I hope that in times to come it will be seen as one of the scandals of our age that governments continued to subsidise fossil fuels even though they were well aware of the damage to climate and health.


Octopus acquires Shell Energy
Shell has reached an agreement to divest its home energy businesses, Shell Energy Retail Limited (SERL) in the UK and Shell Energy Retail GmbH (SERG) in Germany, to Octopus Energy Group.
The businesses serve approximately two million customers with domestic gas, power and broadband services under the Shell Energy brand.
The acquisition will expand Octopus Energy’s retail supply division to encompass 6.5 million customers.
With this agreement, Octopus Energy has become the second-largest energy supplier in the UK. (energylivenews)


Air Nostrum Group doubles Hybrid Air Vehicles airship order
Under an agreement announced in June last year, Air Nostrum had initially reserved 10 helium-based low carbon aircraft that could each carry up to 100-passengers. However, the Group this week announced it had reached a new agreement with Hybrid Air Vehicles to reserve 10 more of the inovative aircraft, as it seeks to expand the Airlander network from Spain into the Mediterranean region.
The companies said the air ships had the potential to operate on routes from Malta to the Maltese island of Gozo, Sicily, and other key links with Italy, Tunisia, and Libya.
Under the terms of the latest deal, Air Nostrum has also joined the Airlander 50 Development Partner Programme, becoming the first commercial airline to collaborate on plans to roll out low-emissions airships capable of moving 50-tonne payloads.
The news comes just months after Hybrid Air Vehicles and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority announced a £7m investment in plans to produce Airlander 10 aircraft in Doncaster – a move the company claims will create over 1,200 highly skilled jobs and new supply chains.
Hybrid Air Vehicles, whose craft are expected to generate 90 per cent fewer emissions than conventional aircraft by using electric and fuel-burning engines alongside a helium hull to provide buoyant lift, claims the Airlander 10’s ability to both land on and take off vertically from grass fields and water makes the craft suitable for a wide range of roles, including cargo, surveillance, regional transport, and VIP travel. (businessgreen)

photo: Airlander

Recycled steel could meet 80% of future UK demand
Recycled steel could potentially satisfy nearly 80% of the UK’s future demand for this versatile and useful material.
That’s according to the latest report by the independent think tank Green Alliance, which suggests that better steel utilisation could lead to a 14% reduction in embedded carbon and a significant 6% cut in emissions from the domestic steel industry by 2030.
The report has provided a series of suggestions aimed at helping both the steel industry and the government fully adopt and benefit from environmentally friendly initiatives. (futurenetzero)

Proposed Changes to Boiler Upgrade Scheme
At present, the scheme caps grants for air-source heat pumps at £5,000 and for ground-source heat pumps at £6,000. Properties need to meet certain requirements to access this maximum, including standards on energy efficiency. If they do not meet these standards, they will need to install insulation before re-applying.
The Government is proposing that the energy efficiency standard be removed or reduced. It hopes that this change could help larger or more inefficient properties to access the higher levels of grant funding they need, given the steep upfront cost of heat pumps. (edie)


Project Highland – the Tesla Model 3 revamp
Tesla has finally unveiled its upgraded Model 3 electric sedan – the long awaited result of Project Highland – that features significant changes to its exterior and the interior layout.
The new features include an 8″ rear touchscreen for passengers to control climate and entertainment, along with a remastered steering wheel that replaces stalks with on-wheel controls that include both haptic switches and physical buttons – in a gesture to the many people who wanted something more than a screen to touch, although replacing the indicator stalk with buttons on the steering wheel sounds controversial.
Tesla has also improved the suspension and cornering, and has added sound-dampening materials, including what is described as 360˚ acoustic glass technology.
From the outside, the new car has a sleeker look including new front and rear light clusters. The car is 26mm longer and ground clearance is reduced by 2mm. (thedriven)

photo: Tesla


Fossil fuels hit record low in EU electricity mix
The amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels in the EU plummeted by almost one-fifth in the first half of the year – bringing the share of coal, oil and gas in the electricity mix to a record low.
That is according to new data on Europe’s power sector and its associated carbon emissions from think-tank Ember.
Ember tracked a 17% fall in fossil-fuelled electricity generation between January and June 2023, compared with the previous half. The fall was steepest for coal, with 23% less coal-fired electricity generated.
This is proof, Ember has concluded, that Europe’s increase in coal during 2022 was temporary. As it continues to implement interventions to get off of Russian fossil fuels, the focus will be on reducing demand and on scaling clean energy rather than finding alternative sources of coal. (edie)


Report predicts strong growth from 2026 for Perovskite solar panels
Perovskites’ development towards maturity as a viable force in the solar panel industry will take until 2026, but explode thereafter, new forecasts by Bristol-based analysts Rethink Energy predicts.
But by 2030 the technology will make up a 100 GW segment of panel manufacturing. By 2040, it will go on to dominate 85% of the industry’s output, adding close to 1 TW of manufacturing each year.
In Britain, Oxford Perovskite is the technology’s best known manufacturer, breaking efficiency records with product from its Berlin factory.  Three months ago, the eleven-year old Oxford University spin-out claimed a new world record, converting 28.6% of photon energy into electricity. (theenergyst)

Panasonic Is Testing ‘Power-Generating Glass’ Panels for Buildings
Panasonic is testing “power-generating glass” which it expects to start selling by 2028 for use in a wide range of buildings.
Perovskite solar cells are integrated with the glass to produce a photovoltaic layer that’s just one micron thick sandwiched between two sheets of glass substrate. The manufacturing process uses a combination of Panasonic’s “original inkjet coating method” and laser processing technology to produce large panels of varying size that remain transparent enough to act as windows. (pcmagazine)

Photo: Panasonic


Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reached $7 Trillion in 2022, All-Time High
Global subsidies for fossil fuels reached $7 trillion in 2022, an all-time high, according to the International Monetary Fund.
An analysis of policies in 170 countries found that explicit subsidies, such as price caps on fuel, accounted for 18 percent of this total. With Russia’s war on Ukraine roiling energy markets, many governments have placed limits on the price of fossil fuels, giving money back to consumers when prices exceeded those limits.
The other 82 percent of fossil fuel subsidies were implicit. These included tax breaks for oil firms, but also the unpaid cost of climate change and air pollution as a result of burning fossil fuels. Consumers do not pay directly for the damage caused by their use of fossil fuels. Overall, undercharging for these damages amounted to 60 percent of subsidies, the analysis found. (yale360)

Photo: Belchatow Coal Plant / Wikimedia Commons

Solar panel shipments set a record high in 2022 as capacity continued to grow
In 2022, solar photovoltaic panel shipments in the United States increased 10% from 2021, setting another annual record (31.7 million peak kilowatts [kWp]), based on our latest published data. U.S. solar panel shipments have been growing as solar capacity continues to rise.
U.S. solar panel shipments closely track domestic solar capacity additions; the difference between the two is usually because of the lag time between when panels are shipped and when they’re installed. U.S. solar panel shipments include imports, exports, and domestically produced and shipped panels. In 2022, about 88% of U.S. solar panel shipments were imports, primarily from Asia.
Over the past decade, U.S. solar capacity has boomed, which includes both utility-scale solar farms (with one megawatt of capacity or more) and small-scale solar. The majority of small-scale solar is residential rooftop solar installations. (USenergyinformationassociation)

chart: EIA


Japanese researchers successfully generate electricity directly from methylcyclohexane
Methylcyclohexane (MCH), a type of organic hydride, is expected to be an excellent hydrogen carrier because it remains liquid at room temperature, is easy to transport, has low toxicity, and has a higher hydrogen density than high-pressure hydrogen. Dehydrogenation – the process of removing hydrogen atoms from molecules – in the presence of a catalyst, yields hydrogen and the byproduct toluene, which can then be used to generate electricity to produce CO2-free power. However, the dehydrogenation reaction is an endothermic reaction, and energy loss as well as the facilities required for the reaction are issues.
Recently, a team of researchers from Japan, led by Professor Akihiko Fukunaga from the Department of Applied Chemistry at Waseda University, has succeeded in generating electricity directly from MCH using solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). Their work was made available online on July 4, 2023 in Volume 348 of Applied Energy.
The research team tried to perform two processes simultaneously in a fuel cell: dehydrogenation from organic hydrides, which is an endothermic reaction, and electricity generation, which is an exothermic reaction. To achieve this, they used an anode-supported solid oxide fuel cell with a higher operating temperature than that of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell. They operated it at a temperature that did not allow pyrolysis of organic hydrides and under conditions that prevented carbon deposition at the electrodes. The production ratio of toluene to benzene was 94:6. This achievement demonstrated the possibility of generating electricity without using dehydrogenation facilities which were conventionally required and using less energy than that required for dehydrogenation reactions using catalysts. (renewableenergymagazine)