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Meritor makes strategic investment in TransPower to accelerate medium- and heavy-duty electrical vehicle platforms

11 December 2017

Meritor, Inc., a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets, has made a strategic investment in TransPower, a provider of electrification technologies for large commercial vehicles. (Earlier post, earlier post.) Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

California-based TransPower supplies integrated drive systems, full electric truck solutions and energy-storage subsystems to major manufacturers of trucks, school buses, refuse vehicles and terminal tractors. The company has been focused exclusively on developing electrical drive solutions for more than seven years.

Continue Reading “Meritor makes strategic investment in TransPower to accelerate medium- and heavy-duty electrical vehicle platforms”

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Porsche reports ~60% of new Panamera models delivered in Europe are with plug-in hybrid drive; ramping up for Mission E

11 December 2017

Porsche reports that around 60% of all new Panamera models that have been delivered in Europe were equipped with a hybrid drive. The new Panamera plug-in hybrid models were launched on the European market in June 2017. The Panamera plug-in hybrids (Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive) have a purely electric range of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles). (Earlier post.) The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid flagship model delivers exceptional performance and maximum efficiency, with a four-liter V8 engine and an electric motor generating a system power of 680 hp. (Earlier post.)

In some countries, the proportion of Panamera hybrids is even higher. In France, for example, the figure is 70%, in Austria it is more than 80% and in Belgium it is even more than 90%. In Norway, 90% of all Panamera customers order a hybrid model, while in Finland the figure is 85%. “Electromobility is the future,” Albrecht Reimold, Member of the Executive Board for Production and Logistics at Porsche AG, said at a presentation of the new Panamera plug-in hybrid models.

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ZITY car sharing launches in Madrid with 500 Renault ZOE EVs arriving this month

11 December 2017

A fleet of 500 all-electric Renault ZOE superminis will be arriving in Madrid this month with the car-sharing service ZITY, the result of a cooperation between Renault and the urban services operator Ferrovial. (Earlier post.) This new car-sharing scheme covers a wide area of the Spanish capital. Madrid has the highest rate of daily car-sharing in Europe due to the city’s size, population, traffic problems and air pollution issues.

At times of intense air pollution, electric vehicle parking in Madrid is free; EVs are still permitted access to the city center at times when entry restrictions on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are at their most drastic. In June 2018, Madrid’s “Hyper-center” will be permanently out of bounds to ICE vehicles. These conditions led to Renault and Ferrovial to sign an agreement in August to launch ZITY.

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Two-stage catalytic fast hydropyrolysis of biomass produces biofuel with heating value, aromaticity close to gasoline

11 December 2017

A team at the University of Connecticut Storrs reports on a two-stage catalytic fast hydropyrolysis process (CFHP) that produces a drop-oin biofuel with heating value and aromaticity close to that of gasoline. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.

The two-stage CFHP followed by hydroprocessing produced nearly 18 mol% carbon yield to alkanes, and a total bio-oil carbon yield of 25 mol%. The approximate bio-oil higher heating value (HHV) and aromaticity were 43.4 MJ/kg and 28 wt%, respectively—both within the range of gasoline.

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European Parliament, Council and Commission reach agreement on vehicle type-approval; EU oversight

11 December 2017

Last week, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached a political agreement to raise the quality level and independence of vehicle type-approval and testing; to increase checks of cars that are already on the EU market; and to strengthen the overall system with European oversight.

Under current rules, the EU sets the legal framework but national authorities are fully responsible for checking car manufacturers’ compliance. Once a car is certified in one Member State, it can circulate freely throughout the EU. Only the national authority that type approved a car can take remedial action such as ordering a recall and imposing administrative penalties in case of non-compliance. The Commission was already reviewing the EU type-approval framework for motor vehicles prior to the Volkswagen revelations in September 2015. It then concluded on the need for more far-reaching reform to prevent cases of non-compliance from happening again, which it proposed on 27 January 2016.

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Researchers in Japan propose a more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste; fast reactor system shortens the lifetime of LLFPs

11 December 2017

A team of scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) working in collaboration with Tohoku University, Tokyo City University and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency has proposed a novel, more efficient method to reduce radioactive waste.

Their approach involves converting radioactive material into short-lived nuclides by absorbing surplus neutrons in the core peripheral portion of a small fast reactor faster than they are generated in the core. The new method, published in an open-access paper in Scientific Reports, could significantly reduce the effective half-life (an indicator of the amount of time it takes to bring radioactive materials down to safe levels) of long-lived fission products (LLFPs) from hundreds of thousands of years to within a hundred years.

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DOE to award up to $30-60M for advanced nuclear energy technology in FY 2018; $400M over 5 years

10 December 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001817) to support development of advanced nuclear energy technology. DOE expects to make up to approximately $30 million to $60 million—contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress—available in FY 2018 awards, subject to the availability of funding.

The FOA will be open for a five-year period accepting applications on a year-round basis, with a quarterly selection process. Additional funding will be available in future years, as allocated by Congress. Total estimated program funding over the five years is $400 million, again contingent upon Congress.

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Scientists create cheap and safe electro-catalysts for anion-exchange fuel cells

10 December 2017

Scientists from the University of Surrey and their colleagues have produced non-metal electro-catalysts for fuel cells that could pave the way for production of low-cost, environmentally friendly energy generation.

In a study published in the Journal of Power Sources, the team from Surrey worked with colleagues from Queen Mary University of London to create low-cost carbon based electro-catalysts for anion-exchange membrane fuel cells (AEMFC). The catalyst helped to achieve a power density performance of 703 watts per square centimeter squared (mW cm-2) from the fuel cells—this compares to a performance of just 50 mW cm-2 from previous studies in this area.

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EIA: India’s steel industry dominated by electric-based processes; intensive coal use for DRI

9 December 2017

India is the third-largest steel producer in the world after China and Japan, having surpassed other large steel-making countries such as the United States, Russia, and South Korea over the previous decade, according to the World Steel Association. In 2016, about 57% of India’s steel was produced using electric-based methods—the second-highest proportion of electric-based steel production among major steel producers, behind only the United States, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Most other large producers use basic oxygen steelmaking processes.

The main feedstock for electric steel is scrap and direct reduced iron (DRI)—DRI being used primarily in India and the Near East. Two unique features of the steel industry in India are the large-scale use of electric induction furnaces for electric-based steelmaking rather than electric arc furnaces and the reliance on coal, rather than natural gas, to produce DRI.

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Nissan to launch car-sharing service in Japan with new LEAF, Note e-POWER

9 December 2017

As part of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan will introduce a car-sharing service in Japan enabling users to experience the company’s advanced technologies in vehicle electrification and intelligence. The service, named e-share mobi, will begin 15 Jan 2018, and will initially feature the new, all-electric Nissan LEAF and the Nissan Note e-POWER.

The service will initially be offered at about 30 stations in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Nara, Wakayama and other prefectures in Japan. It will also be expanded to other regions throughout the nation.

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Chicago Area Clean Cities names American Lung Association 2017 Clean Fuels Champion

8 December 2017

The American Lung Association has been named the 2017 Clean Fuels Champion by Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC), a nonprofit coalition dedicated to promoting clean-energy and clean-air solutions for transportation in the Chicago area impacting nearly 9 million people. The Clean Fuels Champion was awarded last night at the coalition’s Annual Meeting.

The American Lung Association oversees the Clean Air Choice program throughout the United States promoting alternative renewable fuels such as biodiesel and E85, partnering with fleets to replace legacy diesel engines, and by supporting the clean-air advantages of electric and hybrid vehicles.

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Renault takes Level 4 EV SYMBIOZ demo car on the road

8 December 2017

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Renault unveiled the SYMBIOZ autonomous, electric and connected concept. (Earlier post.) The automaker has now embodied many of the elements of the show car in a demo vehicle that is currently performing road tests to demonstrate under real-life conditions the benefits of such a car.

This demo vehicle embodies the brand’s mid-term vision before 2023 and previews technology Renault customers may find in its production car range in the near future. This includes an evolved version of MULTI-SENSE technology, which adapts the ambiance and driving experience to customer mood in the Mégane, Scénic, Talisman and Espace in the current range. The demo car also showcases features from the “EASY CONNECT”, new-generation mobility and connected services solutions, and previews the Renault Autonomous drive technology that will be progressively deployed in the range under the name “EASY DRIVE”.

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