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Posts Tagged ‘clean energy’

Is CNG Finally Ready for Prime Time?

Fuel is cheap, plentiful, so why isn’t it getting wider use?

by on Oct.09, 2012

The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is one of the rare vehicles offering a factory CNG package.

Chrysler has landed orders from 19 states to supply Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup trucks running on compressed natural gas.

The move comes as 22 states form a coalition to promote the use of the cheap, plentiful and relatively clean fuel. The coalition has told U.S. automakers that if they build vehicles capable of running on CNG orders will run anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 annually.

“That should be enough to get them to move,” said John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado which has been one of the states taking the lead in the effort to promote the use of CNG.

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Compressed natural gas is gaining a lot of attention lately.  Traditionally used for home heating as well as industrial applications, CNG is winning converts even in the environmental movement.  While it is considered a fossil fuel its chemical structure contains less carbon than petroleum or coal and that means that in a motor vehicle it produces 60 to 90% fewer smog-causing pollutants and 30 to 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


Tapping the Stars

Excerpt from: Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet

by on Mar.12, 2012

Honda has set up a solar-powered hydrogen refueling station near Los Angeles for the maker's FCX Clarity hydrogen vehicle.

Editor’s Note: We hear a lot about battery power these days, some proponents insists that hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles will be the only way to achieve the tough new mileage standards set for 2016 and 2025. Yet, not everyone is betting on batteries. There are plenty of proponents who believe the real answer is hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe and a gas that could truly achieve zero-emission driving.

Among the true believers is Peter Hoffmann, publisher of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter, and author of the new book, “Tomorrow’s Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet.” has this excerpt from that new book, the chapter titled, Terra Transport: Hydrogen for Cars, Buses, Bikes, and Boats.  To read more, Click Here for a link to

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“Basically, we can mass produce these now. We are waiting for the infrastructure to catch up.”

That’s what Kazuaki Umezu, the head of Honda’s New Model Center, told reporters who in mid-2008 had come to cover a momentous event in the annals of hydrogen and fuel cell technology: the launch of the Japanese carmaker’s—and the world’s—first dedicated fuel cell car assembly plant in Takanezawa, a small town of some 30,000 residents about 80 miles north of Tokyo.


GM Opens EV Motor Plant – Then Pumps Big Bucks into Conventional Gas Engine Factory

Maker covering all bases.

by on May.18, 2011

The Chevy Sonic will be the next model to get GM's Ecotec four-cylinder engine.

As former General Motors Chairman Bob Lutz liked to say, “there’s no silver bullet” when it comes to finding the cleaner, more fuel-efficient technology for tomorrow’s cars. Instead, he and other industry experts believe that, over the next decade or two, we’ll likely see cars run on a variety of different, increasingly efficient, forms of power.

GM is underscoring that point, this week, with two big announcements covering both conventional and advanced engine technology.

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The maker broke ground, on Tuesday, at what will become the first U.S. plant owned by a major automaker specifically to produce electric motors.  They’ll be used, the maker said, in the next generation of its two-mode hybrid system – which should be both more efficient and less expensive than the current version of that gas-electric driveline.

“Going forward, we want to see these things not only invented in America; we want to see them built in America,” said U.S. Energy Sec. Steven Chu, during a ceremony at the plant, near Baltimore. “And it’s that combination of invented in the U.S., built in the U.S., and sold worldwide that’s going to be the heart of our future.”


China Now Leads in Clean Energy Investments

Will new Obama proposals help U.S. regain lead?

by on Mar.30, 2011

As President Barack Obama exhorts Americans to get behind a coherent energy policy, a new study shows the U.S. falling  behind in the race to develop new, clean sources of energy, according to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts.

Last year, clean energy investment across the globe grew by 30%, to $243 billion last year, with China continuing to solidify its position as the world’s clean energy leader by investing a record $54.4 billion in 2010.

China’s investment represented a 39% increase from 2009, the new Pew Study said.  Germany was second in the G-20, up from third last year, after experiencing a 100% increase in investment, to $41.2 billion.

“The clean energy sector is emerging as one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world, witnessing 630% growth in finance and investments since 2004,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program.

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“Countries like China, Germany and India were attractive to financiers because they have national policies that support renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production and that create long-term certainty for investors,” she said.

The United States, which had maintained the top spot until 2008, dropped another rung in 2010 to third, with $34 billion invested.


Shift to Alternative Fuels Continuing

Recession, low gas prices can't halt switch.

by on Feb.06, 2009

Making a better case for alternative fuels

Making a better case for alternative fuels

Recession or not, the auto industry, or at least elements of it, are setting course for a greener future.

Ricardo Inc. of Van Buren, Mi., the American arm of the British engineering firm Ricardo plc, has announced it has developed technology that optimizes ethanol-fueled engines to a level of performance that exceeds gasoline engine efficiency and approaches levels previously reached only by diesel engines.

The technology, called Ethanol Boosted Direct Injection or EBDI, takes full advantage of ethanol’s best properties – higher octane and higher heat of vaporization – to create a truly renewable fuel scenario that is independent of the cost of oil.

“Developing renewable energy applications that can lead to energy independence is a top priority at Ricardo,” said Ricardo President Dean Harlow. “We’ve moved past theoretical discussion and are busy applying renewable energy technology to the real world. The EBDI engine project is a great example because it turns the gasoline-ethanol equation upside down. It has the performance of diesel, at the cost of ethanol, and runs on ethanol, gasoline, or a blend of both.”