|Engine compartment of the CrossBlue Coupé plug-in hybrid shows the transverse-mounted 3.0L V6; DSG is to the right, with the power electronics unit mounted above it. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen brought the new CrossBlue Coupé plug-in hybrid sporty mid-size SUV show car, introduced in April at Auto Shanghai 2013 (earlier post), to a media event in Berlin for its European premiere.
The CrossBlue Coupé—based off the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture (the Group’s modular assembly kit for vehicles with transverse-mounted engines)—features a transverse-mounted turbocharged direct-injection (TSI) 220 kW (295 hp) 3.0L V6 gasoline engine (EA 390) and six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission with 40 kW electric motor (DQ 400 E) in the engine compartment. The DQ 400 E hybrid transmission is also being applied in the upcoming Audi A3 plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.)
|The MQB is the Volkswagen Group’s assembly kit for vehicles with transverse-mounted engines and transmissions and front-wheel and/or all-wheel drive. The Group also is using the New Small Family (NSF) kit; the MLB (Modular longitudinal kit); and the MSB (Modular standard kit). The Volkswagen brand is responsible for the MQB; the Audi brand for the MLB; and Porsche for the MSB (which is sporty). Click to enlarge.|
(The CrossBlue Coupé is a sportier, gasoline-engined version of the diesel-engined CrossBlue SUV concept introduced at this year’s Detroit auto show. Earlier post. Although equipped with a different engine, the CrossBlue SUV also uses the DQ 400 E hybrid transmission and rear-axle motor as the Coupé.)
The power electronics unit is integrated in the front engine compartment above the DSG unit and operates at a voltage level of around 375 V. A DC/DC converter supplies the body electrical system with the 12 Volt electrical power it requires.
A 9.8 kWh Li-ion battery is housed in the center tunnel, and the rear axle features an 85 kW electric traction motor connected to the front via an “electric propshaft”.
The electric motors contribute 180 N·m (133 lb-ft) (front) and 270 N·m (199 lb-ft) (rear). In boosting—i.e., when the full power potentials of the engine and electric motors are combined, as in Sport mode—the drive system can produce a total system torque of up to 700 N·m (516 lb-ft).
The CrossBlue Coupé can deliver as much as 415 hp (309 kW). With acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 5.9 seconds, and a top speed of 147 mph (237 km/h), the CrossBlue Coupé has a combined fuel consumption of 79 mpg (3.0 l/100 km) in the new European driving cycle (NEDC).
|MQB plug-in hybrid powertrain with the DQ400e transmission. (Diagram does not show the same engine as in the Coupé.) Click to enlarge.|
In hybrid mode fuel consumption (sub-cycle of the European ECE-R101 standard with discharged battery powered by just the TSI drive), the SUV consumes 6.9 l/100 km (34 mpg US) of fuel. This value enables a theoretical range of around 1,190 kilometers (739 miles) with a fuel tank capacity of 80 liters (21 gallons US).
The basic family elements of the MQB are electrics/electronics; powertrain; chassis; and body & trim. While certain aspects of the MQB vehicles, such as the orientation of all the engines, are uniform, there is considerable scope for variation in dimensions such as the wheelbase and track widths. The CrossBlue Coupé uses MQB front suspension and four-link rear suspension and electro-mechanical MQB steering.
|Possibilities for alternative powertrains in the MQB. Source: Volkswagen. Click to enlarge.|
All new MQB models are designed so that they can be built with natural gas, hybrid, or electric powertrains as well as diesel or gasoline engines. As an example, the powertrain of the CrossBlue Coupé could apply a smaller battery pack, do away with the rear traction motor and on-board charging electronics, and be delivered as a conventional hybrid variant.
The default drive program for the CrossBlue Coupé is “Eco” or hybrid mode; it optimally manages use of the drive sources. The electric motors are used for propulsive power as often as possible in this case. The driver can switch to the Sport mode by pressing a button; in this case, the vehicle exploits the maximum power of the drive system. There is also an Offroad mode (permanent all-wheel drive), EV mode (driving with zero emissions), and a Charge mode (battery charging).
|Shifter and drive mode buttons in the CrossBlue Coupé. Click to enlarge.|
The shifter for the six-speed transmission has very short throws, thanks to a new drive-by-wire logic. Like a joystick, the lever continually returns to its middle position; the “D”, “R” and “N” positions are activated by a short flick and “P” by a separate pushbutton that is integrated in the lever.
Arranged on the right side, next to the shift lever grip, are the buttons for ESC deactivation (used when driving in deep snow, for example) and for the drive modes: “Sport”, “Eco”, “Offroad”, “Charge”, and “EV” (electric driving).
|CrossBlue Coupé at the Volkswagen Automobile Forum in Berlin. Click to enlarge.|
In EV mode, the CrossBlue Coupé can cover a distance of up to 21 miles (34 km) in pure electric mode; top speed is limited to 75 mph (121 km/h). In EV mode, only the rear electric motor provides propulsion; the V6 TSI engine is decoupled from the drivetrain by opening the clutch, and the engine is shut off. As soon as there is a need for gasoline power—because of the battery charge or other parameters—it is coupled to the drivetrain again.
The driver can intentionally switch over to a charging mode by pressing another button on the center console. The TSI engine charges the battery while driving in order to store enough electrical energy for EV operation later in the journey.
Volkswagen is hosting Green Car Congress at the media event, which will also highlight the new Golf GTD (the first GTD built off the MQB components set), the XL1 and the MQB.
A brief study by Dr. Michael Sivak, Director, Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) concludes that despite the absolute number of vehicles in the US having reached a maximum in 2008, it is highly likely that—from a long-term perspective—the absolute number of vehicles in the US has not yet peaked.
However, he notes, the rates of vehicles per person, licensed driver, and household reached their maxima prior to the onset of the current economic downturn. As a result, Sivak concludes, it is likely that the declines in these rates prior to 2008 reflect other societal changes that influence the need for vehicles (such as, increases in telecommuting and in the use of public transportation). Therefore, the recent maxima in these rates have better chances of being long-term peaks as well, he suggests.
The US currently has about 253 million registered motor vehicles of all types, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The focus of this research was on light-duty vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans). The number of light-duty vehicles in 1984 stood at 156.8 million. The number reached a maximum of 236.4 million in 2008. In 2011 (the latest year available), the number was 233.8 million.
The number of vehicles reached a maximum—at least for the time being—in 2008, the year of the onset of the current economic downturn. The value in 2011 was somewhat higher than the lowest post-2008 value, which was reached in 2010. This is the expected pattern, with the changes in the number of vehicles lagging the changes in the general economy.
Given that US economic conditions are improving and that the US. population is expected to continue to grow, it is highly likely that the maximum number of vehicles reached in 2008 will be surpassed in the near future.—Michael Sivak
In terms of the rates of vehicles per three variables of interest:
Vehicles per person. In 1984 there were 0.66 vehicles per person. This rate increased to a maximum of 0.79 in 2006. The latest rate—for 2011—was 0.75.
Vehicles per licensed driver. In 1984 there were 1.01 vehicles per licensed driver. This rate increased to a maximum of 1.16, which was reached in 2001, 2005, and 2006. The rate in 2011 was 1.10.
Vehicles per household. In 1984 there were 1.84 vehicles per household. This rate increased to a maximum of 2.05, which was reached in 2001, 2005, and 2006. The rate in 2011 was 1.95.
...because the changes in the rates from 2008 on likely reflect both the relevant societal changes and the current economic downturn, whether the recent maxima in the rates will represent long-term peaks as well will be influenced by the extent to which the relevant societal changes turn out to be permanent.—Michael Sivak
|The Common Module Family represents a new approach to engineering for the Renault/Nissan Alliance. Click to enlarge.|
The Renault/Nissan Alliance announced its Common Module Family (CMF) engineering architecture. CMF is not a platform; it can involve several platforms. A platform is a horizontal segmentation; a CMF is a cross-sector concept.
CMF covers Renault/Nissan Alliance vehicles, from one or more segments, based on the assembly of compatible Big Modules: engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical/electronic architecture. CMF will be deployed across 5 continents in more than 10 countries through 2020. The first deployment of CMF, for the compact and large car segments, will cover 1.6 million vehicles per year and 14 models (11 Renault group + 3 Nissan).
To be a source of increased competitiveness and synergies, CMF extends manufacturing commonalization to an unprecedented number of vehicles developed within the Alliance. The Alliance partners calculate that CMF will generate an average 30-40% reduction in entry cost per model and 20-30% reduction in parts cost for the Alliance.
Renault and Nissan are characterizing CMF as an additional tool that goes further than carryovers on a single platform, to expand the product range. The trend will be to increase the modules common to several platforms with a view to standardizing components and increasing the number of vehicles per platform.
CMF will gradually be extended to Renault and Nissan ranges between 2013 and 2020. CMF will be first applied to the compact and large car segments, then to be followed by models in other segments.
The first Nissan vehicles will be released in late 2013: replacements for Rogue, Qashqai and X-Trail.
The first Renault vehicles will be released in late 2014: replacements for Espace, Scénic and Laguna.
CMF will create an “Alliance parts bank” that is just the right size for a varied product range as close as possible to customer needs.
Sharing and carryover of parts between models and entities will generate economies of scale; applying the system throughout volume production of the vehicles guarantees long-term performance.
CMF addresses all items of expenditure, through synergies, shared volumes, economies of scale and shared risks within the Alliance in:
Component purchasing: a 20%-30% cost reduction for the Alliance; and
Investment (a single entry cost): a 30-40% cost reduction in product + process engineering, with variations for Nissan and Renault.
Compared with the savings achieved by commonalization on the B platform (which was originally intended for Modus and Clio for Renault and Micra for Nissan), CMF generates economies of scale through the coverage offered by the Alliance in terms of number of vehicles and geographical regions.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has stepped up enforcement of its diesel truck regulations to ensure that only vehicles compliant with California’s stringent anti-pollution laws travel across the U.S. border into the state.
All trucks transporting cargo originating from, or going to, a regulated port or rail yard in California must be compliant drayage trucks. Among other violations ARB staff is looking for at the border are “dray-offs”. A dray-off occurs when a compliant truck exchanges cargo with a noncompliant truck on or off port property.
|Summary of drayage truck regulations. Source: ARB. Click to enlarge.|
Under the Drayage Truck Regulation, diesel-fueled trucks that transport marine or rail cargo and containers must be registered with ARB and be upgraded or replaced according to a specific timetable. The Truck and Bus regulation also requires heavy duty diesel trucks to be cleaned up.
By 1 January 2023, all class 7 and 8 diesel-fueled drayage trucks must have 2010 and newer engines. 2010 and newer engines will be fully compliant with both the Truck and Bus and Drayage regulations.
Starting last fall, ARB staff has been regularly visiting the border towns of Otay Mesa and Calexico to educate truckers and business owners in English and Spanish about how to comply with our regulations and what happens when you don’t. We have been working diligently to send a strong, consistent message that the benefits of compliance far outweigh the risks of ignoring or procrastinating when it comes to cleaning up your vehicles or participating in illegal dray-off.—ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden
Drayage trucks that engage in dray-offs are circumventing regulatory requirements, adversely impacting the air quality of the surrounding communities. The illegal activity also provides an unfair advantage over those who have spent money to comply, ARB notes.
|California-Mexico border crossing facilities. Source: DOT. Click to enlarge.|
Truckers may receive stiff penalties for participating in dray-off. In addition, motor carriers and transport companies that dispatch trucks involved in dray-offs can also face fines.
In 2012, ARB conducted 3,650 inspections on 1,938 trucks in Otay Mesa, Calexico, and Tecate to check compliance with a variety of rules including excessive idling, correct engine labeling, smoke emissions and tampering, and use of verified emissions reductions equipment for compliance with ARB regulations. A total of 261 citations were issued.
|Cumulative natural gas vehicles in use by segment, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.|
In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that the number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on roads worldwide will reach 34.9 million by 2020. The increase is largely driven due to a combination of low-cost natural gas and sustained higher prices for gasoline and diesel in many countries, Navigant suggests.
Natural gas is about 41% the cost of gasoline, Navigant says, noting that compressed natural gas (CNG) equipment adds between 10% to 40% to the cost of the vehicle due to the CNG cylinders and engine equipment, while liquefied natural gas (LNG) adds 60% to 80% due to the more expensive storage tanks. The differential in the cost of the fuels determines the payback on this additional equipment (currently between 2.5 and 6 years, depending on the vehicle).
Other factors, such as increased vehicle availability, a shortage of oil refining capabilities, tightening emissions restrictions, and increased energy security, are also fueling growth within specific countries.
Light duty vehicles (LDVs) account for almost 95% of NGVs on roads today, but trucks and buses are growing at a faster rate and are anticipated to account for 9% of the total fleet by 2020.
Asia Pacific leads in terms of annual sales of NGVs, with 1.2 million sales expected in 2013. While China and Pakistan are the largest markets, Thailand and India are the fastest growing with compound annual growth rates of 18% and 12%, respectively, between 2013 and 2020. The combination of availability of inexpensive CNG, vehicle availability, and strong government support are contributing to growth in these countries, Navigant says.
North America is the fastest growing region with 17% CAGR anticipated. NGV passenger cars are growing at the slowest rate (14% CAGR) due to the limited availability of both vehicles and refueling infrastructure; meanwhile, buses and medium/heavy duty trucks are growing at the fastest rates (22% and 19% CAGR, respectively).
Italy and Ukraine, the largest markets, are slowest growing (3% and 4% CAGR, respectively) due to their relative maturity. Germany is growing rapidly (30% CAGR), and Navigant expects NGV sales in the country to climb from 7,331 in 2013 to 46,275 in 2020 due in large part to increased availability of refueling stations (surpassing 1,000 stations in 2018).
LNG trucks are also seeing significant—although geographically limited—growth. Asia Pacific is the largest market for LNG trucks; Navigant forecasts a CAGR of 25%, reaching 11,245 units. North America, led by the United States, is also seeing significant interest in LNG trucks and is expected to reach 4,128 sales in 2020, making it the second largest market. New LNG infrastructure is helping to promote the truck market in both North America and Asia Pacific.
ECOtality, Inc. has closed its previously announced private placement of common stock and warrants to certain institutional investors. Gross proceeds from the issuance were $8.2 million and will be used for general corporate and working capital purposes.
We are making good progress to advance our Blink Network and monetize our EV solutions. This capital raise helps us continue our operational momentum as we execute on our strategic initiatives to expand our diversified business lines and continue to build our business.—Ravi Brar, CEO of ECOtality
The private placement resulted in the issuance of 5,123,423 shares of ECOtality’s common stock priced at $1.60 per share. In addition, each participating investor received a warrant to purchase a number of shares of ECOtality’s common stock equal to 50% of the total number of shares of ECOtality’s common stock purchased by such investor at the closing of this offering. The warrants will be exercisable for a five-year period beginning six months after the date of issuance at an exercise price of $2.04.
ECOtality intends to file a Registration Statement covering the resale of the common stock underlying the shares and warrants on or before 18 July 2013.
Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC acted as the sole placement agent for the offering.
ECOtality provides three primary product and service offerings: Blink, Minit-Charger and eTec Labs. ECOtality offers electric vehicle charging stations under the Blink brand and provides a turnkey network operating system for EV drivers, commercial businesses and utilities. Minit-Charger manufactures and distributes fast-charging systems for material handling and airport ground support vehicles. eTec Labs is a research and testing resource for governments, automotive OEMs and utilities.
Robert Bosch GmbH and the Japanese companies GS Yuasa International Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation have agreed to work together on the next generation of high-performance lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are fundamental for future forms of mobility, such as plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles.
The three companies intend to set up a joint venture for joint research and development, and to support their parent companies in sales and marketing activities. Operations are planned to start in the beginning of 2014. The headquarters will be Stuttgart/Germany. The establishment of the joint venture is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
Bosch intends to hold a 50% stake in the joint venture, with GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation each holding 25%. The composition of the board of management and supervisory board will reflect these shareholdings.
The companies aim to use advanced cell management and progress in electrochemistry and materials to significantly increase energy content. This will reduce weight and space requirements, and increase the range of electric vehicles.
In September 2012, Bosch and Samsung SDI disbanded their South Korea-based SB LiMotive JV for Li-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) Samsung SDI paid Bosch $95 million for Bosch’s 50% stake in the venture; in turn, Bosch acquired SB LiMotive’s US and German subsidiaries for $38 million, for a net payment to Bosch of $57 million.
Bosch took over the subsidiary SB LiMotive Germany GmbH. Based in Stuttgart, it focuses on systems engineering, battery management systems, prototyping, marketing, and sales. At the same time, US-based Cobasys will be integrated into Bosch. This subsidiary, which is important for the US market, has locations in Orion (MI) and Springboro (OH).
For the new joint venture, Bosch says it will contribute its know-how in production processes and quality management relating to the large-scale series production of complex products. With its competence in the area of battery packs and battery management systems, Bosch specializes in the monitoring and control of cells and complete battery systems, as well as in integrating them into vehicles. In addition, Bosch will support these joint activities with its entire portfolio of components for electromobility.
GS Yuasa will contribute its many years of experience in manufacturing lithium-ion cells with high energy density for a longer range, as well as its expertise in materials systems and electrochemistry. As an established manufacturer of automotive and non-automotive lithium-ion battery cells, GS Yuasa has a strong engineering team and modern production lines with a high level of automation.
Mitsubishi Corporation will contribute its worldwide marketing network and expertise as a global integrated business enterprise. Mitsubishi Corporation will apply its strengths in building global value chains, covering natural resources, material, sales and take advantage of their synergy to advance this business.
Siemens Metals Technologies and LanzaTech, a producer of low-carbon fuels and chemicals from waste gases, have signed a ten-year co-operation agreement to develop and market integrated environmental solutions for the steel industry worldwide. The collaboration will utilize the fermentation technology developed by LanzaTech transforming carbon-rich off-gases generated by the steel industry into low carbon bioethanol and other platform chemicals. (Earlier post.)
Siemens and LanzaTech will work together on process integration and optimization, and on the marketing and realization of customer projects. In December 2012, LanzaTech and Baosteel, a leading steel producer in China, announced the success of their 100,000 gallon per year (300 tons) pre-commercial plant located at one of Baosteel’s steel mills outside Shanghai, China. (Earlier post.)
Off-gases from the production of iron and steel contain significant amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Globally, the iron and steel industry contributes 6.7% to the worldwide CO2 emissions. To produce one metric ton of steel, an average of 1.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted. Up to now, these gases have been flared or used to create process heat and electrical energy within the plant.
LanzaTech’s innovative technology instead re-uses the off-gases from converter, coking plant or blast furnace processes as nutrients and a source of energy. The patented biological fermentation process allows steel plant operators to make use of the chemical energy contained in off-gases in the form of CO, CO2 and hydrogen for the production of bioethanol or other basic chemicals such as acetic acid, acetone, isopropanol, n-butanol or 2,3-butanediol.
The global market for ethanol alone is estimated to amount to an annual volume of more than 80 million metric tons, of which 75 million metric tons is used as biofuel. Unlike the bioethanol produced through agriculture, LanzaTech’s fermentation process does not compete with food production.
Another major benefit of this technology is that the CO2 emissions are between 50 to 70% lower than petroleum-based fuels and around one-third lower than when steel plant off-gases are converted into electricity.
LanzaTech has been operating a pilot plant in Auckland, New Zealand since 2008 utilizing raw steel mill gases. In 2012, LanzaTech became the first company ever to scale gas fermentation technology to a pre-commercial level, developing and successfully operating two facilities converting flue gas from Baosteel and Shougang steel plants into ethanol, each at an annualized capacity of 300 tons.
LanzaTech is now planning to begin construction on two commercial facilities in China in 2013 with production expected in 2014. Siemens and LanzaTech are already pursuing several commercial gas fermentation project opportunities around the world.
Calysta Energy and NatureWorks have entered into an exclusive, multi-year collaboration to research and develop a practical production process for fermenting methane into lactic acid, the building block for Ingeo, lactide intermediates and polymers made from renewable materials.
If the collaboration results in the successful commercialization of this new technology, the cost to produce Ingeo would be structurally lowered, and the wide range of Ingeo based consumer and industrial products could be produced from an even broader set of carbon-based feedstocks, complementary to what is already in use by NatureWorks.
Currently, Ingeo relies on carbon from CO2 feedstock that has been fixed or sequestered through photosynthesis into simple plant sugars. NatureWorks’ flagship facility in Blair, Neb., uses industrially sourced corn starch, while its second facility currently in planning for a location in Southeast Asia will use cane sugar. In parallel with the collaboration, NatureWorks is continuing its broad technology assessment of “second generation” cellulosic sources of carbon. In the case of Southeast Asia, opportunities exist for harvesting cellulosic sugars from bagasse, an abundant lignocellulosic byproduct of sugarcane processing.
The research and development collaboration with Calysta Energy relates to NatureWorks’ strategic interests in feedstock diversification and a structurally simplified, lower cost Ingeo production platform. Calysta Energy is developing its BioGTC (biological gas-to-chemicals) platform for biological conversion of methane to high value chemicals, as well as a BioGTL platform for liquids.
Calysta Energy has applied its expertise in biological engineering along with core capabilities in DNA synthesis and directed evolution to enable development of metabolic pathways for the biotransformation of novel low-cost feedstocks into high value sustainable products. Calysta is particularly focused on developing enzymes and organisms capable of efficiently converting currently underused feedstocks to high value chemicals now produced from petroleum.
Methane is generated by the natural decomposition of plant materials and is a component of natural gas. Methane is also generated from society’s organic wastes and is produced from such activities as waste-water treatment, decomposition within landfills and anaerobic digestion. If successful, the technology could directly access carbon from any of these sources. Determining the feasibility of methane as a commercially viable feedstock for lactic acid may take up to five years, according to NatureWorks.
For NatureWorks, methane could be an additional feedstock several generations removed from simple plant sugars. The project will wrap up with an evaluation of potential sources of a methane feedstock for commercial scale production of lactic acid. The evaluation will include criteria such as purity, availability, price, location to customers, GHG sequestration potential and environmental and energy impacts. Feedstock diversification supports the organization’s goal of utilizing the most abundant, available and appropriate sources of carbon to produce Ingeo for the local geographic region served by a NatureWorks’ production facility.
The companies will share commercialization rights for select products developed under the agreement.
Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano, an Oerlikon Business Unit and part of Oerlikon’s Drive System Segment, will present its family of hybrid and electric transmission systems at VDI Wissenforum. Among the systems to be shown are:
A four-speed seamless-shift transaxle. The new eDCT multi-speed transmission provides EVs with greater range while reducing vehicle weight and battery pack size. This innovative transaxle uses the principles of dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) to provide seamless shifting and up to 15% improvement in vehicle efficiency. (Earlier post.)
A hybrid transmission with torque infill, the OG-Eco. The technology combines the seamless shifting benefits of a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with the packaging and weight advantages of an AMT. The gearbox can be combined with a hybrid system that is fully integrated into the transmission package.
The electric motor is linked to the main transmission through a two-speed gear set, providing torque to the drivetrain in between gear selection enabling constant torque delivery. The technology combines two benefits: engine working in a more efficient condition and smoother gearshift compared to a traditional AMT. It also allows vehicle manufacturers to further benefit from their investment in hybrid technologies, by optimizing the efficiency and overall system weight.
For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles the company will exhibit a dual-speed seamless-shifting transaxle that can be coupled with a transversal electric motor, for front or rear full electric axle. The transaxle has been developed together with VOCIS Driveline Controls, contributing with its control software and electronic hardware design skills to the transmission design.
Electric drive is a field where integrated system-level optimization is the only way to offer significantly improved customer benefits and our efforts are aimed at increasing as much as possible the integration level of motor and transmission within the powertrain. Another crucial element for us is the innovation level of transmissions conceived for the ultimate electric and hybrid vehicles: our multi-speed concepts are the most suitable for a modern full electric or even hybrid vehicle, allowing the best sizing of the electric motor and usage of batteries’ power.—Paolo Mantelli, Head of Performance Automotive Oerlikon Graziano
Preliminary results from a new study by a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Wisconsin suggest that the fuel properties of moderate biofuel blends such as E20 and B20 increase the benefits of the use of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI). RCCI is a Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) strategy that uses in-cylinder blending of two different fuels to produce low NOxand PM while maintaining high thermal efficiency. (Earlier post.)
Previous studies on RCCI have used single-cylinder heavy-duty engines; in this study, Reed Hanson, Scott Curran and Robert Wagner (ORNL) and Rolf Reitz (U. of Wisconsin) investigated RCCI in a light-duty multi-cylinder engine over a wide number of operating points. Fuels in earlier studies were generally petroleum-based fuels such as diesel and gasoline, with some work done with high percentages of biofuels, such as E85.
Many researchers have shown that LTC strategies such as Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) and Premixed Charged Compression Ignition (PCCI) are promising techniques for simultaneous NOxand soot reduction. Due to the existing fuel infrastructure, most HCCI and PCCI research has been conducted using either gasoline or diesel fuel. However, in their neat forms, each fuel has specific advantages and shortcomings for LTC.
For instance, gasoline has a high volatility; thus evaporation is rapid and a premixed charge can be obtained using port fuel-injection. However, because gasoline resists auto-ignition, it becomes difficult to achieve combustion at low-load conditions. Conversely, diesel fuel has superior auto-ignition qualities; however, this can result in difficulty controlling the combustion phasing as engine load is increased.
...experiments...suggested that the best fuel for HCCI operation may have auto-ignition qualities between those of diesel fuel and gasoline, depending on the engine speed and load. Based on these results and experiments...the RCCI strategy was developed to allow the fuel reactivity to be optimized at all speeds and loads, providing an increased operating range for premixed LTC.—Hanson et al.
Engine experiments were performed at ORNL using a 1.9L, 4-cylinder 2007 model light-duty diesel. The engine used all stock hardware, except for the high pressure EGR heat exchanger, gasoline port ful injection system and optimized pistons for RCCI. The team replaced the OEM ECU with a Drivven engine controller to allow full access for control of all parameters and sub-systems, including the PFI system.
RCCI experiments were performed using port fuel-injection of gasoline, E20 or E85 and direct injection of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) or B20. E20 testing was conducted over a wide speed/load map representative of operation in a light-duty vehicle over the FTP75 cycle. B20 testing was carried out at loads of 2.0, 2.6 and 4.2 bar BMEP and at engine speeds of 2,000, 1,500 and 2,300 rpm, respectively. Among the findings were:
E20 increased brake thermal efficiency on average compared to gasoline. The team suggested the increase in BTE was caused by a net gain between lower heat transfer and exhaust losses while having higher combustion inefficiency and increased volumetric efficiency (VE). From these gains in VE and reduced thermal losses, the global average increase in BTE was 1.33%
With E20, the maximum pressure rate rise (MPRR) and HRR were reduced, which allowed for a 2 bar increase in the peak load from 8 to 10 bar BMEP.
Use of E20 decreased the required PFI fuel fraction, which increased NOx emissions.
Increased volumetric efficiency from the use of E20 lead to lower pumping losses.
Use of B20 allowed for a reduced PFI fraction; unlike the use of E20, this decreased NOx emissions.
Use of B20 in reased combustion efficiency due to reduced HC, but had higher CO. This gain in combustion efficiency helped to increased BTE by up to 1.68%.
The increased DI fuel fraction from the use of B20 increased MPRR similar to the E20 results.
The use of E85 and B20 allowed the peak BTE of RCCI to be increased from 40% with gasoline/diesel operation to 43%
The engine peak BTE was similarly increased from 42% to 43%. The OEM engine reached peak BTE at 16 bar BMEP vs. 11 bar BMEP with RCCI.
...it is important to note that the present results are not necessarily optimal, as this was the first attempt at using biofuels in a MCE [multi-cylinder engine] with RCCI. Future work should be done to optimize the injection strategy for the best NOxHC trade off, and thus improve some of the lower combustion efficiency points seen in the data.
In addition, the global equivalence ratios could benefit from being lower at high load. Work to improve the VE via increased airflow from improved cylinder head port design and/or using advanced two-stage turbocharging would be beneficial. Higher airflow rates would allow lower NOx emission at high loads and possibly also to allow higher peak loads to be reached.
Understanding cylinder-to-cylinder thermal effects in the MCE will be needed to help develop closed loop combustion control strategies. Closed loop control of combustion phasing will be necessary for implementation in mass production to deal with varying intake temperatures.
Finally, with advanced air handling systems, the use of EGR can be investigated as a means for further emissions reduction and for increase dilution at high loads for combustion phasing delay, possibly allowing for even higher peak loads and efficiencies.—Hanson et al.
Hanson, R., Curran, S., Wagner, R. and Reitz, R. (2013) Effects of Biofuel Blends on RCCI Combustion in a Light-Duty, Multi-Cylinder Diesel Engine. SAE Int. J. Engines 6(1) doi: 10.4271/2013-01-1653
The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has chosen DNV to gather knowledge about the potential of LNG powered international shipping in the North American Emission Control Area (ECA) and identify the necessary conditions for the successful implementation of LNG as a fuel source in the region.
The North American ECA, under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), came into effect from 1 August 2012, bringing in stricter controls on emissions of sulphur oxide (SOx), NOx and particulate matter for ships trading off the coasts of Canada, the United States and the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.
Within ECAs, the sulfur content of fuel oil (expressed in terms of % m/m – that is, by weight) must be no more than 1.00% m/m; falling to 0.10% m/m on and after 1 January 2015.
This compares to 3.50% m/m outside an ECA, falling to 0.50% m/m on and after 1 January 2020. This date could be deferred to 1 January 2025, depending on the outcome of a review, to be completed by 2018, as to the availability of compliant fuel oil.
In practice, says the IMO, this means that, within an ECA, ships must burn fuel oil of a lower sulfur content. Alternatively, the ship may use any “fitting, material, appliance or apparatus or other procedures, alternative fuel oils, or compliance methods”, which are at least as effective in terms of emissions reductions, as approved by the Party to MARPOL Annex VI.
With regard to NOx emissions, marine diesel engines installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2011 must comply with the “Tier II” standard set out in regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI. Marine diesel engines installed on a ship constructed on or after 1 January 2016 will be required to comply with the more stringent Tier III NOx standard, when operated in a designated NOx ECA.
Natural gas is a widely available, cleaner burning fuel across North America, but availability of LNG is limited, as the demand and supply side are waiting for each other, partly held up by logistical problems. The big investment decisions that have to be made related to LNG as a fuel are not made easier by the uncertainty and guesswork currently surrounding the feasibility of LNG as a fuel.
In developing LNG as an alternative fuel for short sea shipping, we foresee significant market opportunities for manufacturers, ship designers, and yards with focus on LNG technology. DNV’s involvement in research and innovation in LNG supply, storage, engines and emission issues has demonstrated that ship safety, market mechanisms, and operational regularity can be maintained when operating ships on LNG. But there are many variables and risks that have to be assessed and managed first, and we hope this study will contribute to this.—Tony Teo, DNV’s Technology and Business Director in the US
To provide actionable intelligence and insight, a number of topics have to be addressed as part of the feasibility study, DNV said:
The report will be delivered to the IMO in October, and be used as decision making support to remove some of the obstacles identified in the report.
Out of 38 LNG-fueled ships currently in operation, DNV is classing 36, including the first ship. DNV’s most recent work on LNG in the US includes assisting the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSF) with Safety, Security Assessment and Operational Planning for LNG-fueled Ferries. DNV has already carried out numerous LNG feasibility studies.
In May, demand for new passenger cars declined by 5.9% year-on-year in the EU, reaching 1,042,742 units, according to data from the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). In absolute figures, this is the lowest level recorded for a month of May since 1993 when new registrations stood below one million.
Five months into the year, a total of 5,070,840 new cars were registered in the region, or 6.8% less than in the first five months of 2012.
In May, most major markets faced a downturn ranging from -2.6% in Spain to -8.0% in Italy, -9.9% in Germany and -10.4% in France. The UK was the only country to post growth (+11.0%).
From January to May, Spain and Germany saw their market shrink by 5.8% and 8.8% respectively, while Italy (-11.3%) and France (-11.9%) recorded a double-digit decline. The UK continued its positive trend, expanding by 9.3%.
|Electrochemical performance of the Sn anodes. (a) Galvanostatic charge/discharge voltage profiles at a rate of C/10. (b) Cycling performance of Sn@WF, Al2O3 coated fiber, and Cu current collector at a rate of C/10. The inset illustrates the structure of the wood fiber and Al2O3 coated fiber. Credit: ACS, Zhu et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at the University of Maryland has demonstrated that a material consisting of a thin tin (Sn) film deposited on a hierarchical conductive wood fiber substrate is an effective anode for a sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery, and addresses some of the limitations of other Na-ion anodes such as capacity fade due to pulverization.
The soft nature of wood fibers effectively releases the mechanical stresses associated with the sodiation process, and the mesoporous structure functions as an electrolyte reservoir that allows for ion transport through the outer and inner surface of the fiber. In a paper in the ACS journal Nano Letters, the team reported stable cycling performance of 400 cycles with an initial capacity of 339 mAh/g—a significant improvement over other reported Sn nanostructures. The soft and mesoporous wood fiber substrate can be utilized as a new platform for low cost Na-ion batteries, the team suggests.
Grid scale storage requires a low cost, safe, and environmentally benign battery system. Na is an earth abundant material and Na-ion batteries fulfill these requirements better than Li-ion batteries. Widespread implementation of Na-ion batteries is limited by several factors: (1) slow Na ion diffusion kinetics, (2) large volume changes and structural pulverization during charging/discharging, and (3) difficulty in maintaining a stable solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). These challenges are related to the large size of the Na ion (372% larger in volume than Li ion for a coordination number of four...), which makes it impossible to simply adopt the recent knowledge and strategies developed for high-performance Li-ion batteries.
...Sn is a promising anode material because it alloys with Na at a high specific capacity of 847 mAh/g when Na15Sn4 is formed. Studies of Sn film and nanostructured anodes were reported; the cycle life, however, is limited to 20 cycles due to pulverization. The pulverization is primarily due to a 420% volume expansion associated with the formation of Na15Sn4.
...In this study, we develop a nature-inspired low cost electrode consisting of an electro-deposited Sn film on conductive wood fiber. Conductivity is achieved by a solution-based coating of carbon nanotubes (CNT) on the fiber surface. We find that the wood fiber increases the cyclability of Sn for Na-ion batteries by alleviating: 1) the capacity loss due to electrode pulverization, and 2) the poor rate performance as a result of slow ion diffusion kinetics...The Sn anode described is ideal for grid scale storage. The materials used are earth abundant and environmentally friendly, and electrodeposition and conductive fiber substrates are scalable for large throughput manufacturing.—Zhu et al.
Wood fibers, the authors note, are tracheids—hollow elongated cells that transport water and mineral salts. Pores in the fiber wall allow for intercellular fluid transportation. Natural wood fibers with diameters on the order of 25 µm serve as the substrate for the Sn film.
The team initially coats the fibers with a thin layer (10 nm) of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to provide electrical conductivity. Various other conductive materials, including graphene, metal nanowires, and conductive polymers could be deposited on wood fibers with similar solution-based processes, they suggested.
During the sodiation/desodiation process, the substrate deforms together with the Sn film to release high stresses and prevent the delamination and pulverization characteristic of Sn anodes. Additionally, the researchers noted, the wood fiber has a high capacity for electrolyte absorption. Liquid electrolytes penetrate the porous structure of the fiber, allowing for Na ion diffusion through the fiber cell walls in addition to diffusion at the Sn film surface. This creates a dual ion transport path that effectively addresses the slow kinetics of Sn anodes for Na-ion batteries.
The key metrics for Na-ion batteries are low cost and material abundance, as opposed to high-energy density for Li-ion batteries. The target application for Na-ion batteries, therefore, is grid-scale energy storage. This removes some design constrains for materials and structures.
...The abundance and large scale roll-to-roll processability of wood fibers make them an excellent candidate for energy storage applications where low costs are desired.—Zhu et al.
Hongli Zhu, Zheng Jia, Yuchen Chen, Nicholas Weadock, Jiayu Wan, Oeyvind Vaaland, Xiaogang Han, Teng Li, and Liangbing Hu (2013) Tin Anode for Sodium-Ion Batteries Using Natural Wood Fiber as a Mechanical Buffer and Electrolyte Reservoir. Nano Letters doi: 10.1021/nl400998t
Mascoma Corporation, a renewable fuels company, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine has completed its scientific review and supports the use of TransFerm Yield+, a bioengineered yeast, as a processing aid in the production of animal feed, which is a by-product of the corn ethanol conversion process.
TransFerm Yield+ is a drop-in substitute for conventional fermenting yeast that lowers costs and improves efficiencies for corn ethanol producers by improving ethanol yield from corn and alleviating the need to purchase a significant amount of the expensive glucoamylase enzymes. It is the latest commercial application of Mascoma’s proprietary consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) technology platform.
In pilot-scale tests at ICM, the leading provider of engineering services to the ethanol industry, and commercial-scale trials at corn ethanol producers, TransFerm Yield+ has consistently demonstrated ethanol yield improvements of up to 4%. Commercial-scale trials are currently underway at several corn ethanol producers.
Mascoma’s first bioengineered yeast product, TransFerm, has been commercially available for a little more than a year and previously received a new feed ingredient definition from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) following favorable review from the FDA. AAFCO maintains a listing of currently accepted feed ingredient definitions in its Official Publication and any new definitions are approved by AAFCO following completion of a scientific review by the FDA.
Mascoma is seeking inclusion of TransFerm Yield+ in AAFCO’s Official Publication in order to maximize the product’s marketability. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has sent a letter to AAFCO in support of establishing a new feed ingredient definition for TransFerm Yield+, based on a favorable review of the safety and utility of the product.
Both TransFerm and TransFerm Yield+ are manufactured and distributed by Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits, a global provider of fermentation ingredients to the fuel ethanol industry, and jointly marketed and sold by Mascoma and Lallemand through their exclusive partnership.
Moving to further strengthen California’s ties with China, California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols and Director of the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission Xu Anliang signed a memorandum of understanding in Shenzhen that will expand cooperation at the subnational level to tackle global climate change.
Under the new agreement, California and Shenzhen have agreed to work together to share policy design and early experiences from their climate trading programs, in order to build strong, stable and growing markets for clean energy technology and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
The collaboration will focus on building effective systems for data gathering, emissions verification, market monitoring, compliance and enforcement. Additionally, California and Shenzhen agree to monitor and share the best available climate and pollution-related science and research. The goal is to use the data to identify and evaluate additional policies, including performance standards, and to support low-carbon economic growth and reduce toxic air pollution.
Chairman Nichols was invited by the Mayor of Shenzhen to participate in the inauguration of China’s first Emissions Trading System (ETS). The event, a milestone in China’s efforts to combat climate change, included a national conference attended by China’s national leaders on climate change, including Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission Minister Xie Zhenhua.
Leaders of the seven provinces and cities hosting China’s first ETS pilots also attended this conference, together representing more than 200 million Chinese residents.
|Speedstart liquid-cooled switched-reluctance motor-generator. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has completed more than two years of continuous testing to validate its SpeedStart belt-integrated starter-generator for 1.2 million stop-starts—considered the standard that will be required for a new generation of micro-mild hybrid vehicles. Developed from the outset for 12, 24 and 48 volt applications, CPT’s SpeedStart system is the first liquid-cooled switched-reluctance motor-generator developed for automotive stop-start. (Earlier post.)
Conventional starter motors typically look at 30,000 stop-starts, while current generation stop-start systems target up to 300,000 events. CPT said that no issues surfaced with the technology in any of the recorded test data throughout this extended period of stop-start testing, which was followed by a teardown and forensic examination of CPT’s compact motor-generator system.
A stop-start system has to be specified for near-future requirements including extending vehicle life and increasingly demanding hybridization strategies, and a typical modern car moreover can easily last 250,000 miles over 15 years. More critically, fuel economy targets require reduced stop-inhibits, not just stopping the engine when the driver places the transmission in neutral. Latest implementations allow frequent stop-start events in crawling traffic and future coast-down strategies. Switching off the engine, but preparing for immediate re-starts if the driver demands acceleration, will further increase the frequency of stop-starts.
We needed therefore to demonstrate as convincingly as possible the near-zero probability of failure during the lifespan of a vehicle as well as the ability to achieve the maximum number of re-starts, because one of the most cost effective solutions for low fuel consumption is simply stopping the engine at every single opportunity—even if it’s only for a few seconds, every stop counts.—CPT hybrid product group manager Peter Scanes
The sealed unit with integrated control and power electronics avoids any ingress of dirt; the liquid cooling is plumbed into an engine’s coolant system for thermal management, said Al Muncey, senior engineer for SpeedStart mechanical and electrical systems at CPT and lead engineer on the project.
The first engine stop-start test began on 15 October 2010 and continued around the clock for 24 hours a day seven days a week until 1.2 million restarts had been achieved almost a year later on 30 September 2011. The test schedule demanded a restart on average every 12 seconds, with the actual time between starts varying between 5 and 25 seconds—equivalent to 300 an hour or 7,200 re-starts every single day for a total duration of 350 days of continuous testing.
Before this initial validation programme had been completed, another test was commissioned on 2 June 2011 with a second SpeedStart unit, which from September 2011 onwards was tested 24 hours a day for five days a week until another 1.2 million restarts had been achieved almost two years later on 15 February 2013. Testing of this second unit will now continue until it does ultimately fail to establish just how many restarts can be achieved and the likely maximum service life.
In addition to its start-stop capability, the SpeedStart technology has been designed from the outset to provide significant brake energy recuperation and is an efficient motor-generator. Despite the frequency at which the engine was continuously stopped followed by immediate re-starts, and with a regularity which the average motorist is unlikely to experience even in the most heavily congested urban traffic, the SpeedStart units still had sufficient time to generate more than three times the amount of electrical energy required to restart the engine following each stop event.
Over the two-and-a-half year test period the two SpeedStart units regenerated 35 Gigajoules of electrical energy—approximately 10MWh. In terms of chemical energy it’s the equivalent of combusting six barrels of oil.
For a vehicle to recover that much energy it requires an efficient electrical machine, which is almost as important as exceeding the industry’s durability requirements. And when you do eventually reach the end of life of the vehicle, it’s equally important that all the material can be easily recovered and recycled. And this is where switched reluctance machines have another major advantage, because they eliminate the need for permanent magnets made from expensive rare earth materials—leaving only steel, copper and aluminium and small amounts of plastic and silicon in the electronic components to be recovered. Consequently, the recyclability of our machines is virtually 100%.—Nick Pascoe, chief executive
Multiple SpeedStart units are also undergoing accelerated testing to represent a lifetime of generation in the hostile under-hood environment, cycling between -25 and +125⁰C air temperature, between -25 and +110⁰C engine coolant temperature and between zero and full electrical loads.
Researchers at the Univ. Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) have found that noble metal nanoparticles supported on titanium dioxide or cerium dioxide can catalyze the industrially important water gas shift (WGS) reaction for hydrogen production at ambient temperatures using visible light irradiation. An open access paper on their discovery is published in the RSC journal Energy and Environmental Science.
Currently, most hydrogen is produced via the steam reforming of natural gas, hydrocarbons and coal. Additional amounts of hydrogen are generated by the reaction of CO with water (the water gas shift reaction)—which also leads to the formation of CO2. WGS is an endothermic process typically carried out in industry at high temperatures (about 350 °C) with either an iron oxide- or copper-based catalyst to achieve almost complete CO conversion.
A conventional two-stage industrial gas shift is capable of converting approximately 96% of CO initially in the syngas, according to the US National Energy Technology Laboratory. An Argonne National Laboratory life cycle assessment of a Shell gasification-based multi-product stream in 2001 found that a dual-bed approach yielded a 76% CO conversion in the first bed, with 98% conversion in the second.
In this context, in the present manuscript we report the photocatalytic version of the WGS performed at ambient temperature with sunlight and visible light. When this process is carried out with sunlight, no additional energy consumption is required, and hydrogen is obtained from CO using the sun as the sustainable energy resource. As far as we know there are no precedents on the photocatalytic WGS.—Sastre et al.
The team investigated a number of photoactive catalysts including six TiO2 containing metal nanoparticles (NPs) and three CeO2 having different loadings of Au NPs.
Results showed that although TiO2 and CeO2 show a low activity for promoting the photocatalytic version of WGS, the presence of noble metals considerably increases their photoactivity. The most active photocatalyst tested was Au/TiO2 which achieves CO conversion of about 40% in 4 hours under the tested reaction conditions.
Longer irradiation times lead to higher conversions of up to 71% in 22 hours and lower light fluencies lead to lower conversions.
The team also carried out a series of irradiation experiments under analogous conditions to those using sunlight, but employing the quasi monochromatic light from an LED lamp emitting at 450 nm as the excitation source. They found that conversion with LED are lower than those obtained with the solar simulator.
In the present article we have reported our finding on a novel photocatalytic hydrogen generation from water using CO as a reducing agent in the presence of TiO2 or CeO2 as photocatalysts containing noble metal NPs. The process, which takes place at ambient temperature, can be promoted by solar light and the most efficient Au/TiO2 photocatalyst shows a significant photoactivity with visible light. In the context of hydrogen technology and considering the current importance of WGS, our results open up the way to perform a sunlight-driven, near ambient temperature WGS process.—Sastre et al.
Francesc Sastre, Marica Oteri, Avelino Corma and Hermenegildo García (2013) Photocatalytic water gas shift using visible or simulated solar light for the efficient, room-temperature hydrogen generation. Energy Environ. Sci. doi: 10.1039/C3EE40656C
EADS and Siemens are entering a long-term research partnership to introduce new electric propulsion systems for aviation applications. Together with their partner, Austria-based Diamond Aircraft, the companies are showcasing a second-generation series hybrid electric airplane at Le Bourget. (Earlier post.)
EADS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tom Enders, Siemens CEO Peter Löscher and Diamond Aircraft owner Christian Dries signed a MoU in Le Bourget to set the course for their future cooperation on electric aircraft development.
Total fuel costs will amount to a third of operating expenses of the airline industry this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Air transport as a whole currently emits 2% of global carbon emissions and is set to increase to 3% by 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The research partnership aims to ultimately introduce hybrid drive systems for both helicopters and large airplanes, while the airworthiness certification of full-electric and hybrid aircraft in the General Aviation category is to be achieved within the next three to five years.
Siemens developed an integrated drive train for the second generation of the airplane DA36 E-Star 2. It consists of two main components: The electric drive and a generator, which is powered by a small Wankel engine. The hybrid motor glider made a successful 1-hour maiden flight at the Wiener Neustadt airfield in Vienna, Austria on 1 June 2013.
The new propulsion technology leads to reduced noise emissions during take-off and will cut fuel consumption and overall emissions by about 25% compared to today’s most efficient aircraft drivers. This first MoU between the three companies confirms the collaboration on the project which has existed since 2011.
|The iBooster. Click to enlarge.|
Bosch has developed the iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster that provides situation-dependent support when the driver initiates braking. The iBooster makes hybrid and electric vehicles even more efficient, while enhancing safety through shorter braking distances, says Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division.
For hybrid and electric vehicles to achieve their intended range and fuel efficiency, they must recover as much electrical drive energy as possible when braking. Ideally, cars would be slowed down purely as a result of their electric motor converting their kinetic energy into electricity, avoiding the loss of valuable energy through braking. The Bosch iBooster recovers almost all the energy lost in typical braking operations by ensuring deceleration rates of up to 0.3 g are achieved using the electric motor alone. It thus covers all common braking maneuvers in everyday traffic.
If the brakes to be applied harder, the iBooster generates the additional braking pressure needed in the traditional way, using the brake master cylinder. The driver does not notice this interplay of motor and brakes, as pedal feel remains absolutely normal, according to Bosch.
Bosch has integrated a motor into the iBooster to control the degree of brake boosting via a two-stage gear unit for situation-dependent support on demand. This dispenses with the current costly, continuous process of generating a vacuum using either the internal combustion engine directly or a vacuum pump. In addition to saving fuel, it also allows more comprehensive use of fuel-saving functions that stop the engine for periods of time, such as start-stop or coasting.
The electromechanical concept offers further advantages. Should the predictive emergency braking system detect a dangerous situation, the iBooster can build up full braking pressure autonomously in 120 milliseconds or so—three times faster than previous systems. In emergency situations, therefore, the iBooster can brake the vehicle faster than a driver using a conventional braking system.
The iBooster can also take on the Adaptive Cruise Control’s (ACC’s) job of gently bringing the vehicle to a standstill, and do so comfortably and noiselessly. This is particularly compelling for quiet e-vehicles, since ambient sounds are much more noticeable in their interior.
The ability to define characteristic braking curves gives developers the freedom to determine pedal feel and adapt it to the customer's brand-specific wishes. If the vehicle also offers driving modes such as sport, comfort, or economy, the brakes can be made to react more softly or more aggressively as appropriate. Situation-dependent support is also possible, for instance during emergency braking.
With a freely programmable braking performance curve, identical Bosch iBoosters can be installed in different variants of a vehicle model and still offer tailored characteristics. Programming is quick and easy at the end of the production line, and it is easy to vary the installation to suit right-hand-drive or left-hand-drive models, according to Bosch.
The booster unit itself is purely electromechanical, without brake fluid, which means it can be rotated flexibly about the longitudinal axis. Consideration has also been given to the future of car driving: in combination with Bosch ESP, the system offers the level of braking-system redundancy that is needed for safety reasons in automated self-driving cars.
The iBooster complements a modular range of components from which Bosch can assemble a suitable braking system for many different vehicle configurations. Production of the new iBooster will start in 2013 for three series-produced models.
An innovative airfoil manufacturing technology that promises to improve the performance of advanced gas turbines has been commercialized through research sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The technology was licensed by Siemens Energy Inc. (Orlando, Fla.) in 2011. Siemens has now opened a new facility in Charlottesville, Va., employing Mikro Systems’ patented Tomo-Lithographic Molding (TOMO) manufacturing technology to manufacture improved airfoils.
DOE Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants funded the essential research and development that advanced the capabilities of TOMO technology, as well as the work that led to the technology’s manufacturing readiness. The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) managed the SBIR grants.
Gas turbines, which are used to produce power for industrial, utility, and aerospace applications, consist sequentially of compressor, combustor, and turbine sections. Incoming air is compressed to high pressure in the compressor section, and then heated to high temperature by the combustion of fuel in the combustor section. The high-temperature, high-pressure gas is then expanded through a series of rotor-mounted airfoils in the turbine section, converting the energy of the gas into mechanical work. Improved airfoils can tolerate higher gas temperatures and/or use less cooling air, resulting in improved energy efficiency.
The TOMO manufacturing platform enables rapid, cost-effective development and production of high performance products made from metals, ceramics, polymers and composite material systems. For tool production, lithographic etching and assembly are combined with CNC machining to produce tooling with highly complex three-dimensional features. A proprietary molding and casting process is then used to produce parts.
|Overview of the TOMO process. Click to enlarge.|
Mikro Systems received DOE support to apply its TOMO technology to a range of turbine components, with the goal of improving the efficiency and performance of gas turbines used in stationary power generation. The technology enables more sophisticated designs with improved cooling characteristics, which leads to higher operating temperatures and improved efficiency. In addition to enabling designs that were previously impossible to manufacture, the technology promises to reduce time-to-market for future design enhancements through reduced production lead times and more efficient manufacturing processes.
Mikro Systems’ growth strategy is to apply their technology to a wide range of applications, from next-generation turbines for use in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and natural gas combined cycle power plants, to smaller industrial and military aviation engines. Rolls-Royce and the US Department of Defense, among others, are now funding work by Mikro Systems, with Mikro’s manufacturing readiness playing a key role in initiating this work.
The technology is also contributing to Siemens Energy’s ARRA-funded, NETL-managed project to develop hydrogen turbines for coal-based IGCC power generation that will improve efficiency, reduce emissions, lower costs, and allow for carbon capture and storage.
Hydrogenics Corporation has been awarded a contract for three HySTAT-60 electrolyzers by The Linde Group for installation as part of a hydrogen fueling station in Bolzano, Italy. Terms of the award were not disclosed.
The station is currently under construction near a major motorway in Bolzano, thus well situated for large volumes of vehicular traffic; it is expected to supply hydrogen for both cars and buses. The project is part of the EU’s Clean Hydrogen In European Cities (CHIC) project, which is committed to making hydrogen-based public transport a commercial reality in Europe.
The rollout of the Bolzano installation will be managed by the
Institute for Innovative Technologies (IIT) and operated by Alpengas. Hydrogenics’ HySTAT-60 units will, combined, initially produce approximately 400 kilograms of fuel daily and are expected to be delivered before the end of 2013, with startup in early 2014. Further hydrogen stations along the Bolzano-Modena motorway are planned for the future.
Chromatin, Inc., a leading developer of sorghum seeds for agriculture and renewable energy, and the Sorghum Checkoff, a producer-funded organization dedicated to improving the sorghum industry, have entered into a multi-year agreement to develop new higher yielding and more advanced grain sorghum hybrids for farmers. The jointly-funded program will provide $200,000 per year for five years and will leverage Chromatin’s leading sorghum expertise and technology.
In regions with depleted ground water, drought, and delayed crop plantings, sorghum has become a preferred choice for many growers, the partners said. Chromatin’s breeding team is building on sorghum’s core strengths, and by combining commercial and public sources of sorghum genetics, is generating new grain hybrids with higher yields and improved performance.
Chromatin Inc. develops sorghum for both traditional agriculture and applications in renewable energy. It provides high quality sorghum seeds to growers and producers who are attracted to the crop’s rapid maturation, tolerance to heat, cold and drought and high yields. Chromatin has optimized its product portfolio to create sorghum feedstocks that serve as renewable resources for emerging bio-based industries such as liquid transportation fuels, chemicals, materials and biopower.
Today, Chromatin’s products are sold in the US and in more than 20 countries, where its sorghum seed is planted on more than 4 million acres worldwide.
Hitachi Cable, Ltd. has developed a harness for electric parking brakes (EPB). In addition to the mass production of this product in Japan, the company plans to start mass production in China in the summer of 2013 and in Europe within fiscal year 2013.
As represented by hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, use of electric systems in engines and control systems has been increasing in recent years to reduce environmental impact and energy consumption. Electric control has also realized products such as driving assistance systems and electric sliding doors that improve safety and convenience for passengers and drivers.
Under such circumstances, demand for electric systems to be applied in parking brakes is also increasing as part of an effort to improve safety and convenience, Hitachi said.
EPB has a mechanism which can electrically lock tires at the flick of a switch. This control system is an alternative to the conventional parking brake which employs mechanical levers and wires. EPB greatly improves safety and convenience. For example, it makes more effective use of the space around a driving seat because it does not require a mechanical lever. Also, EPB prevents a car from moving backwards when starting it on a hill because stepping on the gas pedal automatically releases the parking brake.
For these reasons, the number of automobiles equipped with EPB is expected to increase rapidly in the future, according to Hitachi Hitachi Cable, which developed this high-quality EPB harness to respond to such market demand.
The EPB harness can withstand large external stresses. This product has been developed by integrating manufacturing technologies to improve the flex resistance that Hitachi Cable has accumulated through producing electrical wires and cables, in addition to the mass production and quality management technologies of automotive components such as brake hoses, ABS wheel-speed sensors and power supply harnesses that it has also acquired over the years.
The product maintained a satisfactory level of electrical performance without being damaged after undergoing more than 5 million vibrations. This product is fitted in 2013 model vehicles.
|Powertrain technologies outlook up to 2020. Click to enlarge.|
At the company’s 61st Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, Germany, Bosch senior executives outlined the company’s view on the general future of automotive technology—“efficient and increasingly electrical”, and provided a thumbnail of the way they see—and thus are developing products for—sector-specific technology trends.
In general, said Dr. Bernd Bohr, Chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group, the pace of development continues to pick up, in the form of powertrain electrification and the automation of driving. Bosch does not believe there is just one powertrain solution for the future; most of the cars on the world’s roads are still running on diesel and gasoline, and things will stay that way for the rest of the decade, Bohr noted. However, “slowly but surely”, the number of alternatives is growing.
By 2020, Bosch expects to see new vehicle sales reaching some 110 million units worldwide, with 12 million of them with an electrical powertrain. This latter figure will grow gradually throughout this decade, with the growth curve becoming ever steeper in the next.
Therefore, Bohr said, Bosch aims to develop lithium-ion batteries that will at least double the range of current electric vehicles and at half the cost per kilowatt-hour. “This is the best possible way to promote the purchase of electric vehicles.”
While policies worldwide are tightening emissions and fuel economy standards, the strictest standard of all is expected in Europe in 2020, Bohr said—average fleet CO2 emissions of 95 grams per kilometer.
How can this be achieved technically? To put it in a nutshell: the larger the vehicle, the more electrification will be required.—Dr. Bernd Bohr
More specifically, he suggested, in the sub-compact class, gasoline and diesel powertrains will be so efficient that the emissions of these vehicles will be lower than the 2020 CO2 target, even without electrification.
Only the diesel engine will achieve this in the compact class, but the gasoline engine will come close. In order to further reduce its CO2 emissions in this vehicle class, the gasoline engine will require a low-cost, basic hybrid solution.
Even with optimized internal-combustion engines, large vehicles will not achieve the CO2 target. By 2020, such vehicles will need to be equipped with higher-performance hybrid systems.
Bosch is developed appropriate technical solutions for each element in the above scenario as part of its “seven-point program”:
By 2020, the goal is to reduce the fuel consumption of diesel and gasoline engines by as much as 20% over 2012 levels. This will be done with a broad range of efficiency-enhancing technologies, including the turbocharging of downsized engines.
Automating the manual transmission, for example with the eClutch. The electric clutch shifts into neutral whenever the driver is not accelerating. This reduces fuel consumption by about 5%.
Enhancing the start-stop system to make it a coasting assistant. Bosch also uses the navigation function as a sensor of the outside world. The navigation system can preview upcoming speed limits and terrain, which in turn enables drivers to release the gas pedal well ahead of town limits or bends in the road. On highways, this can result in fuel savings of up to 15% in real driving conditions, Bosch suggests.
Hybrid powertrains for the mid-sized segment. Bosch calls its solution the boost recuperation system, or BRS for short. It goes one step further than coasting, enabling regenerative braking. This results in fuel savings of up to 7%.
Hydraulic hybrid drive for passenger cars. (Earlier post.) It is based on a classic internal-combustion engine with additional hydraulic components and a pressure accumulator filled with nitrogen. This hybrid system can support gasoline and diesel engines where they do not work efficiently—when accelerating, for example, or in stop-and-go traffic. In cities, the system can reduce fuel consumption by 45%. In normal driving conditions, the reduction is 30% on average.
Strong hybrid systems for larger vehicles, which reduce fuel consumption by up to 25%.
Plug-in hybrids. Gasoline or diesel consumption can be reduced by 50% over the course of the driving cycle.
We have not even talked about the purely electric drive yet. We are supplying it for the first time as a complete solution for the Fiat 500e. Equally, our plug-in hybrid system is debuting in the Porsche Panamera. By the end of 2014, we will already be working on 30 orders related to powertrain electrification. While these projects are not yet intended immediately for the mass market, they are paving the way for such a market, also psychologically. They represent a new kind of driving experience, one that is electric, noiseless, and comfortable. This experience is decisive.
For this reason, in an end-customer survey we conducted with Opel, we let people drive electric vehicles first before asking them any questions. Once customers have tested the cars, their willingness to pay increases with the size of the vehicle. In particular, drivers of large vehicles appreciate the possibility of purely electric driving in cities. This is a clear vote in favor of the plug-in hybrid, as well as a result that is compatible with the CO2 scenario I have already described. The technical requirements resulting from stricter environmental standards, particularly the electrification of larger vehicles, appear to be just what customers want. And this is a good thing. After all, there can be no electric driving without customers who are willing to pay for it.—Dr. Bernd Bohr
Apart from powertrain electrification, said Dr. Rolf Bulander, President Bosch Gasoline Systems, Bosch can also see potential for using economical CNG powertrains in all vehicle classes. When natural gas is burned, roughly 25% less CO2 is released than with gasoline. However, in order for the market to continue to grow, the infrastructure must be significantly expanded.
Bulander added a few more specifics to the general outline of more efficient combustion engines, with a focus on spark-ignition systems, “which require the most progress.” Bulander briefly described three possibilities for achieving CO2 values in small cars with gasoline engines:
Cost-efficient automation of manual transmission, for a 5-6% benefit.
Turbochargers in the subcompact class. Only with turbochargers can engines be downsized, he said, which can potentially offer a 7-8% percent fuel saving. If this is combined with a modern gasoline direct injection system, the fuel saving can be as much as 15% compared with a port fuel injection system. In addition, the turbocharger provides more torque, and thus optimum performance. It allows load point and valve lift to be shifted for de-throttling. This increases the engine’s efficiency.
Optimizing combustion by combining an increase in compression ratio with cooled exhaust-gas recirculation. This modification would be efficient, reducing CO2 emissions by roughly one-tenth.
Bosch will combine these possible solutions with further improved gasoline direct injection technology.
Our current assumption is that compact cars with spark-ignition engines will emit less than 85 grams per kilometer in the future. We will also further modify the systems for diesel engines in this vehicle segment—for example, by making combustion more efficient with the help of increased injection pressure or the introduction of low-pressure exhaust-gas recirculation in a wide range of applications. We will rigorously continue to refine the high-torque diesel engine with Bosch products, particularly as regards friction loss and charge cycle. In addition, performance is increasing relative to engine size. In this way, the emission values for diesel will be well below the 85-gram mark for CO2 emissions.—Dr. Rolf Bulander
Bulander said that start-stop systems will be installed in 70% of all new cars in western Europe by 2017. Bosch’s 48V boost-recuperation system (BRS) takes the start-stop system one step further closer to the hybrid world.
BRS will be deployed in the compact class, in which price competition is very stiff. The BRS electrical components support the engine with an additional output of 10 kW, but at 0.25 kWh, the capacity of the battery has been kept on the lean side. By having part of the onboard network run on 48 volts, Bosch maximizes energy recovery through regenerative braking. After the car has braked five times, the system will have completely recharged the lithium-ion battery, Bulander said.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has agreed with TDK Corporation and Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. (JMC) to jointly pursue the reuse of a rare earth metal extracted from nickel-metal hydride batteries in hybrid vehicles for magnets of new hybrid vehicle motors.
In March of this year, Honda began supplying a battery manufacturer with rare earth metals extracted from used nickel-metal hydride batteries at a JMC plant for reuse in new nickel-metal hydride batteries of hybrid vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Now, Honda will expand the reuse of extracted rare earth metals to motors for hybrid vehicles to achieve the further recycling of these limited resources.
The three companies will begin detailed discussion toward the reuse in motors and begin the process as soon as a sufficient volume of used nickel-metal hydride batteries is secured.
|Honda’s process for reusing extracted rare earth metal in motors. Click to enlarge.|
Myriant Corporation, a global renewable chemicals company, announced the successful start-up at its flagship bio-succinic acid plant located in Lake Providence, Louisiana. Myriant has produced on-spec commercial product at the plant and anticipates that customer shipments will commence soon. Myriant’s bio-succinic acid plant is the first of its kind and scale in North America and has an annual nameplate production capacity of 30 million pounds of bio-succinic acid.
Given the positive metrics we’ve achieved to date at Lake Providence and most recently at ThyssenKrupp Uhde’s commercial validation plant in Leuna, Germany, and, combined with our team’s depth of expertise in building and operating fermentation plants, we expect a relatively smooth transition to steady-state operations. As is always the case when bringing chemical plants online, it will take some time to achieve our full production rate, but we are confident about the reliability of our core technology platform.—Stephen J. Gatto, Chairman and CEO
Myriant’s Lake Providence Commercial Facility is partially funded through a $50 million cost sharing cooperative agreement received from the United States Department of Energy (DOE), $25 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development B&I Loan Guarantee Program and a $10 million grant from the Lake Providence Port Commission and the Louisiana Department of Transportation. Heartland Bank is recognized by the USDA as the Lender of Record for the B&I Loan Guarantee.
Globally, the annual worldwide market for succinic acid is estimated at approximately $7.5 billion in new and existing applications. Succinic acid, which is traditionally produced from petroleum, can be used in a wide variety of applications including polymers, urethanes, plasticizers and coatings. Myriant’s high purity bio-succinic acid is made from renewable feedstocks and is chemically equivalent to petroleum-based succinic acid while providing a lower environmental footprint. Myriant’s bio-succinic acid reduces harmful green house gas emissions by 94% compared to petroleum-derived succinic acid and by 93% compared to petroleum-derived adipic acid, a chemical that succinic acid can replace.
Myriant is currently commercializing its bio-succinic acid platform from two operating chemical plants: the flagship plant in Lake Providence, LA; the other, a commercial validation facility located in Leuna, Germany, which is operated by Myriant’s global partner, ThyssenKrupp Uhde.
Myriant, together with Johnson Matthey - Davy Technologies (JM Davy), combined the efficiencies of their respective chemical processes for the production of cost-competitive bio-BDO and bio-THF made from Myriant’s bio-succinic acid, yielding overall carbon efficiency of 87%. Myriant is also advancing its proprietary, low-cost, high-purity process for bio-acrylic acid.
Myriant commercialized D(-) lactic acid in 2008 for the production of polylactic acid (PLA), which is used to make biodegradable plastic.
Mercedes-Benz will introduce Car-to-X (C2X) communication technology into series production vehicles by the end of the year. Through the use of C2X communication, information on potential road traffic dangers can be passed on to drivers at an early stage so that they can take appropriate action and even help to avoid critical situations arising in the first place, the automaker noted. (Earlier post.)
As part of the initial deployment of the technology, Mercedes will use the Drive Kit Plus, which, in combination with a smartphone and the Digital DriveStyle app developed by Mercedes-Benz, turns the vehicle into a simultaneous transmitter and receiver of information.
Daimler said it is using this mobile communication-based approach because it promises to offer the quickest way to deploy the future technology and therefore also the quickest possible shortcut to unlocking the safety potential of Car-to-X technology. However, Daimler is also involved in the further development of Car-to-X communication and, based on a hybrid approach, is also able to extend its systems into the area of ad-hoc communication between vehicles.
Through the integration of Car-to-X technology in the Drive Kit Plus and the Digital DriveStyle app, Mercedes-Benz is enabling as many Mercedes-Benz customers as possible to benefit from Car-to-X technology. Drive Kit Plus can be ordered for new vehicles but also can be installed in stock vehicles as a retrofit solution.
In other words, Car-to-X communication is not dependent on the market launch of a new model, and will be offered to customers across the board from the end of the year.
Car-to-X technology is able significantly to expand the scope of existing vehicle sensors, such as radar or camera systems. It enables motorists to “see” around corners or beyond obstacles, thereby helping to reduce the blind spots from which existing sensor systems suffer. The technology's greatest potential lies in this expansion of the telematic horizon, the company said.
With Car-to-X communication we have made a base technology ready for the market which in the future will enable a new generation of driver assistance systems to be developed. Through the intelligent fusion of sensor data, we are able to obtain an extremely precise picture of the vehicles surrounding including areas further away from the vehicle—which also helps us with the further development of our autonomous driving functions.—Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
In addition to enhancing safety and convenience, Car-to-X technology can also contribute to making mobility more efficient by using precise information on traffic conditions available via Car-to-X communication, for example to improve the flow of traffic by controlling traffic light signals.
Use examples. When warning messages are issued in the vicinity of the vehicle, the driver receives a warning in advance in good time and the hazardous location is marked on the map. With this information the driver has the option of adjusting driving style and speed in such a way that a dangerous situation does not even arise. The driver can also be warned at an early stage about wrong-way drivers or dangerous weather conditions.
In addition to receiving warning messages, each vehicle fitted with Car-to-X communication can also transmit information on dangers to other road users and therefore contribute to enhancing road safety.
Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are able to detect many of these dangers automatically and without the driver being required to take any action, due to t the integration of the Car-to-X system in the vehicle’s own systems. For dangers which are not detected automatically, or which cannot yet be detected automatically, an efficient manual notification option has been created.
At the press of a button, alerts on immobile vehicles or animals on the road, wrong-way drivers or shed loads can be transmitted via the Mercedes Cloud. This then sends a warning message to all vehicles fitted with Car-to-X technology which are in the vicinity of the hazardous location.
Daimler is a founding member of the Car 2 Car Communication Consortium, and is actively working on a Europe-wide standardized system for Car-to-X communication. And by acting as the project manager of a German and European field trial for the practical testing of Car-to-X communication, Daimler is also driving force behind the preparations for the market launch of Car-to-X systems.
|E-Thrust is a “series hybrid” electrical distributed propulsion system concept using one gas power unit providing the electrical power for six fans for lower fuel consumption, fewer emissions and less noise. Click to enlarge.|
The EADS Group—comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter—is demonstrating at the Paris Air Show 2013 a number of initiatives in the field of electric and hybrid propulsion, which it calls its “E-aircraft projects”.
The Group has developed and built a battery-electric general aviation training aircraft in cooperation with Aero Composites Saintonge (ACS), called E-Fan. EADS has also engineered together with Diamond Aircraft and Siemens an updated series hybrid electric motor glider, the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2. EADS is also cooperating with Rolls-Royce on a future distributed propulsion system concept (DEAP) for full-size passenger aircraft.
|E-Fan in the hangar. Click to enlarge.|
E-Fan: electric aircraft in progress. Two years after the first electric aerobatic plane and the all-electric Cri-Cri, the smallest manned aircraft in the world (earlier post), the teams at EADS Innovation Works (IW) (the corporate research and technology network of EADS) and Royan-based ACS (Charente Maritime, France) have developed E-Fan, a fully electric general aviation training aircraft.
The two-seat E-Fan has undergone a very intensive development phase of only eight months. E-Fan propulsion is provided by two electric motors with a combined power of 60 kW, each driving a ducted, variable pitch fan. The duct increases the static thrust, it reduces the perceived noise and improves safety on the ground. With the engines located close to the centre-line of the aircraft, the E-Fan has very good controllability in single-engine flight.
|Also at the Paris Air Show, EADCO and PC-Aero are presenting their two-motor electric aircraft project “Elektro E6”.|
|The Elektro E6 is envisioned to feature a full carbon composite structure, two motors, high wing propeller, solar cells technology, 6 seats, 480 kg (1,058 lb) payload and 500-km (311-mile) range.|
|The partners hope to build a proof of concept in 3 years and have Certification CS23 in 10 years. The final certified version of the Elektro 6 will features all the systems of a conventional commercial aircraft including retractable landing gear, anti-ice system, cabin pressure and air conditioning.|
Total static engine thrust is about 1.5 kN. The 250 V Lithium polymer batteries (40 Ah, 4V per cell) are made by KOKAM and are housed within the inboard part of the wings outside the cockpit and provided with venting and passive cooling.
Because of timing and availability constraints, off-the-shelf Lithium polymer batteries are used in the technology demonstrator, giving an endurance of between 45 min. and 1 hour, EADS said. New batteries with a higher energy density will be installed later on, which will increase the endurance to up to 1 hour 30 min.
The batteries can be recharged in one hour, or they can be rapidly replaced by means of a quick-change system (available on the fully certified version). An on- board 24 V electrical network supplies the avionics and the radios via a converter. A backup battery is provided for emergency landing purposes.
The length of the aircraft is 6.7 meters with a wingspan of 9.5 meters. Take-off speed is 110 km/h (68 mph); cruise speed is 160 km/h (99 mph); and maximum speed is 220 km/h (137 mph).
Another innovation of the E-Fan is its landing gear, which consists of two electrically-actuated retractable wheels positioned fore and aft under the fuselage, plus two small wheels under the wings. The aft main wheel is driven by a 6 kW electric motor providing power for taxiing and acceleration up to 60 km/h (37 mph) during take-off, reducing overall electrical power consumption in day-to-day operation.
An optimized electrical energy management system (e-FADEC) is integrated into the aircraft, which automatically handles all electrical features, thereby simplifying the monitoring and controlling of the systems. The e-FADEC reduces the pilots’ workloads, allowing the instructor and the student to fly the aircraft and focus on the training mission.
We believe that the E-Fan demonstrator is an ideal platform that could be eventually matured, certified to and marketed as an aircraft for pilot training.—Jean Botti, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at EADS
EADS IW is developing the electrical and propulsion system together with partners such as ACS, which is building the all-composite structure, the mechanical systems and conducted the aerodynamic studies.
The French innovation institutes CRITT Matériaux Poitou-Charentes (CRITT MPC) and ISAE-ENSMA, as well as the company C3 Technologies have been responsible for the construction and production of the wings. Electrical engineering experts from Astrium and Eurocopter helped out with their expertise in testing the battery packs while the livery was designed by Airbus.
The E-Fan project is co-funded by the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC, the French civil aviation authority), the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), the French Government (Fonds FRED), the Région Aquitaine and the Département Charente-Maritime of France.
Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2 series hybrid. In addition to the development of the E-Fan, EADS is also demonstrating hybrid propulsion systems. One of them is in the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2 motor glider first introduced at the Paris Air Show 2011. The two-seater has been updated with a lighter and more compact electric motor from Siemens, resulting in an overall weight reduction of 100 kg (220 lbs). Electricity is supplied by a small Wankel engine from Austro Engine with a generator that functions solely as a power source. EADS IW prepared the battery packs, which are installed in the wings.
|The configuration with three fans on either side of the fuselage represents an initial starting point for future optimizations, with the optimum number of fans to be determined in trade-off studies in the DEAP project. Click to enlarge.|
DEAP: distributed propulsion. Since 2012, EADS IW has been working together with Rolls-Royce within the Distributed Electrical Aerospace Propulsion (DEAP) project, which is co-funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board. The project researches key innovative technologies that will improve fuel economy and reduce exhaust gas and noise emissions by having a distributed propulsion system architecture.
For the E-Thrust concept, distributed propulsion means that several electrically-powered fans are distributed in clusters along the wing span, with one advanced gas power unit providing the electrical power for six fans and for the re-charging of the energy storage. The E-Thrust concept can be described as a series hybrid propulsion system.
This configuration represents an initial starting point for future optimisations, with the optimum number of fans to be determined in trade-off studies in the DEAP project. Initial study results by Airbus indicate that a single large gas power unit has advantages over two or more smaller gas power units. This will give a noise reduction and allows the filtering of particles in the long exhaust duct at the back of the engine.
The hybrid architecture offers the possibility of improving overall efficiency by allowing the separate optimization of the thermal efficiency of the gas power unit (producing electrical power) and the propulsive efficiency of the fans (producing thrust). The hybrid concept makes it possible to down-size the gas power unit and to optimize it for cruise. The additional power required for take-off will be provided by the electric energy storage.
A fundamental aspect of optimizing the propulsive efficiency is to increase the bypass ratio beyond values of 12 achieved by today’s most efficient podded turbofans. For the concept, the bypass ratio must be termed “effective bypass ratio”, EADAS noted, because the fan airstreams and the core airstream are physically separated.
With distributed propulsion, values of more than 20 in effective bypass ratios appear achievable, which would lead to significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. having a number of small, low-power fans integrated in the airframe instead of a few large wing-mounted turbofans is also expected to reduce the total propulsion system noise.
In addition to improving the propulsive efficiency, distributed propulsion offers a greater flexibility for the overall aircraft design that could result in reduced structural weight and aerodynamic drag, for example, by relaxed engine-out design constraints leading to a smaller vertical tail plane; by being able to better distribute the weight of the propulsion system components; and by re-energizing the momentum losses in the “boundary layers” that grow over the wing and fuselage causing a “wake” (Boundary Layer Ingestion, BLI).
An additional efficiency gain appears possible if this boundary layer is “ingested” and accelerated by the fans, because it can reduce the aircraft’s wake and hence its drag. However, the implementation of a boundary-layer ingesting system means that the airflow into the fans is not uniform; to realize the potential benefits, the turbo-machinery—and in particular, the fan blades—must be able to withstand the associated unsteady conditions due to the distorted intake flow.
The design of the Rolls-Royce fans is currently being developed in collaboration with its University Technology Centre in Cambridge, and is specifically optimized to deliver the best performance in the distorted flow conditions that are experienced in a BLI configuration; its design is supported by computer analysis as well as reduced-scale testing and measurements.
To achieve an integrated distributed fan propulsion system design that matches the overall airframe requirements, three key innovative components are required, EADS said:
A wake re-energizing fan. As the aircraft flies through the air, it leaves a wake behind it resulting in drag. The embedded wake re-energizing fan is designed to capture the wake energy by re-accelerating the complex wake. By re-energizing the wake, the overall aircraft drag is reduced. The concept uses advanced lightweight composite fan blades that are designed to maximise overall propulsive efficiency whilst minimizing the weight of the propulsion system.
Hub-mounted totally superconducting electrical machine. The innovative hub-mounted totally superconducting electrical machine drives the wake re-energizing fan.
Rolls-Royce and EADS IW, with Magnifye Ltd and Cambridge University as partners, are engaged in a Programmable Alternating current Superconducting Machine (PSAM) project. The PSAM project researches an innovative programmable superconducting rotor and innovative AC superconducting stator. This work is supported in part by the UK Technology Strategy Board.
The superconducting stator generates a powerful electro-magnetic field that rotates around the circumference at a speed directly related to the frequency of the electrical supply. The superconducting machine replaces the copper and iron stator structure of a conventional machine. It is a much more powerful, lighter and low-loss design incorporating round-wire high temperature superconducting coils embedded within a lightweight epoxy structure.
Electromagnetic torque is created by effectively aligning the rotor’s magnetic field with the field generated electro-magnetically within the stator.
The superconducting rotor magnetic field is generated through the use of bulk superconducting magnets in a puck form. A superconducting magnetic puck of this size can, when fully magnetized, generate extremely high magnetic fields with laboratory testing demonstrating 17 Tesla—a magnetic field capable of easily levitating a family car. The magnetic pucks are innovatively magnetized in-situ by the stator to create a permanent magnet field that can be programmed to deliver different field strengths thereby improving controllability.
The superconducting machine design is bi-directional in that it is equally efficient at driving the wake re-energizing fan to provide aircraft thrust or being driven by the fan rotating in the airstream to generate electrical power, which can then be stored within the airframe.
Structural stator vanes that pass electrical power and cryogenic coolant. By having an embedded propulsion system, the conventional turbofan mounting structure is no longer required, thereby saving weight and drag. The stator section is carefully designed to provide a row of aerodynamic and structural stator vanes behind the fan recovering thrust from the swirling air.
The length of the distributed fan propulsion system has been designed to be much shorter than that of a conventional turbofan so that the center of gravity is located about the structural stator vanes. In addition, some of the stator vanes are designed to accommodate the internal routing of the superconducting cables to the hub-mounted superconducting electrical machine.
The idea of distributed propulsion offers the possibility to better optimize individual components such as the gas power unit, which produces only electrical power, and the electrically driven fans, which produce thrust. This optimises the overall propulsion system integration.
The knock-on effect we expect thanks to the improved integration of such a concept is to reduce the overall weight and the overall drag of the aircraft.—Sébastien Remy, Head of EADS Innovation Works
The development of innovative propulsion system concepts for future air vehicle applications is part of EADS’ research to support the aviation industry’s environmental protection goals as spelled out in the Flightpath 2050 report by the European Commission.
This roadmap sets the target of reducing aircraft CO2 emissions by 75%, along with reductions of NOx by 90% and noise levels by 65%, compared to standards in the year 2000.
EV maker Kandi Technologies Group, Inc. announced that Hangzhou City, China, has started the construction of its first EV smart vertical parking and charging facility to advance its planned five-year goal of establishing a mini-public transportation system which will include up to 100,000 self-service rental EVs and all necessary service infrastructure throughout Hangzhou. (Earlier post.)
The first facility is anticipated to be completed and in use in early July of 2013. According to the project plan, more than 30 pure EV smart vertical parking and charging facilities (including the additional EV sharing service network) will be built by the end of this year in Hangzhou City. Between 5,000 to 10,000 Kandi EVs will be deployed in Hangzhou within one year from the initial launch of the smart vertical parking and charging facility.
The implementation of the Pure EV Sharing Public Transportation Plan will provide convenient short-term EV rental service to Hangzhou citizens and visitors, and it also builds the foundation for establishing a mini-public transportation system of pure electric vehicles. With more pure EV smart parking and charging facilities built and in use, it will greatly improve the efficiency of urban transportation and help easing major urban issues many Chinese cities are facing today, such as traffic congestion, scarcity of parking area, environmental pollution and energy shortage.—Hu Xiaoming, Chairman & CEO of Kandi
Kandi proposed the new model of pure EV sharing for public transportation; in addition to Hangzhou, Shanghai City, Chengdu City, Jiangsu area, and Hainan area are also actively pursuing to adapt to this new mini-transportation model in their areas.