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ExxonMobil named to NASCAR's Race to Green initiative

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 15:07
ExxonMobil says its Mobil Delvac 1 LE 5W-30 low-viscosity synthetic diesel engine oil is formulated to improve fuel economy and extend drain ...

Sacramento Ranked Seventh Worst Allergy City in Nation

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 14:53
NerdWallet analyzed data on asthma prevalence, air quality, cost and access to asthma care in the 50 largest cities in the nation, and ranked ...

Central Texas Marks 20 Years of Alternative Fuels

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 14:11
lone-star-20 The Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance in Austin, Texas this week celebrated 20 years of being green, starting before being green was cool.

Meeting 23: Assessment of Technologies for Improving <b>Fuel Economy</b> of Light-Duty Vehicles <b>...</b>

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:57
Project Title: Assessment of Technologies for Improving Fuel Economy of Light-Duty Vehicles – Phase 2. PIN: DEPS-BEES-11-02. Major Unit:

BA and Solena Fuels to build GreenSky landfill-waste-to-jet-fuel plant in Thurrock; completion in 2017

Pipe: Advanced tech - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:51

Solena’s IBGTL solution 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. Click to enlarge.

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.


  3. Velocys micro-channel Fischer-Tropsch reactor. Click to enlarge.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

New Volkswagen Jetta focuses on aerodynamics

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:48
Volkswagen's new Jetta may not look much different on the outside, but it's been improved aerodynamically for improved fuel economy. PHOTO: ...

NYIAS: 2015 Hyundai Sonata, Genesis, and Fuel Cell Tuscon Debut

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:48
Hyundai has built a name for itself for provide luxury at less than a premium price, while attempting to maintain fuel economy across the board.

Crucial new information about how the ice ages came about

Pipe: Climate and Health - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:33
Scientists have discovered new relationships between deep-sea temperature and ice-volume changes to provide crucial new information about how the ice ages came about. The researchers found, for the first time, that the long-term trends in cooling and continental ice-volume cycles over the past 5.3 million years were not the same. In fact, for temperature the major step toward the ice ages that have characterized the past two to three million years was a cooling event at 2.7 million years ago, but for ice-volume the crucial step was the development of the first intense ice age at around 2.15 million years ago. Before these results, these were thought to have occurred together at about 2.5 million years ago.

Bismarck summit to focus on response to EPA emission rules

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:03
... EPA-proposed rule for existing coal-fired power plants and establish specific guidelines for developing emissions standards for new power plants.

Google iLUC alert: IPCC: Bioenergy to play significant role in carbon mitigation

ICCT ILUC - Wed, 2014-04-16 12:58
...modeling of indirect land use change (ILUC), adding “Indirect landuse change is mostly avoided in the ... local economies and that Indirect Land Use Change modelling is nothing more than a flawed theory,” stated...
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Jordan Cove takes next steps in air permit process

Pipe: Passenger vehicles - Wed, 2014-04-16 11:33
This air quality permit regulates air pollutant emissions, including greenhouse gases, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, volatile ...

Babbage: April 16th 2014: Is big data bullshit?

Pipe: Homepage Latest Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-16 11:29
THE IPCC on mitigating climate change, the big data backlash and reusable rockets  Comment Expiry Date:  Thu, 2014-05-01

Babbage: April 16th 2014: Is big data bullshit?

Pipe: Climate and Health - Wed, 2014-04-16 11:29
THE IPCC on mitigating climate change, the big data backlash and reusable rockets  Comment Expiry Date:  Thu, 2014-05-01

Global warming: Another week, another report

Pipe: Homepage Latest Headlines - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:55
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Insatiable Fly Title:  Global warming Rubric:  Options for limiting climate change are narrowing THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a gathering of scientists who advise governments, describes itself as “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral”. Its latest report, the third in six months, ignores that fine distinction. Pressure from governments forced it to strip out of its deliberations a table showing the link between greenhouse gases and national income, presumably because this made clear that middle-income countries such as China are the biggest contributors to new emissions. It also got rid of references to historical contributions, which show that rich countries bear a disproportionate responsibility. That seems more like policy-based evidence than evidence-based policy and bodes ill for talks on a new climate-change treaty, planned to take place in Paris next year. The new report is intended to measure how far governments have met their promises, formalised in 2010, to keep the global rise in mean ...

Global warming: Another week, another report

Pipe: Climate and Health - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:55
UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  Insatiable Fly Title:  Global warming Rubric:  Options for limiting climate change are narrowing THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a gathering of scientists who advise governments, describes itself as “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral”. Its latest report, the third in six months, ignores that fine distinction. Pressure from governments forced it to strip out of its deliberations a table showing the link between greenhouse gases and national income, presumably because this made clear that middle-income countries such as China are the biggest contributors to new emissions. It also got rid of references to historical contributions, which show that rich countries bear a disproportionate responsibility. That seems more like policy-based evidence than evidence-based policy and bodes ill for talks on a new climate-change treaty, planned to take place in Paris next year. The new report is intended to measure how far governments have met their promises, formalised in 2010, to keep the global rise in mean ...

Global warming: Another week, another report

Pipe: Climate and Health - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:55

THE Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a gathering of scientists who advise governments, describes itself as “policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral”. Its latest report, the third in six months, ignores that fine distinction. Pressure from governments forced it to strip out of its deliberations a table showing the link between greenhouse gases and national income, presumably because this made clear that middle-income countries such as China are the biggest contributors to new emissions. It also got rid of references to historical contributions, which show that rich countries bear a disproportionate responsibility. That seems more like policy-based evidence than evidence-based policy and bodes ill for talks on a new climate-change treaty, planned to take place in Paris next year.The new report is intended to measure how far governments have met their promises, formalised in 2010, to keep the global rise in mean surface temperatures compared with pre-industrial times to less than 2°C. It says they are miles from achieving that goal and are falling further behind.Between 2000 and 2010, it says, greenhouse-gas emissions grew at 2.2% a year—almost twice as fast as in the previous 30 years—as more and more fossil fuels were burned (especially coal,...

DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key area

Pipe: Advanced tech - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:21

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, butare 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.

Relieving electric vehicle range anxiety with improved batteries

Pipe: Climate and Health - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:13
A new nanomaterial called a metal organic framework could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, which could be used to increase the driving range of electric vehicles. Researchers added the powder, a kind of nanomaterial called a metal organic framework, to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur batteries to fail after a few charges. During lab tests, a lithium-sulfur battery with the new MOF cathode maintained 89 percent of its initial power capacity after 100 charge-and discharge cycles.

Audi A3 TDI Sportback makes US debut at New York Show

Pipe: Advanced tech - Wed, 2014-04-16 10:08

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.)


A3 TDI Sportback. Click to enlarge.

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 Cars introducing S60 plug-in hybrid concept at Beijing show; production version in early 2015

Pipe: Advanced tech - Wed, 2014-04-16 09:51

Illustration of drivetrain in the S60L plug-in hybrid concept. Click to enlarge.

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.


S60L PPHEV Concept. Click to enlarge.

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.

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