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The Week in Sustainable Mobility
Mike Millikin, 10 Dec 06
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Global warming 55 million years ago suggests a high climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, according to research led by Mark Pagani, associate professor of geology and geophysics at Yale and published in the December 8 issue of Science. (More...)

About 3.41 million cars were sold in China between January and November 2006, an increase of 40% year-on-year, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. (More...)

The increasing use of substitute fossil-based liquid hydrocarbons—either unconventional crude oils or synthetic liquid fuels (synfuels)—will dramatically increase global greenhouse gas emissions unless mitigating steps are taken, according to a new study by researchers at UC Berkeley. (More...)

The transportation sector will continue to be the largest and most rapidly growing consumer of energy. The reference case in the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) early release edition of Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (AEO2007) projects more biofuels (both ethanol and biodiesel) consumption, growth in coal-to-liquids (CTL) capacity and production, growing demand for unconventional transportation technologies, growth in nuclear capacity and generation, an expansion in coal-fired power generation and accelerated improvements in energy efficiency throughout the economy. (More...)

Japan will implement regulations requiring automakers to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles by about 20% by 2015. (More...)

The British Government will spend £1 billion (US$1.33 billion) replacing 78,000 ministerial and civil service vehicles under a program to cut costs and reduce carbon emissions from its light-duty fleet by 15% by 2010-2011. (More...)

A pre-budget report by UK Finance Minister Gordon Brown proposes a series of tax measures designed, according to the report, to protect the environment and tackle the global challenges of climate change. (More...)

Michael Grätzel and his colleagues have developed a device that sets a new benchmark for efficiency in splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using ordinary sunlight. The research will be published in the 13 December issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. (More...)


Sales of hybrids in the US in November rose to 18,283 units, up 13.8% from the 16,065 sold in November 2005. The November 2006 tally does not yet include sales of GM’s VUE Green Line Hybrid. (More...)

The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based market research firm, projects that worldwide demand for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) will advance rapidly to 3.9 million units in 2015 and then to nearly double that number by 2020. (More...)

Zytek, in conjunction with Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC), has launched a demonstration diesel-electric plug-in hybrid version of a smart for four in London. (More...)

Volvo Technology Transfer (VTT) is investing SEK 2 million (US$295,000) in TranSiC AB, a developer of developer of energy-efficient power transistors in silicon carbide. Volvo Powertrain is studying silicon carbide and its applications in hybrid vehicles. (More...)

GM formally introduced the Saturn Aura Green Line hybrid at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Based on the same GM Hybrid system as the VUE Green Line Hybrid, the Aura Green Line sedan will deliver at least a 25% fuel economy improvement over the non-hybrid Aura XE for a premium of less than $2,500, according to GM. (More...)


The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), an organization composed of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, has awarded a $15-million lithium iron phosphate battery technology development contract to A123Systems. (More...)

TNT Express and TNT Logistics, in partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles, has unveiled the world’s first high performance 7.5-tonne zero emission electric vehicles—both Newton models (earlier post)—due to go into service in London. (More...)

South Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy announced plans to develop next-generation rechargeable battery technology—mainly lithium-ion—and to become the top global supplier by 2012. The government said it has assembled the infrastructure and key materials needed to boost production. (More...)


Frybrid has converted a 40-foot Bluebird motorhome to use straight or waste vegetable oil (SVO or WVO) in its 11-liter, 450 hp turbodiesel engine. This system has a 140-gallon heated clean tank and a 70-gallon dewatering and filtering tank, bag filter which extends for changing, and 50-foot hose reel and pump to suck up oil. (More...)

Researchers from the University of Toronto and Michigan State University have concluded that ethanol derived from municipal solid waste (MSW) can deliver a life cycle total energy use per vehicle less than that of corn-ethanol and cellulosic-ethanol (derived from energy crops). (More...)

A researcher at the University of Rhode Island is working to develop genetically modified switchgrass with a variety of traits that could double the biomass yield per acre and reduce the cost of cellulosic ethanol production to as low as $1 per gallon from approximately $2.70 per gallon now. (More...)

MIT scientists have engineered yeast that can improve the speed and efficiency of ethanol production. By manipulating the yeast genome, the researchers have engineered a new strain of yeast that can tolerate elevated levels of both ethanol and glucose, while producing ethanol faster than un-engineered yeast. The work is reported in the Dec. 8 issue of Science. (More...)

A new study led by David Tilman, Regents Professor of Ecology in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences, indicates that mixtures of native perennial grasses and other flowering plants provide more usable energy per acre than corn grain ethanol or soybean biodiesel and are far better for the environment. (More...)

The Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago, Minnesota, will install two wind turbines that ultimately will provide about 45% of the electricity the plant requires. (More...)


Scientists at the University of Bath (UK) have developed a material which stores and releases hydrogen at room temperature, at the flick of a switch. Although its gravimetric hydrogen storage density is insufficient to make an entire hydrogen tank from it, the material could be used in combination with metal hydride sources to store and release energy instantaneously while the main tank reaches sufficient temperature, 300°C, to work. (More...)

Results of modeling studies by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Turkey’s Bilkent University indicate that attaching titanium atoms to the ends of an ethylene molecule will result in a capsule-shaped complex that absorbs 10 hydrogen molecules. The results open a new avenue in the pursuit of materials that will enable efficient solid-state storage of hydrogen. (More...)


Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Hino Motors Ltd. will start talks as early as January on a possible alliance to develop next-generation diesel engines for trucks. (More...)

Peugeot has introduced its Euro-4 compliant, 1.6-liter HDi diesel engine to the Partner van line-up. The new engine is 31.5% more fuel efficient on the combined cycle and emits 24% less CO2 (143 g/km) than the older engine.

Scania will start introducing its new diesel engine platform for Euro 5 during 2007. On these new engines, Scania uses EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) without any aftertreatment to meet Euro 5 emissions requirements. (More...)

After years of wrangling between federal and regional governments, the German cabinet is now ready to submit a bill to parliament detailing a system of vehicle license fee (VLF) credits and penalties for diesel particulate filter (DPF) retrofits. (More...)

The Diesel Technology Forum has released a new primer on potential strategies for upgrading existing diesel engines in both on and off-road equipment. (More...)


The Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA), Williamson, West Virginia and Rentech, Inc. have entered into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for the development of a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) fuels plant to be located in Mingo County (the Mingo Project). (More...)


During the next two years, E.ON Ruhrgas will open about 150 filling stations on German motorways for natural gas vehicles (NGVs). There are currently about 750 NGV fueling stations in the country. (More...)

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has ordered 531 Cummins Westport (CWI) natural gas transit bus engines to be installed as a combination of new installations and repowers (installation of a new power plant in an existing vehicle chassis). (More...)

The Board of Airport Commissioners has approved the purchase of 30 alternative-fuel buses and trucks for use at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as part of its ongoing replacement of existing gasoline-powered vehicles when they reach the end of their useful service life in the airport’s fleet. The Board approved the purchase of 21 compressed natural-gas transit buses; three liquefied-petroleum-gas (LPG), light- and medium-duty refuse trucks; and six LPG stakebed trucks. (More...)


Audi has introduced a new turbocharged four-cylinder FSI engine with a displacement of 1.8 liters for the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback. The 1.8 TFSI is the first in a new family of engines and combines the evolution of the TFSI concept with an entirely new basic engine. (More...)

Sun21, a solar-powered catamaran developed and sponsored by the Swiss Transatlantic21 Association, departed the European mainland on 3 December on the first transatlantic crossing in a vessel powered solely by the sun. (More...)

Honda Motor Co. plans to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary, Honda Soltec Co., Ltd., which will produce and sell the next-generation thin film solar cell independently developed by Honda. The new company will lead Honda to make a full-scale entry into the solar cell business. (More...)

ZF has introduced a new second-generation 6-speed automatic transmission that delivers fuel savings of up to 3% in a gasoline-engine vehicle and up to 6% in a diesel. (More...)

F.C.C. Co., a manufacturer of clutches for motorcycles and cars and whose leading shareholder is Honda, has devised a catalytic converter made from paper for cleaning motorcycle exhaust. The company hopes to commercialize the product by 2010 at a price point that enables its application even on scooters. (More...)

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