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The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization operated by Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, has awarded a $7.7-million advanced battery technology development contract for electric vehicle applications to Envia Systems. The competitively bid contract award is co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes a 50% Envia Systems cost-share.
The 36-month, lithium-ion layered-layered cathode/silicon-based anode program will focus on the development of high-energy cathode and anode material appropriate for vehicle applications and the development and scale up of pouch cells that exhibit performance metrics that exceed the minimum USABC targets for electric vehicles.
The new Envia Systems contract follows research previously conducted with USABC to develop advanced lithium-ion battery technologies for electric vehicle applications. (Earlier post.)
USABC is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the DOE, USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles.
In support of its mission, USABC has developed mid- and long-term goals to guide its projects and measure its progress.
CALEB Technology and California Lithium Battery (CalBattery)—both based in California—signed an MOU to establish a joint venture to produce a new line of safe, high performance lithium ion batteries for consumer electronic devices, power tools, and electric vehicles (EVs). The new line of advanced LIBs will initially be made in the Los Angeles area starting in 2016.
The JV will combine the best LIB materials developed by both Calbattery and CALEB over the past 5 years. The first Calbattery/CALEB LIB will utilize novel high-voltage lithium cobalt oxide cathode, high voltage dual-phase electrolyte, and conventional anode materials that can be used for power tools, laptops, and cell phones.
The second generation LIB will be designed for not only consumer electronic devices but for EV and energy storage applications and will incorporate the CalBattery (Argonne National Laboratory) novel silicon-graphene (SiGr) composite anode material that triples the anode specific capacity. (Earlier post.)
Argonne’s technology entails the use of an advanced gas phase deposition method that embeds nanoscale silicon particles into the graphene layers. This approach overcomes the traditional problems associated with high-energy density anodes, such as massive volume expansion, high first cycle inefficiency and severe capacity fade.
To compliment this new SiGr anode material, the JV will incorporate a unique dual-phase polymer electrolyte material and process know-how developed by CALEB Technology that has shown to not only substantially increase LIB safety but improve energy density as well, according to the partners.
CALEB Technology is a developer of advanced LIB materials including patented LinPoly technology that allows building “dry” high performance batteries free of the thermal management issues associated with other Li-ion technologies.
In the next 2-3 years, the JV also plans to develop and to produce a third-generation lithium sulfur battery primarily for EV and energy storage applications.
The new line of LIBs that the CalBattery/CALEB JV plans to produce were developed over several years utilizing significant private, public, and academic resources.
Our new line of LIBs will incorporate the best blend of cathode, electrolyte, and anode materials to produce a superior product at a very competitive price per kilowatt hour. — Phil Roberts, CEO of CalBattery
ZeoGas LLC (ZeoGas), a developer of natural gas-to-gasoline projects, has entered into a license agreement to use ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s (ExxonMobil) methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) technology in the development of a natural gas-to-gasoline plant on the US Gulf Coast.
The conversion of methanol to hydrocarbons and water is virtually complete and essentially stoichiometric in the MTG process. The reaction is exothermic with the reaction heat managed by splitting the conversion in two parts. In the first part, methanol is converted to an equilibrium mixture of methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), and water. In the second part, the equilibrium mixture is mixed with recycle gas and passed over a shape-selective catalyst to form hydrocarbons and water.
Most of the hydrocarbon product boils in the gasoline boiling range. The low-sulfur, low-benzene gasoline product from the process is a premium quality clean gasoline and can be blended with refinery gasoline directly or sold separately.
ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of projects to convert natural gas to gasoline to take advantage of the abundant and relatively low cost of natural gas in North America. Coupled with the 5,000 tons-per-day of planned methanol production, ZeoGas will produce more than 16,000 barrels per day of ASTM-spec, 87 Octane gasoline with zero sulfur and about 50% less benzene than allowable standards.
ExxonMobil’s proven methanol-to-gasoline technology is a critical element of our strategy to use only market-proven, production-scale component technologies, thereby eliminating the technology risk associated with many gas-to-liquids projects.—Timothy D. Belton, founder and chief executive officer of ZeoGas
ExxonMobil’s methanol-to-gasoline technology was first commercialized in 1985 by New Zealand Synfuels, a 14,500 barrel per day gas-to-gasoline plant in New Zealand.
ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of plants to convert natural gas into gasoline, employing proven component technologies like ExxonMobil’s MTG and Air Liquide’s MegaMethanol technology.
Construction began on an innovative $19.5-million carbon-capture pilot, funded in part by the US Department of Energy (DOE), at Kentucky Utilities’ E.W. Brown Generating Station near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The 2 megawatt thermal system will be the first megawatt-scale carbon-capture pilot unit in the Commonwealth.
When completed later this year, the unit will test a system conceived by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UKCAER) at slipstream-scale to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flue gas of an operating coal-fired power plant.
The UKCAER project, managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, was competitively selected for funding by the Energy Department in 2011. The project is part of DOE’s Carbon Capture Program, which is developing technologies for both pre- and post-combustion carbon capture. The program supports national efforts to mitigate climate change by capturing CO2 at large point sources, such as power plants, and permanently storing the greenhouse gases to prevent its release into the atmosphere.
Three concepts demonstrated in the UKCAER project will include:
An advanced solvent system, with lower heat of regeneration, higher capacity, and lower solvent degradation than conventional amine solvents.
A two-stage CO2-stripping process that increases solvent working capacity, reduces the energy required for solvent regeneration, and reduces capital costs.
An integrated cooling tower that recovers energy from the carbon-capture system and improves power plant efficiency.
The system will use a sampling port to redirect a portion of the power plant’s flue gas just before it enters the stack. The redirected gas will be shunted into modules where it will react with an advanced liquid solvent to extract COCO22.
The gas stream, now carrying less than 1% CO2, will exit the modules and return to the stack. The liquid solvent, carrying the removed CO2, will be put through a two-stage process to strip the CO2 from the solvent, producing a concentrated stream of CO2. The solvent will then be recycled to the modules to process more flue gas, while so-called “waste heat” from the carbon-capture system will be recovered in the cooling tower. This robust system integration will improve the power plant’s cooling-tower and steam-turbine efficiency.
The Energy Department is contributing $14.5 million for the 5-year project. A total of nearly $5 million will be provided by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems America (Basking Ridge, NJ), the University of Kentucky, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence, and the Carbon Management Research Group. The Carbon Management Research Group comprises government agencies, electric utilities, and research organizations; current members include LG&E and KU Energy (Louisville, Ky), Duke Energy (Charlotte, NC), American Electric Power, and the Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence.
Voith Turbo Inc. will deliver 60 DIWA.5 automatic transmissions to Gillig, LLC this summer, which will be used in clean diesel buses bound for the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) transit system in Pittsburgh, PA. Voith’s DIWA.5 transmission allows for very smooth gear shifts, which reduce wear and tear and increase driving comfort in city transit buses. Additionally, its overdrive 4th gear optimizes fuel-friendly engine speeds in city traffic.
At least 325 PAT buses currently utilize a DIWA transmission.
DIWA transmissions feature a long first gear, providing a smooth ride and reduced gearshifts by up to 50% compared to conventional transmissions, Voith says. Reduced shifts mean less wear and higher driving comfort. In addition, a hydraulic torsional vibration damper (hydrodamp) at the transmission input greatly reduces engine vibrations. DIWA’s full flow oil circuit ensures oil temperature and transmission components run and operate at the lowest possible temperature.
The transmissions will be delivered to Gillig later this summer, with final delivery of the buses to Pittsburgh occurring near the end of the year. The Port Authority of Allegheny County operates approximately 700 buses, which serve more than 175,000 customers on an average weekday.
Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. announced new integrated stop-start technology in conjunction with Project ETHOS, an ultra-low carbon powertrain program created by Cummins Inc. to demonstrate the potential of alternative fuels for carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions in medium-duty commercial vehicles.
The Cummins ETHOS 2.8L engine is designed specifically to use E-85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). To take full advantage of the favorable combustion attributes and potential of E-85, the engine operates at diesel-like cylinder pressures and incorporates advanced spark-ignition technology. It delivers the power (up to 250 hp / 186 kW) and peak torque (up to 450 lb-ft / 610 N·m) of gasoline and diesel engines nearly twice its 2.8-liter displacement. (Earlier post.)
The Cummins ETHOS 2.8L engine is coupled with an Allison 2000 Series fully automatic transmission which utilizes integrated stop-start for further emissions reduction, as well as increased fuel economy.
As a company, we certainly pride ourselves on being a leader for technological innovations within our industry. We have utilized stop-start technology in our hybrid systems for many years and have been pleased to work with long-time collaborator Cummins on this new powertrain concept. Integrated stop-start is an exciting development that represents the natural evolvement of our product technology.—Randall R. Kirk, vice president of product engineering for Allison Transmission
Integrated stop-start shuts the engine down when the operator presses the brake pedal and the vehicle comes to a complete stop. The transmission remains in drive during this time and locks the output to help prevent vehicle rollback by using an electric pump. As the driver’s foot is lifted from the brake, the system automatically starts the engine to allow acceleration.
Allison worked closely with Cummins to integrate the 6-speed 2550 transmission model. The transmission is equipped with specific hydraulic circulation features to ensure smooth operation during stop-start driving.
Additionally, all Allison Automatics provide Continuous Power Technology with seamless full-power shifts to put engine power to the drive wheels in the most efficient way. The result is faster acceleration and higher average road speed for quicker route times and greater productivity.
Testing and validation were conducted using test cells and a prototype delivery step van provided by Freightliner Custom Chassis. Valvoline provided NextGen engine oils specifically designed for lower CO2 emissions.
According to Cummins, with more than 1,500 hours accumulated on the ETHOS 2.8L engine over the past 2 1/2 years, the technology has proven capable of far exceeding the 50% CO2 emission reductions outlined as the project goals.
To complete on-road validation testing and give visibility to the project, a vehicle driving demonstration took place on public roads in California during June and July. While the powertrain system and vehicle are for testing and demonstration purposes only, market demand and production logistics are currently being explored.