August, 2019

TeraWatt Technology solid-state battery prototype tests showing 432 kWh/kg

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TeraWatt Technology announced that its 4.5Ah prototype solid-state battery design achieved a record-breaking energy density of 432Wh/kg (1122Wh/L) in validation tests conducted by third parties, including TOYO System based in Japan. Branded as TERA3.0,

2019 160

1,000-mile electric car unveiled: Aptera returns 10 years later

Green Car Reports

What's the minimum necessary range for an electric car? The world's auto industry seems to have settled on 200-plus miles for North America and 300 kilometers (160 miles) or more for European and Asian markets.

Aptera 114

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Porsche Taycan EV: Everything you need to know

Green Cars News

The all-electric Porsche Taycan is officially on the way, and we’ve been treated to some photos of a pre-production model ahead of its full reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September

2019 66

U Delaware team demonstrates efficient direct ammonia fuel cell for vehicles

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Researchers at the University of Delaware have demonstrated a direct ammonia fuel cell (DAFC) prototype with a peak power density of 135 mW cm ?2. The DAFC employs an ammonia-tolerant precious-metal-free cathode catalyst and a high-temperature-stable hydroxide exchange membrane.

Syzygy raises $5.8M in Series A to develop photocatalytic platform for clean chemical and fuel manufacturing

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Syzygy Plasmonics , a technology company developing the world’s highest performance photocatalyst, raised $5.8 million in Series A funding. The financing was co-led by The Engine and by The GOOSE Society of Texas. Previous investor Evok Innovations was also a major participant in the round.

2019 153

Hyundai Motor Group opens Hyundai Hydrogen World in Shanghai

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Hyundai Motor Group opened Hyundai Hydrogen World—an exhibition hall dedicated to the fuel-cell electric vehicle, related technologies and energy—at the center of the Century Square in Shanghai. The exhibit is open to the public from 26 August through 8 September.

2019 152

Researchers develop large-scale, economical method to extract hydrogen from oil sands and oil fields

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Canadian researchers have developed a large-scale economical method to extract hydrogen from oil sands (natural bitumen) and oil fields. This can be used to power hydrogen-powered vehicles, which are already marketed in some countries, as well as to generate electricity.

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More than 100 Blue Bird electric school buses have been ordered so far; Cummins electric drive

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More than 100 electric school buses, powered by a Cummins fully electric drivetrain, have been ordered to date from Blue Bird Corporation, a school bus manufacturer highly focused on alternative fuel technologies.

2019 149

ZeroAvia unveils hydrogen fuel cell powertrain for aviation

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In the latest effort to make aviation sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ZeroAvia announced advancements in developing a hydrogen-fueled electric powertrain. The solution aims to deliver the same performance as a conventional aircraft engine, and much lower operating costs.

2019 146

Student-built hydrogen Le Mans style prototype beats gasoline-powered cars in Supercar Challenge race

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The “Forze VIII”, a hydrogen fuel cell Le-Mans-style prototype, became the first hydrogen-electric vehicle to beat gasoline-powered cars in an official race.

2019 139

2019 Audi e-tron SUV is the first BEV to earn 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating

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The 2019 Audi e-tron SUV is the first pure battery-electric vehicle to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2019 Top Safety Pick+ rating, the highest rating awarded by the nonprofit organization.

2019 138

Study identifies main culprit behind lithium metal battery failure; counters conventional wisdom

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A research team led by the University of California San Diego, with colleagues from San Diego State University, US Army Research Laboratory, and General Motors Research and Development Center, has discovered the root cause of why lithium metal batteries fail: bits of lithium metal deposits break off from the surface of the anode during discharging and are trapped as “dead” or inactive lithium that the battery can no longer access. The discovery, published in Nature , challenges the conventional belief that lithium metal batteries fail because of the growth of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) between the lithium anode and the electrolyte. The researchers made their discovery by developing a technique to measure the amounts of inactive lithium species on the anode—a first in the field of battery research—and studying their micro- and nanostructures. The findings could pave the way for bringing rechargeable lithium metal batteries from the lab to the market. By figuring out the major underlying cause of lithium metal battery failure, we can rationally come up with new strategies to solve the problem. Our ultimate goal is to enable a commercially viable lithium metal battery. —first author Chengcheng Fang, a materials science and engineering Ph.D. student at UCSD. Lithium metal batteries, which have anodes made of lithium metal, are an essential part of the anticipated next-generation of battery technologies. They promise twice the energy density of today’s lithium-ion batteries with graphite anodes, so they could last longer and weigh less. This could potentially double the range of electric vehicles. However, a major issue with lithium metal batteries is low Coulombic efficiency—i.e., they undergo a limited number of cycles before they stop working. As the battery cycles, its stores of active lithium and electrolyte are depleted. Battery researchers have long suspected that this is due to the growth of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer between the anode and the electrolyte. But although researchers have developed various ways to control and stabilize the SEI layer, they still have not fully resolved the problems with lithium metal batteries, explained senior author Y. Shirley Meng, a nanoengineering professor at UC San Diego. The cells still fail because a lot of inactive lithium is forming in these batteries. So there is another important aspect that is being overlooked. —Professor Meng. The culprits, Meng, Fang and colleagues found, are lithium metal deposits that break off of the anode when the battery is discharging and then get trapped in the SEI layer. There, they lose their electrical connection to the anode, becoming inactive lithium that can no longer be cycled through the battery. This trapped lithium is largely responsible for lowering the Coulombic efficiency of the cell. The researchers identified the culprit by creating a method to measure how much unreacted lithium metal gets trapped as inactive lithium. Water is added to a sealed flask containing a sample of inactive lithium that formed on a cycled half-cell. Any bits of unreacted lithium metal chemically react with water to produce hydrogen gas. By measuring how much gas is produced, researchers can calculate the amount of trapped lithium metal. Inactive lithium is also made up of another component: lithium ions, which are the building blocks of the SEI layer. Their amount can also be calculated simply by subtracting the amount of unreacted lithium metal from the total amount of inactive lithium. In tests on lithium metal half-cells, researchers found that unreacted lithium metal is the main ingredient of inactive lithium. As more of it forms, the lower the Coulombic efficiency sinks. Meanwhile, the amount of lithium ions from the SEI layer consistently stays low. These results were observed in eight different electrolytes. This is an important finding because it shows that the primary failure product of lithium metal batteries is unreacted metallic lithium instead of the SEI. This is a reliable method to quantify the two components of inactive lithium with ultra-high accuracy, which no other characterization tool has been capable of doing. —Chengcheng Fang. The aggressive chemical nature of lithium metal has made this task very challenging. Parasitic reactions of many different types occur simultaneously on lithium metal, making it almost impossible to differentiate these different types of inactive lithium. The advanced methodology established in this work provides a very powerful tool to do this in a precise and reliable way. —Kang Xu, whose team at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory provided one of the advanced electrolyte formulations to test the method. The researchers hope their method could become the new standard for evaluating efficiency in lithium metal batteries. One of the problems battery researchers face is that testing conditions are very different across labs, so it’s hard to compare data. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Our method can enable researchers to determine how much inactive lithium forms after electrochemical testing, regardless of what type of electrolyte or cell format they use. —Professor Meng. By studying the micro- and nanostructures of lithium deposits in different electrolytes, the researchers answer another important question: why some electrolytes improve Coulombic efficiency while others do not. SEM images of cross sections of lithium deposits, which vary in structure depending on the type of electrolyte used. Left: Columnar microstructure which leads to high Coulombic efficiency. Right: Porous, tortuous, whisker-like microstructure which lowers Coulombic efficiency. Image courtesy of Meng lab/ Nature. The answer has to do with how lithium deposits on the anode when the cell is charging. Some electrolytes cause lithium to form micro- and nanostructures that boost cell performance. For example, in an electrolyte specially designed by Meng’s collaborators at General Motors, lithium deposits as dense, column-shaped chunks. This type of structure causes less unreacted lithium metal to get trapped in the SEI layer as inactive lithium during discharge. The result is a Coulombic efficiency of 96% for the first cycle. This excellent performance is attributed to the columnar microstructure formed on the surface of the current collector with minimum tortuosity, which significantly enhances the structural connection. —Mei Cai, whose team at GM developed the advanced electrolyte that enabled lithium to deposit with the “ideal” microstructure. In contrast, when a commercial carbonate electrolyte is used, lithium deposits with a twisty, whisker-like morphology. This structure causes more lithium metal to get trapped in the SEI during the stripping process. Coulombic efficiency lowers to 85%. Moving forward, the team proposes strategies to control the depositing and stripping of lithium metal. These include applying pressure on the electrode stacks; creating SEI layers that are uniform and mechanically elastic; and using 3D current collectors. Control of the micro- and nanostructure is key. We hope our insights will stimulate new research directions to bring rechargeable lithium metal batteries to the next level. —Professor Meng. This work was supported by the Office of Vehicle Technologies of the US Department of Energy through the Advanced Battery Materials Research Program (Battery500 Consortium, contract DE-EE0007764). This work was performed in part at the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure, a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (grant ECCS-1542148); the UC Irvine Materials Research Institute, which is funded in part by the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program (grant CHE-1338173); and the lab of Ivan K. Schuller at UC San Diego, which is supported in part by the Office of Basic Energy Science, US Department of Energy. Resources. Chengcheng Fang, Jinxing Li, Minghao Zhang, Yihui Zhang, Fan Yang, Jungwoo Z. Lee, Min-Han Lee, Judith Alvarado, Marshall A. Schroeder, Yangyuchen Yang, Bingyu Lu, Nicholas Williams, Miguel Ceja, Li Yang, Mei Cai, Jing Gu, Kang Xu, Xuefeng Wang & Ying Shirley Meng (2019) “Quantifying inactive lithium in lithium metal batteries” Nature volume 572, pages 511–515 doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1481-z. Batteries

2019 134

EPA grants 31 small refinery exemptions for RFS

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EPA is granting 31 small refinery RFS exemptions for the 2018 compliance year, as well as 6 denials. The estimated volume of gasoline and diesel exempted is 13,420 million gallons; the estimated renewable volume obligations (RVO) exempted is 1,430 million RINs.

2019 134

Study suggests China urban passenger transport emissions could peak in 2030

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A team of researchers in China suggest that, in the context of promoting the use of clean fuel vehicles and increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, CO 2 emissions of China’s urban passenger transport sector could reach a peak of 225 MtCO 2 in 2030.

2019 134

KIT develops new coating process to produce Li-ion electrodes at record speed

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With a new coating process, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have produced electrodes for lithium-ion batteries at record speed. At the same time, the new process improves the quality of electrodes and reduces production costs.

2019 134

Mercedes-Benz introducing A- and B-Class plug-in hybrid models

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Mercedes?Benz Benz Cars is introducing plug-in hybrids under the EQ Power label in the A- and B-Class. These new models, equipped with third-generation hybrid drive, include the A 250 e (combined fuel consumption 1.5-1.4 l/100 km (156.7-167.9

2019 130

Resolution Copper project advances in US permitting; one of largest and deepest copper mines in US

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Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper project in Arizona has achieved a major permitting milestone with the release of an independently prepared Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project. The review was conducted by the US States Forest Service (USFS) over a six-year period.

2019 130

Audi combines e-scooter with skateboard

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Audi has developed a new e-scooter concept to respond to the urban trend towards multi-modal mobility. The Audi e-tron Scooter, combining the advantages of the electric scooter and the skateboard, is designed for sporty riders.

2019 129

Startup licenses ORNL technology for converting organic waste to hydrogen

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Electro-Active Technologies has exclusively licensed two biorefinery technologies invented and patented by the startup’s co-founders while working at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

2019 126

Scandlines installing Norsepower’s rotor sail solution on board hybrid ferry

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Ferry operator Scandlines signed an agreement with Norsepower Oy Ltd, leading clean technology and engineering company pioneering modern wind propulsion technology, to install Norsepower’s Rotor Sail Solution on board the M/V Copenhagen , a hybrid passenger ferry.

2019 124

Kopernikus Project P2X integrated container-scale test facility produces first fuels from air-captured CO2 and green power

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Partners of the P2X Kopernikus project on the premises of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany have demonstrated the production of fuel from air-captured CO2 using—for the first time—a container-based test facility integrating all four chemical process steps needed to implement a continuous process. World’s first integrated Power-to-Liquid (PtL) test facility to synthesize fuels from the air-captured carbon dioxide. (Photo: P2X project/Patrick Langer, KIT). Worldwide, wind and sun supply a sufficient amount of energy, but not always at the right time. Moreover, a few important transport sectors, such as air or heavy-duty traffic, will continue to need liquid fuels in the future, as they have a high energy density. —Professor Roland Dittmeyer, KIT, coordinator of the “Hydrocarbons and Long-chain Alcohols” research cluster of the Power-to-X (P2X) Kopernikus project. Dittmeyer suggests that is thus only reasonable to store unused green power in chemical energy carriers. The project partners Climeworks, Ineratec, Sunfire, and KIT recently combined the necessary chemical process steps in a compact plant, achieved coupled operation, and demonstrated the functioning principle. This combination of technologies promises optimal use of the carbon dioxide and maximum energy efficiency, as mass and energy flows are recycled internally. The existing test facility can produce about 10 liters of fuel per day. In the second phase of the P2X Kopernikus project, it is planned to develop a plant with a capacity of 200 liters per day. After that, a pre-industrial demonstration plant in the megawatt range, i.e. with a production capacity of 1500 to 2000 liters per day, will be designed. That plant may theoretically reach efficiencies of about 60%—i.e., 60% of the green power used can be stored in the fuel as chemical energy. Four steps to fuel. In a first step, the plant captures carbon dioxide from ambient air in a cyclic process. The direct air capture technology by Climeworks, a spinoff from ETH Zürich, uses a specially treated filter material for this purpose. As air passes across them, the filters absorb the carbon dioxide molecules like a sponge. Under vacuum and at 95°C, the captured carbon dioxide releases from the surface and is pumped out. In the second step, the electrolytic splitting of carbon dioxide and water vapor takes place simultaneously. This co-electrolysis technology commercialized by the technology venture Sunfire produces hydrogen and carbon monoxide in a single process step. The mixture can be applied as synthesis gas for a number of processes in chemical industry. Co-electrolysis has a high efficiency and theoretically binds in the synthesis gas 80% of the green energy used in chemical form. In a third step, the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis is used to convert the synthesis gas into long-chain hydrocarbon molecules, the raw materials for fuel production. For this, Ineratec, a spinoff of KIT, contributes a microstructured reactor that offers a large surface area on smallest space to reliably remove the process heat and use it for other process steps. The process can be controlled easily, handle load cycles well, and can be scaled up in a modular way. In the fourth step, the quality of the fuel and the yield are optimized via hydrocracking. This process was integrated into the process chain by KIT. Under a hydrogen atmosphere, the long hydrocarbon chains are partly cracked in the presence of a platinum-zeolite catalyst and, thus, shift the product spectrum towards more directly usable fuels, such as gasoline, kerosene, and diesel. Due to its modular character, the process is of great potential. As a result of the low scaling risk, the implementation threshold is far lower than for a central, large-scale chemical facility. The process may be installed decentralized at locations where solar, wind or water power is available. P2X Kopernikus Project. “Power-to-X” refers to technologies converting power from renewable sources into energy storage materials, energy carriers, and energy-intensive chemical products. Power-to-X technologies enable use of energy from renewable sources in the form of customized fuels for vehicles or in improved polymers and chemical products with a high added value. Within the framework of the government-funded Kopernikus program, a national “Power-to-X” (P2X) research platform was established to study this complex issue. Altogether, 18 research institutions, 27 industrial companies, and three civil society organizations are involved in the P2X project. Within a period of ten years, new technological developments are planned to be developed to industrial maturity. The first funding phase focuses on research into the complete value chain from electrical energy to energy-carrying materials and products. Carbon Capture and Conversion (CCC) Fuels Power-to-Gas Power-to-Liquids

2019 124

Volkswagen introducing new twin-dosing SCR technology across 2.0L Evo diesel lineup; reduces NOx ~80% more

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Since 2018, Volkswagen has used only SCR exhaust gas treatment systems with its diesel engines. SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology significantly reduces nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas. Volkswagen has now developed the next evolutionary stage of its SCR system: “twin dosing”.

2019 124

Study suggests microbe produces methane from crude oil all by itself

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Crude oil and gas naturally escape from the seabed in many places known as seeps. There, these hydrocarbons move up from source rocks through fractures and sediments towards the surface, where they leak out of the ground and sustain a diversity of densely populated habitats in the dark ocean.

2019 121

Volkswagen Group takes minority stake in 3D holography company SeeReal Technologies

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Volkswagen has acquired a minority stake in the technology company SeeReal Technologies. This participation will secure access for the Group to future-oriented augmented reality in the field of display technologies for the automobile.

2019 120

Increased relative contribution of medium and heavy trucks to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

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by Michael Sivak. In this analysis, I examined recent changes in the contribution of transportation to total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States relative to the other sources of emissions (industry, commercial, residential, and agriculture).

2019 120

10,000 StreetScooter electric delivery vehicles now in service

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Andreas Pinkwart, the Economics Minister of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Tobias Meyer, the Board of Management member who oversees Post & Parcel Germany, presented the 10,000 th StreetScooter that will be used in DHL’s parcel-delivery operations at an event in Cologne.

2019 117

Embraer expecting first flight of all-electric prototype aircraft in 2020

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On the eve of its 50 th anniversary earlier this month, Embraer unveiled images of a demonstrator aircraft with 100% electric propulsion technology, which is currently under development in collaboration with WEG. The first flight of the prototype is scheduled for 2020.

2019 117

Volvo extends S60 range with plug-in hybrid powertrain and new trim levels

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Volvo has extended its S60 range—the third generation of the premium mid-size sedan—to incorporate further powertrain choices and equipment grades, including an all­wheel­drive gasoline-electric hybrid and a trim level that focuses on luxury and craftsmanship.

2019 117

DOE awarding $59M to 43 projects to accelerate advanced vehicle technologies research

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $59 million to 43 projects for new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research.

2019 117

Study suggests future climate changes to worsen air quality for >85% of China’s population; ~20k+ additional deaths each year

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A study by a team of researchers from China, the US and Germany suggests that future climate change may worsen air quality for more than 85% of China’s population, leading to an additional 20,000 deaths each year.

Stanford-led team devises new coating for stable lithium-metal batteries

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A Stanford-led research team invented a new coating—a multifunctional network material—to stabilize lithium-metal anodes and finally make lightweight lithium-metal batteries safe and long lasting, which could usher in the next-generation of electric vehicles.

2019 115

Ports of Auckland buys world’s first electric tug; 70-tonne bollard pull

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Ports of Auckland (New Zealand) has signed a contract with Dutch company Damen Shipyards to buy the world’s first full-size, fully electric port tug.

2019 115

Demand for battery electric vehicles in Europe doubles in July; growth driven by Tesla and Renault

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Despite continuing economic uncertainty and diminishing consumer confidence, the European car market registered growth in July 2019, as registrations were up by 1.2% to 1,325,600 units, according to JATO Dynamics.

2019 113

Charging stations now outnumber gas stations in Britain

Green Car Reports

It’s not unusual to hear people wave off the change to fully electric to when EV chargers are as plentiful as gas stations, and when vehicle charging can be done, in a pinch, in nearly the same time. One side of that equation has already arrived—in the UK.

2019 114

Quiet launch: Daimler builds first electric heavy-duty semis for fleet test

Green Car Reports

Tesla might have been the first to generate a lot of fanfare over an all-electric Semi, but it’s not the first to actually place an electric Semi with customers for full-time use. That nod would go to Daimler Trucks North America.

2019 114

Purdue team developing pre-chamber technology for cars for ultra-lean combustion

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Purdue University researchers are developing pre-chamber technology for automobiles to replace conventional spark plugs and enable more reliable ultra-lean combustion. In the pre-chamber approach, a tiny chamber—a pre-chamber—is filled with a mixture of fuel and air.

2019 113

Volvo study shows driver-assistance, self-driving features will make cars more efficient

Green Car Reports

Self-driving cars are green cars, not just because they are usually electric. One of the biggest reasons engineers began working on self-driving cars more than a dozen years ago was for their efficiency, reducing stop-and-go driving and eventually even stoplights.

2019 114