- Where We Work
- Who We Are
- Info & Tools
Subaru of America, Inc. introduced the 5th-generation 2015 Outback. The 2015 all-wheel drive Outback offers the roomiest interior, most capable chassis and highest fuel-efficiency in the model’s 20-year history.
New for 2015, all Outback models come standard with the Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), which features paddle-shift control switches and is instrumental in the Outback’s significantly improved fuel economy. Manufacturer-estimated ratings of 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined (9.4, 7.1 and 8.4 l/100 lm, respectively) for the Outback 2.5i model are up from 24/30/26 (9.8, 7.8 and 9.0 l/100 km, respectively) in the 2014 model—a 7.7% improvement in the combined figure.
These figures place the 2015 Outback 2.5i at the top of the midsize crossover class, bettering front-wheel drive versions of some competitive crossovers, Subaru noted.
Due largely to its new Lineartronic CVT, the 6-cylinder Outback 3.6R Limited also improves fuel economy, with manufacturer-estimated ratings of 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/22 combined (11.8, 8.7 and 10.7 l/100 km, respectively) vs. 17/25/20 (13.8, 9.4 and 11.8 l/100 km, respectively) for the previous version—a 10% improvement in the combined figure.
The 2015 Outback 2.5i is powered by a double-overhead-cam (DOHC) FB series 2.5-liter BOXER engine that debuted for 2013 and now receives numerous enhancements for lighter weight, improved efficiency and quieter operation.
Power is increased slightly, to 175 hp (130 kW) vs. 173 hp (129 kW) before. Peak torque remains at 174 lb-ft (236 N·m) but is spread over a broader engine speed range for more responsive performance in all driving situations.
In the Outback 3.6R Limited, the 3.6-liter BOXER 6-cylinder engine produces 256 hp (191 kW) and 247 lb-ft (335 N·m) of peak torque. Notably, the 3.6 engine sustains at least 225 lb-ft (305 N·m) of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm, making the Outback 3.6R Limited feel exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving.
While all Outback models now come standard with the Lineartronic CVT, the 6-cylinder model uses a high-torque version. Changes made to reduce friction in the CVT contribute to higher fuel efficiency. The CVT’s selectable manual mode offers six pre-selected ratios to allow the driver to “shift” manually using steering wheel paddle switches. This feature can provide added driver control when driving down inclines, for example.
A new Active Grille Shutter system on the 2015 Outback 2.5i helps to improve fuel economy by reducing wind resistance when closed. Electric Power-Assisted Steering and improved aerodynamics also contribute to the increased efficiency in all models.
Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and enhanced capability. A newly refined version of the Active Torque Split version of Symmetrical AWD comes standard in all 2015 Outback models. The system’s electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls torque distribution in response to driving conditions and wheel slippage. Taking input from acceleration, steering angle and yaw rate sensors, Active Torque Split AWD optimizes traction and steering response when accelerating through turns and curves, particularly when the road surface is slippery.
All 2015 Outback models come equipped as standard with the X-Mode system, which debuted on the 2014 Forester. When engaged by a switch on the console, X-Mode optimizes engine output and CVT ratio position, increases Active All-Wheel Drive engagement and uses enhanced control logic for the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system to reduce individual wheel spin.
Engaging X-Mode also activates the new Hill Descent Control, which uses engine braking to help maintain a constant vehicle speed when the Outback is traveling downhill, enhancing vehicle control. New Incline Start Assist helps to momentarily minimize forward or backward vehicle rolling on inclines, and the electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver presses the accelerator pedal to pull away from a stop.
Safety and security technology. The 2015 Outback adds new front seat-cushion airbags that help to keep occupants in place in a frontal collision. All trim lines come standard with a rear-view camera, and a new rollover sensor can deploy the side curtain airbags if an imminent rollover is detected.
For added nighttime security, the 2015 Outback features new standard Welcome Lighting that automatically turns on cabin illumination and exterior lights as the driver approaches or departs the vehicle. The Limited trim offers a Keyless Access & Start system with PIN Code Access.
The new Subaru Rear Vehicle Detection System, which is standard on Limited trims and available for the 2.5i Premium, offers three functions:
Blind Spot Detection detects vehicles on either side of the vehicle, in the driver’s blind spots;
Lane Change Assist detects fast-approaching vehicles in adjacent lanes; and
Rear Cross Traffic Alert detects vehicles approaching from a perpendicular direction while reversing, such as from a driveway. LED indicators on the side mirrors alert the driver. Rear Cross Traffic Alert uses an indicator in the rear view camera display.
The 2015 Outback offers the latest version of the EyeSight driver-assist system, the highest-rated front crash prevention system by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Available for Outback Premium and Limited trim lines, EyeSight uses Subaru-developed stereo camera technology and integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. Subaru expects the 2015 Outback to achieve the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, as the 2014 Outback did.
Models equipped with EyeSight also come with new Steering-Responsive Fog Lights. The feature, which works only when the fog lights are turned off, activates the left or right fog light independently, depending on vehicle speed and steering angle, to provide enhanced illumination in the direction of the turn. The fog lights are pre-aimed for maximum coverage in corners.
Agility and ride. Subaru extensively revised and retuned the MacPherson front strut suspension and double-wishbone rear suspension for greater handling agility and a more compliant ride—a difficult balance. New quick-ratio electric power-assisted steering delivers outstanding feel and also helps reduce fuel consumption.
Active Torque Vectoring, an enhancement of the Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability and traction control system, fosters more neutral cornering by applying brake pressure to the inside front wheel. The Outback 2.5i now uses larger brakes previously available only on the 6-cylinder model, and all models now have ventilated rear discs in place of solid discs used previously. The Brake Assist safety system automatically applies maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.
The cabin blocks more sources of noise thanks to a new acoustic windshield, liquid-filled engine mounts, thicker panels in key locations (floor, toeboard, rear wheel apron, inner fenders) and expanded use of foam insulation and floor damping material.
The 2015 Outback arrives in Subaru dealerships in summer 2014.
CO2 Solutions Inc., an innovator in the field of enzyme-enabled carbon capture technology, has entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Husky Energy. Under the terms of the agreement, CO2 Solutions will install and operate a pilot unit capturing approximately 15 tonnes of CO2 per day at Husky’s Pikes Peak South, Saskatchewan heavy oil site on a once-through steam generator. Operation of the pilot unit is expected to commence in early 2015 with completion of testing expected in the third quarter of 2015.
Subject to a positive review by Husky of the results of the pilot test, the agreement provides for Husky to consider the use of CO2 Solutions’ technology for commercial carbon capture projects.
The project will be funded in part by the Government of Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative (ecoEII) program, as previously announced on 24 January 2013.
The agreement comes shortly after CO2 Solutions announced that it had exceeded the second set of technical performance milestones for its oil sands project. (Earlier post.)
The company expects the pilot test to confirm the positive techno-economics of CO2 Solutions’ carbon capture process and will provide an operational basis to compare the process against other new and conventional technologies in terms of performance and cost.
A successful project will pave the way for the CO2 Solutions technology to be applied broadly for cost-effective carbon emissions mitigation in heavy oil and oil sands operations in Western Canada and other industrial applications.
CO2 Solutions has built an extensive patent portfolio covering the use of carbonic anhydrase, or analogues thereof, for the efficient post-combustion capture of carbon dioxide with low‐energy aqueous solvents. Carbonic anhydrase is the most powerful catalyst known for the hydration of CO2—i.e., the conversion of carbon dioxyde to bicarbonate and protons.
Mercedes-Benz has developed an intelligent energy management system for hybrid vehicles that assesses the road ahead and takes it into account. The objectives of the “Intelligent HYBRID” system are to maximize the benefit of recuperation energy and to provide driving pleasure through the boost effect of the electric motor. (Earlier post.)
The Intelligent HYBRID operating strategy, which Mercedes-Benz has employed in the S-Class since summer 2013 and now also uses in the new C-Class, ensures that the high-voltage battery is always charged only enough to take advantage of all opportunities for recuperation provided by the route and the terrain.
To achieve this, the system constantly monitors the topography ahead of the vehicle. This works not only when route guidance by the navigation system is active, but also when that system is not in use.
Many hybrid vehicles waste energy when driving downhill, Mercedes says, because frequently the high-voltage battery has too high a charge at the wrong time to be able to store the additional recuperation energy thereby generated.
With the Mercedes system, if the state of charge of the battery is too high, the electric motor automatically boosts the combustion engine to discharge the battery enough to be able to store fully the expected recuperation energy. At the same time, thanks to the boost from the electric motor, the vehicle uses less fuel and thus produces fewer emissions during this phase.
The system uses data from the COMAND Online navigation system to calculate the recuperation potential of the road ahead. For example, the data provides forward-looking information about the route profile and speed limits in a one-meter grid for up to seven kilometers (4.3 miles) in advance.
This information is processed by the Central Powertrain Controller (CPC), which then initiates the anticipatory measures. It not only lowers the battery charge in line with the situation before a downhill stretch by expanding the all-electric or boost periods, but also controls the potentially necessary recharging of the battery by the combustion engine with foresight in order to benefit from the most favorable battery state of charge.
Further adaptive control algorithms additionally take the current vehicle weight, the driving behavior (including vehicle speed and braking behavior) and the load of the ancillary consumers into account for predicting the recuperation potential.
Intelligent HYBRID also functions when route guidance is inactive. In this case the system calculates the probability of the driver making a turn dependent on the category of the road. For example, if the hybrid vehicle is travelling on a motorway, it assumes that the vehicle will probably continue on the motorway for the next seven kilometers.
Intelligent HYBRID keeps the driver informed about an upcoming elevated recuperation potential by highlighting the road ahead of the vehicle in green on the energy flow display.
How much fuel is being saved depends on the topography. This has been demonstrated by experience from many thousands of test kilometers. The more mountains there are, the higher the fuel savings will be; i.e., the effect will be more noticeable in the mountains than on plains.
In developing new hybrid models, Mercedes-Benz says it has benefited immensely from cooperating with its Formula 1 racing team, which also makes use of advanced hybrid engines to achieve fuel savings. This can result in synergistic effects both for series production vehicles as well as racing cars.
Hydro-Québec and Sony Corporation will establish a joint venture to research and develop a large-scale energy storage system for power grids. Sony and Hydro-Québec plan to establish the new company in June, 2014.
Forecasts indicate that demand for large-scale energy storage systems will increase in the future, to meet high-level demand for electric power during peak times; stabilize fluctuations in electricity generated by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power that are gaining traction; and secure a stable power supply in case of outages or disasters.
Furthermore, the energy storage system for such power supplies must be highly safe and reliable due to the need for an efficient and stable source of high capacity power.
The new company will utilize Hydro-Québec’s operation and control technologies for electric power supplies as well as its lithium-ion battery material technology, together with Sony’s control technologies for safe, reliable, olivine-type lithium-ion iron phosphate rechargeable batteries and highly scalable module systems.
By combining these strengths, the new company intends to research and develop a highly safe and reliable system for large-scale applications, as well as battery material technology suitable for use within electric power systems, and explore their use in a wide variety of applications, such as meeting excess demand during peak times at electric power substations, and integrating renewable energy sources into power grids.
Lux Research forecasts that the market for the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) of end use parts will grow at a 21% CAGR to $7.0 billion in 2025 from $684 million in 2013.
Currently, 3D printing’s largest applications are for making prototypes, molds, and tooling. Direct production of end use parts, however, is beginning to grow in industries including aerospace, medical, automotive, consumer products, architecture, and electronics.
The coming decade will see both growth and disruption in the diverse 3D printing landscape, Lux says, with the total market for 3D printers, printable materials, and printed parts reaching $12 billion in 2025. This $12 billion includes $2.0 billion in formulated materials and $3.2 billion in printers; the highest share will be in the $7.0-billion production part segment, the research firm said.
While prototypes, molds and tooling will have have respectable growth rates, the most robust growth is production parts, growing at a 36% CAGR from $81 million to $3.2 billion over this time period. This will vary significantly across applications.
Medical application—such as surgical tools and orthopedic implants—will take off from $6 million in 2013 to $391 million in 2025, a 42% CAGR, driven by the high value of customization in this market, such as prosthetics and implants that can be readily fit to individual patients or their injuries.
Small-volume automotive applications, such as parts for high-end vehicles as well as replacement parts for vehicles no longer in production, will reach the market in 2015, but rise quickly to $695 million by 2025.
Aerospace, an early leader in industrial adoption, will remain important, but longer product growth cycles won’t keep pace with the slightly later to adopt industries.
Aggregated applications also exist in consumer and architectural segments, a list that will no doubt increase as developers target a broad swath of potential applications, each of which may or may not pan out. These include customized sporting goods, on-site military or offshore oil and gas production of replacement parts, direct production of consumer electronic devices by 3D printers, or even manufacturing objects in space using local materials such as moon rocks or asteroids.
While there is opportunity and robust growth to be harvested in the 3D printing value chain, there is not enough to match the hype, Lux cautioned. While the leading 3D printer companies’ razor/blade model—developed to address prototyping—could inhibit growth, emerging third party material suppliers and equipment manufacturers with more open models are beginning to challenge their dominance. This has been fueled by an onset of patent expiration.
In 2006, expiration of several early FFF (fused filament fabrication) patent families enabled the emergence of low-cost desktop printers from new suppliers and corresponding popular interest in the technology.
In early 2014, US patent 5,597,589, a foundational patent for SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), expired. This is bound to result in increased competition among industrial SLS printer suppliers to follow as new entrants come to market. Beyond these disruptions to incumbency, traditional design tools are unwieldy and inadequate leaving room for emerging intuitive design tools that will point the way to more efficient part design.
Nissan is expanding its successful “No Charge to Charge” promotion, which will provide two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. In total, Nissan will launch “No Charge to Charge” in 25 US markets, which are currently responsible for more than 80 percent of Nissan LEAF sales.
The “No Charge to Charge” expansion will use the new EZ-Charge card, a new platform that will offer Nissan LEAF owners access to the leading EV charging networks with a single, all-access card. New owners will receive an EZ-Charge card that will provide access to chargers with ChargePoint, Blink Network from Car Charging Group, AeroVironment and NRG eVgo.
“No Charge to Charge” will launch using the EZ-Charge card on 1 July 2014, in 10 of the top markets for Nissan LEAF sales, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and Washington, DC. The “No Charge to Charge” offer and EZ-Charge card will be provided retroactively to buyers in these markets who purchased their LEAF on or after 1 April 2014.
After the rollout in the first 10 markets, Nissan plans to add “No Charge to Charge” and EZ-Charge at LEAF dealers in at least 15 additional markets during the following year. More details on the programs in these additional markets will be made available closer to their launch.
The EZ-Charge access card is managed by NRG eVgo with support from ChargePoint, CarCharging and AeroVironment.
Researchers at Delphi Powertrain, in collaboration with colleagues at Hyundai Motor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants (WERC), have developed a first-generation multi-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) engine, based on several years of extensive simulations and single-cylinder engine tests. (Earlier post, earlier post.)
In a presentation at the SAE 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium and then in a paper given at SAE 2014 World Congress, Mark Sellnau, Engineering Manager, Delphi Advanced Powertrain, reported that Brake Specific Fuel Consumption for the 1.8L GDCI engine was significantly better than advanced production spark injection gasoline engines, and comparable to very efficient hybrid vehicle engines at their best efficiency conditions (214 g/kWh). Compared to new diesel engines, the Delphi team found that BSFC for GDCI at light loads was comparable or better, and at high loads was about 5% higher.
They found that at all loads, GDCI was remarkably clean, with the potential for no aftertreatment for NOx and particulate emissions. The team expects to be able to deliver further improvements in fuel consumption through planned development work.
Background. In 2010, The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected Delphi, along with partners Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc (HATCI); Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants (WERC); and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) for a $7.48-million grant to develop and to demonstrate a new ultra fuel efficient vehicle (UFEV) vehicle concept. (Earlier post.) A key strategy for achieving the project goals was the further development of a new low-temperature combustion system: gasoline direct-injection compression-ignition (GDCI).
General project targets were to deliver diesel-like or better fuel economy using E10 gasoline (RON91), and to achieve low engine-out NOx and PM using low temperature combustion, the intention being to avoid the cost of aftertreatment for NOx and PM, in addition to meeting more stringent standards.DOE UFEV program targets Vehicle fuel efficiency on FTP +35% (PFI baseline) ISNOx < 0.2 g/kWh over map FSN (smoke number) < 0.1 (0.05) over map CNL (combustion noise) load & speed dependent Combustion stability < 5% COV IMEP (3%)
Throughout the world, many efforts are being made to improve the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines. One relatively new approach is gasoline partially-premixed compression ignition (PPCI) that was introduced by Kalghatgi and first tested by Johansson. A high octane fuel was injected late on the compression stroke of a boosted diesel engine operating with high EGR. The injection process was complete prior to the start of combustion enabling partial mixing of the fuel and air prior to heat release. Very low fuel consumption, NOx, and PM emissions were measured. This early work established that gasoline-like fuels with high resistance to autoignition are preferred for PPCI.
… PPCI has demonstrated very good potential for very high fuel efficiency with low engine-out NOxand PM emissions using a range of gasoline-like fuels. However, towards a production solution, significant issues remain. Due to the lower exhaust enthalpy of lower temperature engines using PPCI, it is difficult to produce intake boost with acceptable boost system parasitis. A practical powertrain system with robust PPCI combustion is needed, including injection, valvetrain, boost, and exhaust subsystems. The engine must also meet vehicle packaging requirements under hood and satisfy cold start and transient response requirements.
… Delphi has been developing a multi-cylinder engine concept for PPCI combustion with the current US market gasoline (RON91).… A multiple-late-injection (MLI) strategy with GDI-like injection pressures was selected without use of a premixed charge. The absence of classic knock and pre-ignition limits in this process enabled a higher compression ratio of 15. The engine operates “full time” over the entire operating map with partially premixed compression ignition. No combustion mode switching, diffusion controlled combustion, or spark plugs were used. Delphi uses the term Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) in reference to this combustion process.—Sellnau et al. 2014-01-1300
Delphi says that GDCI combines the best of diesel and spark-ignited engine technology. Click to enlarge.
Current study. In this phase of the project, the engineers designed and fabricated a new multi-cylinder GDI engine, and used design tools to package the powertrain in a D-class vehicle. The conducted engine dynamometer tests over a range of operating conditions, and included preliminary calibration mapping.
They used this data for a competitive assessment of BSFC against published data for gasoline, diesel and hybrid engines.
They also simulated aggressive transients with a high rate of increased load as well as cold starts, and then tested all on the real engine.
GDCI engine. The GDCI engine features a shallow pent room combustion chamber, central-mounted injector, and 15:1 compression ratio. The quiescent, open-chamber design supports injection-controlled mixture stratification; swirl, tumble and squish were minimized to prevent destruction of the stratification created during injection. The piston and bowl—a symmetrical shape centered on the cylinder and injector axes—are matched to the injection system and spray characteristics.
The injection strategy is central to the success of the concept, and involves one, two or three injections during the compression stroke. At start of combustion (SOC), the stratified fuel-air mixture achieves stable combustion and controlled heat release.
The absence of classic combustion knock and preignition for GDCI means that a GDCI engine can be operated on RON91 gasoline at high compression ratio for high efficiency. For this reason, GDCI is a good candidate for aggressive downsizing, downspeeding, and boosting, which is a proven strategy for high vehicle-level fuel economy. These were two main consideration in base engine design.—Sellnau et al.
Full-time GDCI combustion is achieved using exhaust rebreathing at low loads and cooled EGR at medium- to high-loads. Rebreathing is implemented using the exhaust valvetrain system, which provides a secondary exhaust lift event during the intake stroke. The team noted that this is an effective method to recuperate heat from hot exhaust gases in order to raise mixture temperatures—i.e., the heat promotes autoignition at low loads when boost pressure is zero or low.
Rebreathing also keeps the oxidation catalyst warm over a wide range of low loads without special maintenance heating.
A Delphi electric camshaft phaser actuates exhaust valvetrain and controls the secondary valve lift with very fast response.
The specially developed boost system (reported at the SAE events in 2013), features a turbocharger, supercharger, two intercoolers, and a low-pressure loop EGR system. The aftertreatment system consists only of an oxidation catalyst; tailpipe NOx and PM are to be handled by the GDCI combustion. The OxiCat is located at turbocharger outlet for heat conservation.
Results. Engine dyno tests were run at idle, part-load, and full-load. For all operating conditions, the GDCI engine was operated with PPCI without mode switching or diffusion controlled combustion. Injection quantities and timings were used to control mixture stratification and combustion phasing. They found:
At idle and low load, rebreathing of hot exhaust gases provided stable combustion with NOx and PM emissions below targets of 0.2g/kWh and FSN 0.1, respectively. The coefficient of variation of IMEP was less than 3%. BSFC of 280 g/kWh was measured at 2000 rpm-2bar BMEP.
At medium-to-higher loads, rebreathing was not used and cooled EGR provided NOx, PM, and combustion noise below targets.
At full load operating conditions, near stoichiometric mixtures were used with up to 45% EGR. Maximum BMEP was about 20 bar at 3000 rpm.
Good BSFC at low speed and loads, and good minimum BSFC at higher load (~213 g/kWh).
Engine-out NOx was below 0.2 g/kWh at every point on the map—unique GDCI characteristic, they said. NOx decreases with increasing load, a helpful attribute for down-speeding.
Smoke (FSN) achieved program targets.
For the competitive assessment, they matched the GDCI’s data against:
For the best efficiency point on the map, the GDCI engine matched the hybrid vehicle engines; was about 5% higher than the two diesels; and was significantly beter than the spark-ignited engines.
For the low speed/load range, BSFC for GDCI is comparable to the hybrid engines; better than most of the diesels; and significantly beter than the SI data.
At the 2000 rpm, 2 bar BMEP world test point, BSFC for the GDCI was 280 g/kWh (clutch on), and 267 g/kWh (clutch off): lower than all the gasoline and diesel engines.
For the medium-to-high speed/load range, BSFC for GDCI was within 1 to 5% of diesel, and significantly beter than SI. The hybrid engines did not produce enough torque at these loads for comparison, and were labelled “off map.”
Despite the good results, the team emphasized that the results are not optimized; further improvements can come from further development of the combustion system, improving firing friction, and refined calibrations.
A, M., Foster, M., Hoyer, K., Moore, W. et al. (2014) “Development of a Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) Engine,” SAE Int. J. Engines 7(2) doi: 10.4271/2014-01-1300
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) unveiled its newly company-branded, public-access natural gas vehicle (NGV) refueling station in Los Angeles County. Located at the company’s operating base at 44416 Division St. in the city of Lancaster, the retail station is open 24 hours a day and features a fast-fill dispenser to serve individual and fleet owners of NGVs, including sedans, vans, pickups, and school buses.
The new SoCalGas refueling station features two natural gas dispenser hoses served by a natural gas compressor for improved fill speed and increased reliability. In addition, modern dispensing nozzles can be operated with one hand, while new overhead canopies protect customers from sun and rain. Energy-efficient LED signage enables motorists to compare natural gas fuel prices.
With the average price of natural gas at around $2 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), drivers of natural gas vehicles can achieve annual cost savings up to 50% compared to gasoline, in addition to the air quality benefits provided by NGVs.
SoCalGas currently operates 19 CNG refueling stations to serve its own utility fleet of more than 1,000 SoCalGas NGVs, with 11 of these stations open to the general public.
The international “Science Award for Electrochemistry” from BASF and Volkswagen is set to be awarded for the third time. Scientists may now submit applications online at www.science-award.com. The website also explains the conditions of entry and the selection process. The closing date for entries is 4 July 2014.
The entries submitted will be judged by a jury made up of experts from BASF and Volkswagen and representatives from academia. The awards ceremony will take place on 6 November 2014 at Stanford University in California.
The international "Science Award for Electrochemistry" supports outstanding work in natural and engineering science and aims to provide a stimulus for the development of high-capacity energy storage systems. The Science Award has been offered annually since 2012 and is aimed at scientists in the global academic research community.
The total prize money is €50,000 (US$69,000), with the first prize worth €25,000 (US$35,000). As of this year the prize money does not have to be used for a specific purpose.
In October 2012, the first international "Science Award for Electrochemistry" from BASF and Volkswagen went to Dr. Naoaki Yabuuchi of the Department of Green and Sustainable Chemistry at Tokyo Denki University in Japan.
A year later, the second Science Award was won by Dr. Karl Mayrhofer of the Electrocatalysis working group at the Max Planck Institute of Ferrous Materials Research in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The jury recognized with its decision the outstanding research results that Yabuuchi had achieved in relation to different battery technologies and that Mayrhofer had achieved in the field of electrocatalysts for fuel cells.
Cadillac announced a partnership with the ChargePoint electric vehicle-charging network in the world. The collaboration brings Cadillac ELR drivers immediate access to more than 16,500 charging locations on the ChargePoint network.
All 2014 and 2015 ELRs will include a ChargePoint Driver Kit in the owner’s manual. With a ChargePoint card in every ELR, drivers can immediately sign up for free and get access to ChargePoint’s network. The ELR has a total range of 340 miles and an all-electric range of 37 miles.
ChargePoint’s real-time network information including the availability of charging locations throughout the nation is available through the ChargePoint mobile app, online and via the navigation systems in top-selling EVs.
Every 10 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station. Over 4.4 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved more than 3.5 million gallons of gasoline and driven 89 million gas free miles.
Hyundai introduced its seventh-generation 2015 Sonata mid-size sedan at the New York International Auto Show. The new generation offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features.
Hyundai continues its all four-cylinder Theta engine lineup for the 2015 Sonata. (Information on the 2015 Sonata Hybrid will come later this year.) A revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine powers SE, Limited and Sport models. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower (138 kW) and 178 lb-ft (241 N·m) of torque.
Hyundai’s powertrain engineers slightly reduced peak power for the 2015 Sonata to shift the powerband downward for better responsiveness in lower-RPM situations where customers spend the majority of their time. The new Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT) improves performance in low temperatures and reduces emissions.Theta II GDI Hyundai introduced the Theta II GDI, its first Gasoline Direct Injection engine, in 2009. (Earlier post.) Theta II featured numerous design enhancements over its predecessor, beginning with a three-stage variable induction system (VIS) which automatically adjusted the volume of the air sucked into the combustion chamber to create an air-to-fuel mix optimized for varying engine load conditions. Further performance gains were made possible by incorporating Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT) which improves engine breathing on the intake and exhaust sides for better fuel economy and lower emissions. Friction reduction measures include a revision of the piston pin from a fixed-type to a full-floating design which cuts down on friction between the piston and cylinder wall. And under the piston crown, engineers have added a cooling jet which sprays oil over the piston walls reducing friction and contributing to an improvement in fuel economy.
A revised 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI, also featuring E-CVVT, powers Sport 2.0T models. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is also optimized for lower-RPM drivability and it produces 245 horsepower (183 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 N·m) of torque.
The turbocharger features a smaller turbine and compressor wheel, which provide better responsiveness and more torque in the low and mid RPM range. Both Theta engines are paired with a six-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission.
Advanced high-strength steel platform. The 2015 Sonata uses advanced high-strength steel for more than 50% of total platform composition, which results in 41% stiffer torsional rigidity and 35% greater bending strength. Advanced high strength steel is twice as rigid as traditional steel while weighing 10% less. More hot-stamped components are used, especially in the B-pillar area.
A revised multilink rear suspension design enhances responsiveness, handling and stability while reducing impact harshness. Dual lower suspension arms replace the old single-arm design and distribute lateral forces more effectively to improve ride quality without sacrificing handling. The new rear suspension geometry helps keep Sonata more stable under hard braking and helps provide shorter stopping distances.
Reinforced side and cross members strengthen sub-frame mounting points and improve suspension responsiveness. Revised front sub-frame bushings are 17% stiffer than before and contribute to better steering feel and improved responsiveness.
The 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T utilizes a new rack-mounted dual-pinion electric power steering system that offers more natural steering feel. Sport 2.0T models receive a unique sport-tuned suspension and larger 12.6-inch front brakes.
Active safety technologies. Active safety technologies for the 2015 Sonata include Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System.
Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Departure Warning System uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning light on the dashboard illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.
Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another feature derived from the 2015 Sonata’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the 2015 Sonata when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert.
Next-gen Blue Link. 2015 Sonata will be the second Hyundai vehicle to offer the next-generation Blue Link system. The debut of the all-new Sonata coincides with the launch of a new Hyundai Assurance Car Care in-vehicle app.
Destination Search powered by Google. Users will be able to take advantage of Google’s destination search via the Blue Link button (voice recognition) and navigation display, or through myhyundai.com and the Blue Link mobile app sending a destination to their 2015 Sonata.
Remote Start now includes a timer (from 1 to 10 min.), remote stop, remote climate control and remote defroster available via the mobile app.
Hyundai Assurance Car Care in-vehicle app gives owners another convenient option for scheduling service.
The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata will be built at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery, Ala. and goes on sale early this summer.
British Airways and its partner Solena Fuels announced that the UK GreenSky facility to convert landfill waste into jet fuel (earlier post) will be built in Thames Enterprise Park, part of the site of the former Coryton oil refinery in Thurrock, Essex. The site has excellent transport links and existing fuel storage facilities. One thousand construction workers will be hired to build the facility which is due to be completed in 2017, creating up to 150 permanent jobs.
The plant will convert approximately 575,000 tonnes of post-recycled waste, normally destined for landfill or incineration into 120,000 tonnes of clean burning liquid fuels using Solena’s Integrated Biomass-Gas to Liquid (IBGTL) technology. British Airways has committed to purchasing, at market competitive prices, the jet fuel produced by the plant for the next 11 years which equates to about $550 million at today’s prices. It is also providing construction capital and becoming a minority share holder in GreenSky.
Solena’s Integrated Biomass-Gas to Liquid (IBGTL) solution is based on an industry-proven Fischer-Tropsch platform coupled with Solena’s proprietary high temperature plasma gasification technology to produce sustainable fuels from low carbon-bearing organic waste.
IBGTL consists of five integrated processing islands: (i) Solena’s proprietary high-temperature gasification; (ii) BioSynGas conditioning; (iii) Fischer-Tropsch processing; (iv) FT wax upgrading; and (v) Power production.
High Temperature Gasification. This processing block receives the waste biomass via screw feeders which deliver the feedstock to the Solena Plasma Gasification Vessels (SPGV), which host the plasma heating systems. The plasma heating system generates an extremely high temperature that heats a carbon catalytic bed, which forms the base of Solena’s counter-current, fixed bed gasification process. (Plasma is a very high-temperature ionized gas.) The carbon catalytic bed distributes the high temperature heat evenly over the entire cross section of the SPGV.
The high operating temperatures causes all organic hydrocarbon materials to dissociate into basic elemental gases while at the same time all the inorganic inert materials are melted into an inert and non-leachable slag. This process of thermal de-polymerization of organic materials and melting of inorganic materials by means of high temperature plasma energy is Solena’s patented gasification system.
The SPGV efficiency and functionality is based on several factors including its capacity to deliver reliable and instant high temperature heat through the plasma arc torch heating system.
BioSynGas Cleaning & Conditioning. The BioSynGas produced in the Gasification Island is sent to Cleaning & Conditioning. The raw BioSynGas is free of tar, soot, or medium to long chain hydrocarbons as it leaves the SPGV, and its composition is continuously monitored as it exits the SPGV. In the Cleaning & Conditioning Island, the BioSynGas is cooled, any acidic gases are removed and the H2:CO ratios adjusted to ensure that the BioSynGas meets or exceeds the feed gas specifications required in the FT process.
FT Processing. The FT processing island converts the syngas via an exothermic chemical synthesis reaction into long-chain hydrocarbons such as wax and light Fischer-Tropsch liquids. The IBGTL facility will utilize Velocys’ Fischer-Tropsch micro-channel reactor technology and FT catalysts to convert the BioSynGas into crude FT wax.
The main advantage of Velocys’ micro-channel FT reactors stems from the increased internal surface area in the reactors, which translates into optimum heat transfer efficiency and enhanced interaction between the BioSynGas and the FT catalyst.
FT Wax Upgrading. Used extensively in the refining industry today, the FT wax upgrading process combines hydrocracking and hydrotreating to convert the FT waxes into various liquid fuels. The processed streams are subsequently separated into jet, diesel fuel and naphtha. As in the FT processing island, the tail gas from the upgrading system is also routed to the power generation for additional power production.
Power Production. The Fischer-Tropsch and upgrading islands produce tail gases that are combustible and as such, these gases are used within the IBGTL facility for power generation. Tail gases are combusted in a gas boiler to generate steam. The steam generated is then used to drive a steam turbine for generating electrical energy. In addition to the steam produced in the combined cycle, there are other instances in the plant where steam is produced (hot BioSynGas heat recovery and FT process exothermic reaction). This steam is also sent to the steam turbine to maximize power production and energy efficiency of the plant.
Thames Enterprise Park and neighboring Thames Oilport, established in 2012, is a joint venture with Greenergy as one of the investors and the site project facilitator for this project. It is situated on an industrial site on the estuary of the River Thames.
The assets of the former Petroplus Coryton Oil Refinery were acquired by a consortium comprising Vopak, Shell and Greenergy in September 2012 and rebranded as a joint venture named Thames Oilport. The joint venture proposes to develop a refurbished terminal for the bulk importation and blending of fuels and to redevelop the rest of the former refinery site as Thames Enterprise Park.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Loan Guarantee solicitation is intended to support technologies that will have a catalytic effect on commercial deployment of future projects, are replicable, and are market ready.
When finalized, the solicitation is expected to make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees available to help commercialize technologies that may be unable to obtain full commercial financing.
Within the draft solicitation, the Department has included a sample list illustrative of potential technologies for consideration. While any project that meets the eligibility requirements is eligible to apply, the Department has identified five key technology areas of interest: advanced grid integration and storage; drop-in biofuels; waste-to-energy; enhancement of existing facilities; and efficiency improvements.
Drop-in Biofuels. These projects take advantage of existing infrastructure by providing nearly identical bio-based substitutes for crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel, or produce intermediate fuel feedstocks that can be delivered to and integrated into existing oil petroleum refineries. These types of projects would not be restricted by current ethanol/biodiesel blend levels and could drive a catalytic change in the fuels market.
DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but￼are not limited to: new bio-refineries that produce gasoline, diesel fuel, and/or jet fuel; bio-crude refining processes; and modifications to existing ethanol facilities to gasoline, diesel fuel, and/or jet fuel.
Advanced Grid Integration and Storage. This area focuses on renewable energy systems that mitigate issues related to variability, dispatchability, congestion, and control by incorporating technologies such as demand response or local storage. These advanced system designs will demonstrate greater grid compatibility of generation from renewable resources and open up an even larger role for renewable power generation.
DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to: renewable energy generation, including distributed generation, incorporating storage; smart grid systems incorporating any combination of demand response, energy efficiency, sensing, and storage to enable greater penetration of renewable generation; micro grid projects that reduce CO2 emissions at a system level; and storage projects that clearly enable greater adoption of renewable generation.
Waste-to-Energy. This area focuses on projects harnessing waste products such as landfill methane and segregated waste as a source of energy. These types of projects will enable commercial scale utilization of waste materials which are otherwise discarded and produce significant clean, renewable energy. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: methane from landfills or ranches via biodigesters; crop waste to energy and bioproducts; and forestry waste to energy and co-firing.
Enhancement of Existing Facilities. This area focuses on projects incorporating renewable generation technology into existing renewable energy and efficient energy facilities to significantly enhance performance or extend the lifetime of the generating asset. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: incorporation of power production into currently non-powered dams; inclusion of variable speed pump- turbines into existing hydro facilities; and retrofitting existing wind turbines.
Efficiency Improvements. This area focuses on projects that incorporate new or improved technologies to increase efficiency and substantially reduce greenhouse gases. DOE anticipates qualifying projects may include, but are not limited to, the following: improve or reduce energy usage in residential, institutional, and commercial facilities, buildings, and/or processes; recover, store, or dispatch energy from curtailed or underutilized renewable energy sources; recover, store, or dispatch waste energy from thermal, mechanical, electrical, chemical or hydro-processes.
The Department welcomes public comment on a range of issues and will consider public feedback in defining the scope of the final solicitation. In addition to initiating a 30-day public comment period, a schedule of public meetings will be posted on the Department’s website.
Once the solicitation is finalized, the Department’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) will be accepting applications in three areas, which also include the $8-billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation that was released in December 2013 and the $16-billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
The Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy solicitation is authorized by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 through Section 1703 of the Loan Guarantee Program. Currently, the LPO supports a diverse portfolio of more than $30 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and commitments, supporting more than 30 projects nationwide.
The Audi A3 TDI diesel Sportback is making its US debut at the New York International Auto Show. The A3 TDI Sportback will join the new A3 family being introduced over the next 18 months—the Audi A3 Sedan, Audi A3 Cabriolet, A3 TDI clean diesel sedan, the high-performance S3 Sedan and the A3 Sportback e-tron gasoline electric hybrid (PHEV). (Earlier post.)
The Audi A3 TDI Sportback will offer a 150 horsepower (110 kW) 2.0 TDI clean diesel mated to the standard 6-speed S tronic transmission.
Audi will thus have two Sportback options for the US—the A3 e-tron PHEV and the new A3 TDI—offering a choice for eco-conscious drivers facing a typical American commute or for those with longer daily hauls who require the range of the TDI.
Audi introduced TDI technology in the US in 2009. Since then, more than 37,500 Audi TDI vehicles have been sold in the US, delivering an average of 30% better fuel economy and range than their gasoline counterparts (based on EPA fuel economy estimates).
Audi has five 2014 TDI models available including the A6, A7, A8 L, Q5, and Q7. The new A3 TDI sedan arrives this year.
Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) will reveal the Volvo S60L PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Concept Car at the 2014 Beijing International Auto Show. A production version of the S60L plug-in hybrid will be launched in China early 2015 and will be produced at the Chengdu plant.
The S60L PPHEV Concept Car features the same electrification technology as the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the first diesel plug-in hybrid, on sale in Europe. (Earlier post.) In the S60L, however, the diesel engine of the V60 has been replaced with a new, two-liter, four-cylinder gasoline turbocharged engine from Volvo Cars’ new Drive-E engine family (earlier post).
The engine produces 238 hp (177 kW) and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft) of torque. Other key components in the powertrain are a crankshaft-driven ISG (Integrated Starter Generator) between the engine and the 8-speed automatic gearbox and a 68 hp (50 kW) electric motor powered by a 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.
The driver selects the required driving mode via three buttons: Pure, Hybrid or Power.
In the default hybrid mode, the carbon dioxide emissions are about 50 g/km. This corresponds to fuel consumption of 2.0 l/100 km (118 mpg US).
By selecting Pure, the driver can choose to cover up to 50 km (31 miles) on all electric power; the Power mode combines the capabilities of the engine and motor to deliver 306 horsepower (225 kW), 550 N·m (4046 lb-ft) of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 5.5 seconds.
This on-demand possibility to choose between different driving modes makes the plug-in hybrid the perfect choice for the uncompromising customer who wants minimum carbon dioxide emissions combined with maximum driving pleasure. The electric range covers the needs of most Chinese commuters, and the car has a total range of about 1,000 km (621 miles) in hybrid mode.—Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Cars
The S60L PPHEV Concept Car can be recharged from a regular power outlet (230V/6A to 16A fuse) at home or in a car park. The recharging time varies with the amperage. A full charge with 10A takes 4.5 hours, while a 16A charge takes it down to 4.0 hours.
Pressing the AWD button activates electric four-wheel drive. Instead of the mechanical power transfer of conventional four-wheel drive, the central control unit distributes power between the gasoline-driven front wheels and the electrically driven rear axle.
The Audi Group has calculated its corporate carbon footprint and is the first premium automobile manufacturer to be certified according to the international standard ISO 14064. Audi made a detailed assessment of emissions in all automobile lifecycle phases; experts of DEKRA Certification GmbH and DEKRA Certification Inc. reviewed and confirmed the basic data sources and calculations.
As the DEKRA experts confirm, the corporate carbon footprint of the Audi Group worldwide amounts to 57 million tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) each year. This amount represents approximately 0.16% of worldwide CO2 emissions in the year 2012. The emissions during the cars’ use-phase (73%); the production of components by suppliers (21%) and Audi’s logistics activities (1.4%) cause a major proportion of the annual emissions.
The calculated corporate carbon footprint includes all of the Audi Group’s greenhouse-gas emissions over the entire lifecycle of the models. All direct and indirect CO2 emissions (scopes 1 and 2) are included—such as emissions from production plants and from electricity and heating—as well as the scope 3 emissions, for example from the supply and logistics chain, from production waste and from business trips.
We are making a clear statement by calculating and publishing our CO2 footprint. We are making the main causes of emissions in our value chain transparent, and will further reduce them over the entire lifecycle.—Board of Management Member for Production Dr. Hubert Waltl
The manufacturing process of a car, on average, accounts for approximately one-quarter of the emissions of its entire lifecycle. It is therefore necessary to focus on all areas of influence—Audi’s production processes as well as the supply chain—according to Waltl.
We regard the ability to know our greenhouse-gas footprint as an opportunity. We have evaluated numerous sources in detail, so that we can analyze emissions even more accurately and define effective measures for all lifecycle phases. This serves to increase energy efficiency, to save energy, and ultimately to reduce our CO2 footprint.—Dr. Dagobert Achatz, Head of Operating Environmental Protection at Audi AG
Compared with the year 2008, Audi will reduce its fleet CO2 emissions by 25% by 2016. This will be aided by models such as the Audi A3 e-tron lug-in hybrid, the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron and the Audi ultra models.
In addition, the Group has implemented numerous projects to further reduce its CO2 emissions. Examples here include the highly energy-efficient data center with TÜV certification; the use of green electricity and waste heat; and the “Green Train” powered by regenerative electricity that is used to transport cars from the Audi sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm to the North Sea port in Emden.