Pipe: Advanced tech

CNOOC takes delivery of Asia’s first LNG tug

Fri, 2015-07-03 10:28

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has taken delivery of Asia’s first tugboat Hai Yang Shi You 525, designed to operate solely on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as ship’s fuel.

Hai Yang Shi You 525, the first of two tugs built by the Zhenjiang shipyard for CNOOC, features a propulsion package based on twin Rolls-Royce Bergen C26:33L9PG engines and a pair of Rolls-Royce US 205 CP azimuth thrusters to ensure the tugs have rapid maneuvering and strong bollard pull capabilities.

A successful sea trial has shown an extra gain for both ship speed and bollard pull.

The decision to operate on LNG follows the Chinese government’s 2011 plan to strengthen its maritime base with the manufacture of high-end, ecologically-efficient ships and technology.

The Bergen C26:33 gas engines reduce CO2 emissions by 25% and NOx emissions by up to 90%. SOx and particulate are also removed, minimizing emissions along coasts and inland waterways.

Rolls-Royce to lead €6.6M autonomous ship research project

Fri, 2015-07-03 09:56

Rolls-Royce will lead a new €6.6-million (US$7.3-million) project that could pave the way for autonomous ships. The Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative will produce the specification and preliminary designs for the next generation of advanced ship solutions.

The project is funded by Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) and will bring together universities, ship designers, equipment manufacturers, and classification societies to explore the economic, social, legal, regulatory and technological factors which need to be addressed to make autonomous ships a reality.

The project will run until the end of 2017 and will pave the way for solutions designed to validate the project’s research. The project will include researchers from Tampere University of Technology; VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd; Åbo Akademi University; Aalto University; the University of Turku; and leading members of the maritime cluster including Rolls-Royce, NAPA, Deltamarin, DNV GL and Inmarsat.

The wide-ranging project will look at research carried out to date before exploring the business case for autonomous applications, the safety and security implications of designing and operating remotely operated ships, the legal and regulatory implications and the existence and readiness of a supplier network able to deliver commercially applicable products in the short to medium term.

The technological work stream, which will be led by Rolls-Royce, will encompass the implications of remote control and autonomy of ships for propulsion, deck machinery and automation and control, using, where possible, established technology for rapid commercialisation.

The Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean team is responsible for research and development of future maritime technologies and focuses on disruptive innovations. By combining new technologies with new approaches to ship design and system integration, the team aims to reduce operational costs, minimize emissions and enhance the earning capability of vessels. The team has developed a range of autonomous ship concepts as well as innovative designs for various ship types.

Energiepark Mainz comes online; hydrogen from wind power; Siemens 6MW electrolysis system

Fri, 2015-07-03 09:49

After a year in construction, Energiepark Mainz, a collaboration between Stadtwerke Mainz, Linde, Siemens and the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, was inaugurated in Mainz. (Earlier post.) The energy park will produce hydrogen using electricity from neighboring wind parks.

Around €17 million has been channelled into the project, which is also being funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the framework of its “Förderinitiative Energiespeicher” (Energy Storage Funding) initiative.

Fuel-cell drive technology has advanced greatly and is now being launched to the market. If this technology is adopted on a wide enough scale, it has the potential to significantly reduce traffic-related environmental pollution. Today, most of the hydrogen that Linde supplies to filling stations is already green. Energiepark Mainz has the capacity to produce enough hydrogen for around 2,000 fuel-cell cars.—Dr. Wolfgang Büchele, Linde Group CEO

In the project, Linde is responsible for purifying, compressing, storing and distributing the hydrogen. The company’s efficient ionic compressor technology gives the plant a high degree of operational flexibility. The hydrogen produced in Mainz-Hechtsheim will be stored on site and partly loaded into tankers to supply hydrogen fueling stations. Some of the hydrogen will also be fed into the natural gas grid for heating or power generation.

Siemens delivered the park’s hydrogen electrolysis system. The PEM-based high-pressure electrolysis system—comprising three 2MW units—has a peak performance of 6MW—the largest system of this kind. The energy park therefore has enough capacity to prevent bottlenecks in the local distribution grid and to stabilize the power supply of smaller wind parks.

The energy park is directly connected to the medium-voltage grid of the Stadtwerke Mainz Netze GmbH utility company. It is also linked to four neighboring wind parks that belong to the Stadtwerke group.

The RheinMain University of Applied Sciences has been working in this area for many years and is providing scientific support to the research project, which is set to run for four years. The findings will be incorporated and evaluated in a PhD thesis.

Japan researchers propose trilithium niobate as high-energy cathode for Li-ion batteries

Fri, 2015-07-03 06:15

A team of researchers in Japan, including colleagues from the R&D Center at batter-maker GS Yuasa, are exploring Li3NbO4-based (trilithium niobate) materials as new and promising electrode materials for high-energy rechargeable lithium batteries. A paper on their work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Herein, as a compound with further excess lithium contents, a cation-ordered rocksalt phase with lithium and pentavalent niobium ions, Li3NbO4, is first examined as the host structure of a new series of high-capacity positive electrode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries.

Approximately 300 mAh⋅g−1 of high-reversible capacity at 50 °C is experimentally observed, which partly originates from charge compensation by solid-state redox of oxide ions. It is proposed that such a charge compensation process by oxide ions is effectively stabilized by the presence of electrochemically inactive niobium ions. These results will contribute to the development of a new class of high-capacity electrode materials, potentially with further lithium enrichment (and fewer transition metals) in the close-packed framework structure with oxide ions.—Yabuuchi et al.

The lithium ions quickly migrate in percolative network in bulk without a sacrifice in kinetics. A large reversible capacity originates from the participation of oxide ions for a charge compensation process, the researchers said.

This finding can be further expanded to the design of innovative positive electrode materials beyond the restriction of the solid-state redox reaction based on the transition metals used for the past three decades.—Yabuuchi et al.


  • Naoaki Yabuuchi, Mitsue Takeuchi, Masanobu Nakayama, Hiromasa Shiiba, Masahiro Ogawa, Keisuke Nakayama, Toshiaki Ohta, Daisuke Endo, Tetsuya Ozaki, Tokuo Inamasu, Kei Sato, and Shinichi Komaba (2015) “High-capacity electrode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries: Li3NbO4-based system with cation-disordered rocksalt structure” PNAS 112 (25) 7650-7655 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504901112

  • Victoria L. McLaren, Caroline A. Kirk, Martha Poisot, Maria Castellanos and Anthony R. West (2004) “Li+ ion conductivity in rock salt-structured nickel-doped Li3NbO4” Dalton Trans. 3042-3047 doi: 10.1039/B316396M

  • Toetsu Shishido, Hiroe Suzuki, Kazutoshi Ukei, Taketoshi Hibiya, Tsuguo Fukuda (1996) “Flux growth and crystal structure determination of trilithium niobate,” Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Volume 234, Issue 2, Pages 256-259 doi: 10.1016/0925-8388(95)02123-X

Study: even with high LDV electrification, low-carbon biofuels will be necessary to meet 80% GHG reduction target; “daunting” policy implications

Fri, 2015-07-03 05:29

A study by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Michigan State University colleague has concluded that even with a relatively high rate of electrification of the US light-duty fleet (40% of vehicle miles traveled and 26% by fuel), an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 relative to 1990 can only be achieved with significant quantities of low-carbon liquid fuel. The paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

For the study, the researchers benchmarked 27 scenarios against a 50% petroleum-reduction target and an 80% GHG-reduction target. They found that with high rates of electrification (40% of miles traveled) the petroleum-reduction benchmark could be satisfied, even with high travel demand growth. The same highly electrified scenarios, however, could not satisfy 80% GHG-reduction targets, even assuming 80% decarbonized electricity and no growth in travel demand.

An 80% reduction in US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 has been generally established as the de facto required domestic contribution to stabilizing global concentrations at low to medium levels, that is, 450 and 550 ppm carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-equiv). … Within the transportation sector, the two basic options for reducing petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are fuel-use reduction and fuel substitution.

… Given the current barriers to increasing ethanol-based biofuels (blend wall, slow growth in cellulosic biofuel production, regulatory uncertainty surrounding the RFS), transportation electrification seemingly offers a more immediate opportunity to displace gasoline. Electrified vehicles (meaning all of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric technologies) could largely replace conventional gasoline vehicles, under favorable conditions (e.g., consumer attitudes, fuel prices, battery technology advancement, vehicle costs and subsidies). The likelihood of these conditions being met is speculative, however, and projections for consumer adoption of electrified vehicles have varied widely.

We are interested in the extent to which electrified vehicles could reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the sensitivity of these impacts across a range of travel demand and technology scenarios. We find that petroleum consumption and GHG emissions are highly sensitive to these inputs, with resulting petroleum consumption and GHG emissions varying widely. The implication for biofuels is important, to the extent they are aimed at meeting climate and petroleum use reduction goals.—Meier et al.

The study estimated national fuel and emissions impacts from increasing reliance on electrified light-duty transportation, and the resulting implications for advanced biofuels. For the study, the team reconstructed the vehicle technology portfolios from two national vehicle studies (the 2007 Environmental Assessment of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles by the Electric Power Research Institute and Natural Resources Defense Council; and the 2009 Multi-Path Transportation Futures study by Argonne National Laboratory).

These two studies disagree greatly in regard to petroleum and GHG impacts, stemming from very different rates of vehicle electrification and travel demand growth that each study assumed. Neither offered significant sensitivity analysis, making it difficult to extend their conclusions to alternative scenarios.

The Wisconsin and Michigan team normalized the highly detailed vehicle assumptions and transport calculations from these studies around the rates of electrified vehicle penetration; travel demand growth; and electricity decarbonization. They also examined the impact of substituting low-carbon advanced cellulosic biofuels in place of petroleum.

The two studies—EPRI-NRDC and ANL—serve as “excellent bookends” for comparing minimal and maximal electrification of passenger transportation, the researchers concluded. They based their low electrification scenario (0.3% electric powered miles) on the ANL Study’s “PHEV and Ethanol” scenario, and the high electrification scenario (40% electric-powered miles) on the EPRI- NRDC Study’s High scenario with 95% electrified vehicles. The researchers also considered intermediate (20% electric-powered miles) electrification—halfway between the high and low.

They examined each of these three vehicle mixtures under low-, medium-, and high-growth assumptions for travel demand. These 9 combinations became the reference scenarios with defined fuel requirements and GHG emissions. These same vehicle combinations and growth rates are used to examine nine petroleum-targeted scenarios and nine GHG-targeted scenarios.

Fuel and emission impacts were determined by four primary considerations: (1) the total travel demand; (2) the vehicle mix that satisfies this demand; (3) the vehicle efficiency assumptions that determine fuel requirements; and (4) the GHG intensity of the vehicles’ fuels.

They estimated GHG emissions from direct vehicle-fuel combustion; power plant emissions (from electrified vehicle charging demands); and “upstream” life-cycle contributions from the petroleum fuel-cycle and electricity fuel-cycle.

They considered three levels of GHG-intensity for US electricity supply. The reference case scenarios assume no change to GHG intensity from current levels. The petroleum-targeted scenarios assume that electricity supply is decarbonized by 40%. while the climate-targeted scenarios assume that electricity supply is decarbonized by 80%. In the climate-targeted scenarios, they assumed that electrified vehicles receive their electricity from an 80% decarbonized electricity grid.

They considered state-specific contributions from nine generating technologies: coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, biogas, geothermal, nuclear, wind, and solar.

Their findings included:

  • None of the 9 reference scenarios met the 80% GHG reduction target, although 4 were below the 50% petroleum target and one was only slightly above.

  • In the petroleum-targeted scenarios, they substituted a hypothetical RFS-compliant advanced biofuel (i.e., advanced cellulosic biofuel) for gasoline on an energy basis, if needed, until the petroleum reduction target is exactly met—(i.e., to the point where gasoline and diesel consumption is reduced to 50% of 2011 levels).

    Thus, petroleum requirements for all scenarios exactly meet, or are otherwise below, the 50% reduction target. None of the 40%-electrified cases required any contributions from cellulosic biofuel, as the electrification alone provided sufficient petroleum displace- ment.

    No cellulosic biofuel was required under low growth and 20%-electrified conditions. The remaining five scenarios required widely varying contributions of cellulosic biofuel, from 316 to 8638 PJ. For comparison, they team estimated the RFS goal for cellulosic fuels to be equivalent to 1289 PJ.

  • The climate-targeted scenarios included cellulosic biofuel substitution to reduce GHG from light duty transportation to 20% of the reference GHG. The team also assumed that electricity is largely “decarbonized”, reducing GHG intensity by 80%.

    No scenarios achieved the 80% GHG reduction without contributions from RFS-compliant advanced cellulosic biofuel. Only three scenarios actually met the GHG target of 294 MT. The remaining six scenarios exceeded the target even while replacing all petroleum with low GHG cellulosic biofuel (at 60% lower GHG intensity).

Results from the 9 climate-targeted scenarios, hypothetically substituting cellulosic biofuel for gasoline (60% lower GHG intensity than petroleum fuel) until GHG is reduced to 80% of 2011 levels and assuming an 80% reduction in electricity GHG intensity.

of the climate-targeted scenarios achieved the 80% GHG reduction without contributions from RFS-compliant advanced cellulosic biofuel.

Even then, only three scenarios actually met the GHG target of 294 MT. The remaining six scenarios exceeded the target even while replacing all petroleum with low GHG cellulosic biofuel (at 60% lower GHG intensity). Credit: ACS, Meier et al. Click to enlarge.

The researchers then took the results of the climate-targeted scenarios and performed additional sensitivity analysis to extend the assessment to more than 135 cases, with the output the amount of cellulosic biofuel volumes required to meet GHG targets.

These cases span 5 levels of electrification, 3 levels of demand growth, 3 rates of technology advancement, and 3 levels of economy-wide carbon intensity. Electrification scenarios corresponded to the ANL study (PHEV & ethanol scenario), the EPRI/NRDC study (low, medium, high scenarios), and one additional 20% electrification scenario.

For each of these scenarios, three results were shown assuming high, moderate, and low rates of technology advancement—high tech advancement corresponds to the lowest biofuel volume and vice versa.
  • The low carbon economy assumes electricity is decarbonized by 80% and petroleum has 15% lower GHG intensity than current levels.

  • The moderate carbon economy assumes electricity is decarbonized by 40% and petroleum has the same GHG intensity as current levels.

  • The high carbon economy assumes electricity has the same GHG intensity as current levels and petroleum has 15% higher GHG intensity than current levels.

  • Near misses (within 5%) are included as meeting the GHG target.

From this analysis, they found that, assuming travel demand grows at historic rates, vehicle efficiency alone reduces petroleum consumption, but the reduction only exceeds 50% with a very high reliance on electrified vehicles. Holding VMT constant coupled with vehicle efficiency improvements, results in extensive fuel reductions: roughly halving petroleum use with almost no reliance on electricity.

However, significant contributions from both cellulosic biofuel and electricity were necessary to meet the 80% GHG target across the range of scenarios.

  • Scenarios relying almost exclusively on cellulosic biofuel exceeded the GHG target by 15% with constant VMT (no growth) and by 134% under high-growth conditions.

  • Scenarios with the highest rates of electrification (scenarios 25−27) were still not able to meet the GHG target, except with very large contributions from cellulosic biofuels.

  • Cellulosic biofuels contributions exceeded the 16 billion gallons (1289 PJ) RFS goal for 2022 in all cases. The lowest cellulosic biofuel contribution was 17% higher than the RFS goal in the case of 40% electrification and no VMT growth.

  • With 40% electrification, the low growth and moderate growth cases met the GHG target with cellulosic biofuel contributions of 1508 PJ (18.7 billion gallon) and 4540 PJ (56.4 billion gallon), respectively, well below the 7233 PJ (90 billion gallon) benchmark.

Importantly, we are considering only fuel demands for light duty transportation, that is, cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks. A significant level of electrification is certainly viable for these vehicles, as BEVs and PHEVs are currently commercially available. Light duty vehicles are responsible for slightly more than half of the US petroleum used in the transportation sector. The remainder of transportation petroleum, however, is used for on-road and off-road heavy duty vehicles, trains, planes, and marine vessels. Electricity is not feasible for powering planes, marine vessels, heavy trucks, and most off-road mobile work platforms though some electrification of rail transport is possible. Therefore, achieving comparable GHG targets across these transportation modes would presumably require even higher reliance on cellulosic biofuel, in addition to the volumes required for light duty transportation.

… The implications of this research are daunting with regard to climate policy. Successfully decarbonizing light duty transportation requires simultaneous “successes” around several key challenges. First, growth in light duty vehicle travel would need to be moderate at most, but preferably low. Historic growth can be maintained and achieve an 80% GHG reduction only if nearly all petroleum is replaced with alternative low-carbon fuels. Second, an extremely high rate of electrified vehicle technology adoption would need to be achieved, such that nearly all light duty vehicles would need to be hybrid or electrified by 2050 and coupled to ongoing improvements in vehicle efficiency. Third, U.S. electricity supply cannot resemble the current fuel mix, but would have to be massively decarbonized; displacing the vast majority of fossil-fuel derived electricity with nuclear and renewable resources. Changes of this magnitude to transportation demand, vehicle fleet, and electricity are necessary, but still insufficient to meet an 80% GHG reduction, without additional low-carbon gasoline replacement such as that provided by cellulosic biofuels.

Over the course of 35 years, the fuel-mix powering light duty transportation could be radically different than today’s, requiring only a small fraction (0−13%) of current petroleum consumption. Simultaneously achieving the petroleum and GHG reduction targets would require a monumental effort to commercialize cellulosic biofuels, as well as impressive achievements spanning transportation planning, vehicle manufacturing, electric power supply, and public policy. Still, it is technically achievable. Our assumed vehicle efficiencies were based on average (not high) rates of technology improvement. Renewable and nuclear electricity supply technologies are available today. Though continued research and development is needed, the necessary biofuel contributions are within the range of recent estimates of achievable potential.—Meier et al.


  • Paul J. Meier, Keith R. Cronin, Ethan A. Frost, Troy M. Runge, Bruce E. Dale, Douglas J. Reinemann, and Jennifer Detlor (2015) “Potential for Electrified Vehicles to Contribute to US Petroleum and Climate Goals and Implications for Advanced Biofuels” Environmental Science & Technology doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01691

New bio-inspired catalyst for partial methane oxidation may aid small-scale GTL

Fri, 2015-07-03 05:23

A new bio-inspired zeolite catalyst, developed by an international team with researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM), Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Amsterdam, might pave the way to small scale gas-to-liquid (GTL) technologies converting natural gas to fuels and starting materials for the chemical industry. Investigating the mechanism of the selective oxidation of methane to methanol they identified a copper-oxo-cluster as the active center inside the zeolite micropores.

In an era of depleting mineral oil resources natural gas is becoming ever more relevant, even though the gas is difficult to transport and not easily integrated in the existing industrial infrastructure. One of the solutions for this is to apply gas-to-liquid technologies. These convert methane, the principal component of natural gas, to synthesis gas from which methanol and hydrocarbons are subsequently produced.

This approach, however, today is mainly feasible at very large scales; there is accordingly high interest in technology for the economical processing of methane from smaller sources at remote locations. This has spawned many research efforts regarding the chemistry of methane conversion.

Partial oxidation to methanol seems a conceptually promising smaller-scale process for the direct conversion of methane, since it allows for lower operating temperatures, making it more inherently safe and more energy efficient.

A research team combining the expertise of Moniek Tromp (UvA/HIMS), Evgeny Pidko and Emiel Hensen (Eindhoven University of Technology), Maricruz Sanches-Sanches (Technische Universität München) as well as Johannes Lercher (Technische Universität München and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) is currently focusing on a bio-inspired method enabling such partial methane oxidation.

At the focus of the team is a modified zeolite, a highly structured porous material, developed at Lercher’s research group in Munich. This copper-exchanged zeolite with mordenite structure mimics the reactivity of an enzyme known to efficiently and selectively oxidize methane to methanol.

In a paper in Nature Communications the researchers provide a detailed molecular insight into the way the zeolite mimics the active site of the enzyme methane monooxygenase (MMO).

The zeolite structure with the Cu3O3-cluster as the active center (Cu: turquoise, O: red) - Image: Guanna Li and Evgeny Pidko / TUe. Click to enlarge.

The researchers show that the micropores of the zeolite provide a perfect confined environment for the highly selective stabilization of an intermediate copper-containing trimer molecule. This result follows from the combination of kinetic studies in Munich, advanced spectroscopic analysis in Amsterdam and theoretical modeling in Eindhoven. Trinuclear copper-oxo clusters were identified that exhibit a high reactivity towards activation of carbon–hydrogen bonds in methane and its subsequent transformation to methanol.

The developed zeolite is one of the few examples of a catalyst with well-defined active sites evenly distributed in the zeolite framework—a truly single-site heterogeneous catalyst. This allows for much higher efficiencies in conversion of methane to methanol than with zeolite catalysts previously reported.—Professor Johannes Lercher

Furthermore, the research showed the unequivocal linking of the structure of the active sites with their catalytic activity. This renders the zeolite a “more than promising” material in achieving levels of catalytic activity and selectivity comparable to enzymatic systems.

The research was funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences and the EU NEXT-GTL (Innovative Catalytic Technologies & Materials for Next Gas to Liquid Processes) project. The XAS measurements were carried out with the support of the Diamond Light Source (Oxfordshire, UK). The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and SURFsara (NL) provided access to supercomputer resources. Prof. Johannes Lercher is member of the Catalysis Research Center at Technische Universität München.


  • Sebastian Grundner, Monica A .C. Markovits, Guanna Li, Moniek Tromp, Evgeny A. Pidko, Emiel J. M. Hensen, Andreas Jentys, Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez, Johannes A. Lercher (2015) “Single-site trinuclear copper oxygen clusters in mordenite for selective conversion of methane to methanol” Nature communications, 6, 7546 doi: 0.1038/ncomms8546

arbcombo -- Draft Agenda for the July 8, 2015, Symposium on the Governor's 50% Petroleum Reduction Goal

Thu, 2015-07-02 20:24
On July 8, 2015, the Air Resources Board, California State Transportation Agency, and California Department of Transportation will hold a joint symposium to hear from experts on ways to transform California s transportation system to achieve Governor Brown s goal of reducing California s use of petroleum by up to 50 percent by 2030.

vapor -- Renewal of Executive Order VR-402-C, Morrison Brothers Phase I Enhanced Vapor Recovery System for Aboveground Storage Tanks

Thu, 2015-07-02 19:42
On June 29, 2015, the Air Resources Board (ARB) renewed Executive Order (EO) VR-402-C, Morrison Brothers Phase I Enhanced Vapor Recovery (EVR) System For Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST).

vapor -- Renewal of Executive Order VR-401-E, OPW Phase I Enhanced Vapor Recovery System For Aboveground Storage Tanks

Thu, 2015-07-02 19:37
On June 29, 2015, the Air Resources Board (ARB) renewed Executive Order (EO) VR-401-E, OPW Phase I Enhanced Vapor Recovery (EVR) System For Aboveground Storage Tanks (AST).

arbcombo -- Update to the Sustainable Freight Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Discussion Document

Thu, 2015-07-02 19:37
The Air Resources Board (ARB or Board) staff has posted an update to the Sustainable Freight Pathways to Zero and Near-Zero Discussion Document (Discussion Document).

newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 2, 2015.

Thu, 2015-07-02 17:39
ARB Newsclips for July 2, 2015.

ZF TRW to supply next-gen S-Cam4 systems to European automaker in 2018; ADAS and automated driving; sensor fusion

Thu, 2015-07-02 13:49

ZF TRW announced the initial contracts for its next-generation camera system—the S-Cam4 family—with a major European manufacture, with deliveries to begin in 2018. This fully scalable family of cameras is designed to meet the increasingly stringent regulatory requirements for advanced driver assist system (DAS) technologies while supporting the evolution toward automated driving, said Peter Lake, ZF TRW executive vice president of sales and business development.

The S-Cam4 family includes a single lens, mono-camera version based on a standard housing and mechanical package designed to help meet test protocols such as EuroNCAP pedestrian triggered automatic emergency braking (AEB) and new potential requirements including a crossing bicycle AEB test. The camera family also includes a premium three-lens TriCam4 version to support advanced semi-automated driving functions.

The next-generation single lens unit builds on the recently launched S-Cam3 mono camera, while the three lens camera adds a telephoto lens for improved long distance sensing, and a fish-eye lens for improved short range sensing. This combination is suited for semi-automated driving functions such as Highway Driving Assist and Traffic Jam Assist.

The S-Cam4.x family will be equipped with Mobileye’s Eye Q4 image processor and object recognition algorithms together with ZF TRW’s longitudinal and lateral control algorithms to further enhance performance in premium DAS and semi-automated applications.

The third generation video camera, the S-Cam 3, is starting production for the first time across four major global vehicle platforms.

The camera is launching on a number of compact C and D segment sedan and crossover vehicles in Europe, North America and Asia through the end of 2015. Offering six times the processing power of previous generation cameras, the technology offers functions including traffic light detection, large animal and general object detection, and automatic emergency braking for pedestrians at night.

ZF TRW also has just launched its first production passenger car and commercial vehicle radar and camera fusion systems.

Fusing the data from camera and radar every 30-40 milliseconds helps to confirm when a situation warrants action from on-board systems such as rapid braking via the electronic stability control system for Automatic Emergency Braking. These are highly complementary sensing technologies—radar is excellent for range and relative speed measurement, while cameras are best for lateral measurements and accurate recognition of objects.

This same sensor set can be used with multiple radars and cameras and combined with ZF TRW's advanced safety domain electronic control unit to enable partially automated vehicle functions that will eventually evolve into the highly automated vehicle systems of the future.—Ken Kaiser, vice president, engineering for the ZF TRW global electronics business

Semi-automated driving demo. ZF TRW demonstrated its semi-automated driving capabilities at a test track event in Berlin. The Highway Driving Assist feature which can enable automatic steering, braking and acceleration for highway speeds from 40 km/h (25 mph).

The demonstration vehicle integrates ZF TRW’s AC1000 radar and S-Cam 3 video camera sensor together with its Electrically Powered Steering Belt Drive (EPS BD) and Electronic Stability Control EBC 460—the combination of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Centering Assist (LCA) functionalities.

The ACC keeps the vehicle at a set speed until a slower vehicle appears in front or if another car cuts across the lane. It then automatically brakes and/or accelerates the vehicle to keep a driver-selected safe gap (constant time interval) behind the slower vehicle. At the same time, the forward looking camera tracks the lane markings to keep the car in the center of the lane via the electric steering system. The driver can easily override the system at any time.

Highway Driving Assist (HDA) enables automatic steering, braking and acceleration for speeds from 40 km/h. It combines adaptive cruise control and lane centering to maintain the lane and a set interval to target vehicles ahead. The image shows HDA for a single lane application—the company is also developing a 360 degree sensing system for multi-lane applications.

At a later stage, we’ll be showcasing a 360 degree sensor system which will also enable vehicles to automatically overtake (lane change control). The next decade represents a huge opportunity to improve not only the driving experience, but fundamentally road safety.—Peter Lake

In May 2015, TRW Automotive was acquired by global automobile supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG. ZF TRW is now a division of the parent company, with headquarters in Livonia, Michigan. ZF TRW is a primary developer and producer of active and passive safety systems and serves all major vehicle manufacturers worldwide with an established footprint that includes facilities in more than 20 countries.

Duke Energy upgrading Notrees 36 MW grid storage system with Samsung SDI Li-ion batteries

Thu, 2015-07-02 13:05

Duke Energy, Samsung SDI and Younicos are partnering to update Duke Energy’s 36-megawatt (MW) energy storage and power management system at the company’s Notrees Windpower Project in west Texas. The system, one of the US’ largest, has been operating since 2012 with lead acid batteries. Over the course of 2016, these batteries will be gradually replaced with lithium-ion technology.

Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility, currently owns nearly 15% of the grid-connected, battery-based energy storage capacity in the US, according to independent research firm IHS Energy.

Duke Energy works closely with ERCOT (Energy Reliability Council of Texas), which signals to the battery storage system to either dispatch stored energy to increase frequency or absorb energy to decrease frequency, helping to smooth and balance peaks and valleys on the ERCOT grid. By rapidly storing or releasing energy, the system can respond quickly to regulate frequency and provide additional services for grid management.

Samsung SDI, as primary engineering, procurement and construction manager, will provide its high-performing lithium-ion batteries and associated Battery Management System (BMS).

Younicos will provide its energy storage management system (ESMS), which will work in concert with the Samsung SDI software and batteries. The Younicos ESMS interprets the signal from ERCOT, enabling the Notrees battery project to store or dispatch energy as needed, while maintaining the energy storage system in an optimal performance state.

Younicos is also providing system design, engineering, software integration and testing, along with post-implementation engineering services.

In 2009, Duke Energy announced plans to match a $22-million grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to install large-scale batteries capable of storing electricity from the grid or produced by the company’s 153-MW Notrees Windpower Project. The system, one of the nation’s largest, is located in Ector and Winkler Counties, Texas, and has been operating since 2012.

omb -- CARB Diesel Regulations & Equipment Training: JULY-AUGUST 2015

Thu, 2015-07-02 12:32
The California Air Resources Board is offering the following diesel vehicle and equipment courses in July and August 2015.

Tesla reports worldwide Q2 deliveries of 11,507 Model S; up 52% y-o-y

Thu, 2015-07-02 11:22

Tesla Motors announced 11,507 Model S deliveries worldwide for Q2 2015. This was a new company record for the most cars delivered in a quarter and represents an approximate 52% increase over Q2 last year.

The company noted that there may be small changes to this delivery count (usually well under 1%), as Tesla only counts a delivery if it is transferred to the end customer and all paperwork is correct.

Tesla has stores in the US and Canada, Europe, China, Japan and Australia.

Daimler running 6 different electrified models in Silvretta E-Car Rally; hints at Li-sulfur

Thu, 2015-07-02 11:04

Daimler is running 6 different electrified models (7 vehicles in total) in this year’s Silvretta E-Car Rally (2 to 5 July); for the first time in this competition, the current Mercedes-Benz plug-in triad will compete against each other.

Mercedes-Benz is currently placing a very strong focus on its plug-in hybrid initiative: by 2017 there will be ten models in the market—requiring a new product launch every four months on average. (Earlier post.) Following the S 500 e presented last year and the C 350 e successfully in March 2015, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC due in August will be the third model in dealer showrooms. All three plug-in hybrid versions are in the Silvretta. In addition Daimler is giving the participants in the annual electric rally an outlook on a further model in its hybrid product initiative: a compact SUV, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC.

The smart electric drive has taken part in the Silvretta E-Rally right from the start. The market launch of the new smart fortwo and forfour is fully under way right now; electric variants will follow in 2016. The B-Class Electric Drive is taking up this Alpine challenge for the second time this year, and the Mercedes-AMG SLS Coupé Electric Drive will also take part.

Batteries. In 2009, with the S 400 Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer worldwide to bring a series production vehicle with a lithium-ion battery to market. All current Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are now based on this technology.

Lithium-ion technology is the most efficient battery technology we currently have, and it has plenty of further potential. There is currently no other battery technology that meets all the required parameters such as quality, output, service life, costs, etc. in the same measure. Only lithium-sulfur systems look likely to bring a technological leap forward within the next decade: we can expect a revolution with respect to costs and operating range.—Harald Kröger, Head of Development for Electrics/Electronics & E-Drive at Mercedes-Benz Cars

With its subsidiary company Deutsche ACCUmotive founded in 2009, the company is now the only manufacturer with its own battery production in Europe, and it is currently expanding the capacities on a broad basis, including the new Mercedes-Benz stationary storage battery. (Earlier post.)

The Silvretta High Alpine Road in Austria’s Montafon region is considered to be one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the Alps. The Silvretta Rally is featuring some 150 vintage cars and 30 locally emission-free electric cars. With a total distance of 366 kilometers (227 miles), ascents of more than 2000 meters (6,562 feet) in altitude and slopes whose gradients in some cases exceed 16%, the Silvretta E-Auto Rally presents a challenging terrain for the drivers in the 3-day event.

First rear axle transmission crossbeam made of plastic in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class; 25% weight savings over aluminum

Thu, 2015-07-02 10:49

The first plastic transmission crossbeam in the rear axle subframe has been developed by ContiTech Vibration Control and BASF for the S-Class from Mercedes-Benz. The crossbeam is made from the engineering plastic Ultramid A3WG10 CR, a specialty polyamide from BASF which is particularly reinforced and optimized to withstand high mechanical loads.

Compared to the previous beam made from die-cast aluminum, this highly durable component offers a weight saving of 25%, better acoustics as well as excellent mechanical properties even at high temperatures and conforms to the latest crash requirements. The design expertise of BASF’s simulation tool Ultrasim also made a major contribution to these properties.

The plastic load-bearing structural component meets all the requirements for the static and dynamic loads which act on a transmission beam. As a central component of the rear axle it supports part of the torque which is transferred from the engine to the transmission, and bears a constant share of the load of the differential.

To replace the aluminum in this demanding, crash-relevant application, the plastic has to meet high mechanical requirements. The plastic Ultramid A3WG10 CR (CR = crash-resistant), which is 50% glass fiber reinforced, shows optimum strength and rigidity and displays a low tendency to creep under constant loading. In addition, the material has to withstand high bending torques. The component shows good NVH performance.

BASF used its Ultrasim simulation tool in the early phase of development of the new crossbeam in order to determine the size of the component, optimize the component geometry and predict how the component would behave in injection molding and in operation: The simulation of ultimate loads, strengths under dynamic loading and crash safety reflected the real component behavior very well. ContiTech Vibration Control used Ultrasim’s Integrative Simulation to model the entire manufacturing chain. Thus it was possible to define the component geometry at an early stage and reduce the number of prototypes.

Fraunhofer developing process to ferment steel exhaust gases to fuels and chemicals

Thu, 2015-07-02 07:03

Fraunhofer researchers in Germany have developed a process for the conversion of CO-rich exhaust gases from steel plants into fuels and specialty chemicals. With the aid of genetically modified strains of Clostridium, the research team ferments the gas into alcohols and acetone, converts both substances catalytically into a kind of intermediary diesel product, and from produce kerosene and special chemicals.

Participants include the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Aachen, as well as the Institute for Environment, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen and the Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal. The technology came about during one of Fraunhofer’s internal preliminary research projects and through individual projects with industrial partners. The patented process currently operates on the laboratory scale.

From our viewpoint, the quantities of carbon alone—which rise as smoke from the Duisburg steelworks as carbon dioxide—would suffice to cover the entire need for kerosene of a major airline. Of course, we still have got a bit to go to reach this vision. But we have demonstrated on the laboratory scale that this concept works and could be of interest commercially. In addition to the exhaust gases, syngas—similar gas mixtures from home and industrial waste incineration—can also be used for the engineered process.—Stefan Jennewein of IME, who is coordinating the project LanzaTech and Siemens 10-year-old LanzaTech is commercializing a similar process: the microbial conversion of waste gases via fermentation into valuable fuel and chemical products. In 2013, Siemens Metals Technologies and LanzaTech signed a ten-year co-operation agreement to develop and market integrated environmental solutions for the steel industry worldwide. The collaboration will utilize LanzaTech technology to transform carbon-rich off-gases generated by the steel industry into low carbon bioethanol and other platform chemicals. (Earlier post.) Siemens and LanzaTech will work together on process integration and optimization, and on the marketing and realization of customer projects.

The biochemists at IME use syngas—a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen—as a carbon resource for fermentation. Using strains of the bacterium Clostridium, they transform the syngas either into short-chain alcohols such as butanol and hexanol, or into acetone. To do so, IME engineered new genetic processes for the efficient integration of large gene clusters in the Clostridium genome. At the same time, Fraunhofer further expanded its syngas fermentation system and used it for experiments with the steel and chemicals industry.

The chemists around Axel Kraft at UMSICHT evaporate the residual fermentation products and in a continuous catalytic process, couple the fermentation molecules into an intermediate product consisting of long-chain alcohols and ketones.

This interim product already meets the standards for ship diesel, and, like fats and oils, can be converted through hydrogenation into diesel fuel for cars or kerosene for planes.

Kristian Kowollik from the environmental engineering department at ICT obtains specialty chemicals from the interim product connected with this, which already can now directly replace petroleum-based products. For example, amines can be used in the pharmaceutical industry or the production of tensides and dying agents.

In the next stage, the scientists will strive to demonstrate that their technology also works with large quantities.

Over the next one-and-a-half years, we aim at gaining a better understanding of the processes, and to optimize them. Our goal is to apply for certification processes for the fuels. That is how its viability for practical use will be officially validated. For vehicle diesel, that takes about one year, and for kerosene about three years.—Axel Kraft


  • Sebastian de Vries, Tom Ostlender, Gabriele Philipps and Stefan Jennewein (2015) “Identification of a primary-secondary alcohol dehydrogenase loss-of-function mutant induced by random mutagenesis in Clostridium ljungdahlii for syngas-based acetone production”, P117, Annual Meeting and Exhibition Society for Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (August 2015)

  • Breitkreuz, K., Menne, A. and Kraft, A. (2014), “New process for sustainable fuels and chemicals from bio-based alcohols and acetone.” Biofuels, Bioprod. Bioref., 8: 504–515. doi: 10.1002/bbb.1484

Virginia Tech and FHWA bring SCRIM continuous pavement friction measurement system to US

Thu, 2015-07-02 06:37

In a project funded by the Federal Highway Administration, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has brought the first Sideway-force Coefficient Routine Investigation Machine (SCRIM) to the United States. (SCRIM was originally developed by TRL in the UK.) The project objective is to assist states in the development of Pavement Friction Management Programs and demonstrate continuous friction and macro-texture measurement equipment.

Pavement friction can sometimes be the difference between life and death on roadways. The higher the friction, the better grip a vehicle’s tires will have with the road. Higher friction can help a vehicle stop or maneuver its way out of a crash.

The project is led by Gerardo Flintsch, director of the institute’s Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure and a professor with Virginia Tech’s Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The continuous friction measurement equipment has the potential to pinpoint pavement sections where the probability of crashes is greater.—Gerardo Flintsch

The instrumentation is housed in a Volvo VHD 430 model truck that will drive thousands of miles through Florida, Texas, Indiana, and Washington, collecting data. The multi-ton truck will continuously measure friction, cross-slope, macro-texture, grade, temperature, and curvature while driving at up to 50 mph (80 km/h). These various measurements will be cross-referenced with crash data to identify potentially high-risk friction areas that can be treated.

This system is unique because with one data collection pass on the road, we will collect data that allows us to segment the road network into friction demand categories. For example, in areas where the potential for conflict is greater, such as tight horizontal curves, this data can inform the need for a countermeasure.—Andrew Mergenmeier, senior pavement and materials engineer for the Federal Highway Administration

Prior to the data collection phase which begins this summer, the truck already had a transcontinental journey. It was built at Volvo’s New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, shipped to the United Kingdom, where the instrumentation was installed and certified by the Transport Research Laboratory.

California ARB approves first commercially ready at-berth ship emissions capturing system; alternative to shore power

Thu, 2015-07-02 05:26

Clean Air Engineering-Maritime (CAEM) received California Air Resources Board (ARB) approval for the first commercially ready ship emissions capturing system called the Maritime Emissions Treatment System (METS).

The METS-1 is CAEM’s first-generation system. It is mounted and deployed from a barge that is positioned alongside ships berthed at the Port of Los Angeles. The system is positioned over vessels’ smoke stacks and captures and treats more than 90% of particulate (PM), NOx, SO2, and related diesel pollutants emitted.

The proprietary treatment technology was developed in collaboration with Tri-Mer Corporation.

METS is the first CARB-approved alternative to “plugging in” to shore-side power—also called cold-ironing or Alternative Maritime Power—which is the current standard for meeting California’s “Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Auxiliary Diesel Engines Operated on Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth in a California Port” (At-Berth) regulation. Since 1 January 2014, vessel operators not complying with the regulation run the risk of not meeting these emissions standards and being hit with significant fines.

The Port of Los Angeles has been a leader in development of technologies to control at-berth emissions. More than a decade ago, the Port of Los Angeles pioneered development of Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) for cargo ships. Today, 24 berths at the Port of Los Angeles are equipped for shore power, the most of any port in the world. AMPing at berth eliminates upwards of a ton of NOx emissions per vessel per 24-hour period. Similar results have been demonstrated by the new METS alternative, the company said.

The ARB testing, which began last year, included performance evaluations of the METS on five separate vessels for a minimum of 200 hours. ARB approved the system by Executive Order on 26 June 2015.

Partial funding for the METS project came from a $1.5-million grant from the Port of Los Angeles’s Technology Advancement Program (TAP) to TraPac, LLC, a container terminal located in the Port of Los Angeles. TraPac contracted with CAEM to conduct research and develop the METS project. TraPac has entered into a service agreement for use of the METS-1 at TraPac on all vessels that are not AMP capable. Provisions in the TAP grant make it possible for the Port of Los Angeles to receive repayment of the grant proceeds.

CAEM, which is based in San Pedro, Calif., has committed to donating all profits from the METS-1 system to local charities that serve the port communities.