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ORNL team engineers 1st high-performance, two-way oxide catalyst; outperforms platinum; potential for new electrochemistry systems

28 May 2016

A research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has created the first high-performance, two-way oxide catalyst and filed a patent application for the invention. The new bi-directional catalyst can outperform platinum in oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution reactions (ORR and OER). The accomplishment is reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

The discovery may guide the development of new material systems for electrochemistry. Energy storage devices, such as fuel cells and rechargeable batteries, convert chemical energy into electricity through a chemical reaction. Catalysts accelerate this process, making it more efficient. In particular, an oxygen reduction catalyst extracts electrons from oxygen molecules, while an oxygen evolution catalyst drives the reaction in the opposite direction. Catalytic reactions that proceed in both directions are required for charging and discharging of regenerative energy storage devices.

Continue Reading “ORNL team engineers 1st high-performance, two-way oxide catalyst; outperforms platinum; potential for new electrochemistry systems”

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Mercedes-Benz investing ~€3B in new engine technology; new diesel family, particulate filters for gasoline engines

27 May 2016

Mercedes-Benz is investing about €3 billion (US$3.4 billion) in engine technology to ensure further improvements in fuel consumption and emissions in gasoline and diesel engines in current as well as current vehicles, according to Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Board of Management Member for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

With the new E 220d, Mercedes-Benz introduced the completely newly developed four-cylinder diesel engine OM 654 (earlier post)—the first of a modular new diesel engine family that fulfills future RDE emissions requirements and that will be applied throughout the entire portfolios of Mercedes-Benz Cars and also at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

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2017 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV boosts total range to 610 miles

27 May 2016

Ford’s 2017 Fusion Energi—incorporating enhancements announced earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show (earlier post)—can travel 610 miles (982 km) on a full tank of gas and battery charge according to EPA estimates to be posted to—the highest combined range of any plug-in hybrid sold in the US. The 2016 model of the Fusion Energi has a combined range of 550 miles (885 km).

The 2017 Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is an estimated 21 miles (33.8 km). If there is gas in the tank, the car will then operate for about a mile using both battery and gas. After that, the gas engine kicks in for another 588 miles (946 km) of range, according to EPA estimates. The 2016 Fusion Energi has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 19 miles (30.6 km).

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Toyota and partners share first information from innovative car-sharing project in Grenoble

27 May 2016

Halfway into the three-year “Cité Lib by Ha:mo” car-sharing experiment in Grenoble (earlier post) Toyota and its project partners have shared the first results in terms of user profiles and usage.

Based on the idea that multimodality was one of the keys to solving city traffic gridlock and pollution, the project makes available 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, the Toyota i-ROAD and COMS, on a sharing platform called Ha:mo (harmonious mobility). These eco vehicles can be hired up to one hour before use and are located in one of 27 charging stations installed and operated by Sodetrel, a subsidiary of French energy company EDF. The stations can handle the service’s proprietary badge or any existing public transport subscriber badge. People can use them either in a round-trip or one-way pattern, and they can be booked on a smart phone. Users can also plan their multimodal city trips by connecting to the Grenoble metropolis’ route planning service, Métromobilité.

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NIST, partners create new international standard to improve sustainable manufacturing

27 May 2016

A public-private team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a new international standard that can “map” the critically important environmental aspects of manufacturing processes, leading to significant improvements in sustainability while keeping a product’s life cycle low cost and efficient.

ASTM member Kevin Lyons, group leader, National Institute of Standards and Technology, notes that the new standard (ASTM E3012-16, Guide for Characterizing Environmental Aspects of Manufacturing Process) provides structure and formalism to ensure consistency in characterizing sustainable manufacturing processes. From there, computers can provide information and analytics on production and performance. Lyons explains that using the standard will help business transition into science-based modeling, decision-making, and production.

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Bosch develops 48V electric powertrain for motorsport kart prototype with FIA and DMSB; new boost recuperation system

27 May 2016

FIA Electric, the New Energy Commission, and the German Motorsport Association (DMSB) presented an electric racing kart prototype—the “e-kart”—in Berlin. Bosch Motorsport developed the powertrain system together with these motorsport organizing bodies, as well as with Germany’s largest kart manufacturer Mach 1 Kart.

For this application, Bosch motorsport engineers developed a new boost recuperation system (BRS), the first generation of which will go into production at the company starting in 2017. The electrical components of the BRS support the internal-combustion motor in compact vehicles with up to 10 kW of additional power, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15% on the street. It also provides the internal combustion engine with an additional 150 N·m (111 lb-ft) of torque during acceleration.

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Johnson Controls funds two research projects with U Wisconsin to enhance fuel efficiency of start-stop vehicles and next-gen EVs

26 May 2016

Johnson Controls will fund two multi-year research projects at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) aimed at enhancing the fuel efficiency of start-stop and next-generation battery-electric vehicles. The projects will be funded by Johnson Controls, which includes a Fellows gift of $500,000. UW–Madison graduate students Jacob Dubie and Kevin Frankforter, the first recipients of Johnson Controls Distinguished Graduate Fellowships, will carry out the projects.

The first project will focus on identifying the aging mechanisms of absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries and supporting systems in start-stop applications and vehicle optimization strategies.

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Novelis commissions $120M finishing line for automotive aluminum sheet; importance of the closed-loop recycling program

26 May 2016

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, celebrated the commissioning of its third CASH (Continuous Annealing Solution Heat) treatment finishing line for aluminum automotive sheet in Oswego, NY. Installed to support the production of stronger, lighter and safer vehicles, the $120-million CASH 3 line expands the company’s production to supply aluminum sheet for the body and cargo box of Ford’s 2017 F-150 SuperDuty pickups. The CASH 1 and 2 lines supply aluminum for Ford’s F-150. With the addition of the third CASH line in Oswego, Novelis has furthered its position as the leading automotive aluminum sheet supplier in North America.

The commissioning of the CASH 3 line also marks the expansion of the benchmark closed-loop recycling program—developed by Novelis, Ford and Penske—which processes roughly 25 million pounds of automotive aluminum scrap per month—more than enough to build 30,000 F-150 bodies. (Earlier post.) Recycled aluminum, which requires significantly less energy and water, avoids 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with primary aluminum production.

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Pasha, Port of LA and California ARB partner on $26.6M Green Omni Terminal demo project; emerging zero and near-zero emission tech

26 May 2016

Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals L.P. and the Port of Los Angeles are launching the Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project, a full-scale, real-time demonstration of zero and near-zero emission technologies at a working marine terminal.

At full build out, Pasha will be the world’s first marine terminal able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources. The $26.6-million project is funded in part by a $14.5-million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants. As part of the project, Pasha will integrate a fleet of new and retrofitted zero-emission electric vehicles and cargo-handling equipment into its terminal operations and demonstrate the latest generation of advanced technology for capturing ship emissions from vessels unable to plug into shore power at berth.

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DSD and Solvay partner on use of structural plastics for lighter and more efficient transmissions

26 May 2016

Automotive engineering consultancy Drive System Design (DSD) and international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay SA, have entered a development partnership to make the large scale use of structural plastic composites in transmissions a viable solution for future vehicles. DSD is contributing the transmission know-how while Solvay the materials expertise.

There is an immediate weight saving from substituting plastic materials for conventional metal castings but equally important is the potential for improved efficiency due to the greater inherent damping provided by polymeric materials, the partners said. This permits the use of gears that are much more efficient but would have unacceptable noise characteristics in a conventional casing.

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PSI team demonstrates direct hydrocarbon fuel production from water and CO2 by solar-driven thermochemical cycles

26 May 2016

Solar-driven thermochemical cycles offer a direct means of storing solar energy in the chemical bonds of energy-rich molecules. By utilizing a redox material such as ceria (CeO2) as a reactive medium, STCs can produce hydrogen and carbon monoxide—i.e., syngas—from water and CO2. The syngas can subsequently be upgraded to hydrocarbon fuels by the Fischer-Tropsch process.

Now, a team from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland has demonstrated the direct production of hydrocarbon fuel—specifically methane—from water and CO2 by incorporating a catalytic process into STCs. A paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.

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PSA Group outlines electrification solutions for future hybrid and electric vehicles; 4 EVs, 7 PHEVs by 2021

25 May 2016

At its Innovation Day event, PSA Group presented its new electrification strategy. PSA Group is consolidating the development of its models on two global modular platforms—CMP and EMP2—allowing it to offer a wide range of internal combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid gasoline models from 2019.

Both platforms are optimized and lighter (25kg for EMP2 and 40kg for CMP) than current platforms, and offer greater modularity in terms of length, width, height and wheel diameter. Both platforms will be compatible with the manufacturing resources put in place as part of the Plant of the Future program. (Earlier post.)

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