GM reveals details
about concept car
GM recently announced that the Sequel, a hydrogen fuel-cell concept
car unveiled in 2005, has actually been built. Byron McCormick, executive
director of fuel cell activities at GM, says, “The Sequel is
the car industry’s first fuel-cell vehicle to offer an operating
range and performance in line with people’s expectations. That
takes us a big step closer to the commercial production of fuel-cell
The new-generation fuel-cell stack developed by GM has given the
Sequel a 25-percent increase in power, allowing it to accelerate
from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. The operating
range has also been extended to 300 miles, which is comparable to
conventional combustion engines. The Sequel’s fuel-cell propulsion
module consists of the fuel-cell stack, hydrogen and air processing
subsystem, cooling system, and the high-voltage distribution system.
Rather than toxic pollutants, the Sequel emits only steam.
According to GM, the Sequel is still years away from public sale.
using hybrid buses
Two school districts in Iowa have volunteered to join 17 others
in becoming the first to rely on hybrid buses to bring students to and from
school every day. “Although the hybrid electric drive isn’t
really new, it’s never been used in a school bus application before,” said
Dennis Kroeger, with Iowa State University’s Center for Transportation
Sigourney School District’s hybrid buses are expected to arrive in
late spring. While the outside will look like any other school bus, under
the hood is a V-8 diesel engine and electric drive train that captures the
energy of braking to recharge its own battery while the bus moves from stop
Using hybrid technology, the bus is predicted to get 40 percent
better mileage and cut the emissions of particular pollutants outside and
inside the bus, making it safer for its young passengers. The cost of a
hybrid bus is significantly higher than that of a standard bus, but grants
will help to defray a portion of the $200,000 cost, bringing the cost down
to $60,000 per bus.
Wind energy experiencing
Concerns over America’s dependence on foreign oil are beginning to dissipate
as sales for turbines, which produce energy from windmills, have grown so
rapidly that orders are now being taken into 2008, according to Siemens, one
of the largest manufacturers of wind energy turbines. GE has also seen record
sales of turbines to the tune of $3.4 billion, and they expect a 30 percent
increase in 2007.
Currently, wind farms generate about 0.5 percent of the electricity
produced in the United States—and the American Wind Energy Association
is asserting that this can be raised to 20 percent. However, experts say that
between 6 and 10 percent of the nation’s electricity being derived from
wind power is more likely. Why the difference? Wind farms need wind to produce
electricity, and sometimes the wind doesn’t blow.
From the Charleston Daily Mail
Ocean power seeing
With the rising cost of oil, scientists are once again looking to
the world’s largest natural resource—the ocean—for electricity
New projects are looking at ways to use the ocean’s thermal energy,
tidal power and wave action. These projects are under way from Maine to Oregon
to Hawaii in the United States, and are equally as widespread in Europe. Ocean
thermal power plants, which generate electricity from the temperature difference
between the tropics’ warm surface water and deep cold water, could be
built on land in several hundred locations around the globe’s equatorial
zones, and could also be constructed as floating plants.
Although ocean power is still in its infancy, wave and tidal energy
technology are at the point where some U.S. commercial projects of limited
size are under way. For example, a tidal plant is planned for New York’s
East River that will utilize underwater turbines—like wind turbines,
but much smaller with slower turning blades—to generate up to 10 megawatts
of electricity. This plant should provide enough electricity to power about
These projects mark a resurgence in the development of ocean thermal
energy technology, which has lagged since the 1990s, when the Energy Department
ceased operations on an experimental 217-kilowatt demonstration plant at the
Natural Energy Laboratory in Hawaii.
From The Honolulu Advertiser
S. Korea, China
working together to conserve energy
South Korea and China agreed Tuesday to work together on project
that will help to cope with rising global oil prices.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in their policies
related with high oil prices and the issue of global energy supply,” South
Korea’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, Chung Sye-kyun, said
after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Ma Kai.
Under this agreement, South Korea and China have agreed to pursue
joint projects in the fields of renewable energy, oil reserves, electricity
and gas. Although they have agreed to exchange technologies in the field of
energy conservation, there was no other mention of exactly how the two countries
From the Associated Press