Suzuki To Launch E100 Cars In Brazil and US in 2010

The Nikkei reports that Suzuki Motor Corp. plans to develop flex-fuel cars that can run completely on 100% ethanol (E100) and launch them in South America and the US in around 2010.

As a first step, the company plans to begin selling in Brazil and elsewhere a passenger car fueled by a gasoline-bioethanol mixture that is 25% bioethanol by the end of March.

Suzuki has decided to accelerate development of ethanol cars because demand for them is expected to grow worldwide, with various efforts underway to develop technologies for producing bioethanol from non-food crops, such as rice straw.

Suzuki is also reportedly considering a hybrid option for a 3-liter mid-size car by leveraging its joint development efforts with GM, as well as launching its diesels, which it sells in India and Europe, in Japan.

source: greencarcongress

Nostoc Bacteria May Produce Hydrogen

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom have discovered that a certain bacteria called Nostoc releases hydrogen as part of its metabolic process. The Nostoc bacteria works by fixing nitrogen in an energy intensive process that is just beginning to be understood.

Using computer modeling, the researchers are able to identify the metabolic pathways used to fix nitrogen and produce hydrogen. Through the relatively new discipline of Synthetic Biology, which combines the talents of chemical engineers, computer scientists and biologists, the University of Sheffield was able to identify the Nostoc bacteria and its series of chemical reactions to produce hydrogen.

I’ve talked about the University of Sheffield in the past, and particularly their research into microbes producing hydrogen from sugar beets. I’ve also talked about other researchers using bacteria to produce hydrogen as well.

What is noteworthy about the Nostoc research is that the methods used can be employed by other researchers as well as in future commercial applications. There needs to be more than one way to solve the hydrogen production puzzle and the bacteria angle is sure to be one of the major future pieces.

source HydrogenCarsNow

Nissan Doubles the power density of next generation Fuell Cell Stack

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new fuel cell stack with double the power density of the previous generation stack. The new fuel cell stack also achieves a 35% cost reduction mainly due to half the use of platinum, a key material used in the production of fuel cell stacks. Test fleets incorporating the improved fuel cell stacks will be operational by the end of this year.

MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly): Double the power density is achieved through improved conductivity of the electrolyte layer within the MEA, where the main chemical reaction occurs, coupled with a more densely-packed cell structure.

Cell Structure: A more densely-packed cell structure is achieved through the replacement of the carbon separator with a new thin metal separator. The separator functions to break down the hydrogen, oxygen and cooling water necessary for the chemical reaction. A specific coating applied to the separator helps improve conductivity and prevents chemical corrosion, leading to increased efficiency and durability throughout the fuel cell stack’s life-cycle.

Electrode: Higher durability electrode material results in a 50% reduction of the platinum required compared to the previous generation. This in turn, provides a significant breakthrough in the cost of these components.

Stack size and cost: The combined improvements in the cell result in double the power density, which enables a downsizing of the fuel cell stack size by one-third and significant cost reduction, without sacrificing performance. Compared to the previous generation, the new generation stack’s power output is increased 1.4 times from 90kW to 130kW, which can power larger vehicles. Stack size is reduced by 25% to 68L from 90L, which allows for improved packaging flexibility.

The next generation fuel cell stack is amongst a range of eco-friendly technologies being pursued by Nissan under its Nissan Green Program 2010, aimed at developing new technologies, products and services that can lead to real-world reductions in vehicle CO2 emissions, cleaner emissions, and recycling of resources.

Ford expands fuel cell test fleet tests by two years

Ford Motor Company’s fleet of 30 fuel cell vehicles has exceeded expectations of the company’s hydrogen research engineers by accumulating more than 865,000 real world miles without significant maintenance issues since the fleet’s launch three years ago. The Ford Focus Fuel Cell test vehicles also have earned accolades from the company’s global fleet partners for outstanding durability, reliability and capability.

Encouraged by the program’s success, Ford recently reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to extend its three-year-old hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle program for up to 24 months, until the next generation system is ready for deployment in the 2010 timeframe.

According to Ford’s global fuel cell team, the first generation Focus Fuel Cell vehicles have lasted three times longer and worked much better than originally expected with virtually no degradation in performance. In light of that success, the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), which shares the program’s operating cost with Ford, agreed to extend the program.

Ford researchers agree that much more work needs to be done before fuel cell vehicles can be commercialized. The biggest challenge according to Rob Riley, Ford fleet manager in California, is building a viable H2 infrastructure with fueling stations across the country. Currently, there are 70 hydrogen fueling stations and most of them are not accessible to the public. California is leading the way having recently opened its 24th station.

H2-fueled vehicles account for just one type of Ford’s alternative fuel technology research and development portfolio. Ford has outlined a near, mid and long term strategy to implement technology to increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 from the widespread application of EcoBoost engine technology across the line up in the near term, to the introduction of plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the longer term.

Volkswagen Jetta TDIs now available for customer delivery

Diesel fans that have been waiting patiently for the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI will now finally have some relief. Two months after dealers began receiving their demonstrator models, regular customer units are now available and dealers can now start customer deliveries. Volkswagen is charging a $2,000 premium over the base 2.5L gas engine for the fifty-state legal diesel but the Jetta TDI is eligible for a $1,300 federal alternative fuels tax credit. The EPA has rated the Jetta at 29/40 mpg with the 6-speed DSG transmission but drivers of older Jettas have long reported that the EPA estimates for diesels underestimate real world performance. We hope to provide our own evaluation on a regular production unit soon.

In the test,the jetta TDI and found it performed 24 percent better in real world conditions, achieving 38 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.

Recently Volkswagen announced pricing for their Jetta TDI sedan and SportWagen would start at $21,990 and $23,590, respectively.

The Jetta TDI’s come standard with Volkswagen’s Prevent and Preserve Safety System, consisting of numerous standard safety features. Jetta TDI’s include six airbags, with optional rear side airbags, and like all 2009 model year Volkswagens, Jetta TDI’s also feature standard Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) for added safety.

Biodiesel from turkey company Changing World Technologies files IPO

It seems that changing world technologies have finally solved the offal odor pullution problem at their turkey byproducts to biodiesel plant and are ready to begin bigger and better things. The company, which uses a thermal conversion process (TCP) to break down waste into fuel and organic fertilizer, wants to raise $100 million to fund an expansion and has filed an S1 FORM with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to begin the process. The allocation and price of shares in the IPO will be decided by an auction process handled by the offering underwriter, WR Hambrecht & Co, as well as other securities dealers. The company currently produces between 4 to 9 million gallons of biodiesel a year and could reach 54 million gallons a year with the expansion. Although it is currently selling its fuel to industrial boilers, it has been approved by the EPA for use a an additive in diesel. It will have to be improved somewhat to be considered for full use as a transportation fuel.

Jamie Lee Curtis has a new Honda!

Jaime Lee Curtis has just taken delivery of her new Honda. It’s an FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, which she will be leasing for three years. Jamie Lee Curtis is happy. “I really wasn’t expecting it to be so luxurious,” she says. “It is user-friendly and very modern.”

The FCX, whose only emissions are heat and H2O, should be a regular sight in Santa Monica, because at least one other has gone to a well-heeled beach denizen. Plus, with a range of 280 miles and hydrogen filling stations few and far between (there are currently just a handful in Southern California, and most of those are open at limited times only — demand is rather low at the moment), they won’t be undertaking extended road trips anytime soon.

However, plans are in place for all that to change. Hoping to break this chicken-or-egg deadlock, the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP, a collaboration of carmakers, energy providers, tech companies and government agencies) has just released its vision for a hydrogen-fueled future. The full document can be seen on CAFCP’S Website . Here are the highlights. It goes into the numbers of how many fuel-cell vehicles will be humming along the Golden State’s highways from 2010 to 2025 and how much hydrogen they will need. Even fuel-cell buses are part of CaFCP’s grand scheme.

“It can be difficult to see how we move from today’s 200 FCVs and 25 limited-access stations to a commercial market,” says executive director Catherine Dunwoody. “This document provides a clear vision of how that transition can occur.”

The idea is to set up an infrastructure of stations. CaFCP realizes this would be a loss-making venture in its initial stages and proposes government funding, although Dunwoody contends: “Moving toward a hydrogen future has clear benefits for the environment and the economy. To achieve commercialization, California needs to establish a network of early hydrogen fuel stations focused in key early markets. Although the benefits may not be fully realized for years to come, it is time to take the next step.”

source Honda Press Realeases

Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept

We continue with the new Chrysler LLC for the hall Detroit and the last to arrive is the Chrysler ecoVoyager Concept, a small prototype designed for four passengers which is in line with the previous two prototypes, attractive design and friendly propellants Environment.

For this prototype has been used the same battery in the Jeep Renegade Concept of lithium ion, but it is associated with a hydrogen fuel cell. Thanks to this technology during the 480 km of autonomy which gives its propellant, the only thing that comes out the exhaust is water vapor, ie zero emissions.

The design at first glance is hard to see, but with a second review, it becomes much more friendly, at least for my taste. The grille feature Chrysler coupled with a more rounded than usual in the brand create a very attractive front for a car production.

Tatra 903 Fuel Cell Concept

Tatra is a Czech brand that in 1897 produced its first car, which we saw a model not only classic but also historical, as the Tatra T601 Cabrio of Stalin’s daughter. Since 1999 production of cars left the street, and now still produce SUVs and trucks, also for military use.

But 111 years after its birth have submitted this novelty, the Tatra 903 Fuel Cell Concept, an aerodynamic coupé that has a certain air to Maybach Exelero. It is an electric vehicle with hydrogen fuel cell.

One of the most curious detail is that it has four doors, two of them located in the rear, stock of van / minivan applied to a futuristic coupé.

At the moment it is only a prototype that obviously has no plans direct production, but that could point to an interest in the brand back to manufacture cars. Because for a brand of commercial vehicles, designing a Exelero of these, it makes little sense, and perhaps try to take shape to return to passenger cars. Because years of experience are not lacking.

Cadillac Provoq

Cadillac unveils a new vision for the future of luxury transportation with the innovative Provoq fuel cell concept – a hydrogen fuel cell crossover vehicle that continues GM’s commitment to displace petroleum through advanced technology.

The Cadillac Provoq fuel cell concept is the latest example of GM’s groundbreaking E-Flex propulsion system, combining the new fifth-generation fuel cell system and a lithium-ion battery to produce an electrically driven vehicle that uses no petroleum and has no emission other than water. The concept’s fifth-generation fuel cell technology is half the size of its predecessor, yet it has been developed to produce more power and performance.

The Cadillac Provoq uses the same eFlex architecture that was rolled out in early 2007 with the Chevy Volt. Actually, GM has been talking for many years about a plug-and-play vehicle architecture that can work with any power system or fuel source. GM uses this iteration as a platform for its fifth-generation fuel cell stacks, which the company says are half the size of its predecessor, but more powerful. The vehicle stores its hydrogen in two 10,000-psi composite fuel tanks mounted under the cargo floor—and its electricity in a lithium ion battery pack mounted under the rear seat. The two hydrogen tanks provide 280 miles of mobility, with the batteries providing 20 more miles of driving.

One charging port isn’t enough for its plug-in capabilities. The Provoq has His and Hers, left- and right-hand inserts incorporated into the front fender vents. A 70-kW motor is posted up front and two 40-kW motors are tucked in the rear wheel hubs.

In addition to the juice running in and out of the lithium batteries, capable of storing 9kWh of energy, solar panel integrated in the roof provide help to power onboard accessories and lights.

This SUV—which seats five and incorporates the “comfort, convenience and infotainment features Cadillac customers seek,” according to the press release—is aerodynamic. The drag on the massive Provoq is mitigated by front grille louvers that close at highway speeds, and open back up again at low speeds to cool the fuel stack. Other tricks to reduce air resistance are a sloping roofline, low-drag roof rack, an underbody cover, and even cute little tail fins. Twenty-one-inch wheels are covered in custom Michelin “Green-X” low rolling resistance tires.

The Provoq is obviously being used as a chance for GM to show off all its cute ideas—and as such, shouldn’t be taken too seriously by green-leaning car shoppers. Unless you want to think of the use of recyclable soy-based material in the Provoq’s interior as anything but a coy act of provocation—considering GM’s record on fuel efficiency and the environment.

With sleek, signature Cadillac bodywork, the Provoq concept redefines luxury crossovers, offering uncompromising passenger and cargo space to match its performance and cruising range. Additional vehicle features include:

  • Solar panel integrated in the roof to help power onboard accessories, such as the interior lights, audio system and more
  • Brake-by-wire technology
  • Front grille louvers that close at highway speed to enhance aerodynamics, and open at low speed to provide maximum cooling to the fuel cell stack