Solvay acquires large-tow carbon fibre precursor manufacturer

Solvay acquires large-tow carbon fibre precursor manufacturer

Solvay completed the acquisition of European Carbon Fiber GmbH ('ECF'), a German producer of high-quality 'precursor' for large-tow (50K) polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fibres.

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With this acquisition, Solvay is building the foundations to lead the adoption of composites in automotive applications, to serve select industrial markets, and to support the potential adoption of large-tow fibres in aerospace.

"The strategic acquisition of ECF enables Solvay to develop a portfolio of large-tow carbon fibres to complement our existing range of pitch and PAN aerospace grade carbon fibres. This comprehensive portfolio will place Solvay as a key supplier to the aerospace, automotive and industrial markets going forward.

Thanks to this acquisition Solvay will leverage its polymers and materials science competencies to drive breakthrough innovation in large-tow carbon fibres," said Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay's Composite Materials Global Business Unit (GBU).

Vertical integration into large-tow carbon fibre technology will position Solvay to ensure cost effective long-term security of supply to its customers.

Daimler partners with computing experts to transfer automotive fuel cell technology to carbon-free energy supply systems

Daimler partners with computing experts to transfer automotive fuel cell technology to carbon-free energy supply systems

Fuel cell technology is an integral part of Daimler's powertrain strategy and the company has already gathered experience with hydrogen-powered electric vehicles over several vehicle generations and millions of test kilometres around the world and recently presented the next step with pre-production models of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL.

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Convinced of the potential of fuel cell technology and hydrogen as an energy storage medium in the context of the overall energy system, the company follows a holistic approach and extends its development activities into non-transportation industries. Joining forces with industry leaders Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Power Innovations (PI), a LiteOn company, Daimler AG with its subsidiary company NuCellSys GmbH and supported by MBRDNA and Daimler Innovations Lab1886, will develop prototype systems starting this year for back-up and continuous power solutions for data centers and other stationary applications using automotive hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Fuel cells as an ideal choice for micro-grids within data centres

"Rapidly escalating power demands are putting pressure on traditional power delivery solutions. The use of Daimler fuel cells for continuous and back-up power solutions will allow us to explore new, sustainable, cost-effective and rapid methods to power our customers' data centres", said Bill Mannel, VP & GM HPC and AI, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HPE is working with the collaboration partners to integrate fuel cell power systems with its current IT infrastructure solutions, including the HPE Apollo 6000 Gen10, HPE SGI 8600, and other HPE platforms.

Holistic approach for carbon-free energy supply

In order to enable a 24/7 data centre power supply when using renewable energy, Daimler, HPE and PI re-think power generation and incorporate hydrogen storage and fuel cell systems to supply power directly to the racks of computer servers housed in data centres. The novel concept of a "hydrogen-based" carbon-free data centre utilises hydrogen fuel cells, electrolysers, storage, solar (photovoltaic) cells and wind turbines.

Further use of automotive fuel cells accelerates the energy transition

The concept evolved by Daimler Innovations Lab1886, the pioneering think tank of Daimler AG, together with NuCellSys and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America hereby opens a potentially new field of business with stationary energy generation. Developed for the demanding service on board cars, the Mercedes-Benz fuel cell systems meet the very highest safety and quality standards, making them ideal for integration into today's data centres.

The partners will present first project results with a prototype system at this year's SuperComputing 2017 conference in Denver, November 13 – 17.

The project will begin a pilot phase next year when Daimler, HPE and PI will team up with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). NREL is world-renowned in the areas of sustainable data centers and renewable energy, as well as hydrogen generation, storage, and safety standards. "We look forward to this collaboration with Daimler, HPE, and PI to leverage our facilities and expertise to demonstrate a first of a kind integrated hydrogen fuel cell data centre concept." Dr. Steven Hammond, Computational Science Center Director at NREL.

CES award-winning connected car device hits the market for consumers

CES award-winning connected car device hits the market for consumers

Raven is the first comprehensive automotive technology (vehicle-to-everything) solution that connects users with their cars, pairing an in-car device and mobile app to offer on-road assistance and alerts, round-the-clock remote monitoring and more.

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"We're proud to bring this product to market just in time for winter weather and the holidays," said Russell Ure, CEO of Klashwerks, the maker of Raven. "Using IoT and connected car technology, Raven helps drivers become smarter and safer on the road and provides confidence and peace-of-mind to car owners, drivers and their loved ones."

Raven announced that these industry-leading features have earned the product the esteem of being named a 2018 CES Innovation Awards Honouree. Evaluated for its engineering, aesthetic and design qualities, intended use, user value, and unique features, Raven was judged and deemed an honouree by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, independent engineers and members of the trade media.

Product features and capabilities include:

  • Hand gesture controls
  • Speeding alerts & real-time road advice
  • Road & weather condition updates
  • Next-turn navigation
  • Vehicle diagnostics
  • Video inside and outside of vehicle
  • 24/7 security monitoring
  • Fuel efficiency & driver safety reports
  • Social-sharing capabilities
  • Eye-level displays.
Volkswagen and Google work together on Quantum computers

Volkswagen and Google work together on Quantum computers

At the technology conference "Web Summit 2017" (Lisbon), the Volkswagen Group and Google announced comprehensive research cooperation in the field of quantum computing.

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The two companies will explore the utilisation of quantum computers together, with aims to build up specialist knowledge and to carry out practical oriented research. As part of this collaboration, a team of specialists from Volkswagen and Google will work together using a Google quantum computer. Quantum computers can solve certain highly complex tasks considerably faster than conventional super computers. In some cases, a solution will only be possible with quantum computers.

Volkswagen Group IT wants to make progress in three development areas on the Google quantum computer. The specialists intend to continue the development of traffic optimisation, to explore structures for new materials, especially high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, and to work on artificial intelligence with new machine learning processes.

Martin Hofmann, Chief Information Officer of the Volkswagen Group, says: "Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics. We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available. Thanks to our cooperation with Google, we have taken a major step towards this goal."

Hartmut Neven, Director of the Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, says: "Volkswagen has enormous expertise in solving important, real-world engineering problems, and it is an honour for us to collaborate on how quantum computing may be able to make a difference in the automotive industry."

This collaboration will focus on research for practical applications. Specialists from the Volkswagen Information Technology Centres (IT labs) in San Francisco and Munich will develop algorithms, simulations and optimisations together with the Google experts. They will carry out this work using Google universal quantum computers. This architecture is suitable for many experimental computing operations.

Volkswagen Group IT development areas

Volkswagen Group IT intends to explore the potential of this quantum computer in several different areas. In the first project, the Volkswagen specialists are working on the further development of traffic optimisation. They are building on the research project which they have already successfully completed and now want to consider additional variables in addition to reducing travelling times. These include urban traffic guidance systems, available electric charging stations or vacant parking spaces.

In a second project, the Volkswagen specialists aim to simulate and optimise the structure of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and other materials. Volkswagen Group Research and Development experts expect this approach to provide new information for vehicle construction and battery research.

A third project concerns the development of new machine learning processes. Machine learning is a key technology for the development of advanced AI systems, which are a prerequisite for autonomous driving.

The Volkswagen Group is the first automotive company in the world to work intensively on quantum computing technology. In March 2017, Volkswagen announced its first successful research project completed on a quantum computer: a traffic flow optimisation for 10,000 taxis in the Chinese capital Beijing.

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