Africa, Canada, India, Ireland, Japan, Norway

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Africa Researchers Plan Coal-to-Liquids Plant in China
Researchers from South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand’s Center of Material and Process Synthesis are planning to build a pilot coal-to-liquids project in the Shaanxi province in China. The $10.5-million pilot project is expected to be 30 percent more efficient than current technology and will consist of seven reactors. The project is being funded by the Golden Nest Technology Group. Contact:

Manitoba Offers Rebate for Hybrid Buyers
The Manitoba, Canada, government has unveiled a rebate program for energy-efficient cars. Energy Minister Jim Rondeau said anyone who registers a gas-electric hybrid vehicle in Manitoba before November 15, 2008, will get a $2,000 rebate check from the government. Manitoba is the first Canadian province to offer a cash rebate for hybrid buyers.

Canadians Favor Higher Fuel Economy Standards
Globe and Mail, a Strategic Counsel survey for Canada, found that higher fuel-efficiency standards and forcing consumers and industry to switch to alternative fuels rank No. 1 and 2 in terms of what Canadians are most likely to support to counter global warming. The survey also found that 62 percent of those polled said Canadians would be willing to have the economy grow at a “significantly slower rate” to reduce global warming. Only 31 percent voiced support for charging significantly higher prices for gasoline and home heating fuel, but 72 percent were willing to pay more for a fuel-efficient car.

Hydro-Quebec To Develop Electric Car
Energy developer Hydro-Quebec has announced plans for an electric vehicle as part of its “vision for a greener future.” “If 25 percent of the vehicles in Quebec were electric, it would prevent more than three million metric tons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere,” Hydro-Quebec President Thierry Vandal recently said. Mass production of that car is “years down the road,” Vandal said.

Canadian Transit Commission Wants Hybrid Buses
The Transit Commission in St. Catharine’s, Canada, has asked the City Council to consider the purchase of five diesel-electric hybrid buses. The commission has proposed a twenty-five cent increase in its basic transportation fare to help pay for the buses that cost $628,000 each, about $200,000 more than the diesel-powered buses the city currently operates. The new buses would emit 40 percent less nitrous oxide and 90 percent less particulate matter than the current buses, according to the commission.

Indian Bus Fleet Switching to Ethanol-Diesel Blend
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation of Karnataka, India, is switching 2,500 buses of its 5,162 fleet to O2Diesel, an ethanol-diesel blend comprising 7.7 percent ethanol. The decision came after a successful trial of the fuel. The remaining 2,662 buses of the fleet will be switched by the fourth quarter of 2007. This will represent the single largest ethanol-diesel fleet in the world. Contact:

Former Biofuels Corporation CEO Raising Money for Biobutanol Plant in Ireland
John Nichols, the co-founder and former chief executive of UK-based Biofuels Corporation, is trying to raise $156 million to design and to build a biobutanol plant in the south of Ireland. In 2006, BP and DuPont created a partnership to produce biobutanol from beet sugar. The resulting fuel is to be introduced in the UK this year as a gasoline bio-component. Nicholas has appointed MacArthur & Co, a boutique merchant bank, to run the fundraising process.

Subaru Electric Vehicle Earns Recognition in Japan
Japanese Minister of the Environment Masatoshi Wakabayashi recently recognized Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries for its electric vehicles. The company received the Minister’s 2006 Commendation for Global Warming Prevention Activity. According to the minister, Fuji earned the commendation for developing the Subaru R1e electric vehicle. The car has a range of 80 kilometers, can be recharged in 15 minutes, and has a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour.

Japanese Technology Development Organization Announces Battery Project
Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization recently held a workshop called Technology Development of High-Performance Storage System for Next-Generation Vehicles and unveiled a development project for a high-performance rechargeable battery. The new battery project has a budget of about $82 billion over the next five years, the organization said. The battery is expected to be used in plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles that can be recharged from home outlets.

Toyota, Hino and Nippon Oil Develop New Renewable Diesel
Toyota Motor Corporation, Hino Motors, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and Nippon Oil Corporation started a joint project aimed at commercializing what they are calling bio-hydrofined diesel. Hydrofined diesel is a second-generation renewable diesel fuel produced by hydrogenating vegetable oil feedstock. Nippon Oil and Toyota have worked jointly on the development of this technology since 2005. The fuel is free of aromatics and sulfur. It also has a higher calorific value than biodiesel and conventional petroleum diesel.

Think Nordic Announces Electric Car Plan
Think Nordic of Norway plans to produce a line of all-electric sedans, according to the company. The company produced its first car last week and will begin mass-producing the vehicle this summer, said Think Nordic President Jan-Olaf Willums. Think Nordic will sell the cars in Norway and England in the fall of 2007, and in the United States in 2008, according to Willums.

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