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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (4/1/07)
Mike Millikin, 1 Apr 07
Article Photo

Lewis Booth, Executive Vice President, Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group, called global warming “one of the biggest challenges facing our planet” and said that it is also one of the biggest challenges facing the car industry today. Although the most efficient means of reduction would be to treat all CO2 molecules equally, and then create incentives and disincentives for the carbon intensity of human activities, he noted, this will take too long. More...

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a report examining peak oil, exploring (1) when oil production could peak, (2) federal agency efforts that could reduce uncertainty about the timing of peak oil production or mitigate the consequences, and (3) the potential for transportation technologies to mitigate the consequences of a peak and decline in oil production. More...

Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment and Labor, Mark Parent, last week introduced a bill that among other features would follow the California model to mandate tailpipe greenhouse gas emission standards for motor vehicles by 2010. More...

The city of Toronto, Ontario, has released a planning framework that targets a 6% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the Toronto urban area by 2012 (based on 1990 levels), a 30% cut by 2020, and an 80% reduction by 2050. The targets mirror recently announced European Union goals. Additionally, the City will reduce levels of smog-causing pollutants by 20% by 2012 from a 2004 baseline. More...

Corn farmers in the US intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2007, up 15% percent from 2006 and 11% higher than 2005, according to the just-released US Department of Agriculture’s annual Prospective Plantings report. If realized this would be the highest acreage since 1944, when 95.5 million acres were planted for all purposes. More...

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has signed a bill that provides incentives for the underground sequestration of carbon dioxide. More...

The Swedish government launched its new “green car” bonus program, designed to encourage car buyers to invest in fuel-efficient vehicles, Sunday, 1 April. More...

Gasoline consumption in China will rise 24.7% from last year’s level to reach 65.44 million tonnes (about 24.5 billion gallons US) by 2010, according to government projections. More...

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has shipped eleven hydrogen-fueled Prius hybrid vehicles with extended range hydrogen storage packages to Miljobil Grenland AS, a participant and vehicle provider to the Norwegian Hydrogen Highway project (HyNor). The 11 are part of an order for 15 placed last year. More...

"The market trend to heavier, more powerful hybrids is eroding the fuel consumption advantage of hybrid technology, according to a study done by researchers at the University of British Columbia. More...

Connaught Motor Co. announced that it will build the Connaught Type D high performance hybrid sports coupe at a new plant in southwest Wales. Connaught unveiled the hybrid as a concept in 2004. More...

Responding to an article in the Detroit News that suggested GM was trying to “unplug” the hype around its plug-in series hybrid concept Volt, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said that the company is 100% committed to making the Volt happen. More...

Odyne Corporation, a developer of advanced plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology for trucks and buses, and FAB Holdings, a system integrator and service provider for alternative fuel storage vehicles, have signed a strategic sales and marketing agreement. More...

DaimlerChrysler is expanding its concept plug-in hybrid program to include the all-new 2007 Dodge Sprinter. More...

Two parallel hybrid electric future heavy truck demonstrators developed by Armor Holdings for the US Army that are powered by UQM electric propulsion systems began Military Utility Assessment (MUA) testing this month. More...

US Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) has introduced new legislation that would provide individuals and businesses with a tax credit for the purchase of vehicles with larger battery packs, such as plug-in hybrids or battery electric vehicles. More...

ENERGY STORAGE AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES

US Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has introduced legislation that would significantly increase US investment in the development of advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. More...

The City of Richmond, California and ZAP are launching a pilot fleet program to demonstrate ZAP Xebra electric trucks in the city fleet. More...

Tesla Motors has assembled the first Validation Prototype of the Tesla electric Roadster at the Hethel facility in the UK, which it then airlifted to the San Carlos, Calif., workshop to commence system testing. More...

Transport Canada is purchasing a converted electric PT Cruiser and smart car from Hybrid Technologies for evaluation under the new ecoTechnology for Vehicles Program. More...

The Washington State legislature is expected to pass a law that would increase the speed limit on neighborhood electric vehicles to 35 mpg from 25 mph currently. More...

BIOFUELS

US Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced legislation that increases the required renewable fuel standard from 8.5 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons in 2022. More...

Mendel Biotechnology, a functional genomics company, has acquired the entire Miscanthus breeding program from Tinplant Biotechnik und Pflanzenvermehrung GmbH, a German breeding and plant science company. More...

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $23 million in federal funding for five projects focused on developing highly efficient fermentative organisms to convert biomass material to ethanol. More...


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) convened a meeting to develop input related to biodiesel and bioethanol standardization issues prior to an EU-US summit. More...


Ford Motor Company announced today its new 2008 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor will be offered as a flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) allowing it to operate on E85 ethanol or gasoline.

More...

The communities of Lead and Deadwood, South Dakota, the latest to join O2Diesel’s CityHome program, will run the ethanol-diesel blend in all the school buses in the Lead-Deadwood School District. More...

Petrobras and Eni signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at evaluating future partnership in the production of biofuels and in heavy oil refining. More...

Mitsubishi has signed a 30-year contract with Brazil’s Grupo Sao Martinho for the supply of ethanol. More...

Grupo Farias, one of the larger sugarcane processors in northeast Brazil, has signed a protocol of intentions with Chinese investors to build ethanol plants that could process up to 10 million metric tons of sugarcane per harvest. More...

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. will launch field trials of cellulosic ethanol in a joint project with Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in April. More...

Researchers at New York’s Polytechnic University have bioengineered a fuel-latent plastic from plant-derived fatty acids that can subsequently be broken down into a diesel-like liquid fuel for use in generators. More...

Researchers at Oxford University have developed an enzyme-based fuel cell that produces electricity from ordinary air spiked with small amounts of hydrogen. The new type of cell would be an inexpensive alternative to the costly platinum-based fuel cells that are a primary focus today. More...

Researchers at Saint Louis University have developed a biodegradable bio fuel cell that runs on virtually any sugar source and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single fill than conventional lithium ion batteries.

More...

Researchers at Penn State have developed a new graphite brush anode, consisting of graphite fibers wound around a conductive, but noncorrosive metal core, for use in a microbial fuel cell (MFC). Use of the new anode more than doubles the power output of fuel cells using earlier generations of electrodes. More...

HYDROGEN

Ford Motor Company of Australia has confirmed its support of a long-term research project by the University of Melbourne to study efficient hydrogen fueled vehicle technologies. The first stage of the project aims to develop, build and test a hydrogen-fueled turbocharged Ford 6-cylinder engine using advanced hydrogen engine technology (HAJI: Hydrogen-Assisted Jet Ignition) developed by the Transport Group at the University of Melbourne. More...

Researchers, including scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, are engaged in a 3-year project in search of a cost-effective substitute for palladium for use in proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. More...

ECOtality and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have reported improved performance in the current version of ECOtality’s Hydratus technology. Hydratus is a portable apparatus that produces hydrogen on-demand from magnesium and water, and operates in conjunction with existing hydrogen fuel cell technology. More...

Boeing researchers and industry partners throughout Europe plan to conduct experimental flight tests this year of a manned airplane powered only by a 20 kW fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery pack. More...

DIESEL

The EPA has issued guidance on emission certification procedures for on-road diesels that use selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology for NOx reduction. This guidance enables automakers for the first time to adapt the technology to light- and heavy-duty vehicles in the US. More...

The EPA has awarded a $150,000 grant to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission for a cooperative project to cut emissions from public diesel fleets in central Ohio.

More...

A fuel consumption test demonstrated the ability of US Energy’s Hybrid Fuel System to replace more than 87% of diesel with natural gas. More...

OTHER

Nissan Motor is combining its newly developed Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) and continuous valve timing control (C-VTC) technologies to deliver up to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissionse. The first product to feature the VVEL technology will be the Infiniti G37 coupe, scheduled to be unveiled at the upcoming New York International Auto Show. More...

A Nissan driving team extracted 38 mpg from a new conventional 2.5-liter Nissan Skyline in an “eco-driving” challenge on real roads with unpredictable traffic and weather conditions and with different drivers. More...

Chevrolet will unveil three minicar global concepts at the New York International Auto Show on 4 April. After the unveiling, consumers can pick their favorite by visiting www.vote4chevrolet.com and casting a vote for the concept they prefer. More...

A UK-based automotive consultancy and software developer, Lysanda, has introduced Eco-Log, a system that calculates and reports the composition and the levels of emissions from a moving vehicle. More...

Researchers in Italy are investigating the effect of atmospheric platinum group elements (PGEs)—increasing in concentration due to the increased numbers of catalytic converters—on human enzymatic systems and antioxidants. More...

DuPont and Honeywell have entered a global joint development agreement to accelerate the development and commercialization of flourine-based, low global warming refrigerants for mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems in automobiles. More...

Creative Commons Photo Credit

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