Recharge Wrap-up: LG Innotek creates rare earth-free DCT motor, BYD reports increased EV sales

US, Chilean Navies Move To Alternative Fuels; CA Funds EV Charging Expansion

  • Image Credit: LG Innotek
The US and Chilean navies have agreed to work together to develop alternative fuels for ships and aircraft. As a move toward better energy security, the two countries want to develop "drop-in alternative fuels," namely biofuels, to reduce dependence on foreign oil and ensure a reliable supply and cost. The US Navy wants to have 50 percent of "organizational consumption" come from alternative energy sources by 2020. The US is moving toward primarily using a biofuel and petroleum blend, and wants to make sure its allies are able to use the same fuels. Read more in this joint statement from the US Navy and the Ministry of National Defense of Chile.

California approved $1 million in grants for EV charging stations in Encinitas and Sonoma County. Corridor Power was awarded $500,000 to install new chargers in the Encinitas County. Sonoma County will receive another $500,000 to renovate existing stations and to add three new ones. The California Energy Commission hopes the expanded charging infrastructure will encourage more drivers to adopt electric vehicles. Read more in the press release, below.

BYD saw sales of its electric vehicles increase sixfold in the first half of the year, selling about 7,600 battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The rise in EV sales is thought to be in response to China's programs encouraging people to buy emissions free vehicles. Despite the increase in BYD's EV sales, analysts don't think it indicates mass market demand. BYD plans to introduce more electric models in the second half of the year, including a plug-in hybrid SUV called Tang and the all-electric Denza. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

LG Innotek has created a dual-clutch transmission motor that is free of rare earth metals (pictured). Without needing the rare minerals, the motor can be mass produced without concerns over availability or the rising cost of materials. The motor-equipped DCT is more efficient than a conventional automatic or manual transmission. LG Innotek's rare earth-free motor is also about four percent lighter than standard DCT motors, while offering the same performance. The motor will go into production early next year. Read more in the press release, below.
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California Funds Innovative Technologies to Improve Natural Gas Pipeline Safety
Also approves $1 million in grants to expand number of electric vehicle charging stations

SACRAMENTO - As part of the ongoing effort to improve the safety of natural gas pipelines, the California Energy Commission voted at its business meeting today to approve three grants totaling $623,000 for technologies to monitor this critical energy infrastructure. The agency also approved an additional $1 million to fund new fast electric vehicle chargers in Southern California and expand chargers in Sonoma County. This latest investment further advances the state's progress toward a clean transportation future with reduced climate and air pollution..

Natural gas
To specifically address risks to the natural gas system posed by failing Delta Island levee infrastructure and long-term sea level rise, the commission awarded $325,000 to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Money will be used to gather valuable data using state of the art technology. Funded by the Natural Gas program that is part of the commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) effort, the project will include a bi-monthly survey by the USGS of levee roads accounting for approximately 1,700 km of high-priority energy infrastructure zones. Over the next two years, new research will provide unprecedented understanding of levee stability and the gradual sinking of land that could cause levee failure.

Physical Sciences Inc. of Pleasanton was awarded $150,000 to develop miniature methane laser sensors that would detect natural gas leaks in pipelines. Palios Corporation of Santa Clara will receive $148,000 to test a cost-effective, ultrasonic measurement system that would use non-destructive measures to quickly determine the strength of undisturbed and in-place steel natural gas transmission pipelines with minimal disruptions to service.

Electric vehicle charging stations
California has a goal to get 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) on the road by 2025. Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) has already allocated nearly $400 million to help bolster statewide ZEV infrastructure and create a viable market for these vehicles. Today, the commission approved $1 million in ARFVTP funding to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Encinitas and Sonoma County. Corridor Power, Inc was awarded nearly $500,000 to install 10 electric vehicle fast chargers in Encinitas and the County of Sonoma was awarded $500,000 to renovate 10 existing electric vehicle chargers and install three new electric vehicle chargers.

Research and development
The PIER program funds research and development projects to spur technologies that improve the delivery and use of power, benefit the environment and lower costs. Four grants were approved today for the following recipients:

- West Biofuels of San Rafael was awarded $150,000 for a test project that would convert under-utilized agricultural biomass residues to synthetic gas to replace or blend with natural gas for on-site industrial and agricultural use.
- University of California, Davis was awarded more than $129,000 to develop a low-cost, self-calibrating automatic controller that would reduce energy use in gas clothes dryers by 20 percent or more, by terminating the drying cycle when the remaining moisture content of the load is 2 percent or less. The university was also awarded more than $125,000 to increase biorenewable methane production by improving anaerobic digestion through development and characterization of a microbial community adapted to high-solids conditions. This project targets seasonal food processing residues, and aims to accelerate the adoption of anaerobic digestion in the food processing industry.
- Solar Stream Innovations of Chino Hills was awarded $150,000 for a project that could decrease natural gas peak demand for heating during the winter and electricity generation during the summer by creating a special manifold to retrofit old equipment to increase winter water and space heating, and to generate high temperatures for efficient summer chiller operation.

Energy Efficiency
The Energy Commission's Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) program is a zero- or low-interest loan program that funds projects at public entities. The following loans were approved at today's meeting:

- The City of Los Angeles received a $3 million loan at 1 percent interest to retrofit inefficient streetlights with light emitting diodes (LEDs). The energy-efficient lighting will save approximately $280,000 annually, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by saving more than 2,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.
- Hartnell Community College District in Salinas received a $3 million loan at zero percent interest for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures at the Hartnell College main campus. The project includes boiler upgrades and installing solar photovoltaic panels. The project is estimated to save the college more than $225,000 annually.

The commission also approved an updated version of the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24) code compliance software for residential and nonresidential facilities (CBECC-Res and CBECC-Com). Among other improvements, this version of the software incorporates increased processing speed, programming for additional heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and features, and corrections to the compliance reports section.

A detailed list of all items before the Commission can be found at the online business meeting agenda.

LG Innotek Develops World's First "Rare Earth Free" Automotive DCT Motor
- Eases concerns on reliance on uncertain rare earth supplies and supports environmental protection

Seoul, Korea, Aug 28, 2014 - LG Innotek, a leading global components manufacturer, today announced that the company has developed world's first "rare earth free" automotive dual- clutch transmission (DCT) motor. The development of the new DCT motor and associated manufacturing and quality control equipment will lead to its production by LG Innotek early next year.

The motor marks an important breakthrough since it will ease concerns among automakers about their reliance on uncertain rare earth supplies. Rare earth elements are usually used in materials for automotive motors, but they are difficult to source and are subject to sharp price increases when supplies dwindle. There are only small and concentrated reserves worldwide of the rare earth minerals, which are often used to provide magnetic properties for automotive motors. This new motor also reflects LG Innotek's efforts to protect the environment since the mining, refining and disposal of rare earth minerals can cause environmental damage.

Minerals like Neodymium (Nd) and Dysprosium (Dy) are considered essential in the manufacture of DCT motors due to their magnetic properties. The automotive industry has been studying alternatives to rare earth minerals, but it has faced difficulties because other materials were not as suitable.

The DCT motor is a core driving system component that is attached to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. This motor powers the dual-clutch automatic transmission in a fast and precise manner to enable the switching of gears swiftly and smoothly to adjust to different driving conditions.

The dual-clutch automatic transmission equipped with the DCT motor is gaining attention in Europe and other developed markets since it delivers up to 12 percent better fuel efficiency than regular automatic transmissions and 5 percent better fuel efficiency than manual transmissions.

LG Innotek has developed its own technology in motor structure design and succeeded in creating the rare earth free DCT motor that meets required performance standards, while being 4 percent lighter despite being similar in size to conventional DCT motors.

The company spent more than two years in developing the technology and registered 13 related Korean and foreign patent applications.

LG Innotek is focusing on developing electronic automotive components as part of the IT convergence in the automotive sector, of which the new DCT motor is an example.

The new DCT motor will start being produced at LG Innotek's automotive components plant in Mexico from early next year. The company is committed to actively drive market expansion of the DCT motor as the demand increases due to its improvement on driving performance and fuel efficiency.

LG Innotek believes the rare earth free DCT motor will be popular among customers because it meets performance, size and weight requirements while guaranteeing a stable supply.

About LG Innotek, Ltd.

LG Innotek is a leading global components and materials manufacturer and an affiliate of LG Group. LG Innotek was established in 1970 and recorded $5.7 billion in sales in 2013. The company specializes in components for the smartphone, automotive and LED lighting sectors, including camera modules, auto electronic components, LED, and substrate materials. It is the world's largest manufacturer of camera modules.

In the automotive component sector, LG Innotek focuses on the convergence of cutting-edge technologies, performance and safety-related components. LG Innotek's automotive components include a wide range of vehicle motors including ABS motors, EPS motors, AFLS Actuators, DCT motors, electric oil pump, traction, belt-driven starters and generators and torque angle sensors. LG Innotek also produces camera modules, 3G and 4G telecommunication modules, Bluetooth modules, Wifi modules, DC/DC converters for electronic vehicles, battery management systems, wireless power chargers, PCB, and LED light source and modules.

LG Innotek is listed on the Korea Exchange (011070 KS).For more information, visit

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