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PROSUME blockchain-based platform for new peer-to-peer energy models; EV platform

24 September 2017

The PROSUME Energy Foundation has developed a blockchain-based platform to exchange electricity from renewable and fossil sources. It connects independent power producers, consumers, utility companies and energy communities in a locally shared market where each peer is free to interact in a multi-tenant ecosystem.

The decentralized and self-regulated monitoring system, promises an autonomous, independent and digitized smart place that will permit users to exchange different energy sources, promoting and accelerating new energy community models. Among the foreseen applications for the platform is electric vehicle management, data collection and identity management to empower EV rentals with energy barter systems.

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES introduces new 12nm FinFET technology; enhancements for next-gen automotive electronics

23 September 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF) plans to introduce a new 12nm Leading-Performance (12LP) FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) semiconductor manufacturing process. The technology is expected to deliver better density and a performance boost over GF’s current-generation 14nm FinFET offering, satisfying the processing needs of the most demanding compute-intensive applications from artificial intelligence and virtual reality to high-end smartphones and networking infrastructure.

The new 12LP technology provides as much as a 15% improvement in circuit density and more than a 10% improvement in performance over 16/14nm FinFET solutions on the market today. This positions 12LP to be fully competitive with other 12nm FinFET foundry offerings. The technology leverages GF’s expertise at Fab 8 in Saratoga County, N.Y., where its 14nm FinFET platform has been in high-volume production since early 2016.

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JRC study explores impacts of Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART)

22 September 2017

A new report by the EU’s Joint Research Center (JRC) explores how connected vehicles and intelligent systems could change transport and the (r)evolution these changes could bring to people’s lives. The report serves as a first input to anticipated policy formulation and also points to the need for further research in the field.

The JRC study “The r-evolution of driving: from Connected Vehicles to Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART)”, explores Coordinated Automated Road Transport (C-ART) scenarios and determines that transport will face three major shifts in the future: from conventional vehicles to connected vehicles; from connected vehicles to connected and automated vehicles; and from connected and automated vehicles to C-ART.

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Johnson Matthey targets coming EV market with $270M investment in battery material technology

22 September 2017

During its Capital Markets Day presentations, specialty chemicals company Johnson Matthey said it will invest an initial £200 million (US$270 million) starting in 2018 to build capacity to drive growth in a market which could be more than $30 billion sales when battery electric vehicle penetration increases to around 10%.

In addition to what it projects as “breakout growth” in Battery Materials, Johnson Matthey also said it expects to deliver sustained growth in Clean Air markets—including automotive exhaust treatment solutions—driven by share gains in European light duty and upcoming tighter legislation.

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Baidu announces Apollo 1.5 and $1.5B autonomous driving fund

22 September 2017

Baidu, Inc. announced the release of Apollo 1.5, the latest iteration of the company’s Apollo open-source autonomous driving platform that has gathered 70 strong partners so far. (Earlier post.) The company also announced a 10 billion RMB ($1.5 billion) Apollo Fund to invest in 100 autonomous driving projects in the next three years.

Building on Apollo 1.0, Apollo 1.5 opens up five additional core capabilities which include obstacle perception; planning; cloud simulation; High-Definition (HD) maps; and End-to-End deep learning, providing more comprehensive solutions to developers and ecosystem partners to accelerate the deployment of autonomous driving.

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New study suggests PM air pollution damages the kidneys

22 September 2017

Studies have shown that air pollution can have negative effects on cardiovascular health and life expectancy. Now new research indicates that it is also harmful to the kidneys. The study, which appears in an open access paper in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), shows that the effects on the kidneys are seen at low levels of particulate matter and increase linearly with rising levels of pollution.

Information on the relationship between air pollution and kidney disease is very scarce. To investigate, a team led by Ziyad Al-Aly, MD (Director of Clinical Epidemiology at the VA Saint Louis Health Care System) linked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs databases to examine information on 2,482,737 US veterans who were followed for a median of 8.5 years. Air pollution levels were also assessed using space-borne sensors from NASA satellites.

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Mercedes-Benz to set up EV production in US, battery plant; $1B investment in Alabama

21 September 2017

Mercedes-Benz will set up electric vehicle production in the United States. The company plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models at MBUSI (Mercedes-Benz US International), its Tuscaloosa, Alabama facility. At the time being launched, the EQ models will feature the latest status of automated driving—always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations.

In addition, a battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of advanced technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the US. In total, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative.

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ArcelorMittal S-in motion seat study cuts weight by up to 18.3% with AHSS; introduction later this year

21 September 2017

In 2010, leading global steelmaker ArcelorMittal launched its S-in motion range of lightweight steek solutions. (Earlier post.) Since then, the company has steadily expanded the range of solutions, which now cover many other types of vehicles and vehicle parts, including hybrid and electric vehicles, pick-up trucks, mid-size sedans and SUVs.

Front seats are the latest vehicle component to be examined as part of the ongoing development of lightweight S-in motion solutions, with a reduction in weight of up to 18.3%. The S-in motion Front Seats project identified where advanced high strength steels (AHSS) could be used to optimize and lightweight components while maintaining safety and performance. The scope of the study was a typical front seat for a C-segment passenger vehicle.

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Cornell team uses indium coating to enable use of high-capacity lithium metal anodes

21 September 2017

Researchers at Cornell led by Professor Lyndon Archer, in collaboration with Professor Ravishankar Sundararaman at Rensselaer Polytechnic, have demonstrated a new technique for enabling the use of high-capacity lithium metal anodes in rechargeable batteries.

In a paper in the journal Angewandte Chemie the team shows that the indium (In) coatings stabilize the Li metal via multiple processes, including exceptionally fast surface diffusion of lithium ions and high chemical resistance to liquid electrolytes. Indium coatings also undergo reversible alloying reactions with lithium ions, facilitating design of high-capacity hybrid In-Li anodes that use both alloying and plating approaches for charge storage. The resultant In-Li anodes exhibit minimal capacity fade in extended galvanostatic cycling when paired with commercial-grade cathodes.

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HRL engineers 3D print high-strength aluminum, solve welding problem using nanoparticles of nucleants

21 September 2017

HRL Laboratories researchers have developed a technique for successfully 3D printing high-strength aluminum alloys—including types Al7075 and Al6061—that opens the door to additive manufacturing of engineering-relevant alloys. These alloys are very desirable for aircraft and automobile parts and have been among thousands that were not amenable to additive manufacturing—a difficulty that has been solved by the HRL researchers.

An added benefit is that the method can be applied to additional alloy families such as high-strength steels and nickel-based superalloys difficult to process currently in additive manufacturing. A paper on the technique is published in the journal Nature.

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Tulane, SACHEM collaborate on SSZ-39 zeolite for improved SCR systems

21 September 2017

Members of Tulane University’s Shantz Lab will collaborate with scientists from chemical science company SACHEM to develop next-generation materials to reduce automotive emissions. SACHEM is funding the effort.

Under the direction of Daniel Shantz, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the Entergy Chair of Clean Energy Engineering, the lab members and SACHEM scientists will collaborate to improve the performance of the zeolite SSZ-39 in the selective catalytic reduction of NOx in automotive exhaust.

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U. Houston-led project looking for new exhaust treatment catalysts for low-temperature lean-burn combustion engines

21 September 2017

A chemical engineer from the University of Houston is leading a $2.1-million project to find new catalytic materials that work at lower exhaust temperatures, allowing automakers to build vehicles that operate more efficiently while retaining the ability to clean emissions before they leave the tailpipe.

Michael Harold, chairman of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UH, will serve as principal investigator on the grant, funded by the US Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE NETL). The project also includes researchers from the University of Virginia (UVA); Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). Engineers from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles Inc. and Johnson Matthey Inc. also will be involved in the project.

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