|2018/8/19 10:20||Green Car Congress||
Tokyo Tech researchers ID enzyme that could boost algal biofuel production
Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have identified an enzyme belonging to the glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase (GPAT) family as a promising target for increasing biofuel production from the red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.
Algae can store up large amounts of triacylglycerols (TAGs) under adverse conditions such as nitrogen deprivation. Understanding precisely how they do so is of key interest to the biotechnology sector, as TAGs can be converted to biodiesel. To this end, scientists are investigating the unicellular red alga C. merolae as a model organism for exploring how to improve TAG production.
A study led by Sousuke Imamura at the Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), has now shown that an enzyme called GPAT1 plays an important role in TAG accumulation in C. merolae even under normal growth conditions—i.e., without the need to induce stress, a technique often used to boost lipid production.
The team demonstrated that TAG productivity could be increased by more than 56 times in a C. merolae strain overexpressing GPAT1 compared with the control strain, without any negative effects on algal growth.
Their findings, published in an open-access paper in Scientific Reports, follow up previous research by Imamura and others that had suggested two GPATs, GPAT1 and GPAT2, may be closely involved in TAG accumulation in C. merolae.
The team plans to continue exploring how GPAT1 and GPAT2 might both be involved in TAG accumulation. An important next step will be to identify transcription factors that control the expression of individual genes of interest.
“If we can identify such regulators and modify their function, TAG productivity will be further improved because transcription factors affect the expression of a wide range of genes including GPAT1-related genes,” the researchers said. “This kind of approach based on the fundamental molecular mechanism of TAG synthesis should lead to successful commercial biofuel production using microalgae.”
Satoshi Fukuda, Eri Hirasawa, Tokiaki Takemura, Sota Takahashi, Kaumeel Chokshi, Imran Pancha, Kan Tanaka & Sousuke Imamura (2018) “Accelerated triacylglycerol production without growth inhibition by overexpression of a glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase in the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae” Scientific Reports Volume 8, Article number: 12410 doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30809-8
|2018/8/18 11:00||Green Car Congress||
Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak produces around 20% of its own energy requirements via recuperation
For a fully-electric racing car like the record-breaking Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak (earlier post), the weight of the battery is especially important—it is the heaviest individual component, and each increase in weight has a detrimental effect on the car’s performance.
Volkswagen Motorsport engineers sought to keep the batteries as small and light as possible in the record-breaking car. In addition to the weight-saving lithium-ion design, they relied on technology that is already implemented in numerous electrically-driven production models: recuperation.
In a conventionally-driven car, much of the energy generated by braking is converted into heat and is lost. In an electric car, this energy flows back into the battery packs. The I.D. R Pikes Peak itself produces part of the electrical energy required for the two motors, which generate 500 kW (680 PS).
This allowed us to reduce the dimensions of the batteries and keep the vehicle weight, with driver, well under 1,100 kilograms.
—Piotr Wrzuszczak, Head of Research and Development Concepts at Volkswagen Motorsport
However, the Volkswagen Motorsport engineers had not yet had any experience with recuperation. They were supported by the technical departments for e-mobility at the parent company in Wolfsburg and at the Volkswagen Preproduction Center (VSC) in Brunswick.
To make the learning process easier, Volkswagen Motorsport first installed an electric drivetrain in a Golf GTI TCR from touring car racing. This experimental vehicle was used a mobile laboratory at the Volkswagen test site in Ehra-Lessien. The focus was on recuperation.
As we were not able to test on the original circuit at Pikes Peak, we compared the data harvested from the converted TCR race car with the data produced in the simulator at Volkswagen Motorsport. We had programmed the whole track as a model in the computer.
The simulations were used to answer an important question: what portion of the energy required during the race will be produced by the on-board systems in the I.D. R Pikes Peak? A high percentage requires large generators, while big batteries need a correspondingly lower percentage—both options mean extra weight on board. The team finally settled on 20% as ideal, said Wrzuszczak.
The engineers also worked on another challenge in the simulator and during test drives. Regardless of whether it’s a race car or a production vehicle, the driver should barely notice the recuperation process and it should not have any effect on braking. The balance between the mechanical brake and the braking effect of the electric motors, which work as generators during deceleration, is decisive.
The interplay between recuperation and braking is controlled by the on-board computer in the I.D. R Pikes Peak, said Wrzuszczak. Racing cars have far more extreme objectives than production cars, and the software is programmed much more aggressively. However, the production car also has to deliver the best braking feeling for the driver, make use of coasting phases and ensure that the battery recharged effectively without surges.
One factor that had to be taken into account was limiting recuperation with a fully-charged battery right after the start, added Wrzuszczak. Energy management towards the end of the 19.99-kilometer race was also a complex task; with a racing car that uses a combustion engine, weight concerns mean that crossing the line with a near-empty tank is ideal.
We had a different task with the I.D. R Pikes Peak. Batteries that have nearly completely discharged do not perform as well. That is why our strategy was to avoid the charge level dropping below 30 percent, even just before the finish line.
The recuperation strategy applied during the record-breaking performance of the I.D. R Pikes Peak provided more data for the development of the first fully-electrically driven production cars from the brand.
|2018/8/17 15:17||Green Car Congress||
Rolls-Royce launches new modular Li-ion battery system for ships: SAVe Energy
Rolls-Royce is launching a lithium-ion based energy storage system for ships. Rolls-Royce has been delivering energy storage systems since 2010, however the actual energy storage units were previously supplied by an external party.
Illustration of a ship system setup with batteries. This example shows a hybrid system for a tugboat. Source: Rolls Royce.
Energy storage is a major green investment for a ship owner. Returns are maximized when the system is correctly dimensioned for the specific ship, and includes intelligent power control.
Rolls-Royce now offers SAVe Energy, a cost-competitive, highly efficient and liquid-cooled battery system with a modular design that enables the product to scale according to energy and power requirements.
SAVe Energy complies with international legislations for low- and zero-emission propulsion systems.
The development work has been partly funded by the Norwegian Research Council of Norway’s ENERGIX program. The three ship owning companies Color Line, Norled and the Norwegian Coastal Administration Shipping Company have been partners in the development, ensuring that the energy storage system covers a wide variety of marine applications, including ferries, cruise vessels and multi-purpose vessels.
SAVe Energy is be delivered from the Rolls-Royce Power Electric site in Bergen, Norway, as part of the company’s offering of complete ship systems.
The electrification of ships is building momentum. From 2010 we have delivered battery systems representing about 15 MWh in total. However now the potential deployment of our patent pending SAVe Energy in 2019 alone is 10-18 MWh.
—Andreas Seth, Rolls-Royce, EVP Electrical, Automation and Control – Commercial Marine
SAVe Energy can be applied to several areas including peak shaving, spinning reserve and battery-powered vessels. Combined with an LNG- or diesel-powered engine in a hybrid solution, it will increase efficiency and reduce emissions, and can be coupled with most types of propulsion units.
In a hybrid set up, SAVe Energy handles the peak load, while the main power generators will relate to the average load and not reduce the propulsion units thrusting capabilities.
Battery systems have become a key component of our power and propulsions systems, and SAVe Energy is being introduced on many of the projects we are currently working on. This includes the upgrade programme for Hurtigruten’s cruise ferries, the advanced fishing vessel recently ordered by Prestfjord and the ongoing retrofits of offshore support vessels. As a system provider we can find the best solution considering both installation and operational cost.
SAVe Energy is an ESU system (Energy Storage Unit), and was recently class-approved by DNV GL, confirming that SAVe Energy has been developed in compliance with the newest 2018 ruleset, and are accepted for installation on all vessels classed by DNV GL.
|2018/8/17 11:00||Green Car Congress||
CELEST, largest German research platform for electrochemical storage, begins operation
The Center for Electrochemical Energy Storage Ulm & Karlsruhe (CELEST), the largest German research platform for electrochemical, comprising research into Li-ion batteries, post-Li technologies, fuel cells, and redox-flow batteries, has begun operation.
CELEST combines finding-oriented research with close-to-practice development and innovative production technology. CELEST pools the know-how of 29 institutes of its partners: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Ulm University, and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).
CELEST is aimed at enhancing communication and cooperation among the scientists involved and paving the way for new, interdisciplinary collaborations. CELEST will also coordinate joint activities with other universities and research institutions as well as with industry in Germany and abroad and deepen existing contacts.
Scientists in Ulm and Karlsruhe have complementary expertise extending from basic experimental research into elementary processes on the atomic scale to multi-scale modeling of relevant processes and development of new storage materials and laboratory cells to the largest pilot plant for battery cell manufacture in Europe at the ZSW.
—Professor Maximilian Fichtner, Director of the Helmholtz Institute Ulm, scientific spokesperson of CELEST
In addition to the research focus on advanced technologies for electrochemical storage, another focus lies on collaboration with industry partners for technology transfer, innovation, and commercialization of new technologies. A high priority of CELEST will also be the education of young scientists. For this purpose, a graduate school in the area of electrochemical energy storage will be established.
New battery technologies also are the subject of the joint proposal of KIT and Ulm University for the Excellence Cluster “Energy Storage beyond Lithium: New Storage Concepts for a Sustainable Future.” This cluster is to push the development of battery technologies based on abundant, low-cost, and non-toxic elements, such as sodium and magnesium and, thus, reduce the pressure on critical resources. The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and Gießen University are also partners of this proposal.
|2018/8/17 10:30||Green Car Congress||
FCA US Toledo Machining Plant to build power electronics module for first plug-in hybrid Jeep
FCA US has awarded the production of the power electronics module for the Jeep Wrangler PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) to its Toledo Machining Plant.
As part of the Capital Markets Day presentation in June, FCA committed to expanding its electrified propulsion systems in global architectures spanning the full range of vehicle segments. The Jeep Wrangler PHEV, which is expected to launch in 2020, will be one of more than 30 vehicle nameplates with electrified solutions by 2022.
Source: FCA Capital Markets Day.
The power electronics module for the Wrangler houses two key electrified powertrain components: the Power Inverter Module and the Integrated Dual Charger Module, which consists of the On Board Charger and the DC/DC Converter.
The Power Electronics module is packaged in a protective structure under the vehicle between the exhaust and the prop shaft.
Toledo Machining will assemble the sub-systems for the module, upload the applicable software for the Power Inverter Module, and also conduct final testing on the coolant and electrical systems. Finished modules will be delivered to the Toledo Assembly Complex where the Wrangler PHEV will be assembled.