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Monthly Archives: February 2012

BASF Buys Big into Battery Materials: Sion Power, Ovonic, Merck in 2012

February 26, 2012 in EVs, Hybrids by rich  |  No Comments

Germany’s BASF is taking advantage of government support for electric vehicles and deepening relationships with the likes of Daimler-Mercedes and Bosch. It is fast building a global Battery Materials business unit via more than $108 million in acquisitions just this young year.

BASF last month disclosed an investment of $50 million to take equity ownership position in Sion Power, Tucson-based “global leader in the development of lithium-sulfur” batteries.

NiMH -- nickel metal hydride -- battery technology developed by ECD-Ovonic powers most of the world's hybrid electric vehicles, including Toyota's popular Prius

NiMH — nickel metal hydride — battery technology developed by ECD-Ovonic powers most of the world’s hybrid electric vehicles, including Toyota’s popular Prius

This month it bought Ovonic Battery Company from Energy Conversion Devices (which then filed for Chapter 11) for $58 million, taking over Ovonic’s position as worldwide licensor of nickel metal hydride-NiMH battery technology. BASF hired 35 Ovonic employees, ECD said.

Last week BASF said it acquired the electrolytes business for high-performance batteries from German chemical and pharmaceutical company Merck.

“Our Battery Materials business is focused on advanced battery materials and technologies, not battery manufacturing,” Battery Materials GM Markus Hoelzle said in a release.

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3M and Chesapeake Promise New CNG Tanks in 2012

February 25, 2012 in CNG, NGVs by rich  |  No Comments

3M, which offered last year to help compressed natural gas fuel cylinder manufacturers turn out better, lighter and cheaper product with a superior composite matrix resin (F&F, March 28, 2011), now says it will make CNG tanks itself, certify them and bring them to market this year.

None for Me, Thanks

February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Chrysler said it’s decided to withdraw its application for an Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. The firm said it “remains confident in its strategy to bring competitive, fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies to market on schedule.”

Chevy Volt Cleared for California Carpool Lanes

February 25, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs by rich  |  No Comments

The low emission model – standard in California – of the 2012 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car has been cleared for the Golden State’s high-occupancy vehicle lanes, General Motors said last week, noting too that California customers will qualify for a $1,500 state rebate.

Tenders Likely, But Devil’s in the Details

February 25, 2012 in LNG, Rail by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

With high fuel use and ample, already industrialized land for siting liquefaction facilities, often located where truck traffic represents a ready additional market (F&F, Jan. 30), railroads are prime candidates for liquefied natural gas.

Quantum’s Squat Tank Fits Better

February 25, 2012 in CNG, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Quantum Fuel Systems (NASDAQ:QTWW) is promoting a new compressed natural gas fuel cylinder that’s shorter and thicker than previous offerings, enabling it to fit more conveniently in more vehicles. The Series 400 has a diesel gallon equivalency (DGE) of 26 gallons.

Maxwell Gets a Boost from Swiss

February 24, 2012 in EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

San Diego’s Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ:MXWL) said that its Swiss subsidiary will receive approximately $600,000 from the Switzerland government to improve manufacturing processes and enhance performance of its Condis brand high-voltage capacitor products applicable to smart grid development.

GM Fuel Cell Cars for the U.S. Military

February 24, 2012 in Hydrogen by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

The U.S. Army has unveiled a fleet of 16 General Motors hydrogen fuel cell vehicles it says are the first ever for the military – armed services in Hawaii will test them for two years “in an effort to research efficient, clean and renewable energy sources and reduce the U.S. military’s dependence on petroleum.”

California Funding Clean Transportation

February 24, 2012 in Biomethane, CNG, Ethanol, EVs, Hydrogen, LNG, NGVs, Propane by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

The California Energy Commission has floated AB 118 solicitations for alternative fuel (including hydrogen) infrastructure projects, and for biofuels production facilities.

Saving Money with Autogas in 2012

February 24, 2012 in Propane by rich  |  No Comments

Alliance AutoGas is continuing to trumpet the money-saving attributes of propane – popularly called autogas – recently talking up the experience of Buncombe County’s Mountain Mobility in North Carolina, and the Marinette Police Department in Wisconsin.

Both use the bi-fuel Prins VSI vapor sequential injection system from Alliance AutoGas co-founding partner American Alternative Fuel.

Rush Peterbilt CNG Rush for Texas

February 24, 2012 in CNG, Fleet Order, NGVs by rich  |  No Comments

Rush Peterbilt has two new compressed natural gas Class 8 truck deals to crow about: 15 new CNG-fueled Peterbilt 384 tractors for Waco-based Central Freight Lines and 17 CNG-fueled four-wheel drive Peterbilt 365 tractors for Pioneer Natural Resources.

BRC FuelMaker Is Strengthened for 2012 as FSSI Buys the Dresser Cubogas Line

February 24, 2012 in CNG, NGVs by rich  |  No Comments

Fuel Systems Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSYS)‎ has made another acquisition, this time from Dresser Italia, augmenting FSSI’s BRC, BRC FuelMaker, Impco Automotive, NaturalDrive, GFI and other brands with Cubogas natural gas vehicle methane compression units.

Argent Marine-Maersk for AT/B Flexibility

February 24, 2012 in LNG, Marine by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Flexibility is the key to a proposal by Argent Marine and Maersk to use separate propulsion and cargo units to handle LNG at ports. The modern “swap-and-drop” AT/Bs – articulated tug/barges – would be modular and scalable, with the cargo units set up for either bulk LNG or individual tanks suitable for transfer to road tractor trailers with no onshore tankage requirements.

DTNA Is GHG14 Good, Across the Board

February 24, 2012 in NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Daimler Trucks North America said last week that the U.S. EPA has certified its complete line-up of model year 2013 on-highway, vocational and medium duty vehicles as fully compliant with GHG14, its new greenhouse gas emissions regulations for 2014.

Natural gas played a major role.

Westport Firms 15L Supply, Announces 12L

February 24, 2012 in CNG, LNG, NGVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Westport Innovations (NASDAQ:WPRT) said last week that it’s firmed up its supply agreement for the 15-liter engines used in its diesel-pilot Westport HD package for Class 8 trucks, and the firm has finally formally announced the 11.9-liter Cummins Westport spark-ignition engine.

Obama Proposes $10,000 Rebate

February 23, 2012 in EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

The maximum federal tax credit of $7,500 for electric vehicles will be changed to allow an immediate $10,000 rebate and applied to other alternative fuels as well, the Obama administration has proposed in its new budget.

Natural Gas for River Traffic

February 23, 2012 in CNG, LNG, Marine by rich  |  No Comments

Clean air proponents in Pittsburgh – who note that “Steel City” is the second-biggest inland port in America – would like to see river traffic begin the transition to clean natural gas fuel, and are taking steps to convince local operators, authorities and fuel providers that such a move would be good business.

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