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SAE International honors eight mobility engineering professionals with the 2015 James M. Crawford Technical Standards Board Outstanding Achievement Award. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding service in the technical committee activities of the Society. This includes valuable contributions to the work of SAE International technical committees, unusual leadership in the activities of an SAE International technical committee, significant contributions as a representative of the Society to the accomplishments of technical committees of other organizations or of government agencies, and outstanding contributions to SAE International technical committee work in the form of research, test methods and procedures, and/or development of standards. The James M. Crawford Fund was established in 1953 and honors James Crawford, who was SAE International President in 1945. In 2013, the award previously known as the Technical Standards Board Outstanding Achievement Award, was renamed the James M. Crawford Technical Standards Board Outstanding Achievement Award. SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 137,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

« New Flyer adds 2016 Cummins Westport ISL G Near Zero engine to Xcelsior bus lineup; debuting in LA | Main | FEV North America, Inc. opening office in Silicon Valley » Energy-associated CO emissions from natural gas are expected to surpass those from coal for the first time since 1972, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Even though natural gas is less carbon-intensive than coal, increases in natural gas consumption and decreases in coal consumption in the past decade have resulted in natural gas-related CO emissions surpassing those from coal. EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects energy-related CO emissions from natural gas to be 10% greater than those from coal in 2016. From 1990 to about 2005, consumption of coal and natural gas in the United States was relatively similar, but their emissions were different; coal is more carbon-intensive than natural gas. The consumption of natural gas results in about 52 million metric tons of CO for every quadrillion British thermal units (MMmtCO /quad Btu), while coal’s carbon intensity is about 95 MMmtCO /quad Btu, or about 82% higher than natural gas’s carbon intensity. Because coal has a higher carbon intensity, even in a year when consumption of coal and natural gas were nearly equal, such as 2005, energy-related CO emissions from coal were about 84% higher than those from natural gas. In 2015, natural gas consumption was 81% higher than coal consumption, and their emissions were nearly equal. Both fuels were associated with about 1.5 billion metric tons of energy-related CO emissions in the United States in 2015.

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« Continental presenting Intelligent Glass Control for car windows; targeted shading can reduce CO2 emissions or increase EV range | Main | FEV-developed plug-in hybrid battery pack moves into series production » Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities have developed a catalytic process to convert corn stover lignin into hydrocarbons (C –C )—primarily C –C cyclic structure hydrocarbons in the jet fuel range. The work is featured on the cover of the December issue of the RSC journal Green Chemistry. The developer of the process, Bin Yang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering at WSU and his team are working with Boeing Co. to develop and test the hydrocarbons targeted to be jet fuel. Yang has filed for a patent on the process, with WSU as the assignee. Lignin is an organic polymer that makes plants woody and rigid; after cellulose, it is the most abundant renewable carbon source on Earth. Ordinarily, it is wasted when plant biomass, including cellulose, is converted into biofuels such as ethanol. Between 40 and 50 million tons of lignin are produced annually worldwide, mostly as a non-commercialized waste product, according to the International Lignin Institute. Due to its availability, low oxygen to carbon (O/C) ratio, and markedly low total oxygen content compared to biomass-derived carbohydrates (~36% versus ~50%, respectively), lignin is a promising feedstock for production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals. However, lignin’s native molecular structure is, approximately C -C —far higher than the carbon chain lengths required for fuel applications (~C -C ). To be used as a source for fuel, the lignin must be depolymerized, its H/C ratio increased, and its O/C ratio must be further decreased. To date, virtually no approach has proven successful for converting lignin into hydrocarbon liquids or chemicals. Yang’s procedure involves the aqueous-phase hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of dilute alkali-extracted corn stover lignin catalyzed by a noble metal catalyst (Ru/Al O ) and acidic zeolite (H+-Y), yielding a range of hydrocarbons. The resulting product must be separated and purified to obtain the jet-fuel hydrocarbons. In addition to hydrocarbons suitable for jet turbine engines, Yang is using lignin to produce a variety of other chemicals and materials. Through two recent grants funded by the US Department of Energy, both headed by Texas A&M University, he leads WSU’s effort to produce lipids and bioplastics created from lignin. He also is working with the nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on projects to convert lignin into a range of chemicals, including supercapacitors. Yang and his team’s research is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the US Department of Defense, as well as the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Sun Grant from the US Department of Transportation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Seattle-based Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation.

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« New catalytic process to convert lignin into jet-range hydrocarbons | Main | USDA announces conditional commitment for $70M loan guarantee for Ensyn cellulosic biofuel refinery » A plug-in hybrid vehicle has gone into series production with technology provided by FEV. In addition to using an innovative transmission concept based on a FEV patent, the PHEV also uses an FEV-developed battery pack. The pack offers a capacity of 10 kWh and yields an all-electric range of about 50 kilometers (30 miles). FEV was responsible as a turn-key partner for the development of the battery hardware and software, throughout the development of the overall concept, as well as for testing and validation. Future production will be undertaken by suppliers in the Asian market. FEV has been operating its own electric vehicle fleet since 2010. The experience with this fleet and the comprehensive vehicle and battery measurement data which is continuously sent to an FEV server via mobile communication are key elements used in the development of alternative drives. In addition to about 65 electrified powertrain development projects, FEV has successfully completed about 20 battery projects over the past few years. In these projects, batteries were developed for nearly any kind of drive: whether it be water-cooled high performance plug-in hybrid battery or passively cooled pack for pure electric vehicles. The quality of battery management system algorithms has as much influence on performance as the selection of suitable battery cells and an optimized layout of the overall battery. The system is highly mature and very flexible with the capability to accommodate any battery concept. The BMS consists of a central control system, a master circuit board, and one decentralized measurement unit for each battery module, the slave circuit board. The BMS itself can comply with the safety standard ASIL-D as specified in ISO26262. The BMS was developed according to all of the current and common automotive standards (e.g., AUTOSAR and CMMI), and is well cost-optimized, particularly with regard to future series production applications. FEV has several cell and battery test benches worldwide for the testing and validation of developed battery packs as well as experience with series production testing for several well-known manufacturers, allowing FEV to be recognized as an internationally-operating engineering company that can guarantee a high degree of quality and series production readiness in its engineering developments.

« VW reopens Transparent Factory as showcase for electric mobility and digitalization; rebuilding plant for electric and premium models | Main | HRL to receive $4.3M DARPA award to develop next-generation inertial sensor technology for precise navigation » In a paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, researchers report that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution—even if relatively low—including fine particulate matter (PM ) and soot (black carbon), had worse lung function than those living in less polluted areas. By age eight, the lung function of children living within 100 meters of a major roadway was on average 6% lower than that of children living 400 meters or more away. Residential proximity to roadway, and prior-year and lifetime PM and BC exposure were all associated with lower FVC [forced vital capacity, a lung function test]. Associations with FEV [forced expiratory volume] were also negative and proportionally similar. Pollution exposures were not associated with the FEV1/FVC ratio, or bronchodilator response. Compared to >400 m, living 3 increment in prior-year PM was associated with lower FVC (-21.8 mL; -43.9, 0.2) and higher odds of FEV 3 increment in prior-year BC was associated with a 38.9 mL (-70.4, -7.3) lower FVC. Few studies have examined childhood exposure to air pollution after the dramatic improvements in air quality of the 1990's to see if exposure to air pollution at these lower levels is linked to children's lung function. —Mary B. Rice, MD, MPH, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and lead author Dr. Rice noted that PM levels in Boston have declined by more than 30% between 1996 and 2006. The researchers studied 614 children born to mothers who enrolled between 1999 and 2002 in Project Viva, a long-term study of women’s and children’s health in eastern Massachusetts. Authors calculated the distance from the child’s home to the nearest major highway, and estimated first year of life, lifetime and prior-year exposure to PM , using satellite measurements. They also estimated first year of life, lifetime and prior-year exposure to black carbon using 148 monitoring stations. These important findings are from a novel study combining modern modeling of exposures to air pollution with robust measurements of lung function, conducted in a community with pollutant levels now under EPA standards. This adds to the urgency for more work to understand the impacts of these low-level exposures on human health. — Cora S. Sack, MD, and Joel D. Kaufman, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington, in an accompanying editorial Study limitations include the fact that lung function was measured only once and a relatively homogenous study population. The study will follow these children into adolescence. We plan to evaluate if the benefits of cleaner air endure by investigating if children with the greatest improvements in air quality continue to have better lung function than their peers in the teen years.

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