EREN Network News
October 25, 2000
News and Events
- GM Precept Hits PNGV Fuel Economy Goal of 80 MPG
- Hyundai to Develop Microturbine-Powered Hybrid Vehicle
- California to Buy Only Low-Emissions Vehicles for its Fleet
- BP to Build New Cogeneration Facilities in Houston Area
- New Projects Convert Poultry, Cow Manure into Energy
Energy Facts and Tips
About this Newsletter
- Report: U.S. Power Plants Cause 30,000 Annual Deaths
- New EPA Web Site Ranks Cars by their Emissions
News and Events
GM Precept Hits PNGV Fuel Economy Goal of 80 MPG
General Motors Corporation announced last week that its
"Precept" prototype vehicle has achieved the gasoline
equivalent of 80 miles per gallon (mpg), which is the fuel
efficiency goal set by the Partnership for a New Generation
of Vehicles (PNGV). The Precept is a hybrid diesel-electric
sedan that seats five. It achieves an average fuel economy
of 90.4 mpg using diesel fuel, which is the energy equivalent
to achieving 79.6 mpg using gasoline. See the GM press release.
The PNGV is a joint effort between the U.S. government and
the auto industry, with the goal of building a vehicle with
lower emissions and up to three times the fuel efficiency of
conventional cars without compromising safety,
performance, affordability, or utility. See the PNGV Web site.
President Clinton lauded the accomplishment, saying the
Precept is "further evidence that the investments in clean
energy technologies we have made over the last eight years
are paying off." See the October 20th press release on the
White House Web site.
Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson seconded that
sentiment, calling the achievement a major breakthrough
and "the automotive equivalent to breaking the four-minute
mile." See the DOE press release.
Hyundai to Develop Microturbine-Powered Hybrid Vehicle
Enova Systems announced last week that it has teamed up
with Hyundai Motor Company and Capstone Turbine
Corporation to develop a hybrid electric drive system that
uses a natural-gas-fueled microturbine as its electrical
source. Hyundai plans to install a prototype drive system in
its Santa Fe sport utility vehicle early in 2001, with the intent
to make vehicles available commercially by 2002. See the
Enova press release.
Enova also announced an agreement with Gillig Corporation
to develop a 240-kilowatt hybrid propulsion system for use in
Gillig's 40-foot transit buses. See the press release.
California to Buy Only Low-Emissions Vehicles for its Fleet
California's Department of General Services (DGS)
announced last week that from now on, it will only buy ultra-
low-emission or super-ultra-low-emission vehicles ULEVs
or SULEVs for the state's vehicle fleet. DGS is also
providing zero emission electric vehicles, compressed
natural gas vehicles, and hybrid electric-gasoline cars to
California's state and local agencies. See the DGS press release.
In related news, the South Coast Air Quality Management
District (AQMD) adopted two measures to encourage the
use of cleaner vehicles in Southern California. One measure
requires government fleets of 15 or more heavy-duty
vehicles to buy only alternative-fueled, gasoline-powered or
dual-fuel models starting July 1, 2002. This measure is
aimed at reducing the use of diesel fuels. Another measure
requires taxi operators at airports to purchase only ULEVs
starting January 1, 2002. See the AQMD press release.
BP to Build New Cogeneration Facilities in Houston Area
BP announced last week that it plans to build new facilities to
produce both heat and power at two of its refineries in the
Houston area. Such combined heat and power, or
"cogeneration," plants operate efficiently because they make
use of the excess heat from electricity production. BP's two
new facilities will produce 805 megawatts of electricity and
3.5 million pounds per hour of steam. By replacing older,
less efficient power units, the new facilities will reduce smog-
causing nitrous oxides while cutting carbon dioxide
emissions by 727,000 tons per year. BP is also working with
the city of Houston to provide ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel for
testing this fall. See the BP press release.
New Projects Convert Poultry, Cow Manure into Energy
DukeSolutions announced Monday that it will work with
Harmony Products Inc. to jointly develop four processing
plants that convert poultry manure into energy and fertilizer.
Harmony Products uses an energy-intensive process to
convert poultry manure into fertilizer. DukeSolutions, an
energy company, uses a gasification process to convert
some of the poultry manure into a gas similar to natural gas.
The gas is then burned to create steam for the fertilizer
production process. The companies are currently building a
$7 million facility in Harrisonburg, Virginia, that will process
10 tons of poultry manure each hour. The four new facilities
planned to be built in the Southeast and Midwest could
each process up to 100,000 tons annually, according to
DukeSolutions. The companies plan to finish the current
plant this year and construct the new plants by 2001. See
the DukeSolutions press release.
Cow manure is also being converted into energy, but on a
smaller scale. Alliant Energy announced last week that it has
entered into an agreement with Top Deck Farms of
Westgate, Iowa, to produce electricity from livestock manure.
A "digester" will convert the manure from 700 dairy cattle into
methane gas, which will fuel a reciprocating engine to
produce electricity. Top Deck Farms will use about one third
of the electricity generated and sell back the remaining
power to Alliant Energy. The facility will produce enough
electricity to power roughly 50 homes. See the October 23rd
press release on the Alliant Energy Web site.
In 2002, college and university student teams from across
the United States will gather in Washington, D.C., to build a
community of energy-efficient, completely solar-powered
homes as part of a competition to see which team can
capture, convert, store, and use the most solar energy. Each
team will build a 500-square-foot house and will be judged
over the course of a week on their entry's performance in ten
decathlon "events": design, building-performance modeling,
space conditioning, domestic hot water, refrigeration,
appliances, lighting, transportation, home business, and
communications. The site includes the contest schedule, a
full description of each event, a downloadable Request for
Proposal, and contest rules and regulations. Potential
sponsors can also learn how they can participate.
For this and other recent additions to the EREN Web site,
Energy Facts and Tips
Report: U.S. Power Plants Cause 30,000 Annual Deaths
A report released last week by several environmental groups
charges that fine particle soot from U.S. power plants
shortens the lives of 30,000 people each year, while causing
603,000 asthma attacks annually. The report finds the
highest per capita impact in the states of Kentucky, West
Virginia, and Alabama. It estimates that 18,700 deaths and
366,000 asthma attacks can be avoided each year by
reducing power plant emissions by 75 percent. See the
press release on the "Clear the Air" Web site.
New EPA Web Site Ranks Cars by their Emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made available
last week a Web site that ranks all new U.S. car models based on
their tailpipe emissions. The site ranks vehicles on a scale of 0 to
10, with 10 being the cleanest vehicles. Certain models of the
Nissan Sentra, Toyota Prius and Honda Accord rated a 10, but
those models are only available in California and some states in
the Northeast. Of the vehicles available nationwide, the highest
ranking is 7. See the EPA press release.
Or go straight to the EPA Vehicle Emissions Guide.
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