• Jun 26, 2014
A new Minnesota law that requires biodiesel blends goes into effect in just a few days, says KELO. Diesel drivers in Minnesota will be pumping soybeans into their tank beginning July 1. Every year, diesel will be sold as a B10 blend (ten percent biofuel) from April through August, and will scale back to a cold-hardy B5 blend from September through March. The biofuel largely comes from soybean crops grown within Minnesota, and the biodiesel industry pumps more than $900 million into the state economy every year. According to the National Biodiesel Board, using the B10 and B5 blends will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,342,000,000 pounds every year. Minnesota is the first state to require diesel to be sold as a biofuel blend.

In Japan, Isuzu Motors and Japanese biotech venture Euglena are teaming up to create biodiesel using algae, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The goal is to create a new type of fuel that doesn't need to be mixed with light oil to be used in engines. "As long as we use light oil for diesel engines, emissions of carbon dioxide are inevitable," says Isuzu president Susumu Hosoi. Euglena has also been using algae to develop jet fuel with airline operator ANA Holdings. Isuzu and Euglena hope to have the new biodiesel developed by 2018.

Aerial maglev transportation is coming to the campus of a defense contractor in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wired reports. The SkyTran personal rapid transit system uses small pods on an elevated magnetic track to move people from place to place. The pilot program will see SkyTran come to the corporate campus of Israel Aerospace Industries as soon as next year. The pods are hailed by phone, and carry passengers along the magnetic rail system at speeds of up to 44 miles per hour. The passive magnetic system levitates the pod attachment a centimeter above the rails, while a burst of electricity propels the pod forward. If the test at the campus goes well, SkyTran could spread to Tel Aviv at large, moving up to 12,000 people per track per hour with top speeds of 150 mph.

The pre-production prototype of the Toyota FCV will make its North American debut at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival on Friday, June 27. The hydrogen car's finished exterior was revealed in Japan on Wednesday along with its nearly $70,000 price tag. It will go on sale in Japan by April of next year, and will come to Europe and California in the summer of 2015. According to Toyota, the FCV will have a range of about 300 miles, and can refuel in three to five minutes. Toyota promises that Californians will be able to find places to fill up, too, and has announced a plan to build and maintain hydrogen stations across the state. Toyota USA's Bob Carter says, "Stay tuned, because this infrastructure thing is going to happen."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      declangalt
      • 5 Months Ago
      Minnesota may be the first to mandate 10% but other states including mandate B5 already. Oregon for example has mandated a B5 blend since 2011.
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Toyota CEO PAID off by Exxon. Because only a fool or a Traitor to Japan, and America would implement Hydrogen. The 1% thinks they can shove this crap down our throats. Explain to me how the 1% could pick the Second Worst Fuel Source after Oil to power cars. Because we are not stupid idiots, we know the hydrogen will come from Leaky High Highly Potent Global Warming Green house Gas Methane! The 1% are STUPID, or CRIMINAL IDIOTS and cannot be Trusted To Govern.
        Ziv
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FordGo
        Anytime I see someone ranting about the 1%, I am pretty sure that the response will be regurgitated agit-prop, as it is above. I love my electric car, and I think fuel cells will probably always be more expensive than their fast refuel capacity is worth, but anyone who thinks that a fuel as energy dense, as inexpensive, as easy to re-fuel as gasoline is the worst fuel has to be a brain dead fool. It is going to take a decade of intensive, expensive research to make BEV's a match for gasoline ICE vehicles when it comes to the actual cost to operate them over their entire life cycle, even with the external costs of greater pollution of ICE vehicles factored in. We are getting close, but the BEV's aren't quite there yet.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          "It is going to take a decade of intensive, expensive research to make BEV's a match for gasoline ICE vehicles when it comes to the actual cost to operate them over their entire life cycle, even with the external costs of greater pollution of ICE vehicles factored in." We are already past that point. Over the entire life cycle, a Leaf is cheaper to own and operate than a Versa (someone else did the math a while back). That isn't the real issue. The real issue is getting "enough" range for the $30k price point. We are about one generation away from that (not a decade, more like half).
          Ziv
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          Jake, you make a good point, but the Leaf isn't a full utility car, while the Versa is. It is easy to build a limited utility car that is cheaper to operate than a full utility car, but it is comparing apples to oranges. Until a car can go 200 miles on a charge, it is a "compromised" vehicle. The Tesla S is a full utility vehicle, but you have to pay to get that much battery capacity. I would agree with you that we are about one gen from full utility BEV's cost less than a regular ICE over the lifetime of the car. And I HOPE that we will see that true second gen BEV within 10 years of the start of the current electric car movement. I figure that this first gen BEV development cycle truly started in 2008, and 2018 is not an unrealistic timeframe to see the second gen really come into its own.
          FordGo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          The continued push to switch to methane, and fracking, is suicide for the nation. Fracking release of methane is massive. And with no carbon tax, there's no incentive for the industry to stop the leakage, as they only car about the most profitable 80% of the methane they capture, unless you put a cost on leakage we are just going to Accelerate Global Warming. Accelerating the Nations Biggest problem is Economic Suicide. Remember, time and time again they say: The only thing a corporation should be measured on is Profitability. Kind of like a kid with ADD. They cannot manage the oil industry to benefit the Corporation and the Nation. They Will Only Manage the Corporation for the Only thing they get Measured on: Profitability. In other worlds Global Corporations are Exactly Like Robotic Idiots, that will Destroy our Environment and Our Society for MONEY.
      PeterScott
      • 5 Months Ago
      I think a question that puzzles many of us is: Why FCVs from a manufacturer perspective? I mean we know why Shell/Exxon et al, are happy to supply H2 and keep us tied to their Oligopy to move our vehicles. But what is in it for manufacturers? Here are some of my thoughts on this: 1: Hedging. Unable to predict the market, they try to cover all possible future technologies. 2: IP dominance dreams. In conjunction with hedging they move to lock (patent) more of the technology IP, to be the premier beneficiary if the technology takes off.
        FordGo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        Corporate Bribery. CEO to CEO cash luggage transfers.
        skierpage
        • 5 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        FCV is a zero tailpipe emission vehicle that, *IF* there were H2 refueling everywhere, can replace a conventional car you drive to a station and refill. But, in the real world, plug-in hybrids like the Volt and Ford Energi models also let you do much of your regular driving with zero tailpipe emissions, and give you the huge convenience and cost-saving of plugging in at home. They sell reasonably well despite current the high cost, and have no chicken-and-egg infrastructure or range anxiety issues. So, car manufacturers making FCVs are offering zero tailpipe emissions to rich people without access to a plug, and preparing for a world in which fossil fuels are expensive and regulated, and/or zero tailpipe emissions are the law. I would be happy to see that world arrive, because it will increase EV demand as well. But for a decade or more, plug-in hybrids and EVs are going to be far more popular.
        Spec
        • 5 Months Ago
        @PeterScott
        I think hedging is a huge part of it. The ones investing big in FCVs also have EV projects. The ones investing big in EVs also have FCV projects. But think you are missing the main reason: 3) They just really think this is what the market wants. These car companies have all been trying to make electric vehicles on & off for the past 100 years and until 2011, it has pretty much always flopped. And even the success since 2011 has been pretty tiny and heavily subsidized. So perhaps they really feel that EVs can't succeed due to short range and the recharge time. I think they are wrong because battery prices will drop, oil prices will climb, and more drivers will learn to deal with the shorter range & longer charge time because of the substantial savings in fuel costs. You don't have to be better or as good as a product you replace in all areas . . . you can be deficient in some areas as long as the overall value proposition is better.
          PeterScott
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I doubt anyone thinks the market wants FCV. I think they hope that with a lot marketing they can push the market to FCVs. Mainly by beating the "range" drum. The hasn't really been 100 years of trying electric cars. Actually it has been nearly 100 years, since the last serious effort. Compliance cars like the EV1 in 1990's hardly count. Nissan and Tesla are pretty much the only serious efforts I have seen in decades at pure EVs and both are doing quite well. From what I have read, the Nissan Leaf is doing better than the Prius did in it's first couple of years. I don't think anyone would call the Prius a failure. I think once affordable cars get >120 Miles EPA range, range anxiety for typical usage will evaporate and FCV won't have much of a leg to stand on. Sure it still isn't a practical car to go cross country, but a FCV won't be either.
      Spec
      • 5 Months Ago
      Toyota is too fixated on the 5 minute fuel up. When you can do your daily driving with a full-charge, it doesn't matter if an EV takes all night to charge! The only time that comes into play is on the very rare long trips. And if you can handle that with Supercharge every 265 miles or so . . . that is good enough.
        JakeY
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Toyota's not the only one, Hyundai is too. Their executives genuinely can't see how home refueling can work (much less the advantage of doing so). They think anything that can't fuel in 5 minutes is DOA. But at the very least, if Toyota is willing to put a price tag on their car and actually sell it (meaning the owner can keep the car afterwards), they would be the one making the significant first step toward general FCV sales (Hyundai's not there despite the hype). The other question is if Toyota broke the 60mpg barrier yet (something Hyundai failed to do by the time of the production version) and also the volume they are willing to commit.
          danfred311
          • 5 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          and the fuel cell cars can't fuel in 5 minutes. In the hyundai trials here in Denmark they take about 20 minutes to refill. I saw another refueling that was 10 minutes. Haven't actually seen a 5 minutes refill yet, even if we ignore the time to pay for it. And drive to the site...
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        They think they can convince people to pay 4 times more all the time, for the rare event where it may be more convenient
        Joeviocoe
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        They think they can convince people to pay 4 times more all the time, for the rare event where it may be more convenient
        HVH20
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I hate taking 5 minutes to fill up at the gas station and the extra detour on my route to go to the gas station. Plugging in every time i park is much more convenient.
        fairfireman21
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Spec, What EV can go 265 miles on a charge? I can only think of maybe 1 and that is the $100,000 Tesla other than that there is not one that can even get to half that.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          "You are getting a lot more car for that extra $10k." You're assuming they have the extra $10k to spend. "The comparison is imperfect because the target markets are different." I agree, comparing the Toyota FCV to a Model S is a pointless argument - there's too many differences.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          "Why not pay $10K more..." I can think of ten thousand reasons.
          Spec
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          The base Model S 85KWH is $80K. They are working on their cost-reduced version. And the comparison here is against a $70K fuel cell car. Why not pay $10K more and get a car that already has a nationwide charging network that allows you to charge for free? But who says you have to go pure EV . . . the Chevy Volt, Ford Energi, and other plug-in hybrids also do a great job if you really have to drive long distances often.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          @Letstakeawalk "You're assuming they have the extra $10k to spend. " I'm pretty sure a lot of buyers with $70k to spend on a car have an extra $10k. It's tougher when the extra $10k is in the $20k vs $30k bracket, but not at this type of price bracket. "I agree, comparing the Toyota FCV to a Model S is a pointless argument - there's too many differences." It's imperfect, but not pointless as the pricing is still close enough for comparison. At similar prices, the range is basically the same and you get a lot more capability with the EV. It's not unreasonable to say a smaller and de-contented 85kWh Model S will be at least $10k less. It think that was Spec's point.
          JakeY
          • 5 Months Ago
          @fairfireman21
          You are getting a lot more car for that extra $10k. The FCV is basically a $70k Corolla/Prius. The Model S on the other hand goes head to head with cars in its same price bracket. The comparison is imperfect because the target markets are different.
      GoodCheer
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm a little confused by the SkyTran. If your max speed is 44 mph, what's the point of mag-lev over wheels? I thought mag-lev really only came into its own in terms of resistance vs. energy input at very high speeds.
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      Global Corporations now run like Robotic DimWit Chimps that will only be managed by the one thing they are measured on: Profitability. If we allow this, we commit Suicide: Economic and Environmental Suicide. If we allow the continued push for Fracking/Methane to be the Next Transportation Fuel, we commit Suicide. I've been watching this graph for 4 Years, it has Not Gotten Better. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/data/pdfs/20140624/20140624_usdm.pdf
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