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Scientists at Cardiff University's Catalysis Institute have developed a new method to improve biodiesel yields. Using a new catalytic process, the team is able to use the glycerol left over from biodiesel production and make more methanol to produce more biodiesel. Using magnesium oxide and cerium oxide is simpler than other methods, requiring only one step at room temperature with normal atmospheric pressure. "We set out to establish ways in which the waste product glycerol could be used to form other useful compounds, but we were surprised when we found that feeding glycerol and water over such a simple catalyst gave such valuable products and interesting chemistry," says Professor Stuart Taylor. The system could increase biodiesel yields by as much as 10 percent. Read more at Gizmag, or from Cardiff University.

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming A123 Systems hid problems with Fisker from investors. The plaintiffs accused four A123 executives of failing to report Fisker's impending bankruptcy and issues with battery quality. US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain says there is not enough evidence showing that the defendants knew about problems with their batteries or about Fisker's financial difficulties. Read more at Reuters, or at Law360.

Chinese startup NextEV is raising funds to build a Tesla-fighting electric car. The company, which plans to launch a supercar to match the acceleration of Tesla's Ludicrous Mode next year, has raised about half of its $1 billion goal thanks in part to investments from Sequoia Capital and Joy Capital. NextEV also plans to produce mass market electric vehicles at about half the price of a Model S. "Talking big is pointless," says NextEV cofounder William Li. "We develop the car purely from the angle of consumers. We most value what they would like the car to be. We want them to experience sheer pleasure of driving our car." Read more at Bloomberg.

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