Pipe: Advanced tech

arbcombo -- Public Workshop to Discuss Regulatory Activities for Oil & Natural Gas Production Operations, including Well Stimulation

Wed, 2014-07-30 18:29
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff invites you to participate in a public workshop regarding ARB s proposed regulatory activities for oil and natural gas production, processing, and storage operations, including well stimulation on Monday, August 25, 2014.

arbcombo -- Cooking and Range Hoods - New ARB Webpage

Wed, 2014-07-30 17:41
The Air Resources Board s Indoor Exposure Assessment Program has released a NEW webpage on Cooking and Range Hoods .

DOE awarding $11M to advance renewable carbon fiber production from biomass

Wed, 2014-07-30 14:07

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $11.3 million for two projects that aim to advance the production of cost-competitive, high-performance carbon fiber material from renewable, non-food-based feedstocks, such as agricultural residues and woody biomass.

Carbon fiber can lower the cost and improve performance of fuel-efficient vehicles and renewable energy components such as wind turbine blades. The two projects seek to demonstrate new biomass conversion technologies that enable the manufacturing of acrylonitrile—an essential feedstock for high performance carbon fiber—for less than $1 per pound.

  • Southern Research Institute (SRI) of Birmingham, Alabama will receive up to $5.9 million to innovate on a multi-step catalytic process for conversion of sugars from non-food biomass to acrylonitrile.

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of Golden, Colorado will receive up to $5.3 million to investigate and optimize multiple pathways to bio-acrylontrile.

  • This funding supports the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.

PNNL team develops hybrid Mg-Li battery; excellent rate performance, safety and stability

Wed, 2014-07-30 13:17

Schematic illustration of the the hybrid Mg-Li battery designed in this work. This battery has a piece of Mg foil as the anode, Mo6S8 as the cathode, and the electrolyte contains both Mg2+ and Li+. Cheng et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have devised hybrid batteries assembled with a magnesium (Mg) metal anode; a Li+ ion intercalation cathode (Mo6S8), and a dual-salt electrolyte containing Mg2+ and Li+ ions. The objective was to combine the advantages of lithium and magnesium electrochemistries.

In a paper in the RSC journal Chemical Communications, they reported that such hybrid batteries delivered strong rate performance (105 mAh g-1 at 15 C) and superior cycling stability (B5% capacity drop for 3000 cycles at 10 C), along with reasonable output voltages. The researchers suggested that the inherent safety and stability features of such devices make them very promising for many applications, especially for large-scale static energy storage.

Interest in rechargeable magnesium batteries has increased due to a number of factors. Magnesium is low-cost, safe and environmentally benign. When used as an anode, Mg has a low standard electrode potential and fast deposition/stripping kinetics with nearly 100% reversibility without formation of dendritic structures—the last being a major problem with a pure Li metal anode.

Magnesium also has a much higher theoretical energy density (gravimetric: 2205 mAh g-1, volumetric: 3832 mAh cm-3) compared with typical anode materials because of its divalent energy storage characteristics, the PNNL team noted.

Over the past few years, substantial progress in rechargeable Mg batteries has been demonstrated, but their practical application is still facing great challenges, largely due to limitations of cathode materials. … As an alternative to develop cathode materials for intercalating Mg2+ ions, here we desire to fabricate batteries by combining Mg and Li electrochemistry.

… It should be noted that a similar design has been discussed in a previous study [Yagi et al.], but it appears that prototypes fabricated in that work have some limitations (for example, low coulombic efficiency and short cyclic life), and therefore it is not evident that the design is indeed practical. —Cheng et al.
(a) Typical cycling stability of hybrid cells tested at 10 C for 3000 cycles; (b) comparison of the charge–discharge profiles for the first cycle and the 3000th cycle, showing minimal changes upon repeated charge–discharge operations. Cheng et al. Click to enlarge.

Mo6S8 can undergo intercalation reactions with either Li+ or Mg2+ ions; reactions with Li+ ions have better kinetics. The PNNL team’s results showed that Li+ ion intercalation was the dominant reaction when both Mg2+ and Li+ ions were present; this is the fundamental basis for the design of Mg–Li hybrid batteries.

Electrochemical testing showed that the cell had a specific capacity of 126 mAh g-1 at 0.1 C—very close to the theoretical capacity of Mo6S8 (128.8 mAh g-1), calculated based on the mass of Mo6S8. The capacity had a slight decrease with increase of the C-rate, but was able to maintain 105 mAh g-1 at 15 C (83% retention).

The hybrid cell was very stable, with close to 100% coulombic efficiency for each cycle.

The results discussed above demonstrate that the hybrid cells designed here could combine the advantages of Mg and Li electrochemistry and have outstanding rate performance and cycling stability. Practically, however, the performance of hybrid cells will depend strongly on their assembly methods (in particular, active material loadings relative to amounts of electrolytes) due to their unique operating principle. In particular, the electrolyte should be able to supply sufficient Li+ ions for the cathode electrochemical reaction and intercalation kinetics, since the Mg–Li battery was assembled at the charged state.

… the hybrid batteries will have minimum requirements on the amount of electrolytes for optimal performance. The volume of electrolytes could be reduced by developing novel electrolytes, such as the solvent-in-salt type electrolyte developed recently for a Li–S battery. In principle, it is possible to adopt most Li cathode materials to develop Mg–Li hybrid battery. However, developing electrochemically stable Mg–Li dual salt electrolytes is an immediate technical hurdle, since most known Mg electrolytes have stable electrochemical windows less than 3 V. Research on developing new electrolytes to increase the voltage of hybrid batteries is underway.—Cheng et al.


  • Yingwen Cheng, Yuyan Shao, Ji-Guang Zhang, Vincent L. Sprenkle, Jun Liu and Guosheng Li (2014) “High performance batteries based on hybrid magnesium and lithium chemistry,” Chem. Commun., 50, 9644-9646 doi: 10.1039/C4CC03620D

  • A. Yagi, T. Ichitsubo, Y. Shirai, S. Yanai, T. Doi, K. Murase and E. Matsubara (2014) “A concept of dual-salt polyvalent-metal storage battery ,” J. Mater. Chem. A 2, 1144–1149 doi: 10.1039/C3TA13668J

ab32publichealth -- CAT-PHWG Member Survey

Wed, 2014-07-30 12:52
CAT-PHWG MEMBER SURVEY We d like to get your feedback regarding last week s July 22nd CAT-Public Health Work Group meeting- Wildfire and Health in a Changing Climate.

New catalyst improves conversion of CO2 to syngas

Wed, 2014-07-30 12:32

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have identified molybdenum disulfide as a promising cost-effective substitute for noble metal catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

While noble metals such as gold and silver are able to reduce carbon dioxide at moderate rates and low overpotentials, their cost is a challenge to the development of inexpensive systems with an efficient CO2 reduction capability. Amin Salehi-Khojin, UIC professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and his colleagues developed a novel two-step catalytic process for CO2reduction that uses molybdenum disulfide and an ionic liquid. The new catalyst improves efficiency and lowers cost.

The discovery is a big step toward industrialization, said Mohammad Asadi, UIC graduate student and co-first author on the paper.

With this catalyst, we can directly reduce carbon dioxide to syngas without the need for a secondary, expensive gasification process.—Mohammad Asadi

In other chemical-reduction systems, the only reaction product is carbon monoxide. The new catalyst produces syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide plus hydrogen.

The high density of loosely bound, energetic d-electrons in molybdenum disulfide facilitates charge transfer, driving the reduction of the carbon dioxide, said Salehi-Khojin, principal investigator on the study. The catalyst produces a very stable reaction that can go on for hours, he said.

In noble metal catalysts like silver and gold, catalytic activity is determined by the crystal structure of the metal, but with molybdenum disulfide, the catalytic activity is on the edges. Fine-tuning of the edge structures is relatively simple. We can easily grow the molybdenum disulfide with the edges vertically aligned to offer better catalytic performance.—Amirhossein Behranginia, co-author

In comparison with other two-dimensional materials such as graphene, there is no need to play with the chemistry of molybdenum disulfide, or insert any host materials to get catalytic activity, noted Bijandra Kumar, UIC post-doctoral fellow and co-first author of the paper.

The proportion of carbon monoxide to hydrogen in the syngas produced in the reaction can also be easily manipulated using the new catalyst, said Salehi-Khojin.

The study was supported by UIC’s Chancellor Innovation Fund; by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund grant #53062-ND6; and the Herbert E. Paaren Graduate Fellowship. This work was carried out in part in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Facilities, University of Illinois.


  • Mohammad Asadi, Bijandra Kumar, Amirhossein Behranginia, Brian A. Rosen, Artem Baskin, Nikita Repnin, Davide Pisasale, Patrick Phillips, Wei Zhu, Richard Haasch, Robert F. Klie, Petr Král, Jeremiah Abiade & Amin Salehi-Khojin (2014) “Robust carbon dioxide reduction on molybdenum disulphide edges,” Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4470 doi: 10.1038/ncomms5470

Daimler to invest $2B in Sindelfingen Plant by 2020

Wed, 2014-07-30 11:06

By 2020, Daimler will invest €1.5 billion (US$2 billion) at the Mercedes-Benz Cars Sindelfingen Plant and will significantly improve its competitive position. The company has reached a multi-year agreement with the Works Council on cost reductions in a triple-digit million euro amount. In return, Daimler will invest billions of euros in the modernization of the plant and will produce another model in Sindelfingen.

The main projects include the construction of a new body shop, a new paint shop and a new assembly hall for the new generation of the E-Class and its successors.

At the world’s biggest production plant of Mercedes-Benz Cars, a new logistics center for the new E-Class will also be established, where suppliers and service providers will be responsible for incoming and outgoing goods.

The agreement reached with the Works Council includes measures to be taken to reduce the depth of manufacturing, to increase working flexibility and to enhance efficiency. This will result in cost reductions for the company in a triple-digit million euro amount over several years.

In the coming years, Daimler will renew the range of models produced in Sindelfingen and add a new vehicle to that range. By 2020, Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch twelve new models without a predecessor.

The flexibility of the Sindelfingen Plant will increase significantly. For example, in order to react more flexibly to fluctuations in demand, the Mercedes-Benz Cars Sindelfingen Plant will transform existing free-shift accounts into two separate working-time accounts, the so-called “individual account” and “collective account.” In the future, overtime worked will be credited 50:50 to an employee’s individual account and the collective account, the credit upon which is at the company’s disposal. The latter can be used to manage production shifts more flexible. This is particularly important when ramping up new models and phasing out current models.

The Mercedes-Benz Cars Plant in Sindelfingen will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. With more than 22,000 employees, Sindelfingen is the Daimler Group’s biggest production plant worldwide. At present, the S-Class sedan (normal and long wheelbase) and the S-Class coupe are manufactured there. Three additional versions are planned.

The other models produced in Sindelfingen are the sedan and wagon versions of the E-Class, the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake. In a few weeks from now, production of the new Mercedes-AMG GT sports car will start there. The plant is the competence center for large and luxury automobiles and is also the basis of the so-called “A-Team”—a group of employees who support new model ramp-ups in the worldwide Mercedes-Benz Cars factories.

NIST study suggests severe corrosion in underground gasoline storage tanks may require component replacement sooner than expected; 500K USTs in US

Wed, 2014-07-30 10:45

Optical micrographs of severe corrosion on steel alloy samples exposed to ethanol and acetic acid vapors—conditions typical of underground gasoline storage tanks—after 355 hours, 643 hours, and 932 hours. Source: NIST. Click to enlarge.

In recent years, field inspectors in nine states have reported many rapidly corroding underground gasoline storage tank (UST) components such as sump pumps. These incidents are generally associated with use of gasoline-ethanol blends and the presence of bacteria, Acetobacter aceti, which convert ethanol to acetic acid, a component of vinegar. Corrosion can result in failures, leaks and contamination of groundwater, a source of drinking water.

Following up on the inspectors’ findings, a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) laboratory study has demonstrated severe corrosion—rapidly eating through 1 millimeter of wall thickness per year—on steel alloy samples exposed to ethanol and acetic acid vapors. Based on this finding, NIST researchers suggest gasoline stations may need to replace submersible pump casings, typically made of steel or cast iron, sooner than expected.

Such retrofits could cost an estimated $1,500 to $2,500 each; there are more than 500,000 underground gas storage tanks around the country. The study is in press in the journal Corrosion Science.

A NIST study found that corrosion may pose a hazard at underground gasoline storage tanks at filling stations. The study focused on sump pump components, especially the pump casings (labelled #3 in graphic), which are typically made of steel or cast iron. Graphic: EPA. Click to enlarge.

The NIST study focused only on sump pump components, located directly below access covers at filling stations, just above and connected to underground gas storage tanks. The sump pumps move fuel from underground tanks to the fuel dispensers that pump gas into cars. These underground tanks and pipes also may be made of steel and could be vulnerable, too.

We know there are corrosion issues associated with the inside of some tanks. We’re not sure, at this point, if that type of corrosion is caused by the bacteria.—NIST co-author Jeffrey Sowards

Much of the US fuel infrastructure was designed for unblended gasoline. Ethanol is now widely used as a gasoline additive due to its oxygen content and octane rating. A previous NIST study found that ethanol-loving bacteria accelerated pipeline cracking. (Earlier post.)

For the latest study, NIST researchers developed new test methods and equipment to study copper and steel alloy samples either immersed in ethanol-water solutions inoculated with bacteria, or exposed to the vapors above the medium—conditions mimicking those around sump pumps. Corrosion rates were measured over about 30 days.

The NIST study confirmed damage similar to that seen on sump pumps by field inspectors. The worst damage, with flaky iron oxide products covering corrosion, was found on steel exposed to the vapors.

Copper in both the liquid and vapor environments also sustained damage, but corrosion rates were slower. Steel corroded very slowly while immersed in the liquid mixture; the NIST paper suggests bacteria may have created a biofilm that was protective in this case.

Although copper corroded slowly—it would take about 15 years for 1.2-millimeter-thick copper tube walls to develop holes—localized corrosion was observed on cold-worked copper, the material used in sump pump tubing, NIST co-author Elisabeth Mansfield noted. Therefore, stress-corrosion cracking is a concern for bent copper tubing because it would greatly reduce tube lifetime and result in leaks.

The NIST test equipment developed for the study could be used in future investigations of special coatings and biocides or other ways to prevent sump pump failures and leaks.

NIST held a workshop in July 2013 on biocorrosion associated with alternative fuels.


  • J.W. Sowards and E. Mansfield (2014) “Corrosion of copper and steel alloys in a simulated underground storage tank sump environment containing acid producing bacteria,” Corrosion Science In press, corrected proof available online. doi: 10.1016/j.corsci.2014.07.009

Automatic Parking Assist standard on every Chevrolet SS Sedan

Wed, 2014-07-30 10:16

The SS Sedan is Chevrolet’s first and only vehicle to offer standard Automatic Parking Assist. The technology uses sensors on the front and rear bumpers to detect the width and depth of parallel and reverse right-angle parking spaces to provide hands-free parking help.

The system can detect obstacles, gauge the size of a parking space, assess distance to the curb and calculate optimum steering angles for each parking space. The driver, following instructions on the Driver Information Center, controls the accelerator and brake while the Automatic Parking Assist controls the steering. Signals sent from the sensors in the bumpers to the electric power steering rack allow the vehicle to steer itself into the space.

For parallel parking, the driver pulls alongside a parking space until the vehicle’s rear bumper passes the rear wheel of the car parked in front of the open space. The driver then shifts into reverse and the car steers itself into the space. The backup camera provides a visual indication of how close the SS is to surrounding cars.

The reverse perpendicular parking process works in a similar way. The driver presses the Automatic Park Assist button twice and follows instructions in the Driver Information Center to safely park the vehicle.

Toyota starts CVT production in China; production of hybrid vehicle transaxles to begin in 2015

Wed, 2014-07-30 07:35

Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC’s) vehicle powertrain production subsidiary in Changshu, China, Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd. (TMCAP), has begun localized production of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), which is a first for Toyota outside Japan. Production of transaxles for hybrid vehicles—also a first for Toyota outside Japan—is scheduled to begin here in 2015.

CVT cross-section. Click to enlarge.   TMCAP CVT assembly line. Click to enlarge.

TMCAP is collaborating with TMEC [Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China)], our hybrid-focused R&D facility nearby, to develop and produce the environment-friendly vehicles that Chinese consumers want and the future needs.—TMCAP Chairman Seiichi Sudo

Established in July 2012, TMCAP began production of CVTs for compact cars on 14 July. TMCAP-produced CVTs are already being used in new “Corolla” and “Levin” models launched in China this summer, and are also planned for use in other compact vehicles in the future.

TMCAP is working to address anticipated demand for hybrid vehicles in China, with preparations underway to also locally produce hybrid system batteries and inverters. China-made hybrid components will be used in China-market Corollas and Levins starting in 2015.

Remy introduces new high-output alternator

Wed, 2014-07-30 06:30

Remy International, Inc. has launched the Delco Remy 38SI, its latest high output alternator. With this high-efficiency, mid-range amperage (215 A) alternator, Remy offers customers a comprehensive portfolio of high output products.

The 38SI offers:

  • Remote Sense that can reduce battery charge time by 50%;

  • Unique stator design with best-in-class high efficiency, providing less engine horsepower requirements and substantial fuel savings;

  • Premium brushless design that transfers magnetic fields between the field and rotor air-gap, completely eliminating the need for brushes and, thereby, extending the life cycle; and

  • OE inspection and approval, assuring OE quality and performance for aftermarket replacements.

The 38SI is suited for school buses; line-haul commercial trucks with anti-idling equipment; emergency vehicles; refuse trucks; utility vehicles; shuttle buses; and recreational vehicles.

The 38SI has the highest efficiency rating in its class. High efficiency translates to less engine horsepower requirements, resulting in substantial fuel savings.

To assess the impact on the overall vehicle and electrical system, Remy collected real-time operating data on several vehicle applications. Data shows that, over a typical life cycle, there is a fuel cost savings as alternator efficiency increases 60 to 72%. Fleets can calculate their potential cost savings using the Fuel Economy Calculator at

DOE announces steps to help modernize natural gas infrastructure

Wed, 2014-07-30 05:52

The White House and the Department of Energy hosted the fifth in a series of meetings on reducing methane emissions from natural gas systems. Following the meeting, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announced several new initiatives as DOE’s part of the larger Administration Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions.

  • Efficiency Standards for Natural Gas Compressors – The Energy Department will begin the process of establishing energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressor units, which are currently estimated to consume more than 7 percent of natural gas in the US. Improved efficiency will help provide energy savings for consumers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Advanced Natural Gas System Manufacturing – In collaboration with industry, the Department will evaluate and establish a high-impact manufacturing research and development initiative to improve natural gas system efficiency and leak reduction.

  • Incentives for Modernizing Natural Gas Infrastructure – Following discussion with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair Cheryl LaFleur, Secretary Moniz has recommended that FERC look at ways to provide greater certainty for cost recovery for new investment in modernization of natural gas transmission infrastructure.

  • Encouraging State Leadership for Efficient Distribution – The Energy Department will join the National Association of State Regulatory Utility Commissioners in a technical partnership to accelerate investments for infrastructure modernization and repairs to natural gas distribution networks, with DOE providing grant funding and technical assistance to help inform decision-marking by state utility commissioners.

The methane roundtables brought together representatives from industry, labor, academia, environmental and non-governmental organizations, and manufacturing, as well as states and localities to identify opportunities, technical solutions, and best practices to reduce methane emissions from a range of sources.

Space station droplet combustion experiments reveal cool-burning flames; potential to lead to better engines

Wed, 2014-07-30 05:05

Isolated droplet combustion experiments performed on the International Space Station (ISS) by a team of international researchers have revealed a new type of cool-burning flames. The long durations of microgravity provided in the ISS enable the measurement of droplet and flame histories over an unprecedented range of conditions, enabling the discovery. The researchers detailed their findings in an open access paper in the journal Microgravity Science and Technology

A better understanding of the cool flames’ chemistry might help improve internal combustion engines in cars, for example by developing homogenous-charge compression ignition, which could potentially lead to engines that burn fuel at cooler temperatures, emitting fewer pollutants such as soot and nitric oxide and NOx, while still being efficient.

The team was led by Forman Williams, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Spherically symmetrical combustion of liquid fuel droplets has been considered for decades in combustion research, the authors note. An advantage of spherical symmetry is that only one spatial dimension enters the description of the combustion process, enabling one-dimensional, time-dependent conservation equations to apply. This facilitates both computational and theoretical descriptions of the problem, and thus enhances understanding of experimental results. Multi-dimensional situations make the problem more difficult, uncertain and inaccurate, they observed.

Normal gravity destroys the spherical symmetry of the combustion process; microgravity experiments enable achieving spherical symmetry. Until the ability to perform space-based experiments arrived, however, microgravity work was limited to drop-towers and aircrafts flying parabolic trajectories—conditions notably lacking in the ability to provide longer observation times.

Space experiments provide the opportunity to investigate phenomena such as departures from quasi-steady combustion, transition from diffusive to radiative extinction, liquid-phase transport, influence of convection on flame dynamics, effect of sooting, multi-component droplets and flammability limits.—Dietrich et al.

During the experiments, researchers ignited large droplets of methanol (as a representative alcohol fuel) and heptane (as a typical alkane fuel); initial droplet droplet diameters were between 1.5 and 5.0 mm, ambient oxygen mole fractions between 0.1 and 0.4, ambient pressures between 0.7 and 3.0 atm and ambient environments containing oxygen and nitrogen were diluted with both carbon dioxide and helium.

The experiments … showed unique burning behavior for large heptane droplets. After the visible hot flame radiatively extinguished around a large heptane droplet, the droplet continued to burn with a cool flame. This phenomena was observed repeatably over a wide range of ambient conditions. These cool flames were invisible to the experiment imaging system but their behavior was inferred by the sustained quasi-steady burning after visible flame extinction.

Verification of this new burning regime was established by both theoretical and numerical analysis of the experimental results. These innovative experiments have provided a wealth of new data for improving the understanding of droplet combustion and related aspects of fire safety, as well as offering important measurements that can be used to test sophisticated evolving computational models and theories of droplet combustion.—Dietrich et al.

The cool flames occurred in a wide range of environments, including air similar to the earth’s atmosphere and atmospheres diluted with nitrogen, carbon dioxide and helium. The resulting combustion reaction creates toxic products, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, which in turn burn off.

Droplet and flame histories for a heptane droplet. The gap in the droplet history is when the droplet drifted out of the field of view of the camera. The thin vertical lines with letters correspond to the different times of the image sequencing shown in the paper. The thick dashed vertical line (coincident to when the flame diameter and standoff decrease quickly) is when visible flame extinction occurred.

The chart shows that after visible flame extinction, droplet vaporization continues for an extended period before an abrupt plateau. The plateau in the droplet history slightly precedes the appearance of a very large vapor cloud in the color camera view.

The linear vaporization behavior in this ‘cool flame’ region occurs as a result of low-temperature chemical reactions that somehow are initiated by the visible hot-flame extinction … These droplets exhibited strong vaporization and appreciable radiometer signals after the early disappearance of visible flames, indicating continued chemical heat release from flames that could not be imaged with the available instrumentation.— Dietrich et al.

Researchers believe that the cool flames are the result of elementary chemical reactions that do not have the time to develop around burning fuel droplets on earth, where they can only exist for a very short period of time. When droplets of fuel burn on earth, buoyancy limits the amount of time gases can hang around in the high temperature zone around the droplets. So there isn’t enough time for the droplets’ chemistry to support the cool flames. But in microgravity, there is no buoyancy, so there is enough time for the gases to stay around the droplets and for that chemistry to develop.

    A heptane droplet is ignited in the FLEX chamber on the International Space Station. Igniters ignite the droplet. The hot conventional flame burns for a short time before extinguishing. This is then followed by a prolonged period of cool flame burning, which is invisible to all the cameras on the ISS. Researchers inferred that the droplet was still burning from the other diagnostics and associated theoretical work. At the end a very large vapor cloud forms. When the vapor cloud first starts to form is right around the time when the cool flame extinguishes. (See chart above.) Click to enlarge.

The challenge for future applications is to get the right mix of fuels to generate this cool flame combustion here on earth. To investigate this question, NASA is planning a new series of experiments tentatively called Cool Flame Investigation, starting next winter and continuing for about a year.

Researchers emphasized that the research is only possible on the ISS, where scientists have access to a microgravity environment that provides a sufficient amount of test time for cool flames to occur.

All the experiments take place in the Multiuser Droplet Combustion Apparatus that can generate and ignite droplets from different fuels in different atmospheric conditions. The chamber is crammed with sensors and equipped with video cameras that record experiments. The chamber is inside an experimental facility called the Combustion Integrated Rack, which is roughly the size of a 5.5-foot bookcase and weighs close to 560 lbs (254 kg) and which records the data and transmits it to ground. The Combustion Integrated Rack is located in the Destiny module of the ISS.

The experiments are run by remote control from NASA’s John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Results were analyzed by a team of scientists from UC San Diego, the University of Connecticut, NASA, Princeton, the University of South Carolina, UC Davis, and Cornell.


  • Daniel L. Dietrich, Vedha Nayagam, Michael C. Hicks, Paul V. Ferkul, Frederick L. Dryer, Tanvir Farouk, Benjamin D. Shaw, Hyun Kyu Suh, Mun Y. Choi, Yu Cheng Liu, C. Thomas Avedisian, Forman A. Williams (2014) “Droplet Combustion Experiments Aboard the International Space Station” Microgravity Science and Technology doi: 10.1007/s12217-014-9372-2

Sakor Technologies announces turnkey test system for hybrid and electric vehicles

Wed, 2014-07-30 05:00

p> Sakor Technologies, Inc., a recognized leader in the implementation of instrumentation products for dynamometer testing, announced the availability of its complete testing system for hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs). The system features one or more AccuDyne AC motoring dynamometers; a high-voltage DC battery simulator; and a DynoLAB PT data acquisition and control system.

  • AccuDyne dynamometers can be used for testing active components such as engines and electric motors as well as passive components such as transmissions, generators and alternators. AccuDyne dynamometers are available in models from 5 kW through 3 MW.

  • The battery simulator can support continuous power to 1,500 kW and voltage ranges to more than 900 VDC; continuous current in excess of 2,800 amps DC; and transient overloads up to 200% for up to one minute.

The complete turnkey testing system can be configured to automate all types of performance, durability, and quality control testing, including complex in-use and road load simulations for both drivetrain components and electric motors and drives.

The testing system has been used extensively by major HEV manufacturers, including Tesla Motors, UQM Technologies, and Magna Electronics.

AccuDyne dynamometers offer full 4-quadrant operation with seamless transition between loading and motoring modes. The high voltage DC battery simulator provides reliable, repeatable power independent of battery charge state. Since the AccuDyne and battery simulator are both fully line-regenerative, the resulting system can recapture most absorbed power and is therefore extremely energy efficient.

This feature greatly reduces overall system operating costs. The system is fully automated by Sakor’s DynoLAB PT control system, which offers complete automation of all types of test cycles used in performance, durability, and quality control testing.

The system can also test high-voltage batteries typically used in HEVs. The testing can include standard charge/discharge cycles, as well as road-load profiles representative of what the battery would see in an actual vehicle under real world road conditions.

The new system takes advantage of Sakor’s more than 25 years of experience testing combustion engines and powertrains as well as electric motors.

Our skills and success in building systems to test combustion engines, powertrains, and electric motors make us unique in the industry. In addition, our cost effective technology is extremely “green” in its own right because the energy recaptured during regeneration modes is recycled rather than being rejected as waste heat. This feature greatly reduces energy use and overall system operating costs.—Randal Beattie, president of Sakor

arbcombo -- Solicitation of Alternatives for Analysis in the Alternative Diesel Fuel Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment

Tue, 2014-07-29 21:46
ARB is inviting public input on alternatives to the regulatory proposal for the Alternative Diesel Fuel (ADF) regulation.

arbcombo -- Three Regulatory Notices for a Public Hearing on September 18, 2014

Tue, 2014-07-29 20:10
The California Air Resources Board is announcing a public Board hearing for the following three regulatory items: Amendments to the Regulation for the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Amendments to the California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms, and Amendments to the Cost of Implementation Fee Regulation.

arbcombo -- CVRP Grant Solicitation for FY 2014-15 with Option for a new Grant Agreement for FY 2015-16

Tue, 2014-07-29 19:25
The California Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) is pleased to announce its grant solicitation for an administrator to implement the approximately $117 million Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) and Increased Incentives for Public Fleets in Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project (Public Fleet Pilot Project) for Fiscal Year 2014-15 and option for a new Grant Agreement for Fiscal Year 2015-16.

newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 29, 2014.

Tue, 2014-07-29 18:52
ARB Newsclips for July 29, 2014.

arbcombo -- Energy Efficiency & Co-Benefits Assessment for Large Industrial Sources Sector Public Reports will be available at noon July 30, 2014

Tue, 2014-07-29 18:33
The Air Resources Board s (ARB) Energy Efficiency Assessment Public Reports Oil & Gas/Minerals and Hydrogen will be available at noon on July 30, 2014, on the following website: http://www.

arbcombo -- Enforcement action taken against air cleaner manufacturer

Tue, 2014-07-29 18:05
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has taken its first enforcement action under the indoor air cleaner regulation and has issued a $120,000 fine to a manufacturer.