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LeMond Composites licenses ORNL low-cost carbon fiber manufacturing process; transportation, renewable energy, & infrastructure

30 August 2016

LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, has licensed a low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber manufacturing process developed at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). (Earlier post.) The agreement will make Oak Ridge-based LeMond Composites the first company to offer carbon fiber produced by the process to the transportation, renewable energy, and infrastructure markets.

Invented by LeMond CEO Connie Jackson and a research team at ORNL’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF), the process is projected to reduce production costs by more than 50% relative to the lowest-cost industrial-grade carbon fiber.

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GM and US Army TARDEC to reveal Chevy Colorado-based fuel cell vehicle

30 August 2016

General Motors and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) will reveal a Chevrolet Colorado-based fuel cell electric vehicle in October at the fall meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C.

The fuel-cell version of the mid-size pickup is being developed under an agreement between TARDEC and GM signed in 2015 (earlier post). The collaboration enables TARDEC to access consumer-driven automotive technology for use in military applications while providing GM with feedback on non-standard fuel cell technology applications.

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Audi ups A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV technology offerings for US MY2017; virtual cockpit

30 August 2016

For MY 2017, Audi has updated its A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the US with improved technology offerings such as the available Audi virtual cockpit and standard driver assistance systems including Audi pre sense front.

The A3 Sportback e-tron continues to feature a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and a permanent magnet-driven electric motor to produce 204 hp (152 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 N·m) of torque. The e-tron accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds. 2017 EPA estimates not a available yet; the base 2016 model is EPA-rated at 83 MPGe, with up to 16 miles of all-electric range.

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XL Hybrids awarded DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot; testing of first diesel/XL3 combo at Argonne

30 August 2016

XL Hybrids, Inc. has been awarded test funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV). Testing validation and analysis of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for Reach walk-in commercial vans will be performed at Argonne National Laboratory. The goal of the SBV-funded project is to overcome specific technical challenges, the company said.

The Reach van from Utilimaster is a high-roof Class 3 delivery van that comes with a standard 151.4 inch wheelbase and the high efficiency 3.0L, 150 hp, Isuzu DOHC I-4 diesel engine. The XL3 hybrid system is available on the Reach van with 2,500 pounds payload capacity with the XL3 system installed. (Hybrid system weight is 385 lbs / 175 kg.)

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Neah Power wins DOE award to work with Argonne to increase capacity of PowerChip Li-metal battery

30 August 2016

Neah Power Systems, Inc., a provider of fuel cell-based power solutions and rechargeable lithium battery storage solutions for defense, commercial, and consumer applications, has won a grant from the US Department of Energy through the Small Business Vouchers Pilot Program. Neah will work with Argonne National Laboratory to increase the capacity and manufacturability of its PowerChip rechargeable lithium-metal / porous silicon battery.

The focus in this project is on characterizing the battery and performing a deconstruction analysis to determine methods to increase the energy density and / or increase the lifetime of the battery.

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Volkswagen and Hamburg enter 3-year strategic mobility partnership; e-bus development with MAN

30 August 2016

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the Volkswagen Group will collaborate over the next three years to jointly develop innovative solutions for making urban mobility more environmentally-friendly, safer, more reliable and more efficient. The cooperation aims to develop Hamburg as a model city for forward-looking, sustainable and integrated urban mobility.

Urban mobility concepts and intermodality, traffic control and management, autonomous driving and parking, innovative vehicle concepts and alternative technologies as well as air pollution control are the cornerstones of the partnership.

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NOHMs raises $5M for commercializing non-flammable, ionic-liquid containing electrolytes for EV batteries

29 August 2016

NOHMs Technologies Inc. (NOHMs), a Cornell University spin-out founded in 2010, raised $5 million in Series B venture capital financing to commercialize its non-flammable electric vehicle (EV) battery electrolyte technology. Phoenix Venture Partners II LP (PVP) led the round with Solvay Ventures, New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund (NYSIVCF), and angel investors.

NOHMs Technologies has developed a family of ionic-liquid-containing electrolytes that are stable above 4.5 volts in lithium ion cells. The two electrolyte product lines currently under development for electric vehicle (EV) batteries are:

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Dalian team synthesizes advanced catalytic layer for fuel cell MEAs; low Pt-loading, high mass activity

29 August 2016

Researchers at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (China) have synthesized an advanced catalytic layer in the membrane electroide assembly (MEA) for proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) using vertically aligned polymer–polypyrrole (PPy) nanowire arrays as ordered catalyst supports.

In a paper published in the Journal of Power Sources, they report that a single cell fitted with their MEA yields a maximum performance of 762.1 mW cm−2 with a low Pt loading (0.241 mg Pt cm−2, anode + cathode). The advanced catalyst layer indicates better mass transfer in high current density than that of commercial Pt/C-based electrode. The mass activity is 1.08-fold greater than that of US Department of Energy (DOE) 2017 target.

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Quanergy acquires Otus People Tracker software from Raytheon BBN for advanced autonomous driving and security LiDAR applications

29 August 2016

Quanergy Systems, Inc., the provider of solid-state LiDAR sensors and smart sensing solutions (earlier post), has acquired the Otus People Tracker software from Raytheon BBN Technologies. The software complements Quanergy’s existing software portfolio and, when used with Quanergy’s LiDAR sensors, creates an integrated hardware and software solution for advanced people detection and tracking applications within the security and autonomous driving markets.

Otus (named after a genus of owls) uses advanced algorithms to identify and to track people for safety and security in crowded environments at ranges exceeding 100 meters when used with Quanergy LiDAR sensors. The system features segmentation techniques identifying humans; background extraction; object clustering; sophisticated merge and split algorithms; persistent tracking algorithms; and other advanced features supporting robust crowd control. Support for multiple zones of interest is included, allowing users fine control over active monitoring.

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ORNL team presents solution for coordinating connected and automated vehicles at merging roadways; reduced fuel consumption and travel time

29 August 2016

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed an optimization framework and an analytical closed-form solution that addresses the problem of optimally coordinating connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) at merging roadways to achieve smooth traffic flow without stop-and-go driving.

They validated the effectiveness of the efficiency of their proposed solution through a simulation, showing that coordination of vehicles can significantly reduce both fuel consumption and travel time. A paper on the work is published in IEEE Transactions On Intelligent Transportation Systems.

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Amtrak invests $2.4B for next-gen Alstom Avelia high-speed trainsets and infrastructure upgrades

29 August 2016

Amtrak is contracting with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation Avelia Liberty high-speed trainsets that will replace the equipment used to provide Amtrak’s premium Acela Express service. The contract is part of $2.45 billion that will be invested on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC) as part of a multifaceted modernization program to renew and expand the Acela Express service.

The Northeast Corridor (NEC) line covers roughly 730 km (457 miles). In only ten years, the number of passengers has increased from 2.4 million passengers in FY 2002 to 3.5 million in FY 2014. The new trainsets will operate along the Washington – New York – Boston Northeast Corridor initially at speeds up to 160 mph (258 km/h) and will be capable of speeds up to 186 mph (300 km/h) and thus will be able to take advantage of future NEC infrastructure improvements.

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Select truck fleets boosted fuel economy 3% in 2015 compared to national Class 8 average

28 August 2016

Seventeen trucking fleets operating more than 62,000 tractors and 217,000 trailers recorded a 3% increase in fuel economy in 2015, saving an accumulative $501 million on fuel when compared to the 2015 national average fuel spend of 1.7 million over-the-road class 8 trucks. They achieved these gains by purchasing a variety of fuel efficiency technologies, according to the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).

As a result of these investments, fleet-wide mpg increased from 6.87 to 7.06 in 2015, the largest margin of improvement in eight years of consecutive improvements. The trade cycle for these fleets is a little over five years, meaning that the new trucks are about 16% more efficient than the 2010 model year trucks they replaced.

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