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Eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria can produce hydrogen under anaerobic and limited aerobic conditions. Now, a research team from South Korea and the US reports finding two novel microalgal strains (Chlorella vulgaris YSL01 and YSL16) that can produce hydrogen via photosynthesis using CO2 as the sole source of carbon under aerobic conditions with continuous illumination.
A paper on their discovery is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Hydrogenases, the enzymes which produce molecular hydrogen, typically are inactivated by oxygen; the new strains can produce hydrogen due to an oxygen-tolerant hydrogenase under natural aquatic conditions for microalgae.
The experimental expression of HYDA and the specific activity of hydrogenase demonstrate that C. vulgaris YSL01 and YSL16 enzymatically produce hydrogen, even under atmospheric conditions, which was previously considered infeasible. Photoautotrophic H2 production has important implications for assessing ecological and algae-based photolysis.—Hwang et al.
Hwang, J-H. et al. (2014) “Photoautotrophic hydrogen production by eukaryotic microalgae under aerobic conditions.” Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/ncomms4234
More i-Roads in Toyota City will be made available to residents at vehicle-sharing stations. Later this year, i-Road vehicles will be part of a vehicle-sharing project in Grenoble, France, that will last until 2017.
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013, the i-Road seats two in tandem and under cover, and has a range of up to 30 miles (50 km) on a single charge. Using “Active Lean” technology, it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.
The all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. The battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.
Toyota’s Active Lean system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.
The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The minimum turning circle is just three meters.
A team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has provided an update on China’s proposed Phase 4 fuel consumption standard for passenger cars. The proposal was published on 21 January 2014 by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
The proposed regulations cover passenger cars sold in China from 2016 to 2020, and project an overall fleet-average fuel consumption of 5L/100km (47 mpg US) for new passenger cars in 2020, as measured over the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), from an expected fleet average of 6.9L/100km (34 mpg US) in 2015. This works out to an overall reduction of about 28%—6.2% annually—between 2015 and 2020.
In absolute terms, the proposed standard would put China third, behind the EU and Japan, with respect to passenger car fuel consumption and equivalent GHG emissions requirements during the 2016–2020 period. However, the ICCT cautions, looking only at the absolute fleet targets does not give the full picture of the regulatory stringency of the standards.
The proposed Phase 4 regulation includes both vehicle-maximum fuel consumption limits and a corporate-average fuel consumption (CAFC) standard for each manufacturer based on vehicle curb weight distribution across the manufacturer’s fleet. Manufacturers and importers must meet both standards.
The CAFC standard also sets separate targets for regular vehicles and two types of special-feature vehicles, which in this case are defined as: vehicles of curb mass less than or equal to 1,090 kilograms with three or more rows of seats; all other vehicles with three or more rows of seats.
However, the ICCT authors note, the regulation is expected to contain a variety of compliance flexibilities and credits that will likely reduce the overall stringency of the program.
The proposed Phase 4 standard provides three types of credits:
New-energy vehicles (battery-electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrids). New energy vehicles are counted as multiple vehicles towards manufacturers’ CAFC calculation for compliance. The multiplier is set at 5 in 2016–2017, falling to 3 in 2018–2019, and then to 2 in 2020. For the CAFC calculation, the energy consumption of battery-electric vehicles, the electric-drive part of plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles are counted as zero.
An alternative possible accounting for pure electric and the electric portion of PHEVs would be to use converted gasoline-equivalent fuel economy with an equation developed from a separate regulatory proposal.
Other ultra-low fuel consumption vehicles with combined fuel consumption no more than 2.8L/100km (84 mpg US) will be counted as 3 vehicles in 2016–2017, 2.5 in 2018–2019, and 1.5 in 2020.
Vehicles equipped with innovative technologies leading to real-world fuel saving (off-cycle technology credits). Currently the regulatory agency is considering four types of technologies eligible for the credits: tire pressure monitoring system; high-efficiency air-conditioning system; start-stop system; and transmission gear shift reminder.
Manufacturers that install one or more of these technologies with demonstrated fuel-saving are eligible for up to 0.5 L/100km credit towards their CAFC standard compliance. The details of the off-cycle fuel-saving technology credits will be specified separately and issued at a later date.
The proposed Phase 4 standard will phase in gradually, beginning in 2016. The proposed standard does not specify any enforcement mechanism.
The UK and China have agreed to a new £20-million (US$33-million) three-year program that will support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, low carbon cities and offshore renewables in the two countries.
Representatives from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Program, signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) at a meeting in London which was witnessed by the UK’s Minister of State for Climate Change, Greg Barker.
Under the MoU, the UK and China will each commit £10 million of matched resources over the next three years and there will be approximately £6.6 million (US$11 million) available each year. The agreement, is the latest collaboration in a series of joint research programmes stretching over the last five years.
Since 2007, RCUK has invested more than £29 million (US49 million) in joint UK-China energy research projects, most of which have been supported by matched resources from Chinese funders, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The collaborative efforts have included a number of calls:
In 2008-2009, the initial UK-China energy calls were launched, in partnership with MoST; topics included renewable energy technologies and cleaner fossil fuels;
In 2009, RCUK funded four innovation-focused projects through the RCUK Science Bridges initiative. One of these collaborations was in the theme of sustainable energy and the built environment;
The RCUK Energy Programme launched co-funded calls with both CAS and NSFC in 2010-2011: RCUK and NSFC invested £5.6 million (US$9.4 million) in the first call, supporting research into carbon capture and storage technologies; the second call focused on solar cells, solar fuels and fuel cells, with £5 million (US$8 million) investment from RCUK and CAS;
In 2012-2013, two further calls were run by RCUK and NSFC. The first was in smart grids; RCUK and NSFC investment totalled £6.6 million (US$11 million). The second call focused on the integration of smart grids and electric vehicles, with a total investment of £8.2 million (US$14 million);
In 2013-2014, RCUK and NSFC supported five joint projects in energy storage, with £10 million investment from the RCUK Energy Programme and NSFC.
Mitsubishi Motors (MMC) is showcasing its three new hybrid drive concepts—two plug-ins and one 48V mild hybrid—at the Geneva Motor Show. The three vehicles were introduced earlier at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (earlier post).
Concept GC-PHEV. Concept GC-PHEV (for “Grand Cruiser”) is a next-generation full-time 4WD full-size SUV, fitted with an advanced plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain. Applying Outlander PHEV’s engineering fundamentals to a much bigger, more powerful, all-terrain (where legal) high-end full-size SUV, Concept GC-PHEV develops plug-in hybrid electric powertrain technology further.
In this case, the PHEV powertrain is made of a 250 kW (335 hp) 3.0-liter V6 super-charged MIVEC gasoline engine, a clutch, an 8-speed automatic transmission, a 70 kW electric motor and a 12 kWh battery pack, the latter installed under the rear cargo floor for better front/rear weight distribution.
As for Outlander PHEV, this new PHEV system automatically switches automatically between pure EV Mode and Hybrid Mode(s) depending on driving conditions, remaining battery charge and other factors.
In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors engineers took the PHEV concept even further:
Integration of an 8-speed automatic gearbox: integral to the PHEV system. In EV Mode, it is intended to maximize motor output efficiency at all vehicle speeds (within legal limits). Electric range is around 40 km (31 miles). In Hybrid Mode(s), it extracts power from the engine while the high-output motor kicks in to provide additional power as and when required.
Move from two electric motors (front and rear) as fitted to Outlander PHEV to one single motor, saving on weight and friction losses.
Concept GC-PHEV PHEV’s high-capacity battery can be used as an external power source. The 100V AC on-board socket can output up to 1500 watts of electrical energy, ideal for powering equipment when camping or enjoying other outdoor pursuits as well as providing an emergency power source for domestic appliances. The system can supply the equivalent of a day’s power consumption in an average household from the battery alone and up to a maximum of up to 13 days when the engine is used to fill the battery.
Super-All Wheel Control - Drive. Originally introduced with Lancer Evolution and then extended to Outlander PHEV, Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) integrated vehicle dynamics control system—working mainly by controlling torque distribution to and braking effort at each wheel—has been optimized for Concept GC-PHEV to provide handling that accurately reflects driver intent together with vehicle stability.
In this new application, S-AWC is based on a full-time 4WD system including a rear differential + an Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential (LSD) at the front + another Electronically-controlled Limited Slip Differential in the centre + an Electric-Active Yaw Control (E-AYC) unit at the rear. The latter uses torque from the electric motor to precisely control torque distribution to each rear wheel, providing excellent vehicle stability.
Furthermore, low range—to be used off road (where legal)—is obtained through a centrally-mounted Sub-Transmission unit, acting as transfer case. According to road surface conditions and the selected traction mode, S-AWC works in cooperation with the PHEV system to assist the driver in following their chosen line through corners as well as realizing remarkable all-terrain (where legal) performance.
Concept GC-PHEV also features MMC’s next generation electronic “active” safety system in cooperation with connected car technology to provide an enhanced level of vehicle and occupant protection through forward, rear blind-spot assistance.
In the case of Concept GC-PHEV, the system includes:
Cooperative Adaptive Cruise Control, with Lane Keep Assist which provides forward visual assistance on motorways and main roads by sharing acceleration/deceleration information on the vehicle in front using vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications to realize more accurate distance-to-vehicle-in-front control, while also encouraging more economical operation of the vehicle and helping to relieve traffic congestion.
Lane Keep Assist function provides appropriate handling support to prevent the driver from drifting out of their lane due to fatigue or inattention. The system includes a Traffic Sign Recognition System which uses an on-board camera to recognize and inform the driver about road signs, and also activates the engine speed limiter in an emergency.
Adaptive Headlamps use the on-board camera to detect the position of oncoming vehicles or pedestrians while the headlamps are on high beam and blank off that area of illumination to prevent dazzling.
For all-directional driver assistance, the electronic “active” safety system employs eight infrared cameras—two at the top of the windscreen, one in each A pillar, one behind each rear door window, and one on either side at the top of the tailgate—to scan the periphery of the vehicle. High definition image processing enables the system to instantly and accurately detect any risk factors close to the vehicle. The system also uses a Night Eye Multi-around Monitor to rapidly alert and warn the driver of the approach of any obstacles or other vehicles.
The Mitsubishi electronic “active” safety system also incorporates many other functions including:
Pedestrian Collision Mitigating Auto-braking: This radar- and camera-based system detects pedestrians ahead of the vehicle at night and in other situations where they are difficult to spot and alerts the driver to their presence. The system will also automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision or to mitigate injury.
Rearward Blind Spot Vehicle Warning: This system helps avert collisions by alerting the driver to the presence of vehicles approaching from behind. This system also functions to detect and warn the driver of the presence of vehicles or other objects behind the driver’s own vehicle while reversing, such as when parking or leaving their garage.
Driving Safety Support System: promoted by the Japanese National Police Agency, it enhances safety by utilizing communications with vehicles and road infrastructure to warn the driver of traffic signals ahead as well as the approach of pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists at junctions and urge the driver to slow down.
Unintentional Vehicle Move Off Control:When a front-mounted camera spots any objects immediately in front of the vehicle and sensors detect the mistaken use of the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, the system operates to limit engine power and restrain forward movement of the car. The system also urges the driver to be more careful.
Driver Monitor: Uses an infrared camera installed in front of the driver as well as sensors in the steering system and in the driver seat to monitor eye blinking and changes in posture to assess the driver’s level of alertness. If the system detects abnormalities in driving behavior, such as when the car starts to wander on the road, it instantly alerts the driver and urges taking a rest. It also alerts the driver when it determines their concentration has dropped or when they glance away from the road in front.
Concept XR-PHEV. Concept XR-PHEV (“X (cross) over Runner”) is a next-generation C-Segment crossover using Mitsubishi Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) powertrain in a front-wheel drive layout and blending SUV functionality with sport coupe design.
Concept XR-PHEV uses a lightweight and high-efficiency front-wheel drive PHEV system derived from the system used to power the Outlander PHEV. In this new configuration, Mitsubishi Motors’ PHEV powertrain is made of a 100 kW (134 hp) 1.1-liter in-line 3-cylinder MIVEC turbocharged gasoline engine; a single (instead of two for Outlander PHEV) lightweight, compact and high-efficiency 120 kW motor with a high-boost converter at the front; and a 14 kWh battery under the floor. The boost converter increases motor and generator output and efficiency.
Opting for a front-wheel drive PHEV system with no motor at the rear reduces weight as well as friction losses and returns improvements in fuel and electricity economy.
From the default mode of pure EV, Concept XR PHEV powertrain automatically selects from two additional drive modes—Series Hybrid and Parallel Hybrid—the one best-suited to driving conditions and remaining battery charge, just like with Outlander PHEV.
Along the same lines, 100% EV driving is possible through use of Battery Charge Mode or Battery Save Mode. Electric range is around 85 km (52 miles.)
Concept XR-PHEV is also fitted with 100V AC on board sockets capable of giving an external supply of up to 1500W of power. The system can supply enough electricity to power domestic appliances for a full day from the drive battery alone and up to a maximum of 10 days when the engine is used to fill the battery.
Mild hybrid Concept AR (Active Runabout). The front-wheel drive Concept AR is powered by a lightweight mild hybrid Belt-driven Starter and Generator system (BSG). A 100 kW 1.1-liter 3-cylinder direct-injection turbocharged MIVEC gasoline engine mated to a 10 kW, 48 V BSG torque circuit with a 48V, 0.25 kWh lithium-ion battery.
The rear-mounted battery and converter work in cooperation to provide instant engine restarting after an idle-stop and to deliver torque assist under acceleration.
BSG is used to recover kinetic energy during regenerative braking to further improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions and to offer a pleasant experience to all on-board.
During its development, Concept AR has also been subject to a weight reduction program targeting the engine and the hybrid system overall together with the more extensive use of high-tensile strength steel panels as already implemented in Mitsubishi Motors’ latest products (Outlander / Mirage) and also, of lightweight structural materials in strategic locations. This significant weight reduction also contributes significantly to the dynamic and environmental performances of the vehicle.
This weight reduction was extended to the no-frill design of the dashboard, seats and even the choice of upholstery trim. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption together with a smoother and more comfortable ride.
Liquid Light unveiled its new process for the production of major chemicals from carbon dioxide, showcasing its demonstration-scale “reaction cell” and confirming the potential for cost-advantaged process economics. Liquid Light’s first process is for the production of ethylene glycol (MEG), with a $27-billion annual market, which is used to make a wide range of consumer products such as plastic bottles, antifreeze and polyester clothing.
Liquid Light’s technology can be used to produce more than 60 chemicals with large existing markets, including propylene, isopropanol, methyl-methacrylate and acetic acid.
Liquid Light’s core technology is centered on low-energy catalytic electrochemistry to convert CO2 to chemicals, combined with hydrogenation and purification operations. By adjusting the design of the catalyst, Liquid Light says it can produce a range of commercially important multi-carbon chemicals. Additionally, by using co-feedstocks along with CO2, a plant built with Liquid Light’s technology may produce multiple products simultaneously.
Liquid Light’s advances that enable commercialization include the development of long-lasting catalyst components; the ability to run continuously for extended times; and major progress in energy efficiency. Results to date highlight promising economics in three key dimensions:
Process performance validated at lab scale: In test runs, Liquid Light has met the targets needed for cost-advantaged production in metrics including energy needed per unit of output; rate of production; yield; and stability/longevity of cell components.
Large savings in feedstock costs: Liquid Light’s process requires $125 or less of CO2 to make a ton of MEG. Other processes require an estimated $617 to $1,113 of feedstocks derived from oil, natural gas or corn. These differences are especially significant as MEG sells for $700 to $1,400 per metric ton.
High project value for technology licensees: Current estimates show that a 400kT per year Liquid Light MEG plant would offer more than $250 million in added project value as compared to a plant built using the best currently available process technology. A 625kTa plant would have a 15 year net present value of more than $850 million to a licensee.
Liquid Light’s process also reduces the overall carbon footprint for chemical production compared to conventional methods, when powered with electricity produced from natural gas, nuclear, advanced coal and renewable sources. Further, Liquid Light’s process can sequester carbon when using energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind or nuclear power. To further demonstrate this potential benefit, the company also showed the process can be powered by intermittently-available renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. The result is that chemicals can be made directly from renewable energy sources and CO2.
Liquid Light’s investors include VantagePoint Capital Partners, BP Ventures, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, and Osage University Partners.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 Le Mans prototype made its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show. The hybrid prototype will be joined by the Porsche 911 RSR at the Porsche exhibition in Geneva as well as at all eight races of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), the season highlight of which will be the 24 hours of Le Mans.
Porsche 919 Hybrid development began in the middle of 2011 on a blank sheet of paper. With a 16-year absence from the LMP1 class, Porsche engineers have had to develop the racecar without the same experience of their competitors. However, the experience acquired in racing the 911 GT3 R Hybrid (earlier post) and production of the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has directly translated to the 919 Hybrid.
Crucial in the development of the Le Mans prototype were the newly created and revolutionary racing rules for this class as they relate to energy efficiency. In 2014, it will not be the fastest car that wins the World Endurance Championship series and the 24 hours of Le Mans, rather it will be the car that goes the furthest with a defined amount of energy. And it is precisely this challenge that carmakers must overcome. The 919 Hybrid is our fastest mobile research laboratory and the most complex race car that Porsche has ever built.—Matthias Müller, Chairman of Porsche AG
The hybrid powertrain of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. The V4 gasoline engine with direct injection and turbocharging is integrated in the chassis as a mid-engine. The batteries at the center of the vehicle supply the electric motor at the front axle with energy. Click to enlarge.
The high efficiency of the Porsche 919 Hybrid is the result of a balanced overall concept. The drive system is based on a 2.0-liter V-4 gasoline engine that is compact and lightweight. The engine is a structural component of the chassis, and reaches a maximum engine speed of approximately 9,000 rpm.
It features direct injection, a single turbocharger and thermodynamic recovery capabilities. The compact unit outputs around 500 hp (373 kW).
Two different energy recovery systems harness energy to replenish the batteries and provide power. The first system is the innovative recovery of thermal energy by an electric generator powered by exhaust gases. The second hybrid system is a motor on the front axle utilizing brake recuperation to convert kinetic energy into electric energy.
The electric energy is then stored in water-cooled lithium-ion battery packs from A123 Systems (earlier post) and when the driver needs the stored power, the front motor drives the two front wheels through a differential during acceleration. This gives the Porsche 919 Hybrid a temporary all-wheel drive system, because the gasoline engine directs power to the rear wheels, just like the 918 Spyder.
Intelligent management of electricity was a focus of the racing engineers who designed the 919 Hybrid. Efficient use of available power helps to achieve an optimal lap time. The driver can select several automated driving modes that effect vehicle dynamics. Race traffic, course layout and weather conditions are all taken into consideration when selecting the driving mode. The developers had a chance to experience these adverse conditions with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid—which used a flywheel KERS—during the running of the Nürburgring 24 hour race in 2010 and 2011.
The allowable fuel consumption depends directly on the amount of electrical energy the driver can use per lap, known as the Boost function. There are four classes of racecars with electric boost levels ranging from 2 to 8 mega joules (MJ). Porsche is developing the 919 Hybrid for the “Premiere class" with an energy recovery capacity of 8 MJ.
This requires high-performance energy recovery and storage systems, which are larger and heavier than the other classes. A flow meter limits the amount of fuel flow creating a challenge to balance the hybrid system between the use of electric energy and gasoline engine power. For example, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the turbocharged gasoline engine is driven at full load for 75% of the 8.48 mile lap and only has 1.23 gallons of fuel available.
Despite the addition of many new technical systems, race regulations have reduced the specified minimum vehicle weight by 66 lbs to 1,918 lbs compared to the prior year. This ambitious requirement has Porsche engineers optimizing the smallest details, using the right material in the right place for the intended purpose.
As in Formula 1 racing, the chassis of the new Porsche 919 Hybrid consists of a carbon-fiber monocoque, combining lightweight materials and a high degree of torsional rigidity. The multilink suspension and 14-inch wide Michelin race tires are an important prerequisite for performance in all conditions.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid must not exceed a length of 183.1 inches, a height of 41.3 inches, and the width must be between 70.8 and 74.8 inches. The aerodynamics have been analyzed during some 2,000 hours of wind tunnel testing since February 2012. The adjustable aerodynamics add to overall efficiency of the racecar, reduce air drag while supplying increased cooling needed for the hybrid drive, and increase down force needed for high speed corners.
A new Porsche team of more than 200 employees was formed to develop and implement the development center in Weissach.
Porsche 911 RSR. The 470 hp, 4.0-liter 911 RSR is the successor to the 911 GT3 RSR, which Porsche customer teams have driven to numerous victories and titles all around the world in endurance championships since 2004, including finishing first and second in their racing debut last year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The rear wheel drive 911 RSR is based on the seventh generation of the 911 Carrera, type 991. Its wheelbase has been lengthened by 3.9 inches and a new wishbone front suspension replaces the previously used MacPherson strut. The lightweight racing gearbox is a special new development by Porsche Motorsport; the six gears are shifted by paddles on the steering wheel.
A central focus in the development of the 911 RSR was to attain balanced weight distribution. The center of gravity is significantly lower than the previous model. Carbon-fiber is used in the front and rear fenders, front and rear lids, the doors, underbody, wheel arch panels, rear wing, dashboard and center console. In addition, all windows are made of very thin and lightweight polycarbonate. The familiar lightweight lithium-ion battery of the GT street models also makes a contribution towards weight savings.
The 911 RSR has a redesigned front end and the new rear wing provide for optimal aerodynamic balance and contributes to greater stability. Even more precise steering response leads to better vehicle handling at slow to moderate speeds and was attained by optimizing front suspension kinematics. Further improvements to the structural rigidity result in more precise steering response. The new engine air intake system was optimized with a new air filter geometry, which contributes towards reducing the effects of contamination on power output. The new FT3 safety fuel tank has a lowered center of gravity and enables improved filling under race conditions.
Live telemetry that is permanently transmitted to the command station via the car's roof antenna ensures that engineers are always well informed of all relevant vehicle data with over 200 measurement values. In addition, all data is stored on a memory card in the vehicle.
Canada’s National Energy Board has approved, with conditions, the Line 9B Reversal and Line 9 Capacity Expansion Project application submitted by Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (Enbridge). As a result, Enbridge will be permitted to operate all of Line 9 in an eastward direction in order to transport crude oil from western Canada and the US Bakken region to refineries in Ontario and Québec. (Earlier post.)
Line 9 is a 30-inch oil pipeline that currently transports offshore and foreign oil in the westward direction from Montreal to Sarnia. It was brought into service in June 1976 and originally flowed in a west to east direction. In 1998 the pipe was reversed to flow east to west. It is approximately 831 km (550 miles) long with a capacity of 240,000 bpd.
In its application, Enbridge requested approval from the Board to reverse the direction of flow on a 639-kilometer (397-mile) segment of pipeline (Line 9B) located between North Westover, Ontario and Montreal, Québec, as well as approval to increase the overall capacity from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels per day of the Line 9 pipeline from Sarnia to Montreal. Enbridge also requested a revision to its Line 9 Rules and Regulations Tariff to allow for the transportation of heavy crude oil.
Previously in a 27 July 2012 decision, the Board approved the reversal of the western portion of Line 9 (Line 9A), a 194-kilometer (121-mile) segment linking Sarnia to North Westover, Ontario. Enbridge completed the reversal in August, 2013 and Line 9A is flowing in a west to east direction providing supply to Ontario’s Nanticoke refinery.
The NEB’s approval is subject to fulfillment of 30 conditions. The Line 9B Reversal and Capacity Expansion Project team is reviewing requirements and developing a scope of work to fulfill the conditions outlined in the NEB’s decision, which comes after nearly two years of Enbridge’s engagement and consultation with stakeholders.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada's energy industry with the safety of Canadians and protection of the environment as its top priority. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.
Liechtenstein-based nanoFLOWCELL unveiled the QUANT e-Sportslimousine, a prototype vehicle equipped with a nanoFLOWCELL flow cell battery powertrain, at the Geneva Motor Show. This flow cell system supports an electric driving range of between 400 to 600 km (249 to 373 miles) in the QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype, the company claims.
Flow cells or flow batteries combine aspects of an electrochemical battery cell with those of a fuel cell. The electrolytic fluids in flow cells—usually metallic salts in aqueous solution—are pumped from tanks through the cell. This forms a kind of battery cell with a cross-flow of electrolyte liquid. One advantage of this system in general is that the larger the storage tanks for the electrolyte fluid are, the greater the energy capacity. Too, the concentration of an electrolytic solution contributes to the the quantity of energy that it transports.
To charge or discharge the nanoFLOWCELL, two different electrolytic solutions are pumped through the appropriate battery cell in which an electrode (anode or cathode) is located. A membrane separates the two electrolyte chambers and their differing chemistries. At a nominal voltage of 600 V and 50 A nominal current, the system in the lab is achieving continuous output of 30 kW.
According to nanoFLOWCELL, its flow battery has a specific energy of about 5-times that of a Li-ion battery (600 Wh/kg compared to ~120 Wh/kg). The company attributes the performance of the nanoFLOWCELL to the characteristics of its newly-developed, and unspecified, electrolytic fluids, made up of metallic salts at very high concentration. Slightly more specifically, the company says that a large increase in the number of charge carriers in the electrolyte fluid within the nanoFLOWCELL significantly increased its performance compared to conventional redox flow-cells (about 5x the specific energy and several orders of magnitude more specific power).
The company also claims its flow cells can go through 10,000 charging cycles with no noticeable memory effect and suffer almost no self-discharging.
The first QUANT e-Sportlimousine prototype carries two 200-liter (53 gallons US) tanks on board, for a total energy capacity of 120 kWh. The QUANT e-Sportlimousine energy consumption is about 20 kWh/100 km, when driving in the lower load range. Increasing the tank volume of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine to 800 liters would be possible, the company says.
Once the electrolytic fluids are discharged, the contents of both tanks must to be replaced. The prototype features a double tank system with dual filler necks, one for each electrolyte, to keep times for the electrolyte liquid replacement to a minimum.
Powertrain. In addition to the flow cell, the QUANT uses four electric motor units (120 kW continuous, 170 kW peak per unit) for all-wheel drive with torque vectoring and two supercapacitor banks for energy storage. Peak torque per wheel is 2,900 N·m (2,139 lb-ft). The company says acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is 2.8 seconds.
A central VCU (vehicle control unit) is responsible for controlling the driving- and charging-currents throughout the entire powertrain.
The supercaps provide power to the four drive motors, and also serve as a general energy buffer for the vehicle’s electrical system and storage for regenerative braking energy.
In February, nanoFLOWCELL AG announced a partnership with Bosch Engineering GmbH to further develop vehicle electronics for the QUANT e-Sportlimousine.
According Nunzio La Vecchia, the head of development of the QUANT e-Sportlimousine, the company is planning on producing four drivable prototypes in 2014.
Established in late 2013, nanoFLOWCELL AG (formerly JUNO Technology Products AG) is a Research and Development Centre based in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The focus of nanoFLOWCELL AG’s research is on the advanced development of drive technology and the classification of flow-cell technology. In 2009, the company showed the NLV Quant prototype at the Geneva Motor Show. The QUANT e-Sportslimousine is a completely new development, both technically and optically, compared to the NLV Quant.
Nanjing, China and Nanjing Public Transportation Group ordered more than 1,000 fully electric transit buses and taxis from BYD Company Ltd. The city will be taking delivery of more than 600 BYD K9 battery-electric Buses, 50 of which were delivered for the city’s Youth Olympic Games in August 2014.
Authorities also placed an order for 400 of BYD’s all-electric e6, a 5-passenger cross-over utility vehicle, some of which have already hit the streets. Nanjing Jiangnan Electric Taxi Ltd. will be operating the electric vehicles.
Nanjing is one of the pilot cities in China that has been chosen by the Central Government to participate in air quality improvement programs. In November of last year, Nanjing and BYD signed a strategic co-operation agreement that also brought BYD to the area to build and develop their zero emission products.
The Nanjing announcement will create one of the world’s largest fleet of pure electric public transport vehicles and certainly the largest supplied by BYD to date. This is a positive sign of the growing acceptance of pure electric transport vehicles such as the ebus having a significant role in making urban environments less polluted.—Isbrand Ho, a BYD Managing Director
Toyota’s new AYGO, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, is equipped with an improved version of Toyota’s award-winning 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter VVT-i gasoline engine. Still one of the lightest engines in its class, the unit incorporates numerous revisions that enhance performance and help deliver class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Gasoline engines are chosen by 85% of A-segment customers in Europe. “We wanted to improve performance, as well as economy. In the A-segment, running costs are paramount—customers don’t want to spend a fortune on fuel bills. But at the same time, we didn’t want to resort to costly technology to reduce consumption, as this would have driven the vehicle price up too much. So our challenge was to come up with relatively simple yet clever ways to achieve our targets,” said David Terai, Chief Engineer of new AYGO.
The combustion character of the 998 cc engine was improved. The compression ratio has been increased from 11.0:1 to 11.5:1. The combustion chamber now benefits from better cooling, and a high tumble intake port ensures an optimal air/fuel mix in the cylinder. The Variable Valve Timing program has also been optimized.
Friction losses were reduced through the adoption of a low-friction timing chain with an auto-tensioner. Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) valve lifters and a twin-tank oil pan further contribute to reduced internal resistance.
What was already one of the lightest engines of its type was made even lighter by fitting a cylinder head with a built-in exhaust manifold.
The engine now develops greater power and torque: 51kW (69 DIN hp) at 6,000 rpm and 95 N·m (70 lb-ft) at 4,300 rpm. 85 N·m 63 lb-ft) of torque is available from as little as 2,000 rpm.
New AYGO comes in both standard and Eco-versions. The latter benefits from a longer 4th and 5th gear, low Rolling Resistance Coefficient.
The standard version achieves a drop in fuel consumption from 4.4 to 4.1 l/100 km (fuel economy of 53.5 mpg US increasing to 57.4 mpg US), which translates into a 7 g/km drop in CO2 emissions to 95 g/km. The Eco unit does even better, with fuel economy of below 3.9 l/100 km (60 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of less than 88 g/km.
Extensive work was also done on the aerodynamics of the car to further enhance efficiency. This includes the optimisation of airflow around the bodywork to reduce air resistance, the use of front and rear spoilers, floor undercovers and rear spats to control the underfloor airflow, and the adoption of a four-way duct to optimize airflow to the engine bay.
As a result, the drag coefficient of new AYGO has been reduced from Cd 0.30 to Cd 0.29, with a further reduction to Cd 0.28 for the Eco variant.
X-shift. The x-shift transmission is available as an option on new AYGO. This improved automated manual transmission has a fully automatic shift mode and no clutch pedal, using computer control to synchronize engine, clutch and transaxle for quick and precise shifting.
The transmission’s gear ratios have been revised for a better balance of driving pleasure and fuel economy.
Selecting E (Easy Mode), M (Manual) or R (Reverse) allows the car to ‘creep’ like a conventional automatic. In E mode, the system selects a suitable gear according to the accelerator pedal, vehicle speed and driving conditions.
New AYGO’s x-shift is equipped with the kick-down function standard to automatic transmissions. Moreover, it is possible to override the system temporarily by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles.
Selecting M mode allows the driver to manually change gear via either the shift lever itself or with the paddle switches.
When equipped with x-shift, new AYGO returns fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US) and generates CO2 emissions of 97 g/km.
Nissan introduced a significantly revised Nissan Juke compact crossover at the Geneva Motor Show. First introduced to the market a little more than three years ago, the Nissan Juke has posted total sales of 420,000 units. Nissan says that Juke is the best seller in the European premium B-segment—outperforming all direct competitors including those from the top German brands—and is Nissan’s second-most popular model in Europe.
Among the changes in the new Juke are a new design at the front and rear with greater emphasis on both premium refinement and sporty design cues; a new downsized 1.2-liter turbocharged engine offering greater performance, economy and lower emissions; a revised 1.6-liter DIG-T engine; improved four-wheel drive with Torque Vectoring System; new alloy wheels; advanced equipment including a new audio system, the latest generation NissanConnect driver-vehicle interface, Nissan Safety Shield, Nissan’s Dynamic Control system, plus the option of a new opening glass roof.
Nissan also introduced the extreme new Juke Nismo RS, a model with more power (218PS/160kW), upgraded brakes, a stiffer body and a limited slip differential on two wheel drive versions.
Engines and drivetrains. Three engines are available for new Juke, with changes to the two gasoline options: one is new and the other extensively revised. The existing 1.5 dCi diesel with 110ps (108 hp, 81 kW) continues unchanged.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed 1.2-liter DIG-T petrol engine, which replaces the outgoing 117 ps (115 hp) 1.6-liter unit, is an advanced turbocharged direct injection engine delivering 115 ps (113 hp, 85kW) and generating 190 N·m (140 lb-ft) of torque. The 1.2L DIG-T is also offered on the Qashqai.
Despite its modest size, the 1.2-liter (1197cc) turbocharged engine offers sharper acceleration and greater torque than the outgoing 1.6-liter naturally aspirated engine.
Its lower weight, standard automatic Stop/Start feature and more fuel-efficient operation translates into cleaner and more economical performance. The 1.2 DIG-T engine emits 126g/km of CO2 and has a fuel consumption figure of 5.5 l/100km (42.8 mpg US).
The existing 1.6 DIG-T gasoline unit has been further improved to deliver lower end torque below 2,000 rpm. Producing 140 kW (188 hp), it is already Euro 6 compliant with target emissions of 139 g/km of CO2 for the 2WD versions. Among its new features are a higher combustion ratio (increased from 9.5 to 10.5:1), improved low friction technologies and cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation.
As well as a six-speed manual transmission, new Juke 1.6 DIG-T 4WD is optionally available with a new Xtronic transmission gearbox which further improves fuel efficiency, acceleration and all-round performance.
All Juke models sold in Europe are built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK where three shifts per day are needed to cope with demand.
Juke has attracted a huge number of buyers new to the brand. As much as 85% of sales have been to first-time Nissan owners, not only making it the highest conquest model in the Nissan range but a model that comfortably outperforms the B-segment average with many of those new buyers downsizing from larger cars.
New Juke will go on sale across Europe in the summer, 2014.
UPS plans to purchase 1,000 propane package delivery trucks and install an initial 50 fueling stations at UPS locations. The investment in propane vehicles and infrastructure is approximately $70 million. The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma with other states pending. The vehicles on these routes can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year.
The UPS alternative fuel strategy is to invest in the most environmentally friendly and economical energy sources. Propane meets those criteria as a clean-burning fuel that lowers operating costs and is readily accessible, especially on rural routes in the United States. States that attract this type of investment with tax incentives and grants will factor into the UPS deployment strategy.—David Abney, UPS chief operating officer
The Freightliner Custom Chassis built for UPS uses a GM engine. Both the engine and system integration were provided by Powertrain Integration. The propane autogas fuel system was supplied from CleanFuel USA. Development of the engine, fuel platform and chassis were made possible through cooperation between these companies and the Propane Education & Research Council.
UPS, in collaboration with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), a non-profit propane technology incubator, worked with equipment manufacturers to secure certifications with the EPA and California Air Resources Board.
UPS tested 20 propane-powered brown delivery trucks successfully this past winter in Gainesville, Ga., and expanded its order with Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. UPS uses a “rolling laboratory” approach to test different fuel sources and technologies according to their route characteristics. The new propane fleet is expected to travel more than 25 million miles and to displace approximately 3.5 million gallons of conventional gasoline and diesel per year.
The UPS deployment this year benefits from propane autogas’ wide availability as a result of increased natural gas production in the US, and there is more price stability with the accessible supply. UPS currently operates nearly 900 propane vehicles in Canada.
UPS has one of the largest private alternative fuel fleets in the nation with more than 3,150 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. This includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, CNG, LNG, propane, biomethane, and light-weight fuel-saving composite body vehicles.
XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of hybrid electric powertrain technology for commercial fleets, introduced its new XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for cutaway and strip chassis vehicles, extending its patent-pending technology to a new vehicle platform. (Earlier post.)
The XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System is now available for commercial vehicles up to 14,500 GVW including van body, refrigerated, utility, landscaper, walk-in vans, and shuttle buses.
The XL Hybrids’ charge-sustaining powertrain installs in just five hours, and has zero impact on fleet operations because there are no special plugs, charging or fueling infrastructure, driver training, or maintenance requirements.
The XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System brings our success with class one and two vans to popular class three and four truck and shuttle bus configurations. This opens up opportunities for fleets operating cutaway and strip chassis vans to get a 25 percent increase in miles driven per-gallon, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent, and see an attractive return on their investment.—Tod Hynes, president and founder of XL Hybrids
Coca-Cola, FedEx, and other fleets across North America have adopted XL Hybrids’ technology.
XL Hybrids is unveiling a Ford E-350 cutaway chassis with dry van body upfitted with the XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive system in the company’s booth (#4181) at the 2014 NTEA Work Truck Show, 5-7 March at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. The system is immediately available on the Ford E-350 cutaway and Ford E-450 cutaway, and is coming soon to the E-350 and E-450 stripped chassis and GMC 3500/4500 cutaway chassis.
In a new report, “Strategic Analysis of the European Market for V2V and V2I Communication Systems”, Frost & Sullivan finds that Daimler and Volvo are expected to lead the implementation of V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication systems among vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) across Europe. V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communication systems have also been finding significant traction in Europe, especially in the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Germany, and France.
The demand for V2V and V2I communication systems is on the rise due to the systems’ ability to improve traffic efficiency, mobility, safety, as well as driving conditions, while at the same time avert potentially dangerous situations. Frost & Sullivan expects more than 40% of vehicles to use V2V communication technologies by 2030.
One of the prominent enabling technologies in this market is the cooperative system, which uses wireless local area network (WLAN) or dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), to assist V2V, V2I or infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communication.
Frost & Sullivan expects that global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and infrared modes will augment DSRC solutions and mobile-based technologies such as long term evolution (LTE) to form the futuristic platform for cooperative-intelligent transportation systems (C-ITS) in the region.
Cooperative systems prove to be more useful than advanced driver assistance systems and telematics, particularly when situations such as construction site warnings and traffic congestion in highways caused by an accident or road damage are encountered.
Market participants plan to introduce Cooperative-ITS communication systems to take automotive safety to an even higher level. The Car 2 Car Communication Consortium has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with major vehicle manufacturers to facilitate the deployment of a standard pan-European C-ITS by 2015.
However, although projects such as the sim-TD, DriveC2X, eCoMove catalyse the pilot-launch of C-ITS in Europe, automotive OEMs and road users must coordinate with road operators for the success of the initial deployment.
Frost & Sullivan cautions that the European market also needs an effective business model that identifies the parties that will primarily benefit from these vehicle communication solutions; recognizes the team that will maintain the integrated system; and clarifies the methods of revenue generation.
The availability of reliable and robust products that cater to the vehicular communication requirements, the degree of market acceptance and interoperability of V2X devices, as well as product conformance and upgradability will also be key to market growth.
With market-ready products for V2X communication already made available by Tier I suppliers, new products embedded with V2X technology launched by automotive OEMs, and the strong backing extended by EU governments, the market for C-ITS is likely to witness considerable growth in the next two to three years. In fact, 15 OEMs and ten Tier I suppliers across Europe are expected to deploy V2X applications by 2015.
Interestingly, crowd-sourced V2X information from the connected car space is also gaining traction. A number of telematics service providers are looking to enable V2X through tethered and embedded connectivity interfaces that allow vehicles to send and receive data that could serve as the nascent stage of V2X, in the absence of DSRC or WLAN.—Neelam Barua, Frost & Sullivan Automotive & Transportation Industry Analyst
Researchers at MIT have devised a simple, soluble metal oxide system to capture and transform CO2 into useful organic compounds. More work is needed to understand and to optimize the reaction, but this approach could offer an easy and inexpensive way to recapture some of the carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles and power plants, says Christopher Cummins, an MIT professor of chemistry and leader of the research team.
The new reaction, described in an open access paper in the RSC journal Chemical Science, transforms carbon dioxide into a negatively charged carbonate ion, which can then react with a silicon compound to produce formate, a common starting material for manufacturing useful organic compounds. This process relies on the simple molecular ion molybdate: an atom of the metal molybdenum bound to four atoms of oxygen.
Metal oxide catalysts for CO2 transformations are advantageous based on considerations of cost, ease of re-use, and stability, but these advantages come at the expense of our ability to readily characterize such systems at a molecular level of detail. Intrigued by the paucity of soluble transition-metal oxide systems known to react with CO2 in a well-defined manner … we decided to investigate salts of the molybdate dianion in this respect, in order to determine the behavior and mode of reaction (if any) of a simple oxoanion with carbon dioxide as either the potential basis for a new homogeneous catalytic system or as a soluble model for known heterogeneous oxide catalysts.
Accordingly, herein we report the finding that molybdate absorbs not just one but two equivalents of CO2 (the second, reversibly) together with complete characterization including single-crystal X-ray diffraction studies of the resulting mono- and dicarbonate complexes.—Knopf et al.
Scientists have long sought ways to convert carbon dioxide to organic compounds. Noble metals such as ruthenium, palladium, and platinum, which are relatively rare, have proven effective catalysts, but their high price makes them less attractive for large-scale industrial use.“Ideally we’d like to develop carbon-neutral cycles for renewable energy, to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and avoid pollution. In addition, since producers of oil have lots of carbon dioxide available to them, companies are interested in using that carbon dioxide as an inexpensive feedstock to make value-added chemicals, including things like polymers.”—Christopher Cummins
As an alternative, chemists have tried to make abundant metals, such as copper and iron, behave more like one of these powerful catalysts by decorating them with molecules that alter their electronic and spatial properties. These molecules—ligands—can be very elaborate and usually contain nonmetallic atoms such as sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and oxygen.
With most of those catalysts, the carbon dioxide binds directly to the metal atoms. Cummins was curious to see if he could design a catalyst where the carbon dioxide would bind to the ligand instead.
After finding some success with metal complexes consisting of either niobium or titanium bound to ligands consisting of large organic molecules, Cummins decided to try something simpler, without unwieldy ligands.
Molybdate is relatively abundant and stable in air and water. A simple tetrahedron with four atoms of oxygen bound to a central molybdenum atom, molybdate is commonly used as a source of molybdenum, which can catalyze many types of reactions. Until now, no one had studied its interactions with carbon dioxide.
Working with molybdate dissolved in an organic solvent that also contained dissolved carbon dioxide, the researchers found that the ion could bind to to two molecules of carbon dioxide. The first carbon dioxide attaches irreversibly to one of the oxygen atoms bound to molybdenum, creating a carbonate ion.
A second molecule of carbon dioxide then binds to another oxygen atom, but this second binding is reversible, which could enable potential applications in carbon sequestration, Cummins says.
Tetrahedral [MoO4]2− readily binds CO2 at room temperature to produce a robust monocarbonate complex, [MoO3(κ2-CO3)]2−, that does not release CO2 even at modestly elevated temperatures (up to 56 °C in solution and 70 °C in the solid state). In the presence of excess carbon dioxide, a second molecule of CO2 binds to afford a pseudo-octahedral dioxo dicarbonate complex, [MoO2(κ2-CO3)2]2−, the first structurally characterized transition-metal dicarbonate complex derived from CO2.
The monocarbonate [MoO3(κ2-CO3)]2− reacts with triethylsilane in acetonitrile under an atmosphere of CO2 to produce formate (69% isolated yield) together with silylated molybdate (quantitative conversion to [MoO3(OSiEt3)]−, 50% isolated yield) after 22 hours at 85 °C. This system thus illustrates both the reversible binding of CO2 by a simple transition-metal oxoanion and the ability of the latter molecular metal oxide to facilitate chemical CO2 reduction.—Knopf et al.
In theory, the system could allow researchers to create a cartridge that would temporarily store carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles. When the cartridge is full, the carbon dioxide could be removed and transferred to a permanent storage location.
Another possible application would be transforming the carbon dioxide to other useful compounds containing carbon. Cummins and his colleagues showed that the trapped carbon dioxide could be converted to formate by treating silicon-containing compounds called silanes with the molybdate complex.
More research is needed before the reaction can become industrially useful, Cummins says. In particular, his lab is investigating ways to perform the reaction so that molybdate is regenerated at the end, allowing it to catalyze another reaction.
This is a really elegant addition to the carbon dioxide fixation literature because it shows that some really beautiful transformations are achievable without an elaborate ligand system.—Christine Thomas, associate professor of chemistry at Brandeis University, who was not involved in the research
The paper’s lead author is graduate student Ioana Knopf; other authors are former visiting student Takashi Ono, former postdoc Manuel Temprado, and recent PhD recipient Daniel Tofan. The research was funded by the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation; the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport; the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness; and the National Science Foundation.
Ioana Knopf, Takashi Ono, Manuel Temprado, Daniel Tofan and Christopher C. Cummins (2014) “Uptake of one and two molecules of CO2 by the molybdate dianion: a soluble, molecular oxide model system for carbon dioxide fixation,” Chem. Sci. doi: 10.1039/C4SC00132J