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Maersk sets net zero CO2 emission target by 2050
Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, has set a goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve this goal, carbon neutral vessels must be commercially viable by 2030, and an acceleration in new innovations and adaption of new technology is required.
The maritime industry emitted close to 1000 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012, representing about 2.2% of global CO2 emissions. Depending on future development, this could rise to 15% by 2050, according to a 2016 study by the Danish Shipowner’s Association (DSA) and UCL Energy Institute. This makes the sector pivotal in bringing down global emissions.
Already, Maersk’s relative CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions per container moved) have been reduced by 46% (baseline 2007), approximately 9% more than the shipping industry average.
As world trade and thereby shipping volumes will continue to grow, efficiency improvements on the current fossil based technology can only keep shipping emissions at current levels but not reduce them significantly or eliminate them, Maersk said.
The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains.
—Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer at A.P. Moller - Maersk
Maersk is putting its efforts towards solving problems specific to maritime transport, as it calls for different solutions than automotive, rail and aviation. The yet to come electric truck is expected to be able to carry max 2 TEU and is projected to run 800 km per charging. In comparison, a container vessel carrying thousands of TEU sailing from Panama to Rotterdam makes around 8,800 km. With short battery durability and no charging points along the route, innovative developments are imperative.
Maersk said that given the 20-25-year life time of a vessel, it is now time to join forces and start developing the new type of vessels that will be crossing the seas in 2050.
The next 5-10 years are going to be crucial. We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology to improve the technical and financial viability of decarbonized solutions. Over the last four years, we have invested around US$1 billion and engaged 50+ engineers each year in developing and deploying energy efficient solutions. Going forward we cannot do this alone.
By setting this ambitious target, Maersk hopes to generate a pull towards researchers, technology developers, investors, cargo owners and legislators that will activate strong industry involvement, co-development, and sponsorship of sustainable solutions that we are yet to see in the maritime industry.
In 2019, Maersk is planning to initiate open and collaborative dialogue with all possible parties to tackle climate change.
A.P. Moller - Maersk consists of Maersk, APM Terminals, Damco, Svitzer and Maersk Container Industry. Maersk operates all over the world and has a fleet of 639 ships which sail every major trade lane on the globe.
CR&R pathway for biogas from anaerobic digestion of green waste to CNG has LCFS CI of just above zero
CR&R Incorporated / California Renewable Power LLC (CR&R) has submitted a California LCFS Tier 2 application for its biomethane from anaerobic digestion of green waste to CNG pathway, with a requested carbon intensity (CI) of 0.34 gCO2e/MJ.
The CR&R facility produces biomethane from an organic waste anaerobic digester (AD) facility in Perris, California that is co-located with CR&R’s material recovery facility and transfer station.
The facility receives pre-separated green waste from households and commercial generators, and sends it to an anaerobic digestion unit to produce raw biogas. The raw biogas is cleaned up in an onsite upgrading facility where it is upgraded to Rule 301 pipeline quality biomethane.
The upgraded biomethane is injected into the SoCalGas pipeline and this fuel is eventually compressed and dispensed as CNG. The facility also transports digestate and compost using heavy-duty CNG trucks.
Although the input feedstock consists of limited food scraps (<5%), CR&R is seeking to register a provisional pathway of biomethane from anaerobic digestion of 100% green waste with this application.
The CI value is based on life cycle analysis conducted using a modified version of the High Solids Anaerobic Digestion (HSAD) calculator under the CA-GREET 2.0 Tier 2 methodology as described in the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Report.
ARB staff has reviewed the CR&R application and has replicated, using the modified version of the HSAD calculator, the CI value calculated by CR&R. On the basis of these findings, CARB staff recommends that the CR&R application for the LCFS pathway be provisionally certified, subject to specific operating conditions.
BMW providing 10 pre-owned i3 EVs to UC Davis for 18 months
BMW is providing the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis with ten battery-electric, BMW i3 models for 18 months. Eight of the pre-owned vehicles will be available soon for UC Davis faculty and staff to rent through the campus’s UC Drive program, which is managed by the Fleet Services department. The other two will be used by project researchers.
The vehicles are 2015-2016 models, with battery technology that enables an everyday range of about 80-90 miles—suited for in-town driving, and enough for travel between Davis and Sacramento.
Transitioning fleets to electric vehicles helps advance clean energy technologies and reduce emissions from transportation. With UC Davis serving as a living laboratory, the project can help inform other campuses, small cities and towns about what to expect when integrating electric vehicles into fleets. It can also help familiarize potential electric vehicle drivers with the vehicles, with little commitment.
Dahlia Garas, program director of the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center, with a BMW i3.
Dahlia Garas, program director of the Plug-In Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center, said the project has four main components.
We’re trying to help the campus electrify. We also want to learn how fleets can incorporate used electric vehicles, which are available at a lower price than newer generations. We are learning more about how to integrate electric vehicles with the grid.
The final component is understanding users and their experience with the vehicles. Center researchers will be conducting education and outreach with campus departments and UC Drive participants to teach them how the cars work. They will also conduct surveys to determine how people’s opinions change about electric vehicles before and after driving one.
We’re moving toward a transportation system of reduced personal car ownership. This is one slice of conditioning the market, users and institutions like this university to think along those lines.
—ITS-Davis Director Dan Sperling
Sperling wrote a book—Three Revolutions—describing a three-pronged approach to sustainable transportation that involves integrating electrification, ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles.
As that transportation shift progresses, motor companies are interested in opening up secondary markets for their vehicles.
We are pleased to be working together with UC Davis in this multifaceted research initiative. This collaboration will enable new study of electric vehicle use and charging patterns, generating new insights that will help further our shared aim of making connected electric vehicles more accessible.
—Simon Euringer, vice president of the BMW Group Technology Office USA
The research also ties into UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, which commits UC to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025.
Elcora awarded NSERC-ENGAGE grant to support development of graphene supercapacitors
Nova Scotia-based Elcora Advanced Materials Corp. has been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)-ENGAGE grant with Dr. Heather Andreas, an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Dalhousie University. The project will focus on studying Elcora’s high-quality graphene as an electrode material for supercapacitors.
Dr. Andreas has worked on carbon-based supercapacitors (SCs) for more than 14 years.
The supercapacitor market is forecast to reach US$2.18 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 20.7% between 2016 and 2022. Factors such as high storage capabilities, need for power conservation, high performance supercapacitors for consumer and automotive applications, and additional capabilities such as moisture resistance, light weight and low equivalent series resistance are key drivers for supercapacitor market.
Elcora is a producer of high-quality carbon materials—specifically graphite and graphene—and has identified supercapacitors (SCs) as an important future application for graphite materials.
In SCs, the charge is stored on a carbon electrode—meaning SC performance is incredibly sensitive to the carbon’s morphology, chemistry, reactivity/stability and impurities.
A common misconception is that carbon is a simple material and all carbons behave similarly; however, carbon is incredibly complex and subtle changes in the pore size, structure, degree of graphitization, surface area, chemical environment, etc. can strongly impact carbon performance.
To understand graphene’s SC applicability requires knowledge of all these parameters and vitally how these parameters impact the performance. Dr. Andreas is suited to study and optimize Elcora’s graphite-based products for supercapacitor applications.
This announcement is great news for Elcora. The funding allows Elcora to collaborate with one of the worlds top researchers in how to understand and optimize graphene/graphite for supercapacitor applications. We expect to demonstrate that Elcora’s graphene and graphite-based products are ideally suited for supercapacitor applications. This research may help Elcora secure supply agreements for it’s high-quality graphene and graphite-based products.
—Troy Grant, CEO, Elcora
Elcora was founded in 2011 and has been structured to become a vertically integrated graphite & graphene company. Elcora processes, refines, and produces both graphite & graphene. As part of the vertical integration strategy Elcora is securing high-grade graphite and graphene precursor graphite from operations in Sri Lanka and other countries which are already in production.
Elcora has developed a cost-effective process to make high-quality graphite, graphite products and graphene that are commercially scalable.
Engage Grants are designed to give innovative companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian universities and colleges. These grants are intended to foster the development of new research partnerships by supporting short-term research and development projects aimed at addressing a company-specific problem.
Following an Engage Grant, applicants may apply for follow-on support for an additional six months of related research activity through an Engage Plus grant, in order to further developments from an ongoing or recently completed Engage Grant project, or to continue the project while seeking longer-term support (through, for example, a Collaborative Research and Development Grant [CRD] or an Applied Research and Development Grant [ARD]).
Amprius’ silicon nanowire Li-ion batteries power Airbus Zephyr S HAPS solar aircraft
Amprius, Inc., a manufacturer and developer of high energy and high capacity lithium-ion batteries, announced that the company is supplying advanced lithium-ion cells to the Airbus Defence and Space Zephyr Program. Using Amprius’ cells, which contain a 100% silicon anode, the Zephyr S flew more than 25 days, setting a new endurance and altitude record for stratospheric flight.
The Zephyr platform is a new class of unmanned air vehicle that operates as a high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) enabling affordable, persistent, local satellite-like services. Combining solar power and lithium ion batteries, the Zephyr aircraft holds world records for endurance as well as altitude, flying at 70,000 feet or higher.
This stratospheric platform can fly for months at a time and combines the persistence of a satellite with the flexibility of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The platform is expected to be used in a wide range of emerging applications, including maritime surveillance and services, border patrol missions, communications, forest fire detection and navigation.
Our collaboration with Amprius in the application of their silicon nanowire based lithium ion cells to the Zephyr has been important to the success of the HAPS program. The high specific energy of Amprius batteries enable the Zephyr to fly uninterrupted in the stratosphere which would not be possible with lower performance batteries. This will further extend the capability and utility of the Zephyr platform for our customers.
—Sophie Thomas, Airbus HAPS Program Director
Based on its proprietary silicon nanowire technology, Amprius has demonstrated breakthrough performance in energy density and cycle life. Silicon anodes have much higher specific capacity compared to graphite anodes which are used in conventional lithium ion batteries. However, in particle or film structures silicon is not stable and lasts only a few recharge cycles. Amprius’ silicon nanowire structures overcome this instability and thereby enable hundreds of cycles with specific energies of over 435 Wh/kg and energy densities in excess of 1200 Wh/liter.
The silicon nanowire structure includes a metallically conductive nanowire core, metallurgically connected to the current collector. This connection is essential in creating and maintaining a stable electrical connection and mechanical structure at the electrode level, according to an Amprius presentation at the Power Sources Conference earlier this year. Each silicon wire is directly connected and does not need to rely on particle-to-particle contacts for conductivity; the silicon material remains in electrical contact over the entire cycle life of the cell.
The fast loss of electrical connectivity and changes in mechanical structure that plague the majority of other silicon technologies are virtually non-existent in the rooted silicon nanowire anodes. Moreover, this significant stability is achieved in a structure that is virtually 100% silicon, without any binder or conductive additive to dilute its active material content.
—Constantin Ionel Stefan, Amprius
The nanowire material structure also enables a relatively high 94% first coulombic efficiency in half cells and 90% coulombic efficiency in full cells with LCO cathode.
With the same cathode and separator components, the silicon nanowire anode technology significantly increases energy density and specific energy (solid circles are demonstrated products). Source: Amprius.
Amprius maintains an R&D lab and corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, California; an R&D lab and state-of-the-art pilot production line in Nanjing, China; and a manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China. Amprius is financed by leading venture capital and private equity investors including Trident Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, IPV Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, SAIF Partners, Chinergy Capital, Wuxi IDG and DADI Capital.
Ceres Power and Weichai finalize strategic collaboration and JV agreement on SOFCs; range-extenders for buses
Ceres Power, a developer of low-cost solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)company, and Weichai Power, one of the leading automobile and equipment manufacturing companies in China, finalized their long-term strategic collaboration first announced in May 2018. (Earlier post.)
This includes a Joint Venture Agreement with the commitment to create a fuel cell manufacturing JV in China, a License Agreement to transfer key technology to the JV and a new £9-million (US$11.5-million) joint development agreement. It also triggers a further £28-million (US$35.8-million) equity injection into Ceres Power.
The JV will target the rapidly growing Chinese market opportunity for fuel cells which addresses the decarbonization and air quality needs in the transportation and power generation markets. The bus market in China, along with the commercial vehicle and stationary power markets, create a potential multi-billion dollar market opportunity for the JV.
The strategic collaboration with Weichai includes:
A new Joint Development Agreement (JDA) for £9 million following on from the initial JDA which the parties previously signed. This accelerates development of the 30 kW SteelCell SOFC range extender system using widely available Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), with systems for 10 buses set to be developed and trialed in the next two years. Successful completion of the trials will lead to the JV formation which is anticipated to be in 2020.
Joint Venture and Technology Transfer. Upon successful completion of field trials under the JDA, Weichai and Ceres will establish a Fuel Cell Manufacturing Joint Venture in Shandong Province, China with an initial 51%:49% respective shareholding. Weichai and Ceres will fund pro rata shares of the JV in accordance with an agreed business plan. Weichai will hold three of the five board seats and Ceres will hold two with certain shareholder protection provisions in place.
The JV will manufacture SteelCell systems, stacks and fuel cells in accordance with the License Agreement after their respective technology transfers from Ceres. The Licence Agreement provides a mixture of exclusive and non-exclusive rights for the commercial vehicle, bus and certain stationary power markets in China. Ceres will be paid up to £30 million (US$38.4 million) for the staged program of Technology Transfer as well as ongoing royalties and future dividend payments.
Equity Investment. Weichai will shortly exercise its warrant at an exercise price of 164.5p per share, investing a further £28 million of equity in addition to its previous £20 million investment. This increases its shareholding in Ceres from just under 10% to 20%. This brings its total equity investment in Ceres to £48 million (US$61.4 million). The use of funds includes investment in Ceres’ core fuel cell business and manufacturing scale up in the UK as well as the initial equity investment in the JV.
In accordance with the existing Relationship Agreement, Weichai has an eighteen-month standstill from May 2018 under which it agrees not to acquire more than 20% of Ceres Power’s issued share capital and includes an eighteen month minimum holding period from December 2018 on the proposed shareholding. Weichai will also nominate a non-executive director to the Board of Ceres Power.
This is a major strategic milestone for Ceres. Establishing manufacturing capability in China with a partner as strong as Weichai will enable our SteelCell technology to benefit from the kind of economies of scale and significantly lower costs we have seen in the solar and battery industries. Weichai is one of the largest automotive and engine manufacturers in China. This agreement represents a scale-changing opportunity for Ceres.
—Ceres Power CEO Phil Caldwell
We have made a strong start to our partnership with Ceres and we are delighted to extend our relationship. We see significant commercial potential for using the SteelCell to help us develop cutting edge fuel cell power systems. We look forward to trialing the new range extender and also to developing new products for the transportation and stationary power generation markets in China.
—Tan Xuguang, Chairman and CEO of Weichai
BMW puts 70 hydrogen tugger trains into operation in Leipzig
The BMW Group Leipzig plant is commissioning 70 more hydrogen-powered tugger trains (indoor tugs). These are used in production to supply the assembly lines with supplier parts.
The BMW Group is working in a consortium including Fronius (manufacturer of fuel cell systems for forklift trucks), Linde Material Handling (goods handling specialist and manufacturer of fuel cell-powered industrial trucks), Günsel Fördertechnik (Linde MH network partner, responsible for sales and Service) as well as the TU Munich (Scientific Accompanying Research).
The consortium is supported by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and its program company, NOW GmbH. As early as 2013, in a first research project in Leipzig, BMW tested eleven hydrogen-powered tractors and forklifts in test operation and identified important fields of action for the current connection project.
The aim of the consortium is to establish a sustainable, sustainable and at the same time economically efficient drive technology in the area ofindoor logistics and to put it on a broad basis. Together with its partners, the consortium is mapping the entire value chain for hydrogen fuel cell systems for indoor logistics.
Specific emphases are on the development, testing, everyday use, economic operation and the construction of a hydrogen infrastructure. The network partners work on the identified challenges in various work packages. These include an operator concept, the standardization of interfaces, a plug & play solution for fleet conversion, the validation of service life and the proof of efficiency in fleet operation. Other focal points include the service and training concept for the operation of the hydrogen fuel cell technology.
As a result, an industry standard “H2Ready” is to be established, which broadly opens the possibility for other manufacturers to use the technology in new or retrofitted vehicles in their own production. The funding of the Federal Ministry aims to advance the technological development of climate-friendly hydrogen and fuel cell technology and make it competitive.
The Saudi Dilemma: To Cut Or Not To Cut
by Irina Slav for Oilprice.com.
To cut and push up prices or not to cut and preserve market share, this is the question that Saudi Arabia is facing ahead of this year’s December OPEC meeting. It seems like just yesterday when OPEC met in 2016 and decided to cut production by 1.8 million barrels daily, including from Russia, to reverse the free fall of oil prices. At the time, it worked because everyone was desperate. Now, many OPEC members are both desperate while not yet recovered from the 2014 blow. Saudi Arabia is not an exception.
A recent report from Capital Economics said Saudi Arabia has its problems but it could withstand lower oil prices without feeling too much of a pinch. “Even if [Brent] prices fall further to $40-$50 a barrel, immediate balance of payments strains are unlikely to emerge,” the report said, with its authors adding the Kingdom would be able to finance its trade deficit from its foreign exchange reserves “for at least a decade.”
This suggestion is not universally accepted. Reuters’ John Kemp this week offered a different perspective in his regular column on oil, noting Saudi Arabia’s foreign exchange reserves currently stand at US$500 billion, down from nearly US$750 billion in 2014 when the oil prices slumped under the weight of U.S. shale oil. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is in a major push to diversify its revenue streams and has committed a lot of money to it.
Also, Kemp wrote, “The kingdom probably needs to keep several hundred billion dollars’ worth of reserve assets on hand to maintain confidence in its fixed exchange-rate peg to the U.S. dollar and prevent a run on the currency.”
It’s a classic rock and a hard place situation for the Saudis. On the one hand, they could continue pumping at the current record rate or close to it, pressuring prices further, which is what they did in 2014. That strategy hurt U.S. shale substantially, but the attempted assault did not go quite as planned. Now, it will once again hurt U.S. shale, but again, it won’t beat the resilience of the US shale patch. That much should have become clear in the past three years.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia could start cutting, but it will need to convince all other OPEC members to join the cuts and, more importantly, Russia. Reuters earlier today reported, quoting unnamed sources, that Russia had “accepted the need to cut production” and prices immediately jumped, once again highlighting how important the Russia-Saudi Arabia cooperation has become for oil markets, if it even needs highlighting.
For now, it seems like a cut is the more likely outcome. In spite of reservations expressed by Nigeria and Libya, if Saudi Arabia managed to convince everyone to cut amid the major tensions with Iran ahead of the U.S. sanctions, then it could probably convince them again, if only on the grounds that if they don't start cutting all will suffer.
Kemp agrees. “Saudi Arabia cannot afford another slump in oil prices,” he warns. “It needs to keep revenues high to help its economy climb out of recession and finance ambitious social and economic transformation programs.”
Yet the Kingdom is preparing. Kpler reported this week loadings of Saudi crude since the start of November had reached new highs of 8.14 million bpd, which was 770,000 bpd more than the average daily loadings rate for October and much higher than the last 2018 high of 7.766 million bpd booked for June. The bulk of the increase comes from China, with shipments in that direction up by more than half a million barrels daily in November from October. Production is also at record highs, like Russia’s was ahead of the first cuts in 2016. Perhaps we are seeing a lesson learned there or perhaps the Kingdom is out of options besides cutting.
Audi to invest ~€14B in electromobility, digitalization and autonomous driving over next 5 years
Audi plans to spend approximately €14 billion (US$15.9 billion) in electric mobility, digitalization and autonomous driving from 2019 until the end of 2023.
This includes investments in property, plant and equipment as well as research and development expenditure. Overall, the company’s total projected expenditure for the planning period of the next five years amounts to about €40 billion.
This planning round bears a clear signature: We are taking a very systematic approach to electric mobility and will be much more focused in future. We are consistently prioritizing our resources for future-oriented products and services that are highly attractive and relevant to the market. With models such as the recently presented Audi e-tron GT concept [earlier post], we want to electrify people again for Audi and at the same time be an agile and very efficient company.”
—Bram Schot, temporary Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG
e-tron GT concept
Starting with the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, the company will launch numerous electric cars in the coming years. By 2025, Audi will offer approximately 20 electrified models, about half of which will have all-electric drive systems. At the same time, Audi is pushing forward with the digitalization of its automobiles and plants, and is expanding its business model with new digital services such as “functions on demand”.
The share of total expenditure for future topics will increase significantly over the planning period. Particularly in the second half of the planning horizon, the approved advance expenditure also reflects the scaling-up of electric mobility on the basis of cross-brand architectures with high Group synergies.
To this end, Audi is working with Porsche to develop the “premium architecture electrification (PPE)” for large electric cars, while the “modular electric drive kit (MEB)” is being realized together with Volkswagen.
In order to finance its course for the future from its own resources, the company is systematically rolling out the Audi Transformation Plan. With this program, Audi will already generate positive earnings effects of more than €1 billion in 2018, counteracting the financial burden from high advance expenditure.
In addition to transferring resources to areas of the future, the Audi Transformation Plan is primarily aimed at reducing complexity, systematically utilizing synergies, and identifying and discontinuing activities that are no longer relevant to customers.
SK Innovation to build $1.67B EV battery manufacturing plant in Georgia
South Korea-based SK Innovation, a developer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, will invest $1.67 billion to build a new electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plant in Georgia.
SK innovation is fitted with the entire value chain for mid/large-sized battery production from electrodes and separators to battery cells and packs. SK Innovation has applied high energy density ternary materials to lithium-ion batteries for mass production. Based on these technological capabilities, SK innovation has signed supply contracts with major automakers including Hyundai Motor Group, BAIC Group and Daimler AG.
SK Innovation, which is part of SK Group, says that it is making the investment in Georgia to better compete in the growing global EV battery market. The company says that the new investment will provide opportunities for it to bring its products to additional automakers in the United States.
The new plant will be located in Jackson County, Georgia. Construction will occur in two phases, beginning in early 2019. The first phase will invest approximately $1 billion and employ more than 1,000 advanced manufacturing employees, making it the largest scale electric vehicle battery plant in the United States. SK Innovation leadership worked closely with federal, state and local officials to finalize the investment.
SK Group has been building relationships within the United States for decades. It already has significant investments in the US and currently employs nearly 2,000 US workers across 10 states.
Established as South Korea’s first oil refining company in 1962, SK Innovation engages in diverse areas of business, including exploration and production (E&P), batteries, and information and electronics materials. It owns SK Energy, South Korea’s Nº 1 refining company; SK Global Chemical, the leader in the domestic petrochemical industry; SK Lubricants, a global lubricants company; SK Incheon Petrochem, a refining and chemical company; and SK Trading International, a trader of crude oils and petrochemicals.
Lockheed Martin invests $4M in Forge Hydrocarbons; lipid to hydrocarbons technology
Canada-based Forge Hydrocarbons Corporation, a spin-off from the University of Alberta (earlier post), has received a US$4-million from Lockheed Martin under the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy. This investment enables Forge, a Canadian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) to further development of its Lipid-to-Hydrocarbon (LTH) technology and to construct a first-of-kind, commercial plant with a production capacity of approximately 19 million liters per year (ML/y) (~5 million gallons US).
Forge’s technology heats waste lipids such as cooking oil, animal renderings and crop seed oil with water at a high temperature, creating fatty acids and glycerol. The glycerol is removed and the fatty acids are heated at more than 400 ˚C until the oxygen within is released. This turns the acids into hydrocarbons that are separated into various fuels, including gasoline and diesel.
Forge’s LTH proprietary production technology produces drop-in, renewable fuels that are indistinguishable from petroleum-based fuels and that are directly compatible with the current petroleum-based fuel infrastructure. Forge’s LTH technology reduces green house gas emissions by over 70% compared to petroleum-based fuels.
Lockheed Martin’s investment is in direct support of its Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) obligations associated with Canada’s purchase of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2010. Lockheed Martin also delivers continued In-Service Support for the CC-130J fleet.
The LTH process emerged from decades of high-temperature chemistry research and was invented by Dr. David Bressler, a Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta.
Early research and the construction of the first pilot facility was supported through grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Province of Alberta, MITACS and Alberta Innovates as well as large investments by the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and Western Economic Diversification Canada. The SOMBRA LTH Facility is being supported by a $4.2-million contribution by Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
With Lockheed Martin’s investment, Forge has begun final engineering design and site preparation for the first LTH plant to be built in Sombra Ontario. Forge expects to break-ground on this first LTH plant in 2018. This project funding will also contribute to the continuation of research and development, at the University of Alberta and Forge’s pilot facility in Edmonton, Alberta, to increase the efficiency of the technology and to broaden the scope of the application to a wider range of feed stocks that can be transformed into a broader range of renewable fuels.
Rolls-Royce and Finferries demonstrate world’s first fully autonomous ferry
Rolls-Royce and Finnish state-owned ferry operator Finferries have demonstrated the world’s first fully autonomous ferry in the archipelago south of the city of Turku, Finland.
The car ferry Falco used a combination of Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence technologies successfully to navigate autonomously during its voyage between Parainen and Nauvo. The return journey was conducted under remote control.
During the demonstration, the Falco, with 80 invited VIP guests aboard, conducted the voyage under fully autonomous control. The vessel detected objects utilizing sensor fusion and artificial intelligence and conducted collision avoidance. It also demonstrated automatic berthing with a recently developed autonomous navigation system. All this was achieved without any human intervention from the crew.
The Falco is equipped with a range of advanced sensors which allows it to build a detailed picture of its surroundings in real time.
The situational awareness picture is created by fusing sensor data, which is relayed to Finferries’ remote operating center on land, some 50 kilometers away in Turku city center. Here, a captain monitors the autonomous operations, and can take control of the vessel if necessary.
During the autonomous operation tests in Turku archipelago, Rolls-Royce has so far clocked close to 400 hours of sea trials. The Rolls-Royce Autodocking system is among the technologies that have been successfully tested. This feature enables the vessel to automatically alter course and speed when approaching the quay and carry out automatic docking without human intervention. During the sea trials, the collision avoidance solution has also been tested in various conditions for several hours of operation.
Earlier this year Rolls-Royce and Finferries began collaborating on a new research project called SVAN (Safer Vessel with Autonomous Navigation), to continue implementing the findings from the earlier Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) research project, funded by Business Finland.
The Falco is a 53.8 meter double-ended car ferry, which entered service with Finferries in 1993. It is equipped with twin azimuth thrusters from Rolls-Royce.
SiNode and JNC partner to form NanoGraf to improve battery energy density by 50%; Si-graphene composit anode materials
SiNode Systems, a Chicago-based advanced materials company developing silicon-graphene materials for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries (earlier post), and JNC Corporation, a Tokyo-based specialty chemical manufacturer, have formed NanoGraf Corporation—a joint venture focused on commercializing asvanced materials for the Lithium-ion battery industry—with a $4.5-million investment. SiNode is now remaned NanoGraf.
NanoGraf’s technology enhances the performance of battery materials via a proprietary graphene-wrapped silicon anode originally invented at Northwestern University. The proprietary combination of silicon-based alloys and a flexible 3D graphene network helps stabilize the active material during charge and discharge. NanoGraf materials enhance battery energy and power density by up to 50% and offer best-in-class cycle life.
NanoGraf material can be customized to achieve capacities between 1000 mAh/g and more than 2500 mAh/g, delivering higher cell level energy density and best-in-class rate capabilities for high discharge applications.
Rather than using vapor deposition-based systems, Nanograf utilizes a wet chemistry process that is highly scalable and already proven in a pilot manufacturing line in Japan. The anode materials drop in to existing electrode mixing and coating equipment, and they have been validated in large-scale battery manufacturing facilities worldwide.
NanoGraf will use the new funding to expand commercial production of its silicon-graphene composite anode materials and to continue development of additional materials platforms. Via the novel partnership agreement, NanoGraf will gain production facilities in Japan, expanded distribution channels worldwide, over 50 patents, and two research facilities.
Our new company, NanoGraf Corporation, embodies our vision to create materials solutions that will change the battery industry. Thanks to our partnership with JNC Corporation, we are well-positioned for accelerated growth as we commercialize our graphene-wrapping technology for a range of applications, from consumer electronics to electric vehicles. With our new ton-scale facility we can deliver larger volumes of material to our growing customer base.
—Samir Mayekar, NanoGraf co-founder and CEO
NZ study shows cycle lanes and walkways cut car use, reduce emissions
Researchers in New Zealand have shown that investing in cycle lanes and walkways encourages people to drive less and cuts carbon emissions. The researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington and Victoria University studied the impact of new cycling and walking paths built in New Plymouth and Hastings in 2011.
In the three years after the development of the new infrastructure, they found there was a reduction of 1.6% in vehicle kilometers travelled and an associated 1% drop in carbon emissions.
It is the first study internationally to demonstrate that investing in cycle paths and walkways leads to a reduction in emissions.
Co-author Dr Caroline Shaw, a senior lecturer at the University of Otago, Wellington’s Department of Public Health, says the one percent reduction in carbon emissions is likely to be a conservative estimate, as shorter car trips—those most likely to be replaced by walking or cycling—typically had higher per kilometer emissions.
If the same level of investment was made across the country, it could reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by at least 0.23 million tonnes over three years, the researchers say.
Building new cycle paths and walkways also appeared to reduce car ownership in the two cities. New Zealand has a high rate of light vehicles per capita, with 77 cars per 100 people, second only to the United States.
The researchers used a variety of methods to collect information on car usage, conducting face-to-face interviews with householders, analyzing odometer readings from licensing data and reviewing details on car ownership from the New Zealand Household Travel Survey.
The data from New Plymouth and Hastings were compared with information from Whanganui and Masterton—two cities which received no additional government funding for cycle ways or walking paths.
Dr Shaw says the research clearly demonstrates that people are prepared to substitute cycling and walking for car journeys.
Oerlikon Graziano to show H-RAM modular hybrid rear axle for P3 and P4 applications
Leading gear and drive solutions provider Oerlikon Graziano, together with Vocis, will show its latest hybrid and electric technologies at the forthcoming CTI Symposium 2018 in Berlin. Heading the product line-up will be H-RAM, the company’s hybrid rear axle module, which will also be detailed in a technical presentation.
H-RAM is a compact and highly integrated design that can be configured as a P3 motor arrangement or a stand-alone P4 electric axle. It combines the propshaft input from a conventional powertrain with an electric motor connected through a two-speed planetary drive and incorporates the final drive and differential which may be open, or featuring a mechanical or electronically controlled LSD.
In the P3 arrangement, tests by Oerlikon Graziano have shown efficiency gains of up to 8% compared to a P2 architecture, when running the WLTP cycle in EV mode.
The compact size of H-RAM enables OEMs to package a complete hybrid system within the subframe of the rear axle without modification of the standard ICE powertrain, a considerable advantage for vehicle platforms that are shared between hybrid and non-hybrid models.
The P3 configuration with planetary gearing enables efficient running in pure EV mode and the capability of very strong e-Boost at low speeds in a high gear, enhancing the performance feel of the vehicle.
The descriptive technical presentation traces the evolution of H-RAM, based on experience from OGeco, the company’s electrified high performance DHT solution, then explains the technical details and specification of the unit, including performance data, and outlines current development status.
The first application of the unit is in a high-performance vehicle with peak wheel torque of 12,000 N·m in hybrid mode and a potential maximum speed in E-mode of more than 300 km/h (186 mph).
In addition to H-RAM and OGeco, Oerlikon Drive Systems will display its EMR3 single-speed transmission for battery electric vehicles, its 4SED 4-Speed, twin-motor, electric drive and modular transmissions for 48V and high voltage hybrid applications.
JRC: e-vehicle market in Europe is slowly gaining momentum, but breakthrough is needed
A new European Joint Research Center (JRC) analysis on the deployment of electric vehicles (EV) in Europe concludes that although the sector evolved significantly between 2010 and 2017, progress is still small to be characterized as full-scale commercialization.
In 2010, electric vehicles still represented a niche market. Since then, the brands offering EV models have increased, and European consumers now have a wide choice of electric vehicle models which cover all car types.
Evolution of M1 category registrations of BEV and PHEV in Europe between 2010 and 2017
Although still small compared to conventional passenger cars, the e-vehicle market share has increased steadily in Europe, with some countries witnessing impressive growth.
Market share of M1 EV in Europe between 2010 and 2017
In 2017, almost 300,000 electric passenger cars were registered in Europe, against around 1,400 in 2010. The highest numbers were registered in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the UK.
In Europe, the e-vehicle market is almost equally divided between battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars.
Place for improvement in the electric bus sector. Electric buses offer an environmentally friendly transport alternative, especially in cities. However, the urban bus sector in Europe has yet to experience a full transition to e-mobility.
A European Commission study from 2017 estimated the global electric bus stock to count 173,000 buses, with 98% of the global stock being situated in China.
Between 2010 and 2017, the highest numbers of electric buses in Europe were registered in the United Kingdom (~200), the Netherlands (~175), Belgium (~140), Germany (~90) and Austria (~75).
Recharging infrastructure improving unevenly in different parts of Europe. The availability and development of EV recharging infrastructure is another important factor contributing to the development of e-mobility.
In general terms, the recharging infrastructure has improved in Europe. More charging points are now available and technological advances have made the recharging faster.
However, the situation is very different from one Member State to another. The Netherlands, Germany, France and UK have the highest number of charging points, ranging from around 140,000 in the UK to around 325,000 in the Netherlands. All other European countries have less than 5,000 charging points.
Barriers to mass market uptake. Despite the increasing numbers in market penetration, barriers to mass market uptake of e-vehicles still seem to exist, the report says.
In some countries the lack of publicly accessible recharging points may have already led to lower consumer confidence in the viability of EVs. Consumers also tend to be worried about the cost of electric vehicles, issues linked to the driving range and high maintenance costs.
The JRC report points out that some barriers could be linked to consumers’ misconceptions about e-vehicles. One common misconception is that e-vehicles are slower or provide an inferior driving experience compared to traditional cars. The report also emphasizes that with the evolution of the market and technology, e-vehicles are becoming cheaper, better performing and even faster than expected.
Recommendations for a way forward. Support policies remain important to help the transition to low emission mobility, and incentives can play a catalytic role in EV deployment at this stage.
At the moment, support measures stimulating EV demand are not harmonized in the EU Member States. This has led to market fragmentation both in terms of the number of EVs on the road and the availability of publicly accessible recharging infrastructure.
The JRC report recommends that support measures are harmonized to promote the use of e-vehicles as well as the development of accessible recharging infrastructures.
Measures supporting interoperability and targeted infrastructure investments are also necessary.
Finally, policies targeting consumer behavior and raising awareness of low emission mobility can play a major role in the transition towards a near zero emission mobility.
BMW Group increasing use of digitalization and Industry 4.0 in production logistics
The BMW Group is increasingly relying on innovations from the fields of digitalization and Industry 4.0 in production logistics. The focus is on applications such as logistics robots, autonomous transport systems at plants and digitalization projects for an end-to-end supply chain.
Staff can control logistics processes from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and use virtual reality applications to plan future logistics. Innovations coming out of many pilot projects are being implemented worldwide in logistics at BMW Group plants.
Logistics is the heart of our production system. Our broad spectrum of ground-breaking projects helps us run increasingly complex logistics processes efficiently and transparently. We are taking advantage of the wide range of available technological innovations and working closely with universities and start-ups. We are already working with tomorrow’s Industry 4.0 technologies today.
—Jürgen Maidl, head of Logistics for the BMW Group production network
Around 1,800 suppliers at more than 4,000 locations deliver more than 31 million parts to the 30 BMW Group production sites worldwide every day. Digitalization and innovations help the company organise logistics more flexibly and more efficiently. At the same time, almost 10,000 vehicles coming off the production line daily must be delivered to customers around the globe. Digitally connected delivery—Connected Distribution—ensures that these transport routes are also more transparent.
Connected supply chain. The BMW Group supply chain relies on a global supply network and close cooperation with numerous logistics service providers. The Connected Supply Chain (CSC) program significantly increases supply chain transparency. It updates the plants’ material controllers and logistics specialists on the goods’ location and delivery time every 15 minutes. This transparency enables them to respond immediately if delays appear likely and take appropriate steps early to avoid costly extra runs.
Autonomous transport systems. Autonomous transport systems such as tugger trains or Smart Transport Robots are increasingly used to transport goods within production halls.
Smart Transport Robot at BMW Group Plant Regensburg
To allow tugger trains to now also be used for the sophisticated process of supplying assembly lines, as part of a pilot project, BMW Group Plant Dingolfing has developed an automation kit, which enables conventional tugger trains of any brand already on hand to be upgraded to autonomous tugger trains. The capabilities of these driverless tugger trains go beyond automation of earlier solutions.
Another future technology is also being piloted alongside autonomous tugger trains at the Dingolfing plant. A Smart Watch supports logistics staff during the container change process and announces approaching tugger trains via a vibration alarm. The employee can also read which containers should be unloaded and send the tugger train on to its next destination by tapping the display.
The BMW Group is also pioneering the use of autonomous transport systems outdoors. As part of a pilot project, the BMW Group is using an autonomous outdoor transport robot for the first time at its Leipzig plant to bring truck trailers from where they are parked to the unloading and loading bay on their own.
A mobile platform drives underneath the trailer, connects it and steers it through the plant. The AutoTrailer, with a payload of up to 30 tons, navigates by laser, without additional guidelines or markings, through the plant’s outdoor areas. Sensors and cameras provide a 360° all-round view, which forms the basis of the safety concept.
The huge potential of this transport system is particularly evident at the BMW Group’s largest plant in Spartanburg, where about 1,200 of these trailer-shunting maneuvers take place every day.
In 2015, the BMW Group joined forces with the Fraunhofer Institute IML to develop the first self-driving Smart Transport Robots (STR) for transporting roll containers through logistics areas within production halls. The second generation is now in operation at BMW Group Plant Regensburg.
The flat robots carry roll containers weighing up to one ton and transport them
autonomously to where the goods need to be. They calculate the ideal route independently and move freely through space. A built-in battery module from the BMW i3 powers the STR for a whole work shift.
Loading and unloading of goods containers. After delivery to the plant, the goods are transported to the assembly line in containers and parts containers of various sizes. For the tiring job of reloading containers from pallets onto conveyor belts or into storage, employees will be assisted in the future by logistics robots specially developed for this purpose. Four different types of robots, referred to as “Bots” by logistics experts, are currently being tested or have already been integrated into series production.
Logistics robot “PickBot”
The lightweight robots take on different jobs: they can take full plastic boxes from the pallet in the incoming goods area and place them on a conveyor system, they do unload tugger trains and place boxes loaded with goods on a shelf, they collect various small parts from appropriate supply racks and they stack empty containers on pallets before they re-enter circulation.
Using artificial intelligence, the robots can detect and process various different containers and determine the ideal grip point.
Smart devices support logistics staff. Gloves with integrated scanners and displays, data glasses and smart watches are increasingly used to support logistics employees. The transition to paperless logistics, with digitally labelled containers and shelves, opens up new areas of application for mobile devices. Glove scanners read the electronic label and indicate the exact contents of the small load carrier on a small display that can be worn on the arm.
Virtual reality and artificial intelligence. The use of virtual reality already plays an important role in planning logistics spaces. In a virtual environment, planners can quickly and efficiently lay out future logistics areas completely and assess how much space is needed, for instance. Planning is based on 3D data representing the real structures of a logistics hall.
For the past several years, the BMW Group has been capturing its plants in digital form with millimeter accuracy, using special 3D scanners and high-resolution cameras. This creates a three-dimensional image of the structures, so that manual recording on site is no longer needed. When planning future logistics areas, BMW Group experts can now combine existing data with a virtual “library” of shelves, lattice boxes, small load carriers and around 50 other widely-used operating resources.
Connected distribution. Like delivery of parts to plants, the transport of vehicles to the dealership is now also digitally and transparently traceable. The former Connected Distribution pilot project was fully integrated into series production this year. The system uses the same IT built into BMW Group vehicles to track the location of finished vehicles once they are ready to leave the plant. The vehicle transmits its current geolocation and status to the logistics center via a mobile connection every time it is switched off.
Natural gas, electric and hydrogen trucks. More than 60% of all new vehicles now leave production plants by rail. Nevertheless, it is still necessary to use trucks on certain in- and out-bound logistics routes. To reduce emissions from these truck journeys, the BMW Group is already using natural gas and electric trucks in cooperation with logistics service providers. The aim is to reduce truck emissions by 40% by 2030 and to be completely emission-free by 2050.
Electric truck for inbound logistics.
Ford extends Transit Plug-In Hybrid Van trial to Cologne
Ford will begin commercial trials of the plug-in hybrid Transit Van in Cologne, Germany. This will extend to a third European city research into the use of plug-in hybrid electric vans that run solely on electric power for most city trips.
From spring 2019, Ford, supported by the City of Cologne, will operate a fleet of 10 Ford Transit Custom PHEVs with regional companies in the city to investigate the extent to which PHEVs can help to achieve urban air quality goals.
Funded by Ford, the trial will initially run for 12 months, in cooperation with municipal fleets serving the public sector, complementing testing in London, UK and Valencia, Spain with larger fleets and small-to-medium fleets respectively.
Ford recognizes Cologne as a city of strategic importance regarding future mobility. Together with the City of Cologne, we will start to investigate how we might in future look forward to urban areas that offer better air quality and can also be more productive.
—Gunnar Herrmann, chairman of the management board, Ford of Germany
Ford announced the new trial at its “City of Tomorrow” symposium, in Cologne, which brought together thought leaders from the private and public sector, including urban planners, political decision makers and mobility experts, to discuss a common vision of the future of urban mobility.
Two Transit Custom PHEV commercial vehicles each will be operated by the following regional companies: AWB Abfallwirtschaftsbetriebe Köln (waste management), Cologne Bonn Airport, Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln (harbour and freight traffic), Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe (public transport association) and RheinEnergie (regional energy company).
The Transit Custom PHEV has an advanced series hybrid system that targets a zero-emission range exceeding 50 kilometers (31 miles). This makes it suited for the use in city traffic. The range extender powertrain features the multi-award winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine that charges the on-board compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack as required to offer a total range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles).
The batteries have a storage capacity of 14 kWh and the installation of the battery pack under the load floor preserves the full cargo volume of the standard van. The front bumper offers a connection facility to fully charge the battery within three hours via a 240-volt power supply with 16 or 32 amperes.
All partners will use an already existing charging infrastructure and vehicles are equipped with telematics and geofencing systems that help to ensure that they are emission-free within pre‑determined low emission zones.
Ford is the Nº 1 selling commercial vehicle brand in Europe, and last month Ford commercial vehicle sales in its European 20 markets hit their highest October level since 1993. At the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover, in Germany, in September, Ford showcased a production version of the Transit Custom PHEV that is due to go on sale in the second half of 2019.
Ford plans the introduction of another 40 electrified models, including 16 all‑electric vehicles through 2022.
ULEMCo and Revolve demonstrate 45% thermal efficiency for 100% hydrogen engine
ULEMCo and its R&D partner Revolve Technologies have demonstrated thermal efficiencies of 45% in engine control strategies for a 100% hydrogen-fueled engine being developed for the Mega Low Emissions (MLE) truck demonstrator unveiled earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The 100% hydrogen engine runs stably at air/fuel ratios in excess of 300:1.
This milestone performance shows that it is possible to go well beyond previously reported energy efficiency results for hydrogen combustion, at the same time as achieving immeasurable NOx levels, according to ULEMCo. The company says that the results point to the realistic prospect of zero emission trucks running on 100% hydrogen in the relatively short term.
ULEMCO’s approach of adapting existing diesel engine designs to run on hydrogen-diesel dual fuel has provided substantial learning on the opportunity for zero-emission engines. This ultimately provides routes to the much quicker adoption of hydrogen in heavy duty applications than alternative approaches, which are still many years away from cost effective commercial availability, the company suggests.
A recent report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)-sponsored Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on the future role of hydrogen in a low carbon economy referred to hydrogen in vehicles as potentially playing an important role for heavy-duty vehicles (e.g. buses, trains and lorries).
Similar conclusions were reached for longer-range journeys in lighter vehicles, where the need to store and carry large amounts of energy is greater.
The report acknowledges that although overall well-to-wheel efficiencies are less for hydrogen than for battery EV, the latter’s negative impact on payload means that according to the report he aim should therefore be to move HGVs to zero-carbon energy (i.e. electricity and/or hydrogen) where feasible by 2050.
As a hydrogen vehicle can be refueled quickly, fleet operators can also plan for similar numbers of vehicles to their current operation, rather than needing to increase fleet size to cover lengthy charging times for EVs.
These excellent results represent engine efficiency levels very similar to those seen with some fuel cell technologies. Combining these results with our knowledge of how to ensure that the engine can operate over a wide performance curve—and with industrial grade hydrogen—gives us confidence in this approach. Vehicle operators, particularly in heavy duty applications, will have a truly cost effective option for very low carbon and zero emission driving in the future.
—Amanda Lyne, Managing Director at ULEMCo
Ecolectro secures $1.7M ARPA-E award for development of alkaline exchange membranes and ionomers for fuel cells and electrolyzers
Ecolectro Inc., a developer of low-cost, high-performance polymers for electrochemical applications, announced its selection by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for an award that will support the continued development of its alkaline exchange ionomers and membranes. These alkaline exchange materials are used to fabricate membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) in hydrogen fuel cells and in electrolyzers used for hydrogen production.
Alkaline fuel cells (AFCs) that are assembled with alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) have several significant advantages in comparison to state-of-the-art proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). (1) Increased pH in AFCs accelerates the rate of the oxygen reduction reaction, which lowers fuel cell cost if non-platinum electrode catalysts are used. (2) Oxidation of direct alcohol fuels (e.g., methanol and ethanol) is also significantly faster in AFCs. (3) Perfluorinated polymers (i.e., Nafion) for PEMFCs not only are expensive but also hamper the recycling of Pt.
Hundreds of AAEMs have been prepared over the past decades for the development of AFCs as well as other applications, including high purity H2 production from water electrolysis, redox flow batteries, and gas separation. However, widespread applications of AAEMs have not been achieved yet because most AAEMs degrade rapidly under the standard operating conditions (e.g., high pH and high temperature).
—You et al.
Ecolectro’s polymers do not require high-cost platinum group metals, a feature that significantly lowers the cost of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers. The membranes have unmatched chemical stability, high conductivity and are mechanically robust and provide a simple and durable route to clean renewable electricity and hydrogen production.
Ecolectro says that customers using this technology can manufacture fuel cells and electrolyzers with half the cost and double the durability of current state-of-the-art systems.
Tetrakis is Ecolectro’s flagship anion exchange membrane (AEM). The defining feature includes an exceptionally stable phosphonium cation appended to a hydrocarbon-based polymer backbone.
Internal studies have shown no chemical degradation for more than 120 days of accelerated alkaline testing conditions. Moreover, the hydroxide ionic conductivity is 22 mS/cm at room temperature, providing enough conductivity for commercial fuel cell and electrolysis systems.
The hydrocarbon-based polymer backbone provides excellent mechanical properties allowing the casting of strong and thin membranes necessary for high-performance operation. In addition, the hydrocarbon backbone allows for recycling of the electrocatalyst material at the end of component life.
Ecolectro will be partnering with Proton OnSite and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for this project.
We are pleased that ARPA-E and Department of Energy recognizes the value of our breakthrough technology. Their significant investment affirms our product development and corporate growth strategy.
—Dr. Kristina M. Hugar, CSO of Ecolectro and Principal Investigator on the project
Ecolectro is a client company of the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences at Cornell University and received support from the National Science Foundation and NYSERDA.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will be supporting part of the project, as part of its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARPA-E to work together to stimulate development of high-potential, high-impact clean energy technologies in New York State.
Wei You, Kristina M. Hugar, and Geoffrey W. Coates (2018) “Synthesis of Alkaline Anion Exchange Membranes with Chemically Stable Imidazolium Cations: Unexpected Cross-Linked Macrocycles from Ring-Fused ROMP Monomers” Macromolecules 51 (8), 3212-3218 doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b00209
Cadillac introduces new CT6 flagship sedan with Tripower system in China
Cadillac has launched its new CT6 flagship in China at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing. It offers the newest iteration of Cadillac’s design language featured on the Escala concept.
The new-generation CT6 has adopted an all-new powertrain, with innovative technologies that are being applied in China for the first time. The all-new 2.0L turbocharged engine—one of GM’s eighth-generation Ecotec engines—is based on an optimized single-cylinder architecture design and integrates highly intelligent electrically enabled technology. The result is high efficiency, low emissions and low fuel consumption to meet China’s National VI-B emissions standard.
The engine’s Tripower system adopts three-step sliding camshafts to enable shifting between three distinct operating modes—four-cylinder performance mode; four-cylinder eco mode; and two-cylinder super-eco mode—in accordance with output requirements.
Working together with advanced technology such as an active thermal management (ATM) system and a 35 Mpa (350 bar) high-pressure direct injection system, it enables the engine to enhance torque at lower speeds and produce 350 N·m of peak torque between 1,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm, as well as 177 kW of maximum power.
The new-generation CT6 comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission for smooth and refined power delivery, making it a pioneer in its class. The transmission integrates compact planetary gears and a lighter, thinner hydraulic torque converter. It has a lightweight and compact design plus a wide 7.39:1 overall ratio.
The application of low-viscosity fluid, fluid preheater technology and an optimized gear assembly design reduces friction and mechanical loss, significantly improving fuel economy. Combined fuel consumption of the new-generation CT6 has improved by more than 10% from the previous generation to 7.1 liters/100 km (33 mpg US).
Smart Technology. The new-generation CT6 comes with the latest Cadillac user experience (CUE) and innovative cloud-based connectivity. It supports over-the-air (OTA) updates of the OnStar module and infotainment system.
OnStar integrates 22 exclusive services in seven categories, including Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Vehicle Diagnostics, Navigation Service, Security Service and Hands-Free Calling. Owners are eligible for 24 gigabytes of free long-life data traffic annually.
Original on-board 4G LTE Wi-Fi (Car-Fi) enables real-time connection between the new-generation CT6 and the outside world by sharing the latest information with users. The more accurate hybrid speech recognition function includes a new voice control function for the front-seat passenger. It responds quickly to voice commands from all of those sitting in front, such as requesting streaming music or seeking information about weather and stocks.
Cloud synchronization service connects with NetEase Cloud Music and Amap. Supported by Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife, users can get synchronously updated information with their smartphones connected to the car-mounted display. The Cadillac App Store is continuously enriching its products to offer a more convenient, intelligent and user-friendly connectivity experience.
Enhanced Stability and Safety. Crafted with world-class technology and 11 composite materials, the new model’s lightweight body has best-in-class torsional rigidity. It adds to the precise drivability, better stability and enhanced crashworthiness.
The new E-boost system delivers faster and more efficient brake performance. Underpinned by specifications such as Active Rear-Wheel Steering (ARS), the Brembo customized brake system and a high-strength premium suspension, the new-generation CT6 provides precise and confident handling not to mention stable driving when speeding up to pass, making abrupt turns or tackling winding roads.
The Enhanced Security Strategy (ESS) II incorporates forward/rear-end collision warning systems and the preventive braking system, Lane Keep Assist (LKA), the panoramic radar surveillance system/lane change assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and the APA 360-degree full-mode intelligent automatic parking system. A set of intelligent vision assistance systems are also available, including a second-generation HD streaming rearview mirror, an intelligent infrared night vision system, 360-degree parking monitoring safety protection and an ingenious security recorder.
Cadillac has been growing its presence across China in recent years, with retail sales exceeding 100,000 units in 2016 and 170,000 units in 2017. This year, Cadillac expects deliveries to reach a record of 200,000 units, backed by new and updated models including the new-generation CT6 and new XT4 compact luxury SUV.
EPA finalizes RFS volumes for 2019 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, and biomass-based diesel for 2020.
The key elements of the action are:
“Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, will be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019.
Advanced biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by 630 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
Cellulosic biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by almost 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
Biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the standard for 2019.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy.
Reaction from the various stakeholders was mixed, with concerns generally expressed about small refinery waivers. Under the RFS program, a small refinery may be granted a temporary exemption from its annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) if it can demonstrate that compliance with the RVOs would cause the refinery to suffer disproportionate economic hardship.
The RFS regulations define a small refinery as one with an average crude oil input no greater than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude in 2006. Additionally, the small refinery may not have an average aggregate daily crude oil throughput greater than 75,000 bpd in the most recent full calendar year prior to submitting a petition, and cannot be projected to exceed the 75,000 bpd threshold in the year or years for which it is seeking an exemption.
Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, said:
We congratulate EPA for finalizing the rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard’s 2019 volumes and Biomass-Based Diesel Volumes for 2020 on time and applaud the agency for increasing advanced and cellulosic biofuel volumes from 2018.
BIO is disappointed, however, that EPA missed this opportunity to reallocate gallons displaced from small refinery waivers, issued at the behest of the petroleum industry. From now on, EPA must take steps to ensure small refinery waivers are issued in accordance with the law, which states only in cases of disproportionate economic hardship. EPA also needs to approve new biofuel pathways and facility registrations to allow volumes of advanced and cellulosic biofuels to grow.
Iowa Corn Growers Association President Curt Mether said:
“While we’re pleased to see the EPA finalize numbers at the statutory target for corn-based ethanol, Iowa’s corn farmers want the EPA to stop granting unnecessary waivers to obligated parties and not to include those waivers in its formula for determining annual volumes as required under the RFS. This intentional omission effectively cuts ethanol demand and works against the goals of the RFS program to the detriment of motorists, our environment, and Iowa’s corn farmers.
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said:
We are pleased to see the 2019 RVO numbers released on time and that they hold strong promise, with a 15-billion-gallon commitment to starch ethanol and 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. But the latest EPA rule is also a missed opportunity to correctly account for billions of gallons of ethanol lost to refinery exemptions. Until these are addressed properly, we’re still taking two steps back for every step forward. The current Acting EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, has a valuable opportunity to chart a new course for biofuels and rural America. To reverse the damage done by his predecessor, the EPA must follow the law and reallocate lost gallons, ensuring the ethanol targets set by Congress are actually met.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) criticized the ruling, saying that EPA is setting the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes lower than what the agency acknowledges will be produced. Moreover, NBB said, the rule leaves open a backdoor to retroactively reduce required volumes through hardship exemptions.
EPA recognizes that the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry is producing fuel well above the annual volumes. The industry regularly fills 90 percent of the annual advanced biofuel requirement. Nevertheless, the agency continues to use its maximum waiver authority to set advanced biofuel requirements below attainable levels. The method is inconsistent with the RFS program’s purpose, which is to drive growth in production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel.
—NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen
In the final rule, EPA states that it has not received small refinery exemption petitions for 2019 and therefore estimates zero gallons of exempted fuel in its RVO formula. The agency has estimated zero gallons every year since 2015, even though it retroactively exempted more than 24.5 billion gallons of fuel between 2015 and 2017. The agency’s own data shows that the retroactive small refinery exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons in 2018.
Volkswagen testing R33 BlueDiesel; up to 33% renewable content; now in permanent use in Wolfsburg
Volkswagen has been testing the newly developed R33 BlueDiesel fuel blend at its in-house filling station in Wolfsburg since January 2018. The fuel, jointly developed by Volkswagen, the Coburg University and other project partners, contains up to 33% renewable components based exclusively on residual and waste materials and enables CO2 savings of at least 20% compared to conventional diesel thanks to the use of biofuels.
Volkswagen employees tested the new fuel initially. Over a period of nine months, they filled up company vehicles with R33 BlueDiesel only.
The current supplier since January 2018 is Shell Global Solutions in cooperation with Tecosol and Neste, who supply fuels certified according to European standards.
Drop-in renewable fuel leader Neste began testing its Diesel D33 blend—26% NExBTL renewable diesel, 7% conventional biodiesel (FAME) produced from used cooking oil, and 67% fossil diesel—in Germany in 2013, including a demonstration project involving 280 vehicles—including buses, cars, and trucks—in Coburg in Bavaria aimed at commercializing the fuel.
R33 BlueDiesel complies with the diesel standard DIN EN 590 and fulfills all criteria for use as a standard fuel without having to meet further requirements. This fuel is of particular interest to Volkswagen’s major and fleet customers whose diesel vehicles cover many kilometers a year as its use helps to achieve climate protection goals.
Following the successful test phase, R33 BlueDiesel is now being used permanently at Volkswagen’s filling stations in Wolfsburg, and a test operation has also been started at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter. This summer, it was also introduced at other project partners such as Robert Bosch GmbH. Introduction at further locations is planned.
The response to R33 BlueDiesel is very encouraging for Volkswagen and its project partners. R33 BlueDiesel is particularly suitable for companies that rely on diesel vehicles due to their long fuel ranges and still want to achieve their environmental goals. We are preparing for a significant increase in demand for liquid fuels from residual materials and for advanced biofuels in the medium term. I hope that public filling stations will also be offering R33 as “Green Premium” in the near future.
—Volkswagen project manager Prof. Thomas Garbe
Study infers causal relationship between breast cancer and high exposure to traffic air pollution
A team at the University of Stirling in the UK has found new evidence of the link between air pollution and cancer as part of a new occupational health study. The team analyzed the case of a woman who developed breast cancer after spending 20 years working as a border guard at the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.
The woman was one of at least five other border guards who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other; at another nearby crossing, a cluster of seven other cases was noted.
Dr Michael Gilbertson, who worked with colleague Dr Jim Brophy, said their findings “infer a causal relationship” between breast cancer and very high exposures to traffic-related air pollution containing mammary carcinogens. A link between nightshift work and cancer was also identified.
This new research indicates the role of traffic-related air pollution in contributing to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the general population. With this new knowledge, industry and government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures to traffic-related air pollution and for scheduling shift work to minimise disruption of sleep patterns.
Drs Gilbertson and Brophy focused on the worker compensation case of the woman, who was employed by the Canada Border Services Agency for two decades at the Ambassador Bridge, which crosses the Detroit River between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.
The bridge—the busiest commercial border crossing in North America—carries 12,000 trucks and 15,000 cars each day.
The woman—one of at least five colleagues who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other—was diagnosed with her first bout of breast cancer at the age of 44 and second at 51. Notably, another cluster of seven cancer cases occurred at a second crossing point, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which lies four miles from the bridge.
The cluster of cases in staff at the bridge was 16 times higher than the rate in the rest of the country; there is less than a one in 10,000 probability that this could have occurred by chance. In addition, the clusters were characterized by breast cancer cases that were early onset and premenopausal with recurrences.
The scientists analyzed the circumstances of the case—heard by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT)—by applying the Bradford Hill criteria: a group of nine principles that are useful in establishing epidemiologic evidence of a causal relationship between a presumed cause and an observed effect. The criteria considers strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradient, plausibility, coherence, experiment and analogy.
The case focused on whether the woman had a genetically inherited predisposition to develop breast cancer because of dysfunctional BRCA1/2 tumour suppressor genes. It was found that her BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors were not working—but that was not connected to her inherited genes. This condition is known as “BRCAness” and is sporadic, rather than an inherited breast cancer.
The Stirling team investigated whether the dysfunction was potentially caused by occupational exposures to pollution. A review of previous research confirmed that BRCA1 can be silenced by exposures to dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—both found in exhaust fumes.
In addition, other research has shown that BRCA2 is rapidly degraded in the presence of aldehydes—also components of exhaust fumes.
There is much more research to be undertaken. But we now have plausible mechanisms for inferring how the BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors in this highly-exposed border guard became dysfunctional and likely contributed to the ongoing epidemic of sporadic, early onset, premenopausal breast cancer among her colleagues. These outbreaks of breast cancer represent a new occupational disease that we are provisionally calling “occupational BRCAness”.
The front-line workers also identified nightshift work as a potential contributing factor to their high incidence of breast cancer.
Drs Gilbertson and Brophy considered whether nightshift work might exacerbate the exposures to mammary carcinogens in traffic-related air pollution. They pointed to a previous study involving rats that found those exposed to continuous daylight developed tumors 36% faster and had 60% more tumors than those subjected to a normal photoperiod.
Michael Gilbertson, James Brophy (2018) “Causality Advocacy: Workers’ Compensation Cases as Resources for Identifying and Preventing Diseases of Modernity” New Solutions doi: 10.1177/1048291118810900
QUT team develops stable, bi-functional cobalt-nickel catalyst for water-splitting
Researchers at Australia’s have developed less expensive and more efficient catalysts for producing hydrogen from water-splitting. In a paper in Advanced Functional Materials, they reported introducing a low concentration of gold into Co(OH)2 followed by electrodeposition of Ni(OH)2 to yield a Co(OH)2‐Au‐Ni(OH)2 composite active in overall water splitting.
This material exceeds the activity of Pt for the HER at current densities greater than 40 mA cm−2 and is stable for both reactions for prolonged periods of electrolysis. In a two‐electrode configuration, current densities greater than 175 mA cm−2 for overall water splitting could be readily achieved at an applied voltage of 1.90 V in a commercially relevant electrolyte of 6 m NaOH.
—Sultana et al.
Activity for hydrogen evolution or oxygen evolution can be achieved by tuning the gold content between 0.1 and 0.2 at%. Further, they noted, this approach may also be applicable to other metal hydroxide/metal nanomaterial composites.
What we have found is that we can use two earth-abundant cheaper alternatives—cobalt and nickel oxide with only a fraction of gold nanoparticles—to create a stable bi-functional catalyst to split water and produce hydrogen without emissions.
From an industry point of view, it makes a lot of sense to use one catalyst material instead of two different catalysts to produce hydrogen from water.
—Professor Anthony O’Mullane
Ummul K. Sultana James D. Riches Anthony P. O’Mullane (2018) “Water Splitting: Gold Doping in a Layered Co‐Ni Hydroxide System via Galvanic Replacement for Overall Electrochemical Water Splitting” Advanced Functional Materials doi: 10.1002/adfm.201804361
Nissan introduces all-new LEAF NISMO RC electric race car; more than double power and torque of predecessor
In Tokyo, Nissan unveiled the new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC, an electric race car with more than double the maximum power and torque output of its predecessor.
The car, which was developed by Nissan’s racing arm, NISMO, with its race technology know-how, will officially debut on 2 December at the annual NISMO Festival at Fuji International Speedway, appearing alongside Nissan’s new Formula E electric race car.
With dual electric motors, all-wheel drive and an aggressive, restyled body shape, the purpose-built car demonstrates how Nissan’s electric vehicle technology can deliver exciting yet quiet, zero-emission power—a key component of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. The model is equipped with advanced battery technology and drivetrain components from the Nissan LEAF.
Nissan plans to build six all-new LEAF NISMO RC vehicles to deploy around the world, so that fans can experience the power and excitement firsthand.
Powering the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC are two electric motors at opposite ends of the chassis. The motors produce 240 kilowatts combined (120 kW each) and 640 N·m of instant torque to the wheels. They more than double the maximum power and the torque output of the previous LEAF NISMO RC, which was introduced in 2011. Drivetrain technology sourced from the new Nissan LEAF include the high-capacity lithium-ion battery and inverters.
A new all-wheel-drive system gives the LEAF NISMO RC its outstanding cornering prowess. Power is managed independently to each axle, instantly supplying torque to the tire with the most grip to let the car maneuver quickly and efficiently around the track. Similar to the previous model, chassis weight balance has been optimized by the midship location of the battery pack, with the electric motors and inverters ideally placed over the front and rear tires.
The LEAF NISMO RC features a multitude of lightweight components and a full carbon-fiber racing monocoque structure, allowing it to tip the scales at just 1,220 kilograms. The power-to-weight ratio results in an impressive performance of zero to 100 kph in just 3.4 seconds—50% quicker than the previous model.
While the exterior of the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is spiritually based on the original LEAF NISMO RC, it sports a more aggressive exterior. A long hood and Nissan’s signature V-motion grille highlight the totally restyled front end. The distinctive silver-and-black paint scheme with NISMO red accents—similar to the Nissan Formula E car—make the LEAF NISMO RC seem like it’s in constant motion, even when sitting still at the starting line.
The car’s three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and tail lights, and an adjustable rear wing for ideal downforce on the tarmac. The model is slightly longer than its predecessor, with an overall length of 4,546 millimeters and a wheelbase that measures 2,750 millimeters. The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC sits wide and low to the ground, with its wind-cutting form measuring only 1,212 millimeters from roof to road—more than 300 millimeters less than the production Nissan LEAF.
New Jeep Gladiator pickup will offer 3.0L diesel with stop/start and 8-speed
Jeep unveiled the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Gladiator features Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires.
Gladiator will offer two powertrains: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) and eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission; and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS and an eight-speed automatic transmission available in 2020.
The FCA US 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft (353 N·m) of torque and features ESS as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.
Known for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, the Company has produced more than 8.6 million 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engines since production began in 2010. The award-winning engine family is currently built at three plants: Trenton (Michigan) Engine Complex, Mack Avenue (Detroit) Engine and Saltillo (Mexico) South Engine.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer.
The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2020. Gladiator models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft (599 N·m) of torque, with ESS standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output.
FCA US engineers adapted the engine—designed and manufactured by FCA EMEA —to meet the NAFTA region’s regulatory requirements.
The EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements refined turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low-end and transient performance. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide an enhanced combustion system – injector nozzle, piston bowl and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion.
Low Pressure Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) assists to combine with the high-pressure system to expand the range of EGR usage and to improve fuel economy.
Transmissions. A unique set of two overdrive ratios in the eight-speed improve highway fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.
Uniquely suited to the requirements of the Gladiator Rubicon model, the eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. The towing and 4x4 performance benefits from a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive delivers unmatched capability.
All-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator models are equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs optimized gear ratios for bolstered crawl ratio performance and is cable-operated, eliminating shifter vibration and bolstering sound isolation.
The shift pattern features a comfortable shifting position and bolsters shift accuracy. A 4.41 ratio spread offers impressive fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality.
Body-on-frame design. Utilizing a body-on-frame design and featuring a five-link suspension system, Gladiator delivers on capability, with composed on-road driving dynamics, passenger safety and best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity.
Gladiator’s body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame.
When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 31 inches longer while the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the proven body-on-frame design work.
The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear.
Gladiator utilizes the proven five-link coil suspension configuration with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel.
The rear five-link coil suspension design, exclusive to Gladiator, features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral axle control. The control arms are located under the frame rails while the rear shocks are forward facing to provide consistent damping for ride comfort and load management.
The springs have been tuned for an optimum balance between on-road handling while providing a comfortable ride around town, with or without cargo in the bed, and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, handling, payload and towing capability is significantly enhanced with assistance from shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy.
An approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches allows Gladiator to go offroading.
Gladiator also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording, up to 1,600 pounds of payload and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package.
Safety and security features. The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.
ARB: California not tracking to meet required GHG reductions due to transportation; significant changes in communities and systems required
California is not on track to meet the greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375 for 2020, with emissions from statewide passenger vehicle travel per capita increasing and going in the wrong direction, according to a new report published by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
While overall, California has hit its 2020 climate target ahead of schedule due to strong performance in the energy sector, meeting future targets will require a greater contribution from the transportation sector. With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built.
—“2018 Progress Report”
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, Senate Bill (SB) 375, was passed into law in 2008. SB 375 recognizes the critical role of integrated transportation, land use, and housing decisions to meet state climate goals. The law requires each of California’s 18 regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to include a new element in their long-range regional transportation plans: a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).
In the SCS, the MPO, in partnership with their local member agencies and the State, identifies strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from driving. Under SB 375, MPOs have spent almost 10 years engaged in planning and developing SCSs tailored to each region that outline multiple benefits for public health, the environment, social justice, and access to opportunities, if implemented.
in 2017, the Legislature tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with issuing a report every four years analyzing the progress made under SB 375 pursuant to SB 150. SB 150 tasks CARB with preparing a report that assesses progress made toward meeting the regional SB 375 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and to include data-supported metrics for strategies utilized to meet the targets.
The just-released report is the first in the series that responds to that legislation—and includes the fundamental finding that California is not on track to meet greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375.
With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built, the ARB report states.
Specifically, CARB’s 2030 Scoping Plan Update identifies reduction in growth of single-occupancy vehicle travel as necessary to achieve the statewide target of 40% below 1990 level emissions by 2030. Even more will be needed to achieve Governor Brown’s new carbon neutrality goal by 2045.
California—at the state, regional, and local levels—has not yet gone far enough in making the systemic and structural changes to how we build and invest in communities that are needed to meet state climate goals. To meet the potential of SB 375 will require state, regional, and local agency staff and elected officials to make more significant changes across multiple systems that address the interconnected relationship of land use, housing, economic and workforce development, transportation investments, and travel choices.
… many challenges continue to impede the changes that will be needed to meet the targets. For example, the portion of commuters driving alone to work instead of carpooling, taking transit, walking or cycling is rising in almost every region. The supply of housing in many regions is a small fraction of the need, particularly homes affordable to low-income communities, which is contributing to lengthening commutes. The overall ratio of dollars planned to be spent on roads versus on infrastructure for other modes in the largest regions of California has shown remarkably little shift. The changes that have been made so far are clearly not of the magnitude necessary to have yet had a significant impact on these challenges.
—“2018 Progress Report”
The report identifies eight priority challenge and opportunity areas for the State Mobility Action Plan for Healthy Communities (MAP for Healthy Communities) work to address this challenge.
Improve the way the State targets transportation, housing, and climate-incentive funds to better align projects with state health, equity, economic, and environmental priorities.
Improve incentives and legal certainty for projects that provide affordable housing choices near jobs, transit, and other high-opportunity locations.
Develop a state vision for increasing travel choices, economic development, and access to jobs and other opportunities, as well as affordable housing for under-served communities—and by doing so, accelerate progress toward state climate, infill, health, and equity benefits.
Pilot test innovative ideas to speed the adoption of clean, efficient transportation solutions across the state.
Develop fiscally-sustainable and equitable methods of funding the transportation system, in ways that increase climate-friendly travel choices for everyone.
Complement deployment of new mobility options and technologies with policies supporting state environmental and equity priorities.
Improve and increase access to data to assist with planning and monitoring success of state policies in meeting transportation, housing, health, and environmental goals.
Update and strengthen SB 375 to better connect state climate, transportation, health, equity, and conservation goals with regional and local planning, and to improve implementation.
Rivian introduces two quad-motor, AWD “Electric Adventure Vehicles”
Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, unveiled two “Electric Adventure Vehicles”—the R1T, an all-electric pickup and the R1S, an all-electric SUV—at events surrounding the LA Auto Show this week.
The R1T, a 5-passenger pickup truck, made its debut at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on 26 November and the R1S, a 7-passenger SUV, was revealed at the automaker’s press conference at Automobility on 27 November. The Rivian vehicles feature up to 400+ miles in electric range, a wading depth of 1 meter, lockable storage bins that can fit the bulkiest of gear, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD. Both vehicles will be produced at Rivian's manufacturing facility in Normal IL.
I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have—to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.
—Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe
Skateboard Platform. The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.
Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension—allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.
Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147 kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling.
With 3,500 N·m of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 N·m of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T and R1S can both reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.
The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power; this architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on- and off-road.
—Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels
Battery System. Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind—incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature.
Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability.
Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.
The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.
Connectivity and Digital Experience. Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security.
This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services.
The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen.
Self-Driving. The R1T and R1S will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple sensor systems including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.
Safety. Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.
R1T pricing starts at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit. R1S pricing starts at $65,000 after Federal Tax credit. Deliveries begin in late 2020. Fully-equipped vehicles with the highest performance level and largest battery pack will enter production first. The 180 kWh pack (400+ miles range) and 135 kWh pack will be available at launch, with the base variant (250+ miles range) to follow within 12 months of the start of production.
Rivian is now accepting preorders for a refundable deposit of $1,000.
Founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, Rivian develops and produces vehicles, products and services related to sustainable transportation. The company has facilities in Plymouth, Michigan, San Jose, California, Irvine, California, and Normal, Illinois.
Headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan are dedicated to finances, engineering, and design. A facility in Irvine, California focuses on batteries, electrical hardware, and vehicle control software, while a facility in San Jose, California develops self-driving technology and data. The company’s 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal Illinois the home for manufacturing of vehicles and components such as battery packs. The Normal plant has a paint shop, robotics, stamping machines, and other production equipment.
Scaringe earned his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a member of the research team in the Sloan Automotive Laboratory.
Mark Vinnels leads Rivian’s product development organization and is responsible for all engineering and program execution. Vinnels was previously the Executive Program Director at McLaren from 2004 through 2017. In this role he was responsible for all of McLaren’s road cars starting with the MP4-12C through the 720S. Before McLaren, Vinnels was the Head of Vehicle Programs at Group Lotus where he led the product development of all Lotus cars. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham.
BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics launch cross-industry project to support sustainable cobalt mining
As part of a cross-industry initiative, the BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics have launched a joint cobalt pilot project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contract to this effect between the companies, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, will aim to improve artisanal mining working conditions, as well as living conditions for surrounding communities.
The scope of the project will span over one pilot mine within the next three years, and the partners will not operate the mine.
This fully privately financed project seeks to pilot an approach to address challenges in artisanal mining. As it is limited to one pilot mine site and the surrounding community, it seeks to contribute to identifying workable solutions that lead to better working conditions at the mine site. If proven effective, these measures could then be scaled up to other legal artisanal mine sites and enhance systemic challenges in the longer run.
Cobalt is a key component in the production of batteries for the automotive and electronics industries. The world’s largest known reserves of this raw material are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than half of the world’s cobalt mine production comes from the Katanga Copperbelt in DR Congo, according to a study published earlier this year in Nature Sustainability.
Industrial mining accounts for approximately 80-85% of Congolese cobalt production, with artisanal mining operations producing the remaining 15-20%.
Currently, companies are facing challenges in the areas of environment, health and safety, and human rights when cobalt is extracted through artisanal mining.
This is the first time partners from automotive, chemical and consumer electronics industries have come together in a project on the ground to address the challenges of artisanal cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This pilot project builds on a feasibility study jointly conducted by GIZ and BMW Group. Insights gained from visits to several artisanal mines, stakeholder interviews and surveys of miners and community members were instrumental in shaping this project approach.
This project also contributes to the goals of global initiatives, such as the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), to foster sustainable supply chains.
Célestin Banza Lubaba Nkulu, Lidia Casas, Vincent Haufroid, Thierry De Putter, Nelly D. Saenen, Tony Kayembe-Kitenge, Paul Musa Obadia, Daniel Kyanika Wa Mukoma, Jean-Marie Lunda Ilunga, Tim S. Nawrot, Oscar Luboya Numbi, Erik Smolders & Benoit Nemery (2018) “Sustainability of artisanal mining of cobalt in DR Congo” Nature Sustainability volume 1, pages 495–504 doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0139-4