Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hyundai Celebrates Zero-Emissions Fuel Cell Vehicles


Hyundai Celebrates World’s First Assembly Line Production of Zero-Emissions Fuel Cell Vehicles

  • First ix35 Fuel Cell rolls off production line in Ulsan, Korea

  • World’s first automaker to launch mass production of Fuel Cell vehicles

  • Delivery to European customers underway

  • 594 kilometres range on a single charge

The first mass-produced, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle at the No. 5 plant in Ulsan, South Korea.
26 February, 2013 – A white Hyundai Motor Co. ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the company’s Ulsan manufacturing complex today, as Hyundai became the world’s first car manufacturer to begin assembly-line production of zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered vehicles for fleet use.
The ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, based on Hyundai’s popular ix35 SUV, exited the assembly line at Hyundai Motor’s Plant No. 5 during a launch event attended by Hyundai management and VIPs.
“With the ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle, Hyundai is leading the way into the zero-emissions future,” Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman, Eok Jo Kim said at the ceremony today. “The ix35 Fuel Cell is the most eco-friendly vehicle in the auto industry and proves that hydrogen fuel cell technology in daily driving is no longer a dream.”
The ix35 Fuel Cell unveiled at the ceremony will be one of 17 destined for fleet customers in City of Copenhagen, Denmark and Skåne, Sweden. The Municipality of Copenhagen, as part of its initiative to be carbon-free by 2025, will be supplied with 15 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles for fleet use, according to an agreement that was announced in September 2012. Two ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles will be supplied to Skåne, Sweden.
“Assembly-line production of fuel cell vehicles marks a crucial milestone in the history of the automobile industry not just in Korea, but throughout the world,” Mang Woo Park, mayor of Ulsan city, said in his congratulatory message. “By supplying more hydrogen refuelling stations to support the eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles produced, we will make Ulsan the landmark for eco-friendly automobiles.”
Hyundai plans to build 1,000 ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles by 2015 for lease to public and private fleets, primarily in Europe, where the European Union has established a hydrogen road map and initiated construction of hydrogen fuelling stations.
After 2015, with lowered vehicle production costs and further developed hydrogen infrastructure, Hyundai will begin manufacturing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for consumer retail sales.
Built with proprietary technology, Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell is powered by hydrogen. A fuel cell stack converts the hydrogen into electricity, which turns the vehicle’s motor. The only emission generated by the ix35 Fuel Cell is water. Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell achieves drivability and performance similar to that of the petrol ix35.
The development and application of a new radiator grille, bumper, fog lamps, super vision cluster and 7-inch GPS exclusively for the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles enhances the ix35 Fuel Cell’s marketability. Furthermore, modularization of fuel cell systems for the core part of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle – fuel cell stack, driving device and inverter – enabled the engine to be downsized to match the size of a petrol engine while improving productivity and making maintenance more convenient
In January 2013, the ix35 Fuel Cell won the prestigious FuturAuto award at the Brussels Motor Show, celebrating its technical innovation.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is the halo vehicle in Hyundai’s Blue Drive sub-brand, the badge worn by Hyundai’s cleanest vehicles, including Sonata Hybrid, i20 Blue Drive and BlueOn, Hyundai’s battery-powered i10.
As governments around the world step up regulations to reduce carbon output and fossil fuel dependency, zero-emissions mobility solutions such as Hyundai’s ix35 Fuel Cell will become a driving force of change. The ix35 Fuel Cell aligns with the 2009 agreement by the European Union’s G8 countries to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and California’s Zero Emission Vehicle regulations.
The ix35 Fuel Cell can be refuelled with hydrogen in only a few minutes. It accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds, has a top speed of 160 km/h and can travel 594 kilometres with a single charge.
The ix35 Fuel Cell is the result of 14 years of research by hundreds of engineers at Hyundai’s fuel cell R&D centre in Mabuk, Korea. The car has logged more than 2 million miles of road tests in real-world conditions in Europe, Korea and the U.S.
The first ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle rolled off the assembly line will be displayed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
ix35 Fuel Cell Specifications:
4,410 mm
1,820 mm
1,655 mm
Driving range on one fill-up
594 km
Vehicle efficiency
0.95 kgH2/100km
27.8km/â„“ (NEDC)
Top speed
160 km/hr
Acceleration, 0 to 100 km/hr
12.5 seconds
Fuel cell output power
100 kW
Energy storage system
Battery, 24 kW
Hydrogen (700 bar, 5.6 kg)

Exhaust gas

Water vapour

America’s oil choice: Pay up, or get off

By Chris Nelder | February 20, 2013, 1:55 AM PST

For complete article:


The oil industry has an important message for you, America: You’re not paying enough for fuel. And if you want to realize the fantasy of “North American energy independence,” you will have to pay more for it — a lot more.

Getting drivers to go along with this notion will not be easy, so the industry has couched this message in much more careful language.

Its new media campaign began with a Feb. 5 editorial in the New York Times by Christof Rühl, group chief economist of BP. After claiming victory for optimists over peak oil pundits like me and trumpeting “North America’s oil and gas renaissance” — new “tight oil” production from shale formations like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas — Rühl explained how the “expected surge of new oil will lead to increased supply overall and continued market volatility.”

He wrote: “If history is any guide, OPEC will cut production and forego market share in favor ofprice stability.” (Emphasis mine.)

The United States and Canada have an important policy choice to make, Rühl asserted. “Nations with abundant resources must decide whether to follow the path of open markets, including foreign access and competitive pricing,” or “opt for restrictive investment regimes that risk becoming less rewarding.” (Emphasis mine.)

In other words, North American oil prices need to be higher. And the way to do that is to export crude to the rest of the world.

An editorial in the Financial Times the day after the Times piece, written by the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Maria van der Hoeven, echoed this message.

Under the subtitle “Conditions expose misalignment between resources and regulations,” she explained how “logistical and policy hurdles above ground” are “depressing domestic oil prices and curtailing investment.” The glut of oil at U.S.’s primary delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, caused by new tight oil production have driven the price of some varieties of mid-continent crude as low at $50 to $60 a barrel, well below the primary West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark price of $96. The main European benchmark grade, Brent, currently trades at more than $117.

The industry has a choice to make, van der Hoeven wrote: “Either U.S. crude is shipped abroad, or it stays in the ground.”

That’s right: The United States needs to become an oil exporter to “avoid [the] shale boom turning to bust.”

Elected officials in Alberta, Canada, have complained similarly in recent weeks about the glut, the “bitumen bubble.”

Tar sands oil is fetching just $50 to $60 a barrel due to a lack of export capacity, which is why the industry has been pushing for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The discount from global prices will cost the Canadian province an estimated $6 billion in lost royalties this year, and the provincial government is anxious to find export routes for its crude.

A Feb. 17 article in the New York Times put a finer point on the dilemma: “If the Keystone pipeline is not completed, energy experts say, weak prices will make the economics of future oil sands projects questionable.”

As indeed they are. Two weeks ago, tar sands giant Suncor Energy wrote down a $1.5 billion investment in an $11.6 billion upgrade project that was to be built north of Fort McMurray, the heart of the tar sands development. Without Keystone XL, “the province seems fated to face continuing steep price discounts, as a captive in an oil-glutted North American market,” opined theGlobe and Mail, and the upgrade project could be cancelled altogether.

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A strategic choice

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C. Gil Mull, a 78-year-old career petroleum geologist who worked for Atlantic Richfield (now ARCO), Exxon, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Alaska Geological Survey and Division of Oil and Gas, shared his perspective with me recently. Mull was fortunate enough to be working at the discovery well when the Prudhoe Bay field was found on the North Slope of Alaska in 1968.

“I was proud to be associated with the group that found the largest field in North America, but we’ve squandered it, pouring it into SUVs and all the rest,” Mull told me ruefully. “We’ve squandered it for 40 years without making much progress toward a more sustainable energy future. No doubt that the fractured shales have given us a huge increase, but there’s no way it’s going to make up for the decline of conventional resources. It can buy us more time but I hope we don’t screw this one up!”

I couldn’t agree more. It’s time we did something about our oil addiction, for real. Exporting crude is not the way to do it.

(Photo: The author, in front of a sculpture made from two oil tankers at Burning Man in 2007.)

Shaping our future – food for thought.

Remaking a suburb for the creative class

Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Posted October 21, 2010 in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

By almost any conventional measure, Dublin, Ohio is a wildly successful community.  A suburb of Columbus, Dublin is one of the wealthiest municipalities in Ohio, with a median family income of $126,402, more than double that for the nation as a whole.  Unlike Midwestern cities founded in earlier days on an industrial economy, Dublin is a modern community that has experienced tremendous growth in recent decades, with fewer than 4,000 residents as recently as 1980, but upwards of 38,000 today.
a home in Dublin (via Chambers Custom Homes, Dublin) Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Golf Club (via GolfWorld)
Dublin is now home to the headquarters of Wendy’s, Ashland, Cardinal Health and several other corporations, including the new-technology OCLC (originally Online Computer Library Center).  Nationwide Insurance and Verizon have significant presence there.  The Professional Golf Association’s Memorial Tournament, one of its more prominent events, is hosted by Ohio native Jack Nicklaus and held annually in Dublin, and the community’s excellent golfing facilities also host numerous other events.  The Scioto River runs through the heart of town, which also can boast a very pleasant historic district.  It’s all working;  you may wonder, why change anything?
Dublin's historic district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) Dublin's historic district (by: Pierre Metivier, creative commons license)
The answer is that Dublin’s leaders are thinking like a business.  They know that their success has been based on a late-20th century model of office parks, malls, and single-family subdivisions that is now becoming outdated.  Having been on the leading edge of past suburban success, they want to be on the leading edge for the 21st century as well.  And right now, although they have great assets to build upon, they suspect that they aren’t ready for the new generation of “customers.”
Outside of the relatively small historic district, for example, Dublin’s main transportation corridors are lined with development that is relentlessly automobile-oriented and unwalkable, and frequently bland.  What a visitor sees may mask an affluent community, but it also lacks cohesion and resembles nothing so much as run-of-the-mill sprawl, so typical of suburbs built in the 1980s and 1990s:
intersecting Bridge Street, Dublin (by: Doug Kerr, creative commons license)
OCLC parking lot (by: Emily Alling, creative commons license) Dublin Prospect Road, by the Scioto River (via Google Earth)
As recent city manager Terry Foegler told Holly Zachariah of The Columbus Dispatch, what Dublin is missing is what it needs to attract young professionals and empty-nesters: “a trendy, urban area in which to work, play and live.”
While some residents are rightly attentive to be sure that historic character is preserved, Eric Leslie of the Historic Dublin Business Association echoes the need to evolve.  Leslie told Zachariah that development that would get people to live downtown, make walking and biking there easier, and give them something to do would be wonderful: “We need an area where people can stroll and hang out, where people can have some fun.  What we need is an energy.”
In response, the city council has been working on something called the Bridge Street Corridor Study, a bureaucratic name for an exercise to determine whether there are parts of the community’s central area that could be re-imagined to accommodate more walkable, livelier development.  Technical support is being provided by Goody, Clancy & Associates, an architecture and planning firm that has advised clients all over the country – and the world, for that matter – on contextually appropriate urbanist makeovers.  (Disclosure:  Goody, Clancy’s David Dixon is a close professional friend.)  Bridge Street is Dublin’s principal east-west artery, though it takes other names along the way; it runs through the heart of commercial Dublin and the historic district.  The street is also Ohio Route 161 and, in places, US Highway 33.
the focus of planning (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
study area context (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) citizens participate in planning (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Goody Clancy began the right way, listening to businesses and residents, while bringing in nationally recognized experts including Chris Leinberger, Laurie Volk, and Carol Coletta to offer perspective on development trends and markets.  All advised the community to go walkable and mixed-use to be positioned for the future.
“Honestly, I don’t know that any part of it came as a complete surprise to me, particularly in terms of housing stock and the kind of lifestyle environment that young professionals might be seeking,” council member Tim Lecklider told Jennifer Noblit of ThisWeek Dublin. “I’ve been saying for several years on council that we probably have a full complement of single-family homes for a community of our size. To build any more could create a glut of that type of housing.”
the study area is composed of districts with varying character (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Noblit’s article, which was published in December of last year, suggests that other council members are in general agreement, though some have a natural concern that the makeover occur in the right places.  Council member Richard Gerber told Noblit that an evolution to accommodate 21st-century lifestyle preferences could be seen as “the natural progression of things. We built a town and now we have fine neighborhoods that have attracted business.  I think in some way this is just one more part of the process.”
From talking to residents, businesses and community leaders, Goody, Clancy found that Dublin is facing increased competition from downtown Columbus, other suburbs, and other parts of the country for the young talent needed to supply the diverse, skilled workforce sought by modern employers.  “As many as 60,000 people work in Dublin in the course of a year,” Foegler told Philip Langdon of New Urban News; between 5,000 and 8,000 employees are hired every year in the community.
Goody, Clancy subcontractor and market analysts Zimmerman, Volk Associates found that, while “there is projected demand for about 1,500 housing units over the next 5-7 years in the study area,” most of that will be for housing more suited to singles and empty nesters than the community’s current housing stock.  Indeed, apart from the city’s study and as further evidence of a changing attitude, the high-tech OCLC is already examining walkable development alternatives for the 80 acres it owns in Dublin.
it is critical to protect community character (by: Jinjian Liang, creative commons license)
Goody, Clancy’s preliminary inquiry recognized that it will be important to build in a way that creates and strengthens neighborhoods, not just adds to them; that development should strengthen, not diminish, the town’s historic district and character; that transportation choices and more complete streets would be required; that the community’s greenway and open space network can grow.
The firm believes that the Bridge Street Corridor is an appropriate place to focus, with significant redevelopment opportunity due to the presence of several large parcels of land under single ownership (including commercial properties well past their prime), and several property owners seeking higher-value uses for their land.  Focusing on the corridor would also present opportunities for increasing connectivity and transportation access, while avoiding impacts on the community’s single-family neighborhoods, which mostly lie outside the study area.  Many of the details may be found in a Planning Foundations document presented in May of this year by Goody, Clancy to the city.
neighborhoods; park system; arteries needing attention (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
The firm presented its vision for the corridor to the city earlier this month.  Goody, Clancy focused on neighborhoods, key arteries with potential for improvement, and expanding the park and trail system.  Their goal was to illustrate how the city could use thoughtful planning and redevelopment to achieve a future with these outcomes:

  • The Bridge Street Corridor is Dublin’s centerpiece. Dublin’s historical and cultural heart is strengthened and balanced by highly walkable districts and neighborhoods on both sides of the Scioto River.
  • Exceptional green spaces preserve the outstanding natural features in the corridor and seamlessly connect each unique district along the corridor.
  • Mixed-use districts bring together complementary arrangements of living, working and recreation in memorable settings created by distinctive, human-scaled architecture and streets that invite walking and gathering.
  • Greatly expanded choices in housing, employment, activities and transportation attract new generations of residents, businesses and visitors.
  • The Bridge Street Corridor radiates a diversity and vitality that mark it as a special place not only within Dublin, but within the region, nation and world.

the overall vision (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
The concept is ambitious, integrating new townhome, multi-family and loft housing, new office space, new shopping and civic facilities, roof gardens, a trail network, and even space for a light rail line, amidst a fair amount of retained existing buildings.
Recommendations were differentiated for different sub-districts and neighborhoods.  (See numbered sections in image of the planning area above.)  Below, for example, are illustrative possibilities for (clockwise from upper left) the Indian Run district; the edge of the Indian Run district, bordering a natural area; the Sawmill district; and the Riverside district.
vision for Indian Run (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) the edge of Indian Run (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Riverside district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy) Sawmill district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Earlier this month, urbanist trend-spotter Richard Florida wrote in The Wall Street Journal that, to do well in today’s economy, suburbs need a bit of urban character:

“Just a couple of decades ago, the suburbs were the very image of the American Dream, with their sprawling, large-lot homes and expansive lawns. Suburban malls, industrial parks and office campuses accounted for a growing percentage of the nation’s economic output. Planners talked about ‘edge cities’—satellite centers where people could live, work and shop without ever having to set foot in major cities.
“With millions of American homes now ‘underwater’ or in foreclosure, the suburbs and exurbs have taken some of the most visible hits from the great recession . . . The suburbs that have continued to prosper during the downturn share many attributes with the best urban neighborhoods: walkability, vibrant street life, density and diversity. The clustering of people and firms is a basic engine of modern economic life. When interesting people encounter each other, they spark new ideas and accelerate the formation of new enterprises. Renewing the suburbs will require retrofitting them for these new ways of living and working.”

vision for Tuller/Greenway district (courtesy of Goody, Clancy)
Later in his article, Florida makes clear that he believes that suburbs that take the necessary steps to become more walkable and urbane will be well-positioned to compete for the creative class (a phrase he coined):

“Walkable suburbs are some of America’s best places to live, and they provide their sprawling, spread-out siblings with a model for renewal. Relatively dense commercial districts, with shops, restaurants and movie theaters, as well as a wide variety of housing types, have always been a feature of the older suburbs that grew up along the streetcar lines of big metro areas . . .
“These are the places where Americans are clamoring to live and where housing prices have held up even in the face of one of the greatest real-estate collapses in modern memory. More than that, as my colleague Charlotta Mellander and I found when we looked into the statistics, the U.S. metro areas with walkable suburbs have greater economic output and higher incomes, more highly educated people, and more high-tech industries, to say nothing of higher levels of happiness.”

While it remains to be seen how much of Goody, Clancy’s vision will be adopted by Dublin as a viable plan, and what the details will be, what impresses me most is the foresight of the community’s leaders in undertaking the Bridge Street Corridor Study and understanding the opportunity they have to be just as relevant to the next thirty years as they have been to the last thirty.  The city now has some important things to think about, and I’m pulling for them.

“Game-Changing” Solar Invention Announced

By Nicholas Brown

This article, “Game-Changing” Solar Invention Announced, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

Holographic film used with highly efficient solar cells to create “game-changing” solar panel.

I have seen my share of outstanding solar innovations, such as concentrated solar setups using tiny gallium arsenide cells that achieve an astounding 42% efficiency. However, I’ve been eagerly waiting for an outstanding innovation made from more abundant materials such as silicon.

The main reason is that silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, so it should remain cheap and available as long as needed.

Almost all of the silicon solar panels (aka solar modules) on the market are between 10% and 20% efficient, so it is high time for a module that is both constructed from abundant materials and is much more efficient.

President of Solar Bankers holding the prototype.

The Dresden-based company Apollon GmbH & Co. KG and Solar Bankers LLC, which is based on Arizona, claim that they have developed a new silicon-based solar panel with a holographic foil that is twice as efficient as typical models , and that they are so cheap they can be manufactured in Germany or the USA at a lower cost than factories in China manufacture conventional solar panels.

They said that their solar modules achieve 28% efficiency, which is considerably higher than the average 17% efficiency on the solar module market. They have done so through advanced Concentrated Solar Photovoltaic module development — in particular, the use of light selection, deflection, and concentration. And the companies expect an even better efficiency soon.

“Our solution addresses the major downsides that make today’s photovoltaic (PV) technologies unprofitable. These disadvantages arise mainly from the material silicon as well as from efficiency losses, which result e.g. through heat occurring from concentration,” declares Jost.

This translates into much lower silicon requirements to generate the same amount of power. The companies note: “Contrary to today’s PV modules, this system only needs a fraction of the semiconductor material while the performance per square meter of the module surface is almost twice as high as conventional PV. The module is based on a holographic optic, which is a strong contrast to other concentrator photovoltaic modules using expensive flat lenses (e.g. Fresnel lenses).”

Jost says: “The holographic element is printed on the cover glass and filters the sunlight hitting the solar cell. The printing process allows an economical duplication and simultaneously saves laser and development work, usually necessary when using holographic elements.”

Here’s more info from a press release sent to CleanTechnica:

In contrast to other concentrator modules the distance between optic and solar cell is only a few millimeters and filters only the desirable wavelengths of the light. The sunlight is then concentrated on the solar cells. “Thanks to this specific wavelength selection, we avoid overheating issues usually generated by concentrated technologies which are today the source of significant efficiency losses,” explains Jost.

The new module continues to use silicon as the solar cell material.  “With the holographic optic a 20- to 30-times concentration of the desirable wavelengths of the light makes a silicon needs reduction by over 90% compared to the amount of silicon used in standard solar modules possible,” explains Jost. “The amount of silicon used in our prototype can be measured in millimeters, reaching barely 3% of the total module area. Since solar cells account for more than half of module prices today, we achieve here considerable savings with comparable or higher efficiency values being possible. The rest of the module can optionally be left empty or be used as a kind of hybrid solar module, for example using solar thermal technology. The combination of both reduced raw material costs and higher efficiency levels is the key to achieve favorable energy generation costs. With our technology grid parity can finally be reached. Soon such solar panels will become standard, affordable household products,” concludes Solar Bankers’ President Jost. The objective is to put in place a 300 MW production capacity in the USA or in Germany and create 500 jobs by doing so.

If these companies’ claims are true, then this could also lower the cost of installing solar panels on rooftops, as these would be half the size of typical solar panels, so less labour would be required for installation. This is also very important because installation costs can account for about half of the cost of a solar system.

Now, if someone would just start standardizing their rooftop solar panel sizes and sell them with easy-to-use, pre-made mounting equipment, then we would make some great progress!

Source: MEDIENKONTOR Notification
Photo Credits: Apollon GmbH & Co. KG / Solar Bankers LLC