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A123 sale complete to Chinese automaker

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The sale of A123’s automotive assets to Wanxiang Corporation has closed for US$256.6 million. An assurance has been made that Wanxiang America will continue to operate A123 as a wholly owned subsidiary, focussing upon making micro-hybrid batteries. 

Wanxiang America President Pin Ni, said:  “A123 is a company with exceptional talent and potential, Wanxiang America is committed to the long-term success and the continuance of its US operations.”

The US Department of Energy gave A123 a grant of US$249 million to build new plants in Michigan and create 3000 new jobs. Up until bankruptcy proceedings it had only spent $132 million and created 1300 jobs. This loan will only be repaid if A123 cannot fulfill the initial promises. 

Amid fears of US-taxpayer funded development going into the hands of a foreign company, federal approval for the sale had to be obtained. The defence and security contracts were sold to a small US-based pack maker called Navitas for US$2.2 million. By ensuring these contracts remained within the US reduced fears of security breaches if technology developed for US military was in the hands of a non-allied nation.

Navitas’s founder and COO Alan ElShafei said: "I don't want to say we're a savior on the government side, but that's kind of our role. There are some unique technologies we're acquiring that Wanxiang will not have access to."

The Chief Executive of A123, David Vieau, has left the company to “pursue other interests.”


Polymer lithium-sulphur battery for commercialisation by OXIS and GP Batteries

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

OXIS Energy, UK, and GP Batteries, of Singapore, are embarking on a joint manufacturing project to make lithium-sulphur (Li-S) battery systems on a commercial scale for use in defence, automotive and solar panel markets.

The joint venture is expected to accelerate the Li-S cells and battery system to a commercial scale, as made by OXIS and mass produced by GP Batteries. OXIS has been developing the Li-S batteries since 2004 for the broad electric vehicle market as well as aviation and defence applications.

"Lithium-sulphur polymer batteries could well be the long sought after technology which will correct many of the deficiencies and shortcomings of the present generation of lithium-ion batteries, such as safety", said GP Batteries Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Ng.

OXIS and GP Batteries are establishing a joint board to review the developments and improvements in the emerging technology for presentation to customers.

Low Carbon Award for ALABC and CPT

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The ALABC, jointly with Controlled Power Technologies, has received an award for its LC Super Hybrid technology. The UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership presented the award at a ceremony in London for the category ‘Low Carbon Innovation by a small medium sized enterprise.’

Allan Cooper of the ALABC and Nick Pascoe of CPT

The awards, supported by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, recognise innovative projects that promote the rise in lower carbon vehicles and reducing transport emissions.

The LC Super Hybrid programme is a joint initiative between ALABC and CPT to demonstrate the capabilities of available technologies to promote affordable low carbon vehicles. The collaboration promotes how CO2 can be reduced through electric hybridisation at low voltages using lead-carbon batteries.

Allan Cooper with Nick Pascoe

“This award is very timely as it will help raise awareness of the advanced work we’re doing with micro-mild hybrid vehicles,” commented Nick Pascoe Chief Executive of CPT. Allan Cooper of the ALABC said they and CPT are delighted to have received the award.

Electric supercharger by CPT

The LC Super Hybrid 12V vehicle has been demonstrated to great success, a 48V version is due to be ready this year to provide torque assist to the engine for launch and acceleration, optimise fuelling during cruise conditions, and harvest kinetic energy during braking.

LC Super Hybrid features an electric supercharger and start-stop technology
developed by CPT along with an advanced lead-carbon battery.


Motor giants collaborate on fuel cells

Wed, 01/30/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Daimler, Ford and Nissan have signed a three-way agreement to collaboratively develop fuel cell electric vehicles to accelerate getting the technology onto the road. The deal will see each company developing its own vehicle but with a common fuel cell system, sharing development and investment costs.

sealing the deal

The companies hope to have affordable fuel cell EVs ready by 2017 with common components to standardise and define global specifications for the technology and encourage faster commercialisation.

(L - R: Raj Nair of Ford, Thomas Weber of Daimler and Mitsuhiko Yamashita of Nissan)

“Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers,” said Raj Nair, group Vice President, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone.”

Each company will invest equally to develop a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that each company can use in their individual FCEVs. This work will be done at several sites around the world to speed up engineering development.

A similar agreement was made by Toyota and BMW in June 2012, and extended in January 2013, to develop a fuel cell system for a lightweight sports vehicle.

Emerson Network Power new line for North American market

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Emerson Network Power has introduced three new models of the Liebert DSE, room-based data centre cooling systems. The 80kW, 85kW and 150kW units will join the current 125kW unit, will be available across North America.

data centre cooling

The Liebert DSE features the EconoPhase pumped refrigerant economiser that cools without the cost of water consumption or air contamination thus lowering operational costs.

The unit also features compressors to make the most of part-load efficiency, electronic expansion valves to support lower condensing temperatures, and variable speed electrically commutated plug fans that adjust the unit airflow to demand based on usage.

“The Liebert DSE represents the state-of-the-art in data centre room cooling and demonstrates that major increases in cooling efficiency can be achieved without compromising data centre reliability and performance,” said Steve Madara, Vice President, global cooling, Emerson Network Power. “These new models give data centre designers and managers more options to configure data centre cooling that is scalable, reliable and economical.”

Eaton 9PX and 9SX UPS units receive EMEA Energy Star certification

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Eaton has announced Energy Star certification of its 9PX and 9SX UPS units available in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).


Energy Star, a joint programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy, is intended to help consumers save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. In a statement, Eaton said its 9PX and 9SX UPSs earned the Energy Star following stringent third-party testing and verification of meeting the programme’s energy efficiency requirements.

The certification guarantees that Eaton products are among the top 25% of most efficient UPSs on the market and allow customers to effectively reduce electrical usage and their carbon footprint.

The Eaton 9PX and 9SX UPSs were launched in EMEA in 2012 and are the next generation of energy efficient devices for 5 to 11 kVA applications.

Capstone bags $2.9M micro-turbine orders from German distributor

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Capstone Turbine’s German distributor E-Quad Power Systems has ordered two C1000 micro-turbine packages, one C200, 14 C65s and four C30s, totalling $2.9 million in product expected to ship in the next six months.


"The January orders from our German distributor E-Quad are almost equal to the total amount E-Quad purchased from Capstone in the previous nine months and are consistent with reports that the German market is starting to rebound," said Jim Crouse, Capstone's VP of Sales and Marketing.

"Despite the slowdown in the European market, Capstone has posted higher year-over-year quarterly revenues for 23 consecutive quarters. A rebound in Germany and France would definitely ease some of the overall headwinds we have experienced in Europe," said Darren Jamison, Capstone's President and Chief Executive Officer.

E-Quad Power Systems, headquartered in Herzogenrath, Germany, provides project planning, installation supervision, start-up and maintenance of Capstone products. E-Quad is focused on oil & gas resource recovery, turbo electric and combined heat and power applications.

Caterpillar notches record profits for 2012

Tue, 01/29/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

Caterpillar reported all-time record sales, revenues and profit per share in 2012 despite economic uncertainty in the United States, continued economic turmoil in much of Europe and slower growth in China.


Sales and revenues were up 10% from 2011 at $65.9 billion while profit was up 15% to $5.7 billion. However, fourth-quarter 2012 sales and revenues were $16.075 billion, down $1.168 billion from $17.243 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. 

Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was $697 million compared with $1.547 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.  Fourth-quarter 2012 profit was negatively impacted in large part to a charge of $580 million arising from accounting fraud at the group’s new Chinese unit Siwei.

Lower sales and revenues and the cost impact from sharply lower production and the $2 billion decline in Caterpillar inventory also had a negative impact on fourth-quarter profit.  Caterpillar's results are watched closely because they are considered an indicator of industrial activity and the health of the overall economy.

APR Energy expands with new contracts

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

APR Energy is supplying modularised power to Guatemala, Indonesia and Senegal as part of a 101MW expansion for 2013 that sees the company investing US$150 million in rental power. This large investment is to make operational improvements and increase the use of its diesel power fleet.

The project in Guatemala is providing energy to a silver mine 40km outside of Guatemala City. The plant will be the sole power source for the mine, which is not connected to the local grid. This adds to APR’s contracts with mining companies, with projects in Mozambique and Botswana also underway.

Existing contracts with Senegal and Gabon have been extended, increasing APR’s energy supply in Western Africa by 70MW.

In Indonesia a 15MW diesel-fired power plant feeds back to the state grid system to balance the supply-demand load issues. Laurence Anderson, President and COO of APR said the project offered APR an entry to one of the largest temporary power markets in the world.

“I feel strongly that the new contracts in Indonesia and Guatemala, along with the current contract extensions, are further evidence of our continued customer satisfaction and the overall strength of the market,” said John Campion, APR Energy Chief Executive Officer. “The 101MW in January follow on the heels of the 200MW contract award and 100MW renewal in Uruguay in December and show an unmistakable momentum in our business.”

AFC Energy proclaims fuel cell electrodes breakthrough

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

UK hydrogen fuel cell developer AFC Energy is celebrating after extending the longevity of its electrodes to more than six months of continuous operation.

AFC Energy

Electrodes are the critical components of a fuel cell, which enable the electrochemical reactions to occur between hydrogen and oxygen (from air) to generate electricity, heat and water. Laboratory trials of electrodes are on-going and further field trials of improved electrodes are scheduled to begin early next month.

At six months longevity, these applications have the potential to generate significant revenues for AFC Energy whilst also opening up new commercial opportunities in additional territories such as Germany, where the company is already carrying out long-term longevity trials with Akzo Nobel, one of the world's largest chemicals groups.

Ian Williamson, CEO of AFC Energy, said: "Our progress will surprise and challenge the power generating industry and we have recently filed six new families of patents to secure our rights. We look forward to pushing electrode life towards 12 months and beyond where we believe we will have a product that is economic globally in all target markets."


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