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ABB launches first DC fast charger compliant with Chinese GB standard

21 August 2014

ABB launched Terra 53 Z, its first high power DC fast charger that complies with the Chinese GB standard. (Earlier post.) The new chargers will be manufactured locally in Shenzhen at ABB’s recently established base for electric vehicle chargers.

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DOE to issue funding solicitation for algal biofuels and bioproducts; targeting <$5 gge by 2019

20 August 2014

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) (DE-FOA-0001162) entitled “Targeted Algal Biofuels and Bioproducts (TABB)”. The TABB FOA seeks to reduce the cost of algal biofuels.

BETO’s 2019 projected state of technology (SOT) for the cost of algal biofuels is modeled at about $8 per gallon gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) based on a lipid extraction pathway without valuable co-products. The TABB FOA will support work at bench and process development scales to develop valuable co-products, crop protection, and CO2 utilization strategies. BETO expects the TABB FOA to result in modeled mature algal biofuel costs of less than $5 gge by 2019.

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Volvo Trucks introduces new monofuel natural gas version of FE

20 August 2014

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Volvo FE CNG. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Trucks is expanding its model range in Europe with a new version of the Volvo FE running entirely on natural gas. The Volvo FE CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been primarily developed for operations involving short driving cycles with repeated starts and stops such as refuse collection and local distribution.

The Volvo FE CNG is powered by an all-new 9-liter Euro 6 engine featuring spark plug technology that produces 320 hp (239 kW) and 1356 N·m (1000 lb-ft) of torque. Spark plug technology is particularly suitable for driving cycles where the truck covers short distances with a lot of start-stop traffic, said Christina Eriksson, Business Manager Alternative Drivelines at Volvo Trucks.

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NEVS presents Saab 9-3 EV prototype

20 August 2014

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Under the hood. Click to enlarge.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the company working to resurrect the Saab brand, presented the Saab 9-3 Electric Vehicle as designed and produced as part of a prototype series in Trollhättan. NEVS halted production of the conventional Saab 9-3 Aero in May as it struggles to sort out its financing. (Earlier post.)

The EV prototype is a modified Saab 9-3 Aero Sedan in which the batteries are placed under the floor, keeping the full interior space as well as the luggage compartment intact. The car is equipped with lithium-ion batteries from Beijing National Battery Technology, a company within the Chinese group of green tech companies owned by Kai Johan Jiang’s company National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd.

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OCM company Siluria pulls in $30M in D round led by Saudi Aramco; methane to fuels and chemicals

20 August 2014

Siluria Technologies, a pioneer in the commercialization of an oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) technology to produce ethylene from natural gas (earlier post), announced the initial close of its Series D financing round. The round was led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), the venture investment subsidiary of Saudi Aramco and included additional investments by all of the major existing investors in Siluria. The total raise for this initial close of the Series D financing was $30 million.

With this initial Series D financing, Siluria has raised just under $100 million since its inception. Siluria is currently in discussions with additional strategic and financial investors to complete a total Series D financing of approximately $50 million.

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U. Mich study: natural-gas-based ICE, BEV and FCV all show promise for environmental benefits relative to conventional ICE

19 August 2014

Results of a lifecycle analysis by a team at the University of Michigan suggest that multiple types of natural gas-powered vehicles—i.e., natural-gas burning ICE vehicles; battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) recharged with gas-generated electricity; and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) using hydrogen produced from natural gas—all show promise for reducing environmental impacts, energy demand and climate change impacts relative to conventional petroleum-fueled internal combustion engined vehicles for personal mobility.

Qiang Dai and Christian Lastoskie found that BEVs and FCVs in particular offer significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially if carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies are implemented at the fuel conversion facilities. Their study appears in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

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JBEI researchers develop “bionic” liquids: ionic liquids derived from lignin and hemicelullose; towards closed-loop biorefineries

19 August 2014

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Hypothetical process flow for a closed-loop biorefinery using ionic liquids derived from lignocellulosic biomass (“bionic liquids”) for biomass deconstruction. Socha et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed “bionic liquids”—ionic liquids derived from lignin and hemicellulose, two by-products of biofuel production from biorefineries. JBEI is a multi-institutional partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) that was established by the DOE Office of Science to accelerate the development of advanced, next-generation biofuels.

Ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels. The concept of bionic liquids opens the door to realizing a closed-loop process for future lignocellulosic biorefineries, and has far-reaching economic impacts for other ionic liquid-based process technologies that currently use ionic liquids synthesized from petroleum sources, said Blake Simmons, a chemical engineer who is JBEI’s Chief Science and Technology Officer and heads JBEI’s Deconstruction Division.

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3rd generation Audi TT reduces full lifecycle GHGs by 11% compared to predecessor

18 August 2014

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Lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for 2nd and 3rd generation TTs. Click to enlarge.

Audi’s new third-generation TT reduces life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 11% compared to its predecessor. This results in a reduction of around 5.5 tonnes of GHGs—CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and halogenated organic emissions—over its entire lifecycle. At the same time, Audi has increased the power output in the new TT by up to 14%.

A number of technologies have contributed towards the positive life cycle assessment of the Audi TT, including lightweight construction. Using an intelligent combination of materials, Audi engineers have, for the second time in a row, succeeded in reducing the car’s unladen weight.

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NHTSA releases advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on V2V, supporting research report

18 August 2014

The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) and a supporting comprehensive research report on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology. NHTSA is working to deliver a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by 2016.

The report will include analysis of the Department’s research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits, while the ANPRM seeks public input on these findings to support the Department’s regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles.

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MIT team proposes process to recycle lead-acid batteries to fabricate solar cells

18 August 2014

Researchers at MIT have devised an environmentally-responsible process to recycle materials from discarded automotive lead-acid batteries to fabricate efficient organolead halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs)—a promising new large-scale and cost-competitive photovoltaic technology. The process simultaneously avoids the disposal of toxic battery materials and provide alternative, readily-available lead sources for PSCs.

The system is described in a paper in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science, co-authored by professors Angela M. Belcher and Paula T. Hammond, graduate student Po-Yen Chen, and three others.

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ORNL researcher suggests that most consumers better off with <100-mile EV range until battery costs drop to $100/kWh

18 August 2014

Until battery cost is cut down to $100/kWh, the majority of US consumers for battery electric vehicles (BEV) will be better off by choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles, according to a new study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researcher Zhenhong Lin.

The research, published in Transportation Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), suggests reconsideration of the R&D goal that battery electric vehicles should have a driving range similar to that of conventional vehicles. It also implies that the focus of policy and R&D should be on continued reduction of battery costs to make short-range BEVs more price-competitive.

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Saleen introduces $152K FOURSIXTEEN performance version of Tesla Model S

18 August 2014

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FOURSIXTEEN. lick to enlarge.

Saleen Automotive unveiled its FOURSIXTEEN Tesla Model S-based (the 85 kWh performance model) vehicle at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this past weekend. In addition to an enhanced aerodynamics package, the FOURSIXTEEN is propelled by Tesla’s 3-phase, four-pole AC induction motor and copper rotor with an upgraded Saleen drivetrain including an all-new 11.39:1 final gear ratio for quicker acceleration. Power (416 hp/310 kW) and torque (N·m) remain the same as in the base P85 Tesla Model S.

Also new for the FOURSIXTEEN is a Saleen-specific MAXGRIP locking differential that allows each wheel efficiently to apply rotational force and maximize traction and grip in performance environments. Saleen says that all of its engineered driveline components increase efficiencies in torque management, give a track-capable throttle response, and provide faster acceleration.

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