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Toyota to collaborate in research for the creation of H2-based society in the United Arab Emirates

17 January 2017

Toyota Motor Corporation has agreed to collaborate with Masdar, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Air Liquide, and Toyota distributor Al-Futtaim Motors in a joint research program to explore the potential of hydrogen energy use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the creation of a sustainable, low-carbon society. As part of the program, Toyota will begin driving and refueling demonstration tests of the Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) in the UAE from May 2017.

The agreement was announced at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which was held at the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. The program partners will jointly research on key issues involving the establishment of a hydrogen-based society, including hydrogen production, logistics, scalability, and business feasibility. The research is expected to take place in part at Masdar Institute, an Abu Dhabi-based independent graduate research university, which has been part of the discussions on the scope of hydrogen research.

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DOE Co-Optima initiative publishes report reviewing first 12 months; progress on fuels and engines

16 January 2017

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Co-Optima initiative—a broad, joint effort to co-optimize the development of efficient engines and low greenhouse-gas fuels for on-road vehicles with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 30% by 2030 beyond what is already targeted (earlier post)—has published a year-in-review report for FY 2016—the initiative’s first 12 months.

Co-Optima’s premise is that current fuels constrain engine design—and thus engine efficiency. The researchers suggest that there are engine architectures that can provide higher thermodynamic efficiencies than available from modern internal combustion engines; however, new fuels are required to maximize efficiency and operability across a wide speed/load range. The report details the technical progress in a selection of projects across the initiative’s two main thrusts: spark ignition (SI) and advanced compression ignition (ACI).

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U of Birmingham scientists launch project to tackle global clean cold challenge

16 January 2017

Scientists from the University of Birmingham launched a major research project to investigate how “clean cold” could help to achieve almost all of the United Nations’ (UN) global Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 Global Goals include abolishing poverty and hunger; providing good healthcare and education; raising peoples’ quality of life; and cleaning up the environment, while promoting economic growth.

Clean cooling technologies, which can support environmentally sustainable cold chains, include Dearman’s zero-emission transport refrigeration system (earlier post); solar-driven cooling for pack-houses; and even small transportable ammonia-water absorption refrigeration which can be used to transport medicine.

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Neste launches Neste MY Renewable Diesel made 100% from waste and residues in Finland; initial customers

16 January 2017

Neste recently launched a renewable diesel made entirely from waste and residues under the brand name Neste MY Renewable Diesel at select service stations in the Helsinki region today, 9 January 2017. The product enables up to 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life cycle of the fuel compared to conventional fossil diesel.

Production of Neste MY Renewable Diesel is based on Neste’s proprietary NEXBTL technology which can be used for producing premium-quality renewable diesel and other renewable products from almost any waste fat or vegetable oil. The feedstock selection available for Neste’s renewable diesel has been successfully expanded to more than 10 raw materials. The company is engaged in continuous development work to further expand the raw material base.

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Australia and Japan developing safety standards for marine transport of liquid hydrogen; KHI building carrier

16 January 2017

Australia and Japan recently signed a memorandum at the headquarters of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) which will allow liquid hydrogen (LH2) to be shipped in bulk for the first time. Ship containment systems are being developed in Japan that will be capable of safely transporting liquid hydrogen in bulk from Australia to Japan as part of a pilot project scheduled to commence in 2020.

Bulk gas cargoes are carried under the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code) which is a mandatory code under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention. The IGC code does not currently allow for the transportation of liquid hydrogen.

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DOE and USDA issue notice of intent for Biomass Research and Development Initiative

15 January 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Bioenergy Technologies Office, in coordination with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA's) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), announced its intent to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) through the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. (DE-FOA-0001711)

Projects funded through this RFA, titled “Fiscal Year 17 Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI),” will help develop economically and environmentally sustainable sources of renewable biomass, and increase the availability of renewable fuels and biobased products. The BRDI program requires that funded projects address at least one of the following three legislatively mandated technical areas:

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Renault introduces two new electric light commercial vehicles

14 January 2017

At the Brussels Motorshow in Belgium, Renault Pro+ introduced two new electric light commercial vehicles—New Kangoo Z.E. and Master Z.E.—to its line-up, bringing the total to four. The company is also expanding its range of connected services for commercial customers as well as its specialist network.

New Kangoo Z.E. features a new battery, new engine, new charger, new innovative connected services, and a heat pump in the air conditioning system. New Kangoo Z.E. is equipped with a new “Z.E.33” battery (33 kWh) and also gains a new motor developing 60 hp and based on the ZOE R75/90 motor. It is built in France at the Renault Cléon plant.

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Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

14 January 2017

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging three Takata executives with wire fraud and conspiracy in relation to the same conduct.

According to the company’s admissions, in the late 1990s, Takata began developing airbag inflators that relied upon ammonium nitrate as their primary propellant. From at least in or around 2000, Takata knew that certain ammonium nitrate-based inflators were not performing to the specifications required by the auto manufacturers. Takata also knew that certain inflators had sustained failures, including ruptures, during testing.

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Achates Power building 2.7L opposed-piston light-duty engine; exceeding CAFE 2025, Tier 3 targets at lower cost

13 January 2017

Stemming from a major project partially funded with a $9-million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to develop an opposed-piston two-stroke gasoline compression ignition engine (OPGCI) (earlier post), Achates Power announced it is developing a 2.7-liter, 3-cylinder (i.e., six-piston) light-duty version of its opposed piston engine (OPE) in both diesel- and gasoline-fueled versions. Achates will demonstrate the engine in 2018 in a driveable light-duty truck.

The 2.7-liter compression-ignition OPE will will be 30-50% more fuel efficient than comparable diesel and gasoline direct injection engines, reduce emissions and cost less than alternative technologies under development for meeting 2025 CAFE fuel economy and Tier 3 emission targets.

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EPA to maintain light-duty vehicle GHG standards unchanged through 2025

13 January 2017

In an expected ruling, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy finalized her decision to maintain the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.) The EPA says that a wide variety of effective technologies are available to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks, and that automakers are well positioned to meet the standards through model year 2025 at lower costs than the agency earlier predicted.

The standards are projected to result in average fleet-wide consumer fuel economy sticker values of 36 miles per gallon (mpg) by model year 2025, 10 mpg higher than the current fleet average. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to weigh in on the results of its midterm evaluation for fuel economy standards.

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ICCT: New RDE regulations not enough to control diesel car NOx fully; additional actions required

13 January 2017

Real-world NOx emissions from new diesel cars could still exceed the Euro 6 emission limit of 80 mg/km by a factor of three or more, even after the new Real-Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation takes effect, according to a new white paper released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, taking specific actions beyond those mandated in the regulation—such as introducing spot checks for randomly selected vehicles and expanding the range of driving conditions covered by RDE testing—could reduce new diesel car NOx emissions to 96 mg/km—just 1.2 times the Euro 6 limit—by 2022.

For the study, the team analyzed an extensive set of diesel car emissions data using modeling of the boundary conditions of the RDE regulation. The researchers also examined the impact of ICCT’s proposed modifications.

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USDA: US corn-based ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 43% compared to gasoline, with additional benefits projected through 2022

13 January 2017

A new lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds that GHG emissions associated with corn-based ethanol in the United States are about 43% lower than gasoline when measured on an energy-equivalent basis. Unlike other studies of GHG benefits, which relied on forecasts of future ethanol production systems and expected impacts on the farm sector, this study reviewed how the industry and farm sectors performed over the past decade to assess the current GHG profile of corn-based ethanol.

The new report, A Life-Cycle Analysis of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Corn-Based Ethanol, found greater lifecycle GHG benefits from corn ethanol than a number of earlier studies, driven by a variety of improvements in ethanol production, from the corn field to the ethanol refinery. Farmers are producing corn more efficiently and using conservation practices that reduce GHG emissions, including reduced tillage, cover crops and improved nitrogen management. Corn yields are also improving—between 2005 and 2015, US corn yields increased by more than 10%.

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