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The Week in Sustainable Mobility
Mike Millikin, 24 Dec 06
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The journal Science has named research on the accelerating melting of the great ice sheets as one of the runner-ups to the top scientific breakthrough of the year. Science heralded the proof of the Poincaré conjecture as the top breakthrough of the year (if not the decade). The journal noted that different teams of glaciologists confirmed via techniques and measurements that span decades that the world’s two great ice sheets—covering Greenland and Antarctica—are losing ice to the ocean at an accelerating pace. More...

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) is forecasting that the country’s auto sales will exceed eight million in 2007. More...

The European Commission proposed legislation to bring greenhouse gas emissions from civil aviation into the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Emissions from aviation currently account for about 3% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions, but they are increasing faster than any other sector—by 87% since 1990—as air travel becomes cheaper without its environmental costs being addressed. More...

Environment Northeast (ENE), a research and advocacy group, has released a detailed roadmap to reduce greenhouse gases in the region, which includes the Northeast US states and eastern Canadian provinces. The Roadmap’s 10 Priority Climate Solutions are broken down into three main categories: energy, transportation and storing carbon. More...


HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has made awards from its $10-million New York State Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Initiative to four companies for the conversion of conventional hybrids to plug-in hybrids: Hymotion, Hybrids Plus, Electrovaya and EnergyCS. More...

The Oshkosh ProPulse series hybrid drive system—as applied in the military’s next-generation Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck HEMTT-A3 and in commercial vehicles—is using motors with die-cast copper rotors. The rotors in the 140hp (104kW) electric motors represent a breakthrough in motor technology developed by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and delivered under the Copper-Based Casting Technology (C-BCT) program. More...

The National Renewable Laboratory has recently published its final report on the GM-Allison hybrid electric buses in service at King County Metro (KCM) Transit in King County, WA. The study found that the hybrid buses had a 27% higher fuel economy on average compared with that of diesel buses on similar duty cycles.More...

ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Nissan Motor and NEC Corp. will partner in the development of li-ion battery technology for use in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell cars. More...

Ballard Power Systems is selling its electric drive (E-Drive) operations—based in Dearborn, Michigan—to Siemens VDO Automotive Corporation for approximately $4 million. More...

Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC), a provider of large format lithium-ion batteries, announced that it sold 20,060 shares of Series C Preferred Stock for an aggregate of $3,009,000. LTC manufactures the GAIA product line of large, high power hermetically sealed rechargeable lithium-ion cells and batteries and provided the li-ion battery system for the Zytek plug-in diesel electric hybrid recently shown in the UK. More...

BIOFUELS

The powertrain for the All Wheel Drive Volvo XC60 Concept, due to make its world debut at the Detroit show in January, is a bioethanol engine. More...

Renault has introduced B30 (30% biodiesel blend)-compatible diesel versions of two of its commercial vehicles. Trafic 2.0 dCi B30 and Master 2.5 dCi B30 are the first expressions of Renault’s commitment to biofuels, made by the company as part of Renault Commitment 2009, whereby all diesel engines sold in Europe by 2009 will be able to run on fuel blends containing 30% biofuel. More...

SunOpta has signed a joint venture agreement with GreenField Ethanol—formerly known as Commercial Alcohols, Canada’s leading producer of fuel ethanol—to develop and implement commercial scale processes for the production of cellulosic ethanol from wood chips, including the planned establishment of one or more commercial scale plants employing the new process. More...

Mascoma Corporation, a cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol developer and producer (earlier post), has received a $14.8 million award from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to build and operate a biomass-to-ethanol demonstration plant in Rochester, New York. More...

Diversa Corporation, a developer of high-performance specialty enzymes, announced that its Purifine enzyme has obtained GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for edible oil applications. This food-application approval follows the September 28th approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for non-food applications, including the use of Purifine enzyme for increasing the efficiency of oilseed processing for the production of biodiesel fuel. More...

Honda will build an experimental cellulosic ethanol plant within its Fundamental Technology Research Center in Wako in 2007 in order to work toward the commercialization of the technology. More...

Agribiofuels, LLC—which uses microwave separation technology (MST) from Imperial Petroleum Recovery Corporation to enable the use of lower-quality and lower-cost feedstock to produce its biodiesel—has signed agreements with ConAgra Trade Group for feedstock oils for the Agribiofuels biodiesel plant currently under construction in Dayton, Texas. More...

Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (VERBIO) plans to build a bioethanol facility in the seaport of Rostock, Germany in 2007 with an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes (67 million gallons US) of ethanol. The total investment is expected to be around €100 million (US$131 million).More...

Canada’s government has announced its targets for renewable fuel content in gasoline and diesel. The government also announced C$345 million (US$299 million) in assistance to farmers and rural communities to help them develop biofuels and other bioproducts. More...

China has suspended further expansion of its corn ethanol industry in order to halt a rapid increase in corn prices, which climbed almost 5% in November. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has ordered local governments to stop approving new projects that process corn for industrial uses, to use non-grain feedstocks to produce biofuels (e.g., cellulosic ethanol from biomass), and to develop the industry more effectively. More...


Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has announced plans to run its 2,000 diesel-fueled delivery vehicles on a B50 (50% biodiesel) blend starting in January 2007. Tesco said that using B50 blend would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 70,000 tonnes per year. More...

A B5 (5%) blend of biodiesel produced by Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation (ABC) from wild algae successfully fueled a test drive in New Zealand by the Minister for Energy and Climate Change Issues, David Parker. The Aquaflow B5 also was used successfully several days earlier in a static engine test at Massey University’s Wellington campus. More...

HYDROGEN

Ashok Leyland, a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles and engines in India, has signed an agreement with Brehon Energy PLC for technology for the use of Hythane&mdsah;a blend of hydrogen and compressed natural gas (CNG) that is usually about 7% hydrogen by energy or 20% by volume—in its CNG engines. More...

Xcel Energy and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) unveiled a pilot facility that uses electricity from wind turbines to power electrolyzers to produce hydrogen, which is then compressed and stored at 3,500 psi. The Wind2H2 project is designed to examine the system integration issues with wind-hydrogen production, compression, storage, and use. The hydrogen is used to power a Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) genset. A hydrogen fueling station for vehicles is planned for the future. More...

SYNTHETICS

Albemarle Corporation, a leading global catalyst and specialty chemical maker, has created a new division focused on developing the market for Albemarle’s catalysts in Canadian oil sands, coal-to-liquids (CTL), gas-to-liquids (GTL) and biomass-to-liquids (BTL) technologies.More...

ConocoPhillips has begun commercial production of renewable diesel fuel at the company’s Whitegate Refinery in Cork, Ireland. The production process, developed by ConocoPhillips, hydrogenates vegetable oils to produce a renewable diesel fuel component that meets European Union standards. More...

Syntroleum Corporation has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, K.S.C. (KUFPEC) to join in the development of a 50,000 barrel per day Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) facility in Papua New Guinea (PNG).More...

A B-52 Stratofortress successfully completed a test flight on 15 December using a blend of Gas-to-Liquids fuel and conventional JP-8 in all eight engines. This is the first time a B-52 has flown using a synfuel blend as the only fuel on board. More...

NATURAL GAS

The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) and Clean Energy have completed an upgrade to the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station adjacent to the Perry S. Duryea, Jr. State Office Building on Veterans Highway in Hauppauge, NY, Suffolk County. The station’s upgrade expands CNG dispensing capabilities from 30-40 gallons/hour to approximately 1,000 gallons/hour and adds two additional dual-hose dispensers. These upgrades make the facility the largest publicly accessible CNG fueling station on the East coast. More...

DIESEL

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is dedicating $22.5 million to retrofit 8,400 public school and regional transit buses in the state by 2010 in a deal designed to offset pollution from the Big Dig project in Boston. More...

Clean Diesel International, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Diesel Technologies, a developer of emissions reductions technologies for mobile and stationary engines, has landed its first UK commercial fleet contract for the Platinum Plus DFX fuel-borne catalyst.More...

OTHER

BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have agreed to extend their cooperation in the field of gasoline-fueled four-cylinder engines. More...

Valeo SA has several development contracts with automakers for its camless engine. Camless technology is projected to deliver as much as 20% better fuel economy over a conventional engine.More...

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