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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (3/18/07)
Mike Millikin, 18 Mar 07
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The December 2006-February 2007 global average temperature was the warmest since 1880—(1.30°F/0.72°C above the 20th century mean)—according to scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). More...

Over a span of two decades, warming temperatures have caused annual losses of roughly $5 billion for major food crops, according to a new study by researchers at the Carnegie Institution and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. More...

UK Environment Secretary David Miliband set out a legal framework for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The draft Climate Change Bill and accompanying strategy makes the UK’s targets for a 60% reduction by 2050 and a 26 to 32% reduction by 2020 legally binding. More...

In its current Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) kept its 2007 world oil demand forecast virtually unchanged, with a 1.8% increase in demand in 2007 to 86 million barrels per day (mbpd), up from 84.5 mbpd in 2006. More...

There are some 10.5 million alternative fuel autos—including E85-capable flex-fuel models—on US roads today, according to 2006 sales data from R.L. Polk and Co. More...

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality, the heads of the United Autoworkers, GM, Toyota North America, Ford, and the Chrysler Group all agreed, in response to a question from the committee, that they would support national caps on mobile source CO2 emissions, depending on the details of the program and especially assuming that it factored in the entire sector—i.e., fuel providers as well as automakers. More...

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) is calling for a harmonized, cross-Europe CO2 tax on cars and alternative fuels. The organization notes that CO2-based taxation offers a significant potential for CO2 reduction by shaping consumer demand and setting economic incentives to which vehicle manufacturers and fuel suppliers will respond. More...

UK Motorists are being urged to take action to cut down on CO2 emissions from cars in a campaign from the UK’s Department of Transport. More...

The governments of Canada and Alberta will lead a national effort to assess technology for carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). More...

Alstom and American Electric Power (AEP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring Alstom’s advanced sorbent CO2 capture (chilled ammonia) process to full commercial scale of up to 200 MW by 2011. This is a major step in demonstrating post-combustion carbon capture. More...

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Mercedes-Benz has both mild- and full-hybrid vehicles under development that may hit the market as soon as 2009, according to an interview with DaimlerChrysler’s head of R&D, Dr. Thomas Weber, in Automobilewoche. More...

DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport that all future Mercedes models will come with a hybrid option—initially a mild hybrid—to reduce CO2 emissions. More...

Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Project (earlier post), sponsored by Chicago-based All Cell Technologies in collaboration with the City of Chicago, MicroSun Technologies, and ComEd, has moved into its field testing phase. More...

Eagle County, Colorado, has purchased 20 new 2007 Priuses to replace 50% of its light-duty vehicle fleet. More...

The world’s first hybrid diesel electric double-decker bus went into service in London. More...


ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Cobasys confirmed that it will provide the NiMHax Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery system for General Motors’ redesigned 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid Sedan announced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. More...

The company’s owners, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD Ovonics), through its affiliate Ovonic Battery Company, Inc., and Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV), a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, are exploring “strategic alternatives” for Cobasys. More...

GM held a media briefing, along with its battery partners from Johnson Controls-Saft, A123Systems, and Cobasys, to provide some perspective on the development of lithium-ion battery technology for its plug-in and E-Flex efforts. More...

Mitsubishi Motors has delivered prototypes of its i MiEV research electric vehicle to two utilities in Japan: Tokyo Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power. More...


Michael Grätzel (of the Grätzel Cell, a dye-sensitized photoelectrochemical cell) and colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL), are researching the use of a molecular charge transport layer to reduce the amount of carbon required in lithium-ion battery cathodes and open up the possibility of much improved energy storage density.
More...

ZAP is offering a new sealed lead-acid battery for its Xebra Truck that can increase its current range of 25 miles per charge by up to 40%. More...

BIOFUELS

Neste Oil, the developer of the NExBTL second-generation biofuel process (earlier post) and Stora Enso, an integrated paper, packaging, and forest products company, are working together to develop Biomass-to-Liquids technology for the production of synthetic diesel from wood residues. More...

Purdue University chemical engineers have proposed a modification to the conventional biomass- or coal-to-liquids Fischer-Tropsch process that could, by their calculations, produce sufficient fuel for the entire US transportation sector. More...

LS9 Inc., a startup founded in 2005 to apply synthetic biology technology to production of proprietary biofuels has secured $5 million in Series A funding from Flagship Ventures and Khosla Ventures and has established its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). More...

US Senator John Thune (R-SD) is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin preparations for an expeditious review of an application to approve the use of E20 (20% ethanol and 80% gasoline) in automobiles. Senator Thune currently serves as the ranking member of the Energy Subcommittee of the Senate Agriculture Committee. More...

Researchers from Japan’s National Food Research Institute and the University of Tokyo have developed a membrane that supports the more energy-efficient production of high-concentration bioethanol. More...

The price of palm oil will surge this year as demand increases, supplies are curtailed by drought in Southeast Asia and more governments mandate the use of alternative fuels. More...

Brazil may boost the required ethanol blend in gasoline to 25% from the current level of 23% by May. More...

Brazil will provide Indonesia with technical help to produce sugarcane ethanol under a pact just signed by the two nations. More...

Green Star Products, Inc. and its consortium of independent companies will begin construction of two demonstration algae-to-biodiesel production facilities in the US and abroad. More...

Petrobras plans to install a pilot plant to test the production of cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse by as early as May in Rio de Janeiro, the company’s national headquarters. More...

HYDROGEN

Mazda Motor has delivered one dual-fueled RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle, which runs on either gasoline or hydrogen, to the Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI). More...

AppliedSensor’s HSS-440 hydrogen gas detection module is incorporated in the BMW Hydrogen 7, being built by BMW in a limited series and deployed to selected users in the US and other countries. More...

QuantumSphere, Inc. (QSI) will present the results of its recent research into increasing efficiencies of electrodes made from compressed nano catalysts for hydrogen electrolysis, as well as a new concept in electrode design it calls Stingray, at the upcoming National Hydrogen Association meeting in San Antonio. More...

Nuvera Fuel Cells, in a joint operation with East Penn Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of lead-acid batteries, has installed its first PowerTap hydrogen generation system. More...

Plug Power Inc., a provider of stationary fuel-cell power systems, will acquire Cellex Power Products Inc., a provider of fuel-cell power solutions for industrial vehicles, in a US$45 million cash transaction. More...

NATURAL GAS

A Los Angeles, California-area Honda dealer has begun construction of a natural gas station they say will make natural gas vehicles (NGVs) a more viable option for Antelope Valley residents. More...

Malaysian bus service operator Nadicorp Holdings Sdn Bhd will buy 465 compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered bus chassis from Samsung Corp for US$77 million. More...

OTHER

China’s Chery Automobile announced that it will introduce its first product developed in collaboration with the Chrysler Group, the new A1 model, at the Shanghai auto show in April.

More...

A researcher at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven has developed a software patch for engine control systems that can reduce fuel consumption by 2.6%. More...

Hydro, the Norwegian oil and energy company that is merging with Statoil, has entered into an agreement to invest US$9.2 million in US solar energy company Ascent Solar Technologies, which has developed a super thin and flexible solar cell technology. The investment gives Hydro a 23% ownership interest in Ascent Solar. More...

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