Alternative Energy

Transportation News

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

May 21, 2018

Alternative Transportation

Is there enough water and land on Earth to meet global food demands?

May 21, 2018: There are 7.6 billion people living on Earth today, according to the United Nations. The UN expects that number to jump to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. With 815 million people already going hungry, will we be able to feed the world’s population as it continues to grow? Do We Have Enough Resources? Once populations surge past 10 billion, will it even be physically possible to feed everyone with the limited water and land we have? The short answer is yes. The more realistic...

USDA releases controversial GMO food label prototypes

May 21, 2018: Food with genetically modified ingredients will be labeled after a 2016 bill passed by Congress, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled label prototypes. The fight for labels was controversial, and the proposed label designs are too. Legal director George Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety, which wanted labeling, told NPR, "I mean, they look like a little smiley face. They're very pro-biotech, cartoonishly so, and to that extent are, you know, not just imparting...

Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic

May 21, 2018: Ocean plastic just got a flashy new awareness effort: in Manchester United Football Club jerseys. Adidas worked with Parley for the Oceans to release a kit created with recycled ocean plastic and inspired by the team's 1968 European Cup Final win. Manchester United director Richard Arnold said in a statement, "We are all acutely aware of the threat of plastic to the environment and we are delighted to be able to raise further awareness with this recycled kit, which I am sure the fans will love." Related: This...

Nine African cities commit to reaching zero carbon by 2050

May 21, 2018: Nine cities across Africa, a continent vulnerable to climate change, are taking action. Reuters reported the cities recently pledged to deliver their share of carbon emissions reductions to hit Paris Agreement goals. The cities, several of which are major capitals, aim to reach zero carbon economies in just over 30 years. Related:…

Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the ocean, is plagued with plastic

May 21, 2018: Point Nemo is located so far away from land that those on the International Space Station, hundreds of miles above Earth, are usually the closest humans to this most isolated place. Located nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest island, Point Nemo is the oceanic point farthest from land on our planet. Despite its extremely remote location, Point Nemo has recently been plagued with plastic pollution. Sea vessels participating in the eight-month-long, worldwide Volvo Open Race took seawater samples from...

Hotstick USA exclusively licenses ORNL direct-current detector for emergency responder safety

May 21, 2018: North Carolina-based Hotstick USA has exclusively licensed a direct-current detector technology developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help emergency responders safely detect high voltages. In emergency situations, first response teams often rely on voltage detectors such as Hotstick USA’s flagship product, the AC Hotstick, to...

BNEF: E-buses to surge even faster than EVs; supply of cobalt potential risk to the pace of growth

May 21, 2018: The electrification of road transport will move into top gear in the second half of the 2020s, due to tumbling battery costs and larger-scale manufacturing, with sales of electric cars surging to 28%, and those of electric buses to 84%, of their respective global markets by 2030. The latest long-term...

Study associates ozone exposure at birth to increased risk of developing asthma

May 21, 2018: A long-term study of the health of Canadian children has found that exposure to ozone (O3) at birth was associated with an 82% increased risk of developing asthma by age three. The study, which was a 10-year follow-up to the 2006 Toronto Child Health Evaluation Questionnaire (T-CHEQ), was presented at...

Hyundai Mobis to develop full range of autonomous driving sensors by 2020; new efforts in radar

May 21, 2018: Supplier Hyundai Mobis plans to develop a full range of sensors to support autonomous by 2020 with the goal of leading the global market. The company made the announcement at its new proving ground, which opened last June in Seosan, South Korea, as a test bed for new technologies. The...

Groupe PSA and Centrale Nantes launch €4M R&D program on digital simulation techniques for powertrain design

May 21, 2018: Groupe PSA and Ecole Centrale de Nantes have launched of an R&D partnership to optimize powertrain design processes for the group’s future vehicles. The aim of the partnership is to accelerate the use of digital simulation techniques in the design, development and testing of powertrains and increase model predictability. In...

Drax, C-Capture to pilot Europe’s first bioenergy carbon capture storage project

May 21, 2018: UK-based renewable power generator Drax will pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe, which, if successful, could make the renewable electricity produced at its North Yorkshire power station carbon negative. The demonstration project will see Drax partner with C-Capture and invest £400,000 (US$539,000)...

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offered with new 4-cylinder turbo with Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation

May 19, 2018: The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck will be offered with an all-new, technologically advanced 2.7L Turbo. Standard on LT and RST trims, the new engine delivers an SAE-certified 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft (472 N·m) of torque—22% more torque than the 4.3L V-6 it replaces. Developed specifically for truck...

Chevrolet introduces Dynamic Fuel Management cylinder deactivation on 2019 Silverado; Tula Dynamic Skip Fire

May 19, 2018: The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will offer updated versions of the proven 5.3L and 6.2L V-8s with Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM), based on Tula’s Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) technology. (Earlier post.) This industry-first cylinder deactivation technology enables the engines to operate in 17 different cylinder patterns to optimize power...

DOE SBIR/STTR FY18 BES Phase 1 Release 1 awards include 15 for hydrogen and fuel cells

May 19, 2018: The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the 2018 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 1 awards, including 15 projects focused on high density hydrogen storage, innovative ionomers (ion-containing polymers) in the catalyst layer, gas diffusion layers, and membranes for electrochemical production...

Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs

May 19, 2018: Inspired by 20th-century architect R. Buckminster Fuller, architect Pavlina Williams transformed a decrepit dome house in Palm Springs into a dreamy retreat that channels bohemian and mid-century modern vibes. Now available as a vacation rental on Boutique Homes, the Geodesic Dome House offers stunning desert views and privacy on a private five-acre lot. Keep reading for a peek inside. Working together with her husband Carter, the LA-based architect Pavlina Williams worked on their...

BIG designs a high-end tiny house that goes off-grid

May 18, 2018: Bjarke Ingels Group has revealed images for the firm’s first-ever tiny house—the A45—designed for the prefab-housing startup Klein. Inspired by the traditional A-frame cabin, the A45 takes on an angular form conducive to rain run-off and easy construction. The 180-square-foot timber cabin boasts a completely customizable interior design and can be built within four to six months in any location. Constructed in Upstate New York, the A45 prototype is clad in blackened pine with...

Can vertical farming feed the world and change the agriculture industry?

May 18, 2018: Finding alternatives to traditional farming practices could help increase food production and feed the hungry. Year after year, the human population increases. We expand our cities to accommodate our needs for housing and businesses, which means we lose rainforests and prime farmland. As the population grows, our need for food increases, which means even more pristine natural habitat will be lost to grow crops or create pastures for grazing animals. Despite our encroachment into natural landscapes...

One-third of the world's protected areas face 'shocking' human impact

May 18, 2018: 2.3 million square miles — or around twice the size of Alaska — of protected areas around the world face human pressure from activities like road building, urbanization, or grazing, according to a new study. Lead author Kendall Jones, a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland, said in a statement, "We found major road infrastructure such as highways, industrial agriculture, and even entire cities occurring inside the boundaries of places supposed to be set aside for nature conservation...

Bering Sea ice is "at record low levels for this time of year"

May 18, 2018: Arctic sea ice is low, with Bering Sea's sea ice extent "is the lowest recorded since at least 1979," according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC). In April, Arctic sea ice extent was 378,400 square miles under the 1981 to 2010 average. And according to Earther, the Bering Sea has been something of a ground zero this winter, with sea ice disappearing when it was supposed to be growing in February, rebounding slightly in March, and then plummeting in April. Related:…

Bitcoin is expected to consume enough energy to power Austria by the end of 2018

May 18, 2018: Though bitcoin's value may rise and fall dramatically, the energy required to produce Bitcoins seems to be ever on the rise. Researchers estimate that the bitcoin network may consume as much as 7.7 gigawatts of energy, the equivalent of the electricity required to power Australia. A new study published in the journal Joule predicts that bitcoins may use up to half a percent of the world's total energy supply. If the value of bitcoin continues to rise, the entire bitcoin network may consume up to...

Warming seas could shift fish habitats out of the reach of some fishers

May 18, 2018: Warming waters have already prompted some fish to move south or north. As the climate continues to change, marine species' shifts could be challenging for fisheries as the fish potentially move into new areas altogether — some over 500 miles away, according to new research from a team of scientists from the United States and Switzerland, who modeled the habitat of 686 species.

In the UK, wind energy provides more power than nuclear for the first time

May 18, 2018: For the first time, wind energy provided more power than nuclear energy to the United Kingdom grid in the first three months of 2018. This milestone, in which wind provided 18.8% of all power during a period in which only natural gas was a larger energy source, may herald the arrival of an energy economy in which renewable energy is the most cost effective option. There was even one point during this period, March 17 overnight, in which wind energy provided nearly half of the electricity used in...

Mercedes-Benz to invest ~€500M to produce electric compact EQ model at Hambach plant

May 18, 2018: Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its production capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France, which currently produces smart brand electric vehicles, will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ. Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten electric cars by 2022...

Volkswagen innovates with aerodynamics for electric I.D. R Pikes Peak racer

May 18, 2018: In preparation for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2018, the Volkswagen Motorsport team has engineered the aerodynamics of the I.D. R Pikes Peak (earlier post)—the brand’s first fully-electric racing car—specifically to tackle the famous hill climb. The goal at the race, which takes place on 24 June in Colorado...

SoCalGas introduces STARS solar hydrogen generation system at California Air Resources Board Symposium

May 18, 2018: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) introduced an innovative new solar-powered hydrogen generation system during the California Air Resources Board Technology Expo and Symposium at the University of California, Riverside. The project is a partnership between SoCalGas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the STARS Corporation. The generation system uses sunlight...

Key enzyme for production of second-generation ethanol discovered in Brazilian Amazon

May 18, 2018: Researchers have discovered a novel enzyme (a β-glucosidase) in microorganisms living in the Brazilian Amazon that could boost efficiency of the sugarcane bagasse saccharification process, which accounts for up to 50% of the global costs of cellulosic ethanol production. The team isolated, characterized and reproduced the enzyme, proving it to...

Roskill: graphite prices could push higher on tightening markets for batteries & electrodes

May 18, 2018: Synthetic graphite electrode prices rose nine-fold through the first three quarters of 2017, increasing from US$1,748/t in January 2017 to a high of US$16,309/t in September, according to Roskill Information Services. Despite some fallback during the winter months, prices remained above US$15,600/t through February and March 2018. Spot prices were...

API reports record US petroleum production in April: 10.543 million b/d; strongest April demand since 2007

May 18, 2018: April saw the US produce a record 10,543,000 barrels per day (MBD) of oil, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. The first four months of this year also saw US petroleum demand average 750,000 barrels a day above the same period in 2017 despite higher prices. Total petroleum...

Hydro-Québec grants an exploitation license and partners with Nouveau Monde Graphite to develop materials for Li-ion batteries

May 18, 2018: Hydro-Québec (HQ) and Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) have signed a license and a research and development agreements respecting the processing of graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. The partners hope that this collaboration will enable NMG to commercialize battery material technologies developed by HQ over the past 30 years. The...

Tianqi Lithium takes $4.07B stake in world’s largest lithium producer SQM

May 18, 2018: China-based Tianqi Lithium, a leading global supplier of lithium products, has agreed to purchase 62,556,568 A shares of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM)—the world’s largest lithium producer—held by Nutrien for consideration of $65 per share in cash. The announced transaction represents the entirety of Nutrien’s A shares...

Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade

May 17, 2018: Brick may often be seen as boring and traditional, but that’s not the case when the material falls into the hands of KIENTRUC O. The Vietnamese architecture studio creatively used the ancient building block to breathe life and openness into Ho Chi Minh City’s new Chuon Chuon Kim 2 Kindergarten. Located in the city’s District 2, the building is built entirely of bare brick forming patterns and openings in an eye-catching and playful facade that promotes natural ventilation. Likened...

Yale architecture students designed and built this handsome home for the homeless

May 17, 2018: Since 1967, first-year Yale architecture students have designed and built buildings to better the community—and last year’s project was a handsome show in affordable housing. For the 2017 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project, students completed a 1,000-square-foot home that explores cost-efficient and flexible design. Constructed in New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood, the dwelling was created to provide shelter for the homeless. The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless...

UK fracking measures could make exploratory drilling "as easy as building a garden wall"

May 17, 2018: The United Kingdom government has come under fire for measures that could fast-track shale gas projects. Among the measures, explorers could drill test sites without first applying for planning permission, The Guardian reported. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said, "Britain's fracking experiment was on life support and now the government is trying its best to shock it back into life." Related:…

NASA study shows water shortages could worsen without action

May 17, 2018: Wet land areas on Earth are becoming wetter, and dry areas drier, according to a NASA-led study the agency described as a first of its kind. Scientists drew on 14 years of satellite observations combined with data on human activities to track freshwater trends in 34 regions worldwide. Hydrologist Jay Famiglietti said, "What we are witnessing is major hydrologic change." Related: Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,…

These new electric trucks from Volvo could soon be collecting your garbage

May 17, 2018: Swedish multinational manufacturing company Volvo has revealed its two new electric truck models, which were designed with delivery and refuse collection in mind. These utility trucks could replace those currently on the road for these services, vehicles that are a major source of diesel emissions in urban areas worldwide. "This opens the door to new forms of cooperation with cities that target to improve air quality, reduce traffic noise, and cut congestion during peak hours since commercial operations...

Levels of ozone-destroying CFCs are mysteriously rising

May 17, 2018: CFC chemicals, which were globally banned by the Montreal protocol in 1987, have been experiencing a comeback. In recent years, levels of CFCs have increased suddenly and mysteriously. The producer of the CFCs has yet to be determined. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researcher Stephen Montzka discovered the unusual trend. “I have been doing this for 27 years and this is the most surprising thing I’ve ever seen,” he told the Guardian. “I was just shocked by i...

European Commission proposes 15% reduction in CO2 for new heavy-duty trucks by 2025, indicative target of 30% by 2030

May 17, 2018: In the third set of measures designed to implement the “Europe on the Move” goals of modernizing the transport system, the European Commission is proposing a 15% reduction in new heavy-duty truck CO2 emissions by 2025 from 2019 levels. For 2030, the Commission proposed an indicative reduction target of at...

BMW Group 1st international automaker to obtain autonomous driving road test license in China; new R&D center in Beijing

May 17, 2018: On 14 May 2018, BMW Group officially obtained the Shanghai Intelligent Connected Autonomous Driving Test License, issued by the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Promotion Team—consisting of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization, Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission. The BMW Group thus has become...

Mazda launching updated CX-3 in Japan with new 1.8L diesel

May 17, 2018: Mazda Motor Corporation has begun accepting pre-orders for the updated Mazda CX-3 at dealerships throughout Japan. The redesigned model adopts parts of Mazda’s next-generation SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture. Improvements were made to the front dampers, front stabilizers and coil springs, and the G-Vectoring Control and electric power steering systems were carefully tuned...

Freudenberg invests in fuel cell and battery technologies

May 17, 2018: Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, one of the world’s leading specialists in sealing technologies for the auto industry, has strengthened its position in the energy and electric mobility sectors with an acquisition and a strategic investment. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies believes electric vehicles will reach significant production volumes by 2025; however, even as...

Study finds rising emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11, banned by Montreal Protocol

May 17, 2018: Emissions of one of the chemicals most responsible for the Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, despite an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010, a new study by researchers at NOAA and their colleagues shows. Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting gas in...

A storage shed is transformed into a bespoke light-filled home in London

May 17, 2018: London-based architecture firm De Rosee Sa has given an old storage shed a new lease on life by converting it into a bright, bespoke family home. Sandwiched between rear terraced gardens and a row of 16 West London garages, the shed—renamed the Courtyard House—was brilliantly renovated while adhering to planning regulations that included height limitations and the requirement that any new form match the existing gable outline. Divided into two floors, the Courtyard House organizes...

Fulcrum Bioenergy breaks ground on Phase 2 of Sierra Biofuels plant; 1st garbage-to-fuels project

May 16, 2018: Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. has started site construction for Phase 2 of its first waste-to-fuels project, the Sierra BioFuels Plant (Sierra). Sierra will be the nation’s first commercial-scale plant converting a municipal solid waste (MSW) feedstock—i.e., household garbage that would otherwise be landfilled—into a low-carbon, renewable transportation fuel product. We’ve spent...

Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

May 16, 2018: When Arno Matis Architecture was tapped to help reshape the identity of Vancouver’s Cambie Street, they did so with the design of Aperture, a beautiful site-responsive residential development. The city block-sized structure derives its name from its striking aperture-like openings with glass-and-wood veneer walls angled in response to each facade’s unique solar exposure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, Aperture maximizes passive shading and is topped with green roofs. Created...

Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

May 16, 2018: According to the United Nations, nearly 45 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated in 2016—an increase of 8 percent from just two years prior. So, when Singaporean artist and Founder of Rehyphen® studio Jessica Chuan Yi Xin stumbled upon a stash of forgotten cassette tapes in her room, she brainstormed a way to reuse the material rather than contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. A bit of creative ingenuity and experimentation led her to develop MusicCloth®, a handwoven...