Research to Watch
Project: Next-generation internal-combustion engine
Principal institutions: General Motors/University of Michigan Collaborative Research Laboratories
New technology combining elements of spark ignition and diesel engines promises to be 15 percent more fuel-efficient than conventional gas engines.
Project: Active traffic Management
Principal institutions: U.S. Department of Transportation
Wireless communication between vehicles and roadway infrastructure could reduce congestion by providing real-time information to drivers and traffic managers.
Project: Carbon-nanotube ultracapacitors
Principal institutions: MIT
Advanced ultracapacitors for hybrid and electric cars would charge and discharge much faster than batteries.
Project: National Bus Rapid Transit Institute
Principal institutions: University of South Florida
Is working to combine buses with intelligent transportation technologies to create systems that can substitute for light rail or subways in cities.
Project: Aviation biofuels
Principal institutions: Boeing
Different biofuels are being tested for use in commercial jets.
Project: The Civitas Initiative
Principal institutions: European Commission
Is developing integrated technological and policy-based approaches to energy-efficient transportation in cities.
Project: Lithium-air batteries
Principal institutions: IBM
Technology that could store 10 times as much energy as conventional lithium batteries.
Project: Next-generation train
Principal institutions: German Aerospace Center
This new system would use half as much energy as other high-speed trains and be 25 percent faster.
Project: Energy Biosciences Institute
Principal institutions: University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; University of Illinois; BP
Plans to develop biofuels using synthetic biology.
Principal institutions: U.S. Air Force, Boeing
The first demonstration of an unmanned military space plane will take place in January 2010. In theory, a space plane could take passengers from London to Sydney in four to five hours.