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Photo credit: Akili-Casundria Ramsess/Special

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 19:48
We know, as mothers, parents and caregivers, that all of our children are especially vulnerable to air pollution and allergens.” In addition to lunch and ...

GKN reveals fuel savings technologies at Low Carbon Vehicle event

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 19:15
The Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid system, which can be fitted as new or retrofitted to bus fleets, is claimed to improve fuel economy by around 20% – at a ...

On the move: A quarter-million electric vehicles and growing

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 18:56
Now imagine a nationwide average auto mpg fuel economy rating of 22.5 (effectively a 33 percent improvement). This would result in annual net fuel ...

On the move: A quarter-million electric vehicles and growing

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 18:52
... Renewable Energy and the Office of Transportation & Air Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at, the typical driving ...

newsrel -- Major performance parts retailer fined $599,000 for offering illegal aftermarket parts for sale in California

Pipe: Advanced tech - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:35
Please consider the following news release from the California Air Resources Board: http://bit.

2015 Nissan Altima - the mid-size sedan that quickly grows on you.

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:22
Our car came with Nissan's upgraded continuously variable transmission (CVT) that delivers better fuel economy and less friction than before. The shift ...

Start Your Engines, New Funding Available in Texas for Newer, Cleaner Vehicles

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:11
First, EPA established more protective emissions standards that require new engines to be many times cleaner compared to older models.

Start Your Engines, New Funding Available in Texas for Newer, Cleaner Vehicles

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:11
Second, TERP has stepped in to provide vehicle owners with the necessary funds to upgrade their engines and help improve air quality throughout ...

Western Star introduces new aerodynamic highway tractor

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:00
The 5700XE is a gorgeous truck, that retains Western Star's distinctive look while improving fuel economy by as much as 15% compared to a 4900FE, ...

2nd straight spare the air alert issued for Friday

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 17:00
The alert issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the result of forecasted high temperatures and low winds paired with motor vehicle ...

Detroit DT12 transmission available for all-new Western Star 5700XE

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 16:48
“The DT12 complements the extreme efficiency of the 5700XE by providing enhanced fuel economy, vehicle performance and safety,” said Ann ...

newsclips -- Newsclips for September 11, 2014

Pipe: Advanced tech - Thu, 2014-09-11 16:39
ARB Newsclips for September 11, 2014.

2015 Kia Sedona Pricing, <b>Fuel Economy</b> Announced

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 16:37
The new 2015 Kia Sedona minivan will achieve as much as 25 mpg on the highway, and it will be priced from $26,795 to $40,595. The minivan ...

Withlacoochee River Electric customers in Pasco, Hernando could see higher bills under proposed <b>...</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 16:11
DADE CITY — Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative members could see higher energy bills under proposed emissions standards aimed at ...

15 years of carbon dioxide emissions on Earth mapped

Pipe: Climate and Health - Thu, 2014-09-11 15:18
Scientists have developed a new approach to estimate carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels -- one that provides crucial information to policymakers. Called the 'Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System,' this system was used to quantify 15 years of carbon dioxide emissions, every hour, for the entire planet -- down to the city scale. Until now, scientists have estimated greenhouse gas emissions at courser scales or used less reliable techniques.

UN Report: Carbon Dioxide Levels at Record Highs

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 15:18
As it did to implement a tailpipe rule that sets greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars and light trucks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ...

Fuel efficiency on full display at Toliver Ford

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 15:07
While many may seek a large engine that is able to produce impressive horsepower and torque numbers, fuel economy has become one of the other ...

Consumer Reports evaluates <b>fuel economy</b> of a full-sized diesel truck

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Thu, 2014-09-11 13:37
Consumer Reports conducted fuel-economy tests and found some pretty ... That's the best fuel economy we ever recorded in a full-sized truck," said ...

Renault Trucks’ Optifuel Lab 2 lab vehicle integrates technologies for more efficient big rigs; road test results coming in 2015

Pipe: Advanced tech - Thu, 2014-09-11 13:23

Renault Trucks’ heavy-duty Optifuel Lab 2 laboratory vehicle brings together various technologies designed to reduce fuel consumption in heavy-duty trucks and to prepare the way for future production models. Renault Trucks will display a scale model of Optifuel Lab 2 at the upcoming IAA. The vehicle is currently on the road to calculate the fuel savings it can achieve. These figures will be announced during the first quarter of 2015.

Optifuel Lab 2 has 20 technologies on board, each one of which addresses the four main issues associated with consumption: energy management, aerodynamics, wheel resistance and driving aids. Based on a Renault Trucks T, Optifuel Lab 2 is an ongoing version of the Optifuel Lab 1 introduced in 2009. The project has been developed with support from eight partners: Plastic Omnium, Michelin, Sunpower, Renault, IFP Energies Nouvelles, CEP-Armines, CETHIL-INSA from Lyon and LMFA-Ecole Centrale from Lyon. It is also supported by ADEMA, the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Control.

The idea is to take as little energy as possible from the internal combustion engine. We therefore electrically powered several of the vehicle’s auxiliary items of equipment such as the air-conditioning, water pump, fuel pump and the steering pump. We then multiplied the sources of electrical energy for power units by adding solar panels and installing an exhaust gas heat energy recovery system based on the Rankine cycle. Optifuel Lab 2 operates in response to the supply and demand of an energy market. The more energy there is available at low cost, the more it will be used.—Claude Covo, project director

When the vehicle’s driver calls for energy, a computer analyses the needs, finds the most readily available and efficient source (solar, Rankine, etc.) and distributes it in real time.

By giving priority to its “free” sources such as solar energy or exhaust gas heat, Optifuel Lab 2 limits use of energy produced by the combustion engine’s alternator, thereby reducing fuel consumption by the same amount.

Running parallel with this advanced energy source management, Renault Trucks has also been working on limiting the vehicle’s needs. To achieve this goal, particular attention has been paid to insulating the cab. The glazed areas use a special type of glass with greater insulating properties, while on the roof there is an adjustable roof deflector. When the vehicle is at a standstill, the deflector unfolds to protect the cab from the sun while an air extractor powered by its own solar panel removes the warm air inside the cab. When the vehicle starts, this folds down to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamic performance.

To cool the cab, Renault Trucks has installed air conditioning entirely powered by energy from its solar panels. The system can therefore produce cooled air even when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is not running.

The solar panels equipping the Optifuel Lab 2 rig have been specially designed for this project, and need to meet particular constraints:

The solar panels had to follow the trailer’s curved profile so that they would not interfere with the vehicle’s aerodynamics. However, at the same time, they had to be able to cope with the conditions a truck meets on the road and any incidents that might occur. We could not therefore use standard panels.—Claude Covo

The solar panels developed for Optifuel Lab 2 are therefore light in weight, deformable, equipped with 48 modules covering an area of 40 m² and generate 30% more power than standard panels.

Waste heat recovery. Renault Trucks has developed a system to recover the waste heat contained in exhaust gases. The system operates on the basis of the Rankine cycle, Covo said. Calories in the exhaust gases are recovered via an exchanger, vaporizing the working fluid and using this vapor to drive an electric generator. This gives the vehicle a new source of electrical power, thereby reducing demands on the conventional alternator.

Aerodynamics: the water drop effect. Aerodynamics work for the Optifuel Lab 2 included the entire rig—i.e., truck and trailer.

We worked on the perfect matching of the two elements to reproduce the water drop effect, reducing the aerodynamic wake and thereby cutting consumption.—Claude Covo

The roof mounted mobile deflector, open when the vehicle is stationary to better insulate the cab, folds down at speeds above 50 km/h (31 mph). This gives it perfect continuity with the trailer. The water drop effect is increased by the roof’s curved form, the 70 cm side deflectors at the rear and the lateral fairing along the side of the trailer. Rearview and forward view mirrors have been replaced by cameras flushed with the body to further limit areas of turbulence and make sure the air flows perfectly over them.

Optifuel Lab 2 also has a mobile spoiler at the base of the radiator grille. When unfolded, it allows the air passing under the truck to flow more freely and limit rubbing under the chassis. This spoiler folds away automatically below 50 kph to prevent it from being damaged at slow speeds if negotiating a speed bump or a delicate passage for example.

Rolling resistance. As an extension of aerodynamic considerations, the Renault Trucks engineers also focused on the rig’s rolling resistance. To this end, they used an original solution which constantly adapts the level of oil in the drive axle according to its needs for lubrication and cooling.

When the vehicle is working hard and needs torque, the system increases the amount of oil in the drive axle. When it is rolling at a stable speed and the drive axle has less need of being lubricated and cooled, the amount is reduced. The oil is stored in a separate section of the drive axle’s main tank. This enables the system to limit energy losses caused by oil swilling.

Optifuel Lab 2 is also equipped with prototype tires specifically developed by Michelin. They have been optimized to have low rolling resistance so that they can significantly contribute to reducing fuel consumption.

Driver aids. The driver remains the key factor when it comes to reducing consumption. Driving style can have an influence of more than 3 L per 100 km in terms of consumption. The Optifuel Lab 2 engineers did not overlook this and developed specific driving aids. Optifuel Lab 2 is therefore fitted with an adaptable speed limiter.

Fitted with its own GPS, the limiter calculates the best speed that should not be exceeded according to the truck’s position and road profile in real time and in anticipation.

In concrete terms, the system can override the speed instruction given by the driver to anticipate an uphill or downhill section. Everything is done instantaneously.—Claude Covo

Similarly, the accelerator pedal also adapts to the situation. The pedal offers more or less resistance depending on the driver’s need to accelerate or slow down. If the system detects a roundabout coming up for example, or the end of an uphill section of road, the pedal will become more resistant and make the driver slow down.

When the system is operating, the driver is informed by an icon displayed on the dashboard and an illustration of the upcoming event (roundabout, uphill section, downhill section, tollbooth, etc.). With this aid, drivers always know how to adapt their driving so that it can be as favorable as possible to reducing fuel consumption.

CO2-to-chemicals company Liquid Light raises $15M Series B financing; process scale-up and application validation

Pipe: Advanced tech - Thu, 2014-09-11 13:00

Start-up Liquid Light, a developer of process technology to make major chemicals from low-cost, globally-abundant carbon dioxide (earlier post), has closed a $15-million Series B financing. New investors include Sustainable Conversion Ventures, which focuses on renewable fuels and chemicals investments. Existing investors VantagePoint Capital Partners, BP Ventures, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, and Osage University Partners also participated in this round. The financing was completed at a significant increase in company valuation.

Liquid Light’s core technology is centered on low-energy catalytic electrochemistry to convert CO2 to multi-carbon chemicals, combined with hydrogenation and purification operations. By adjusting the design of the catalyst, the technology can produce a range of commercially-important multi-carbon chemicals. Additionally, by using co-feedstocks along with carbon dioxide, a plant built with Liquid Light’s technology can produce multiple products simultaneously.

The technology is backed by more than 100 patents and applications, and extends to multiple chemicals with large existing markets, including ethylene glycol, propylene, isopropanol, methyl-methacrylate and acetic acid.

Customers can benefit from a lower cost of production, while harnessing their current waste stream; reduce their dependence on cyclically-priced petroleum feedstocks; and can reduce their carbon footprint.

Liquid Light’s first process is for the production of ethylene glycol (MEG), which is used to make PET-based plastic bottles, with a $27-billion annual market. Results consistent with cost-advantaged production have been validated at lab scale for key parts of the process; and the process scales in a predictable manner, akin to world-scale chlor-alkali plants.

The new financing will be used to complete process development at pilot scale, providing the information needed for further scale up to a tons-per-day plant.