Copyright 1996-2002 by Batteries Digest
At Last, a Magnetic Refrigerator?
The worlds first magnetic refrigeration device was demonstrated in October of 2001 by researchers from Astronautics Corp. and the DOEs Ames Laboratory at Iowa State University. The principle relies on the ability of the rare earth gadolinium to concentrate heat in the presence of a magnetic field and then quickly cool when the field is removed. By mechanically rotating the gadolinium alternately, first to asbsorb heat in a magnetic field and then reject it in non magnetic space, heat is transferred. For BD readers, the milestone is important because it is projected that efficiencies to 50% will be obtained, and the process can economically liquefy natural gas from which liquid hydrogen could be obtained to power fuel cell vehicles.(04-02 BD73-13)
November 2001, pp. 21-23
U.S. Senate rejects potential legislation that would create a fuel economy mandate. The Senate also told the transportation department to develop fuel economy rules over the next two years, but did not mention specific mileage increases. The Senate voted as follows:
1. Fuel economy The vote was 68-38 to give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration time to set new fuel guidelines for U.S. vehicles. The proposal to require automakers to produce by 2015 fleets that average 35 m.p.h. was rejected.
2. An exemption for pickups The vote was 56-44 to prohibit the mileage standard for pickups from being raised above the current 20.7 m.p.g.
The House has also turned down any significant increase in auto fuel economy.
Automakers are currently required to have a fleet average of 27.5 m.p.g. for sedans and 20.7 m.p.g. for SUVs, minivans and pickups. In 2000, the average for vehicles was 24 m.p.g., approximately what it was 20 years ago.
Meanwhile, OPEC produced 25.12 million barrels a day (mil b/d) of crude in February as Iraqi volumes rose to their highest levels since November. For more information on OPEC, check Platts Guide to OPEC at www.platts.com/opec/index.shtml. (Bd note: Is the U.S. really serious about becoming less dependent on oil - a greater and greater percentage which is coming from foreign sources such as the Middle East? Because of the U.S. governments position, will there really be a strong impetus or incentive to create fuel efficient vehicles such as autos, SUVs and minivans powered by fuel cells or even hybrids?)(04-02 BD73-5)
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