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New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage

29 November 2015

The new Audi R18 made its world premiere on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday. Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season.

The LMP1 race car that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 features innovative aerodynamics; represents the next stage in lightweight design; and has a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an efficiency-optimized TDI engine. The 2015 R18 e-tron quattro racer featured an encapsulated WHP flywheel energy storage system that sat in the cockpit alongside the driver. (Earlier post.)

Continue Reading “New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage”

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Dearman begins on-vehicle testing of Gen 2 transport refrigeration system powered by liquid air engine; lighter, more efficient

28 November 2015

Dearman has begun on-vehicle testing of the Generation 2 zero-emission transport refrigeration system. The system is powered by an innovative, liquid nitrogen Dearman engine, which replaces the standard diesel engine. (Earlier post.) As a result, the Dearman system is zero-emission, producing no harmful NOx or particulates, and it helps to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

Dearman began testing a Generation 1 transport refrigeration system on a truck in early 2015. Since then the Dearman engine has been re-designed and it is already proving to be 30% lighter, 30% smaller, and 30% more efficient than its predecessor.

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Toyota researchers develop truffle-inspired cathode material for Li-S battery with layer-by-layer self-assembled polymer membrane

28 November 2015

A team at Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA) (earlier post) has developed a nanostructured sulfur cathode with a truffle-like architecture which comprises a sulfur particle embedded with hollow carbon nanospheres and encapsulated with an ion-selective, flexible layer-by-layer (LBL) nanomembrane decorated with conductive carbon.

In a paper in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, the researchers report that such cathodes with a final loading of 65% sulfur can operate at a high rate of 2C (a 1C rate corresponds to a complete charge or discharge in 1 hour) for more than 500 cycles with nearly 100% coulombic efficiency.

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French researchers develop sodium-ion battery in 18650 format; performance comparable to Li-ion

27 November 2015

Researchers within the RS2E network on electrochemical energy storage (Réseau sur le stockage électrochimique de l’énergie) in France have developed the first sodium-ion battery in an 18650 format. The main advantage of the prototype is that it relies on sodium, an element far more abundant and less costly than lithium.

The energy density of the new Na-ion cell is 90 Wh/kg, a figure comparable with the first lithium-ion batteries; its lifespan exceeds 2,000 care/discharge cycles. The cells are also capable of charging and delivering their energy very rapidly. While numerous other laboratories are also working on Na-ion batteries (e.g., earlier post), none has yet announced the development of such an 18650 prototype.

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Navitas Systems awarded $7.2M contract to develop Gen 2 Li-ion military vehicle 6T batteries

26 November 2015

Navitas Systems LLC recently was awarded a four-year $7.2 million contract to develop second generation (Gen 2) lithium-ion batteries for military vehicles.

The US military and most NATO countries to-date have used lead-acid batteries in the 6T form factor to provide starting and energy storage for its ground vehicles. While this system is reliable and fairly inexpensive, it suffers from a number of significant drawbacks including low cycle life, low energy density/specific energy, poor recharge rate compared to other battery chemistries, high weight, and must be used in series pairs to meet the 24V electrical bus requirements on today’s more sophisticated military vehicles.

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KPMG study finds autonomous vehicles & mobility services could add one trillion more vehicle miles traveled annually by 2050

26 November 2015

Innovations in autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and mobility-on-demand will have a profound impact on consumers, particularly among younger and older people, according to a new study by KPMG. With these age groups set to embrace these technological and transformational changes, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the US will soar by approximately one trillion additional miles per year by 2050.

According to KPMG’s research, which consisted of consumer focus groups in Atlanta, Chicago and Denver, two generations will largely drive consumer demand in the future, the millennials and the “baby boomers plus”—ranging from 45 to 75 years. However, in every age group, participants showed significant attraction to mobility on demand for specific conditions or circumstances, including safety, weather, premium experience, and leisure time.

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Oil Jobs Lost: 250,000 And Counting; Texas Likely To See Massive Layoffs Soon

26 November 2015

by Charles Kennedy of

Crude oil just capped off a third straight week of declines, as WTI nears the $40 per barrel threshold. Goldman Sachs is once again raising the possibility of oil dipping into the $20s per barrel.

That spells more pain for the energy sector. Many companies have already slashed spending and culled their payrolls, but the total number of job losses continues to climb. According to Graves & Co., an industry consultant, oil and gas companies have laid off more than 250,000 workers around the world, a tally that will rise if oil prices remain in the dumps.

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VW’s relatively simple technical fixes for cheating 1.6 and 2.0L diesels accepted by KBA; 1.2L fix coming by end of month

25 November 2015

The Volkswagen Group has proposed the specific technical fixes for the non-compliant 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter diesel EA 189 engines equipped with the software defeat device resulting in excessive NOxemissions to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrtbundesamt, KBA). Following an examination, these measures have been ratified by the KBA. (The remedies announced by Volkswagen AG apply only to affected TDI vehicles in Europe, and not to affected TDI vehicles in the United States and Canada.)

For the 1.6-liter diesel, a “flow transformer” will be fitted directly in front of the air mass sensor. This mesh will calm the swirled air flow in front of the air mass sensor and thus improving the measuring accuracy of the air mass sensor. The air mass sensor determines the current air mass throughput—a very important parameter for the engine management for an optimum combustion process.

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Open Charge Alliance selects OASIS as the standard development organization for Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)

25 November 2015

The Open Charge Alliance (OCA) consortium has decided to standardize the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) at OASIS, an international open standards development organization (SDO). OCA said that the move to OASIS will provide an expeditious standardization process and potential pathway to integrate OCPP with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) framework.

OCA was formed to create a universal open communication standard—OCPP—to address the challenges associated with proprietary charging networks and to enable seamless communication between charging stations and vendor central systems. With more than 20,000 installations in 17 different countries, OCPP has become the de facto open standard for open charger to network communications, OCA said.

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Navigant Research Leaderboard puts LG Chem as leader for Li-ion batteries for transportation

25 November 2015

In its latest Leaderboard report on what it sees as the top 8 automotive Li-ion battery companies, Navigant research has put LG Chem in first place, followed closely by Panasonic and Samsung SDI in the “Leaders” segment. To qualify for the Leaders category, a company must perform exceedingly well in strategy and execution.

Navigant’s second category consists of the “Contenders”, which are companies that have exhibited staying power in the market despite relatively slow growth while boasting significant financial reserves for future investment. In the report, these are AESC, BYD, Johnson Controls and A123. Navigant’s third category, “Challengers”, has only Lithium Energy Japan.

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Ensyn granted EPA Part 79 approval for renewable gasoline

25 November 2015

Ensyn (earlier post) has been granted a key regulatory approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its renewable gasoline product, RFGasoline. This approval, pursuant to Title 40 CFR Part 79 promulgated under the Clean Air Act, is required for the sale of RFGasoline into US commerce.

This approval follows the recently announced Part 79 approval of Ensyn’s renewable diesel product, RFDiesel. (Earlier post.)

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ARPA-E awards $2.1M to Marine BioEnergy for open ocean farming of kelp for hydrocarbon biofuels

25 November 2015

Marine BioEnergy, Inc. was awarded $2.1 million in funding from the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) under the agency’s OPEN 2015 solicitation (earlier post). The funding will be used to research and develop open ocean farming of kelp as a biomass feedstock. The kelp will be processed into biocrude and further to hydrocarbons ready for commercial refineries.

Our collaborators in this effort include a team led by Professor James J. Leichter at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego, and a team led by Douglas C. Elliott at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.

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