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Design News, March 2013

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GreenScene Environmental news engineers can use \\\ By Design News Staff EV Battery Market Could Hinge on Plug-In Hybrid Success Growing demand for plug-in hybrids could mean good news for electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturers over the next eight years, possibly enabling them to avert a battery oversupply, according to a study by Pike Research. "We're seeing the emergence of the plug-in hybrid," David Alexander, author of the study "Electric Vehicles Batteries," said. "They have smaller battery packs, which make electric vehicles more affordable. So it's possible that they could absorb the (lithium-ion battery) excess over the next few years." The study projects a $22 billion worldwide market for lithiumion EV batteries by 2020. Because battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids use batteries that are many times larger than those in conventional hybrids (like the Prius), the market will depend heavily on the success of BEVs and other plug-in vehicles. Vehicles such as Toyota's Prius PHV could be critical to the success of the lithium-ion EV battery market. Update on Non-Food Jet Biofuel Automated Process for Wind Turbine Rotor Blades Efforts to produce high-performance, unblended biofuels that can be used as drop-in replacements for petroleum-based jet fuel have taken a major step forward. The National Research Council (NRC) of Canada reported that the 100-percent non-food biofuel used in its historic Oct. 29 test flight displayed reduced emissions compared to conventional jet fuel. Results of additional tests showed that the unblended biofuel used on that flight in the Falcon 20 twin-engine commercial jet is just as efficient as the regular petroleum version. Remember, that's with an unmodified engine. That flight was the first in which a civil jet flew on 100-percent biofuel that meets the performance specifications of petroleum jet fuel. Before then, biofuel used in flights consisted of blends with at least 50-percent petroleum-based fuel. The Falcon 20 is an NRC test aircraft. For the biofuel test flight, the Falcon 20 NRC test aircraft flew at 30,000 feet, a typical altitude for commercial aircraft. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) have launched a project to automate the process of manufacturing rotor blades wind turbines in an effort to reduce production costs by more than 10 percent. Using an $8 million euro (about $11 million US) investment from German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Reactor Safety, scientists at the German research facility will work alongside research partners to analyze the current, mainly manual process of producing wind-turbine blades through the BladeMaker project to assess the potential for automation. Because the production of the rotor is about 25 percent of the entire production of a wind turbine, researchers think that by cutting the cost of this process, they can significantly cut the entire production cost of turbines themselves. Engineers said a 10 percent reduction in the manufacturing cost represents about 10,000 euros (about $13,000 US) in savings per blade. GREEN GREEN UPDATES UPDATES Share your sustainable engineering news with Senior Technical Editor Chuck Murray at charles.murray@ubm.com. Design News | MARCH 2013 | www.d esign n ews.com –28–

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