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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (2/4/07)
Mike Millikin, 4 Feb 07
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The IPCC released the first volume of the Fourth Assessment Report on climate change. The report calls the warming of the climate system “unequivocal,� and assigns a 90%+ probability to human causality. More...

The European Commission proposed new standards for transport fuels that, among other measures, require suppliers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production, transport and use of their fuels by 10% between 2011 and 2020. More...

A Strategic Counsel survey for Canada’s The Globe and Mail and CTV found that higher fuel-economy standards and forcing consumers and industry to switch to alternative fuels rank No. 1 (86%) and No. 2 (80%) in terms of what Canadians are most likely to support to counter global warming. More...

Washington state legislators are considering a “Clean Air, Clean Fuels� bill that would provide funding to support a 25% cut in the petroleum use of the state's fleets via a range of initiatives including support for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, development of new technologies such as plug-in hybrids, and reducing fossil fuel consumption. More...

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has requested a meeting with the CEOs of GM, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan to discuss a resolution of the litigation currently in federal court between California and the automakers over greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. More...


Oil production from Mexico’s giant Cantarell offshore complex, which now accounts for 50% of PEMEX’s total output, declined 25% during the course of 2006, according to statistics from the Energy Ministry available on the Sistema de Información Energética. More...

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning a summer 2008 launch for its new Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT). GOSAT will monitor the distribution of the surface density of greenhouse gases on a near global basis, measuring about 56,000 points on the globe in a three-day scan cycle as it orbits the planet every 100 minutes. More...

Demand for motor gasoline in Japan declined 0.9% (as measured by calendar year shipments minus end of year inventory) to 60 million kiloliters (15.9 billion gallons US) in 2006—the first year-on-year drop in 32 years—according to data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. More...

Environmental Protection Agency staff scientists are recommending tightening the nation’s ground-level (tropospheric) ozone standards. In a final paper submitted as part of the current review of national air quality standards, the staff concluded that the current primary ozone standard is not adequate to protect public health. More...

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Combined US sales of light-duty hybrids exceeded 17,591 units in January 2007, according to sales reports from automakers, up 11% from January 2006. (GM is not yet breaking out the sales of its hybrid models, and so GM results are not included in that figure). Hybrids represented 1.6% of all new light duty vehicle sales in January 2007, up from 1.4% in January 2006. More...

Nissan has priced the 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid starting at $24,400. The car is now on sale in eight states. More...

Bank of America is expanding its program to reimburse $3,000 to employees who purchase a new hybrid vehicle to cover the entire US and more than 185,000 US-based employees. Last June, the company introduced the program to employees living within 90 miles of the three pilot program cities, Boston, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. More...

The Yellow Cab company in Lincoln, Nebraska, is adding six Prius hybrids to its fleet. More...

Volkswagen reportedly is changing its hybrids strategy from an initial focus on smaller cars—the Jetta—to the full-size Touareg SUV. More...

Electrovaya Inc. has received an US$100,000 contract from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop and demonstrate a plug-in hybrid concept using the Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle. Electrovaya will use its recently-announced MN Series Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery in the project. The MN Series, which is a Lithiated Manganese Oxide based system, offers up to 50% higher energy density than and comparable safety characteristics to Electrovaya’s Phosphate-Series chemistry, according to the company. More...


ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

In testimony before the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today, GM Vice President for Environment and Energy Beth Lowery urged the government to fund a major effort to strengthen domestic advanced battery capabilities—specifically lithium-ion batteries. Her stance was echoed during the hearing by statements from other witnesses, including John German, Manager, Environmental and Energy Analyses from Honda and Dr. Menahem Anderman, President, Advanced Automotive Batteries. More...

ZAP and Lotus Engineering are beginning the first phase of an engineering project to use the British consultancy’s APX ("Aluminum Performance Crossover") as a basis for designing a production-ready electric all-wheel drive crossover high performance vehicle for ZAP—the ZAP-X—in the US market. More...

Marks & Spencer, the major UK retailer, will buy a number of Newton electric delivery trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles, owned by the Tanfield Group. Marks & Spencer will use the Newton vehicles in various city center logistics operations, with a view to Smith vehicles replacing Marks & Spencer’s urban diesel fleet where pertinent. More...

Maxwell Technologies has received a purchase order for 100,000 square meters of its proprietary ultracapacitor electrode material from Shanghai Sanjiu Electric Equipment Company, Ltd. (Sanjiu). Sanjiu is preparing to introduce a line of ultracapacitor products based on Maxwell’s cell architecture and high-performance electrodes for the Chinese transportation, electric utility and industrial markets, with a specific focus on Shanghai. More...

BIOFUELS

BP has selected the University of California, Berkeley and its partners, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to establish the $500-million BP Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI). The Energy Biosciences Institute will research the production of new and cleaner energy, initially focusing on renewable biofuels from existing and new crop plants for road transport. More...

Imperium Renewables will utilize canola grown at Natural Selection Farms to produce up to 1 million gallons of biodiesel. Both firms are based in the state of Washington. More...

The House Committee on Science and Technology has passed H.R. 547, the Advanced Fuels Infrastructure Research and Development Act. The bill initiates a research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program to make biofuels more compatible with present-day infrastructure. H.R. 547 also directs agencies to develop technologies and methods to provide low-cost, portable and accurate measurements of sulfur in fuels, and to develop a physical properties database and Standards Reference Materials for biofuels. More...

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen is proposing $61 million in his budget this year to support the development of alternative fuels in the state, with $50 million of that going toward cellulosic ethanol. More...

Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has proposed that the state spend $40 million over a four-year period to create an Oklahoma Bioenergy Center (OBC) to focus on bioenergy research, development and education. More...

The Arkansas state legislature is considering the Arkansas Alternative Fuels Development Act, a measure that would provide up to $4 million in incentives for biodiesel production and infrastructure in state. More...

The city of Fayetteville, Arkansas, plans to begin using B20 in diesel vehicles in the Parks and Recreation, Water and Wastewater, and Street department fleets—about 300 vehicles in all. More...


PetroSun Drilling and its Algae BioFuels subsidiary are entering the final stage of field testing prior to building a commercial facility for algae biodiesel production. More...

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) of the State of Karnataka in India is currently switching the first 2,500 buses of its 5,162 bus fleet to O2Diesel, an ethanol-diesel blend comprising 7.7% ethanol and 0.5% of O2Diesel’s proprietary fuel additive technology. The remaining 2,662 buses of the fleet will be switched by the fourth quarter of 2007. This will represent the single largest ethanol-diesel fleet in the world. More...

ARES Corporation (ARES), an engineering and project management company, and Blue Sun Biodiesel have formed a 50-50 joint venture: ARES Blue Sun Development, LLC (ARES Blue Sun). More... Blue Sun also went public via a reverse merger. More...


The Thai Energy Ministry has set a revised biodiesel consumption target for the country of 500,000 liters (132,000 gallons US) per day for 2007, increasing to 4 million liters (1.06 million gallons US) per day by the end of 2011. That would offset as much as 7% of diesel consumption. More...

HYDROGEN

A Massey University (NZ) scientist has received a NZ$260,000 (US$181,000) post-doctoral fellowship from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to develop highly active electrocatalysts for more efficient electrolytic production of hydrogen at low voltages. More...


NATURAL GAS

Q Link, a subsidiary of Al Qudra Holding, working with the International Energy Group (IEG), a subsidiary of the UAE business conglomerate, S.S. Lootah Group, will convert its taxi fleet to use compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel this year. More...

Malaysia’s Naza Automotive Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (NAM) has developed and will soon begin selling dual-fuel vehicles that use gasoline or compressed natural gas. NAM is the first car maker in the country to do so. More...

SYNTHETIC FUELS

Nine major Japanese companies, including Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, Itochu, and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (JPE), are establishing a joint venture company for the production of dimethyl ether (DME) for use as a synthetic, next-generation fuel. More...

Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. (SNCG) in China has awarded Siemens Power Generation (PG) a €30 million (US$39 million) contract for two entrained-flow gasifiers with a thermal capacity of 500 MW each and further key equipment for a coal gasification plant. The coal gasification plant is to be used for the Shenhua Ningmei dimethyl ether (DME) project in Ningxia Province in northwestern China. When the plant reaches full operation in early 2009, Shenhua Ningmei DME will produce 830,000 tons per year of the synthetic fuel. More...

Volvo Technology Transfer AB is investing in Chemrec AB, a company that has developed a technology for gasification of black liquor, a residual product from the pulp industry. This investment is part of the Volvo Group’s drive to help speed up the development of renewable fuels for the heavy vehicle industry. More...

The Oryx GTL (Gas-to-Liquids) plant in Qatar has successfully completed the start-up of the final process unit and has produced final GTL product. More...

DIESEL

Pirelli Ambiente, a company within the Pirelli & C. Group, and LiqTech A/S, a Danish company with long experience in silicon carbide (SiC) filters for the retrofit market, are initiating a joint research project to improve the performance of SiC Diesel Particulate Filters. More...

Volvo will introduce the third generation of its V70 wagon at the upcoming Geneva auto show. The redesigned model will offer a new version of the five-cylinder D5 diesel, a four-cylinder flex-fuel option, and a new top-end six-cylinder twin-scroll turbo engine. More...


OTHER


Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has signed a multi-year agreement with the Port of Los Angeles which includes commitments to several environmental programs, including the use of alternative maritime power (AMP), which becomes available in 2008, on its Norwegian Star ship, which is homeported at the Port of Los Angeles.

More...

BMW has developed a new recycling process in its engine plant in Steyr (Austria) that has resulted in the elimination of waste water. Using a new combination of various membrane technologies, all manufacturing waste water in the plant is treated and fed back into the production system for an annual savings of around 30 million liters (7.9 million gallons US) of water. BMW has closed the mains drainage connection at the plant. More...


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