Green Car Congress - 記事一覧
Army researchers develop novel nanogalvanic alloys for on-demand hydrogen generation; plans to license
Army researchers have developed a novel, structurally-stable, aluminum-based nanogalvanic alloy powder that, when combined with water or any water-based liquid, reacts to produce on-demand hydrogen for power generation at room temperature without chemicals, catalysts or externally supplied power.
These patent-pending powders produce hydrogen at a rate that currently is one of the fastest reported for Al and water reactions without the need of hazardous and costly materials or additional processes. The reaction results in the production of hydrogen and heat with only inert residual materials; i.e., no toxic by-products. ARL has demonstrated that hydrolysis will occur with virtually any water containing liquid.
It has long been known that aluminum (Al) reacts with water to produce hydrogen gas and aluminum oxide via a hydrolysis reaction. Aluminum metal oxidizes when in contact with water, rapidly producing a passivating oxide layer which prevents the hydrolysis reaction (H2). Further, hydrolysis to evolve H2 can only occur if the native oxide layer is actively removed. This is usually achieved by adding hazardous corrosive compounds (caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, etc.) which dissolve in water, toxic and expensive metals (such as gallium, platinum, etc.), or by forcing the reaction by additional external energy (electric current and/or superheated steam).
This powder-based alloy includes material that disrupts the formation of an encapsulating aluminum oxide layer, allowing for the continuous production of hydrogen that can be used at the point of need to power a wide range of devices via fuel cells and internal combustion.
The powder can be easily manufactured to scale, and can be conveniently and safely transported via tablets or vacuum pouches, thus eliminating reliance on high-pressure hydrogen cylinders.
—Dr. Anit Giri, a scientist with the lab‘s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate
ARL will post a Federal Register Notice and launch a supporting website inviting companies to submit their ideas on how best to commercialize this technology. The laboratory will then select the most appropriate partners and collaborators. Officials said license exclusivity will then be determined.
The researchers said the powders has many advantages, such as:
Energy and Power Source
Stable Alloy Powder
Manufacture to Scale
Army researchers discovered the unique properties of the nanopowder while investigating aluminum alloy compositions for other purposes. The researchers, from the lab’s Lightweight and Specialty Metals Branch, made the serendipitous discovery that at least one of these compositions can, in the presence of water, spontaneously generate hydrogen, rapidly and efficiently.
The researchers have since demonstrated rapid hydrogen generation rates using powder and tablet forms of the alloy. The hydrogen has been shown to be useful for powering fuel cells and is expected to power internal combustion engines.
—Branch Chief Robert Dowding
The researchers are currently taking advantage of the innovation by characterizing the hydrogen generation rates and purity of the gas generated, Dowding said.
They are also examining the effects of compositional changes to the alloy and systematic changes in the microstructure of the powders, he said.
Giri said the discovery has many benefits and applications, such as simple manufacturing.
The powder can be made using current manufacturing techniques from either pure or alloyed aluminum. The manufacturing process is easily scalable and it is also very fast—with a 75% theoretical hydrogen yield in one minute at standard temperature and pressure, and 100% theoretical yield in three minutes.
The nanopowder is also extremely efficient. Giri said 1 kg of powder can generate 4.4 kWh of energy. The material can be in powder or tablet form and be combined with any available water-based liquid to provide hydrogen on demand, at the point of need.
The discovery eliminates reliance on high-pressure cylinders, Giri said.
It’s easy to transport and store via tablets or vacuum-sealed pouches with no inherent inhalation risk. The powder is also environmentally friendly. Its by-products are stable and non-toxic. Finally it’s a versatile hydrogen source with direct combustion for vehicular power, to use in fuel cells to power any electronic device, and could potentially be used in 3-D printing/additive manufacturing to create self-cannibalizing robots/drones.
In order to support a better understanding of the material, the laboratory established a website to showcase details on the technology and a review the process that will culminate in the granting of a patent license(s) around September 2018.
On this website, visitors can register their interest to be contacted about further developments, post general questions and download background technical information, as well as templates for all the required documents that will be used throughout the process.
U of T, Uber researchers make advances with new autonomous driving algorithm
A self-driving vehicle has to detect objects, track them over time, and predict where they will be in the future in order to plan a safe maneuver. These tasks are typically trained independently from one another, which could result in disasters should any one task fail.
Researchers at the University of Toronto’s department of computer science and Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) in Toronto have developed an algorithm that jointly reasons about all these tasks—the first algorithm to bring them all together. Importantly, their solution takes as little as 30 milliseconds per frame.
We try to optimize as a whole so we can correct mistakes between each of the tasks themselves. When done jointly, uncertainty can be propagated and computation shared.
—Wenjie Luo, U Toronto PhD student in computer science
Luo and Bin Yang, a PhD student in computer science, along with their graduate supervisor, Raquel Urtasun, an associate professor of computer science and head of Uber ATG Toronto, presented their paper, “Fast and Furious: Real Time End-to-End 3D Detection, Tracking and Motion Forecasting with a Single Convolutional Net”, at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference in Salt Lake City last week.
The Fast and Furious network takes multiple frames as input and performs detection, tracking and motion forecasting.
To start, Uber collected a large-scale dataset of several North American cities using roof-mounted lidar scanners. The dataset includes more than a million frames, collected from 6,500 different scenes.
Urtasun says the output of the lidar is a point-cloud in three dimensional space that needs to be understood by an artificial intelligence (AI) system. This data is unstructured in nature, and is thus considerably different from structured data typically fed into AI systems, such as images.
If the task is detecting objects, you can try to detect objects everywhere but there’s too much free space, so a lot of computation is done for nothing. In bird’s eye view, the objects we try to recognize sit on the ground and thus it’s very efficient to reason about where things are.
To deal with large amounts of unstructured data, PhD student Shenlong Wang and researchers from Uber ATG developed a special AI tool.
A picture is a 2-D grid. A 3-D model is a bunch of 3-D meshes. But here, what we capture [with lidar] is just a bunch of points, and they are scattered in that space, which for traditional AI is very difficult to deal with.
Images are rectangular objects, made up of tiny pixels, also rectangular, so the algorithms work well on analyzing grid-like structures. But lidar data is without any regular structure, making it difficult for AI systems to learn.
Their results for processing scattered points directly is not limited to self-driving, but any domain where there is unstructured data, including chemistry and social networks.
Nine papers were presented at CVPR from Urtasun’s lab. Mengye Ren, a PhD student in computer science, Andrei Pokrovsky, a staff software engineer at Uber ATG, Yang and Urtasun also sought faster computation and developed SBNet: Sparse Blocks Network for Fast Inference.
We want the network to be as fast as possible so that it can detect and make decisions in real time, based on the current situation. For example, humans look at certain regions we feel are important to perceive, so we apply this to self-driving.
To increase the speed of the whole computation, says Ren, they’ve devised a sparse computation based on what regions are important. As a result, their algorithm proved up to 10 times faster when compared to existing methods.
The researchers released the SBNet code as it is widely useful for improving processing for small devices, including smartphones.
Urtasun says the overall impact of her group’s research has increased significantly when they’ve seen their algorithms implemented in Uber’s self-driving fleet, rather than reside solely in academic papers.
Dana buys majority stake TM4 for C$165M; Hydro-Québec retains 45%; new JV
Dana Incorporated and Hydro-Québec announced a joint-venture partnership in which TM4 Inc., a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, will become Dana’s source for electric motors, power inverters, and control systems. As part of this agreement, Dana will become a majority shareholder of TM4 in exchange for CA$165 million (approximately US$127 million). Hydro-Québec will maintain a 45% interest in TM4.
TM4 designs and manufactures motors, power inverters, and control systems for electric vehicles, offering a complementary portfolio to Dana’s electric gearboxes and thermal-management technologies for batteries, motors, and inverters. The transaction establishes Dana as the only supplier with full e-Drive design, engineering, and manufacturing capabilities—offering electro-mechanical propulsion solutions to each of its end markets.
TM4 was founded in 1998 by Hydro-Québec, Canada’s largest electricity producer and one of the world’s largest hydroelectric power producers. TM4 operates a technology and advanced manufacturing facility in Boucherville, Québec.
Consistent with Dana’s proven, globally distributed technical center model, Boucherville will remain a center of excellence, with TM4’s current management team and 130 employees remaining in place.
Dana is leader in highly engineered solutions for improving the efficiency, performance, and sustainability of powered vehicles and machinery. Dana supports the passenger vehicle, commercial truck, and off-highway markets, as well as industrial and stationary equipment applications.
We are excited to welcome TM4 into Dana’s global family and to be partnering with Hydro-Québec, a leader in the generation of energy that fully comprehends the megatrends surrounding energy efficiency and the rapidly developing electrification infrastructure requirements around the globe.
This joint venture brings together a world leader in mechanical power conveyance and thermal-management technology with an experienced manufacturer of electric motors and inverters to offer a broad range of hybrid and electric vehicle solutions for our customers across all three of our end markets.
—Jim Kamsickas, Dana president and CEO
Transportation electrification is at a turning point. In this context, Hydro-Québec has initiated a rigorous process to identify the winning conditions that will allow TM4 to reach its full potential. Today’s announcement strengthens Boucherville’s position as a world-class center of excellence, and further confirms our expertise in the sector. We wanted to join an industrial partner to accelerate TM4’s market access to become a global leader, to the benefit of all Quebécers. This transaction will strengthen the activities of TM4 in Québec.
—Éric Martel, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec
This transaction further strengthens Dana’s position in China, the world’s fastest-growing market for electric vehicles. TM4 and Prestolite Electric Beijing Limited have a 50-50 joint venture in China, called Prestolite E-Propulsion Systems Limited, which offers electric mobility solutions throughout China and the ASEAN region.
Volkswagen Group: Foshan Plant Phase II mega-factory key for China; strengthening e-mobility strategy
Through the completion of the Foshan Plant Phase II, Volkswagen Group’s Foshan production site’s capacity will double from 300,000 to 600,000 cars annually. The first SUV-model of the Volkswagen brand built by FAW-Volkswagen—the T-Roc—successfully rolled off the line in April this year. Together with the Audi Q2L, which will also start production this year, T-Roc is a vital building block in the fast growing SUV segment in China.
Moreover, among the new FAW-Volkswagen factories in Qingdao and Tianjin, Foshan will play a key part in the Group’s Roadmap E strategy. Vehicles currently produced on the MQB platform will soon be electrified. By 2020, the MEB architecture will be introduced to the production line, alongside the production of MEB battery systems, which will also be located in Foshan. The newest electric models with the latest technologies of Volkswagen and Audi will be produced at the Foshan Plant.
Through this mega-factory at the South China base of FAW-Volkswagen, we are fulfilling our promise to electrify China. Foshan is an important milestone on the way to becoming a people-centric provider of sustainable mobility.
—Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China
Through Roadmap E, the Volkswagen Group aims to release 40 new locally produced NEVs in the next 7 or 8 years, as it prepares to deliver up to 1.5 million NEVs annually by 2025.
The Foshan Plant Phase II will be an ideal representation of green, energy-saving production, intelligent manufacturing and smart operations. Through a complete purification and recycling system, the plant achieves zero emission of pollutants.
Clarification of Group structure and regional roles. The Volkswagen Group is pushing ahead with the structural realignment of its organization. In future, one lead brand will assume steering responsibility for a clearly defined region of the world across the Group.
The Volkswagen brand will assume responsibility for North America, South America and the Sub-Saharan region.
SEAT will be responsible for the growing market in North Africa.
Audi will coordinate the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region except China.
Responsibility for China will be retained by the Group.
ŠKODA is to be responsible for the markets of Russia and India and is to sustainably strengthen the market position of the Group in the growing market of India with the “INDIA 2.0” project and the related model offensive of the Volkswagen and ŠKODA brands. Preparations for the local development and production of the new, technically groundbreaking volume models are already well underway.
The objective of assigning responsibility for the regions is to tailor the model range to the relevant market requirements and customers’ needs rapidly and effectively on the basis of regional knowledge and competences and through intensive cooperation with local partners. In future, the regional lead brand will be tasked with synchronizing the Group strategy for its region in liaison with the brands in the region, as well as coordinating brand activities, partnerships and the exploitation of synergy effects.
Buick launches new $12.9k Excelle in China with new engine and start/stop; 30% improved fuel economy over predecessor
Buick has </>introduced the new-generation Excelle to its China lineup. It features the brand’s latest styling, a new more efficient powertrain, and a broad range of advanced safety and connectivity technologies.
The Buick Excelle has been among the most popular family sedans in China, with nearly 2.7 million sold since the nameplate was introduced in late 2003.
The all-new Excelle is equipped with a new 1.3L Ecotec engine that is characterized by high efficiency, reliability and durability, and low fuel consumption. It generates maximum power of 79 kW and maximum torque of 133 N·m. Its power per liter is 2.7 kW/L higher than the 1.5L engine in the previous Excelle.
Matching the engine is an efficient Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The new-generation Excelle is also equipped with the intelligent start/stop system, which improves fuel economy by 30% compared to its predecessor to 4.6 liters/100 km (51 mpg US).
The wheelbase of the new-generation Excelle has been extended 11 mm to 2,611 mm. As a result, it provides an additional 24 mm of headroom in front and an additional 28 mm of knee room in back compared to the earlier model. In addition, trunk volume has increased to 491 liters, and there are more than 20 areas for storage.
The new-generation Excelle comes standard with an array of advanced technologies that include Electric Power Steering (EPS), six air bags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Straight-Line Stability Control (SLSC), reverse radar and ISOFIX locks for child safety seats. Options include LED daytime running lamps, a reverse camera and the Tire Pressure Monitoring system (TPMS).
To meet the demand of younger buyers for enhanced connectivity, the all-new Excelle has introduced OnStar's 10th-generation full-time online assistant as standard. It features an in-vehicle 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. It also provides users with 22 functions and four value-added services, such as Emergency Service, Stolen Vehicle Location, Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Vehicle Diagnostics and a mobile app. Customers enjoy five years of free basic OnStar service. In addition, the new-generation Excelle adopts Buick's eConnect technology that supports Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife.
Three variants are priced between RMB 83,900 (US$12,900) and RMB 99,900 (US$15,400).
Gevo and Avfuel enter into renewable jet fuel supply agreement; first long-term commercial supply agreement for Gevo ATJ
Gevo has entered into a long-term agreement to supply its renewable alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ) to Avfuel Corporation, effective 1 July 2018. Avfuel is a leading global supplier of aviation fuel and services to all industry consumer groups, servicing more than 3,000 locations worldwide. The agreement with Avfuel is Gevo’s first long-term commercial supply agreement for its ATJ.
The supply agreement contemplates two phases. During the first phase, Gevo will supply Avfuel from its smaller-scale hydrocarbon processing facility it operates in Silsbee, Texas, in partnership with South Hampton Resources, Inc. Currently, the Silsbee Facility has the capacity to produce approximately 70,000 gallons of renewable hydrocarbon products per year (50% of which is ATJ and 50% of which is isooctane).
During the first phase, Gevo expects to construct a larger-scale hydrocarbon facility at its existing ethanol and isobutanol production facility located in Luverne, Minnesota, to produce larger quantities of ATJ, subject to Gevo's receipt of sufficient financing.
Upon completion of the Luverne Hydrocarbon Facility, the second phase of the Supply Agreement would commence, which would have a term of five years, subject to extension upon the mutual agreement of the parties.
During the second phase, Gevo would supply Avfuel with larger volumes of ATJ, ramping up to 1,000,000 gallons of unblended ATJ per year, which, when blended with conventional jet fuel, would produce many millions of gallons of finished ASTM D1655 jet-fuel product for distribution per year.
F every one million gallons of ATJ produced, approximately 20 million pounds of animal feed and protein would also be produced and sold into the food chain.
To produce ATJ, Gevo fractionates grain to produce protein and animal feed while using the residual carbohydrate portion of the grain for fermentation to produce the intermediate chemical: isobutanol. The isobutanol is then chemically transformed using a hydrocarbon processing facility into ATJ meeting ASTM D7566 (standard specification for aviation turbine fuel containing synthesized hydrocarbons). The ATJ made by this process has very low sulfur, low particulates, and higher energy density than petro-based jet fuel.
Gevo’s technology uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production of isobutanol, as well as related products from renewable feedstocks. Gevo can produce isobutanol, ethanol and high-value animal feed at its production facility in Luverne, MN. Gevo has also developed technology to produce hydrocarbon products from renewable alcohols.
Gevo currently operates a biorefinery in Silsbee, TX, in collaboration with South Hampton Resources Inc., to produce renewable jet fuel, octane, and ingredients for plastics like polyester.
Roskill: refined lithium supply expected to treble to 900kt by 2027, driven by use in batteries
Growth in the consumption of lithium accelerated in 2017 by more than 10% on 2016 levels to reach 211,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), according to a new report by Roskill. The lithium-ion battery industry has been, and will continue to be, the main catalyst for growth; it accounted for close to 50% of consumption in 2017 and is expected to reach over 80% by 2027.
Automotive applications were the largest market for Li-ion batteries in 2017, with Chinese sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) increasing by around 20% y-o-y. This placed strain on the battery supply chain which is likely to continue, with Roskill estimating that Chinese PEV sales could reach around one million units in 2021.
The lead-time between first purchase of lithium compounds and then subsequent use in Li-ion battery applications created by the automotive industry supply chain increased demand ahead of consumption by 9% in 2017, a trend which Roskill expects to intensify over the coming years. Demand for lithium is expected to approach 1.0Mt LCE in 2027.
Lithium carbonate remains the main lithium product used for batteries, forming more than 80% of consumption. Roskill forecasts that the use of lithium hydroxide will become more prevalent, however, accounting for more than 25% of lithium compounds used in rechargeable batteries by 2021 and around 55% by 2027, as end-users switch to high-nickel cathodes as a result of their higher energy density and lower cobalt content.
Increased demand for lithium compounds used in the Li-ion battery industry has also built on top of steady demand growth from industrial applications, which is expected to track more closely to GDP growth.
New lithium operations. Forecast strong demand growth has incentivized the expansion of existing assets and the development of new lithium operations. The build-out of new and expanded capacity is expected to continue the oversupply of mined products, and extend to refined products towards 2020.
Despite the oversupply, markets for battery-grade lithium compounds are expected to remain tight as the barriers to entry for higher grade products are more complex and demand growth is greatest for these products.
Mine supply of lithium is forecast to reach more than 365,000t LCE in 2018 including processed DSO (direct shipping ore), with the supply of refined lithium expected to total 270,000t LCE. By 2027, lithium mine supply is forecast to increase by more than 160%, whilst refined supply is forecast to more than treble to 900,000t LCE. Supply from secondary sources is expected to show continued growth throughout the forecast period, albeit still representing less than 5% of total refined production by 2027.
Lithium prices continued to increase in 2017, for both contract prices, and Chinese spot material. Lithium carbonate and hydroxide prices are forecast to peak in 2018, before greater supply availability causes prices to fall back in 2019.
Roskill expects a price floor of US$11,000/t battery-grade lithium carbonate, before continued demand growth for battery grade lithium compounds applies greater demand-side pressure on prices beyond 2021. The premium for battery-grade lithium hydroxide over lithium carbonate is expected to re-emerge in the short term, but could disappear with more independent lithium hydroxide production from mineral concentrates.
Roskill’s Lithium: Global Industry, Market and Outlook Report 15th edition was published in June 2018. It provides a comprehensive overview of production, consumption, trade, prices, major producers and development projects forecast to 2027.
Volvo Cars launches new S60 sports sedan; first Volvo car made in US; two PHEV models coming
Volvo Cars revealed the new S60 mid-size premium sports sedan at the company’s new—and first—US manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina.
The new Charleston plant was officially inaugurated concurrent with the reveal of the S60. The combined car launch and factory opening reinforce Volvo Cars’ commitment to the US, an important market for the company and its new premium sports sedan. The new S60 is the first Volvo car made in the US.
The new S60 is the first Volvo car to be sold without a diesel offer, signalling the company’s industry-leading commitment to electrification and a long-term future beyond the traditional combustion engine. In 2017 Volvo Cars was the first global car maker to announce its strategy that from 2019 all new models will be electrified.
Two turbo-charged and super-charged plug-in hybrid gasoline engines will be available in the new S60: Volvo’s T6 Twin Engine AWD plug-in hybrid that generates a combined 340hp, and the award-winning T8 Twin Engine AWD plug-in hybrid that delivers 400hp.
Volvo’s proven T5 and T6 gasoline engines will be available at launch.
In a first for the segment, customers can access the new S60 via Volvo Cars’ new premium subscription service Care by Volvo, which offers car access with no down payment via a monthly flat-fee subscription rather than ownership.
The active chassis and drive modes deliver excellent control and an engaged performance that makes this a driver’s car. It also brings the acclaimed technology from our 90 Series and other 60 Series cars into this segment, making it one of the best sports sedans on the market.
—Henrik Green, senior vice president for research and development at Volvo Cars
The new S60 shares Volvo Cars’ own Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, safety technology and infotainment system with the new V60 premium mid-size estate, launched earlier this year, as well as the top-of-the-line 90 Series cars and award-winning XC60, all of which have achieved industry-leading safety ratings. This makes the new S60 one of the safest cars on the road.
The City Safety with Autobrake technology assists the driver in avoiding potential collisions, and is the only system on the market to recognize pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. In a world first for the mid-size sedan segment, City Safety now also engages auto braking to mitigate oncoming collisions.
The optional Pilot Assist system—which supports the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130km/h (81 mph)— has been upgraded with improved cornering performance.
The S60 also includes Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation and other steering assistance systems. The optional Cross Traffic Alert with autobrake further enhances safety for people inside and outside the car.
Volvo Cars’ Sensus Connect infotainment system is fully compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G, and keeps drivers connected at all times. The intuitive control is a tablet-style touch screen interface that combines car functions, navigation, connected services and in-car entertainment apps.
Electrified versions of the new S60 also offer a performance handling upgrade called Polestar Engineered—developed by Volvo Cars’ electric performance arm, Polestar.
Volvo S60 Polestar PHEV.
Polestar Engineered is available exclusively on the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid and is a complete offer that upgrades the car’s wheels, brakes, suspension and engine control unit, boosting the S60 T8 combined output to 415hp.
Ferguson Marine and partners to develop renewables-powered hydrogen ferry: EU-funded HySeas III project
Port Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited has successfully led a European consortium in a bid for EU funding support for the building and launch of the first sea-going car and passenger ferry fueled by Hydrogen.
The supported development is expected to cost around €12.6 million (US$14.6 million) of which €9.3 million (US$10.8 million) has been awarded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation fund. The vessel’s fuel will be produced from renewable electricity marking a paradigm shift towards entirely emissions-free marine transport.
HySeas III, jointly led by the shipyard Ferguson Marine and the University of St Andrews, includes Orkney Islands Council; Kongsberg Maritime (Norway); Ballard Power Systems Europe (Denmark); McPhy (France); DLR - German Aerospace Center; and Interferry (Belgium/US) the global trade association for ferry operators and suppliers.
The initial objective is to construct and prove the vessel’s modular drive train onshore, testing for stress and durability under conditions employing real-world data from existing vessels. Hydrogen produced from renewable electricity will be used to fuel Ballard FCveloCity-HD 100-kilowatt fuel cell power modules, which will provide zero-emission primary propulsion power for the ferry. Ballard plans to supply 7 of its modules to power the ferry, with the first modules expected to be shipped in 2018.
Ballard application engineering services will also focus on system integration activities.
A successful test will allow a vessel to be constructed, in the already assured knowledge that such a vessel can operate safely and efficiently around Scotland’s challenging coast. The vessel is planned to operate in and around Orkney, which is already producing hydrogen in volume from constrained—and hence otherwise wasted—renewable energy.
In 2012, Ferguson launched the MV Hallaig, the first battery hybrid ferry. The redeveloped yard achieved another first in November 2017 when it launched the MV Glen Sannox, the first UK ferry build with dual-fuel capability (marine diesel & LNG). The Glen Sannox’ sister vessel is currently under construction at the shipyard.
The University of St Andrews, the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world, is home to world-class research and development in hydrogen, battery and other energy technologies. A key part of the development aspect is the transferal of knowledge and expertise into real-world applications.
Dr. Smith from The University, along with Jim Anderson at CMAL (Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited) initiated the HySeas program in 2012. Support from Scottish Enterprise allowed the idea to be taken from an early feasibility study to the point where the focus can now shift into test and delivery.
Dr. Smith previously played a leading role in the introduction of hydrogen buses into Scotland, a development which is now set to move beyond Aberdeen with Dundee currently following and other Scottish cities considering fleets of their own.
The HySeas III project formally begins on 1 July.
Efficient Drivetrains announces availability of EDI PowerDrive 6000ev electric drivetrain for medium-duty vehicles
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a provider of advanced high-efficiency zero emissions plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle drivetrain solutions, announced the availability of its EDI PowerDrive 6000ev. The system has already been integrated into leading OEM platforms, and is suited for goods movement, logistics, port, and utility vehicle applications.
Efficient Drivetrains offers its EDI PowerDrive 6000ev series as an electrification kit and developer support program for OEMs looking to bring medium-duty electrified vehicle offerings to market to comply with impending emissions reductions mandates.
The EDI PowerDrive kit offers OEMs a modular design for simple integration into existing chassis designs and enables rapid solution introduction. The extensibility of EDI’s system is an ideal vehicle electrification platform, aligned to industry requirements, and will enable OEMs to meet idle free, zero emissions requirements for city and highway driving, with no impact to vehicle performance.
Globally, government mandates and regulations continue to tighten restrictions on emissions and increase mileage requirements—in some cases banning internal combustion engines. Improving air quality remains a constant for governing bodies, and include strong financial incentives, with funding programs from the Air Resources Board, Energy Commission, and Department of Energy created to accelerate adoption. With an estimated 60% of medium-duty vehicles eligible for alternative drive systems over the next eight years, the number of hybrid-electric and electric trucks is set to grow almost 25% annually.
The EDI PowerDrive Electrification kits are suited for Class-6 step vans, box and work trucks, utility vehicles, and passenger shuttles, and include a high-efficiency drivetrain (EDI PowerDrive), vehicle control and telematics software (EDI PowerSuite), and the training and support infrastructure to enable fast time to market.
OEMs are able further customize their vehicle solutions with EDI’s Electric Power Export (Power2E) option—the capability to export a range of power directly from the vehicle for use in disaster recovery, jobsite maintenance, tool operation, and other applications.
To accelerate market introductions, EDI is also available to install the powertrain systems and perform vehicle integration as a service for OEMs as they bring solutions to market.
The EDI PowerDrive system also includes sophisticated control algorithms and embedded diagnostics for remote maintenance and monitoring. The system is less complex, more efficient, and adaptable to a wide range of use cases and duty cycles.
The inline form factor allows the drivetrain to integrate seamlessly into most medium-duty vehicle designs. The EDI PowerDrive 6000ev drivetrain includes a base of 100+ mile all-electric driving, with the ability for OEMs to extend range as required by their customers.
Toronto Transit Commission orders 10 battery-electric buses from New Flyer, option for 30 more
New Flyer Industries Canada ULC, the Canadian subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, announce an award from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for ten forty-foot, zero-emission battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE heavy-duty transit buses, with an option to purchase up to 30 additional buses over the next two years.
This is TTC’s first transit bus order from New Flyer since 1999.
This award supports TTC’s electric bus program, focused on transforming its fleet into a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040 and buying only emission-free buses starting in 2025.
TTC announced an order of 10 Proterra electric buses last week. (Earlier post.)
New Flyer was one of three candidates invited to collaborate with TTC in the evaluation of battery-electric buses for TTC service, offering buses with long range and overnight charge capability. The collaboration will assist TTC and the greater public transportation community with the development of bus specifications and the integration of future electric-bus procurements.
The Xcelsior CHARGE award is supported by funding from Infrastructure Canada’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), which provides funding for new capital projects and planning and studies for transit growth in support of long-term transit plans. TTC’s electric bus program is also funded in part through the Government of Ontario’s GHG Challenge Fund. Depot charging for the buses will be powered by Toronto Hydro, TTC's electricity provider.
The TTC is the third largest transit system in North America, delivering more than 536 million trips per year with subways, streetcars, buses, and a specialized service, Wheel-Trans, for persons with disabilities whose disability prevents them from using conventional transit.
TTC operates more than 140 bus routes, and embeds sustainability into the core strategic objectives of its Five-Year Corporate Plan by reducing greenhouse gases, air pollution, and congestion on Toronto roadways.
Global Bioenergies receives €1M payment after improvements in bio-isobutene process
Global Bioenergies (GBE) received a payment of €1 million (US$1.2 million) from ADEM (French Environment & Energy Management Agency), which operates the Investissements d’Avenir (Investments in the Future) program on behalf of the French government. This payment follows improvements in performance levels of GBE’s bio-isobutene process and the completion of a key step.
The ISOPROD project (earlier post) aims to validate (i) the production of bio-based isobutene on an industrial scale from beet substrates and (ii) the implementation of bio-based isobutene in industrial processes currently using fossil isobutene.
The ISOPROD project will replace isobutene of fossil origin with isobutene of renewable origin with a better environmental and energy balance. The objective is to avoid 2 kg of CO2 per kg of bio-isobutene.
The ISOPROD project has the following specific objectives:
The adaptation of the Isobutene process to sugar refinery residues;
The engineering for the first plant carried by IBN-One, the joint venture between Global Bioenergies and Cristal Union; and
The validation of bio-isobutene derivatives in the fuel and cosmetics sector.
The process has achieved a level of performance that from now on would allow its exploitation in a full-scale plant to be competitive in a number of high value-added markets, such as cosmetics.
—Bernard Chaud, Director of Industrial Strategy at Global Bioenergies
The completion of this key step is a reflection on the major progresses recently achieved in adapting our Isobutene process to sugar refinery residues. This payment from ADEME adds to the grant prepayment of the four new European projects recently announced. Recovering the government R&D tax credit on the short term will bring our (unaudited) cash position to more than €11 million.
—Marc Delcourt, CEO of Global Bioenergies
Global Bioenergies was founded in 2008 to develop a process converting renewable resources (sugar, crops, agricultural and forestry waste) into isobutene, one of the main petroleum derivatives. Its approach, based on gas fermentation, has two major advantages that can bring down operating costs:
The liquid product that builds up in the reactor in conventional fermentation processes is toxic to the microorganism. In the GBE process, the product evaporates spontaneously. The process can even be implemented almost continuously.
The purification stage is simpler—the isobutene merely has to be extracted from the air, CO2 and steam, rather than having to separate a liquid compound from a complex and varying cultured broth. Conventional methods, tried and tested over many decades, can achieve this.
Isobutene is one of the major building blocks of the petrochemicals industry, and represents a market worth $25 billion and may one day address an additional market worth $400 billion. 15 million tonnes are produced every year and are turned into plastics, rubbers and fuels.
Microorganisms do not naturally produce isobutene; a microorganism converting its nutrients into isobutene, a volatile compound, would soon lose its carbon stores and lose in terms of evolution. GBE engineered its microorganisms using an artificial metabolic pathway—a series of enzymatic reactions created from scratch. When implanted into a host micro-organism, it can convert sugars into isobutene in a several-stage process.
Volkswagen invests $100M in QuantumScape to secure access to solid-state battery technology; new JV; production by 2025
The Volkswagen Group is increasing its stake in solid-state energy company QuantumScape Corporation (earlier post) and forming a new joint venture with the intention of paving the way for the next level of battery power for long-range e-mobility. Volkswagen will invest US$100 million in QuantumScape and will become the innovative enterprise’s largest automotive shareholder. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
Volkswagen Group Research has been collaborating closely with the Stanford spin-off since 2012. Based on the significant technical progress that this cooperation has made, QuantumScape and Volkswagen will work together within a newly formed joint venture with the aim to enable an industrial level of production of solid-state batteries. One of the long-term targets is to establish a production line for solid-state batteries by 2025.
We want to accelerate the commercialization of QuantumScape’s solid-state batteries. And we combine forces to leverage Volkswagen’s experience as a production specialist and QuantumScape technology leadership. Volkswagen is thus taking another step toward a sustainable, zero emission mobility for our customers in the future.
The solid-state battery will mark a turning point for e-mobility. By increasing our stake in QuantumScape and forming the joint venture we strengthen and deepen our strategic cooperation with an innovative partner and secure access to the promising QuantumScape battery technology for Volkswagen.
— Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of VW Group Research
Dr. Heinrich will take a seat on the board of directors of QuantumScape.
Volkswagen is the world’s largest automotive manufacturer and leads the industry in its commitment to electrification of its fleet. We are thrilled to be chosen by Volkswagen to power this transition. We think the higher range, faster charge times, and inherent safety of QuantumScape’s solid-state technology will be a key enabler for the next generation of electrified powertrains.
—Jagdeep Singh, CEO of QuantumScape
Founded in 2010, QuantumScape is headquartered in San José, California and holds approximately 200 patents and patent applications for solid-state battery technology.
A solid-state battery could increase the range of the E-Golf to approximately 750 kilometers (466 miles) compared with the present 300 kilometers (186 miles). This battery technology has further advantages over the present lithium-ion technology: higher energy density, enhanced safety, better fast charging capability and—above all—they take up significantly less space.
A solid-state battery of the same size as a current battery package can achieve a range comparable to that of conventional vehicles. While the approach has a lot of promise, advances have been difficult to attain and no other battery supplier has been able to achieve automotive performance. Volkswagen said that it successfully tested QuantumScape early-stage solid-state battery sample cells in Germany running at automotive rates of power.
Tour Engine proceeding with development of 5 kW Split-Cycle genset with additional ARPA-E GENSETS funding
Tour Engine, the startup developing novel split-cycle engine technology (earlier post), is working on a 5 kW natural gas unit under Phase II funding from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). The additional $2.59 million in funding, awarded earlier this year under ARPA-E’s GENSETS program, follows on Tour’s progress during Phase I (earlier post) in the development of a 1 kW genset engine.
Tour Engine also secured a new $2.25-million investment led by Joan and Dr. Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm to cost-share ARPA-E’s Phase II funding and to accelerate the company’s growth. The design goal for the genset unit is 5kW @ 1800 rpm, greater than 36% BTE, and CARB2007 emissions.
Figure 1: (A) A cross-sectional view of a 1 kW inline Tour split-cycle engine developed as part of Tour’s Phase I of the ARPA-E GENSETS program. The three crankshafts driving the two pistons and the crossover transfer mechanism (CTM) are coupled together by gears (not shown). The working fluid is induced and compressed in a dedicated cold-cylinder (left), transferred and combusted via the CTM (top), and subsequently expanded and exhausted in a dedicated hot-cylinder (right). (B) The corresponding 1 kW GENSETS prototype. (C) The engine shown in B is being tested in Tour’s state-of-the-art test cell in San Diego, California (more than 100 hours of testing). Click to enlarge.
The Tour engine architecture allows for more engineering freedom to optimize each cylinder for best performance and efficiency.
In general, the split-cycle design typically divides the conventional 4-stroke cycle into a cold-cylinder (intake and compression) and a hot-cylinder (expansion and exhaust) with improved thermal management. It also allows for independent optimization of the compression and expansion ratios, allowing for the most beneficial over-expansion ratio and therefore increased thermal efﬁciency for any given application.
Specifically, the over-expansion increases the mechanical output of the engine and simultaneously lowers the average temperature of the working fluid thereby reducing the need for active cooling in the hot-cylinder. The 1 kW ARPA-E genset engine featured a cold cylinder displacement of 69 cc and a hot cylinder displacement of 138 cc, while the new 5 kW unit under development will move to a 350 cc cold-cylinder and 700 cc hot-cylinder, respectively.
One of the major challenges with a split-cycle design, with its theoretically higher thermal efficiency, is the mechanism used to transfer the air-fuel mixture between the hot and cold cylinders.
Tour Engine has developed and continues to optimize a family of novel Crossover Transfer Mechanisms (CTM), which enable the efficient transfer of the working fluid between the cold and hot cylinders with minimal pressure losses.
Figure 2: Measured pressure traces from the 1 kW GENSETS engine illustrate the fluid transfer between Cold- and Hot-Cylinder and combustion: The CTM alternately connects the Cold-Cylinder during phase ① with the Hot-Cylinder during phase ③. Ignition during phase ② initiates combustion at a crank angle of -6° (red arrow). During phase ①, almost the entire trapped mass in the Cold-Cylinder is compressed into the CTM volume (blue line) where it combusts during phase ② and expands into the Hot-Cylinder during phase ③. The induction and exhaust through conventional poppet valves occur during phases ③ and ①, respectively. It should be noted that there is no pressure drop during the fluid transfer to and from the CTM as the CTM pressure (dashed red line) coincides with both Cold- and Hot-Cylinder pressures during phases ① and ③. Click to enlarge.
With Tour’s novel crossover transfer mechanism, one consideration is minimizing the dead-volume to transferred-volume ratio, which correlates directly with an increase of volumetric efﬁciency, says Dr. Oded Tour, CEO of Tour Engine.
Moving to a larger engine, along with optimizing the crossover transfer mechanism design, should help that, by significantly improving volumetric efficiency and reducing blow-by.
The technology can be scaled well beyond the current project parameters; the company is considering a 30 kW design, but for the moment is focused on the 5 kW Phase II ARPA-E work. The company has been issued 18 patents (US and International) with several more pending.
Dr. Tour adds that in his view the Tour engine represents a platform technology that has the potential to disrupt the global ICE market. Once the technology matures, picking the optimal ‘out of the gate’ markets will be a key decision. The right market will have a relatively rapid time-to-market introduction, with applications that favor higher duty-cycles (e.g., prime vs. backup generation), mid-sized or larger engines (5-10kW to 100 kW), and the engine will be fueled by natural gas or gasoline.
He added that a phased market entry approach starting with markets such as stationary gensets and distributed power generation and over time move into other market segments (transportation, consumer).
Porsche takes 10% stake in the electric technology and sports car company Rimac; development partnership
Porsche AG has taken a 10% stake in the technology and electric sports car company Rimac Automobili. Rimac develops and produces electric vehicle components and manufactures electric super sports cars. As part of its electrification efforts, Porsche is seeking a development partnership with the young company.
In 2009, founder Mate Rimac began working from his garage on his vision of producing electric sports cars that could both be fast and offer excitement. Rimac recently presented the latest version of its electric hypercar, the “C Two”, at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018.
The two-seater produces 1914 hp, 2300 N·m of torque, and reaches a top speed of 412 km/h (256 mph); acceleration from 0-60 mph is in 1.85 seconds. It has a range of 650 kilometers (404 miles) (NEDC Cycle), and achieves an 80% battery charge in 30 minutes through a 250 kW fast charging system.
An innovative battery pack in technology and layout delivers 120 kWh energy and 1.4MW of power with exceptional thermal management allowing for two full laps of the Nürburgring at full power—with a negligible drop in performance.
Next-generation R-AWTV (Rimac All-Wheel Torque Vectoring) controls four electric motors, one per each wheel and enables both the safety features such as advanced ABS and ESP as well as a uniquely adaptable all-wheel drive—everything from ultimate grip to rear-wheel drive dynamism, depending on the driver’s preference
Rimac also engineers and manufactures high-performance electric vehicle powertrain systems and battery systems.
By developing the purely electric two-seaters super sports cars, like the ‘Concept One’ or ‘C Two’, as well as core vehicle systems, Rimac has impressively demonstrated its credentials in the field of electromobility. We feel that Rimac’s ideas and approaches are extremely promising, which is why we hope to enter into close collaboration with the company in the form of a development partnership.
—Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche
The fast-growing Zagreb-based company employs a total of around 400 employees. Rimac’s main focus is on high-voltage battery technology, electric powertrains and the development of digital interfaces between man and machine (HMI Development). Rimac also develops and produces e-bikes under its subsidiary Greyp Bikes, which was founded in 2013.
This partnership now is an important step for Rimac on our way to become a component and system supplier of choice for the industry in electrification, connectivity and the exciting field of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
— Mate Rimac
Fuso eCanter electric truck uses John Deere PD400 Inverter
John Deere Electronic Solutions’ (JDES) PD400 inverter is a key component in the Fuso eCanter fully electric truck. (Earlier post.) The JDES PD400 is a rugged, off-the-shelf inverter that has been proven in use at John Deere and in other off-road OEM applications. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) is the competence center for light-duty trucks and hybrid technology at Daimler Trucks, and is one of the leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles in Asia.
The flexible PD400 software provides a broad set of features and tunings that allow the eCanter electric drive system to optimize efficiency and performance. JDES offers the PD400 in single and dual configurations.
The eCanter requirements demanded very high peak torque under difficult operating conditions. In response, JDES completed a detailed drive cycle analysis that incorporated the thermal characteristics of the inverter. The result was a software upgrade that increased boost currents to 50% above previously rated limits for short periods of time all while maintaining reliability goals.
JDES resources were also utilized in the execution of ECE-R85 electric powertrain homologation testing. The traction motor, PD400 inverter, and the reference vehicle cooling system were assembled at JDES labs in Fargo, North Dakota. The 30-minute power test and the net power test were witnessed by a third party to validate applicable torque and power claims for the eCanter.
We sought out John Deere as an inverter supplier from their reputation for quality and integrity. After working with JDES we certainly see they deliver to this promise.
—Lars Schroeter, Head of xEV Powertrain Systems for Fuso
Separately, JDES announced a new distribution and support agreement with Rational Motion GmbH, which is headquartered in Cologne, Germany. Rational Motion will be the official distributor in Germany of JDES inverters for all on-highway and, depending on business environment, off-highway markets, including hybrid and pure electric applications. The new business arrangement means that customers will not only receive JDES inverters, but also integration services provided by Rational Motion.
Solaris to present new generation hydrogen bus
Solaris Bus & Coach has announced the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen, a new generation hydrogen fuel cell bus. The official premiere of the vehicle is slated for 2019.
Energy needed to power the driveline of the Solaris Urbin 12 hydrogen will be obtained fromthe fuel cell; range on a single refueling will be more than 350 km (217 miles). The vehicle will be also fitted with one of Solaris’ small High Power traction battery of 29.2 kWh which is to support the fuel cell when the demand for energy is biggest.
The battery will be charged with power from the fuel cell. In addition, it will be possible to recharge it by means of a plug-in charging outlet (as is the case in standard electric buses). An axle with dual integrated electric motors, with a nominal power of 60 kW each, will constitute the drive unit. The twelve-meter bus will be able to carry up to 80 passengers.
The new generation Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen represents the continuation and development of a concept unveiled in 2014, when two articulated electric buses (Solaris Urbino 18.75) powered with hydrogen fuel cells as range extenders, were delivered to Hamburg. Batteries constituted the basic drive source of the buses showcased four years ago.
In the new hybrid bus, electric energy propelling the vehicle will be derived from hydrogen, whereas the battery will only have a support function.
The twelve-metre Solaris Urbino hydrogen will be equipped with latest-generation 60 kW fuel cells. Hydrogen is stored in composite tanks on the roof; the mass of the tanks will be reduced by about 20% compared to previous models.
In order to optimally reduce energy use in the vehicle, it will feature a climate comfort system with a CO₂ heat pump; the system will allow to use waste heat from the fuel cell. This is an efficient proposition that will also improve the driving range of the bus.
The revolution in terms of green public transport has become a fact—Solaris has decided to respond to market demand with a whole new product. Hydrogen buses have the potential to be very popular on the market: they are cheap in use, lighter than electric buses, can cover a distance of 350 km on a single hydrogen refueling (that is also the average daily range of a city bus) and they are completely emission-free—the only substance emitted while the bus is driving is steam.
—Dariusz Michalak, vice-CEO of Solaris Bus &Coach, in charge of the research and development division
Both fuel-cell-fitted Solaris Urbino 18.75 buses delivered to Hamburg in 2014 still cover bus route 109 on a regular basis. The Polish bus producer supplied the first trolleybus with fuel cells to Riga last year. This year, 10 such vehicles will drive across the capital of Latvia in total.
Velocys partners with PQ for FT catalyst manufacturing; secures funding for UK waste-to-jet project
Velocys plc has partnered with PQ Corporation (PQ) for the supply of commercial quantities of Velocys’ proprietary microchannel Fischer-Tropsch catalyst to be used in multiple biorefineries incorporating its technology.
PQ is a leading global provider of specialty catalysts, services, materials and chemicals for the refinery, emissions control and petrochemical industries.
Catalyst produced by PQ has already been used to successfully produce renewable transportation fuel and other products at ENVIA, the first commercial smaller scale gas-to-liquids plant which incorporates Velocys technology.
In addition, PQ will manufacture the catalyst to be used by Velocys’ licensees as well as by the biorefinery projects that the company is developing with its industry partners, including its US biorefinery that will convert waste woody biomass into 20 million gallons per year of low-carbon transportation fuels and its plant in the UK that will convert waste into sustainable jet fuel.
UK waste-to-jet-fuel project. Velocys earlier announced that £4.9 million (US$6.5 million) of funding has been secured to deliver the next development phase of the waste-to-sustainable jet fuel project that it is developing in the UK.
As part of the funding package a grant of £434,000 (US$572,000) has been secured from the Department for Transport (DfT) under the Future Fuels for Flight and Freight Competition (F4C). The award of this grant, together with ongoing policy support provided by the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation, will help this innovative waste-to-fuels project bring jobs and clean growth to the UK. The project is being developed with the financial and technical support of Shell and British Airways.
Velocys will continue to lead the project and has committed £1.5 million (US$2 million) to this next development phase, a significant proportion of which is in the form of an in-kind contribution.
The next stage of the project will be developed by Velocys, Shell and British Airways.
The team is developing the engineering and business case for the construction of a first plant in the UK. Subject to a final investment decision, this plant will take hundreds of thousands of tonnes per year of post-recycled waste, destined for landfill or incineration, and convert it into clean-burning, sustainable fuels.
The jet fuel produced, to be used by British Airways, is expected to deliver over 70% greenhouse gas reduction and 90% reduction in particulate matter emissions compared with conventional jet fuel. This would contribute to both carbon emissions reductions and local air quality improvements around major airports. The project partners expect to reach a final investment decision in the first half of 2020.
Growth Energy estimates 2,800 retail sites in US to offer E15 by 2021; 350M new ethanol gallons annually
More than 2,800 retail sites will offer E15 by 2021, generating approximately 350 million new ethanol gallons annually, according to a one-pager released by biofuel trade association Growth Energy. The report touts the accomplishments of Prime the Pump, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build the infrastructure and distribution of higher biofuel blends.
The Prime the Pump market development campaign has:
Doubled the number of E15 stations four years in a row to include 1,400 stations across 30 states.
Secured commitments of more than 2,800 retail sites that will offer E15 by 2021 generating approximately 350 million new ethanol gallons annually.
Added three major new retailers to the program in 2017, including a game-changing partnership with Kwik Trip which successfully rolled out E15 at 300 sites in just four months.
The organizations are arguing for relief from the current Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) limitations to further spur the growth of E15 sales.
Volatility defines its evaporation characteristics of a liquid fuel; RVP—expressed in pounds per square inch (psi)—is a common measure of and generic term for gasoline volatility. The higher the RVP of a fuel, the worse its emissions are. The RVP of gasoline can range from 7 to 15 psi.
Ethanol itself has a very low volatility: ~2 psi RVP. But when mixed into gasoline at low levels (<10%), ethanol reacts with certain hydrocarbons to increase the RVP of the finished blend approximately 1 psi, or generally to about 10 psi RVP.
EPA regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season (1 June to 15 September) to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems.
In 1990, Congress provided a one-pound RVP volatility waiver to 10 percent ethanol blends because ethanol fuels reduce tailpipe emissions; i.e., Congress gave EPA the authority to allow the use of E10 (the maximum amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline in 1990) during the summer season. In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15.
While the EPA has extended this waiver to blends below 10 percent, and the agency has assured members of Congress that a regulatory fix is under review, the agency has not yet provided RVP relief for E15.
Growth Energy is working to deliver support for legislation to extend the RVP waiver to E15.
All this [E15] momentum is at risk unless we get Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief to unleash the full potential of E15, because this RVP issue isn’t just about a 3-month dip in sales. It’s a major obstruction for those going the extra mile to expand into new markets and grow our industry. Retailers in many markets simply can’t or won’t retool their labels and fuel offerings each summer, which means that E15 is off the menu all year what’s at stake is 7 billion new gallons of ethanol demand.
—Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor
Audi and Hyundai to partner on fuel cell technology
Audi AG and Hyundai Motor Group will partner on the development of fuel cell technology. The two companies plan to cross-license patents and grant access to non-competitive components.
The agreement is currently subject to approval from the applicable regulatory authorities. Through their collaboration, both partners aim to bring the fuel cell to volume production maturity more quickly and more efficiently. Audi and Hyundai are also exploring more far-reaching collaboration on the development of this sustainable technology.
The fuel cell is the most systematic form of electric driving and thus a potent asset in our technology portfolio for the emission-free premium mobility of the future. On our FCEV roadmap, we are joining forces with strong partners such as Hyundai. For the breakthrough of this sustainable technology, cooperation is the smart way to leading innovations with attractive cost structures.
—Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi
We are confident that our partnership with Audi will successfully demonstrate the vision and benefits of FCEVs to the global society. This agreement is another example of Hyundai’s strong commitment to creating a more sustainable future whilst enhancing consumers’ lives with hydrogen-powered vehicles, the fastest way to a truly zero-emission world.
—Euisun Chung, Vice Chairman at Hyundai Motor Company
Long ranges and short refueling times make hydrogen an attractive future source of energy for electric mobility. This is particularly true for larger automobiles, where the weight advantages of the fuel cell vehicle inherent to its design are particularly pronounced, Audi said.
Besides further advances in fuel cell technology, key aspects for its future market success include the regenerative production of hydrogen and the establishment of a sufficient infrastructure.
Within the Volkswagen Group, AUDI AG has taken on the development responsibility for the fuel cell technology and is currently working on its sixth generation. The Group’s Fuel Cell Competence Center is located at the Neckarsulm site.
Audi plans to introduce its first fuel cell model as a small series production at the beginning of the next decade. As a sporty SUV, the model will combine the premium comfort of the full-size segment with long-range capability. The cross-license agreement with Hyundai is already focused on the next development stage intended for a broader market offer.
Audi has been working on fuel cell concepts for almost 20 years. The first test vehicle was the compact Audi A2H2 in 2004, followed by the Audi Q5 HFC in 2008. The 2014 Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro introduced the “h-tron” suffix for models with fuel cell technology. The “h” stands for the element hydrogen. The Audi h-tron quattro concept study presented in 2016 further demonstrated the brand’s technology competence in fuel cell drive systems.
ZF introduces electrified AMT for hybrid functions for small and compact vehicles
ZF has introduced a new eAMT (electrified Automated Manual Transmission) technology for the hybridization of front-transverse vehicles. The eAMT integrates the company’s electric axle drive system (eVD) and an automated manual transmission (AMT) into one system.
The transmission actuator and the electric rear axle operate together with intelligent interaction. This results in the eAMT concept no longer experiencing tractive force interruption; the electric motor bridges the gap in accelerative force of the AMT.
In addition to the hybrid functions of electric drive and recuperation and boost, eAMT also features electric all-wheel drive. ZF software regulates the networking and coordination of the internal combustion engine, electric motor and automated transmission.
For the hybridization of price-sensitive small to compact vehicles with front-wheel drive, the greatest challenges are currently additional cost and development effort as well as limited installation space.
With eAMT, ZF has developed a fully-fledged plug-in hybrid drive for front-transverse vehicles. This increases flexibility for vehicle manufacturers. They can use existing platforms to implement conventional drives or plug-in hybrids.
The ZF concept integrates an automated manual transmission and an electric axle drive system on the rear axle into one unit. In some vehicle classes, automatic transmissions are out of the question for reasons of weight, space or cost. In this scenario, the automation of manual transmissions is a great way to significantly increase comfort and efficiency for drivers, as they don’t need to actuate the clutch or change gears.
—Norman Schmidt-Winkel, functional developer of electric drives at ZF
Due to the electric drive and intelligent drive management, eAMT’s shift comfort and performance are almost on par with more costly torque converter or dual clutch transmissions, ZF says.
As soon as the AMT disengages in order to engage a new gear, there is a tractive force interruption. This is normal for automated manual transmissions due to their design. With its Traction Torque Support function, the new eAMT almost completely compensates for this short break in accelerative force.
The electric drive on the rear axle precisely bridges this break with a perfectly timed insertion of torque. A ZF eAMT demonstration vehicle based on a current compact SUV platform underscores just how well this balance of force between the front combustion engine, the automated transmission and the rear electric drive works in real-world applications.
The driver is absolutely unaware of the complex system sequences and control processes running in the background. When accelerating, only the benefits of completely jerk-free, powerful acceleration can be felt. Previously, these benefits would only be available in much more expensive hybrid vehicles with more complex transmissions. We also utilized the eAMT system’s potential for other features that increase efficiency and driving safety.
The electric rear axle drive not only supports gear changes: It will also activate automatically and at lightning speed as soon as additional thrust is required such as when overtaking, or when all-wheel drive is needed on slippery road sections.
In addition, ZF has dimensioned the electric motor in the demonstration vehicle to have the capacity to move the SUV under electric power alone. It then travels in all-electric mode and with zero local emissions.
This eAMT operating mode is particularly suitable for urban driving, creep mode in traffic jams as well as general maneuvering and parking.
Conversely, eAMT also enables coasting—i.e., saving energy while gliding along with the combustion engine drive disengaged. This function benefits from the asynchronous machine (ASM) in the rear.
Unlike permanent-field synchronous machines (PSM), the former turns without resistance as long as the hybrid manager does not actuate it. The plug-in hybrid also has familiar features such as automatic engine stop and recuperation. With eAMT, manufacturers can freely select the functional scope of future plug-in hybrids and determine how powerful their electrical motors are to be.
New advanced metals processing center opens at Brunel
The new Advanced Metal Processing Center (AMPC) has opened at Brunel University London. The new center provides a boost for manufacturers to work with Brunel on large-scale research and development activity, enabling innovations such as novel structures for lightweight car parts to make the leap from the lab to full-scale industrial trials.
The AMPC, which was officially opened at the Brunel Center for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST) on 13 June, is funded by £15 million (US$20 million) from the UK government, providing the equipment and infrastructure to attract industrial match funding through people and resources from partners such as Constellium and Jaguar Land Rover. This will help to develop the future generation of engineers, designers, scientists and materials specialists, and to accelerate automotive lightweighting through the deployment of world-leading, high-performance aluminium alloys and innovative technologies.
Touring the AMPC equipment at the opening.
The AMPC’s 1,500 square meters of working space, in a bespoke building on Brunel’s campus in Uxbridge, is the second phase of BCAST’s scale-up facility, following on from 2016’s launch of the Advanced Metal Casting Center (AMCC).
The industrial and pilot-scale metal processing equipment enables:
Processing and fabrication of extruded metals, such as novel bending processes, machining and advanced joining techniques;
Further casting processes, such as gravity die casting and sand casting, adding to those available in the AMCC; and
Supporting materials characterization, such as for testing strength and fatigue, and including 3D x-ray tomography.
A key feature of the AMPC and AMCC is that BCAST’s researchers and seconded engineers from its partners will work side by side.
Constellium also concurrently announced the expansion of its research and development capability at Brunel. After establishing a University Technology Center in 2016, Constellium is dedicating an R&D Center within the campus to transition technology from the laboratory to its production facilities around the world.
The automotive industry is advancing technology at an unprecedented pace, and the AMPC is a tremendous resource for automakers, allowing rapid prototyping with state-of-the art forming and joining techniques to help shape lightweight, high-strength components for the next generation of vehicles. Constellium is thrilled to be expanding its presence at Brunel University London and to be at the forefront of development for aluminium automotive structural components.
—Paul Warton, President of Constellium’s Automotive Structures and Industry business unit
Constellium has already delivered international projects stemming from work with BCAST, including one for Tesla: The Model 3 is supplied with the front and rear crash management systems from Constellium developed with ultra-high-strength alloys in Brunel.
Equipment offered at the AMPC includes:
Sand casting: Commercial foundry equipment forming a no-bake (air-set) sand casting line, for moulds up to 1 m × 1 m in size, comprising hopper, sand mixer, vibratory compaction, roll-over, 300 kg furnace for melting aluminium, heated ladle and de-coring oven.
Gravity die casting: A commercial 90° tilting gravity die casting machine, with 800 × 500 mm platens and four double die cooling channels for air and water, capable of casting components up to 20 kg in weight.
Free-form bending: A commercial 6-axis servohydraulic computer numerical control (CNC) free-form bending machine to allow continuously fed extruded profiles of up to 4 m in length to be bent into complex geometries.
Roll bending: A commercial 35-tonne roll bending machine, with three individually servomotor-driven rolls, computer control, automatic radius correction, and positioning resolution of 1/100 mm.
Electromagnetic pulse forming and welding: An innovative method of shaping and joining that uses the force generated by short, energetic electromagnetic pulses in combination with field shapers, mandrels and dies. It can be used for many applications including shaping hollow sections and joining dissimilar metals.
Heat treatment: A range of large heat treatment ovens for homogenization, solution and ageing treatments of billets, extruded profiles, fabricated components and cast components. The facilities include a water/polymer quench bath.
Machining: Machining facilities include a CNC machining center, CNC lathe, electro-discharge wire cutting, and other workshop equipment. The equipment is used for fabricating prototype components and machining test specimens.
Joining: A cold metal transfer (CMT) welding set with a universal robot, for welding at very low heat input to minimise distortion and for welding thin gauges. A flow drill screwdriving system, which forms holes, threads and inserts a screw in a single step: ideal for joining to hollow sections and where access is difficult.
Mechanical testing: A 100 kN servohydraulic fatigue test frame and a 100 kN electromechanical universal test frame, both with environment chambers for testing at up to 600°C. Strain measurement by contact extensometry and a dual-camera optical strain measurement system. Supported by hardness testing and inspection microscopes.
X-ray CT scanning: Two x-ray computed tomography systems for 3D inspection: a 450 kV system for inspection of large-sized components, capable of imaging defects of 100 μm; and a 150 kV system with micron-scale resolution in small samples.
Optical 3D scanning: Precise measurement of components by stereo-camera optical 3D scanning with triple-scan functionality, additional photogrammetry, touch probes for out-of-sight measurement, and inspection turntable.
Funding for the AMPC has been provided through a £15-million award from the Higher Educational Funding Council for England (HEFCE) UKRPIF programme (now managed by Research England) and multi-million pounds of cash and in-kind support for R&D from the private sector over ten years.
The AMPC’s research partners include Constellium, Jaguar Land Rover, Grainger & Worrall, Sarginsons Industries, Aeromet International, Innoval Technology and Norton Aluminium.
Examples of Innovate UK projects that have been using the AMCC and will use the AMPC from its outset:
Carbon Aluminium Automotive Hybrid Structures (CAAHS); Partners: Gordon Murray Design Limited (lead), Innoval Technology Limited, Constellium UK Limited. Gordon Murray Design’s iStream automotive manufacturing technology allows significant reductions in setup, production costs, vehicle mass, and lifecycle CO2 emissions, while offering cost-effective design flexibility that exceeds current Euro NCAP occupant and pedestrian impact regulations.
The project consortium of Gordon Murray Design, Innoval Technology Limited, Constellium and Brunel University London’s BCAST aim to develop an iStream monocoque that is 30–40% lighter than the incumbent steel/glass fiber composite structure. Using a novel high-strength extrusion alloy combined with advanced composite panels based on recycled carbon fibre, the project aims to further reduce CO2 emissions through significant lightweighting, whilst maintaining the high-volume, low-cost benefits of the original disruptive iStream technology.
The project also aims to take another major step, making full use of the iStream process, towards a new generation of lightweight vehicles for the UK market that can have a major impact on the UK government’s carbon reduction targets for the UK vehicle fleet.
Lightweight Energy Absorbing Aluminium Structures (LEAAST); Partners: Jaguar Land Rover Limited (Lead), Luxfer Gas Cylinders Limited, Sarginsons Industries Limited, Advanced Forging and Forming Research Center, Innoval Technology Limited, Grainger & Worrall Limited, Norton Aluminium Limited, Constellium UK Limited, T. A. Savery & Co Limited. Lightweight crash management systems are of increasing importance for most forms of ground transport. Automotive OEMs like JLR have advanced aluminium automotive body designs but still depend on steel for bumper beams. For rail applications, steel-based crash systems predominate. Constellium has developed considerably stronger extrusion alloys based on the AA6xxx alloy system that are fully recycling compatible with the sheet used for automotive structures and body panels.
Brunel University London’s BCAST has developed alloys and casting technologies that enable extrusions and castings to be combined in novel ways to produce a new generation of compact lightweight crash management systems. The envisaged work program will include a high-strength alloy being combined with casting alloys using overcasting techniques and the use of bonded and riveted joints to demonstrate the potential for both increased crash resistance and weight saving. The project will demonstrate and evaluate optimized designs for crash management systems for both automotive and rail transport.
Transportation Electrification Accord sets out multi-sector roadmap to electrified future
Fortune 100 companies, including automakers and utilities, have joined labor groups, consumer advocates, environmental organizations and others to sign the Transportation Electrification Accord— a written set of principles meant to inspire and continue the conversation around electrified transportation.
Advanced Energy Economy, Energy Foundation, Illinois Citizen Utility Board, Natural Resources Defense Council, Plug-in America and Sierra Club worked with diverse stakeholder and business interests to draft the Accord. The goal of the Accord is to educate policymakers on how to advance electric transportation in a manner that provides economic, social and environmental benefits.
We envision a world with zero emissions. That’s the future and the Accord lays out the essential building blocks for a compelling energy infrastructure that we can all rely on for decades to come. Innovations in transportation electrification will benefit society as a whole—and cross-industry, multi-stakeholder cooperation is key.
—Britta Gross, director, General Motors Advanced Vehicle Commercialization Policy
Signers, including General Motors, Honda, Proterra, Exelon, NationalGrid, PG&E, Siemens, the Alliance for Transportation Electrification, Consumer Federation of America, Ceres, Forth, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Plug In America, Sierra Club and many more, are committing to support the evolution of electric mobility and the development of programs to accelerate it, while stimulating innovation and competition in the marketplace.
It’s clear that the future of transportation will be electric. The Accord provides a baseline from which utility regulators can support growing demand for affordable, electrified transport. Our signature on the Accord is a promise to meet that demand through greater grid efficiency and reduced air pollution in a way that benefits all communities.
—Christopher Budzynski, director of utility strategy, Exelon Utilities
Regardless of policy uncertainty at the state and federal level, the Accord outlines how transportation electrification can be advanced by policymakers, public utility commissions and local and state governments in a manner that benefits utility customers and all forms of transportation.
Making the transition to an electrified transportation future requires long-term policy certainty. Certainty in the marketplace provides a signal to businesses to invest, thereby driving innovation and jobs. We believe the Accord provides foundational directions that will inspire policymakers.
—Chris King, chief policy officer, Siemens Digital Grid
The Accord outlines how transportation electrification can be advanced in a manner that benefits all utility customers and users of all forms of transportation, while supporting the evolution of a cleaner grid and stimulating innovation and competition for U.S. companies.
Context And Guiding Principles
There is a clear case for electrifying transportation, which can provide benefits to all consumers (including the socioeconomically disadvantaged), advance economic development, create jobs, provide grid services, integrate more renewable energy, and cut air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Electrified transportation should include, not only passenger cars, but also larger vehicles (e.g., transit buses and delivery trucks), as well as off-road equipment (e.g., airport and port electrification equipment).
Accelerating an appropriate deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure based on market penetration projections along highway corridors, as well as throughout local cities and towns, is a critical element of electrifying transportation.
It is critical to support electric transportation at the state and local government levels, whether it be through governors, state legislators, state commissions, state transportation agencies, state energy offices, mayors, or local governments.
Electric utilities regulated by state and local commissions and boards, who serve the interests of the state and the public at large, have made substantial progress in accelerating the retirement of costly and less efficient fossil generation, and are poised to continue to make progress in promoting innovation, spurring greater grid efficiencies, and reducing harmful air pollution.
Under appropriate rules, it is in the public interest to allow investor-owned and publicly-owned utilities to participate in and facilitate the deployment of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and/or supporting infrastructure for residential and commercial applications in their service territories to accomplish state and local policy goals. The distribution grid is incorporating new grid-edge features such as advanced demand response and distributed energy storage. In that broader context, utilities are well positioned to ensure that installed EVSE, whether owned by utilities or other parties, maximizes the public benefits of these innovations, through appropriate integration of these technologies in order to maximize electrical system benefits for all classes of customers.
The build out of EVSE must optimize charging patterns to improve system load shape, reduce local load pockets, facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources, and maximize grid value. Using a combination of time-based rates, smart charging and rate design, load management practices, demand response, and other innovative applications, EV loads should be managed in the interest of all electricity customers.
To drive innovation and foster competition in the transportation electrification space, it is vital that open charging standards or protocols are adopted for both front-end and back-end interoperability. An open system also promotes greater transparency of vital data and information, which can be shared with a variety of innovative companies. The guidelines developed by the Open Charge Alliance (OCA) should be used as the baseline. Data developed by third parties from behind-the-meter devices should also be made available to utilities for use in planning system architecture and EVSE.
Consumers and EV owners will benefit greatly from a smart, efficient, and open architecture throughout the EV infrastructure. Ensuring interoperability throughout the EV architecture means that consumers should be able to roam easily among the different networks, with a common identification and authentication process, with as little hassle as possible. In addition, key consumer protection principles should be adhered to for all deployed EVSE regardless of the EVSE owner, including transparent pricing and open access policies. Drivers who charge in a manner consistent with grid conditions should realize fuel cost savings. Mapping locations and signage of the stations should also be provided for all consumers.
Utilities should proactively engage their regulators, consumers and all stakeholders in developing rate designs, infrastructure deployment programs, and education and outreach efforts that benefit all utility customers and allow reasonable cost recovery, while accelerating widespread transportation electrification that supports a reliable and robust grid.
Best practices, standards and codes should be a priority for all transportation electrification infrastructure installations. As new open standards and more advanced security measures are developed, these should be implemented in a timely manner by all operators of EVSE. It is critical that industry participants continue to collaborate on consistent communication protocols between the vehicle, infrastructure and grid to ensure system safety, security and reliability.
Volkswagen AG, Ford explore strategic alliance
Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding and are exploring a strategic alliance designed to strengthen each company’s competitiveness and better serve customers globally.
The companies are exploring potential projects across a number of areas—including developing a range of commercial vehicles together to better serve the evolving needs of customers. The potential alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross ownership stakes.
Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models—which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency. This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities.
We look forward to exploring with the Volkswagen team in the days ahead how we might work together to better serve the evolving needs of commercial vehicle customers—and much more.
—Jim Farley, Ford’s president of Global Markets. “
Markets and customer demand are changing at an incredible speed. Both companies have strong and complementary positions in different commercial vehicle segments already. To adapt to the challenging environment, it is of utmost importance to gain flexibility through alliances. This is a core element of our Volkswagen Group Strategy 2025. The potential industrial cooperation with Ford is seen as an opportunity to improve competitiveness of both companies globally.
—Dr. Thomas Sedran, Head of Volkswagen Group Strategy
The companies will provide updates and additional details as talks progress.
New genetic engineering technique improves enzyme’s ability to breakdown biomass
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Georgia have developed a new genetic engineering technique significantly to improve an enzyme’s ability to break down biomass. A paper on the work is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The new method, Evolution by Amplification and Synthetic Biology (EASy), enabled scientists to accelerate the evolution of a microorganism’s desirable traits. This technique led to the unusual fusion of enzymes from two different species of bacteria and contributed to the emerging use of microbes to convert lignin, a major component of plant biomass, into valuable chemicals.
The EASy method enables the back-to-back incorporation of hundreds of copies of a gene—which contains the code for a specific enzyme—into a cell. This region of repetitive DNA provides the cell with a means to undergo accelerated evolution of this gene. This can ultimately lead to the generation of superior performing enzymes.
We can make many, many random changes and identify those that are of interest using evolution.
—Christopher Johnson, a molecular biologist in NREL’s National Bioenergy Center and co-author
Researchers inserted DNA that encodes the enzyme GcoA from the bacteria Amycolatopsis into another bacteria, Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1, placing it adjacent to the gene that encodes the CatA enzyme. The EASy technique resulted in the unusual fusion of two genes into a single gene encoding a chimeric enzyme.
The trait afforded by this chimeric enzyme was the ability to more efficiently convert a component of lignin—a particularly resilient part of plant biomass—into fuels, and a precursor of plastics such as nylon lignin comprises about 30% of biomass.
It’s a matter of conversion efficiency. If you’re not using that 30 percent, you’re throwing it away. We’re trying to capture that 30 percent.
—Jeffrey Linger, co-author
Funding for the research came from DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.
Melissa Tumen-Velasquez, Christopher W. Johnson, Alaa Ahmed, Graham Dominick, Emily M. Fulk, Payal Khanna, Sarah A. Lee, Alicia L. Schmidt, Jeffrey G. Linger, Mark A. Eiteman, Gregg T. Beckham, Ellen L. Neidle (2018) “Accelerating pathway evolution by increasing the gene dosage of chromosomal segments” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences doi: 10.1073/pnas.1803745115
Voyage partners with Renovo for autonomous taxi fleet
Voyage, a startup in the autonomous taxi space, entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Renovo, a mobility technology company, to license Renovo’s AWare OS for use across its global fleet of automated vehicles. Initial AWare deployments will take place this year in Voyage’s existing commercial community deployments in The Villages in Central Florida and The Villages in San Jose, CA.
These deployments will feature Voyage’s custom automated driving system (ADS) running on Renovo’s AWare OS. The first fleet of Voyage vehicles using AWare are Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans with additional models to be added in future.
Voyage is focused on expanding its reach while improving its autonomous capabilities. Rather than adopting a capital-intensive vertical approach, Voyage is leveraging a strong and growing ecosystem of companies developing key components of the autonomous mobility stack —using AWare as the primary technology to bring these components together on a single platform.
AWare provides the low-level OS layer on which Voyage’s community-optimized Automated Driving System runs as well as third party technology and services. Several Voyage partners (including HD mapping company CARMERA and leading lidar producer Velodyne) are already part of the AWare ecosystem, illustrating the reduced cost and time-to-market benefits of the AWare partnership.
Renovo built AWare specifically for fleet operators such as Voyage. AWare enables a wide range of technologies to operate in a safe, secure, and scalable manner and supports the commercial deployment of fleets made up of highly automated (SAE Level 4) vehicles.
AWare is a trusted layer in functionally safe architectures and features multiple computational domains including low-level safety controllers.
In addition to the ADS, AWare provides a reliable runtime for all other vehicle applications including teleoperation, mapping, fleet management, and data services.
AWare works with any application, any sensor, and any vehicle allowing Voyage the freedom to innovate and expand their offerings while leveraging a growing ecosystem of third party technologies and services.
Voyage and Renovo are working together to raise the bar on safety through a number of efforts. Voyage has already demonstrated its commitment to safe systems through its Open Autonomous Safety initiative, and Renovo has joined this initiative and will contribute to the open-source library of information that is helping the entire industry improve safety.
Renovo has a history of building full-vehicle safety systems and has a long-running partnership with Stanford University focused on research into advanced vehicle control strategies.
Together Voyage and Renovo will continue to contribute to and advocate for more open and effective practices and standards for safety in commercial deployments of highly automated vehicles.
The AWare ecosystem includes a growing list of leading companies in the automated mobility sector including Samsung, Verizon, Velodyne, CARMERA, Parsons, INRIX, Argus Cyber Security, Metamoto, and Affectiva.
The Fed Is Driving Down Oil Prices
by Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com.
The U.S. dollar has jumped to its strongest level in nearly a year, raising questions about how a strong greenback could act as a drag on debt and oil demand in much of the world. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced another rate hike a few days ago, which helped edge up the dollar to a new high for the year.
The greenback has “a little room to run,” Kathy Jones, a New York-based chief fixed-income strategist at Charles Schwab, said in a Bloomberg interview. “We have seen softer numbers out of Europe and firmer numbers out of the U.S.” The U.S. Federal Reserve is unwinding its extraordinary monetary intervention after a decade of near-zero interest rates. The Fed has announced quarter-point interest rate hikes twice and is planning on at least two additional increases this year.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is heading in the other direction in an effort to keep sovereign bond yields from spiraling out of control, particularly after the recent political turmoil in Italy unnerved bond markets on the continent. The ECB said it would keep interest rates low through at least next summer.
The diverging policy paths for the two central banks points to a further strengthening of the dollar relative to the euro. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index jumped to 1,187 in early trading on Friday, the highest level since July 2017. The greenback has strengthened about 6 percent in the past two months.
“(ECB President Mario) Draghi came out a little bit more dovish than people thought he was going to be. And that really caused the euro to take a dip and the (U.S.) dollar to go up, which is putting downward pressure on prices,” Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, told Reuters.
There are plenty of factors influencing oil prices right now, and the OPEC+ decision expected in a few days will be the single most important driver in the near-term. But the U.S. dollar is one important variable influencing oil prices. A stronger dollar helps push down prices because it makes oil, which is priced in dollars, much more expensive in much of the world.
Moreover, emerging markets now account for a majority of oil demand, and nearly all of the growth in oil demand. More specifically, additional consumption over the next few decades is expected to overwhelmingly come from China and India. In 2018, the two countries have accounted for nearly 70 percent of oil demand growth.
As a result, actions from the Fed reverberate through the oil markets. Higher oil prices act as a drag on demand, but a stronger greenback magnifies the expense in local currency.
Some governments are desperate to shield their economies from higher prices. As Reuters notes, the price of a liter of diesel in India is up 27 percent from a year ago, which, while costly, is actually subdued given the 70 percent increase in Brent prices over that time period. The Indian government is stepping in to blunt the impact of higher fuel prices, at great expense to public coffers.
The IEA said last week that oil demand is set to grow by 1.4 million barrels per day (mb/d) in each of 2018 and 2019, although that forecast was vulnerable to several potential pitfalls. “Of course, there are downside risks: these include the possibility of higher prices, a weakening of economic confidence, trade protectionism and a potential further strengthening of the US dollar,” the IEA wrote.
We have already seen some flashpoints flare up this year as a result of both higher fuel prices and currency problems, and while there are always multiple causes to such events, the strength of the U.S. dollar cannot be discounted. In Argentina, the peso lost nearly a quarter of its value relative to the dollar, forcing the government to seek a financial rescue from the IMF. In Brazil, crippling protests over high fuel prices paralyzed the country – prices were particularly painful for the truckers staging the strikes because Brazil’s currency lost nearly 15 percent of its value relative to the dollar, exacerbating the rise in oil prices.
“Currency risks are also mounting for several emerging market economies and some OECD countries,” the IEA wrote in its report. “For example, between the start of April and the end of May, the Argentinian peso has depreciated by 24% versus the US Dollar, the Brazilian real by 12.6%, the Mexican peso by 9.7%, the Russian ruble by 9.2%, the Turkish lira by 14.4%, the South African rand by 7.3% and the euro by 5.4%.”
This currency turmoil threatens oil demand growth. “These depreciations forced some countries to increase interest rates to defend their currency, which could weigh on growth in due course,” the IEA concluded.
Link to original article: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Fed-Is-Driving-Down-Oil-Prices.html
UPS to invest $130M in > 700 natural gas vehicles and infrastructure; > $1B invested in alt fuels since 2008
UPS plans to build an additional five compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and add more than 700 new CNG vehicles including 400 semi-tractors and 330 terminal trucks. This $130-million dollar investment in CNG capacity for 2018 builds on previous UPS investments of $100 million dollars in 2016 and $90 million dollars in 2017.
UPS will have invested more than $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations from 2008 through 2018.
We strongly believe further investment in our natural gas fleet is a key element to help us achieve our long-term goals for reducing our CO2 emissions. We demonstrated the effectiveness of natural gas vehicles and fuel in 2017 by using 77 million total gallon equivalents in our ground fleet. UPS is a catalyst for wide scale adoption of natural gas vehicles.Carlton Rose, president, global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS
Building CNG and LNG capacity is an important enabler for increasing UPS’ use of renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG yields up to a 90% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions when compared to conventional diesel. Last year, UPS used 15 million gallon equivalents of RNG. The company is the largest consumer of RNG in the transportation sector.
The five new CNG stations will be in Goodyear, Ariz.; Plainfield, Ind.; Edgerton, Kan.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Arlington, Texas. Four hundred semi-tractors will be supplied by Freightliner and Kenworth and 330 terminal trucks by TICO.
UPS will deploy the new CNG vehicles on routes to utilize the new CNG stations as well as adding to existing natural gas fleets in other UPS locations including Atlanta, Ga.; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
UPS currently operates more than 50 natural gas fueling stations strategically located across the US, and, outside the U.S. in Vancouver, Canada, and Tamworth, United Kingdom.
The initiative will help UPS reach its 2020 goal of one in four new vehicles purchased being an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle. The company has also set a goal of replacing 40% of all ground fuel with sources other than conventional gasoline and diesel. These goals support UPS commitment to reduce its GHG emissions from global ground operations 12 percent by 2025.
Using its Rolling Laboratory approach, UPS deploys approximately 9,100 low-emission vehicles to determine which technology works best in each route configuration. This includes all-electric, hybrid electric, hydraulic hybrid, ethanol, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and propane.
Bloomberg NEF forecasts falling battery prices enabling surge in wind and solar to 50% of global generation by 2050
Wind and solar power generation will surge to almost 50% of world generation by 2050 (“50 by 50”), supported by precipitous reductions in cost, and the advent of cheaper and cheaper batteries that will enable electricity to be stored and discharged to meet shifts in demand and supply, according to the new annual Bloomberg NEF New Energy Outlook (NEO) 2018.
This year’s outlook is the first to highlight the significant impact that falling battery costs will have on the electricity mix over the coming decades. BNEF predicts that lithium-ion battery prices, already down by nearly 80% per megawatt-hour since 2010, will continue to tumble as electric vehicle manufacturing builds up through the 2020s.
We see $548 billion being invested in battery capacity by 2050, two thirds of that at the grid level and one third installed behind-the-meter by households and businesses.
The arrival of cheap battery storage will mean that it becomes increasingly possible to finesse the delivery of electricity from wind and solar, so that these technologies can help meet demand even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. The result will be renewables eating up more and more of the existing market for coal, gas and nuclear.
—Seb Henbest, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa for BNEF and lead author of NEO 2018
NEO 2018 sees $11.5 trillion being invested globally in new power generation capacity between 2018 and 2050, with $8.4 trillion of that going to wind and solar and a further $1.5 trillion to other zero-carbon technologies such as hydro and nuclear.
This investment will produce a 17-fold increase in solar photovoltaic capacity worldwide, and a sixfold increase in wind power capacity. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from new PV plants is forecast to fall a further 71% by 2050, while that for onshore wind drops by a further 58%. These two technologies have already seen LCOE reductions of 77% and 41% respectively between 2009 and 2018.
Coal emerges as the biggest loser in the long run. Beaten on cost by wind and PV for bulk electricity generation, and batteries and gas for flexibility, the future electricity system will reorganize around cheap renewables—coal gets squeezed out.
—Elena Giannakopoulou, head of energy economics at BNEF
The latest BP Annual Energy Outlook found that in 2017, renewables grew strongly in 2017, with wind and solar leading the way. However, coal consumption was also up, growing for the first time since 2013. Among the related datapoints:
Coal consumption growth in 2017 was driven largely by India (18 mtoe), with China consumption also up slightly (4 Mtoe) following three successive annual declines during 2014-2016. OECD demand fell for the fourth year in a row (-4 mtoe).
Coal’s share in primary energy in 2017 fell to 27.6%, the lowest since 2004.
World coal production grew by 105 mtoe or 3.2%, the fastest rate of growth since 2011. Production rose by 56 mtoe in China and 23 mtoe in the US.
BNEF forecasts the role of gas in the generation mix will evolve, with gas-fired power stations increasingly built and used to provide back-up for renewables rather than to produce base-load, or round-the-clock, electricity.
BNEF sees $1.3 trillion being invested in new capacity to 2050, nearly half of it in gas peaker plants rather than combined-cycle turbines. Gas-fired generation is seen rising 15% between 2017 and 2050, although its share of global electricity declines from 21% to 15%.
Fuel burn trends globally are forecast to be dire in the long run for the coal industry, but moderately encouraging for the gas extraction sector. NEO 2018 sees coal burn in power stations falling 56% between 2017 and 2050, while that for gas rises 14%.
The bearish outlook for coal means that NEO 2018 offers a more upbeat projection for carbon emissions than the equivalent report a year ago. BNEF now sees global electricity sector emissions rising 2% from 2017 to a peak in 2027, and then falling 38% to 2050.
However, BNEF notes, this would still mean electricity failing to fulfill its part of the effort to keep global CO₂ levels below 450 parts per million.
Even if we decommissioned all the world’s coal plants by 2035, the power sector would still be tracking above a climate-safe trajectory, burning too much unabated gas. Getting to two degrees requires a zero-carbon solution to the seasonal extremes, one that doesn’t involve unabated gas.
—Matthias Kimmel, energy economics analyst at BNEF
BNEF’s New Energy Outlook is underpinned by the evolving economics of different power technologies, and on projections for electricity demand fundamentals such as population and GDP. It assumes that existing energy policy settings around the world remain in place until their scheduled expiry, and that there are no additional government measures.
Among the other highlights of NEO 2018 are high penetration rates for renewables in many markets (87% of total electricity supply in Europe by 2050, and 55% for the US, 62% for China and 75% for India). It also highlights a shift to more decentralization in some countries such as Australia, where by mid-century consumer PV and batteries account for 43% of all capacity.
NEO 2018 also analyzes the impact of the electrification of transport on electricity consumption. It estimates that electric cars and buses will be using 3,461 TWh of electricity globally in 2050, equivalent to 9% of total demand. About half of the necessary charging is forecast to be done on a dynamic basis, taking advantage of times when electricity prices are low because of high renewables output.
This analysis draws on BNEF’s latest Electric Vehicle Outlook, published on May 21, which predicted that EVs would account for 28% of global new car sales by 2030, and 55% by 2040. Electric buses are expected to dominate their market even more decisively, reaching 84% global share by 2030.
Mercedes-Benz EQC EV soaking up summer heat of up to 50˚C in trials in Spain
Mercedes-Benz will run the Mercedes-Benz EQC electric vehicle through hot weather trials in Spain. Following successful winter trials, the EQC is required to endure an extensive test program in the summer heat with temperatures of up to 50° C (122 ˚F).
Particular attention is being given to aspects which are very demanding for electric cars—air conditioning and charging, as well as cooling the battery, drive system and control units in extreme heat. Criteria such as driving dynamics and ride comfort are also subjected to further, stringent tests.
With the finishing straight in sight, we are now able to absolve another extremely demanding test program with our pre-series vehicles. But after successfully completed endurance tests in winter at minus 35 degrees C, we are confident that the heat trials will confirm that we are well on schedule for the start of series production.
—Michael Kelz, Chief Engineer for the EQC
While the battery of an electric car “merely” loses power in the cold, exposure to great heat carries the risk of battery damage. Optimum management of these physical characteristics is the aim of the extreme tests in Spain. One main focus is on the battery’s cooling circuit: how does it cope with high power requirements? How does an almost fully charged battery respond to further charging? What influence does the heat have on operating range? Battery draining tests, i.e. test drives in which the battery is completely drained of power, are also part of the test program.
Another aspect is air conditioning of the interior—both during a journey and beforehand, as pre-climatization is an important comfort factor. This is when questions such as “Is the indicated time sufficient for pre-climatization?” and “Is the calculated range correct when the temperature is taken into consideration?” are answered. Furthermore, the noise characteristics of individual components such as the air conditioning compressor in the heat are specifically examined.
Fine dust is also a particular challenge during the trials in Spain, as the test technicians want to know where this dust might be deposited in the components, and whether the sealing concept works in practice.
Systematic complete-vehicle validation is among the extensive measures in the development process of every Mercedes-Benz model series. This serves to verify and to maintain the high quality standards.
Before a new product goes into production, the complete vehicle must reach a maturity level set by Mercedes-Benz. This takes place in several stages: step one is digital preliminary design and simulation. It is followed by validation—either of individual components on dynamometers or in test vehicles. This tests and validates, for example, the durability of a powertrain connection or of individual axle parts.
Digital testing covers all key areas of vehicle development: from the simulation and verification of buildability to crash, aerodynamic, ride & handling), NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) and weight tests plus fuel consumption and operating range.
Despite all the advantages of digital testing in terms of speed, data availability and efficiency, no vehicle goes into series production without extensive real-world testing. The focus is on the long-term durability of components such as major assemblies on the dynamometer, and functional testing of the complete vehicle under different climatic conditions on the roads. In the case of the EQC, of course, special attention is paid to the electric powertrain and the battery.
A special role is also played by the acoustics of an electric car. Unlike in a combustion-engined car, there is hardly a sound from the powertrain. This makes sounds such as the rolling of the tires or wind noise more prominent.
Before being released for production, the vehicle must be tested and validated by numerous individuals from many different development departments. A total of several hundred experts are involved in testing. From the specialist departments, which approve their components and modules, through to testing/endurance testing of the complete vehicle.
In the case of the EQC, the overall development time is around four years. Before coming to market in many countries around the world, the EQC will have undergone extensive testing in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Dubai, South Africa, the USA and China.