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Golden State OKs Dimethyl Ether as Vehicle Fuel (Ind. Report)
Oberon Fuels
Date: 2015-03-02
SanDiego-based Oberon Fuels, Inc., the first company to produce fuel-grade dimethyl ether (DME) in North America, reports that DME is now approved for use as vehicle fuel in the Golden State. Previously, the California Air Resources Board )CARB) published their Multimedia Assessment Tier 1 report on DME, which evaluates publicly available data on the effect of DME on air, soil, and water.

DME is a compression combustive methane-based biofuel with high horsepower capabilities for heavy-duty commercial trucks. It is a second generation biofuel produced from woody biomass or by-products and waste from agricultural production that is presently often used as a propane-hybrid cooking fuel in Asia, as a propellent in bug sprays, deodorant and other products and even as a refrigerantDME is a clean-burning, non-toxic fuel that can be derived from renewable sources. Its high cetane number and quiet combustion, as well as its inexpensive propane-like fueling system, make it an excellent, inexpensive diesel alternative.

In August, 2014, the EPA approved biogas-based DME for inclusion under the Renewable Fuel Standard and made it eligible for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) credits based on EPA findings that the fuel achieves a 68 pct reduction in greenhouse gases. In February 2014, ASTM International released a specification for DME as a fuel. ASTM D7901 provides guidance for fuel producers, engine and component suppliers, and infrastructure developers on DME purity, testing, safety, and handling.

California-based Oberon Fuels monetizes biogas and other hydrocarbon rich waste streams by converting such feedstock into higher valued commodities. Using its proprietary small-scale process, Oberon makes DME and methanol from methane and carbon dioxide. In 2013, Oberon Fuels' pilot plant in Brawley, California produced the first fuel-grade DME in North America, which is currently being used by Volvo Trucks in commercial demonstrations of DME-powered, heavy-duty trucks. (Source: Oberon Fuels, Feb., 2015) Contact: Oberon Fuels, Ori Jepsen, Media, (619) 255-9361, ori@oberonfuels.com, www.oberonfuels.com

Tags Biofuel news,  Dimethyl Ether (DME) news,  


Fiat, BMW Could Miss EU 2021 CO2 Target (Int'l)
EU Carbon Target
Date: 2014-05-28
A new report says that all of Europe's car manufacturers are set to meet a fuel economy target of 95 grams of CO2 per km (g/km) by 2021, except for the Italian auto-maker Fiat, and Germany's BMW. The new analysis of car-makers' CO2 emissions in 2013 by Transport & Environment, a green campaign group, finds that on current trends, Volvo, Toyota, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, Ford and Daimler will all hit the cleaner fuel goal early, while Volkswagen and Nissan will make it just in time.

But unless they speed up, Fiat and BMW will not hit the EU's controversial carbon benchmark until 2022 and 2024 respectively. Failures to comply could result in a €95 per-gram of carbon emitted corporate fine. The figures, which are based on a trajectory measuring emission-cutting performances over the last six years, show that CO2 emissions from Fiat's fleet actually rose last year, Transport & Environment says. By comparison, non-European auto makers that are on the road to missing the 2021 target include Suzuki, General Motors, Hyundai, Mazda, and Honda. (Source: EurActive, May 26, 2014)

Tags Vehicle Emissions news,  EU Carbon Targets news,  


Volvo Lauded for Building Energy Efficiency (Ind. Report)
Volvo, US DOE
Date: 2014-04-04
The U.S. DOE has lauded Volvo Group North America for its leadership in energy efficiency at its New River Valley assembly plant near Roanoke, Va. As a "Better Buildings, Better Plants" partner, Volvo achieved 16 percent energy savings across its U.S. plants and continues working toward its goal of becoming 25 percent more energy efficient within ten years.

In 2012, Volvo's New River Valley facility was one of the first facilities in the U.S. to be certified under the DOE's Superior Energy Performance program which helps facilities establish energy baselines and savings goals, and provides certifications when facilities achieve significant savings.

The "Better Buildings, Better Plants Program" is a national partnership initiative to drive significant improvements in energy efficiency in U.S. manufacturing plants. Through Better Plants, manufacturers partner with the DOE to reduce their energy intensity by 25 percent over ten years, develop energy management plans, and track and report their annual progress. The DOE works with each partner to establish key energy performance metrics, evaluate energy-saving opportunities, and organize plant-level training events. (Source: Volvo, DOE, 3 April, 2014) Contact: DOE Better Buildings Initiative, www.energy.gov/betterbuildings

Tags Building Energy Efficiency news,  Energy Management news,  US DOE news,  Volvo news,  


Volvo Technology Turns Auto Body into Battery (New Prod & Tech)
Volvo
Date: 2013-10-21
Swedish automaker Volvo has developed an ingenious auto body material that can be molded into vehicle chassis parts and store energy like a battery . The technology may prove ideal for electric vehicle in that it could illiminate heav and exprensive lithium-ion batteries which have to date been the bane of the EV industry.

Volvo's new energy storage material is composed of carbon fiber, polymer resins and nanostructured supercapacitors. Until now, the composition was modeled as a hood and spare wheel housing. Volvo claims that a car hood of this type can store enough energy to replace a vehicles batteries. The mass would be lower and the available space should increase.

After three years of research and experimentation, the revolutionary material was used by Volvo on its peak range, S80. The prototype has shown that it is possible to use this component in production. The total weight decreased from 1585 kg to 1348 kg. Furthermore, the Swedish say that the material could reduce the total weight of the electric vehicle by 15 percent. It would be conventionally charged from any electrical outlet. (Source: Volvo, Auto-Types, 18 Oct., 2013) Contact: Volvo, www.volvo.com

Tags Volvo news,  Battery Technology news,  Lithium-Ion Battery news,  Energy Storage news,  


Volvo to Offer Methane-Based DME Trucks in 2015 (New Prod & Tech)
Volvo
Date: 2013-06-10
Following on our Dept. 6, 2012 coverage, Volvo has unveiled dimethyl ether (DME), a compression combustive methane-based biofuel with high horsepower capabilities for heavy-duty commercial trucks. DME is a second generation biofuel produced from woody biomass or by-products and waste from agricultural production that is presently often used as a propane-hybrid cooking fuel in Asia, as a propellent in bug sprays, deodorant and other products and even as a refrigerant.

Volvo's planned market launch of DME fueled commercial trucks is slated for and 2015 will include a 500 horsepower unit as well as daycab versions of DME-powered VNs with a 600 mile rule range. (Source: Volvo, Commercial Carrier, 8 June, 2013) Contact: Volvo Commercial Trucks, Ed Saxman, marketing manager, www.volvo.com

Tags Volvo Truck news,  Dimethyl Ether news,  Biofuel news,  


WM Participating in Vehicle Methane Release Study (R&D)
Waste Management Inc.,
Date: 2013-03-08
A new study by the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions at West Virginia University seeks to quantify fugitive methane emissions from natural gas-powered vehicles. The study, which is co-sponsored by Waste Management Inc., will examine such emissions from both compressed natural gas- and liquefied natural gas-powered vehicles. Others study sponsors include PepsiCo, Shell, Volvo Group, Cummins Westport and Westport Innovations. Sponsors are providing access to vehicles and facilities for testing, according to the university.(Source: Waste & recycling News, Mar. 5, 2013) Contact: Waste Management, Eric Woods, VP Fleet, www.wm.com

Tags Waste Management news,  WM news,  Methane news,  


Hit the Brakes on New Ethanol Blend (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
E15
Date: 2013-01-11
"AAA, formerly the American Automobile Association, has warned that filling gas tanks with a blend of 15 percent ethanol could damage cars and void warranties. This follows 12 carmakers announcing that using the new "E15" blend may either void warranties or that warranties may not cover fuel-related claims. "AAA, acting on behalf of its 50 million members, has called for the EPA to temporarily halt sales of the fuel to reevaluate its potential harm. We agree.

"In addition, ethanol, which is manufactured from grain such as corn, produces questionable, if any, fuel economy benefits. Moreover, the government subsidies and mandates that pave the way for its entry into the market appear to benefit corn growers and ethanol manufacturers more than consumers and the environment.

"As with other government intrusions into the free market, the EPA's ethanol love affair distorts supply and demand. If the fuel were beneficial enough on its own, the market would respond. But even in the Midwest, where E15 is more available, sales have not taken off, according to industry observer Dennis Simanaitis, a former Road and Track editor. Gasoline with a 10 percent mixture of ethanol already constitutes 90 percent of the U.S. market, following government approval decades ago. But in June, the EPA approved the sale of the higher percentage mixture, despite cautions from automakers who cited potential damage to vehicles.

"Private sector resistance has not dissuaded the EPA, which also doesn't appear to be acting on behalf of motorists, as is the AAA, a federation of 51 independently operated motor clubs. Ethanol was advanced ostensibly as a more environmentally friendly option to 100 percent gasoline. Even that claim by the government has been challenged.

"In 2006, John A. Baden, chairman of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, argued that ethanol consumes more resources than it saves. That year, Consumer Reports tests using a Chevrolet Tahoe found that an 85-15 blend of gasoline and ethanol decreased, rather than increased, mileage from 21 mpg highway to 15, and from 9 mpg to 7 in city driving. A later University of Minnesota study found that corn ethanol may be as harmful as gasoline, and an even worse health threat.

"BMW, Chrysler, Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen say their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Mercedes-Benz and Volvo said E15 may void their warranties. Perhaps most troubling is that AAA says 95 percent of U.S. consumers have not even heard of E15, and only 5 percent of cars on the road can use it without risk of damage. The possibility of E15 use in older cars, more likely to be harmed, is an unnecessary risk, not in the public's interest.

"We agree with the AAA's call for pulling E15 off the market until its consequences are better understood. In the meantime, the EPA also should reassess the entire ethanol fuel issue, which likely would not be viable without government mandates for increasing use of so-called renewable fuels and manufacturing subsidies." (Source: Orange County Register, Jan. 9, 2013)

Tags E15 news,  Biofuel news,  Biofuel Blend news,  


European Automakers on target for 95g/km CO2 by 2020 (Int'l)
Auto Emissions
Date: 2012-12-07
European carmakers are winning the battle against emissions according to a new study from the UK Transport and Environment (T&E). The latest T&E report reveals that European car manufacturers are in a better position than most of their Asian counterparts to meet the target for a 95g/km average CO2 emissions by 2020. In the race to hit the 2020 95g target, all European makers (except Daimler, Volvo and BMW) rank in the top 9 while three of the bottom six carmakers are Asian. The T&E 2012 Cars and CO2 Report reveals that the auto industry as a whole cut CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of their new vehicles by 3.3 per cent in 2011. This means that, four years before the compliance date, the 130 g/CO2 target for 2015 is, on average, just 4 per cent away. Fiat, Toyota and Peugeot-Citroen have already met their CO2 targets for 2015 four years ahead of time.

Overall annual progress in reducing CO2 emissions from cars over the past four years was 4 per cent. On the basis of those recent improvements and current positions, the report estimates that Europe's automakers will only need to improve fuel efficiency by an annual rate of 3.8 percent to meet the 95 g/km CO2 target for 2020. (Source: Green Car UK, 6 Dec, 2012)

Tags Transportation Emissions news,  


Volvo Concludes Successful bio-DME Fuel Field Tests (Ind. Report)
Volvo,Chermac
Date: 2012-09-06
Volvo Trucks has successfully field tested specially adapted trucks powered by dimethyl ether (bio-DME), a biofuel derived from pulp mill "black liquor" wastes. The company says bio-DME reduces carbon emissions by 95% compared with diesel. Bio-DME is a second generation biofuel produced from woody biomass or by-products and waste from agricultural production.

The field tests, which are being conducted in collaboration with companies including Swedish oil firm Preem and Chemrec, another Swedish company which is responsible for fuel production.

Chemrec's process takes part of the black liquor, gasifies it -- using a gasifier developed at the Energy Technology Centre in Pitea, Sweden -- and turns it into usable fuel which the company said could be obtained at four Swedish filling stations during the on-going field tests.

According to Chermac managing director Max Jonnson, the project has proven the technology, and the company is now focusing on industrializing the product together with the pulp industry both in Sweden and abroad (Source: Volvo, Waste Management World, 4 Sept., 2012) Contact: Volvo, www.volvo.com

Tags Biofuel news,  Black Liquor news,  


EnerDel Supplying Li-ion Batteries for Volvo EV (Ind. Report)
EnerDel,Volvo
Date: 2012-09-05
Lithium-ion battery and energy storage systems manufacturer EnerDel has secured a second supply order from Volvo to manufacture 24kWh lithium-ion battery-pack that powers Volvo's C30 EV. The battery-pack design has been custom-made to Volvo's specifications.

The company's first order from Volvo for its C30 EV was secured in September 2009.EnerDel will begin executing the current order this month. Final delivery is slated for 2013. (Source: EnerDel, CBTR, 28 Aug., 2012) Contact: EnerDel, Charles Gassenheimer, CEO, (317) 585-3456, cgassenheimer@ener1.com, www.enerdel.com

Tags EnerDel news,  Volvo EV news,  Li-Ion Battery news,  


Volvo Enrolls in ECS Demand Response Program (Ind. Report)
Energy Curtailment Specialist,Volvo
Date: 2012-08-17
Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS), the longest tenured demand response provider in North America, reports that Volvo Remanufacturing Middletown has made ECS their official demand response provider. By enrolling in ECS' PowerPay! Demand Response Program, Volvo has committed to reducing their electrical usage during times of grid instability. Through its Green Roots Initiative, ECS will donate trees to one of America's national forests on behalf of Volvo for enrolling in one of their programs.

ECS PowerPay! participants are paid for agreeing to voluntarily reduce electric consumption for a short period of time during critical periods of demand. Participants are typically asked to decrease their electricity usage only when the electric grid is strained and in need of help to avoid brownouts or blackouts. (Source: Energy Curtailment Specialists, Aug. 15, 2012) Contact: Energy Curtailment Specialists, (877) 711-5453, www.ecsgrid.com

Tags Energy Curtailment Specialist news,  Demand Response news,  


LG Chem Seeks Alliance to Beef-up Battery Business (Ind. Report)
LG Chem
Date: 2012-08-08
Korean battery maker LG Chem plans to enhance its bottom line by forming a business alliance with French auto giant Renault Group. foreign automaker. The two companies are considering an business alliance to produce lithium-ion batteries in France. Once an agreement is reached, LG Chem will start building a factory in France in 2013 at the earliest, and will produce current generation lithium-ion batteries from 2015 and advanced lithium-ion batteries from 2017.

Currently, General Motors accounts for 50 percent of LG's battery sales, followed by Renault with 20 percent, Hyundai-Kia with 20 percent and others including Volvo of Sweden, 10 percent, according to LG Chem officials. A spokesman declined to give more details about the ongoing negotiations. (Source: LG Chem, 2 Aug., 2012) Contact: Terry Lee, Public Relations, LG Chem, +82 (2) 3773-6951, ltkremark@lgchem.com, www.lgchem.com; Renault, www.renault.com

Tags LG Chem news,  Lithium-ion Battery news,  Renault news,  


Volvo Cuts EU Fleet-wide Emissions 13% Over Past Two Years (Int'l)
Volvo
Date: 2012-04-17
Volvo reports that it has cut its European fleet-wide emissions from its gas- and diesel-powered vehicles by 13 percent during the past few years and is looking to reduce emissions even further starting next year.

For the 2013 model year, the Swedish automaker will debut a five-cylinder 2.0-liter, 136-horsepower turbodiesel engine – called the D3 – for its S60, V60, XC60, V70 and S80 models. All but the automatic-transmission XC60 crossover will have start-stop functionality. Additionally, Volvo will also introduce a 115-horsepower diesel engine – the D2 – that will have the same emissions with both an automatic and manual transmissions, which Volvo says is a first.

Volvo is looking to use a combination of diesel technology and electric-drive powertrains to meet progressively more stringent European greenhouse-gas emissions. The company said in 2010 that, for the eight years ending in 2014, it will have sunk more than $2 billion in research and development specifically towards boosting fuel economy and reducing emissions. (Source: Volvo. 14 April, 2012)


Enova Delivers Electric Drive Systems to Optare Plc (Ind. Report)
Enova Systems,Optare Plc
Date: 2012-04-10
Hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components developer Enova Systems Inc has delivered 4 incremental 120kW drive systems to Optare Plc for integration into their Solo Electric Bus. Optare designs, manufactures and sells single deck and double deck buses and mini coaches. Its buses operate in the UK, Continental Europe, and North America.

Additionally, and announced on March 23, 2012, commuters and bus passengers across England will see more eco-friendly buses on the roads, congestion reduced and services upgraded, thanks to a new GBP 101 million package of improvements approved by Local Transport Minister Norman Baker. Five bus manufacturers will benefit from orders for their eco-friendly hybrid, electric and gas buses. They comprise: Volvo, Wrightbus, Optare, MAN and Alexander Dennis Limited, all of which are based in, or partly in, the UK.

Based on the award-winning Solo low-floor bus, of which over 4,000 are in service worldwide, the Solo EV produces zero tailpipe emissions. The model is based on a standard 27-seat 8.8 meter Solo, but the technology can be used on other models in the Optare range with higher passenger capacities.

Optare recently announced a refinancing agreement with Ashok Leyland which increased its holding in Optare to 75.1% allowing Optare to become fully integrated in Ashok's ambitious global bus strategy which seeks to maintain and improve on its top fifth place amongst the world's bus makers. Ashok Leyland is the flagship of the Hinduja Group and a leading Indian commercial vehicle manufacturing company based in Chennai, selling approximately 94,000 vehicles and about 17,000 engines annually and is the second largest commercial vehicle company in India in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle segment, with a market share of about 25.7% in 2010/2011. Ashok is a market leader in the Indian bus market selling over 23,000 buses annually. The sales turnover of Ashok in 2010-11 was US $ 2.5 billion. Ashok has seven plants in India, one in the Czech Republic and one in the Middle East with a current global capacity of over 150,000 buses and trucks. (Source: Enova, April, 9, 2012) Contact: Enova Systems, Jarrett Fenton, CFO & Investor Relations, (310) 527-2800, jfenton@enovasystems.com, www.enovasystems.com; Optare, Jim Sumner, CEO, +44(0) 845 838 9901, www.optare.com

Tags Enova Systems news,  Optare news,  Electric Bus news,  

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