Alternative Energy

Transportation News

The latest alternative transportation news from our hybrid, electric car and transportation news sources.

Jul 20, 2018

Alternative Transportation

Unusual Kerplunk House is envisioned as a miniature forest in the desert

Jul 20, 2018: Design collective I STIFFEN THEE has completed Kerplunk House, a desert shelter with an eye-catching arrangement of exposed wood piercing through its cuboidal volumes. Inspired by nature and traditional colonial Spanish architecture, the structure was built with stucco and exposed wood and elevated off the ground for minimal site impact. Conceived as a multipurpose live-work space, the Kerplunk House forms part of a desert propagation center and will be gradually surrounded by desert flora. Split...

FDA re-appropriates the term 'milk,' to potential benefit of dairy industry

Jul 20, 2018: Current federal standards of what classifies as milk have been changed as of April 2017 in an attempt to boost sales on dairy related products. Alternative substitutions regarded as "plant-based dairy imitators" popular among vegetarians and health conscious individuals may no longer use the term as a result of changing regulations. Items in the category made from almond or soy must find a new label as the only recognition accepted by the FDA is "the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum...

Forsee Power to supply NMC Li-ion batteries for Alstom Aptis electric bus

Jul 20, 2018: Alstom has selected French battery manufacturer Forsee Power to provide Li-ion batteries for Alstom Aptis electric bus (earlier post), scheduled for series delivery from 2019 onwards. The vehicles will be equipped with NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide) Li-ion battery technology as a standard feature. Alstom said it chose Forsee Power...

Study provides insight into mechanism of atmospheric new particle formation in polluted cities

Jul 20, 2018: The formation of new atmospheric particulates—i.e., de novo rather than as direct emissions—via nucleation and growth is a major source of aerosol pollution in terms of number concentration. In spite of a great deal of research, it is still a puzzle why and how such new particule formation (NPF) occurs...

How Self-Driving Cars Will Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption

Jul 20, 2018: By Haden Kirkpatrick. Over the last two decades, fully electric cars have had, let’s say, a slow start. In 1997, the Toyota Prius was released as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid. And while hybrid technology has taken off, drivers have been hesitant to accept fully battery-powered tech for a variety...

Water splitting using iron oxide nanotruss structures

Jul 20, 2018: Researchers at Linköping University and Umeå University in Sweden have developed a new and efficient way to use electrocatalysis to produce hydrogen gas from water using electrodes with nanotruss structures of iron oxide. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Nano Letters. The Plasma and Coatings...

BMW introduces full-vehicle computer tomography for prototype development, production and analysis

Jul 20, 2018: BMW Group has introduced computer tomography (CT) into prototype development, production and analysis—a first in the automotive industry. With this technology, the full range of vehicles, from MINI to Rolls-Royce, can now be quality-controlled even in the early stages of development. Scans are performed by four robots which move around...

UCSD team sheds light on mechanism of sulfur embrittlement of nickel

Jul 20, 2018: Engineers at the University of California San Diego have shed new light on the atomic-level mechanism of the sulfur embrittlement of nickel, a classic problem that has puzzled the scientific community for nearly a century. The discovery also enriches fundamental understanding of general grain boundaries that often control the mechanical...

Jane Goodall and conservationists move to obtain bear hunting licences in Wyoming

Jul 19, 2018: Up to 22 of Yellowstone's grizzly bears are in danger as Wyoming opens up its first bear hunt since the Endangered Species Act of 1975. Wildlife conservationists working alongside famed animal rights champion and educator Jane Goodall raised over $28,000 online for their campaign "Shoot'em with a Camera, Not a Gun" which has infiltrated the list of approximately 7,000 lottery members applying for a hunting licence in the state of Wyoming. The state's game and fish department, who unanimously voted...

This weekend home in Mexico blends in with the forest landscape

Jul 19, 2018: Mexican architecture firm AM30 Taller de Arquitectura has inserted a site-specific weekend home into a forested site in Atemajac de Brizuela, a small town southwest of Guadalajara, Mexico. Dubbed the EC House, the dwelling is split up into a series of interconnected stone-clad volumes placed around existing pine trees and oriented for best views of the nearby mountains. In addition to a natural materials palette that blends the home into the landscape, the EC House was designed to minimize site impact. Located...

UNStudio completes a marina with a luxe yacht-like clubhouse in China

Jul 19, 2018: UNStudio’s Asia office recently completed the Keppel Cove Marina & Clubhouse, a massive waterfront complex in the city of Zhongshan in China’s Guangdong province. Set on the banks of the Xi River, the Keppel Cove Marina was created as part of a 50,000-square-meter masterplan that includes a service building, high-end residential villas, as well as supporting infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and external dykes. Sinuous lines define the eye-catching new marina and clubhouse, which is...

Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM

Jul 19, 2018: New STEM oriented Girl Scout badges have been announced by the Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council as of July 18th, 2018. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The 30 new badges round out last year's issuance of educational programs for girls ages 5-18. Among the curriculum are subjects that "address some of society’s most pressing needs, such as cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science,...

Danish-inspired holiday cabin is a dreamy Pacific Northwest hideout

Jul 19, 2018: Seattle-based design practice Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects is no stranger to creating charming cabins that embrace nature in the Pacific Northwest. So when a local family tapped the firm for a vacation home on a wooded plot overlooking the Hood Canal, the architects delivered with a clean and modern dwelling thoughtfully integrated into the site. Called ‘The Coyle’, the cluster of gabled buildings draw inspiration from the owner’s Danish roots and are wrapped in dark-stained cedar...

A 19th century building is reborn as solar-powered temporary housing for families in need

Jul 19, 2018: No matter where you live or what you do for a living, there’s always a chance that fate will take a few bad turns and you’ll need short-term housing for your family. The Cambridge Health and Human Services Department (CHHSD) and Cambridge’s HMFH Architects recently joined forces to build a shelter in a lovely old 19th Century building once thought doomed for demolition. Once a grand aluminum-gilded lady keeping company among dignified homes on either side along Massachusetts...

Hyundai lowers entry price, bumps all-electric range on new 2018 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Jul 19, 2018: Hyundai has lowered the price and slightly increased the all-electric range of the refreshed 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). The new PHEV model adopts the same distinctive design of the recently released Sonata gasoline and Hybrid models while delivering 28 miles (45 km) of all-electric range (vs. 27 miles...

Henkel investing in new technologies and products for e-drive systems

Jul 19, 2018: Building on its years of experience and expertise in engine and powertrain applications, leading adhesives provider Henkel is actively investing in new technologies and products for efficient large-scale manufacturing of safe and reliable electric drive systems. Key solutions include innovative liquid gasketing, magnet bonding, thermal management and potting products as...

USS researchers used ORNL neutron source to better understand properties of hydroformed AHSS

Jul 19, 2018: Researchers from the United States Steel Corporation (USS) recently used neutrons at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source (earlier post) to better understand the properties of hydroformed AHSS and how it responds to residual stress introduced during manufacturing. In an SAE International technical paper, the research team reported on...

Nissan LEAF NISMO to go on sale in Japan

Jul 19, 2018: The Nissan LEAF NISMO will go on sale July 31 in Japan, combining the excitement and advanced technologies of the world’s best-selling electric car with the sporty image and performance of the NISMO road car series. The model is based on the new Nissan LEAF, which made its debut in...

Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg wins the Automotive Lean Production Award for the first time

Jul 19, 2018: Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg has won the Automotive Lean Production Award for the first time. Series production at Wolfsburg began in 1945; since then, more than 45 million vehicles have rolled off its lines. The plant currently produces up to 3,500 units of the Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Touran and...

Celanese to sell Nanjing ethanol production unit and form TCX technology joint venture with Chengzhi

Jul 19, 2018: Celanese Corporation has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Chengzhi Shareholding Co., Ltd., to further the development of acetic acid-based ethanol in China. From 2014 to 2017, Celanese operated a 275,000 metric ton per year industrial ethanol unit at the Nanjing, China Chemical Industrial Park. This ethanol unit used...

An updated Scandinavian summer cottage weaves Japanese influences throughout

Jul 18, 2018: There are few better places to spend a Scandinavian summer than in a breezy cottage by the water. One stellar example is the Summer House completed by Swedish architecture firm Kod Arkitekter in the northern Stockholm archipelago. Located on an island and surrounded by the forest and sea, this home makes the most of its idyllic surroundings with a design that maximizes indoor-outdoor living and combines Scandinavian cottage traditions with Japanese minimalism. Built of timber to reference the...

This minimalist timber writers studio in Switzerland is suspended in mid-air

Jul 18, 2018: Most writers need a quiet space to gather their thoughts and do their work. Tapping into this need for solitude, Oslo-based Rintala Eggertsson Architects designed ‘In Praise of Shadows,’ a minimalist writer’s cabin built primarily of timber and suspended in the air on the grounds of the Maison de l’Écriture, a literature institute in Montricher, Switzerland. The compact hut takes inspiration from the cross in the Swiss coat of arms for its geometric form and is lifted into the air beneath...

Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii's coastline with the birth of a new island

Jul 18, 2018: Just as mass attention towards Mount Kilauea begins to diminish, the young Hawaiian volcano has commandeered this week's headlines by claiming the formation of a new island in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully no fatalities have resulted from Kilauea's eruption, which launched its ongoing destruction of Hawaii's main island on May 3rd, 2018. Recently geologists working at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a leading organization in tracking global volcanic activity, have reported volcanic creation -...

Neste exploring ways to use waste plastic as a raw material for fuels and plastics

Jul 18, 2018: Neste, the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, is now exploring ways to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for fossil refining. The aim of the development project is to proceed to industrial scale trial during 2019. The company’s target is to process annually more than one...

Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village

Jul 18, 2018: For design collective KLAB Architecture (kinetic lab of architecture), one of the biggest challenges with public buildings in Greece is the lack of architect involvement in the construction process. To circumvent the problem, KLAB Architecture turned to prefabrication for their design of a public nursery in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Drawing inspiration from a child’s archetypal drawing of a house, the modular gabled structures are clustered together to form the appearance of tiny urban village....

An old bungalow is transformed into an award-winning home with a modern extension

Jul 18, 2018: Los Angeles-based Edward Ogosta Architecture has breathed new life into a 70-year-old bungalow with a modern new addition fitted with massive windows. Named the Rear Window House, the Culver City dwelling spans 1,450 square feet and was commissioned by clients who sought extra space for their growing family. The new extension respects the local architecture—predominately low-slung bungalows from the post-war era—and maintains the 3:12 roof slope shared by the existing house and surrounding residences....

The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes and it's officially on the market

Jul 18, 2018: Beachfront homes on Sullivan’s Island off Charleston, South Carolina are among the most magnificent dwellings in the country. With vistas that seem to extend beyond infinity and backyards bordering Charleston Harbor, these upscale houses offer the ideal trio of magnificent ocean views, peace and tranquility – except during hurricane season. After Hurricane Hugo demolished their prized home on the island in 1989, the owners’ son George Paul, a builder and designer of dome structures, rebuilt...

Researchers determine cause of voltage fade in NMC cathode materials, find it is reversible

Jul 18, 2018: Lithium-rich layered oxides (LRLO) are leading candidates for the next-generation cathode materials for energy storage, as they can deliver 50% excess capacity over commercially used compounds. However, voltage fade has prevented effective use of the excess capacity, and a major challenge has been a lack of understanding of the mechanisms...

Booking Holdings invests US$500M in DiDi Chuxing; DiDi partners with Continental

Jul 18, 2018: China-based Didi Chuxing, the world’s leading one-stop mobile transportation platform, and Booking Holdings, a global leader in online accommodations and travel e-commerce, have entered into a strategic partnership. Booking Holdings has invested US$500 million in DiDi, recognizing DiDi as a leader in the mobile transportation industry. Under the partnership, DiDi...

Argonne Oleo Sponge for cleaning oil spills successful in real-world conditions off California coast

Jul 18, 2018: The Oleo Sponge, a patent-pending technology to clean oil spills invented at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, performed successfully in an experiment conducted off the coast of Southern California. The test, funded by the Palo Alto-based Anthropocene Institute, was meant to validate Oleo Sponge in a...

BYD to deliver two Class-8 battery-electric refuse trucks to Recology

Jul 18, 2018: BYD (Build Your Dreams) will deliver two 8R Class-8 battery-electric refuse trucks, fitted with New Way Viper Rear Loader refuse bodies, to Recology in Seattle, WA for use in residential solid waste pick up. These will be the first electric refuse trucks to operate in the entire Pacific Northwest region....

SwRI opens Energy Storage Technology Center

Jul 18, 2018: Southwest Research Institute has opened a new Energy Storage Technology Center, bringing its diverse scientific research, development and evaluation of energy storage systems under one roof. The facility houses SwRI technology to evaluate and to develop battery and energy storage systems for electric, plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles; grid storage;...

Toyota to commence verification testing for road maintenance inspections using vehicle data from connected cars

Jul 18, 2018: Toyota Motor Corporation, with Toyota City, will start Japan’s first verification testing for road maintenance inspections using vehicle data obtained from connected cars, beginning 1 August. The verification testing will enable assessment of whether the degree of road deterioration index values computed from the car’s behavior data and actual road...

Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv

Jul 17, 2018: Israeli architecture firm Geotectura recently completed a striking modern home that can produce more energy than it needs. Located in Tel Aviv, the single-family home—called the Eco360—combines traditional passive design principles with improved energy-efficient systems such as solar photovoltaic panels and a gray water system. The sustainable dwelling also embraces views of the outdoors as well as plenty of natural light. The project brief was for a modern home that could elegantly...

Midcentury, Scandinavian-inspired Canadian chalet gets a spectacular renovation

Jul 17, 2018: An aging chalet in Canada that was facing demolition has been completely turned around thanks to a stunning renovation led by Montreal-based design studio Alain Carle Architecte. Originally built in the 1960s, the Maribou Residence features midcentury Scandinavian architectural influences—no doubt inspired by the rise of Alvar Aalto’s reputation during that time period. Enamored with the home’s history, the clients wanted to conserve the home’s original character while modernizing the appearance....

This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne

Jul 17, 2018: What if renewable energy infrastructure could be both functional and beautiful? Exploring that notion is Italian architectural practice Antonio Maccà, who designed ‘Sun Ray,’ a massive solar collector that could generate enough energy to power 220 Melbourne homes—with approximately 1,100 MWh of electricity produced annually. Shortlisted for this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative Melbourne design competition, the conceptual design was conceived as a symbol for the future of sustainable...

Futuristic library pops up in an ancient Chinese city

Jul 17, 2018: Incredible, futuristic-looking libraries have been taking root across China, including in one of the country’s most famous ancient cities, Xi’an. Once the capital for thirteen dynasties, the Shaanxi Province city is now home to the curvaceous, all-white Zhongshu bookstore with a design that looks like something straight out of a science fiction film. Crafted by Shanghai-based Wutopia Lab, the bookstore was constructed from 300 tons of steel and 30,000 meters of light strips. Located...

This yurt-inspired modern cabin is a holiday getaway in Slovakia

Jul 17, 2018: Bratislava-based architect Peter Jurkovič of design practice JRKVC has designed a contemporary cabin by the lake that takes inspiration from traditional yurts. Created for a young married couple who own a creative studio in Bratislava, the holiday retreat—called ‘Attila’ as a nod to the nomadic tribes that used yurts in Central Asia—is located in the village of Vojka nad Dunajom, approximately 12 miles away from Slovakia’s capital city. In addition to serving as a cozy getaway, Attila...

ICCT paper suggests new supersonic aircraft unlikely to comply with existing environmental standards for subsonic aircraft

Jul 17, 2018: Findings presented in a new working paper by a team at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggest that the new generation of supersonic aircraft currently in development by three US-based companies (e.g, earlier post) are unlikely to comply with existing international environmental standards for subsonic aircraft. The ICCT...

Researchers develop non-flammable fluorinated electrolyte for Li-metal anodes with aggressive cathode chemistries; toward a 500 Wh/kg goal

Jul 17, 2018: Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD), the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) have developed a non-flammable fluorinated electrolyte that supports the most aggressive and high-voltage cathodes in a Li-metal battery. In a paper in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, they report that a battery with...

INRIX launches new platform to connect road authorities with vehicle operators for highly automated vehicles

Jul 17, 2018: INRIX launched a new platform that provides the foundation for cities and road authorities to communicate with operators for safe and effective deployment of highly automated vehicles (HAVs) on public roads. INRIX AV Road Rules provides a platform for cities to digitize, validate and manage the traffic rules and restrictions...

New Ricardo 48V electric motor aims to boost power and cut costs of hybrids; up to 50% increase in power density; ECOCHAMPS

Jul 17, 2018: As part of its contribution to a recently completed major European research initiative to achieve more efficient and cost-effective hybrid powertrains for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles, Ricardo developed a new 48V e-motor offering up to a 50% increase in power density compared with current production machines. Ricardo designed...

Escape into nature at Alberto Kalachs timber cabins in Oaxaca

Jul 16, 2018: Renowned Mexican architect Alberto Kalach has designed a series of idyllic timber cabins along the Pacific Ocean in Oaxaca, Mexico. Available to rent on AirBnB, these cabins built near the beach were developed as part of the Punta Pájaros, an ecological development located approximately 25 minutes from Puerto Escondido, a port town with stunning surf, jewel-like beaches, and a buzzing nightlife. The cabins, which are strategically placed away from the hustle bustle and are oriented to face the ocean,...

This beautiful planted bridge doubles as a public gathering place in China

Jul 16, 2018: When Beijing-based practice DnA Design and Architecture was tapped to renovate an old stone masonry bridge in Zhejiang, China, founding architect Xu Tiantian saw it as an opportunity to create a transformative and culturally significant gathering space for the public. Spanning the Songyin River, the updated Shimen Bridge now features a beautiful timber addition with built-in seating, planters, and even a centrally located square with trees. Here, villagers are encouraged to come and enjoy their surroundings...

Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal

Jul 16, 2018: When design firms Aurora Arquitectos and Furo were asked to transform an old building in the Portuguese coastal resort town of Cascais into a hip hostel, they had their work cut out for them. Though the roof was still standing, the interiors were completely rundown. Using a laminated steel frame to reinforce the structure, the architects steadily transformed the building from ruin into welcoming lodgings that play up the vacation theme with tropical prints and bright, sunny colors. Located...

Lush green roof camouflages the Chameleon Villa into the Indonesian tropics

Jul 16, 2018: True to its name, the Chameleon Villa is a residence that seamlessly blends into its forested surroundings in Bali thanks to its integration of lush greenery. Designed by international architecture practice Word of Mouth House, the contemporary dwelling spans nearly 11,000 square feet, yet deftly hides its bulk with a landscaped roof. The “camouflaged” roofs also help promote natural cooling and are integrated with rainwater collection and recycling systems as well as solar panels. Located...

AKASOL developing second-generation Li-ion battery systems for Mercedes-Benz’ eCitaro; 35% more energy in 2020

Jul 16, 2018: This autumn, AKASOL will begin serial production of the first-generation battery system AKASYSTEM OEM for the Mercedes-Benz eCitaro electric bus. AKASOL is also starting to develop second-generation lithium-ion battery systems in close cooperation with Daimler Buses. Being upwards compatible, these will offer about 35% more energy and contribute to an...

Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

Jul 16, 2018: In Sydney’s affluent suburb of Kirribilli, a contemporary home stands out from its Victorian manor neighbors. Local design practice Bijl Architecture reworked an existing semi-detached home into the Doorzien House, a two-story home that takes full advantage of its sweeping Sydney harbor views. In addition to floor-to-ceiling glazing installed in the rear of the house, glass elements are used throughout the house—in the form of skylights, flooring, highlight panels and balustrades—to fill the...

Stanford team proposes continuous electrochemical heat engines as a direct method of harvesting heat to electricity

Jul 16, 2018: A team from Stanford University is proposing continuous electrochemical heat conversion as a direct method of harvesting heat to electricity. Using flow cells and solid-oxide cells respectively, they have built proof-of-principle heat harvesters operating both near ambient conditions, and at high temperatures. In a paper in the RSC journal Energy...

Johnson Matthey to build eLNO battery materials demonstration plant; targeting EV batteries; full production plant in 2021/22

Jul 16, 2018: Johnson Matthey (JM) is building a demonstration-scale plant in Clitheroe, UK to manufacture next-generation battery materials to power electric vehicles. The new, multi-million pound plant will have a capacity of 1,000 tonnes per year and will be used to provide sample quantities of the company’s high energy, low-cobalt eLNO—lithium nickel...