EERE Network News -- 05/05/04
A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
May 05, 2004
- GM Delivers the World's First Full-Sized Hybrid Pickup
- U.S. Hybrid Vehicle Registrations and Sales on the Increase
- Technologies to Boost the Fuel Efficiency of Cars and Planes
- University of Victoria Wins Hydrogen Fueling Design Contest
- Canadian Company Starts Production of Ethanol from Cellulose
- New England Grid Operator Awards Energy Efficiency Contract
- EPA: No Change in U.S. Fuel Economy in 2004
GM press release.
A look under the hood of the Ford Escape Hybrid.
Credit: Ford Motor Company
GM delivered its new hybrid vehicle during the 10th National Clean Cities Conference and Expo, now taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and the Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition are hosting this year's event, which EERE marked in part by launching a revised Web site for its Clean Cities Program. The revised Web site provides simple, intuitive access to information about the program, and reflects the looks and feel of the EERE Web site. See the Clean Cities Program Web site and the conference Web site.
Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company is preparing to start selling its Escape Hybrid sport utility vehicle in late summer. Ford expects the front-wheel-drive version to achieve 35 to 40 miles per gallon in city driving. See the updated Escape Hybrid Web site.
R.L. Polk press release.
This year, U.S. sales of hybrids are continuing to climb, and Toyota appears to be passing Honda by. American Honda sold a record 3,041 Civic Hybrids in April and has sold 9,023 Civic Hybrids since the start of this year, an increase of 10.9 percent over last year's sales. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. sold 3,684 Priuses in April and 13,602 since the start of this year, an increase of 78.1 percent over last year's sales. See the press releases from Toyota and Honda.
GM press release.
An artist's concept of Boeing's new 7E7 jetliner.
Credit: Boeing Company
Fuel efficiency improvements are also coming to jetliners, as Boeing Company has launched its new energy-efficiency 7E7 Dreamliner passenger jet. According to Boeing, the 7E7 uses 15 to 20 percent less fuel than today's airplanes of comparable size. Boeing achieved the fuel savings using lightweight, fuel-efficient engines; improved aerodynamics; smaller, lighter wings; and more efficient on-board systems. Japan's ANA (All Nippon Airlines) has ordered 50 of the new jets from Boeing. See the Boeing press release and 7E7 Web site.
PDF 68 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.
The NHA is requesting suggestions for next year's contest, which will be called "H2U." See the preliminary H2U Web site.
DOE also challenged high school students on Saturday to design and build hydrogen-powered model cars. Using fuel cells and other components provided by General Motors Corporation, and with technical assistance from DOE engineers, 16 high school teams built model cars and competed in a speed race and a hill-climbing competition. University High School of Morgantown, West Virginia, took first place in the speed race and Chaska High School of Chaska, Minnesota, conquered a 48-degree incline to become "King of the Hill." The teams were drawn from finalists in the National Science Bowl, a national competition among high school students to answer increasingly difficult questions about science. This year, 64 teams visited Washington, D.C., as finalists after winning regional competitions in which 1,800 schools participated. On Monday, Thomas Jefferson High School of Alexandria, Virginia, took the first prize for the third consecutive year. See the DOE press releases from May 1st and May 3rd.
Iogen and BIO.
DOE is also supporting research and development in cellulose ethanol. In late April, Novozymes A/S announced that it has cut the cost of the enzymes needed for producing ethanol from cellulose by a factor of 20. The gains were achieved in part by Novozymes' advances in enzyme technologies, and in part by improved pre-treatment processes for corn wastes that were developed by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The new pre-treatment process allows the use of fewer enzymes per gallon of ethanol produced. See the Novozymes press release.
Meanwhile, the traditional ethanol fuel industry continues to grow. In February and March, two new ethanol plants started production in Iowa one near Hanlontown and one near Ashton. Annually, each plant will convert more than 16 million bushels of corn into 45 million gallons of ethanol. Construction began on another new plant near Emmetsburg, Iowa, in late April, so the state currently has 12 operating ethanol plants and 5 under construction. Nationwide, 75 ethanol plants are now operating and are able to produce more than 3.2 billion gallons of ethanol per year. The thirteen plants now under construction will add another 500 million gallons in production capacity. With new plants coming on line, the industry breaks its production records each month; in February, the industry produced a record 212,000 barrels of ethanol each day. See the Renewable Fuels Association press releases from February 27th, March 26th, April 26th, and April 27th.
PDF 83 KB) and the April 16th and April 26th press releases from ISO New England. Download Acrobat Reader.
Utilities in the Pacific Northwest are also looking at demand reduction as a possible alternative to building a new transmission line. DOE's Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) recently worked with a Washington state utility, two paper companies, and the U.S. Navy to test an Internet-based trading system for demand reduction. During the test, BPA posted an hourly price per megawatt, allowing the participants to choose whether to buy the power or to place bids for reducing their power demand, using either emergency generation or load reductions. BPA hoped to achieve 10 to 20 megawatts of demand reduction during the test, and actually averaged 22 megawatts of demand reduction. See the BPA press release.
EPA: No Change in U.S. Fuel Economy in 2004The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that the average gas mileage of new cars, pickups, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) sold in the United States is 20.8 miles per gallon (MPG) for 2004, essentially equal to last year's value of 20.7 MPG. According to EPA's annual fuel economy trends report, U.S. fuel economy has held roughly steady since 1997, varying only between 20.6 and 20.9 MPG. U.S. fuel economy peaked at 22.1 MPG in the late 1980s, but since then the fuel efficiency of cars, pickups, and SUVs has remain unchanged, while sales of the less-fuel-efficient pickups and SUVs have increased. In 2004, the EPA estimates that 48 percent of new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States will be either pickups or SUVs. See the EPA press release and the full report on the EPA Web site.
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