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DOE releases report from 6 projects evaluating EV charging impacts on grid and customer charging behaviors

21 December 2014

Charging patterns with (TOU) and without (RES) whole house time-of-use rate during summer weekdays at Progress Energy, one of the participating utilities. (Peak period is in gray.) Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a report detailing the findings from six utilities which evaluated operations and customer charging behaviors for in-home and public electric vehicle charging stations. The work was done under the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability’s (OE) Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG program).

This report provides the results of these SGIG projects to help individual utilities determine how long existing electric distribution infrastructure will remain sufficient to accommodate demand growth from electric vehicles, and when and what type of capacity upgrades or additions may be needed. The report also examines when consumers want to recharge vehicles, and to what extent pricing and incentives can encourage consumers to charge during off-peak periods.

Continue Reading “DOE releases report from 6 projects evaluating EV charging impacts on grid and customer charging behaviors”

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U Maryland team devises new method to stabilize high-capacity Si anodes for Li-ion batteries: interfacial oxygen

20 December 2014

Interfacial oxygen between the silicon and carbon improves electrode performance. Credit: ACS, Son et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at the University of Maryland have improved the cycle life of silicon/carbon matrix-composite electrodes by 300%, even at mass loadings, solely by the chemical tailoring of the interface between the silicon and the carbon with atomic oxygen.

The interface-tailored electrodes simultaneously attained high areal capacity (3.86 mAh/cm2); high specific capacity (922 mAh/g based on the mass of the entire electrode); and excellent cyclability (80% retention of capacity after 160 cycles)—among the highest reported. Even at a high rate of 1C, the areal capacity approaches 1.61 mAh/cm2 at the 500th cycle. In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the team sugests that interfacial bonding—“a new dimension that has yet to be explored,”—can play an unexpectedly important role in addressing the multifaceted challenge of Si anodes.

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Tesla to begin piloting battery pack swap program for invited Model S owners

20 December 2014

Starting next week, Tesla Motors will pilot a battery pack swap program with invited Model S owners. The selected owners will have the opportunity to swap their car’s battery at a custom-built facility located across the street from the Tesla Superchargers at Harris Ranch, CA. Tesla intends the pilot program to test the technology and to assess demand.

The Harris Ranch Superchargers sit off the I-5, the interstate highway connecting Los Angeles (and San Diego) with the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento in the north. Harris Ranch is roughly equidistant from Sacramento (~187 miles); San Francisco (~183 miles); and LA (~199 miles).

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Ford CEO: Ford to focus on 5 key areas of innovation: mobility, autonomy, connectivity, customer experience and performance

19 December 2014

In a pre-Christmas media event, Ford president and CEO Mark Fields said while 2014 was a good year for the company, 2015 has the potential to be a “breakthrough year”. Fields said that Ford’s investments in products, people, plants and technology, combined with industry growth, are not only delivering a year of growth in terms of revenue, pricing power, operating margins and profitability in 2014, but are setting the stage for growth in and beyond 2015.

The global automotive industry is staged to experience $1 trillion of revenue growth over the next five years, Field said: from about $2 trillion today to about $3 trillion by the end of the decade. “That’s a tremendous amount of growth. We want to get our fair share of that growth.” In moving forward on that, Fields said, Ford will focus on five key areas of innovation: mobility, autonomy, connectivity, customer experience and performance.

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Volvo’s new Electric Hybrid (PHEV) buses with overhead fast charging enter scheduled service in Hamburg for first time; Innovation Route 109

19 December 2014

New Volvo Bus 7900 Electric Hybrid (plug-in hybrid) buses (earlier post) began scheduled operation in Hamburg on 18 December, coinciding with the opening of the Innovation Route 109. The public transport company in Hamburg, the Hamburger Hochbahn AG, is using the route to run comparative tests of innovative drive technologies under the strict everyday conditions of scheduled services. The city of Hamburg intends to acquire only emission-free buses from 2020 on.

Alongside three Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses, Volvo’s diesel hybrid buses in both 18 m articulated and 12 m versions will also be tested on the route, as well as battery fuel cell buses and fuel cell buses from other manufacturers.

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California to award up to $4M for projects to advanced smart charging and V2G technologies

19 December 2014

The California Energy Commission has issued a solicitation (PON-14-310, Driving the Integration of Electric Vehicles to Maximize Benefits to the Grid) to fund Applied Research and Development projects that will advance technologies and strategies for smart and efficient charging and vehicle-to-grid communication interfaces that will provide maximum benefits to both the electricity grid and the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market.

There is up to $4 million available for grants awarded under this solicitation. The minimum funding amount for each project is $500,000; maximum funding amount is $1.5 million. Match funding is not required for this solicitation; however, applications that include match funding will receive additional points during the scoring phase.

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U Texas Austin team finds P2S5 electrolyte additive enables use of Li2S bulk particles for high-capacity cathodes in lithium-sulfur batteries; ~800 mAh/g

19 December 2014

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, led by Prof. Arumugam Manthiram, have found that using phosphorus pentasulfide (P2S5) as an electrolyte additive enables the direct use of commercially available bulk Li2S particles as high-capacity cathode materials for rechargeable Li−S batteries, without intricate synthesis or application of a high charging cut-off voltage that deteriorates the electrolyte stability and safety.

The ability to use commercially available bulk particles could significantly decrease the manufacturing cost of Li−S batteries with a LiS cathode. In a paper published in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, the team suggested that this strategy is both of significance for the safe and effective use of Li2S as a cathode material and as a promising step toward the low-cost fabrication of metallic-lithium-free Li−S batteries.

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New high-voltage electrolyte additive supports high energy density and stability in LMNC Li-ion battery; 2x energy density over LiCoO2

18 December 2014

Discharge capacity and cycle numbers for LMNC cathode with and without DFDEC in the electrolyte. Pham et al. Click to enlarge.

A team led by researchers at Chungnam National University (S. Korea) has developed a novel high-voltage electrolyte additive, di-(2,2,2 trifluoroethyl)carbonate (DFDEC), for use with the promising lithium-rich layered composite oxide high-energy cathode material xLi2MnO3·(1-x)LiMO2 (M = Mn, Ni, Co).

In a study reported in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society, the team, led by Professor Seung-Wan Song, operated a 0.6Li2MnO3·0.4LiNi0.45Co0.25Mn0.3O2 (Li1.2Mn0.525Ni0.175Co0.1O2, LMNC) cathode at 2.5–4.8 V with 5 wt% of the fluorinated linear carbonate DFDEC as an additive. The cathode with DFDEC-enhanced electrolyte outperformed that in electrolyte only, delivering a high capacity of 250 mAhg−1 with an excellent charge-discharge cycling stability at the rate of 0.2C. A full cell based on the LMNC cathode and graphite anode successfully demonstrated doubled energy density (∼278 Wh kg−1) compared to ∼136 Wh kg−1 of a commercialized cell of graphite/LiCoO2 as well as an excellent cycling stability.

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Rice U team uses new computational methodology to identify high capacity MOFs for on-board natural gas storage

18 December 2014

Researchers from Rice University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have developed a computational methodology to support the experimental exploration of potential high-capacity metal organic frameworks (MOFs) for use in on-board storage of natural gas. The advantages to using MOFs as a storage medium are many and start with increased capacity over the heavy, high-pressure cylinders in current use.

In a paper in the ACS Journal of Physical Chemistry C, they report identifying 48 materials with higher predicted deliverable capacity (at 65 bar storage, 5.8 bar depletion, and 298 K) than MOF-5—the currently best available for the natural gas storage application. The best material identified by the researchers has a predicted deliverable capacity 8% higher than that of MOF-5.

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European automotive and automotive battery industries call for extension of the exemption of lead-based batteries from the EU ELV Directive

18 December 2014

The EU must continue to allow the use of lead-based batteries in vehicles as they are essential for the needs of future generations of European cars, according to the automotive and automotive battery industries in Europe. Lead battery and car manufacturers have requested that the current exemption for lead-based batteries within the ELV Directive’s wider ban on lead in light-duty vehicles is maintained for at least another eight years.

The comments are part of the formal submission made by the industry group to EU regulators who concluded the public consultation phase of the review of the End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive this week. Following the consultation the Commission is expected to release its opinion in the first half of 2015.

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Purdue process converts lignin in intact biomass to hydrocarbons for chemicals and fuels

18 December 2014

A team of researchers from Purdue University’s Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, or C3Bio, has developed a process that uses a bimetallic Zn/Pd/C catalyst to convert lignin in intact lignocellulosic biomass directly into two methoxyphenol products (phenols are a class of aromatic hydrocarbon compounds used in perfumes and flavorings) leaving behind the carbohydrates as a solid residue.

Lignin-derived methoxyphenols can be further deoxygenated to propylcyclohexane—a cycloalkane. Cycloalkanes are important components of not only traditional vehicle fuels such as gasoline and diesel, but also jet fuels, such as Jet-A/Jet-A1/JP-8.

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PBL/JRC: Global CO2 emissions increase to new all-time record in 2013, but growth is slowing down

18 December 2014

Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production reached a new all-time high in 2013, according to the annual report “Trends in global CO2 emissions”, released by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Joint Research Centre (JRC). This was mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies over the past ten years. However, emissions increased at a notably slower rate (2%) than on average in the last ten years (3.8% per year since 2003, excluding the credit crunch years).

This slowdown, which began in 2012, signals a further decoupling of global emissions and economic growth, which reflects mainly the lower emissions growth rate of China. China, the USA and the EU remain the top-3 emitters of CO2, accounting for respectively 29%, 15% and 11% of the world’s total. After years of a steady decline, the CO2 emissions of the United States grew by 2.5% in 2013, whereas in the EU emissions continued to decrease, by 1.4% in 2013.

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