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A new report from the University of Utrecht says that EU countries could increase biofuels production while acting to prevent unwanted land use change. However, a separate new study from the University of Princeton says that the production of bioenergy is incompatible with sustainable food production and urges policymakers to phase out forms of bioenergy that use crops or that otherwise make dedicated use of land.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change has launched an on-line Global Calculator tool which shows that living standards can be improved at the same time as cutting carbon emissions sufficiently to limit the risk of temperatures rising by more than two degrees. Built in collaboration with international organisations from the US, China, India and Europe, the calculator is an interactive tool for businesses, NGOs and governments to consider the options for cutting carbon emissions and the trade-offs for energy and land use to 2050.
The C9. Click to enlarge.
BYD Motors Inc. unveiled the first long range, 100% battery-electric over-the-road coach bus (as opposed to a city transit bus) at the United Motorcoach Association Expo in New Orleans. This first electric coach—the BYD C9—is a two-axle, 40' coach with the seating capacity to carry 47 people at highway speed for more than 190 miles.
The BYD C9 is the first of three battery-electric coaches the company will launch globally this year. The other two, a 45' three-axle coach named the C10 and a 23' coach with executive and transport configurations named the C6 will be arriving by the end of 2015. BYD is taking orders for all three of the coaches starting now.
The C9 uses BYD’s in-wheel drive axle with two 180 kW brushless AC synchronous motors (BYD-TYC180A), each of which develops 1,500 N·m (1,106 lb-ft) of torque. The 365 kWh Li-ion iron phosphate battery pack can accept 200 kW charging for a charging time of less than two hours. Top speed of the bus is 62.5 mph (101 km/h).
BYD projects the battery capacity will remain above 80% after 12 years of use. The BYD Intelligent Battery Management System (iBMS) assists with balancing and charging safety.
The C10 supports up to 58 seats, and also has a range of more than 190 miles. The drive axle is the same BYD in-wheel drive rear axle with 180 kW machines, but the battery pack is slightly larger: 394.2 kWh. Using a triple charging scheme (300 kW from 100 kW x 3 at 480 VAC), the C10 can recharge in 1.3 hours.
The C6 supports up to 21 seats, has a top speed of 77.7 mph (125 km/h) and has a range of more than 124 miles (200 km). It uses a single longitudinally mounted 180 kW electric machine, powered by a 152 kWh battery pack. With 100 kW charging, recharging time is from 1.5 to 2 hours.
A new study by Energy Environmental Economics (E3) consulting suggests that low-carbon gas fuels are a viable option for meeting California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and can simultaneously help achieve pollution emission reduction targets.Low-carbon gas fuels or “decarbonized gas” refers to gaseous fuels with a net-zero, or very low, greenhouse gas impact on the climate. These include fuels such as biogas, hydrogen and renewable synthetic gases produced with low lifecycle GHG emission approaches.
The report examines the potential role of decarbonized gas fuels, and the existing gas pipeline infrastructure, to help meet California’s long-term climate goals. It compares two technology pathway scenarios for meeting the state’s goal of reducing GHG emissions: an electrification scenario, where all energy end uses are electrified and powered by renewable electricity; and a multi-energy framework, where both electricity and decarbonized gas fuels play significant roles in California’s energy supply.
The study concludes that a technology pathway for decarbonized gas could help meet the state's GHG reduction goals and may be easier and could be less costly to implement in some sectors than a high electrification strategy. The findings point to the need for a significant program of research and development to make decarbonized gas a reality and allow consumers, businesses and policymakers greater flexibility and choice.—Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas
Four broad findings suggest that decarbonized gases distributed through the state’s existing pipeline network are complementary with a low-carbon electrification strategy by addressing critical challenges to California’s transition to a decarbonized energy supply.
Decarbonized pipeline gas can help to reduce emissions in sectors that are for technical or customer-acceptance reasons difficult to electrify: 1) industrial end uses, such as process heating; (2) heavy duty vehicles; and (3) residential and commercial uses, such as cooking, and existing space and water heating.
The production of decarbonized gas from electricity could play an important role in integrating variable renewable generation by producing gas when renewables are generating power, and then storing the gas in the pipeline distribution network for when it is needed.
A transition to decarbonized pipeline gas would enable continued use of the state’s existing gas pipeline distribution network, eliminating the need for new energy delivery infrastructure—dedicated hydrogen pipelines or additional electric transmission and distribution capacity—to meet the 2050 GHG target.
Decarbonized gas technologies would help diversify the technology risk associated with heavy reliance on a limited number of decarbonized energy carriers, and allow consumers, businesses and policymakers greater flexibility and choice.
On-road vehicles. The decarbonization strategy pursed in the transportation sector differs by scenario. Both scenarios assume a significant reduction in VMT and improvements in vehicle efficiency in the LDV fleet compared to the Reference scenario. This leads to a significant reduction in total energy demand by LDVs by 2050 in these scenarios.
Among the HDV vehicle fleet, VMT reductions and vehicle efficiency improvements are more difficult to achieve than in the LDV fleet. The Mixed scenario relies on a high proportion of fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen or liquefied pipeline gas, which have less efficient energy conversion processes than conventional diesel engines, leading to higher energy demand. As a result, the HDV sector does not show a significant reduction in energy consumption by 2050 relative to the Reference case, although total carbon emissions are significantly lower.
Electricity is the largest source of fuel for the transportation sector among LDVs in both the Electrification and the Mixed scenarios. The HDV fleet is harder to electrify, so the Electrification scenario assumes HDV energy demand is largely met with hydrogen fuel and fuel cells. In the Mixed scenario, the majority of HDV energy demand is assumed to be met with liquefied pipeline gas (an equivalent to decarbonized LPG), with some compressed pipeline gas (the equivalent to decarbonized compressed natural gas), electrification and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz is reorganizing its SUV production and will expand production capacities in the USA. The US contract manufacturer AM General will join the production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, producing the R-Class in South Bend, Indiana, in the future.
Production capacities at the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant (Mercedes-Benz US International – MBUSI), which will be gradually be released in this process, will then be used for the M-Class, the GL-Class and the new GLE Coupé due in summer.
Within our growth strategy we are expanding our global production network and will additionally use the capacities of a contract manufacturer. We are thus increasing flexibility and continue to improve our competitiveness.—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management
2015 will be the year of the SUV for Mercedes-Benz. Almost the entire SUV portfolio will be renewed: the M-Class and the GL-Class will receive a facelift; in line with the new Mercedes-Benz nomenclature the previous model designations will then be replaced by GLE-Class and GLS-Class, respectively. In addition, the GLE Coupé will hit the market in summer as an entirely new model. Mercedes-Benz expects additional sales momentum in 2015 from this product offensive.
With the introduction of the new GLE Coupé and the ongoing strong demand for SUVs, Plant Tuscaloosa needs all available production capacities for this segment.—Jason Hoff, President and CEO of MBUSI
Production capacity of the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant is planned to reach more than 300,000 units this year. Previous R-Class capacity will be used for the other SUV model lines. In addition to the SUV models, the plant has been producing the new C-Class sedan since June 2014 as one of four global locations in a production network with the lead plant in Bremen, Germany, the South African plant in East London, and the Chinese production location Beijing Benz Automotive Co. Ltd. (BBAC).
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class has been offered exclusively in China since 2013. The model series, which has been available in China from the outset as a long version with six or seven seats, continues to be popular with Chinese customers. Contract manufacturing at AM General is planned to start in summer 2015.
The Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant was founded in 1995 and started production of the M-Class in 1997. The plant added the R-Class in 2005, the GL-Class in 2006, and the new C-Class sedan for the North American market in 2014. In 2014, the plant produced more than 235,000 vehicles. To date, more than 2.1 million vehicles have rolled off the plant’s line for customers around the world.
AM General has more than five decades of manufacturing experience in two separate assembly plants meeting the changing needs of the automotive industry. The company has produced more than 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, supported by its employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 US states.