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Mercedes-Benz has delivered the first Euro VI-compliant Econic NGT (Natural Gas Technology) to Vienna International Airport. The natural-gas-powered truck will operate as a catering truck equipped with a lifting mechanism manufactured by Doll.
Econic’s low cab enables a very low delivery height from catering vehicle to plane, which means that all the more widespread types of aircraft, from the Boeing 737 to the Airbus A380, can be served. This is because a part of the vehicle superstructure is located above the cab, so that the cab’s height is decisive when it comes to delivering to smaller aircraft.
The CO2 emissions of the gas-fueled engine are around 20 percent lower than those of a diesel engine. When powered by biogas the Econic is CO2 neutral.
The Mercedes-Benz Econic is equipped with an Allison automatic transmission as standard.
Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have detailed the role of NOx in the formation of the brown haze that hovers over cities on sunny days. A paper on their work was published recently in the RSC journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
The PNNL team examined the chemistry of atmospheric brown carbon (BrC)—a significant contributor to light absorption and climate forcing. However, little has been known about the fundamental relationship between the chemical composition of BrC and its optical properties.
They focused on light-absorbing secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) generated from the photo-oxidation of toluene—a common pollutant—in the presence of NOx (Tol-SOA). They found that the chemical composition of BrC chromophores and the light absorption properties of toluene SOA (Tol-SOA) depend strongly on the initial NOx concentration.
Specifically, the found that Tol-SOA generated under high-NOx conditions (initial NOx/toluene of 5/1) appeared yellow with a mass absorption coefficient of the bulk sample nearly 80 fold higher than that measured for Tol-SOA generated under low-NOx conditions.
They identified 15 compounds, most of which are nitrophenols, as major BrC chromophores responsible for the enhanced light absorption of Tol-SOA material produced in the presence of NOx. The integrated absorbance of these fifteen chromophores accounted for 40–60% of the total light absorbance by Tol-SOA at wavelengths between 300 nm and 500 nm.
Peng Lin, Jiumeng Liu, John E. Shilling, Shawn M. Kathmann, Julia Laskin and Alexander Laskin (2015) “Molecular characterization of brown carbon (BrC) chromophores in secondary organic aerosol generated from photo-oxidation of toluene” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 17, 23312-23325 doi: 10.1039/C5CP02563J
Schaeffler has developed a new P2 (parallel, two-clutch) high-voltage hybrid module—arranged between the internal combustion engine and transmission—that can transmit engine torques of up to 800 N·m (590 lb-ft) to the transmission without having to incorporate a commensurately expensive clutch.The new generation P2 hybrid module can be used in both medium- and very high-performance transmission concepts—e.g., from mild to plug-in hybrids.
The high-torque module distributes the flow of forces in an innovative way; the pathway of torque conveyance depends on its direction. Torques are transmitted to the crankshaft via a 300 N·m disconnect clutch, while traction torques from the internal combustion engine are transmitted to the transmission via a one-way clutch. The clutch can therefore have a compact design, even at high torques, with the corresponding advantages in terms of space utilization and cost. Schaeffler showcased the unit at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.
The new P2 module from Schaeffler consists of an automated disconnect clutch and the electric machine. The disconnect clutch is operated by an electromechanical central clutch release system that directly engages the clutch mechanically via a ball screw drive without a hydraulic transfer path—no extra installation space for actuators is needed outside the module.
There are other benefits from using the one-way clutch. Regulating the connection to the engine when accelerating is normally a complicated matter that involves the internal combustion engine, the disconnect clutch, the electric machine, and the transmission.
The one-way clutch provides an immediate mechanical connection to the engine as soon as the engine and electric motor speeds synchronize. This allows regulation to take place much more quickly.
As the driver operates the gas pedal, he or she is more obviously aware of the dynamic connection with the engine, yet in a way that is very comfortable due to the fact that the clutch is operated in slippage mode on the transmission side during the initial phase. When the electric machine is running as a generator to capture electrical energy, moments are no longer being transmitted by the one-way clutch and the clutch is open—i.e., the engine does not have to be “dragged along with it.”
By optimizing the damper in conjunction with active vibration damping at lower speeds and with clutch micro-slip starting at approximately 1,500 rpm, it is also possible to achieve comfort and reduce the installation space at the same time.
This new hybrid module is going into volume production for the first time in China in 2017 in a version without a one-way clutch for internal-combustion torques of up to 250 N·m. This hybrid module has a considerably higher electrical power of 80 kW, and can be used for a plug-in hybrid.
The electric motor used in the hybrid module for volume production in China has an efficiency of up to 96%. This provides dual benefits to the system, both in terms of capturing energy during braking and electric driving—a smaller battery can be used for the same range, saving space, mass, and cost.
XPRIZE Chairman and CEO Peter Diamandis competition the $20-million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, a competition to address CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. Teams are challenged to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most CO2 into one or more products with the highest net value. Co-sponsored by NRG and COSIA (Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance), the 4-½ year competition will include two tracks, with the new technologies tested at either a coal power plant or a natural gas facility.
The Carbon XPRIZE is intended to provide incentive for the development of technologies that convert CO2 into a product or suite of products such as: alternative cement, concrete, and other building materials; chemicals used to manufacture a variety of industrial and consumer goods; low-carbon transportation fuels; and possibly new products altogether.
According to the International Energy Agency, 82% of the world’s energy supply is derived from fossil fuels. While cleaner energy sources are on the rise, overall energy demand is expected to grow 37% by 2040.
Carbon is a unique challenge in that as we move toward a low to zero-emission future, we’ll need to continue using fossil fuels to meet current energy demands. We’re using the highly effective XPRIZE process to engage the world’s brightest minds to find a solution that helps solve emissions problems, and simultaneously creates viable products that we use every day.—Sicily Dickenson, chief marketing officer, NRG
XPRIZE will appoint a judging panel to evaluate the various technologies and approaches developed by teams during the competition. XPRIZE will also appoint a third-party Scientific Advisory Board of experts available to advise on a variety of approaches to CO2 conversion.
The Carbon XPRIZE is a part of XPRIZE’s growing portfolio of Energy & Environment prizes and long-term vision for accelerating revolutionary energy technologies to help move the world towards a clean, abundant energy future.
Founded in 1995, XPRIZE creates and manages incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences. Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE; the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE; the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE; and the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE.
Starting next month, Park24 Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation will expand the scope and scale of their joint car sharing service trial in central Tokyo. (Earlier post.) In addition to continuing to use the Toyota i-Road, the service will now also make use of the COMS, a super-compact electric vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body.
A number of new locations have been added throughout central Tokyo, and the service's vehicle management system has been overhauled with several user-friendly updates. This phase of the trial is planned to run from October 20 through to the end of March 2016.
This new trial will make use of findings from the previous joint trial conducted from April to September of this year. As before, the service will incorporate elements of Toyota’s low-carbon transport system, Ha:mo (earlier post), and vehicles can be reserved through Park24’s Times Car Plus service, which allows members to use share cars at any time of day or night. Together with the wider range of vehicles and pick-up and drop-off stations, this phase will focus on improving user-friendliness by addressing specific issues, such as procedures for boarding the vehicles.
The goal is to assess the service’s ease of use with a view to meeting a wide variety of customer needs. This includes use for business, direct transportation to destinations such as commercial facilities, and integration with public transportation networks.
In addition to the five available i-Road vehicles, 25 COMS vehicles will be added to the lineup to allow users to select the vehicle most suited to their tastes and needs. Based on the results of feedback from user surveys, around 30 locations will be selected as pick-up and drop-off stations from hourly pay parking lots operated by Park24.
In particular, the expansion will be centered on major railway stations such as Tokyo, Nihonbashi, Yurakucho, Hibiya, Ginza, Toyosu, Ariake, Odaiba, Monzen-nakacho, and Kiba. The project will be conducted on a one-way basis, meaning that it will be possible to pick up the vehicles from any participating station and drop them off at any participating station going in either direction.
The stations will take advantage of the compact size of the vehicles by making surplus space available within parking lots on an experimental basis. In addition, the trial will encompass the usage of links between railway stations and facilities pegged as likely destinations, as well as optimal location for stations with recharging capability.
In addition to the increased number of vehicles and stations, COMS vehicles will now be available not only to corporate and selected individual Times Car Plus members, but to all individual members.
In this trial, an updated vehicle management system developed by Toyota for Ha:mo will be used. Instead of a membership card, users with smartphones that support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon functionality can touch their smartphone to the vehicle to lock and unlock the vehicle.
Park24 and Toyota believe that this trial will aid in the construction of a new urban transportation network.
Emission measurements conducted by Institute of Transport Economics in Norway, in collaboration with VTT in Finland, show that new Euro 6 cars with diesel engines are struggling with NOx emissions well in excess of regulatory type limits when in real traffic.
Since 2011, TØI and VTT have conducted emission measurements of 12 heavy vehicles with Euro VI engines, and seven Euro 6 diesel cars. In addition, they measured emissions from several gasoline vehicles (Euro 5 and 6) and Euro 5 diesel vehicles. All vehicles were tested in laboratory under conditions that as far as possible should correspond to the actual use of the vehicles.
Based on the measurements of the 12 heavy vehicles with new Euro VI approved engines and seven Euro 6 approved cars with diesel engines, they drew two clear conclusions when it comes to exhaust emissions:
All the tested heavy vehicles with Euro VI engines have very low emissions of NOx and PM in real traffic. The tested NOx and PM emissions were less than 1/10 of that from previous generations of city buses and other heavy vehicles with Euro VI engines, more or less regardless of the driving cycle used when testing.
Euro 6 type-approved private cars with diesel engines have 4-20 times higher emission of NOx in city traffic and during cold weather than the type approval limit value (0.08 g/km). The average emission of NOx from the tested Euro 6 private cars with diesel engines was also about four times higher than the average emission from the tested city buses and heavy vehicles with Euro VI engines.
One caveat is that no heavy vehicles have yet been tested in cold weather conditions. Although the researchers believe that heavy vehicles with Euro VI engine will have low emissions of NOx even in cold test conditions, they will test this during the winter 2015/2016.
We notice that new private cars with diesel engines generally have trouble complying with the limit values for NOx from the type approval, when used in real life city traffic. The type approval of light vehicles is conducted by driving the NEDC driving cycle (New European Driving Cycle). The NEDC driving cycle has low acceleration levels and provide emission values of NOx and NO2 which is lower than emissions when driving in real city traffic, and often significantly lower than emissions when starting and driving in cold weather conditions (-7 °C).—TØI Report 1407/2015
In real traffic, Euro 5 diesel cars and the seven tested Euro 6 passenger cars with diesel engines generally have low emissions of particulate matter (PM). The PM limit value for Euro 6 approval is significantly higher than what the researchers measured from new Euro 6-approved diesel vehicles under all driving conditions. In other words, new diesel cars have efficient and well-functioning particulate filters.
Modern heavy vehicles—including city buses with Euro VI engines—also have low emissions of NOxand exhaust particles (PM) for all types of test cycles. The reductions are more than 90% compared to the emissions from previous Euro V generations. Indeed, the researchers found that NOx emissions from the light duty vehicles exceeded those from the city buses.
For fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of CO2, the values from all kinds of new light vehicles are higher than what is measured in the NEDC cycle type approval testing. A car that has low CO2 emissions in type approval will have, as a rule, emissions ranging from 20-95% higher in real traffic. A car that has high CO2 emissions in type approval will have even higher emissions in real traffic. The low emission values from the type approval may give the impression that the cars are more environmentally friendly than they actually are, the researchers said.
The problem of harmful local emissions has more aspects than the discussion about fuel consumption, and petrol versus diesel. The real challenge is the emission of PM and NOx from older vehicles, as well as NOx and NO2 emissions from new Euro 6 diesel cars in real traffic and during cold weather conditions.—TØI Report 1407/2015
The study was funded by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, as part of the “EMIROAD” program.
TØI Report 1407/2015. Emissions from new vehicles - trustworthy? Authors: Rolf Hagman, Christian Weber and Astrid H. Amundsen
TØI Report 1405/2015. Emission from vehicles with Euro 6/VI-technology. Authors: Christian Weber, Rolf Hagman, Astrid H. Amundsen
TØI Report 1259/2013. Exhaust emissions from vehicles with Euro 6/VI technology. Authors: Rolf Hagman and Astrid H. Amundsen
Gevo has begun selling renewable isooctene to BCD Chemie, a subsidiary of Brenntag. Initial orders in 2015 are expected to result in revenues to Gevo of more than $1 million. The isooctene will be produced at Gevo’s biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas, derived from isobutanol produced at Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minn. Gevo’s biorefinery is operated in conjunction with South Hampton Resources.
BCD Chemie is targeting applications in Europe with Gevo’s isooctene. This commences a relationship with BCD Chemie that may include the marketing of other hydrocarbon products, including isooctane and jet fuel, and builds on Gevo’s existing partnership with Brenntag in Canada, which is currently selling Gevo’s isobutanol as a solvent in Canada.
Isobutanol converts readily to isobutylene, which can be dimerized to form isooctene. Isooctene, in turn, can be hydrogenated to form isooctane.
Isooctene and isooctane can be used as high-octane fuel blend components used in gasoline formulations. Higher octane ratings in fuel are important for high performance engines to minimize engine knock. The additional value of these products are reflected in the market price, which in Europe can range up to $7.00-$10.00 per gallon for petroleum-based isooctene and isooctane.
Renewable hydrocarbons such as isooctene can directly replace petroleum-based hydrocarbons without any compromise of performance. The use of these renewable hydrocarbons enables companies to meet regulatory requirements for renewable content in fuels while satisfying the performance requirements of their customers.
BCD Chemie has begun purchasing continuously increasing quantities of renewable hydrocarbons from Gevo for distribution to selected customers. These customers are very excited to utilize renewable components in their products as they are green replacements for fossil hydrocarbons, which benefit the environment without any performance loss. We are looking forward to developing this market together with Gevo in Europe, as this fits our business plan of expanding sales of high performance chemicals and substances throughout Europe.—Denis Hamann, Project Manager for BCD Chemie
Gevo appears to be one of the only sources of renewable isooctene and isooctane globally. As a result, the market has been very excited by these product offerings, with demand outpacing our ability to produce at our biorefinery in Silsbee.—Dr. Patrick Gruber, Gevo CEO
Gevo has developed proprietary technology that uses a combination of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, chemistry and chemical engineering to focus primarily on the production of isobutanol via fermentation, as well as related products from renewable feedstocks. Gevo’s strategy is to commercialize biobased alternatives to petroleum-based products to allow for the optimization of fermentation facilities’ assets, with the ultimate goal of maximizing cash flows from the operation of those assets.
Gevo produces isobutanol, ethanol and high-value animal feed at its fermentation plant in Luverne, Minn. Gevo has also developed technology to produce hydrocarbon products from renewable alcohols. Gevo currently operates a biorefinery in Silsbee, Texas, in collaboration with South Hampton Resources Inc., to produce renewable jet fuel, octane, and ingredients for plastics like polyester.
Gevo partners includeThe Coca-Cola Company, Toray Industries Inc. and Total SA, among others.
Brenntag, the global market leader in chemical distribution, covers all major markets with its extensive product and service portfolio. Headquartered in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, the company operates a global network with more than 490 locations in 72 countries. BCD Chemie GmbH, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany is one of the leading specialty chemical distributors in Europe.