News Article | March 4, 2016
« Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility vision builds on electrification, autonomous drive and vehicle intelligence | Main | Toho Tenax develops integrated production system for CFRP; projects in automotive » Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP), a pioneer in the commercialization of adsorbed natural gas (ANG) vehicle technology, and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the innovation engine of United Technologies Corp., unveiled a full-scale mockup of UTRC’s conformable fuel tank for ANG vehicles. (Earlier post.) UTRC and ANGP held the unveiling at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit. The tank, which is the first of its kind, was showcased in the bed of ANGP’s ANG-powered Ford F-150 pickup. UTRC developed its unique tank concept under ARPA-E’s Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) program. ANGP holds an exclusive license to UTRC’s design for a conformable, non-metal composite tank containing activated carbon adsorbents at pressures up to 1,000 psi. UTRC began developing its conformable tank in 2012, creating prototypes for CNG applications that typically operate in the 3,200-3,600 psi pressure range. As we looked for ways to commercialize this novel technology, we welcomed the opportunity to partner with ANGP as our exclusive licensee to bring our design to the US market for low-pressure automotive applications. The flat tank mockup displayed at ARPA-E, which is only eight inches in height, fits nicely in the pickup bed. It can store 30 percent more natural gas than an array of conventional gas cylinders in the same space envelope. To commercialize the tank, ANGP has assembled a team of leading technology providers: (1) UTRC, designer of the conformable tank; (2) Ingevity Corporation, which produces an activated carbon adsorbent in monolith form (Nuchar FuelSorb) that is highly effective in capturing and releasing natural gas constituents; and (3) Aspen Compressor, developer of an innovative natural gas fuel pump. The coalition also includes other companies that specialize in the design and installation of natural gas fueling stations and conversions of vehicles to natural gas. ANGP will introduce the first fully integrated ANG system for natural gas vehicles to the US market this year, said Bob Bonelli, ANGP co-founder and chief executive officer. Initially, the systems will use seamless aluminum cylinders made by Worthington Industries while the UTRC design undergoes development and certification to NGV-2 standards for release in 2017.
News Article | February 20, 2017
AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A. Schulman, Inc. (Nasdaq: SHLM), a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds, masterbatches, powders and resins, today announced that A. Schulman Inc. and Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP) have reached an...
News Article | December 15, 2015
Power semiconductor devices are a critical part of the energy infrastructure—all electronics rely on them to control or convert electrical energy. Silicon-based semiconductors are rapidly approaching their performance limits within electronics, so materials such as GaN are being explored as potential replacements that may render silicon switches obsolete. But along with having many desirable features as a material, GaN is notorious for its defects and reliability issues. So the team zeroed in on devices based on GaN with record-low defect concentrations to probe GaN's ultimate performance limits for power electronics. They describe their results in a paper in the journal Applied Physics Letters. "Our engineering goal is to develop inexpensive, reliable, high-efficiency switches to condition electricity—from where it's generated to where it's consumed within electric power systems—to replace generations-old, bulky, and inefficient technologies," said Zongyang Hu, a postdoc working in Professor Grace Huili Xing's research group within the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. "GaN-based power devices are enabling technologies to achieve this goal." The team examined semiconductor p-n junctions, made by joining p-type (free holes) and n-type (free electrons) semiconductor materials, which have direct applications in solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), rectifiers in circuits, and numerous variations in more complex devices such as power transistors. "For our work, high-voltage p-n junction diodes are used to probe the material properties of GaN," Hu explained. To describe how much the device's current-voltage characteristics deviate from the ideal case in a defect-free semiconductor system, the team uses a "diode ideality factor." This is "an extremely sensitive indicator of the bulk defects, interface and surface defects, and resistance of the device," he added. Defects exist within all materials, but at varying levels. "So one parameter we used to effectively describe the defect level in a material is the Shockley-Read-Hall (SRH) recombination lifetime," Hu said. SRH lifetime is the averaged time it takes injected electrons and holes in the junction to move around before recombining at defects. "The lower the defect level, the longer the SRH lifetime," Hu explained. "It's also interesting to note that for GaN, a longer SRH lifetime results in a brighter light emission produced by the diode." The work is significant because many researchers around the globe are working to find ways to make GaN materials reliable for use within future electronics. Due to the presence of defects with high concentrations in typical GaN materials today, GaN-based devices often operate at a fraction of what GaN is truly capable of. It's worth noting that, in 2014, a Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three scientists for making seminal and breakthrough contributions to the field of GaN-based LEDs. Though operating at compromised conditions, GaN LEDs are helping to shift the global lighting industry to a much more energy-efficient, solid-state lighting era. The work led by Xing at Cornell University is the first report of GaN p-n diodes with near-ideal performance in all aspects simultaneously: a unity ideality factor, avalanche breakdown voltage, and about a two-fold improvement in device figure-of-merits over previous records. "Our results are an important step toward understanding the intrinsic properties and the true potential of GaN," Hu noted. "And these achievements are only possible in high-quality GaN device structures (an effort led by IQE engineers) prepared on high-quality GaN bulk substrates and with precisely tuned fabrication technologies (an effort led by Dr. Kazuki Nomoto, a research associate at Cornell University)." One big surprise for the team came in the form of unexpectedly low differential-on-resistance of the GaN diode. "It's as if the body of the entire p-n diode is transparent to the current flow without resistance," he said. "We believe this is due to high-level injection of minority carriers and their long lifetime, and are exploring it further." The team's work is part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) "SWITCHES" program, monitored by Dr. Timothy Heidel. "Leading one of these projects, we at Cornell, in collaboration with our industrial partners IQE, Qorvo, and UTRC, have established an integrated plan to develop three terminal GaN power transistors, package them, and insert them into circuits and products," Xing said. Beyond the DOE ARPA-E project, the team is open to collaboration with any researchers or companies interested in helping drive GaN power electronics to its fruition. More information: "Near unity ideality factor and SRH lifetime in GaN-on-GaN p-n diodes with avalanche breakdown," by Zongyang Hu, Kazuki Nomoto, Bo Song, Mingda Zhu, Meng Qi, Ming Pan, Xiang Gao, Vladimir Protasenko, Debdeep Jena and Huili Grace Xing, Applied Physics Letters, Dec. 15, 2015 DOI: 10.1063/1.4937436
Trcka N.,UTRC |
Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation | Year: 2013
We present an efficient planning algorithm for allocation and scheduling of spatially distributed tasks to multiple heterogenous resources (e.g. mobile sensors, robots) in presence of ordering constraints on task execution and environmental uncertainties. We use Process Algebra (PA) for capturing such constraints. Building on probabilistic timed PA semantics, we define a planning system in form of a transition system, capturing ordering and resource constraints, occurrence of uncontrollable events, task priorities and preemption, and task allocation/scheduling objectives represented as a cost function. We develop an anytime branch and bound algorithm to efficiently search this transition system, and compute optimal strategies which prescribe task allocation and schedules in response to all possible outcomes of uncontrollable events. Several examples are presented and results from numerical simulation of a vehicle routing problem are discussed. © 2013 IEEE.
News Article | March 4, 2016
« Nissan to launch piloted drive Qashqai in Europe next year | Main | UTRC and ANGP unveil first low-pressure conformable natural gas tank design » Nissan outlined its Intelligent Mobility vision at the Geneva International Motor Show. Created to guide the Nissan product evolution, Intelligent Mobility will anchor company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society, all while staying focused on creating more enjoyable driving experiences. At the core of Nissan Intelligent Mobility are three areas of innovation: Nissan Intelligent Driving, spearheaded by Nissan’s autonomous drive technology, Piloted Drive; Nissan Intelligent Power, spearheaded by electric vehicles (EV); and Nissan Intelligent Integration—new links between vehicles and society. Our Intelligent Mobility vision is a framework to move customers around the world towards a safer and more sustainable future. To realize this vision, Nissan has launched a long-term strategy, supported by significant R&D investments. This enabled Nissan to introduce the breakthrough LEAF, the world’s first mass production EV, in 2010— years before any of our competitors. It has also driven our development of cutting-edge autonomous drive technologies, which will be available in a range of mass production models by 2020. These steps are allowing Nissan to deliver the benefits of EV and autonomous drive innovations to as many customers as possible and, ultimately, to lead the way toward a new era of mobility. Each area represents technological advances by Nissan – safety innovations through autonomous technology such as high-stability control and high-reliability drive systems; high-efficiency powertrains, including alternative and conventional fuel engines with advanced transmissions; and energy management solutions. Nissan Intelligent Driving. Nissan’s Intelligent Driving is foremost about performance, comfort and safety, removing the stress from a daily commute or minimizing the risk of unsafe conditions. Many of these advances are already available, as drivers can rely today on vehicles to recognize danger or take appropriate action to enhance safety. Nissan will advance its Safety Shield technologies such as Lane Departure Warning and Forward Emergency Braking into autonomous drive technologies, available to all customers on core models in the range. Nissan will launch multiple vehicles with autonomous drive technology in the next four years in Europe, the United States, Japan and China. The technology will be installed on mainstream, mass-market cars at affordable prices and the first model will come to Japan this year. An on-road demo event in Europe in 2016, will showcase the maturity of Nissan’s autonomous drive technology. In 2017, the Nissan Qashqai will become the first Piloted Drive vehicle available in Europe. Nissan Intelligent Power. Nissan has been the leading automotive brand in electric vehicle technology and sales. Nissan believes that quiet, yet powerful, acceleration with an increased range is essential to ensure an incredible driving experience. Nissan is boosting EV battery energy density and performance, represented by the 60 kWh battery and up to 550 km (342 miles) autonomy in the Nissan IDS Concept, which is making its European premiere at Geneva. Nissan technologies also reduce charging time, and develop EV potential in other innovative ways. Alternate sources of on-board electric power, such as fuel cells, will further encourage fuel diversity and renewable energy development. Also on the path of Intelligent Power is the further improvement of downsized turbo and X-TRONIC transmissions for both fuel efficiency and seamless response and acceleration. Nissan Intelligent Integration. Nissan will help connect cars to social infrastructure such as road, information and electric power networks which will eventually lead to reduced traffic jams, more efficient car sharing, remote vehicle operation and improved energy management. Nissan also continues to support expanding EV charging networks across Europe, the US, Mexico and Japan. To date, more than 10,500 quick chargers have been installed globally and in Europe, Nissan is working with partners to even further increase quick chargers that can be used by all EVs, helping to grow the entire market and bringing convenience and confidence to the European EV drivers, not just Nissan drivers. Ubiquitous connectivity is an expectation of car consumers as an extension of their work and personal devices. Technology trends are everywhere with mobility and the “bring your own device” phenomenon extending to vehicles. Nissan said it is committed to enabling vehicles to be part of that connected ecosystem.
News Article | February 4, 2016
« Connected Energy and Renault to collaborate on energy storage and EV charging technology; second-life batteries in E-STOR | Main | ANGP gets exclusive license to UTRC technology for conformable natural gas vehicle storage tanks » New Flyer of America, a subsidiary of New Flyer Industries, the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses and motor coaches in the United States and Canada, has completed a two-week in-service demonstration with Miami-Dade Transit of the New Flyer Xcelsior heavy-duty battery-electric XE40 transit bus. The two-week demonstration, concluded on 21 January, resulted in more than 1,150 in-service miles and more than 1,800 passenger rides on 11 different service routes throughout Miami-Dade County. New Flyer provided Miami-Dade Transit performance reports from New Flyer Connect, a combination of onboard telematics systems used to gauge and manage operational efficiency. Using the Connect system, the New Flyer Xcelsior XE40 battery-electric bus reported up to 23.8 diesel equivalent miles per gallon in energy consumption (equating to 1.6 kWh per mile). Miami-Dade Transit provides service from Miami Beach and Key Biscayne to West Miami-Dade, as far north as Broward County and as far south as Homestead, Florida City and the Middle Keys. Miami-Dade Transit is the 15th largest public transit system in the USA, and the largest transit agency in the state of Florida. The Xcelsior battery-electric bus features a Siemens electric drive system and proven electric subsystems with electric drive motor technology permitting the bus to reduce the energy consumed while driving, and increase the energy recovered during braking.
News Article | January 20, 2016
The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) announced that the Lonestar 5 supercomputer is in full production and is ready to contribute to advancing science across the state of Texas. Managed by TACC, the center's second petaflop system is primed to be a leading computing resource for the engineering and science research community. The supercomputer is sponsored by UT System in partnership with UT Austin, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, and the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) and the Center for Space Research at The University of Texas at Austin. The technology partners are Cray, Intel and DataDirect Networks. Lonestar 5 is designed for academic researchers, serving as the primary high performance computing resource in the UT Research Cyberinfrastructure (UTRC) initiative. Sponsored by The University of Texas System (UT System), UTRC provides a combination of advanced computational systems, a large data storage opportunity, and high bandwidth data access. UTRC enables researchers within all 14 UT System institutions to collaborate with each other and compete at the forefront of science and discovery. The new Lonestar 5 Cray XC40 supercomputer, which contains more than 30,000 Intel Xeon processing cores from the E5-2600 v3 product family, provides a peak performance of 1.25 petaflops. With 24 processing cores per compute node, Lonestar 5 follows the trend of more cores per node that the industry sees in every generation of microprocessors. The system is the fifth in a long line of systems available for Texas researchers, dating back over 15 years to the original Lonestar 1 system (also a Cray). The system will continue to serve its mainstay user communities with an emphasis on addressing a wide variety of research areas in engineering, medicine and the sciences. A number of researchers have been using Lonestar 5 in an "early user" mode over the last few months. Researchers from UT System institutions and contributing partners wishing to request access to Lonestar 5 should do so via the TACC User Portal.
News Article | February 4, 2016
« New Flyer completes 1,150 mile in-service demonstration of the Xcelsior battery-electric bus for Miami-Dade Transit | Main | Change in magnesium alloy microstructure changes corrosion resistance and improves potential for transportation applications » Adsorbed Natural Gas Products (ANGP) announced an exclusive licensing agreement with United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) allowing ANGP to use UTRC’s patent-pending technology—developed with support from DOE’s ARPA-E (earlier post)—to develop and produce the first commercially viable conformable adsorbent-based low pressure natural gas (ANG) storage tank for motor vehicles. The license applies to non-metal composite tanks containing activated carbon adsorbents at operating pressures of up to 1,000 psi. Natural gas vehicle adoption has been hampered in part by the bulky cylindrical tanks required to house the pressurized fuel; the tanks add weight and reduce storage space in a passenger car or light-duty truck. ANGP has addressed this barrier by using an adsorbent material (activated carbon) capable of storing large quantities of gas at a far lower pressure ( The lower pressure makes natural gas filling stations more cost-effective because the amount of compression required is much less than that required for conventional CNG tanks. This translates into smaller pumping equipment, resulting in lower capital and operating costs. When combined with UTRC’s innovative conformable tank design, the resultant product allows us to reduce weight, increase storage space, and improve fuel efficiency. UTRC began developing its conformable CNG tank in 2012 under the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy (MOVE) program. The UTRC conformable modular storage tank can integrate into the tight spaces in the undercarriage of natural gas-powered vehicles. The modular natural gas storage units can be assembled to form a wide range of shapes and fit a wide range of undercarriages. UTRC’s modular tank could substantially improve upon the conformability level of existing technologies at a cost of approximately $1,500, considerably less than today’s tanks. UTRC’s objective under this program was to develop a conformable modular tank concept based on topology-optimized structures, and state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing technologies. We are eager to transition our successful technology advancements under the MOVE program into a commercial product and anticipate working closely with ANGP in 2016 and beyond as it builds the market for ANG vehicles. UTRC’s conformable tank provides 30% more storage capacity than multiple cylinders occupying the same envelope, said Bonelli. The design is optimal for lower pressure ANG applications, enabling thinner tank walls and resulting lower material costs. As the innovation hub of United Technologies Corp. (UTC), United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) supports the development of new technologies and capabilities across the company and collaborates with external research organizations, universities and government agencies globally to push the boundaries of science and technology. UTRC is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut, with additional operations at its affiliate in Berkeley, California. UTRC subsidiaries also carry out research and development work in Shanghai, China; Rome, Italy; and Cork, Ireland. UTC, based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries.
News Article | February 4, 2016
« ANGP gets exclusive license to UTRC technology for conformable natural gas vehicle storage tanks | Main | Study finds nanoparticle NMC material used in Li-ion batteries harms key soil bacterium » Changing the microstructure in magnesium alloys improves their corrosion resistance, and so improves the possibilities for the transport sector to use these materials to decrease the weight of vehicles, according to work done by Mohsen Esmaily, researcher in Atmospheric Corrosion at Chalmers University in Sweden. Magnesium is the lightest construction metal, but also the most reactive. This means that it is very sensitive to corrosion—i.e. it very easily reacts with its surroundings and rusts. This makes it difficult to use magnesium in corrosive environments, meaning that the potential to use magnesium in cars to make them lighter is limited. For more than a hundred years, magnesium producers have worked hard to improve the corrosion characteristics by developing new, more corrosion-resistant alloys, and also by developing various coatings. Mohsen Esmaily’s research shows a completely new way to improve the corrosion resistance of the alloys by manipulating the microstructure of the material, thereby increasing possibilities to lower the weight of vehicles. Studying magnesium casts produced through a casting method called rheocasting, Esmaily discovered that the corrosion resistance of magnesium alloys produced this way was up to four times better than the same material when produced by conventional high pressure die casting. This new knowledge is based on a combination of unique exposure methods and a number of advanced analytical methods. Rheocasting of magnesium alloys was developed at Jönköping University (Sweden) in order to increase the strength of the material. Esmaily’s research shows that the technique also gives the alloys surprisingly good ability to withstand corrosion. With his research he shows the connection between the microstructure of the alloy and its corrosion resistance. Now that the connection has been mapped, new possibilities to optimize the microstructure for even better corrosion resistance have opened up.
News Article | March 4, 2016
« UTRC and ANGP unveil first low-pressure conformable natural gas tank design | Main | McLaren investing £1B in R&D over new 6-year plan; 50% of cars to feature hybrid tech by 2022 » Toho Tenax Europe GmbH (TTE), the German subsidiary of Toho Tenax, itself the core company of the Teijin Group’s carbon fibers and composites business, has developed an integrated production system for carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) that enables manufactured composite parts to be optimized for required shapes and properties. The new production system uses a high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP-RTM) process and TTE’s own one-step carbon fiber to part technology, called Part via Preform (PvP), which it developed in 2014. One European automaker has already adopted this system and other projects are under way in the automotive industry. Research and development for the mass production of visually appealing Class-A surface parts also has been launched. The system is based on automated PvP technology utilizing TENAX Binder Yarn, which combines carbon fiber with binder resin placed on the preform. Preforms can be manufactured without requiring intermediate steps. The yarn can be processed by random fiber placement for isotropic behavior, or by aligned uni-directional fiber placement in areas where higher mechanical performance is required. Both technologies—random and aligned uni-directional fiber placement—can be combined to meet cost and mechanical needs in any desired geometry. Also, PvP considerably reduces carbon-fiber waste compared to conventional preform production. The result is an automated, cost-effective solution for optimized manufacturing of CFRP parts tailored to the specific customer needs. The newly introduced system allows integrated production, from carbon fiber to CFRP part. The integration of PvP and HP-RTM enables the production of breakthrough composite parts very competitive to metallic materials, which can be used for large scale production. The Teijin Group, which also developed Sereebo—the world’s first carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP)—in 2013, is now exploring opportunities to apply its CFRP lineup for mass production. CFRP solutions will be expanded for specific mechanical needs and the mass production of both thermoset and thermoplastic CFRPs. As efforts continue to reduce the weights of automobiles, it is vital that tenacity and stiffness be maintained at safe levels when reducing a vehicle’s weight. Existing metallic materials lose tenacity after thinning. Structural designing, such as U-shaping using high-tensile steel plate, is commonly used to achieve weight reduction and stiffness, but metallic materials with added tenacity are not suitable for press molding due to their low elasticity. Reducing joint positions through large-scale integral molding is one method for reducing weight, but greater levels of formability, tenacity and stiffness are still required. CFRP generally is molded by a curing process using a pressure chamber, called an autoclave. Prepreg, or carbon fiber sheet pre-impregnated with matrix resin, is layered in the mold, covered by baggings, vacuumed and then pressurized at high temperature. Autoclaved CFRPs have high strength, but they necessitate a long manufacturing cycle. Preformed RTM processing is common, but it incurs intermediate steps, higher production costs and requires chopped fiber placement on the form, which produces large amounts of carbon fiber waste. In addition, it is not suitable for forming complicated or thick shapes.