Archive for January, 2011

VW Will Build 100 Formula XL-1 261 MPG Vehicles

Volkswagen recently tore the veil off of its 261 MPG concept vehicle, the Formula XL-1, in Qatar. It’s the third in a line of high-mileage concepts, and apparently is product ready as VW plans to sell 100 of these vehicles.

When I first posted about the XL-1, many of you were skeptical that such a vehicle could ever come to market, or even be roadworthy. But it is coming to market, and it is roadworthy. It is also probably going to be very, very expensive. Big automakers like VW don’t have a habit of producing small quantities of cars like this unless they cost big bucks. Seeing as how the XL-1 is build using high-strength, low weight materials and features and an advanced engine and hybrid transmission system, most of us probably won’t be able to afford the few VW will build.

That doesn’t mean the XL-1 won’t one day come down in price or be made en masse. Perhaps a cheaper version, made with aluminum rather than carbon fiber, could be made and sold for cheaper (cheaper being relative, of course). There’s a lot of interest in these high-mileage cars from a lot of people, so if VW can’t figure out a way to bring this concept to life and make it affordable for the masses, then they can’t be serious about becoming the world’s largest automaker either.

Source: Green Car Advisor via Automobilwoche

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.



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Ford designates BAF Technologies as Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous fuels

Ford Motor Company has designated BAF Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., as a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous-fueled vehicles. BAF’s alternative fuel vehicle upfitting capabilities include aftermarket compressed natural gas (CNG) conversions of Ford-manufactured vans, cutaway shuttles, taxis, pick-ups and light-duty trucks.

To ensure that modified Ford vehicles meet vehicle warranty and QVM standards, the authorization program focuses on the aftermarket vendor’s design, manufacturing and quality control processes. Evaluations by Ford include crash testing, demonstrated commitment to continuous quality improvement, and reviews of representative vehicles and customer support systems.

BAF Technologies is the leading provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions in the United States and supports clients with alternative fuel systems. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, BAF was acquired by Clean Energy in October 2009.

BAF provides alternative fuel systems, application engineering, service and warranty support and research and development. The company’s aftermarket systems ensure that current natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are available for domestic light-duty fleets. Its vehicle conversions include taxis, vans, pick-up trucks and shuttle buses. BAF utilizes advanced natural gas system integration technology and has certified NGVs under both EPA and CARB standards achieving Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle emissions.

Clean Energy fuels more than 19,900 vehicles at 211 locations across the United States and Canada with a broad customer base in the refuse, transit, trucking, shuttle, taxi, airport and municipal fleet markets. It owns (70%) and operates a landfill gas facility in Dallas, Texas, that produces renewable methane gas, or biomethane, for delivery in the nation’s gas pipeline network. It owns and operates LNG production plants in Willis, Texas and Boron, Calif. with combined capacity of 260,000 LNG gallons per day and that are designed to expand to 340,000 LNG gallons per day as demand increases.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Ford designates BAF Technologies as Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous fuels

Ford Motor Company has designated BAF Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., as a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for gaseous-fueled vehicles. BAF’s alternative fuel vehicle upfitting capabilities include aftermarket compressed natural gas (CNG) conversions of Ford-manufactured vans, cutaway shuttles, taxis, pick-ups and light-duty trucks.

To ensure that modified Ford vehicles meet vehicle warranty and QVM standards, the authorization program focuses on the aftermarket vendor’s design, manufacturing and quality control processes. Evaluations by Ford include crash testing, demonstrated commitment to continuous quality improvement, and reviews of representative vehicles and customer support systems.

BAF Technologies is the leading provider of natural gas vehicle systems and conversions in the United States and supports clients with alternative fuel systems. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, BAF was acquired by Clean Energy in October 2009.

BAF provides alternative fuel systems, application engineering, service and warranty support and research and development. The company’s aftermarket systems ensure that current natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are available for domestic light-duty fleets. Its vehicle conversions include taxis, vans, pick-up trucks and shuttle buses. BAF utilizes advanced natural gas system integration technology and has certified NGVs under both EPA and CARB standards achieving Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle emissions.

Clean Energy fuels more than 19,900 vehicles at 211 locations across the United States and Canada with a broad customer base in the refuse, transit, trucking, shuttle, taxi, airport and municipal fleet markets. It owns (70%) and operates a landfill gas facility in Dallas, Texas, that produces renewable methane gas, or biomethane, for delivery in the nation’s gas pipeline network. It owns and operates LNG production plants in Willis, Texas and Boron, Calif. with combined capacity of 260,000 LNG gallons per day and that are designed to expand to 340,000 LNG gallons per day as demand increases.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

ECOtality’s Blink Network integrates with Cisco’s Home Energy Management Solution

EV charging equipment supplier ECOtality, Inc. has completed development for integrating the Blink Network charger interface with the Cisco Home Energy Management Solution (HEMS). The Blink Network charger interface will now be accessible through the Cisco Home Energy Controller (HEC), where Blink EV Home Charging Station owners can access information about their EVs and optimize their charging and energy usage.

Cisco’s HEMS technology will be deployed as part of The EV Project, the largest rollout of EV infrastructure to date, of which ECOtality is the project manager.

The Cisco Home Energy Controller (HEC) helps residential customers monitor and control their energy use in the home. An optional set of Cisco compatible, tested peripherals can be wirelessly connected to the HEC in order to provide monitoring and control of energy loads such as HVAC systems, pool pumps, water heaters, appliances, and other devices. The Cisco HEC can be controlled from a touch-screen display. From this controller, Blink Home Charging Station owners will now be able to control and monitor their EV charging.

The Blink Home Charging Station is classified as a Level 2 (240 volt AC input) charging station and is equipped with a 7-inch touch screen display where users can control the Blink Network charger interface. With the Cisco HEC, consumers will be able to access the charger interface remotely.

The Blink Network charger interface is the hub where users can receive information about their EV and Blink Home Charging Station including charge status, statistics and history. The Blink interface will also determine which charging times are most cost-effective and promote responsible power consumption. The charger can be programmed to start and stop at any time. Where supported, the charging station’s built-in energy meter will support energy usage data evaluation to further aid with the power management of the charging station, and the user’s home.


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Audi launches car assembly in Indonesia

Audi has launched car manufacturing operations in Indonesia. The carmaker is working with INDOMOBIL/Garuda Mataram Motor to assemble Audi A4 1.8 TFSI and A6 2.0 TFSI cars in the capital city Jakarta.

Around 2,700 cars will be assembled there by 2015, including 2,000 Audi A4 models, for the Indonesian market. The first A4 and A6 models were delivered to Indonesian customers in January.

Audi is stepping up the pace in Asian markets, and Indonesia is a dynamic growth region.

In total around 2,700 A4 and A6 cars will be built in Jakarta by 2015. At first Indonesian customers will be served by three Audi sites in the country. In the future, the company wants to expand its dealership network and strengthen its position in ASEAN countries.

The Indonesian car market is forecast to grow by 15% this year, while sales in the premium segment are expected to double over the next five years.


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GMs views on challenges for battery development for extended range electric vehicles

Matthe
Examples of degradation effects causing Li-ion battery power or capacity fading. Source: Roland Matthé, GM. Click to enlarge.

With the Volt extended range electric vehicle and the Leaf battery electric vehicle now on the market, joining an ever increasing array of hybrids, and with next-generation versions of all of these already in the works, automakers and battery manufacturers provided some insight at the recent Automotive Advanced Battery Conference (AABC) in Pasadena into their learnings over the requirements for and development of advanced lithium-ion battery packs targeted at the different automotive applications.

Roland Matthé, GM technical manager for the Voltec battery system, provided an overview of GM’s views on the requirements and challenges for batteries specifically for extended range electric vehicles—i.e., the Volt—but also more broadly for batteries and electrified vehicle applications in general. Different applications require different types of cells, he noted.

Key metrics of electrified propulsion systems (GM)
  Mild Hybrid
(e.g., LaCrosse w/ e-Assist)
Full Hybrid
(E.g., Tahoe two-mode)
Plug-in hybrid
(announced)
EREV
(e.g.,Volt)
Battery electric
(in development)
Fuel cell hybrid electric
(fleet test)
Pure battery-electric range na up to 2 km at speed < 50 km/h & low acceleration up to 20 km at speed < 100 km/h & low acceleration 40 to 80 km, all speeds, full acceleration > 100 km up to 2 km at speed < 50 km/h & low acceleration
Total range > 500 km > 500 km > 500 km > 500 km < 200 km 400-500 km
Battery energy < 1 kWh 1 to 3 kWh 5 to 10 kWh > 10 kWh > 20 kWh 1 to 3 kWh
Battery power < 20 kW 20 kW to 40 kW > 50 kW > 100 kW > 100 kW 20 to 40 kW
Power to energy ratio ~20 ~20 ~7 ~7 ~4 ~20
SoC window < 20% < 20% < 70% < 70% < 90% < 20%
Recharge time na na 1 to 4h 4 to 10h 10 to 20h
(Fast: 0.5h
na
Refuel time < 5m < 5m < 5m < 5m na < 5m

In an earlier talk describing GM’s battery life estimation process, Joe LoGrasso, an engineering manager also with the GM’s Global Battery Systems Engineering Group, like Matthé, noted that customer expectations are an important factor to consider in establishing specifications relating to battery life and battery safety. In short, he said:

  • Customers expect that batteries will last the normal life of the vehicle, that expensive replacements will be minimized, and that such service will be delayed until at least 10 years of battery life have elapsed, assuming normal usage.
  • Customers expect xEVs with advanced batteries and high voltage systems to provide a level of safety comparable to that present in today’s vehicles.

Achieving the first requires predictive life models and adaptive vehicle control, he noted. Achieving the second requires a comprehensive system approach to battery safety at system, pack and cell level.

The battery pack for an extended range electric vehicle such as the Volt—which runs in an all-battery powered charge-depleting mode with full speed and acceleration up to the point at which it switches to operate in charge sustaining mode faces a number of challenges based on this mixed duty cycle—i.e., part EV, part hybrid. The challenges include:

  • High number of full operation charge/discharge cycles
  • High discharge power during charge sustaining mode (at a low state of charge, SOC)
  • High discharge power requirement for acceleration performance
  • High charge power requirement for regenerative braking and charge sustaining mode (transients at both high and low SoC)
  • Temperature conditions

The factors all interplay, complicating demands placed on both battery and driver. For example, the depth of pack discharge in daily use will vary, Matthé noted. With public charging or charging at work, two or more cycles per day are possible; he said that he (driving a Volt) sometimes charges 3 times day. Because of the differences in how you can use the car, he said, you have to accommodate for that in your battery life.

There are also a number of factors—high charge/discharge rate; high or low State of Charge (SoC); hot or cold temperatures—that affect degradation of power and capacity. As examples, high charge rate and cold temperatures can result in metallic lithium plating and electrolyte decomposition. Low discharge rates and low temperatures can result in a corrosion risk on the current collector. High charge rates at warm temperatures can result in electrolyte decomposition and impedance rise. Low discharge rate at warm temperatures can result in metal dissolution and the loss of active material, with an accompanying fade in capacity. Designers must strive to keep the battery functioning in the minimal cell degradation area—essentially balanced in the center between these different extremes.

You have a wide range of matrix of conditions you have to consider. Every cell is differently sensitive to that kind of behavior. So first of all, you have to understand how sensitive is your cell to that [particular] degradation mechanism. As long as you do not have fully developed physical models, ground up…have full understanding of what happens inside the cell, you have to characterize what you have in front of you.

Now we have a very deep relationship with our cell supplier. That is important to do such an endeavor. If you just take a cell you don’t know, the vendor will not tell you…might not even in a very new cell know exactly, you have to characterize it. To characterize it, you have to think about the power levels you might face in your applications, you have to think about distribution of discharge cycles you face, and you have to consider the cold and warm exposure. You develop a test matrix for your battery to get to know you battery. And in time to understand what your cell is all about.

In general what you learn is the deeper your discharge cycles the less energy you can put through over life. If you do only little cycling, total accumulated energy is 2.5 times [that possible with high levels of cycling]. The next thing is temperature. Temperature requires a sophisticated model. The effect of battery temperature on battery cycle should not be underestimated.

If you want to have consistent performance, when you discharge your battery too low, your vehicle gets slower. The problem with an extended range electric vehicle is that you still need to do passing, so you want predictable power. On the other hand, you want to maximize efficiency.

You do not do only that power profile and discharge cycling, you also have to think about that your battery might have degradation effects you haven’t dreamed about.

—Roland Matthé


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OriginOil lands first order for industrial-scale algae oil extraction system; Bio-CCS

OriginOil, Inc. has received the first commercial order to deploy its algae oil extraction system in an industrial setting. MBD Energy (MBD) recently committed to purchase an initial OriginOil extraction unit for piloting at one of Australia’s three largest coal-fired power plants. (Earlier post.) MBD Energy expects OriginOil technology to support a pilot Bio-CCS (Bio-based Carbon Capture and Storage) algal synthesizer system at Queensland’s Tarong Power Station.

The proof of concept phase on a one-hectare site, scheduled for later this year, will use concentrated CO2 emissions to produce oil-rich algae in MBD’s proprietary growth membranes. OriginOil’s extraction technology will be used to harvest the algae oil and biomass.

This first extraction system will support early testing at the Tarong site. A much larger unit is intended to replace it later this year to process up to 300 gallons per minute (300 gpm) of algae culture for the one-hectare pilot site, at which point the first unit will be deployed at the next power station pilot site, and so on. Together, the recently-committed initial unit and the full system for the Tarong proof-of-concept site, if approved, may generate as much as US$1 million in product and service sales for OriginOil.

—Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginOil

Subject to successful trials and mutual agreement with its power station partners, MBD said each project at Australia’s three largest coal-fired power stations has the potential to grow from an initial one hectare (2.47 acre) proof of concept facility to become fully commercial facilities.

Each facility would then be capable of consuming significant amounts of CO2 and producing commercial quantities of high-value oil suitable for manufacture of transport fuel and plastics.

We are excited to be building a pilot facility that uses the power station’s CO2-laden flue-gas to feed a Bio-CCS algal synthesizer. We expect this to serve as proof of concept for a larger, second stage facility of up to 80 hectares (197 acres) and possibly a much larger third stage project after that.

—Andrew Lawson, Managing Director of MBD Energy, Ltd.

MBD estimated that subject to performance at the 80 hectare level and mutual agreements, each Stage 3 full-scale production facility has the potential to grow to 1600 hectares (3,900 acres) and could produce around 300 million liters (over 79 million gallons) of transport (or plastics) oil per year, as well as other valuable commodities, and consume, at full scale, more than half of each power station’s CO2 emissions.

OriginOil and MBD recently entered into a strategic agreement protecting OriginOil’s intellectual property for demonstration projects and granting mutual marketing rights.


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Siemens series hybrid drive system Elfa reduces fuel consumption in buses by about one-third

City buses equipped with the new Siemens series hybrid drive system Elfa consume one-third less fuel than conventional buses, according to the company. Rather than powering the rear axle via an automatic transmission, as usually, the diesel engine in the Elfa system drives a generator that uses power electronics to supply electricity to one or more drive motors.

In the Elfa system from Siemens, the electric motors act as generators during braking and thus feed electricity back into the batteries. This power can then be subsequently used to drive the vehicle, which means at times the bus can run fully electrically and without producing any emissions. The vehicle range depends on battery capacity and can vary between a few hundred meters and several kilometers.

In combination with a clever power management system, Elfa not only reduces fuel consumption but also noise, since the diesel engine doesn’t provide acceleration and therefore operates only at quiet and economical engine speeds. As a result, fuel consumption falls by around one-third.

Buses with Elfa drives are now being used in a number of cities worldwide, including a test fleet of double-deckers in London. Hamburg, meanwhile, is planning to introduce buses with an Elfa hybrid drive equipped with a fuel cell system rather than a diesel engine. This new drive technology is also targeted for other commercial vehicles that make frequent stops, such as garbage trucks or light delivery trucks. The Elfa system forms part of the Siemens environmental portfolio, which generated around €28 billion in sales for the company in fiscal year 2010.


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Queensland government halts UCG trial at Kingaroy plant, allows Linc Chinchilla to continue

The Queensland (Australia) Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Kate Jones announced that the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) trial plant near Kingaroy will not be allowed to recommence. Minister Jones said Cougar Energy could not demonstrate to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and the independent Scientific Expert Panel that it could recommence its operations without an unacceptable risk of causing environmental harm.

In July 2010, DERM ordered Cougar Energy to keep Kingaroy UCG pilot plant closed until the Government was assured that groundwater resources were protected. (Earlier post.)

DERM Director General, John Bradley, said the agency was not satisfied with two of the three reports the company was directed to provide after contaminants resulting from the underground gasification process were detected in groundwater monitoring bores on the Cougar site. Minister Jones today said that the independent scientific panel report into the Cougar Energy operations at Kingaroy supports the department’s decision to close down the trial at the Kingaroy site.

An interim report by the same Expert Panel on the Linc Energy pilot at Chincilla recommends that it continue as planned.

In February 2009 the Queensland Government released its policy on Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), which makes provision for three UCG pilot projects to demonstrate the technical, environmental and commercial viability of the UCG technology. The three pilot projects are Carbon Energy at Bloodwood Creek, near Dalby; Cougar Energy near Kingaroy; and Linc Energy near Chinchilla. The department is still considering matters in relation to the Carbon Energy pilot project.


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Marquis Energy Chooses GreenShift

Marquis Energy Chooses GreenShift

Marquis Energy has signed an agreement with GreenShift Corporation to use their patented corn oil extraction technologies in their 50 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Necedah, Wisconsin. This is GreenShift’s second license with Marquis Energy, the first for their 110 million gallon per year ethanol plant in Hennepin, Illinois.

Tom Marquis, Marquis Energy’s Vice President & Marketing Manager said, “Working with GreenShift’s marketing arm has proven to be a valuable addition to our marketing strategy. Their contacts and understanding of the industry have become integral to the bottom line.”

“We truly appreciate our relationship with Marquis Energy. We have worked together to increase yields and have proven that higher yields are achievable when both parties work together,” concluded David Winsness, GreenShift’s Chief Technology Officer.

In other recent news, GreenShift received a Notice of Allowance for their corn oil extraction processes, for pending patent application number 12/559,136 titled “A Method of Recovering Oil From Thin Stillage.” The following day, the company announced that it also signed a license agreement with Calgren Renewable Fuels, a 57 million gallon per year ethanol plant located in Pixley, California.


Visit the original post at: Biofuel News

Biodiesel Now News—01/31/11

Biodiesel Now News—01/31/11

 

Ben & Jerry’s Becomes Biofuel Source

Ben and Jerry's Bio-Digester

image via Paques

 

The end of the biofuels money train?

 

“Workhorse” Bacteria Solves Biofuel Waste Problem

 

Tz biofuel firms to stick to arid lands

 

90 MW steam turbine fired with 100 percent biofuel in test

 

3 giants launch venture to fund energy tech startups

 

New energy technology comes from local source

Story Image

Natural waste products like wood chips can be refined into ethanol.

 

Joint venture to build ethanol plant in Isabela

 

NextCAT Receives Funds to Advance Biodiesel Technology

 

Defunct biodiesel plants get new lease of life

 

Concord-Carlisle High School students take part in biodiesel project

 

Pacific Biodiesel deal generates award

 

San Antonio’s Valero Energy to Nearly Triple America’s Biodiesel Capacity

 

Wichita police: Used cooking oil is target in theft cases

 

Companies Cite Biodiesel Incentive Renewal for Merger

 

IICT working on renewable energy projects

 

Australian Renewable Fuels Limited acquires Biodiesel Producers Limited

 

Chinese firm, Sask. processor eye new canola crush plant


Visit the original post at: Biofuel News

Renewable Energy World Asia Call for Papers
Submit your abstract for the Renewable Energy World Asia for the opportunity to speak at the 2011 conference to industry leading professionals from across Asia.


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IDS11: IKEA Model Kitchen Demonstrates Jevons Paradox
ikea kitchen ids11 photo
Images Credit: Lloyd Alter

Jevons Paradox would suggest that as energy efficiency increases, then people will respond by using more of it. It is a controversial issue in a world where people are working hard to increase efficiency so that we will use less of it. It even hit the New Yorker recently, with David Owen’s article The Efficiency Dilemma.

I personally was skeptical (and wrote so in Jevons Paradox and Energy Efficiency) but have changed my mind since I saw IKEA’s mode… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

IDS11: IKEA Model Kitchen Demonstrates Jevons Paradox
ikea kitchen ids11 photo
Images Credit: Lloyd Alter

Jevons Paradox would suggest that as energy efficiency increases, then people will respond by using more of it. It is a controversial issue in a world where people are working hard to increase efficiency so that we will use less of it. It even hit the New Yorker recently, with David Owen’s article The Efficiency Dilemma.

I personally was skeptical (and wrote so in Jevons Paradox and Energy Efficiency) but have changed my mind since I saw IKEA’s mode… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

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