Ford & Toyota Partner for Gas-Electric Hybrid System
A memorandum of understanding has been signed between two unlikely partners. Competitors Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have teamed up to develop a new gas-electric hybrid system for use in light trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs).
The system being developed through Toyota and Ford’s partnership is a hybrid for larger, rear-wheel drive vehicles. The goal is greater fuel efficiency without sacrificing power. The two automakers will conduct a feasibility study and establish a timetable to implement the new technology in trucks and SUVs within the next decade.
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"The EPA requirements are a big challenge for us automakers," said Toyota research and development chief Takeshi Uchiyamada. "The American society can't do without trucks and SUVs. This collaboration we are forming with Ford is not only about lowering carbon dioxide but making trucks and SUVs more affordable for the customer."
Ford and Toyota plan to develop the system components together as equal partners, but implement their use separately. The companies plan on standardizing telematic communications and computer components in the system. This will aid in future additions of information and entertainment products. Standardization will also cut complexity and improve development time.
"By working together we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy," Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally said in a written statement. "This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability."
The development costs of the system are to be split evenly, and according to Toyota spokesman John Hanson, “This will make us no less fierce of competitors.”
This agreement between Ford and Toyota interestingly enough occurred by happenstance as the result of an informal conversation at an airport lobby between Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota President Akio Toyoda. This just goes to show that the boardroom extends far beyond the office walls.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly