion plan to increase its Athabasca oil sands production, it is also looking for government support for a carbon capture and storage project for its Scotford upgrader. (More...)

Shell Canada also announced the first commercial application of a new high-temperature froth treatment processing technology—Shell Enhance—that it says will improve energy efficiency by 10% and reduce costs in oil sands production. (More...)

DIESEL

Toyota Motor plans to increase the proportion of diesel and hybrid passenger vehicles that it sells in Europe from 43% of its new car sales in 2005 to 50% in 2010. Toyota sold about 1 million passenger vehicles in Europe in 2005, of which 41% were diesel-powered and 2% were gas-electric hybrids. For 2010, it is targeting European sales of 1.5 million passenger vehicles, with the proportion of diesel-powered models at 45% and that of hybrids at 5%, according to the paper. (More...)

Toyota announced enhancements to the 3.0-liter D-4D diesel engine in its Land Cruiser full-size SUV for the European market to provide more power, while slightly reducing fuel consumption and improving the vehicle’s emissions profile. (More...)

BMW will not ally with DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen/Audi around the BLUETEC platform for diesels in the US. In October, Automobilewoche had reported that Volkswagen and its premium Audi unit, BMW and DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes-Benz would all 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...)

Caterpillar has received certification from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the company’s first engine equipped with ACERT Technology for 2007. (More...)

OTHER

FlexSys, with funding from the US Air Force, is developing shape-morphing adaptive aircraft wings that alter their shape in response to changing flight conditions. Such technology could result in fuel savings in the range of 5% to 15% for long-range military and commercial fixed-wing aircraft, according to the company. (More...)

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Comments

Mike - Stop me if you've had this discussion already: While you've certainly covered new technology, I wonder if it's really "Sustainable Mobility" or just avoiding the inevitable for a few more years. The planet needs a lot more than a few percent better efficiency here and there or new fuels to keep doing what we're doing. I think we need to be working on whole new ways of living our lives so we need less mobility in the first place. Ultimately, this is probably a combination of land use and transportation technology.
Thanks.


Posted by: Dave Brook on 3 Dec 06



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