Midweek matters

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

  • Researchers from Napier University, Edinburgh, have found a use for by-products from a key Scottish industry. A patent has been filed for a process to make biobutanol fuel from wastes generated in the whisky distilling process; biobutanol can be used in petrol engines, and is said to have 30% more energy than ethanol (BBC).
  • The Design Challenge for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, November, is to create a concept for a ‘1000lb car’. Lightweight concepts (weighing up to 454kg, in Euro-speak) will be submitted by entrants from the styling studios of General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Smart, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz US, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo. The concepts are required to seat 2+2, and to be “both comfortable and secure whilst delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the emotional connection and beautiful styling consumers demand.”
  • One of the drawbacks of hydrogen fuel, says the Fraunhofer Institute of Mechanics of Materials, Freiburg, is that hydrogen can turn metals brittle as it migrates through their latticed structures. Magnesium, aluminium and steel – as used for automotive components – see their ductility suffer, and fuel tanks, fuel cells and engine parts are all at risk. The Institute has thus opened a new specialist laboratory to study this issue, looking at new hydrogen-compatible metals and manufacturing processes.


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