What to Consider Review of Geothermal HVAC Pros and Cons

02 Jul

Geothermal Heating and Cooling – How it Works

Geothermal heating and cooling uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth below the ground to heat and cool. Geothermal systems use 40% to 70% less energy than conventional systems. While conventional furnaces and boilers burn a fuel to generate heat (traditional HVAC systems), geothermal heat pumps (GHP) very efficiently use electricity to transfer heat from the earth into buildings; your home or a commercial building. In fact, the most efficient fuel-burning heater can reach efficiencies around 95%. That sounds great but consider a geothermal heat pump that transfers up to 4 units of heat for every unit of electricity needed to power the system. What this means in comparison is geothermal energy results in over 400% efficiency.

A geothermal heat pump transfers heat stored in the earth (soil, surface water or ground water) into a building during the winter, and transfers it out of the building and back into the ground during the summer. In other words, the ground acts as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. The technology is used for space heating, cooling, and hot water.

PROS of Geothermal

The US Environmental Protection Agency considers geothermal the cleanest and most energy efficient heating and cooling (HVAC) system for any home.

Geothermal heat pumps cost significantly less to operate than traditional HVAC systems; you benefit from lower monthly utility bills. And, geothermal systems have fewer moving parts which tends to lower maintenance costs compared to traditional HVAC systems. In addition, GHPs equipped with a device called a “desuperheater” can heat the water in your home. During the summer heat that is taken from the house is used to heat the household water (hot water supply). In the winter, water heating costs are reduced by about half.

Tax credits are available to home owners that install geothermal systems (until 2016 currently). And, tax credits are dollar for dollar reductions in the amount you owe in taxes – every dollar credited is one dollar less you pay in taxes. Tax credits are far better than tax deductions which only reduce your taxable income. The IRS energy tax credit program is called the“Credit for Residential Energy Efficient Property” and the purpose of the program is to encourage people to build green.

Geothermal Tax Credit Summary:

  • 30% of cost with no upper limit for ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps
  • Expires: December 31, 2016
  • Details: Existing homes and new construction qualifies. Both principal residences and second homes qualify. However, rental properties DO NOT qualify for geothermal tax credits.
  • More information on Energy Star and Geothermal Tax Credits
  • Some restrictions may apply and it is recommended that you consult your accountant and/or the specific IRS code for all of the details.

NOTE: All geothermal heat pump components certified by the manufacturer in the “Manufacturer Certification Statement” will be covered by the 30% tax credit according to the IRS (see IRS code for details), as well as the installation costs associated with these components. There may be some add-on components that will not be covered such as an emergency back up system and the ducts. According to certain IRS guidance, these components are not directly related to the efficiency of the covered geothermal heat pump property.

IRS Guidance: Notice 2009-41 Section 3. (1)(e) Qualified geothermal heat pump property expenditures are expenditures for equipment which uses the ground or ground water as a thermal energy source to heat the dwelling unit or as a thermal energy sink to cool the dwelling unit, meets the requirements of the Energy Star program which are in effect at the time that the expenditure for such equipment is actually made (even if under § 25D(e)(8) the expenditure is deemed made at a later time for purposes of determining the taxable year for which a taxpayer may claim the credit), and is installed on or in connection with a qualifying dwelling unit. (SOURCE: Energy Star: What parts of a geothermal heat pump are covered by the tax credit?)

CONS and Disadvantages of Geothermal Systems

The initial capital cost for geothermal systems is higher, often 2x or more higher. The upfront cost is the main disadvantage and it might take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to recover your initial investment through reduced utility expenses. Another possible disadvantage might be the availability of a qualified and experienced contractor in your area. It is typically easy to obtain references for contractors that are experienced with the installation of traditional HVAC systems but you might find it more difficult to obtain references for geothermal contractors.

The installation of the equipment in the ground requires heavy equipment (backhoe for horizontal loops or drilling equipment for well installation). In most cases, there is a cost associated with landscaping. For example, horizontal loops require up to 250-300 feet of trench per ton; a 3,000 sq. ft. home might require a 4-5 ton geothermal heat pump. The loop and trench design is highly dependent on your situation; the size of your yard, accessibility, etc. You may incur the expense of removing a fence or other landscaping. Also, the yard will almost always require landscaping after digging the trenches and/or installing vertical wells. Heavy equipment does tear up a yard.

Most GHP require the system to be “running” to produce hot water. However, newer systems are being designed that will produce hot water without the main system running. Read about ClimateMaster’s “Q-Mode” and the Trilogy 40 (see below) – a new development in technology that allows hot water to be produced without the system running. Also, WaterFurnace’s 7 Series (41 EER) run very efficiently with variable speed compressors. Little energy is used while running the system in a powered-down state that allows for hot water production (not as much of an issue with the latest and greatest GHP systems introduced this year, 2012).

GEOTHERMAL REVIEWS

Evaluating Geothermal Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps are rated in terms of Coefficient of Performance (COP) for the winter. The higher the COP, the higher the efficiency. Where gas furnaces have COP values in the 0.78 to 0.94 range, ground source heat pumps have COP values in the 3.0 to 5.0 range.

When comparing geothermal heat pumps, first determine the EER; the EER is the ratio of effective cooling (heat removed) to the energy used at maximal load. EER is the standard measure of cooling effectiveness for geothermal heat pumps. One way to compare both the COP and EER is to review the list of Energy Star qualified GHPs. Until recently (July 2012), the highest EER rating currently available was 30; note that many Energy Star qualified heat pumps have EERs as low as 17.

CLIMATEMASTER
ClimateMaster facilities operate in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the GHP units are manufactured in the United States. They offer a complete line of geothremal heating and cooling systems. For example, the TRANQUILITY 30 DIGITAL series units are two stage with a variable speed fan and a variable speed loop circulation pump for added energy savings. They also feature advanced “iGate” controls, a stainless steel drain pan, and coated air coils for durability. The THW series water to water units are higher temperature units for hydronic systems and provide higher water temperatures for improved heating. The TMW models are for normal temperatures. All of the units are backed by a warranty. (visit the products page at climatemaster.com for more info)

ClimateMaster recently announced that their new Trilogy 40 geothermal heat pump (GHP) had been certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 EER under ground loop conditions.Therefore, this makes the Trilogy 40 significantly more efficient for cooling; it is now one of the most efficient commercially available GHP. Also, note that 40 EER is more than twice as efficient as some Energy Star qualified GHPs. The following is from the ClimateMaster website:

The Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has partnered with ClimateMaster — a leading manufacturer of geothermal and water-source heat pumps — to develop an appliance that could provide space conditioning and all domestic hot water needs while consuming at least 50% less energy than conventional minimum efficiency equipment.

The partnership between the Department and ClimateMaster began in 2008 in an effort to develop a more efficient ground-source integrated heat pump. Based on field tests and analysis, the new Trilogy 40 Q-Mode™ could save about 60% of annual energy use and cost for space conditioning and water heating in residential applications compared to new minimum efficiency conventional systems. Also, it’s about 30% more efficient than any other available ground-source heat pump [Editor’s note: The statement that it is “30% more efficient that any other availabe” was true when the statement was published. However, Waterfurance recently released the “Series 7” GHPs (41 EER) which are significantly more efficient than their Series 5.

ClimateMaster Press Release: Oklahoma City, OK March 19, 2012 – ClimateMaster announced an efficiency breakthrough with introduction of the Trilogy™ 40 series, the first geothermal heat pumps ever certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 EER at ground-loop (GLHP) conditions.

The revolutionary new Trilogy™ 40 utilizes variable speed technology to provide an extremely wide range of heating and cooling capacities, with the ability to perfectly match loads to as low as 30% of maximum. In addition, patent-pending Q-Mode™ technology produces year-round domestic hot water on demand, even when space conditioning is not required.

The Trilogy 40 Q-Mode series is the outcome of a five year collaboration between ClimateMaster and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Program. Based on field tests and analysis by ORNL, the Trilogy 40 Q-Mode can save 55–65% of annual energy use and cost for space conditioning and water heating in residential applications versus new minimum efficiency (SEER 13) conventional systems and 30–35% versus current state-of-the-art two-stage geothermal heat pumps. (Read the full press release from ClimateMaster here)

WATERFURNACE
WaterFurance offers a wide variety of geothermal units using the latest technologies. They are backed by one of the best standard warranties in the industry according to a few website geothermal forums. (visit the product page at www.waterfurnace.com for more info)

The WaterFurnace 7 Series is a new level of innovation and performance with all new advanced controls mated with variable speed compressor technology. Featuring the highest efficiencies (Over 40 EER and 5.3 COP ISO/AHRI 13256-1 GLHP) available in AHRI, the 7 Series is available in 3 variable speed capacity sizes (3 to 5 ton) with Danfoss Variable Speed Compressors.

Company Description: WaterFurnace Renewable Energy, Inc. specializes in the design, manufacture and distribution of geothermal and water-source systems. It’s the United States subsidiary companies are WaterFurnace International, Inc. (WaterFurnace) and LoopMaster International, Inc. (LoopMaster). In December 2010, it incorporated two Australian subsidiaries: WaterFurnace International Asia Pacific Pty. Ltd. (WaterFurnace Asia Pacific) and Hyper WFI Pty. Ltd. (Hyper WFI). WaterFurnace designs, manufactures and distributes geothermal water source heating and cooling systems for residential, commercial and institutional buildings. LoopMaster installs geothermal loops for residential applications, does commercial conductivity testing and provides design and installation assistance. Hyper WFI designs, develops and builds devices that limit the inrush current, which electric motors draw upon start up. On January 21, 2011, the Company acquired inventory and fixed assets from Binary Engineering Pty. Ltd. (SOURCE: WaterFurance)

Additional Resources

ENERGY STAR Guide to Energy Efficient Cooling and Heating (PDF)

Dept. of Energy Report – Assessment of Hybrid Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

Forbes article: Geothermal Heat Pumps: Waterfurnace verses ClimateMaster

Forbes article: Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Next Generation

Energy Star: COP and EER table for review – List of Energy Star Qualified GHPs

RECOMMENDED READING: The Elephant in the Room, HVAC for High Performance Homes, 2009 RESNET Conference, David Butler – Optimal Building Systems

In new homes, poor HVAC design and installation practice accounts for more energy waste than any other single factor. Unfortunately, when it comes to HVAC, it’s easier to sell high efficiency boxes than high efficiency systems, a distinction invariably lost in a competitive marketplace. As a result, HVAC remains the weakest link in most high performance homes.

As homes have become more efficient, oversized HVAC equipment has emerged as one of the more serious problems in building science. Although there’s general awareness of this issue among industry practitioners, few understand the full extent of the problem or its consequences.

There are numerous reasons why oversizing is a bad idea:

  • Oversized equipment costs more and requires larger electrical circuits
  • Oversized compressors have a shorter life expectancy
  • Excess capacity compromises comfort (larger temperature swings)
  • Excess cooling capacity compromises moisture removal, a big deal in humid areas
  • Larger compressors and blowers produce more noise
  • Excess capacity compromises indoor air quality (less run time = less filtration)
  • Excess cooling capacity increases the potential for structural damage from moisture
  • Oversized equipment is less efficient, thus increases operating costs

Said differently, right-sized HVAC systems cost less up front, last longer, provide better comfort, improve moisture removal, run quieter, provide better filtration, and cost less to operate. (SOURCE: Optimal Building Systems)

Geothermal Heat Pumps Definitions

GHPs are also known by a variety of other names: geoexchange heat pumps, groundcoupled heat pumps, earth-coupled heat pumps, ground-source systems, ground-water source heat pumps, well water heat pumps, solar energy heat pumps, and a few other variations. Some names are used to describe more accurately the specific application but most are the result of marketing efforts and the need to associate (or disassociate) the heat pump systems from other systems.

Geothermal Heat Pumps – Common Abbreviations

  • cfm = airflow, cubic feet/minute
  • EWT = entering water temperature, Fahrenheit
  • gpm = water flow in gallons/minute
  • WPD = water pressure drop, psi and feet of water
  • EAT = entering air temperature, Fahrenheit (dry bulb/wet bulb)
  • HC = air heating capacity, MBtu/h
  • TC = total cooling capacity, MBtu/h
  • SC = sensible cooling capacity, MBtu/h
  • kW = total power unit input, kilowatts
  • HR = total heat of rejection, MBtu/h
  • HE = total heat of extraction, MBtu/h
  • HWC = hot water generator capacity, MBtu/h
  • EER = Energy Efficient Ratio
  • = Btu output/Watt input
  • COP = Coefficient of Performance
  • = Btu output/Btu input
  • LWT = leaving water temperature, °F
  • LAT = leaving air temperature, °F
  • TH = total heating capacity, MBtu/h
  • LC = latent cooling capacity, MBtu/h
  • S/T = sensible to total cooling ratio

Energy and Environment Links

car2go First All-Electric Carsharing Fleet

19 Jul

OilObit.com News/Source: Daimler AG: SAN DIEGO – car2go N. A. LLC, a subsidiary of Daimler North America Corporation, announced that San Diego will be the first North American city to have a 100-percent electric vehicle (EV) carsharing program. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Nicholas Cole, President and CEO of car2go N. A. LLC, and Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, made the official announcement at a news conference at the El Cortez this morning.

“We’re proud that car2go has chosen to launch the first North American all-electric carsharing service in San Diego,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “car2go’s launch here further supports our efforts to make San Diego the nation’s electric vehicle capital.”

The all-electric car2go program in San Diego is going to start operations before the end of 2011 with 300 smart fortwo electric drive vehicles. Read more

Hybird Car That Pays the Owner Back

05 Sep

The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) studied the fuel costs of 16 hybrids over five years and they compared the costs against their purchase price and financing fees. In a study released in late July, only one of the 16 hybrids cost less to buy and run than its gasoline counterpart. Can you guess which one? It probably not the one you would expect.

Here’s an excerpt of the BCAA research study and a link to the full article for those interested:

Twelve years after Honda introduced the first gas-electric hybrid vehicle into the mass North American market, car buyers have yet to see the kinds of price reductions that were predicted to occur as hybrids gained popularity and market share. Even with technological advancements, and increased sales and model selection, consumers continue to pay a premium to purchase a hybrid. And, with the introduction of the HST and the corresponding elimination of the provincial sales tax rebate on hybrid vehicles, most hybrid models continue to cost more to own and operate than their conventional gas-powered counterparts.

According to British Columbia Automobile Association’s (BCAA) annual Hybrid Cost and Savings analysis conducted in July, several models come close to their conventional cousins when costs are compared over five years, but only one – the $105,000 Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan—is less expensive to own and operate compared to its conventional equivalent. (Source: BCAA – Read the full BCAA article here)

SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS:

  • The $105,000 Mercedes S400 Hybrid sedan is the only model less expensive to own and operate compared to its corresponding conventional model. The S400 is approximately $5,000 less to own and operate than the closest conventional model, the Mercedes S450.
  • The hybrids that come closest in cost to their conventional counterparts in purchase and operating costs are all the Toyota models (Prius, Camry and Highlander Hybrid), all the Honda models (Insight and Civic Hybrid) and the Lexus HS250h.
  • Over a five year period, the hybrids that are the least costly to own and operate are the Honda Insight ($38,326), Toyota Prius ($40,324), and Honda Civic Hybrid ($42,664).
  • Hybrids with the greatest greenhouse gas (GHG) emission advantage over their gas-powered equivalents are:
      Toyota Prius (55% fewer GHG emissions)
      Ford Fusion Hybrid (38% fewer GHG emissions)
      Honda Civic Hybrid (37% fewer GHG emissions)
  • The hybrids with the lowest overall GHG emissions (kg of carbon per year) are:
      Toyota Prius (1748 kg/yr)
      Honda Civic Hybrid (2070 kg/yr)
      Honda Insight (2162 kg/yr)
      Ford Fusion Hybrid (2352 kg/yr)

MERCEDES-BENZ AMG HYBRID?
No, not kidding. Visit AMG Market | Mercedes-Benz Enthusiasts for more info on AMG trends.

Car Allowance Rebate System – smart fortwo $99 Per Month

06 Jul

imageOil Obit/PR News/smart fortwo/Bloomfield Hills, MI: – smart USA applauds President Obama’s signing of the Car  Allowance Rebate System (CARS) Bill, also known as “Cash for Clunkers”. In fact, smart is the “Number 1” U.S. brand in fuel efficiency and is the only car company that already exceeds the new fuel efficiency requirement, recently set by the Obama administration, which mandates an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

The Bill is intended to replace older, less fuel efficient vehicles with those that are more environmentally responsible. The smart fortwo is the vehicle that truly meets the intent of the CARS program. It is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid vehicle offered in the United States delivering 41 MPG on the highway. The smart fortwo is also certified as an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) by the California Air Resources Board, and is an Environmental Protection Agency “SmartWay” vehicle which recognizes its low greenhouse gas and air pollutant scores.

Under the CARS program guidelines, the smart fortwo will qualify for the highest voucher level of $4,500 upon the trade in of an eligible vehicle. When this voucher amount is applied to the purchase of a new smart fortwo, smart USA will be offering payments as low as $99 per month for qualified customers*. The program is expected to launch later this summer when the Federal government officially begins allowing consumers to take advantage of the trade-in voucher. However, interested consumers can learn more about the smart USA $99 per month offer by visiting www.smartusa.com. smart USA has set aside a limited number of vehicles for immediate delivery with the official launch of the CARS program.

“The smart fortwo is the ideal vehicle for the environmental benefits that the “Cash For Clunkers” program was originally designed to support. As a society, now is the time to live smart by consuming less and conserving more, and that’s exactly what buyers of the smart fortwo will achieve for a very low monthly payment and very low cost of ownership. As the Number 1 brand in fuel efficiency we are excited to add to the growing number of satisfied fortwo owners throughout the United States. Although only on sale for just over a year in the U.S., there are already 32,000 smart fortwo’s on the roads of America joining over 1 million smart fortwo owners throughout the rest of world who are proving everyday that conserving can also be a whole lot of fun”, said Dave Schembri, President of smart USA.

Additional smart fortwo Info

The smart fortwo is one of the most economical cars on the world’s roads today. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Fuel Economy Guide, the 2009 smart fortwo is the most fuel efficient, non-hybrid vehicle in the United States, ranking fifth overall in fuel efficiency behind four hybrid models. It is also the most fuel efficient two-seater in the United States. A state-of-the-art, compact, three-cylinder gasoline engine sits at the rear of the new smart fortwo. The engine capacity is 61 cubic inches, the output is 70 hp (52 kW).

The 2009 smart fortwo achieves an average of 41 miles per gallon on the highway according to 2009 EPA regulations.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Designations

The 2008 smart fortwo has been classified as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) for its extremely low exhaust emissions. The vehicle’s catalytic converter is positioned close to its engine for a quick response. An electric pump blows fresh air into the exhaust port when the engine is cold to almost completely oxidize the carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) and render them harmless. A ULEV is a vehicle that has been verified by the California Air Resources Board as emitting up to 50 percent less polluting emissions than the average for new cars released in that same model year.

In addition, the EPA, through an automatic internal process, has listed the 2008 smart fortwo on its Green Vehicle Guide Web site as a “Smartway” vehicle. Smartway vehicles are good environmental performers and considered the “greenest” vehicles on the market.

The Smartway designation is given to vehicles that score a six or better on each of the Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Scores and achieve a combined score of at least thirteen.

The smart fortwo received an EPA Greenhouse Gas score of nine and an Air Pollutant score of seven (out of a possible ten). The fortwo’s combined score of sixteen well exceeds the minimum requirement of thirteen to qualify for Smartway, and the high Greenhouse Gas score puts the smart fortwo just short of hybrid status.

Low emissions, low consumption

To ensure adherence to the low emission and consumption values, even with different fuel qualities, the U.S. versions have a lower compression ratio (10.0:1 instead of 11.4:1). This measure enables the engine to run closer to optimum combustion under a high load, resulting in low emissions and low consumption coupled with maximum driving fun.

The sandwich tank made of multi-layer plastic (high density polyethylene) minimizes the fuel vapors escaping into the atmosphere. Emissions are below 0.5 grams of HC per day. The tank module has an active charcoal filter that returns fuel vapors to the tank.

The engine is mounted transversally in front of the rear axle, and is slanted at an angle of 45 degrees towards the rear. Gas exchange is controlled by four valves per combustion chamber. The variable spread angle of the camshafts is controlled electronically for better torque at low revolutions. The camshafts are driven via a maintenance-free chain.

ABOUT the smart fortwo and smart USA

smart USA Distributor LLC, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo in the United States and Puerto Rico and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. The smart fortwo is a brand of and is manufactured by Daimler AG. This technologically advanced vehicle achieves 41 mpg on the highway and is an ultra-low emissions vehicle, as certified by the State of California Air Resources Board. The vehicle is 8.8 feet long, 5.1 feet tall and 5.1 feet wide and comes equipped with many functional and safety features found in most luxury models. smart is currently sold in 36 other countries, and more than one million smart fortwos have been sold since 1998. The 2009 smart fortwo is available in five trim levels ranging in price from $11,990** to $20,990**. For more information visit the smart USA website – www.smartusa.com.

** For 2009 models. Excludes tax, title, registration, destination charge, options and other dealer fees.

smart is a registered trademark of Daimler AG.

ABOUT PENSKE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, operates 311 retail automotive franchises, representing 40 different brands and 25 collision repair centers. Penske Automotive, which sells new and previously owned vehicles, finance and insurance products and replacement parts, and offers maintenance and repair services on all brands it represents, has 160 franchises in 19 states and Puerto Rico and 151 franchises located outside the United States, primarily in the United Kingdom. Penske Automotive is also the exclusive distributor of the smart fortwo through its wholly-owned subsidiary smart USA Distributor LLC. smart USA supports over 70 smart retail centers in the United States. Penske Automotive is a member of the Fortune 200 and Russell 1000 and has more than 14,000 employees. smart and fortwo are registered trademarks of Daimler AG.

*Financing for qualified buyers available through Daimler Financial Services at authorized smart center dealerships registered in the CARS program. Not all customers will qualify. Subject to credit approval by the lender. $99 monthly payment based on customer trade-in of an eligible vehicle qualifying for the CARS $4,500 voucher level and a 36-month balloon loan with $0 cash due at signing and a final balloon payment of $6,667 at the end of the loan term and a $13,335 MSRP which includes the destination charge and excludes tax, title and dealer fees. 5.9% APR financing for 36 months at $11.32 per month, per $1,000 financed. Restrictions apply for eligibility for the $4,500 voucher under the CARS program; please see www.cars.gov for details. Offer only applies to new and unused 2009 smart fortwo model vehicles. Visit your dealer for complete details on this and other finance offers.

First Lithium-Ion Battery in Mass-Produced Passenger Car

21 Jan

Available in the Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID (Summer 2009)

Oil Obit News/Daimler PR/Stuttgart/January 15, 2009: The ADAC (German Automobile Association) has awarded its “Gelber Engel 2009” (Yellow Angel) to Daimler AG and its systems partner Continental in the Innovation & Environment category. The Stuttgart carmaker was selected for the award by Europe’s largest automobile club in recognition of its lithium-ion battery, the first such battery ever to be successfully integrated into a production passenger car. The Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID featuring this pioneering technology will have its market launch in summer 2009.

2009 Lithium ion battery Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID The Stuttgart-based company is the world’s first carmaker to successfully adapt lithium-ion technology – currently used predominantly in consumer electronics – to the heavy demands of production passenger cars. Daimler AG holds a total of 25 patents that collectively facilitated the breakthrough in this important technology. A crucial element in the company’s success was its groundbreaking integration of a lithium-ion battery into the vehicle’s air-conditioning circuit. As a result of this, the battery unit is able to operate at optimum system temperatures between 15-35°C at all times, thus achieving a long service life for use in passenger cars (10 calendar years; 600,000 charging cycles) coupled with maximum efficiency.

Dr. Thomas Weber, the member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars, accepted the “Yellow Angel” award together with Heinz-Gerhard Wente, member of the Board of Management of Continental AG responsible for Human Resources and the ContiTech Division. Daimler’s lithium-ion technology was chosen as the year’s top innovation out of 51 applications from 42 companies by a jury comprised of experts from the ADAC, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the Association of Motor Vehicle Importers (VDIK) and the German Association for Motor Trade and Repair (ZDK). The number of entries was the highest since the ADAC “Yellow Angel” awards were introduced.

World’s Lowest CO2 Emissions For Class of Vehicle

The innovative battery will be launched in the new Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID as early as summer 2009. The combination of the V6 petrol engine with the compact hybrid module will make the S 400 BlueHYBRID the world’s most economic petrol-engined luxury saloon. NEDC (combined) fuel consumption amounts to just 7.9 litres per 100 kilometers, giving world-best figures for CO2 emissions of just 186 grams per kilometer for this category of vehicle and output. In conjunction with an intelligent energy management system, the new model offers a comprehensive range of hybrid characteristics, including a user-friendly stop/start function for the petrol engine, boost effect and regenerative braking.

Compact, Efficient

The advantage of the lithium-ion battery over conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries lies principally in its compact dimensions combined with much greater efficiency. Compared with NiMH technology, lithium-ion batteries better energy density by 30 percent and power-to-weight ratio by 50 percent. Moreover, they boast a high recharge efficiency and long service life. Lithium-ion batteries also have the lowest environmental impact of all battery technologies and guarantee a sustainable and cost-effective feedstock. Their high safety levels are on a par with those of current car batteries.

As Mercedes-Benz’s system partner, the international automotive supplier Continental was responsible for software development and overall system application. A complex battery management system ensures the battery remains within an optimum operating range at all times. The electronics also monitor general functions such as temperature and energy output as compared with battery age. Safety circuits prevent the battery from overheating, for example, and a ‘cell supervising circuit’ monitors individual cells so as to guarantee optimum interaction. Production of the battery will be overseen by Continental at a new production facility in Nuremberg.

Award Winner

In its Innovation & Environment category, the ADAC recognizes outstanding initiatives, projects or innovations in the fields of road and vehicle safety and environmental protection in road transport and automotive development. Application is open to institutions, organizations, institutes and companies. A basic requirement is that all innovations have already been successfully put into practice.

In 2006 Mercedes-Benz received the prestigious award in the Innovation & Environment category for the world’s cleanest diesel technology BlueTEC, achieving the same feat again in 2007 for its Active Brake Assist for trucks.

“Yellow Angels 2009” were awarded in five categories: Car, Brand, Quality, Innovation & Environment and Personality. They are considered one of the most prestigious European car awards and looked upon by consumers as valuable yardsticks, since they take into account criteria such as price-performance ratio, practicality, economic efficiency, safety and environmental compatibility.

Mercedes-Benz finished runner-up in the Brand category for 2009, as it did with the CLK in the Quality category. In the Car category for 2009 the SLK achieved third place, following a first place with the C-Class in 2008.

Titan Wind Project to be World’s Largest, Joint Venture

22 Oct

Wind_millWind energy is a clean, renewable and cost competitive practical solution to help eliminate our dependence on foreign and domestic oil. And, today Clipper Windpower and BP Wind Energy announced a joint venture agreement for the “Titan Wind Project.” Clipper Windpower is in the business of providing advanced technologies and services for large-scale expansion of wind energy.  It is anticipated that the growth of the wind energy industry will be substantial given it is clearly a viable alternative to inefficient, costly and polluting carbon-based fuel generation.

The following is the press release for the joint venture:

CLIPPER WINDPOWER AND BP WIND ENERGY COMPLETE JOINT VENTURE AGREEMENT FOR TITAN WIND PROJECT

Master Turbine Supply Agreement Provides Opportunity To Supply Up To 2,020 Turbines

London (UK), Carpinteria, CA (USA) – October 22, 2008 Clipper Windpower Plc (“Clipper”) today announced that it has completed its 50:50 joint venture (“JV”) agreement with BP Wind Energy for the development of the Titan wind project, a 5,050 megawatt (MW) wind energy development located in South Dakota. The project is expected to be constructed in multiple phases and, when completed, will be the world’s largest wind farm.

The new venture has signed a Master Turbine Supply Agreement for the purchase of up to 2,020 Liberty wind turbines [if the project is fully built] from Clipper for the Titan wind project subject to pre-agreed conditions.

Under the terms of this agreement, in addition to wind turbine supply, Clipper would provide operations and maintenance services for the Titan Project for a period of five years.

Clipper’s Liberty 2.5 MW wind turbine is designed to minimize unscheduled maintenance events over its 20-year life through a highly efficient, patented Quantum Drive® distributed generation power train and proprietary permanent magnet generator technology. Variable speed operation is achieved in a simpler and more efficient manner than standard wind turbines. The Liberty wind turbine was tested at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and in 2007, Clipper was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy for its “outstanding contribution toward industry advancements” through an Outstanding Research and Development Partnership Award which recognizes the Liberty wind turbine for attaining “unparalleled levels of efficiency and reliability and reduced cost of energy.”

About Clipper Windpower
Clipper Windpower, www.clipperwind.com, is a rapidly growing company engaged in wind energy technology, turbine manufacturing, and wind project development. With offices in the USA (California, Colorado, Iowa and Maryland), Mexico, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and a ISO9001:2000 QMS Certified 330,000 square foot manufacturing and assembly facility located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the company designs advanced wind turbines, manufactures its 2.5-MW Liberty wind turbine and actively develops wind power generating projects in the Americas and Europe. Clipper is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Clipper’s ticker symbol is CWP.

The ordinary shares of Clipper Windpower Plc are traded on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange and are not registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Such shares may not be offered or sold to residents of the United States or to persons acting on their behalf, or to other persons who are “United States Persons” within the meaning of Regulation S as promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, unless such shares have been registered under the Securities Act or there is an available exemption from registration.

Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid Vehicle – BlueHybrid

09 Oct

The following is the MBUSA press release for the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

The Mercedes-Benz S400 bluehybrid includes a lithium-ion battery
The Mercedes-Benz S400 bluehybrid includes a lithium-ion battery

Mercedes-Benz is launching its first passenger car model equipped with a hybrid drive system in summer 2009 – the S 400 BlueHYBRID. The combination of a modified V6 petrol engine and a compact hybrid module makes the S 400 BlueHYBRID the world’s most economical luxury saloon with a spark-ignition engine. The NEDC combined fuel consumption is a mere 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres. This makes for the world’s lowest CO2 emissions in this vehicle and performance class – just 190 grams per kilometre. These exemplary figures go hand in hand with assured performance. The 3.5-litre petrol engine develops an output of 205 kW/279 hp, the electric motor generates 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 Nm. The result is a combined output of 220 kW/299 hp and a combined maximum torque of 385 newton metres. Moreover, the new S 400 BlueHYBRID is the first series-production model to be equipped with a particularly efficient lithium-ion battery specially developed for automotive use. This is another major contribution by Mercedes-Benz to the electrification of the car.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID is based on the S 350, and features an extensively modified drive train. This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery.

The compact hybrid module is a disc-shaped electric motor that also acts as a starter and generator. The system offers a double benefit, as it both helps to save fuel and increases driving enjoyment. This is partly due to the booster effect of the electric motor, as it powerfully backs up the petrol engine with a maximum additional torque of 160 newton metres during the high-consumption acceleration phase. The driver benefits from the combined action of these two units in the form of even more impressive torque characteristics and smooth, effortlessly superior acceleration.

The hybrid module also has a comfortable start/stop function, which switches the engine off when the vehicle is at a standstill – for example at traffic lights. When it’s time to move off again, the electric motor almost imperceptibly restarts the main power unit. This likewise makes a contribution to fuel economy and environmental protection: because the engine restarts first time, and practically instantly, emissions are also minimised during the starting phase.

When the vehicle is braked the electric motor acts as a generator, and is able to recover braking energy by a process known as recuperation. Working in finely tuned partnership, the electric motor supplements the braking effect of the petrol engine and the wheel brakes to deliver a smoothly progressive braking action. The recuperated energy is stored in a compact yet highly efficient lithium-ion battery in the engine compartment, and made available when required. This complex system is managed by a high-performance control unit, which is likewise located in the engine compartment.

A milestone on the road to electrification

The centrepiece of the modular, very compact and highly efficient hybrid drive system is the new high-voltage lithium-ion battery, which was specially developed for automotive use and is the first such unit worldwide to be introduced in a series-production vehicle. In this way Mercedes-Benz is making a trailblazing contribution to the electrification of the car, with the S-Class once again playing the role of the technological trendsetter.

Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and better electrical efficiency, together with more compact dimensions and a lower weight. Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, where it replaces the conventional starter battery, the generous interior space and boot capacity of the S 400 remain unchanged. The lithium-ion battery not only stores energy for the electric motor, but is also connected to the 12-Volt onboard network via the transformer to supply power to other standard consumers such as the headlamps and comfort features. The completely newly designed battery system consists of the cell block with its lithium-ion cells and the cell monitoring system, the battery management function, the high-strength housing, the cooling gel, the cooling plate, the coolant feed and the high-voltage connector.

Optimized thermal efficiency lowers the engine’s fuel consumption

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with variable valve control has been throughly re-engineered and improved. In the process the development engineers made use of the advantages offered by the Atkinson principle,where the expansion phase is longer than the compression phase. The intake valve is kept open slightly longer between the intake and compression phases, which improves the engine’s thermal efficiency while reducing the specific fuel consumption and untreated emissions. A new cylinder head, different pistons and a modified camshaft with different camshaft control increase the output by 5 kW/7 hp to 205 kW/279 hp – while reducing fuel consumption at the same time.

Especially on rural journeys and on motorways, the S 400 BlueHYBRID achieves a further efficiency improvement by moving the so-called operating point of the petrol engine to produce a lower specific fuel consumption. The extremely high start-off torque made possible by the boost effect of the electric motor gives the driver a particularly exhilarating feeling of powerful acceleration, while fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

The electric motor improves efficiency

Advances in technology improve the driving performance as well as the environment.
Advances in technology improve the driving performance as well as the environment.

The compact, disc-shaped electric motor, which is space-savingly installed in the torque converter housing between the engine and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, improves efficiency even further. This is a 3-phase AC external rotor magneto motor, which develops a peak output of 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 newton metres with an operating voltage of 120 Volts.

This compact motor also acts as a starter and generator, adopting the functions of both these conventional ancillary units.

Sophisticated interaction with the internal combustion engine makes numerous additional functions possible that positively influence the emissions and agility of the S 400 BlueHYBRID in equal measure. Moreover, this disc-shaped motor effectively dampens torsional vibrations in the drive train, thereby further reducing noise and vibrations in the interior. The result is even more ride comfort for both driver and passengers.

“Boost” effect for even more driving pleasure

The overall system offers extensive benefits: firstly by helping to save fuel, and secondly by increasing driving pleasure with the help of the “boost” effect, where the electric motor gives powerful assistance to the petrol engine with its maximum torque of 160 newton metres right from the beginning of the fuel-intensive acceleration phase. This means that the hybrid drive system of the S 400 BlueHYBRID moves off powerfully even from very low engine speeds, as the torque curve impressively confirms. The additional torque of the hybrid module also has a consistently positive effect during subsequent acceleration phases. In all driving situations, the driver therefore benefits from the interaction between the two units in the form of powerful responsiveness and muscular torque – but without an increased fuel consumption.

The S 400 BlueHYBRID accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, and reaches an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h. The S 400 BlueHYBRID betters the already very favourable NEDC fuel consumption of the conventionally powered S 350 by up to 2.2 litres per 100 kilometres. CO2 emissions are reduced by 21 percent.

The start/stop function already saves fuel when rolling to a stop

In addition the hybrid module features an extremely comfortable and efficient start/stop function, which already switches the engine off when the vehicle is rolling to a stop at less than 15 km/h, for example before stopping at traffic lights. When it’s time to move off again, the electric motor immediately and imperceptibly restarts the main engine as soon as the driver releases the brake pedal or operates the accelerator. This likewise contributes to fuel economy and environmental conservation: as the engine restarts practically instantly, emissions are also minimised during the starting phase. The vibrations and jolts that are unavoidable when starting with a conventional starter are also reduced to a minimum.

Steering and climatic comfort remain unchanged, as both the steering servo pump and the refrigerant compressor are electrically powered. Both systems therefore continue to operate even when the vehicle is at a standstill with the engine automatically switched off. The intelligent control logic is able to detect whether the driver is executing a turning or parking manoeuvre. In this case the automatic start/stop function is temporarily deactivated, so that these manoeuvres can be carried out in comfort.

Every braking action generates electric power for the battery

When the vehicle is braked, the electric motor acts as a generator and uses a process known as recuperation to convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy. This energy is stored in the compact yet highly efficient lithium-ion battery, and made available when required.

In the process the electric motor assists the engine braking effect of the internal combustion engine in two smooth, seamless stages: In stage one, on the overrun with no braking action, the electric motor acts as a generator and begins to recuperate energy. Stage two commences as soon as the driver lightly operates the brake pedal: the generator output is then increased proportionally, and perceived as heavier deceleration by the driver. Only when more brake pedal pressure is applied are the wheel brakes activated in addition to recuperation. In this way more electrical energy can be generated, while saving wear and tear on the hydraulic braking system at the same time. To make the best possible use of this double benefit, Mercedes engineers also developed a new braking system with a new brake pedal module for the S 400 BlueHYBRID.

Cleverly located control electronics

Dedicated control electronics are required to operate the 3-phase AC electric motor in the 120-Volt high-voltage DC network. The current converter is accommodated in the space formerly occupied by the starter. As the control electronics heat up as a result of electric currents measuring up to 150 amps, the system is equipped with its own, additional low-temperature cooling circuit.

Mercedes-Benz engineers have accommodated the transformer in the right front wheel arch, where it facilitates the exchange of energy between the 120-Volt high-voltage network and the 12-Volt onboard network – and also allows the option of emergency starting with jump leads if the standard battery should lose its charge. To ensure a consistently high level of electrical efficiency, the transformer is likewise cooled by a low-temperature circuit. The 12-Volt lead/acid battery is installed in the boot, and not only supplies the standard consumers but also the monitoring system for the high-voltage components with energy. Thanks to its interaction with the lithium-ion battery, it is considerably smaller in size and lighter than usual.

Tried-and-tested automatic transmission with a new configuration

Mercedes-Benz developers also adapted the well-proven 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission to suit the hybrid drive, with newly programmed software for the transmission management system. A newly developed auxiliary oil pump ensures reliable lubrication of the transmission even during phases when the internal combustion engine is switched off.

This complex system is managed by the modified high-performance engine control unit. This incorporates extensive functions, and distinguishes between operating conditions such as city traffic, rural journeys, motorway driving or slow manoeuvring.

Hybrid status is shown in the instrument cluster

The driver is also able to monitor the status of the hybrid drive system visually. The instrument cluster has a separate, centrally positioned, display showing the energy flow during boost and recuperation phases, as well as the battery charge status.

Seven-stage safety concept in addition to the Mercedes-Benz standard

As is usual at Mercedes-Benz, the development engineers gave safety aspects their very special attention. Know-how incorporated into the series-production car included long years of Daimler research experience with fuel-cell technology. The challenge lay in not only complying with all the worldwide and in-house legal crash test requirements, but also in ensuring the greatest possible safety for the electrical components. This safety system already applies in production, includes workshop personnel during servicing and maintenance, and also takes the emergency services into account when passengers need to be recovered following an accident.

Accordingly the hybrid technology of the S 400 BlueHYBRID is equipped with an extensive 7-stage safety concept.

  1. In the first stage all the wiring is colour-coded to eliminate confusion, and marked with safety instructions. This prevents assembly errors in production, and makes the regular quality checks easier to carry out.
  2. The second stage comprises comprehensive contact protection for the entire system by means of generous insulation and newly developed, dedicated connectors.
  3. As part of the third stage, the world’s first lithium-ion battery to be used in a series-production model has been given a whole package of carefully coordinated safety measures. This innovative battery is accommodated in a high-strength steel housing, and also secured in place. Bedding the battery cells in a special gel effectively dampens any jolts and knocks. There is also a blow-off vent with a rupture disc and a separate cooling circuit. An internal electronic controller continuously monitors the safety requirements and immediately signals any malfunctions.
  4. The fourth stage of the safety concept includes separation of the battery terminals, individual safety-wiring for all high-voltage components and continuous monitoring by multiple interlock switches. This means that all high-voltage components are connected by an electric loop. In the event of a malfunction the high-voltage system is automatically switched off.
  5. Active discharging of the high-voltage system as soon as the ignition is switched to “Off”, or in the event of a malfunction, is part of the fifth stage.
  6. During an accident, the high-voltage system is completely switched off within fractions of a second (stage six).
  7. As the seventh and last stage, the system is continuously monitored for short circuits.

Thanks to its compact dimensions and modular design, the additional weight of the overall system is only 75 kilograms – including the comprehensive safety systems. The superior driving experience for which a Mercedes is known is therefore ensured by this trailblazing and very versatile technology, which can be used for practically all Mercedes-Benz model series. Moreover, the payload remains unchanged at 595 kilograms.

The intelligent high-performance engine management system responds very sensitively to different driving conditions, and optimally configures the drive system for the relevant application, ensuring that both fuel consumption and emissions are kept to the lowest possible level.

  • At standstill the petrol engine is usually switched off, and therefore consumes no fuel. The electric drive of the refrigerant compressor and steering servo pump allows uninterrupted operation of the air conditioning and power steering. Comfort is in no way compromised, and is at the same high level as in all S-Class models.
  • Moving off and acceleratingaway gently remains a smooth and comfortable procedure. A driver who kicks down the accelerator for a brisk start benefits from the boost function of the electric motor, which produces considerably more dynamic acceleration.
  • At constant speedsthe intelligent electronics recognise situations such as relaxed motorway stretches, and automatically adjust the load point of the internal combustion engine to achieve a lower specific fuel consumption, thereby helping to save fuel and reduce emissions.
  • When rolling to a stopthe recuperation function is activated as soon as the drive is interrupted in any way (foot off the accelerator, engine braking). Once the vehicle speed falls below 15 km/h, the petrol engine is automatically switched off.
  • If the driver brakes using the brake pedal, the electric motor initially begins to convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electrical energy. In this case the electric motor acts as a generator, storing the kinetic energy as electrical energy in the lithium-ion battery. This process feels like a stronger engine braking effect to the driver. The conventional disc brakes at the wheels are not yet employed, saving wear and tear. The disc brakes are only activated if the driver applies heavy pressure to the brake pedal, braking the car together with the engine brake and recuperation.
  • Once the driver selects “R” (reverse) in the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission when manoeuvring, this automatically activates the Manoeuvring mode and prevents the start/stop function from switching off the engine at short, frequent intervals.
  • The advantages of the hybrid drive system really come into their own in city traffic, with frequent stops at red traffic lights. Already switching off the petrol engine as the car frequently coasts to a stop significantly lowers the fuel consumption and emissions, while the long recuperation phases increase the battery charge. The electric motor ensures particularly comfortable and rapid restarting when the start/stop function is active.
  • On rural roadsthere are frequent changes between boost, constant speed and recuperation phases. Depending on the nature of the route, large quantities of recuperation energy are available to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The more braking and acceleration phases there are, the better: uphill and downhill gradients, as well as winding, dynamic stretches, make for the largest savings.
  • The hybrid effect is inherently less important on motorways, however thanks to specific modifications to the V6 petrol engine and the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, the driver is also able to achieve significant fuel savings and correspondingly lower emissions on fast road stretches like these.

The S 400 BlueHYBRID is produced at the Sindelfingen plant, together with the other S-Class models. The petrol engine, 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission and electric motor are first put together to form a hybrid module, then delivered to the production line as a unit. The market launch in western Europe is planned for June 2009; China is expected to follow in August 2009 and the USA in September 2009.

Modular technologies for the environmentally friendly future of the premium car

The new S 400 BlueHYBRID exemplifies the strategy of Mercedes-Benz, whose declared aim is to offer the brand’s customers economical and environmentally compatible premium cars – without compromising in terms of typical brand attributes such as safety, comfort and a superior driving experience.

Major areas of development focus include modular drive technologies, which are used on a stand-alone basis or in combination depending on the vehicle class, operating profile and customer requirements – Mercedes-Benz has already described how this applies to the product portfolio in its “Road to the Future”. In this context Mercedes-Benz also provides an outlook on the future of the internal combustion engine, with the innovative DIESOTTO engine in the F 700 research car.

Dedicated solutions for different requirements

The requirements for the cars of the future are complex and multi-facetted. This is because the world population, and therefore the demand for mobility, are set to increase drastically over the next few decades. At the same time the world’s natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce and therefore more and more expensive for both consumers and car manufacturers. Depending on the world region, there are also sometimes very different legal requirements with respect to the environmental compatibility of vehicles. Examples include the environmental zones already established in many European cities, or the legally prescribed quotas for emission-free vehicles in California.

These developments are already having a noticeable effect on customer behaviour. In addition to economic factors – above all increasing fuel prices – the environmental compatibility of a car is becoming increasingly important as a buying criterion. What is more, the day-to-day driving requirements of customers are becoming more and more individual and distinctive: drivers covering long rural distances have different requirements from those who mainly or even exclusively drive in densely populated urban areas.

In the view of Mercedes-Benz, there is therefore no single technology that will provide the ideal solution for sustainable mobility in the future. Instead the company offers versatile, tailor-made solutions to meet these very varied requirements. The individual technologies deliver their benefits in terms of optimal fuel consumption and emissions in the specific areas of application concerned. The approach taken by Mercedes-Benz envisages vehicle concepts with modular drive technologies, which ensure that customer benefits and environmental compatibility are always jointly emphasised.

Roadmap for sustainable mobility

The corporate development strategy is aimed at safeguarding the leading position in the premium segment on a lasting basis. To this end three areas of emphasis were defined in the roadmap for sustained mobility:

  • Vehicle optimisation with the latest internal combustion engine technology – for example by downsizing, high-pressure charging, direct injection and the environmentally friendly diesel technology BlueTEC – as well as specific vehicle improvements in the areas of aerodynamics, lightweight construction and energy management (BlueEFFICIENCY), for example.
  • Further efficiency improvements by means of need-related hybridisation in various development stages – from the start/stop function to the two-mode hybrid operating under electric power alone.
  • Locally emission-free driving with fuel-cell and battery-powered vehicles.

The company is also actively involved in the development of clean and alternative fuels that do not compete with the production of foodstuffs – particularly in SunDiesel, which is obtained from plant waste.

An intelligent mix of drive systems as a solution for the mobility of the future

Mercedes-Benz has already brought numerous answers to the challenges of tomorrow to market. The most recent examples are the BlueEFFICIENCY models in the A-Class, B-Class and C-Class, the natural-gas-powered B 170 NGT and the powerful yet economical and clean BlueTEC SUVs, which were first introduced into the US market this year. A mix of modular drive systems, from the latest internal combustion engines with BlueTEC or direct injection, with or without hybridisation, right up to locally emission-free battery and fuel-cell-powered vehicles, provides all the conditions that will enable Mercedes-Benz to offer its customers need-related mobility to the brand’s customary high standard into the long-term future.

Post Debate T. Boone Pickens Rally

07 Oct

Interested, I visited T. Boone Picken’s website to review the much advertised energy plan. While at the site I signed up for the newsletter updates. And today, around 6:30PM, I rec’d an invitation to participate in what the folks promoting Pickens’ energy plan hope is the largest internet rally for energy independence in history; scheduled at 10PM Eastern time, 30 minutes before the debate ends. The rally is featuring Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club and Pickens on video.

“Your chance to show Senators McCain and Obama the we mean business when it comes to getting off of foreign oil.”

Here’s a copy of the landing page from the email link rec’d:

The second Presidential debate will take place on October 7 at 9:00 pm EDT. T. Boone Pickens and Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope will be hosting an online rally at PickensPlan.com during and after the debate. The rally will feature live video from Pickens Plan HQ in Dallas and you will have an opportunity to submit questions and comments about America’s energy future. We will be delivering a copy of your questions and comments to both Presidential candidates, so don’t miss this opportunity to lend your voice to the call for American energy independence! RSVP today! (landing page).

If you can’t view the video above, use this link: Pickens’ Energy Plan e-rally video

Here’s one of the follow-up videos:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgv3e4_O_aQ[/youtube]

In other news concerning Pickens’ Energy Plan:

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., pledged Tuesday (Oct. 7, 2008) to push for congressional passage of an energy independence plan being pushed by billionaire Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens.

Chambliss said Pickens’ proposals to develop new domestic sources of energy while expanding proven American technology share much in common with bipartisan energy legislation he is sponsoring in the Senate.

“Boone’s got great ideas,” Chambliss said during a meeting with Atlanta Business Chronicle editors and reporters. “He knows I agree with him.”

Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID

04 Oct

S400 BLUE Hybrid Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is launching the S 400 BlueHYBRID, its first passenger car model equipped with a hybrid drive system, in summer 2009. The combination of a modified V6 petrol engine and a compact hybrid module makes the S 400 BlueHYBRID the world’s most economical luxury saloon with a petrol engine.
The NEDC combined fuel consumption is 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres. This makes for the world’s lowest CO2 emissions in this vehicle and performance class – 190 grams per kilometre. These exemplary figures go hand in hand with assured performance. The 3.5-litre petrol engine develops an output of 205 kW/279 hp, the electric motor generates 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 Nm. The result is a combined output of 220 kW/299 hp and a combined maximum torque of 385 newton metres.

The compact hybrid module is a disc-shaped electric motor that also acts as a starter and generator. The system offers a double benefit, as it both helps to save fuel and increases driving enjoyment. This is partly due to the booster effect of the electric motor, as it powerfully backs up the petrol engine with a maximum additional torque of 160 newton metres during the high-consumption acceleration phase. The S 400 BlueHYBRID accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The hybrid module also has a comfortable start/stop function, which switches the engine off when the vehicle is at a standstill – for example at traffic lights. When it’s time to move off again, the electric motor almost imperceptibly restarts the main power unit. This likewise makes a contribution to fuel economy and environmental protection: because the engine restarts first time, and practically instantly, emissions are also minimised during the starting phase.

When the vehicle is braked the electric motor acts as a generator, and is able to recover braking energy by a process known as recuperation. Working in finely tuned partnership, the electric motor supplements the braking effect of the petrol engine and the wheel brakes to deliver a smoothly progressive braking action. The recuperated energy is stored in a compact yet highly efficient lithium-ion battery in the engine compartment, and made available when required. This complex system is managed by a high-performance control unit, which is likewise located in the engine compartment.

Milestone on the Road to Electrification
The center piece of the modular, very compact and highly efficient hybrid drive system is the new high-voltage lithium-ion battery, which was specially developed for automotive use and is the first such unit worldwide to be introduced in a series-production vehicle. In this way Mercedes-Benz is making a trailblazing contribution to the electrification of the car, with the S-Class playing the role of the technological trendsetter.

Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and better electrical efficiency, together with more compact dimensions and a lower weight. Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, where it replaces the conventional starter battery, the interior space and boot capacity of the S 400 remain unchanged.

Additional Resources

Green Car Journal – Article coverage of the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

The 2009 S400 BlueHYBRID will be Mercedes-Benz’ first hybrid passenger car and also the first mass-production hybrid with a lithium-ion battery that’s been specially developed for automotive use. The S Class hybrid will go sale in Europe in June 2009 and be available in the U.S. three months later.

Based on the S350, The S400 BlueHYBRID has a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine mated to a 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with reprogrammed management software for the hybrid application. It also has a new auxiliary oil pump for transmission lubrication even when the engine is switched off.

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