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The Week in Sustainable Mobility (6/10/07)
Mike Millikin, 10 Jun 07
Article Photo

At the G8 Summit, six of the G8 countries agreed to “at least halve global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050” and to achieve this goal together “as part of a United Nations process.” The US and Russia were holdouts on halving. Together, all eight nations agreed to “substantial” emissions cuts, without setting any target. The agreement paves the way for talks beginning in Bali, Indonesia in December to find a successor to the UN-backed Kyoto Protocol.

An unusual and intense tropical cyclone—Gonu—formed and headed into the Gulf of Oman, striking Oman and Iran. More...

Hundreds of glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) are flowing faster, further adding to sea level rise according to new research published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Climate warming, which is already causing increased summer snow melt and ice shelf retreat of the Antarctic Peninsula, is the most likely cause. More...

Demand for electricity in Beijing hit 10.51 million kilowatts—the highest so far this year—as more families and businesses switch on the air conditioners in the early summer heat, according to Beijing Electric Power Corporation. More...

Current fuel economy bills in the US Congress are proposing targets that are further away and less aggressive than the earlier 4%/year proposals spurred by the State of the Union speech in January. More... The House bill under consideration also contains language that would bar states from setting their own greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles. More...

More than three-quarters of Americans (76%)—including 78% of likely 2008 voters—want Congress to raise fuel economy standards to 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) by 2010 rather than waiting to reach a more modest goal by 2018, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) survey conducted for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank and its 40MPG.org project. More...

The Board of Directors of ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, consisting of all thirteen members’ CEOs, reiterated that the European Commission’s proposed vehicle target of 130 grams CO2 per kilometer by 2012 is not feasible through vehicle technology only. More...

The California state legislators are considering a bill (AB 493) that establishes a sliding feebate program (surcharges and incentives) based on the greenhouse gas emissions of new light- and medium-duty vehicles. The program would be administered by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), would take effect 1 July 2010 and would apply to motor vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. More...

The Canadian province of Québec will introduce Canada’s first carbon tax this fall. As of 1 Oct, all energy companies will be required to pay a special tax based on the greenhouse gas emissions they produce. More...

An MIT study concluded that marketing programs and subsidies will need to be in place for decades in order for the adoption and long-term market penetration of alternative fuel vehicles to become significant and self-sustaining. More...

The Director General and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued four challenges to drive the air transport industry towards a vision of zero-emissions aviation. More...

HYBRIDS and PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles have topped the 1 million mark, with approximately 1,047,000 units sold worldwide as of May 31, 2007, according to the company. Of those, 32.9% were sold in Japan and 67.1% were sold overseas, primarily in the US. The Prius accounts for 72.4% of total global hybrid sales. More...

Honda will not introduce a hybrid model of the new Accord when the sedan undergoes a full design change in the autumn for the North American market. More...

Sales of light-duty hybrid electric vehicles in the US set a new mark in May at more than 45,000 units sold, up 91% from May 2006, representing almost 3% of new light-duty vehicles sold in the month. More...

Year-to-date sales of hybrid cars in the UK have doubled from the same period last year according to Honda. More...

Students from Mississippi State University took top honors at the third annual Challenge X: Crossover to Sustainable Mobility engineering competition, primarily sponsored by GM and the US Department of Energy (DOE). The Mississippi State team designed a through-the-road parallel hybrid electric with a 1.9-liter GM direct injection turbodiesel engine fueled by B20 biodiesel, a 330V NiMH battery pack from Johnson Controls, and a 45 kW Ballard Integrated Power Transaxle. The vehicle achieved a 48% increase in fuel economy over the production 2005 Chevrolet Equinox that served as the basis for all the entries. More...

Interest in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology is on the rise in Europe, as evidenced by presentations and discussions at the second European Ele-Drive Transportation Conference, held last week in Brussels by AVERE, Europe’s largest electric vehicle association. More...

A study from the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center (CEIC) concludes that while enacting policies to subsidize the production of coal-to-liquids transportation fuel would enhance national security by lowering oil imports, encouraging plug-in hybrids powered by coal-generated electricity is a less costly and “more sensible” policy that also reduces oil imports and does more to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

More...

Researchers from the University of California Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) published a paper arguing that plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell vehicles—with the addition of an export capability (“plug-out”)—could be the foundation for a group of opportunities collectively called “Mobile Electricity” (Me-). Correspondingly, the Me-FCV (Mobile Electricity-Fuel Cell Vehicle) may prove a strong avenue for commercialization of fuel cell technology. More...

Toroidal traction drive specialist Torotrak plc and vehicle transmission design and manufacturing company Xtrac Ltd have entered into a licence agreement that will enable Xtrac to develop highly efficient and compact continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) for use in the new kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) proposed for Formula One (“F1”) motor racing. More...

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

UQM Technologies has been awarded an additional $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract from the US Air Force to advance the development of a silicon carbide (SiC) electronic motor controller. Coincident with this project, UQM will convert a conventional pickup truck to all-electric operation using a motor controller containing the higher power silicon carbide modules that are being developed. More...

A team of MIT students is converting a Porsche 914 into an electric vehicle to demonstrate the viability of standard advanced electric vehicle technology. More...

ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS

General Motors has awarded two separate contracts for advanced development of lithium-ion batteries and packs for the electric drive E-Flex System used in the Chevrolet Volt. More...

BIOFUELS

Global food import bills are increasing, partly due to the soaring demand for biofuels, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s latest Food Outlook report. Global expenditures on imported foodstuffs looks set to surpass US$400 billion in 2007, almost 5% above the record of the previous year. More...

The US Departments of Energy and Agriculture have jointly selected 11 projects for awards totaling $8.3 million for research that will accelerate the development of alternative, non-food crop biofuel resources. More...

A researcher at the US Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory is applying Raman imaging—a well-known technique—to analyze plant cell structure to determine which crops offer the right combination of cell wall composition and degradation to maximize the materials’ conversion to ethanol. More...

Japanese trading company Itochu Corp. and Brazilian state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) will partner to produce sugar-cane-based bioethanol for export to Japan beginning sometime around 2010. More...

Solazyme, an algal biotechnology company, and Imperium Renewables have entered into a biodiesel feedstock development agreement in which Solazyme will generate algal oil for Imperium’s biodiesel production process.

More...

AlgoDyne Ethanol Energy Corp. is a series of biofuels initiatives in Brazil, with a focus on algae-based bio-kerosene projects with airlines. More...

Researchers at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have developed a simple way to dissolve cellulose, making it much easier to utilize wood scrap, weeds and other forms of biomass as raw materials for the synthesis of bioethanol. More...

Switchgrass-derived ethanol offers a slightly better net energy value than corn stover cellulosic ethanol, but the switchgrass-based fuel produces significantly lower emissions of greenhouse gases than does its corn-stover based counterpart, according to a new ethanol life cycle analysis by MIT. More...

Scania is joining forces with Neste Oil in Finland for comprehensive testing of Neste’s NExBTL renewable diesel. More...

Virgin Trains introduced Europe’s first train using a B20 biodiesel blend fuel into scheduled passenger service. More...

Thailand will begin enforcing the mandatory use of B2 palm oil biodiesel for all diesel vehicles nationwide beginning in April 2008, and the move to B5 shortly thereafter, according to the Minister of Energy. More...

HYDROGEN

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will receive US$1.98 million from the Department of Energy over the next three years to emulate the function of natural enzymes to prepare new, inexpensive electrocatalytic materials. A potential result is lowering the cost of hydrogen fuel cells. More...

Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. (HEC) demonstrated its proprietary ammonia/hydrogen-fueled Oxx Power engine just prior to the annual shareholders’ meeting in Algona, Iowa on 30 May. More...

NATURAL GAS

The Board of the California South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has approved US$2.9 million for the immediate acquisition and deployment of 20 Westport high pressure direct injection (HPDI) liquefied natural gas (LNG) heavy-duty trucks at the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and Port of Long Beach (POLB). More...

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. is converting his 2005 Chevrolet Suburban to run on natural gas. More...

DIESEL

British Columbia is mandating the retrofitting of diesel emissions control systems on 1989-1993 model year commercial transport trucks. More...

Puerto Rico recently unveiled its first school bus retrofitted with pollution control, a CleanAIR Systems ASSURE DOC unit. More...

SYNTHETIC FUELS

The US Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) has awarded a contract for 315,000 gallons of synthetic jet fuel to Shell Oil Products for further evaluation in the US Air Force Synthetic Fuel Initiative. The ultimate goal of the Air Force is to acquire 50% of its [Continental United States] fuel by 2016 from domestic sources producing a synthetic fuel-blend and using carbon capture and sequestration technology. More...

Synthesis Energy Systems, a coal gasification company, and Inner Mongolia Golden Concord (Xilinhot) Energy Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Golden Concord Holdings Ltd., a private provider of electricity, steam and chilling water in China, have signed a co-operative joint venture contract to build an integrated coal gasification plant and methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) production plant. More...

Australia’s Linc Energy Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shiv-Vani Oil & Gas Exploration Services Ltd. to establish joint ventures for the development of underground coal gasification (UCG) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) projects in India. Shiv-Vani is the single largest oil and gas upstream services provider in India. More...

Enbridge Inc. and ExxonMobil Pipeline Company have agreed to jointly assess the commercial development of a new pipeline project to transport crude oil from Patoka, Illinois to Beaumont, Texas, and onward to Houston. The new pipeline would link Enbridge’s system—which has been expanding to handle the increasing demand for Canadian syncrude from the oil sands—to the refineries on the US Gulf Coast. More...

OTHER

Renault will apply the new efficient TCE 100hp gasoline engine already seen on models in the Clio III range and on the New Twingo GT to the Modus. More... Renault will also introduce a model of its New Laguna in September with a 110 hp (81 kW) 1.5 dCi diesel that offers fuel consumption of 5.1 l/100km (46 mpg US); CO2 emissions of 136 g/km; and incorporates more than 35 kg of recycled plastic and 15 kg of renewable materials. These attributes qualify this model for Renault’s eco2 label. More...


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