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The Week in Sustainable Mobility
Mike Millikin, 14 Jan 07
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Declaring that “the EU’s present energy policy is not sustainable,? the European Commission (EC) has proposed a three-year action plan toward a common European energy policy that would improve the continent’s precarious energy security. In addition to restating existing EU proposals, such as a 20% increase in energy efficiency as well as a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas production compared to 1990 levels by 2020, An Energy Policy for Europe incorporates an Action Plan that includes binding agreements to source 20% of Europe’s energy from renewable sources, with half of that (10%) coming from biofuels, by 2020. More...

A new report from CIBC World Markets, the wholesale and corporate banking arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), forecasts that all jurisdictions in Canada and the US will have carbon dioxide regulations in place by the end of the decade to address global warming concerns. More...


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is establishing by Executive Order a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that requires, as an initial goal, a 10% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity of all passenger vehicle fuels sold in California by 2020. All relevant greenhouse gases will be included (i.e., CO2, CH4, and N2O) and fuels will be assessed on a full fuel cycle basis (i.e., upstream feedstock extraction, fuel refining, and transport to market). The LCFS is the world’s first fuel standard targeted specifically at the quantified reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, measured on a full lifecycle basis.
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HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

GM introduced a new family of electric vehicle propulsion systems—the E-Flex Systems—and showed the first concept application of E-Flex at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS): the Chevrolet Volt, a 40-mile all-electric range (AER) plug-in hybrid with an E85 range extender. E-Flex initially uses a plug-in capable, battery-dominant series hybrid architecture. The E-Flex vehicles are all electrically-driven, feature common drivetrain components, and will be able to create electricity on board (either through a genset or a fuel cell). More...

At the introduction of the redesigned 2008 Malibu at the North American International Auto Show, Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper confirmed that a hybrid version will be introduced with the start of production later this year. More...

Ford also introduced a plug-in series hybrid concept at the auto show—the futuristic Ford Airstream Concept powered by a hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the HySeries Drive. More...

At NAIAS, Toyota introduced its FT-HS hybrid sports car concept. The car is a front-engine, rear-drive, two-plus-two 400 hp (298 kW) sports car with a projected zero-to-60 acceleration in the four-second range. Toyota’s Concept Planner in charge of the project, Chiharu Tamura, started with the GS 450h powertrain as the basis for the FT-HS.More...

Also at the show, Nissan unveiled an advanced design study, the Nissan Bevel Concept, which feature sa small, efficient 2.5-liter V6 combined with a hybrid drive unit. More...

Mazda Motor will begin selling its hybrid version of the Tribute SUV in the second quarter of the year. The Tribute is based on the Ford Escape. More...

Azure Dynamics Corporation and its shuttle bus partner StarTrans have signed nine bus distributors across North America for the marketing and sales of the CitiBus Hybrid Senator HD hybrid-electric shuttle buses. More...

ArvinMeritor, Inc. and Wal-Mart Transportation have agreed to develop a diesel-electric parallel hybrid drivetrain for a Class 8 tractor. The vehicle will be based on an International Class 8 ProStar tractor and powered by an engine developed by Cummins Inc. More...

Enterprise Rent-A-Car plans to add Saturn VUE Green Line Hybrid vehicles to its rental line-up for California renters in 2007. More...

ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

China BAK Battery, Inc. (BAK) plans to construct a new facility that will focus on product development and manufacture of an advanced lithium-ion battery cell product line. The new battery cells will provide higher energy density and power, longer life cycle and shorter charge times as compared to other types of lithium-based batteries, according to the company. The initial customer development programs will focus on applications in Light Electric Vehicles (LEV)—such as the electric bicycle—and Uninterruptible Power Supply. The planned products from this new facility also have potential application in hybrid electric vehicles. More...


Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. has received a $1-million purchase order for NanoSafe 35 kWh lithium-ion battery pack systems from California-based Phoenix Motorcars for delivery in February and March 2007. In addition, the company announced it has entered into a multi-year purchase and supply agreement with Phoenix under which Phoenix has projected orders for 2007 between $16 and $42 Million for up to five hundred battery pack systems. More...

Phoenix Motorcars has received 75 fleet orders from several municipalities and one utility company for its new zero-emission, all-electric, freeway-ready sport utility truck (SUT). The company, which is on target to manufacture and sell 500 fleet-ready vehicles by year’s end, will produce 16 pilot-build vehicles next month. More...

The Port of Los Angeles and South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) are working together on a demonstration project to use all-electric tractors to tow cargo containers from the Port to local warehouses and rail yards. More...

BIOFUELS

Feeding the boom in ethanol production may require as much as an additional 1 billion bushels of the 2007 US corn crop, said Dr. Keith Collins, Chief Economist for the US Department of Agriculture, in testimony this week before the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. More...

New Cargill subsidiary Emerald Renewable Energy LLC is planning to develop four 100 million-gallon-per-year corn ethanol plants in the Midwestern United States. The newly formed company is considering several potential sites in the Cornbelt. More...

A recent MIT analysis shows that the energy balance of corn ethanol is actually so close that several factors can easily change whether ethanol derived from that process ends up a net energy winner or loser. Further analysis shows that making ethanol from cellulosic sources such as switchgrass has far greater potential to reduce fossil energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. More...

Illinois Governor Blagojevich has signed legislation—House Bill 4137—requiring state agencies to purchase Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can run on E85 (85% ethanol blend) and diesel-powered vehicles that can run on B5 (5% biodiesel blend). More...

The 37 gubernatorial members of the Governors’s Ethanol Coalition (GEC) have released a report that recommends mechanisms to accelerate the development, production and deployment of biofuels in the short- to medium-term with a focus on cellulosic ethanol. More...

Syngenta and Diversa Corporation have entered into a new 10-year research and development partnership focused on the discovery and development of a range of novel enzymes to convert pre-treated cellulosic biomass economically to mixed sugars for fermentation into biofuels. More...

The Centers for Renewable Energy and Biomass Utilization at the University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) are partnering with ICM, Inc., one of the leading companies involved in designing and building ethanol plants, to develop new gasification and conversion technology for the production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass materials such as grasses, wood, and straw. More...

PetroChina Company, China’s largest oil and gas producer, has entered into a framework agreement with China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) for the development of ethanol and biodiesel from forest products. The company officially kicked off the construction of the first batch of tree plantations in Yunnan and Sichuan, marking a substantial step forward in the cooperation of forest biofuel development between the two parties. More...

Greenfuel Technologies Corporation, a leader in the development of algae bioreactor technology for recycling CO2 in flue gases into biofuels, has signed a strategic alliance agreement with IGV (Institut für Getreideverarbeitung), a private industrial research institute headquartered in Potsdam, Germany. Under the terms of the agreement, GreenFuel and IGV will share proprietary algae bioreactor technology in an effort to accelerate the commercialization of biofuel production from recycled carbon dioxide in power plant flue gas emissions. More...

Maple, a Texas-based group of companies involved in the financing, design, engineering and construction of energy-related infrastructure projects worldwide, plans to begin ethanol production from its project in coastal Peru in the second quarter of 2009. The project—Maple’s first ethanol initiative—will initially produce 30-40 million gallons of sugarcane ethanol per year. More...

Sixty-seven contracts representing US$12.4 billion in investment for biofuels development in Indonesia were signed in a ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia this morning. The signing, conducted under the auspices of a program called the Joint Initiative for Biofuel Development, was attended by 9 Ministers of the Indonesian government and was hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. More...

Malaysia’s Pioneer Bio Industries Corp Sdn Bhd will invest RM 1.4 billion (US$ 399 million) to set up the first of some 15 envisioned plants to produce ethanol from nipah palm trees (Nypa fruiticans). Nipah palm ethanol is produced by the fermentation of the sap from the trees. The first plant will begin operation in 2008 with output of 140 million gallons US. The majority of this and the project’s planned eventual 1.22 billion gallon output will be slated for export, according to the company. More...


In an open access commentary published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from University of North Carolina School of Public Health and the US EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory call for more research into the possible health effects of biodiesel exhaust.More...

Chrysler has introduced the new 2008 Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan with an optional 2.7-liter V6 Flex Fuel engine that can burn ethanol-gasoline blends of up to E85. The Avenger replaces the Dodge Stratus in the line-up. More...

Toyota, which used its opening press conference of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to unveil its new maximum full-size truck—the 2007 Tundra CrewMax—plans to offer E85 flex fuel capability on select 2009 Tundra models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8. More...

HYDROGEN

Hydrogenics Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of hydrogen and fuel cell systems, has entered into a distribution agreement with LiftOne, a division of Carolina Tractor, for the company’s HyPX Fuel Cell Power Pack product for lift trucks. More...

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the selection of six research and development projects that will promote the production of hydrogen from coal at large-scale facilities. Integral to the work is support for the capture and sequestration of the carbon dioxide generated during hydrogen production. More...


Ecotality, Inc.—formerly known as Alchemy Enterprises—has engaged Airboss Aerospace to act as consulting engineers on its Hydratus bus. Airboss will work in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology to continue the development of the Hydratus, an on-board system for the generation of hydrogen from magnesium and salt water. More...

The journal Science and its online companion Science Express provided two reports from different research teams on efforts to improve the stability and performance of platinum electrocatalysts in PEM fuel cells. More...

SYNTHETIC FUELS

Medicine Bow Fuel & Power LLC, a subsidiary of DKRW Advanced Fuels LLC, has entered into a long-term contract to sell 100% of the ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel from its planned coal-to-liquids (CTL) facility in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, to Sinclair Oil Corporation, which will market the fuel in the Rocky Mountain region. More...

Toyo Engineering Corporation and BASF have entered into a cooperative agreement to market and sell a gas purification technology specifically designed to purify synthesis gas streams for use in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) power plants or for processing for chemical and fuel products. More...

DIESEL

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) confirmed plans to develop a next-generation common rail turbo-diesel engine to be applied in a new Lancer in 2010. More...

DaimlerChrysler, Audi and Volkswagen, all partners in the BLUETEC clean diesel marketing initiative, each showed a new Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant (i.e., able to be sold in all 50 states) BLUETEC model at the North American International Autoshow in Detroit, with promises of more to come. More...

Clean Air Power, a UK company, has won a £1.5+ million (US$2.9 million) contract to supply between 50 and 70 of its Dual-Fuel natural gas/diesel heavy-duty truck engine conversions to Mitchell Corporation in Perth, Australia. More...

OTHER

Johnson Controls has developed foam pads for automotive seatbacks and cushions consisting of 5% soy-based products and 95% polyurethane. The company is already marketing the soy-based seat systems, which will appear in a number of model year 2008 production vehicles. More...

GM, Porsche and BMW are among the automakers announcing gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines in new models introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Gasoline direct injection technology offers improved combustion and fuel efficiency, offering automakers either a way to deliver comparable power with lower fuel consumption, or increased power with less of a fuel consumption penalty. More...

BMW will begin offering its Intelligent Alternator Control and Brake Energy Regeneration on select models of the new 2008 5-Series. Announced last year at the Paris Auto Show, the Intelligent Alternator Control (IAC) system generates electric power for a car’s on-board network exclusively in overrun and during braking, and reduces fuel consumption by up to 3%. More...

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