Archive for June 12th, 2010

1st Transmission-Connected Solar Farm in California

There’s a lot of great solar news out of California this week. Susan wrote about a small town in the Mojave desert the other day that is going 85% solar and now we have this news out of Mendota, California.

We hear it over and over that one of the biggest limitations to solar and wind energy is its intermittent nature. Research recently put out by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, however, indicates that the electric grid can accomodate much more renewable energy than it currently does.

To follow up on that, a new solar project in California — the CalRENEW-1 project built by Meridian Energy near Mendota — is making it clear that this is true in the real world as well. This 5MW project is the first solar farm in California to be connected to the transmission grid. Every other solar project, no matter how big, is connected to distribution lines.

What Meridian had to go through to get this project up, however, is rather ridiculous.

(more…)


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Masdar to Build 100MW Concentrated Solar Power Plant in Abu Dhabi
solar power resize Masdar to Build 100MW Concentrated Solar Power Plant in Abu Dhabi
The CSP power plant dubbed Shams 1 (the Arabic word for “Sun”) will cover one square mile of the desert in Madinat Zayed, about 75 miles from Abu Dhabi and will be able to generate 100 MW of electricity.


Visit the original post at: Energy News

Healthcare Tech Week in Review: Telemedicine and WiFi Make Inroads
Xirrus, a well-known provider of High Performance Wi-Fi, recently announced that it is going to deploy Xirrus high performance 802.11n Wi-Fi Arrays at Professional Hospital Supply (PHS). PHS chose Xirrus Wi-Fi Array platform because it needs only a few access points when compared to other Wi-Fi vendors — almost a two to one ratio. That means only half the switch ports, cable runs, and devices are required for installation and management. As such, PHS feels it made a good choice.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Education Tech Week in Review: "Green" Eggs and Ham in the Cafeteria?
Connecticut has jumped on the green bandwagon by signing in a bill that requires all Connecticut higher-educational institutions to publish all ‘green-tech’ courses and programs offered.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Wireless Week in Review: iPhone, Orion, SmartBlock, Oh My!
The unveiling of the Apple iPhone 4 has overshadowed many of this weeks other developments. The new phone is 25 percent thinner than the previous incarnation and adds new features to the iPhones bag of tricks – such as video calling over WiFi networks and integrated Exchange support. With this announcement, it is now in the public consciousness that the 4G era is here!
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This week in UC: Polycom Announcements

This week in UC: Polycom Announcements
Polycom had a busy week when it came to announcements in the Unified Communications sector.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

VoIP Week in Review: New VoIP iPhone Apps Introduced
The new app. Line 2, not only offers a better experience with the new iPhone 4G iOS4, but it also now includes the ability for customers to receive calls on their Line2 number over VoIP when they have a WiFi or 3G connection – even if the app is not active.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Report: Toyota, Tesla To Create Prototype Electric Car This Year

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. indicated that it plans to develop an electric-car prototype jointly with Tesla Motors Inc. for testing as early as this year.

Upon forming capital and business ties last month [earlier post], Toyota and Tesla said that they will jointly develop electric vehicles and share expertise, such as Tesla’s electric-vehicle technologies and Toyota’s production know-how. As the first step, the two firms aim to develop a prototype based on a current Toyota model using Tesla’s lithium-ion-battery-based system.

Actively utilizing Tesla’s technologies will likely enable Toyota to lower the cost of its future electric vehicles, a Toyota executive said.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Report: Toyota, Tesla To Create Prototype Electric Car This Year

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. indicated that it plans to develop an electric-car prototype jointly with Tesla Motors Inc. for testing as early as this year.

Upon forming capital and business ties last month [earlier post], Toyota and Tesla said that they will jointly develop electric vehicles and share expertise, such as Tesla’s electric-vehicle technologies and Toyota’s production know-how. As the first step, the two firms aim to develop a prototype based on a current Toyota model using Tesla’s lithium-ion-battery-based system.

Actively utilizing Tesla’s technologies will likely enable Toyota to lower the cost of its future electric vehicles, a Toyota executive said.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Researchers Convert Green Tide Macroalgae to Bio-oil

Researchers at Fudan University (Shanghai, China) have converted the marine macroalgae Enteromorpha prolifera, one of the main algae genera for “green tide”—massive algal blooms caused by eutrophication of marine water bodies—to bio-oil by hydrothermal liquefaction in a batch reactor at temperatures of 220-320 °C.

Green tide, formed by green macroalgae,

including Ulva sp. and Enteromorpha sp., has been one of the

major marine environmental problems all over the world. An unprecedented scale of Enteromorpha prolifera green tide broke out in China’s Yellow Sea in Qingdao, Shandong province, during May and July, 2008.

A large number of drifting E. prolifera flocked to the shore, then became waste, and soon began to decay, resulting in negative effects to the

coastal seawater quality and the ecological environment. Up to 1 million tons of algal waste was collected after the cleanup of E. prolifera; however, more algal waste was produced in the following waves of green tides (which have spread to the coast of Jiangsu province). Therefore, it is important to study how

to achieve better resource use for algal waste to protect the

environment.

—Zhou et al.

Their study, published online 11 June in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, investigate the effects of the temperature, reaction

time, and alkali catalyst (Na2CO3) on product yields were studied. The characters of liquid and solid products were analyzed using multiple analysis methods, such as elemental analysis, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

The hydrothermal liquefaction was performed using system consisting of a 250 mL GSH-0.25 zirconium cylindrical autoclave, an electrically heated furnace, a

magnetic stirrer, a pressure holding circuit, and a controller. In a typical

run, 20 g of E. prolifera powder, 150 mL of distilled water, and

the desired quantities of Na2CO3 catalyst (0 or 5 wt %) were charged in the autoclave. Residue air was removed by purging with N2 for 5 min. The autoclave was pressurized to 2.0 MPa with N2. The operating temperature and reaction time are two important

parameters for the hydrothermal liquefaction process.

A moderate temperature of 300 °C with 5 wt % Na2CO3 and reaction time of 30 min led to the highest bio-oil yield of 23.0 wt %. The higher heating values (HHVs) of bio-oils obtained at 300 °C were around 28-30 MJ/kg. The bio-oil was a complex mixture of ketones, aldehydes, phenols, alkenes, fatty acids, esters, aromatics, and nitrogen-containing heterocyclic compounds. Acetic acid was the main component of the water-soluble products.

Resources

  • Dong Zhou, Liang Zhang, Shicheng Zhang, Hongbo Fu and Jianmin Chen (2010) Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Macroalgae Enteromorpha prolifera to Bio-oil. Energy Fuels, Article ASAP doi: 10.1021/ef100151h


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Coalition Files Suit Against EPA Over GHG Emissions from Ships, Aircraft and Non-road Engines

A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit challenging what it called the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to address greenhouse gas emissions from ocean-going ships, aircraft and nonroad vehicles and engines used in industrial operations.

The filing came one day after the US Senate voted to uphold the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases via the rejection on 10 June of US Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska), “disapproval resolution” (S.J. Res. 26) to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act. (Earlier post.)

The lawsuit was filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center on behalf of Oceana, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, and the International Center for Technology Assessment.

Together, aircraft, ship and nonroad vehicles and engines are responsible for 24% of US mobile source greenhouse gas emissions, the coalition said, and emit approximately 290,000 tons of soot every year. Pollution from these sources is projected to grow rapidly over coming decades.

The shipping industry is a major contributor to global warming pollution. Annual US shipping emissions are equivalent to from 130 million to 195 million cars. These emissions are on track to triple over the next 20 years. It is time for the EPA to issue common sense rules—like requiring fuel efficient cruising speeds—to control the pollution from this important sector.

—Eric Bilsky, Assistant General Counsel, Oceana

The coalition petitioned EPA in late 2007 and early 2008, to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions from marine vessels, aircraft, and nonroad vehicles and engines respectively endanger public health and welfare, and if so, to issue regulations to control greenhouse gas emissions from these sources. EPA has not responded to the petitions.


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Interim NREL Report on In-Use Azure Balance Gasoline Hybrids in FedEx Fleet Finds Substantially Lower Tailpipe Emissions, Similar Fuel Economy to Diesels

Barnitt-criteria

Criteria emissions by drive cycle. Barnitt (2010) Click to enlarge.

An interim report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) evaluating Azure Dynamics Balance Hybrid parcel delivery trucks (based on the Ford E-450 chassis) operated by FedEx in and around Los Angeles, CA, found that tailpipe emissions from the gasoline hybrids (gHEVs) were substantially lower across all tested drive cycles than emissions from the diesel baseline vehicle.

Fuel economy was similar between the gHEVs and diesel vehicles, except for the highest kinetic intensity drive cycle where the hybrid exhibited ~20% higher fuel economy.

FedEx has deployed 20 gasoline hybrid electric vehicles (gHEVs) on parcel delivery routes in the Sacramento and Los Angeles areas. NREL started a 12-month in-use technology evaluation comparing in-use fuel economy and maintenance costs of gHEVs and comparative diesel parcel delivery trucks in April 2009.

NREL used six similar trucks for the evaluation project: three Azure Dynamics Balance hybrids, and three diesels (Freightliner MT-45). NREL collected and analyzed data for in-use fuel economy and fuel costs, maintenance costs, total operating costs, and vehicle uptime.

This interim report also presents results of parcel delivery drive cycle collection and analysis activities as well as emissions and fuel economy results of chassis dynamometer testing of a gHEV and a comparative diesel truck at NREL’s ReFUEL laboratory. The goal of the ReFUEL testing was to quantify the reduction in emissions realized with the gHEV and to compare the fuel economy of a gHEV and a diesel vehicle.

FedEx Delivery Truck Basic Information
Vehicle information gHEV Diesel
Chassis Mfr./Model Ford E-450 Strip Chassis Freightliner MT-45
Chassis Model Year 2008 2006
Engine Mfr./Model Ford 5.4L EFI Triton V-8 Cummins 5.9L ISB 200 I-6
Engine ratings

    Max Horsepower

    Max Torque

255 hp @ 4500 rpm

350 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

200 hp @ 2300 rpm

520 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm

Transmission Ford 5R110 5-Spd. Auto. Allison 1000 5-Spd. Auto.
GVWR 14,050 lb 16,000 lb

The Balance Hybrid system is a parallel system featuring a 100 kW AC induction motor with regenerative braking; a 120 kW inverter; and a Cobasys 288V, 60 kW, 8.5 Ah NimH battery pack. System voltage is 288 VDC nominal. The hybrid system is cooled via a separate low temperature cooling loop; the engine uses a Ford cooling system with electrified radiator cooling fans.

As expected, tailpipe emissions were considerably lower across all drive cycles for the gHEV than for the diesel vehicle. This hybridized, gasoline-fueled vehicle is equipped with a three-way catalyst, which results in very low tailpipe gaseous emissions. The diesel baseline vehicle was not equipped with a diesel particulate filter. For this project, precise measurement of NOx and PM were essential. The laboratory dilution ratio was calibrated to optimize for the precise measurement of NOx, at the expense of some hydrocarbon analyzer precision in measuring CO and HC. Thus, there is higher variability in the CO and HC data than would otherwise occur.

…The gHEV is approximately equal to the diesel vehicle with respect to fuel economy on two of the three test cycles. This parity exists due to the gHEV’s lower liquid fuel energy content (gasoline) and the inherently lower thermal efficiency of a spark ignition (SI) engine as compared to a compression ignition (CI) engine. The NYCC drive cycle exhibits the highest kinetic intensity, characterized by many acceleration and deceleration events. gHEV acceleration demands are shared by the gasoline engine and the battery and electric motor, while the diesel vehicle relies solely on its diesel engine. The electric power train is a higher efficiency option for these transient events. gHEV deceleration events allow for the recapture of energy via regenerative braking, while this energy is unrecoverable and wasted by the diesel vehicle. For these reasons, high kinetic intensity drive cycles are a better application for gHEVs than for diesel vehicles.

These results highlight the need to match the most appropriate drive cycles to hybrid power train vehicles. Drive cycles with higher calculated kinetic intensity are better candidates for hybrid vehicle deployment, due to the benefits of increased fuel economy.

—Barnitt (2010)

The gHEV platform showed a 20.65% advantage in fuel economy in the NYCC drive cycle, while showing a -1.71% and -2.60% disadvantage in the OCTA Bus and HTUF4 cycles, respectively.

The interim report captures only the first six months of study. Routes were exchanged between gHEV and diesel trucks after six months. Due to differences in routes, the 12-month average fuel economy will be a more accurate in-use comparison between the two vehicle groups.

Resources

  • FedEx Gasoline Hybrid Electric Delivery Truck Evaluation: 6-Month Interim Report, R. Barnitt, May 2010 (NREL/TP-540-47693)


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Verizon Fitting Ford Vans with CNG

Verizon Fitting Ford Vans with CNG

Communications giant Verizon is adding about 500 Ford cargo vans that will burn compressed natural gas (CNG).

This Ford press release
calls the work on the E-250 cargo vans an upfit that will help Verizon reduce its energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions:

“Verizon’s fleet team is constantly on the watch for new, lower-carbon technology,” [Ken McKenney, Sustainable Fleet-Technical Engineering Lead for Verizon] said. “CNG is a leading alternative fuel choice right now, so converting these cargo vans to run on the cleaner-burning fuel helps us cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. We will continue to find ways to increase the efficiency of our fleet.”

Cargo vans represent the single largest group of vehicles in Verizon’s vehicle fleet. They are primarily used by technicians who install and maintain phones and FiOS TV and Internet services for homes and businesses. The CNG-equipped Ford E-250 vans will be used in key Verizon markets throughout the country that have retail infrastructures in place for fueling.

The vehicles are being converted to CNG by BAF, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp.

Officials say that this is a move more company fleets could emulate.


Visit the original post at: Biofuel News

Verizon to Add Almost 600 Hybrid Pickups to its Fleet
GoodCleanTech, June 4, 2010 — Verizon has purchased 576 Chevrolet Silverado Two-Mode Hybrid full-size pickups in an effort to further green its truck fleet. The two-mode Silverados, equipped with Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 engines, achieve an EPA estimated 21 MPG city and 22 MPG highway, which represents about a 40 percent reduction in fuel use compared with similarly sized and powered pickup.
Visit the original post at: ENN: Business