International Business Briefs: fuel cells, water treatment, energy efficiency, sales and acquisitions, and consultancy work

In this week’s International Business Briefs, two Japanese car companies launch their first commercially available fuel cell cars; an environmental microbiology laboratory has achieved accreditation ensuring the quality of its data; an energy utility doubles its energy efficiency programme; a new water treatment contract in Canada; environmental assistance for the US Postal Service; green certification software; and no more rust on villagers’ clothes following the development of a new technology.

In Japan, Toyota and Honda have both unveiled their first commercially available fuel cell cars, both being available on a limited basis from 2 December. Initially, four Toyota fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHVs) will be leased to customers in the Tokyo metropolitan area, due soon to have the necessary infrastructure in place. The Cabinet Secretariat, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation and the Ministry of the Environment will be the first customers.

At the same time, Honda initially plans a limited market release of around 30 vehicles over the first two or three years in Japan and the US combined. The Honda FCX is the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to obtain US government approval for commercialisation, back in July, says the company, and Honda has entered into an agreement to lease five vehicles to the City of Los Angeles. A vehicle delivery ceremony is scheduled to take place at Los Angeles City Hall in December.

Environmental Microbiology Laboratory has announced that it has achieved accreditation under the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) that ensures the quality of analytical data. The laboratory is considered one of the leading indoor air quality testing laboratories in North America, and specialising in the analysis of moulds, yeasts, and bacteria.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in the US has announced that it is doubling its energy-conservation efforts as it looks to meet steadily growing customer demand for electricity and natural gas. PSE says that its expanded conservation services should produce twice as much energy savings as the utility’s prior conservation programme. The programme provides technical assistance and incentive grants to commercial and industrial customers to encourage energy-efficient upgrades of building, equipment, and industrial processes.

Canadian company H2O Innovation has announced that it has won a CA$420,000 contract to carry out water treatment for the native community of Pakua Shipi. The contract includes a self-contained membrane filtration plant that is easy to transport and can operate year round under different conditions.

Weston Solutions, based in Pennsylvania in the US, has announced that it has won to new United States Postal Service environmental services contracts worth US$10 million. They include hazardous and solid waste management, environmental assessments, floodplain and wetland studies, and air quality consulting. Under both contracts, the company will provide environmental services to the great Lakes and Atlanta Facilities Service Offices serving the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Also in the US, Environmental Network International (ENI) and the American Water Works Association Services (AWWAASI) have announced that ENI has acquired all of the interest in EfficientUtilities currently held by AWWAASI. As a result, EfficientUtilities has become a wholly owned subsidiary of ENI, allowing ENI to accelerate the strategic plan to market its services to power and gas utilities as well as municipalities that manage public utilities using the internet.

In California, Menlo Park, an organisation that describes itself as the largest environmental network with over two million members, has announced that over 10,000 people have downloaded its new Green Thumbs-Up software in the first week since its release. The tool displays red, yellow and green icons to help inform shoppers of the social and environmental conduct of companies they visit.

USFilter’s General Filter Products has announced that it has recently combined two technologies – an Atomerator pressure aerator and a multicell horizontal pressure filter – to remove iron from drinking water in the village of Slinger, Wisconsin. Since installing the US$170,000 pressure aeration and filtration system at the village’s water treatment plant this August, the Slinger’s 3,900 residents no longer experience rust stains on their clothes or in their sinks and tubs.

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