Pipe: Advanced tech

California ARB releases draft plan to cut short-lived climate pollutants

Wed, 2015-09-30 13:50

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) released a draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy. The draft strategy describes proposed actions the State will take to move forward aggressively to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs).

SLCPs include methane, black carbon and fluorinated gases (F-gases) such as refrigerants, insulating foam and aerosol propellants. They are harmful air pollutants and powerful contributors to climate change, trapping heat at many times the level of carbon dioxide, and are responsible for about 40% of current global warming, ARB said.

The draft strategy follows Governor Brown’s announcement last Thursday that California would reduce emissions of methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 40% below current levels by 2030, and black carbon by 50% below current levels by 2030. It also comes a week after bi-partisan legislation was re-introduced in the US Senate to address SLCPs nationally.

Black Carbon. Black carbon is not one of the climate pollutants originally included in international climate frameworks, and is not included in California’s AB 32 inventory. However, the draft notes, recent studies have shown that black carbon plays a far greater role in global warming than previously believed.

Black carbon is a component of fine particulate matter, which the State has addressed for decades through its efforts to improve air quality and reduce toxic air pollution from diesel vehicles.

California has cut emissions of black carbon by well over 90% since the 1960s. These efforts avoid an estimated 5,000 premature deaths in the State each year, have cut cancer risk from exposure to air toxics by nearly 70% since 1990, and have been linked to improved lung function and capacity in children.

These reductions have come from strong efforts to reduce on-road vehicle emissions, especially diesel particulate matter. Car and truck engines used to be the largest sources of black carbon emissions in California, but California’s existing air quality policies will virtually eliminate black carbon emissions from on-road diesel engines within 10 years.

… With the large reduction in emissions of black carbon from vehicles, other sources of black carbon emissions will become more significant contributors to the State’s black carbon inventory over time. In particular, without additional actions, off-road mobile, fuel combustion in the industrial and power sectors, and residential fireplaces will account for more than three-quarters of black carbon emissions in California in 2030. However, black carbon emissions from these sources have declined significantly, as well—by almost 30 percent since 2000.

… The largest source of black carbon emissions in California, by far, is wildfire. An average wildfire season contributes two-thirds of current black carbon emissions in California. …many of California’s forests are already in a perilous condition and require accelerated management and investment to protect them. Several Federal, State, and local agencies are currently coordinating on forest planning, which will lead to the development of a comprehensive Forest Carbon Plan in 2016. As part of this and related efforts, black carbon mitigation will be considered along with forest health, carbon sequestration, habitat and watershed production, and other drivers associated with protecting our forests.

Methane. California already has measures in place to reduce methane from many of its sources, and is developing a comprehensive framework to minimize methane emissions from oil and gas systems.

The draft strategy proposes achieving additional reductions through investments, incentives, regulations and other actions to capture value from organic waste streams in California that are responsible for about half of the state’s methane emissions.

Renewable energy, compost and other products from organic waste streams could represent a billion dollar market for California, with much of the economic activity centralized in the Central Valley and rural parts of the state.

To put these resources to good use, the strategy proposes a regulation that would effectively eliminate the disposal of organics in landfills by 2025, and actions to cut methane emissions from dairy manure by 75% below current levels by 2030.

Fluorinated gases. Under AB 32, the State already has a program in place to address leaks from commercial refrigeration systems that will cut F-gas emissions by an estimated 25% in 2020 below otherwise expected levels. Additional steps are proposed in the strategy to accelerate the transition away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in new refrigeration, air conditioning equipment and by taking early actions to significantly reduce these gases from commercial refrigeration.

International support is growing for an agreement in November to phase down the production and use of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. Doing so would significantly curtail greenhouse gas emissions from the fastest growing source globally. If an agreement is not reached in November, California may develop its own phase down, as Europe and other countries already are doing, ARB said.

arbcombo -- ARB releases the draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

Wed, 2015-09-30 13:39
The Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) has released, for public review, a draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (Draft Strategy).

Drayson Technologies introduces RF energy harvesting technology Freevolt; first application in air quality monitor

Wed, 2015-09-30 13:32

Lord Drayson, CEO and Chairman of Drayson Technologies, introduced Freevolt: an energy harvesting technology that turns ambient radio frequency waves (RF) into usable electricity to charge low-power electronic devices. The patent-pending technology was developed by an international team from Drayson Technologies and Imperial College London.

Drayson Technologies is the first to market with this technology, which is commercially available for license to the international developer and business communities.

Companies have been researching how to harvest energy from WiFi, cellular and broadcast networks for many years. But it is difficult, because there is only a small amount of energy to harvest and achieving the right level of rectifying efficiency has been the issue—up until now. With Freevolt, we have created something special. For the first time, we have solved the problem of harvesting usable energy from a small RF signal.—Lord Drayson

The Freevolt harvester comprises a multi-band antenna and rectifier, which is capable of absorbing energy from multiple RF bands at almost any orientation.

The small, lightweight design is scalable and suitable for a range of uses, from the ever expanding low-power Internet of Things, such as wearables, sensors and beacons, to built environments, with the potential to integrate Freevolt into the fabric of urban and industrial architecture.

The first commercial application of Freevolt technology is the CleanSpace Tag air sensor, which is currently being manufactured in the UK and is available for purchase as of today. This technology creates a crowd-sourced network of personal air sensors, initially across the UK and then expanding to major cities across the world, which will all be powered by Freevolt.

altfuels -- Draft Lower NOx Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines and Low Emission Natural Gas and Other Alternative Fuel Heavy-Duty Engines Technology Assessment

Wed, 2015-09-30 12:54
The California Air Resources Board (ARB/Board) announces the release of two draft documents: Technology Assessment: Lower NOx Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines and Technology Assessment: Low Emission Natural Gas and Other Alternative Fuel Heavy-Duty Engines .

Autoliv joins Volvo Cars’ Drive Me autonomous driving trial

Wed, 2015-09-30 09:19

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, and Autoliv, the automotive safety technology company, two of the world’s leaders in automotive safety, have agreed to work together on the Drive Me large-scale autonomous driving (AD) initiative. Drive Me involves 100 self-driving Volvos being used by families and commuters on public roads in everyday driving conditions in the Swedish city of Gothenburg—the first time AD cars are being made available to members of the public for daily use.

The two companies will work together to share research and development into the latest safety technologies and engineers and other industry experts from both companies will collaborate to push forward the introduction of active safety systems.

Drive Me is a broad collaboration of a number of public and private sector participants, including Volvo Cars, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Chalmers University, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. Autoliv’s established R&D and engineering expertise in automotive safety will contribute to the development of advanced active safety and autonomous driving technologies.

The range of participants in the Drive Me project reflects the many benefits associated with automated driving, such as more efficient road usage, more economical vehicle usage, less congested streets and better town planning.

The Drive Me project was started in 2013 and the first families are expected to be on the roads of Gothenburg in 2017.

Schaeffler preparing 48V mild hybrid Audi TT for road testing

Wed, 2015-09-30 09:19

Schaeffler has been testing and demonstrating the performance capabilities of 48 volt hybridization in a range of concept vehicles including the“Gasoline Technology Car” (GTC), co-developed with Ford and Continental and the “Schaeffler Efficient Future Mobility North America” vehicle, as launched at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show (NAIAS) (earlier post). Schaeffler is now applying 48V hybridization to an Audi TT.

The drive for the “Schaeffler System 48 V” is based around an electrified rear axle which complements the front-wheel drive internal combustion engine. An additional belt-driven starter generator is connected to the engine which also operates at 48 V. The 48 V on-board electric subsystem uses a lithium-ion battery as its energy store. It is connected via a voltage transformer to the 12 V on-board electric system which powers all the different electrical components in the vehicle, from headlights to seat adjusters.

The Schaeffler PROtroniC prototype control unit controls and regulates the interaction between the components. The way in which the drive elements work together depends on which of two driving modes—“Eco” and “Sport”—the driver selects.

In Eco mode, which optimizes fuel consumption, the engine is switched off as often as possible. Driving at lower speeds, in stop/start traffic or when maneuvering into a parking space is all electric. When braking, the electric machines act as a generator and recharge the lithium-ion battery.

“Active sailing” is also possible with the electric rear axle: If, for example, when driving in town at a constant speed, very little driving power is required, the engine remains switched off and the electric machine takes over. If the engine has to be used, it is quickly and smoothly started by the belt-driven starter generator. Under acceleration, the engine and electric motor work together, increasing the power in the system. Also, when the engine is supported by the electric machine, it can run at operating points which improve fuel consumption.

Overall, Schaeffler is anticipating a noticeable reduction in fuel consumption—precise measurements will be made available once the concept vehicle has been fully completed. Selecting the right drive configuration also provides increased driving stability. The electric rear axle can provide all-wheel drive for short periods, for example, when setting off on snow or ice.

The characteristics of the whole drive train change if the driver selects Sport mode. In this mode, the engine is used all the time. It sends a permanent charge to the battery via the belt-driven starter generator so that sufficient energy is always available to extract maximum performance from the system. In Sport mode, the torque produced by the electric motor is distributed between the two rear wheels via an integral torque vectoring gear stage.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln leading $13.5M effort to improve sorghum for biofuel

Wed, 2015-09-30 08:00

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will lead a $13.5-million, multi-institutional research effort to improve sorghum as a sustainable source for biofuel production.

Funded by the US Department of Energy, this five-year grant takes a comprehensive approach to better understand how plants and microbes interact, and to learn which sorghum germplasm grows better with less water and nitrogen. This research requires a range of expertise, and UNL is teaming with scientists at Danforth Plant Science Center, Washington State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Boyce Thompson Institute, Clemson University, Iowa State University, Colorado State University and the DOE-Joint Genome Institute.

Most US biofuels currently are made from corn, but sorghum varieties create more biomass for cellulosic ethanol. That makes it a top contender to replace corn and relieve pressure on an important global food source, said project leader Daniel Schachtman, professor of agronomy and horticulture and director of UNL’s Center for Biotechnology, who will lead this project.

It’s becoming more recognized that we need to move biofuel production to more marginal lands, so they don’t compete with food crops. You also don’t want to use a ton of water or fertilizer to keep the system productive. —Daniel Schachtman

To improve sorghum’s productivity under resource-limited conditions, the team is taking a systems approach. Researchers will investigate sorghum genetics as well as the soil microbes that interact with plants. The research should lead to strategies to increase plant biomass as well as more water use- and nutrient-efficient sorghum crop systems.

The work takes advantage of advances in marker-assisted breeding, metagenomics and computational genomic analysis. Geneticists will search for and study sorghum varieties that use water and nitrogen more efficiently under limited water or nitrogen conditions. At the same time, microbiologists will identify and characterize soil microbes that interact with and benefit sorghum, such as by enhancing nutrient uptake, water-use efficiency and disease protection.

Bringing both approaches together, the team will experiment to find the genetic and microbial combinations with the greatest productivity benefits.

The team also will create an extensive catalogue and repository of sorghum-related soil microbes and their genetic sequences as a resource for the scientific community.

Looking for microbial solutions to improve plant productivity is not well studied, so the project will advance scientific understanding in a potentially significant direction for other crops as well, Schachtman said.

The project’s strength is the interdisciplinary depth and expertise of the team, he added, because it allows the researchers to tackle sorghum production as a whole system. Working together, researchers expect to accomplish far more than is possible at any single institution.

UNL’s Ismail Dweikat, sorghum breeder and professor of agronomy and horticulture, and Arthur Zygielbaum, remote sensing expert and associate research professor of natural resources, are teaming with Schachtman on this project.

Toyota bringing advanced ITS technology to mass-market models in Japan; V2X

Wed, 2015-09-30 07:00

By the end of 2015, Toyota will make a new ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) safety package available on three models in Japan. The package, named ITS Connect, uses Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles. Equipping ITS on these three models will make Toyota the world’s first automaker to bring a driver assist function that uses a dedicated ITS frequency to market.

ITS Connect uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication (collectively V2X) to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. This includes traffic signal information and information about the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in blind spots.

By steadily expanding the range of vehicles equipped with ITS Connect, Toyota hopes to help reduce the number of accidents that occur near intersections. In Japan, this kind of accident accounts for roughly 40% of all traffic accidents.

V2I features in the ITS Connect package include:

  • Right-Turn Collision Caution. While waiting to turn right at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, drivers are warned by an audio and visual alert under the following circumstances: if they take their foot off the brake and start to move forward when another car is approaching from the opposite direction, when a pedestrian is crossing the road to the right of the vehicle, or when there are other potential hazards the driver may not have noticed.

  • Red Light Caution. When approaching an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, if the signal is red and the driver does not ease off the accelerator, the system will warn the driver with an audio and visual alert.

  • Signal Change Advisory. When stopping at a red light at an intersection fitted with the appropriate equipment, a display counts down the remaining time until the traffic light changes.

V2V features in the package include:

  • Communicating Radar Cruise Control. The system responds almost instantaneously to the acceleration and deceleration of other vehicles equipped with Communicating Radar Cruise Control. This allows two or more vehicles to maintain a safe distance and minimize speed fluctuations, making traffic flow smoother.

  • Emergency Vehicle Notification. When an ambulance equipped with a compatible communication device is sounding its siren nearby, the system notifies the driver with an audio alert, and displays the approximate location and distance of the emergency vehicle, as well as the direction in which it is moving.

Toyota has been developing ITS-compatible interfaces in collaboration with organizations in both the public and private sectors, with the aim of turning this kind of research into products as soon as practically possible.

In 2013, Toyota participated in the ITS Green Safety public-private collaborative demonstration project to assess the social effects and acceptance of such systems and in October 2014, Toyota participated in the ITS Connect Promotion Consortium to make the necessary preparations for ensuring the smooth introduction and widespread adoption of the system. Going forward, the goal is to integrate packages such as ITS Connect with other vehicle control technologies.

JAC and Ricardo develop production version of HyBoost concept; seeking 30% boost in fuel economy with same performance

Wed, 2015-09-30 06:00

Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co Ltd (JAC) and Ricardo are collaborating on a project to develop the Ricardo HyBoost concept (earlier post)—a combination of low-cost technologies to deliver improved performance and fuel economy which featured recently in the Ricardo Centenary celebrations —into volume production on a JAC vehicle.

The Ricardo HyBoost concept is based on a downsized, highly boosted turbocharged direct injection gasoline (TDGI) engine giving improved fuel economy at low cost, linked to a 48V electrical architecture including a belt starter generator (BSG), DC-DC converter and a lithium-ion battery for energy storage.

The BSG provides highly efficient generation of electricity for vehicle on-board use, including short-duration absorption of mechanical power during vehicle deceleration in the form of regenerative braking. It also enables re-starting of the engine after stopping, as part of an intelligent in-gear engine start/stop strategy.

The BSG also provides torque assistance to the engine to improve overall fuel economy. In addition, a 48V electric supercharger has also been evaluated during the concept phase, demonstrating beneficial low-speed torque augmentation and improved response.

The HyBoost collaboration between JAC and Ricardo commenced mid-2014 and has already successfully passed its mule vehicle development gateway, a major decision event for the program. The project team is now working to productionize the HyBoost concept for a JAC vehicle intended for launch in the Chinese market. This launch vehicle replaces the 2.0L MPFI engine with a downsized gasoline 1.5L TGDI unit and couples it with the 48V electrical system.

With this combination of technologies, JAC and Ricardo are aiming for a fuel economy improvement of in the region of 30% in comparison with current technology but with zero degradation of vehicle performance.

NEDC testing undertaken on the JAC mule vehicle during the concept phase of the program has served to verify the fuel economy targets are achievable without compromising driveability. NVH has been an area of focus in the development of engine mounting strategies. The collaboration is also extending to the detailed development of control strategies and software as part of the necessary powertrain systems validation.

Honda to highlight new FCV, NSX hybrid, NEOWING hybrid, production model of Odyssey Hybrid at Tokyo Motor Show

Wed, 2015-09-30 05:58

At the upcoming 44th Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Honda will showcase its all-new fuel cell vehicle—tentatively being called the FCV&mdash NSX hybrid supercar, and NEOWING three-wheeler hybrid, as well as stage the Japan premiere of the all-new Civic Type R and the planned production model of the Odyssey Hybrid equipped with the further advanced SPORT HYBRID-iMMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) system.

The new FCV sedan consolidates the entire fuel-cell powertrain under the hood of a sedan-type vehicle. This powertrain layout enabled a full cabin package that seats five adults comfortably. The FCV features a cruising range of more than 700 km (435 miles) on the JC08 mode. When paired with an external power feeding inverter, this FCV can function as a “mobile power plant” that generates and provides electricity to the community in the case of an emergency.

The all-new NSX is a supercar model that features the new-generation direct-injected twin turbo VTEC V6 engine mounted on a lightweight vehicle body in a mid-ship layout together with the high-output SPORT HYBRID SH-AWD (Super Handling-All Wheel Drive) hybrid system.

The all-new Civic Type R features the first application of Honda’s new 2.0-liter VTEC TURBO engine. The combination of original Honda VTEC technology, direct-injection technology and a turbocharger realized peak power output of 310 PS and peak torque of 400 N·m—both higher than for any previous Honda Type R model.

In combination with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Civic Type R development car set the world lap time record for a mass-production front-wheel drive vehicles at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany.

NEOWING is a three-wheeled vehicle that offers the cornering feel and sporty ride equivalent to a large-sized motorcycle while realizing excellent stability in low-speed ranges. This vehicle is equipped with a hybrid system that combines a horizontally-opposed 4-cylinder engine and electric motors to generate plentiful torque for powerful acceleration.

Renesas introducing R-Car W2R 5.9 GHz automotive wireless communication SoC for V2X communication

Wed, 2015-09-30 05:00

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the R-Car W2R system-on-a-chip (SoC), the first member of the new Renesas R-Car Family of devices developed specifically for V2X applications. The new automotive wireless communication SoC is designed for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication in the 5.9-gigahertz (GHz) band.

Through the use of Renesas’ exclusive RF system design technology, the R-Car W2R is the first in the world to succeed in suppressing out-of-band transmission signal noise below the -65 dBm stipulated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This makes it possible for products that use the R-Car W2R to achieve the best noise characteristics in the world. This enables high-quality signals with little interference to be transmitted, making it possible to implement vehicle-to-everything (V2X) at a practical level in various kinds of ADAS systems for supporting safe driving.

Transmitting high-quality signals with very little interference makes it possible to incorporate V2X into various types of Advanced Driving Assistance System (ADAS) applications, such as forward collision warning and lane keep assistance. The R-Car W2R also conforms to the IEEE 802.11p communication standard for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) used in Europe and North America.

Previous safe driving assistance systems relied on technologies such as camera images, infrared signals, and milli-wave radar (30 GHz to 300 GHz). However, there are tradeoffs with these, such as the inability to track traffic conditions over wide areas and difficulty obtaining information on vehicles approaching intersections where visibility is poor.

V2X aims to reduce vehicular accidents and traffic congestion by enabling direct, bi-directional communication between vehicles (V2V) and between vehicles and signal devices or road signs (V2I), without the need to route data through the cloud. V2X communication standards are being adopted in various countries, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate on V2V communications technology implementation, and a number of companies, including Renesas, are accelerating development work in this area with the expectation that V2X will become an important technology for drivers in the years ahead.

Europe and North America have already adopted the IEEE 802.11p 5.9 GHz band wireless communication standard, which enables vehicles to obtain information on approaching vehicles outside line of sight and over a wide area.

The R-Car W2R complies with this standard and enables the reliable collection of information on vehicles and infrastructures over a wide area to enable high-quality signal transmission. When combined with existing products based on the R-Car platform, it enables bi-directional V2V and V2I communication of information that cannot be picked up using camera images or radio waves. This allows ADAS systems development for enhanced safety and comfort, making it possible to alert the driver with accurate, real-time information.

Key features of the R-Car W2R SoC:

  • Exclusive RF system design technology that reduces out-of-band transmit emission to less than the –65 dBm level for the first time. The R-Car W2R is based on exclusive RF system design technology that reduces noise generation by the chip itself and combines with a filter to block external noise, resulting in the suppression of out-of-band noise to less than the –65 dBm level for the first time ever in a device of this type.

    This satisfies the demanding requirements set by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and delivers leading level of low out-of-band noise. This also makes it possible to track traffic conditions over wide areas and to obtain accurate information on vehicles approaching intersections where visibility is poor. Thus, 5.9 GHz band wireless communication can now be incorporated into driver assistance systems requiring the highest level of safety.

  • IEEE 802.11p compliance and single-chip integration of communication functions from RF to the physical layer and the data link layer. The R-Car W2R integrates the V2X communication functionality for linking RF to both the physical and the data link layers in a 10 mm x 10mm single package. This contributes to the compactness of vehicle information systems. Previously, separate chips were needed to link the RF and the physical layer and the RF and the data link layer. The R-Car W2R leverages Renesas technology to miniaturize analog circuit designs and mixed analog-digital design technology to accurately analyze the effects of noise generated by digital circuits on analog circuits.

  • V2X ecosystem helps system manufacturers reduce development time and costs. To help reduce ADAS design complexity for system manufactures working with the new R-Car W2R, Renesas has developed a starter kit, which combines all the components required in a V2X unit including the R-Car E2 SoC, which implements security IP ideal for V2X applications, and along with drivers and software verified with ITS protocol partners.

    The reference design, in which the R-Car W2R is integrated in a compact module with RF components in an optimized design, is available with the related design information to help reduce the initial design time and costs. All the components required in a V2X unit including the R-Car E2, which implements security IP ideal for V2X applications, are provided as part of a starter kit that also comes with drivers and software verified with ITS protocol partners. The system manufacturers can utilize the starter kit and Renesas ecosystem partners to migrate their own software, reducing the time required for verification testing and other processes.

Renesas plans to offer solutions with support for V2X applications by combining the R-Car W2R with existing R-Car products for cockpit and ADAS applications.

Samples of the R-Car W2R will be available from 1 October 2015, priced at US$30.00 per unit. Mass production of the R-Car W2R is scheduled to begin in December 2016 and is expected to reach a volume of 500,000 units per month by December 2018. (Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice.)

EPA updates air pollution standards for petroleum refineries; fenceline monitoring

Wed, 2015-09-30 04:53

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated air pollution standards to further control toxic air emissions from petroleum refineries. The rule requires first-of-its-kind fenceline monitoring to better protect and inform nearby communities, while also strengthening emission controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks, and delayed coker operations that will reduce thousands of tons of hazardous air pollutants.

When fully implemented, the rule will result in a reduction of 5,200 tons per year of toxic air pollutants, and 50,000 tons per year of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Also, as a co-benefit of these final standards, EPA projects that these standards will eliminate emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to approximately 660,000 tons per year of CO2.

The EPA estimates the capital cost of this final rule to be approximately $283 million, with an annualized cost of approximately $63 million. The EPA estimates that these final standards will have a negligible impact on the costs of petroleum products.

The action requires continuous monitoring of benzene concentrations at the fenceline of refinery facilities to ensure that refineries appropriately manage toxic emissions. The rule requires corrective action to protect neighboring communities from being exposed to harmful levels of emissions if the established standard level is exceeded. The new fenceline monitors must encircle the facility to detect benzene at very low levels, and the monitoring data will be posted on EPA’s website. In addition, in response to public feedback, the rule provides room for alternative monitoring methods in the future as technology advances.

Other specific requirements in this rule will virtually eliminate visible flare emissions and releases by pressure release devices by requiring a comprehensive program of process changes and pollution prevention measures for these emission sources. It will also require additional emission reductions from storage tanks and delayed coking units, some of which had no previous required controls.

This final rule is based on the risk and technology review of two emissions standards already in place at refineries: the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants From Petroleum Refineries (Refinery MACT 1) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Petroleum Refineries: Catalytic Cracking Units, Catalytic Reforming Units, and Sulfur Recovery Units (Refinery MACT 2).

This rulemaking was informed by a Petroleum Refinery Risk and Technology Review (RTR). During this scientific and technical review, EPA also engaged with key communities in the two years prior to proposing a regulation in 2014.

Tesla CEO Musk launches Model X electric SUV: “safest SUV ever”

Wed, 2015-09-30 03:01

Tesla launched the delayed battery-electric Model X SUV at an event at its Fremont factory Tuesday night (the launch event itself running behind schedule as well) with an emphasis first on the safety of the vehicle; second on the innovative falcon wing lifting rear doors and second row seating; and third on performance. The base all-wheel drive Model X 90D has a range of some 257 miles (414 km), with a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds; a “Ludicrous” P90 version of the SUV (earlier post) takes 3.2 seconds, said CEO Elon Musk.

Musk said that Tesla expects the Model X to receive 5 star safety rating from NHTSA in every area—the first SUV to do so. Indeed, Musk said, were there such a rating, the Model X should receive a 6-star rating based on the low probability of overall injury.

Tesla awards itself 6 stars. Click to enlarge.

Musk emphasized that basic design of car contributes to the overall safety. As one example, the small electric motor down low by the battery pack enables a longer distance for the crumple zone. The low center of gravity resulting from the low battery pack results in half of the rollover propensity of any current SUV or minivan, Musk said.

Further, the pack acts as a stiffening member for the whole, lowering the center of mass and serving as a low transfer medium for the rest of the vehicle.

Active safety features such as automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance help reduce the chance of accident in the first place. The Model S uses camera and radar to brake automatically before an accident. Ultrasonic sensors help steer the SUV away from side collisions.

Musk also emphasized Model X’s oversized HEFA filters, which provide “air cleanliness comparable to hospital operating room.”

We can’t even detect any viruses or bacteria or spores. Zero come through. If there is ever an apocalyptic scenario, just press the bioweapon defense mode button. —Elon Musk

In addition the falcon wing rear doors, the Model X front door is auto-sensing; it can detect the driver’s approach, open itself without driver touch, and then close once the driver is in the vehicle. The panoramic windshield feels like a helicopter cockpit, Musk enthused, and helps deliver the Model X’s “transformative driving experience.”

The Model X also features a blind holster for smartphones—i.e., a slot into which any popular phone can fit an connect and charge simply by the driver sliding the phone into it (Model X offers adapters) instead of “fiddling with a bunch of wires.”

The Model X, which shares powertrain elements with the Model S (90 kWh battery pack and front and rear drive motors, earlier post) has a 5,000 lb towing capacity. The dual motors digitally and independently control torque to the front and rear wheels. Unlike Audi’s e-tron quattro concept, which uses dual motors on the rear axle, Tesla opts for a single motor approach there. (Earlier post.)

At the event, Musk handed over the keys to the first six (well, five, the sixth was his) Founders Series models, which start at $132,000 for the base Model X 90D; the “Ludicrous” P90D costs $142,000, with slightly less range. No word yet on the availability of less expensive models.

arbcombo -- Draft Lower NOx Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines and Low Emission Natural Gas and Other Alternative Fuel Heavy-Duty Engines Technology Assessment

Tue, 2015-09-29 20:53
The California Air Resources Board (ARB/Board) announces the release of two draft documents: Technology Assessment: Lower NOx Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines and Technology Assessment: Low Emission Natural Gas and Other Alternative Fuel Heavy-Duty Engines .

Volkswagen Group reorganizes North American operations; Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland new region CEO

Tue, 2015-09-29 19:46

As part of its restructuring, Volkswagen Group is combining its activities in the US, Mexico and Canada into the newly formed North American Region (NAR). The Supervisory Board has appointed Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, since 2010 the CEO of Group company ŠKODA, to take over all responsibility for the North American Region. In this new role as President and CEO of Volkswagen NAR, Prof. Dr. Vahland will be responsible for all Group activities in the newly formed region from 1 November 2015. Michael Horn remains as President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, and will report to Dr. Vahland.

Volkswagen said that the creation of NAR is a further measure in the process of decentralizing managerial responsibility, and creates another pillar in the global structure of the group, in addition to the European and Chinese regions.

The aim among other things is to have the ability to react better to customer demands and tastes in the future; closer proximity to the markets and their customers will enable this, the Group said. In addition to leading ŠKODA, Vahland was also Group CEO for China.

As NAR President, he will be a member of the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand’s Board of Management. The exact structure of the NAR is currently being developed.

Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland graduated from the Technical University Darmstadt with a major in Mechanical Engineering and Economics, and began his professional career with GM in 1984. He joined Audi AG in 1990 and Volkswagen AG in 1993. From 1997, he was Vice President for Volkswagen in Brazil. He was appointed Member of ŠKODA AUTO’s Board of Management in 2002, and became Vice Chairman one year later. In 2005, he assumed the position of President and CEO of Volkswagen Group in China.

newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 29, 2015

Tue, 2015-09-29 18:39
This is a service of the California Air Resources Board s Office of Communications.

arbcombo -- Additional Details: October 1, 2015, AB32 Scoping Plan Update Workshop

Tue, 2015-09-29 17:59
As previously noticed, the California Environmental Protection Agency, California State Transportation Agency, California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California Natural Resources Agency, California Department of Food and Agriculture, Air Resources Board, and Governor s Office of Planning and Research will hold a public workshop on October 1, 2015, to discuss the updated AB 32 Scoping Plan, which will reflect California s new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, as directed in Executive Order B-30-15.

fuel-containers -- Portable Fuel Container Workshop Notice

Tue, 2015-09-29 17:07
The Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) invites you to participate in a public workshop to learn about updates to the ARB portable fuel container (PFC) regulation, including an updated timeline for a February 2016 Board Hearing date, changes to the certification process, economic impacts, and an update on an interlaboratory comparison study.

International Alliance on ZEVs seeks to accelerate ZEV adoption; 11 founding government members from N America and Europe

Tue, 2015-09-29 16:07

Eleven European and North American governments are the founding partners of the International ZEV Alliance, which has the mission of accelerating global adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in the United States; Québec in Canada; and The Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom in Europe are the founding members.

The members will cooperate to set targets to drive ZEV deployment, share data and best practice policies, and encourage other governments to join them. (The 11 members account for 7% of global car sales, but represent 38% of the global market for electric vehicles.) A new report released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) outlines an agenda for expanding collaboration. The ICCT serves as Secretariat to the International ZEV Alliance.

The alliance was launched last month; the founding members were announced today at a signing event at the Québec government office in New York.

The ICCT report, “Transition to a Global Zero-Emission Vehicle Fleet: A Collaborative Agenda for Governments,” highlights how the world’s leading electric vehicle markets are being shaped by new and innovative public policies, including consumer incentives and infrastructure investments. The report also identifies a variety of ways that governments can improve collaboration to accelerate ZEV adoption.

This month, ICCT estimated that the number of plug-in electric vehicles on the world’s roads reached one million. The milestone was achieved in about six years—several years faster than it took for non-plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to reach the first million in sales.

However, with global vehicles approaching two billion, electric vehicle growth will have to ramp up significantly to achieve long-term climate goals.

These governments have been crucial to early adoption of electric vehicles. Each government has helped grow the early market with a mix of financial and non-financial incentives, vehicle policy, consumer awareness and outreach, and the installation of a charging infrastructure.—Nic Lutsey, Program Director and author of the ICCT report

The most comprehensive electric vehicle promotion actions globally are seen in International ZEV Alliance markets, the ICCT report found. In several of these markets, their actions are resulting in electric vehicle deployment that is more than 10 times the average for electric vehicle sales internationally.

All seven of the US states joining the alliance are also members of a multi-state task force to support electric vehicles in the United States. (Earlier post.) Created in 2013, the task force is working to implement a joint action plan that includes encouraging fleets to acquire ZEVs, planning and investing in ZEV infrastructure, and tracking progress toward the goal of a combined 3.3 million ZEVs on U.S. highways by 2025. The International ZEV Alliance is the next step in their commitment to accelerate deployment of zero-emission vehicles.

newsrel -- International Alliance on Zero-Emission Vehicles Grows to 11 Partners

Tue, 2015-09-29 15:57
Please consider the following news release from the California Air Resources Board: http://bit.