Thursday, November 20, 2008

Renault Nissan and State of Oregon Form EV Partnership

The Renault-Nissan Alliance and the State of Oregon are forming a partnership to advance zero-emission mobility by promoting the development of an electric vehicle charging network.

US-based electrical utility Portland General Electric (PGE) is also a participant in the partnership and is working toward the development of an easily accessible and reliable network of charging stations.

Nissan will introduce zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the US in 2010 and will mass market ZEVs globally two years later. As part of the agreement, Nissan has committed to make available a supply of ZEVs to the State of Oregon and work with the state to develop plans to promote the electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

The state, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation, has committed to promote the deployment, operation and maintenance of the EV charging network by developing specifications for charging stations and seeking agreements with suppliers that may be used by entities such as local governments and utility companies.

Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan Motor and Renault, said: "This partnership represents a major step toward reliable zero-emission mobility in the State of Oregon. Together, we are creating conditions that will encourage consumers to consider an electric vehicle as an attractive choice that is also good for the environment."

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Air New Zealand and Boeing announce sustainable jatropha biofuel test flight

Air New Zealand and Boeing today announced Dec. 3 as the date for the airline's sustainable biofuels flight from Auckland using a 747-400 jetliner. Conducted in partnership with Rolls-Royce and UOP, a Honeywell company, one of the airplane's four Rolls-Royce RB211 engines will be powered in part using advanced generation biofuels derived from jatropha. Air New Zealand now becomes the first airline to use a commercially viable biofuel sourced using sustainability best practices.

Boeing, Air New Zealand and UOP have worked diligently with growers and project developer Terasol Energy to identify sustainable jatropha in adequate quantities to conduct thorough preflight testing. Using proprietary UOP fuel processing technology, the jatropha crude oil was successfully converted to biojet fuel, marking the world's first large-scale production run of a commercially viable and sustainable biofuel for aviation use.

"This flight strongly supports our efforts to be the world's most environmentally responsible airline," said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe. "We recently demonstrated the fuel and environmental gains that can be achieved through advanced operational procedures using Boeing 777s. We're also modernizing our fleet as we await our Trent 1000-powered 787-9 Dreamliners, which will burn 20 percent less fuel than the planes they replace. Introducing a new generation of sustainable fuels is the next logical step in our efforts to further save fuel and reduce aircraft emissions."

As part of the fuel verification process, UK-based engine maker Rolls-Royce's technical team conducted extensive laboratory testing to ensure compatibility with today's jet engine components and to validate the fuel meets stringent performance criteria for aviation fuel.
"In preparation for Air New Zealand's test flight we achieved our near-term goal - identifying and sourcing the first large-scale run of sustainable biofuel for commercial aviation," said Boeing Commercial Airplane's Managing Director of Environmental Strategy Billy Glover. "The processing technology exists today, and based on results we've seen, it's highly encouraging that this fuel not only met but exceeded three key criteria for the next generation of jet fuel: higher than expected jet fuel yields, very low freeze point and good energy density," Glover explained. "That tells us we're on the right path to certification and commercial availability."

Because of the unique environment in which aviation operates, stringent criteria are in place to ensure that any alternative fuel meets or exceeds current jet fuel requirements. Advance testing for the Air New Zealand flight showed that the jatropha-based biofuel met all critical specifications, including a freeze point at -53 degrees Fahrenheit (-47 degrees Celsius) and a flash point at 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).

"Laboratory testing showed the final blend had excellent properties, meeting and in many cases exceeding the stringent technical requirements for fuels used in civil and defense aircraft," said Chris Lewis, Rolls-Royce company specialist for fuels. "The blended fuel therefore meets the essential requirement of being a 'drop-in' fuel, meaning its properties will be virtually indistinguishable from conventional fuel, Jet A1, which is used in commercial aviation today."
To process the jatropha crude, the team relied on UOP's green jet fuel processing technology based on hydroprocessing methodologies that are commonly used to produce transportation fuels. During processing, hydrogen is added to remove oxygen from the biomass, resulting in a bio-derived jet fuel that can be used as a petroleum replacement for commercial aviation. Boeing is working with airlines and engine manufacturers to gather biofuel performance data as part of the industry's efforts to revise the current American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards to include fuels from sustainable plant sources. Jatropha, which can be grown in a broad range of conditions, produces seeds that contain inedible lipid oil that is extracted and used to produce fuel. Each seed produces 30 to 40 percent of its mass in oil. Plant oil used to create the fuel for the Air New Zealand flight was sourced from nonarable lands in India and Southeastern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania).

Air New Zealand is one of several air carriers working to diversify and secure its energy future through participation in the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. That effort includes a commitment to sustainability criteria for fuel sourcing and commercializing plant-based fuels that perform as well as, or better than, kerosene-based fuel but with a smaller carbon lifecycle. The goal is to create a portfolio of next-generation biofuels that can be blended with traditional kerosene fuel (Jet A) to improve environmental performance.

Additional flight specifics will be announced closer to the actual flight date.

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Monday, November 10, 2008


Renault Nissan Alliance and the city of Yokohama today announced a partnership to study sustainable mobility solutions for Yokohama. Under the Environment Model City* pilot, Yokohama aims to achieve significant CO2 reductions by experimenting with a range of methodologies across key sectors including transportation, housing and renewable energy development.

Nissan will introduce an all-electric vehicle in Yokohama by 2010, making the city one of the first in the world to offer the vehicle.

The scope of the Memorandum of Understanding will examine the following:
1. Measures to promote eco-driving
2. Study of route navigation systems to alleviate traffic congestion
3. Measures to promote mass acceptance of electric vehicles
3-1) Customer incentives
3-2) Development of electric-charging infrastructure

Nissan has been piloting its Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), combining telematics and vehicle navigation system, to offer real-time traffic solutions in Yokohama since September 2006. The University of Tokyo is also participating to monitor and evaluate the progress of the program.

"Through our Environment Model City pilot, we hope to define an innovative vision that leads to CO2 reduction, sustainability and improved quality of life for our citizens. We look forward to a mutually-beneficial partnership with Nissan," said Yokohama Mayor Hiroshi Nakada.

"Nissan firmly believes the solution to sustainable mobility can be achieved with electric vehicles. We look forward to working with the city of Yokohama to make electric vehicles a sensible, attractive and eco-friendly choice for customers," said Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan.

The Renault Nissan Alliance aims to be a global leader in zero-emission vehicles. The Alliance has entered into partnerships worldwide including Israel, Denmark, Portugal, France and the State of Tennessee in the U.S.

* The City of Yokohama has been selected by the government in July 2008 as an Environment Model City and aims to achieve 30% or more reduction in CO2 emissions per capita (compared to the ratio in fiscal year 2004).

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