We are now officially in La La Land. This week Antonio Guttieres, the UN Chief suggested that we are now entering the era of “Global Boiling”, and according to the Guardian water temperatures in the Florida Keys Ocean were recorded at 38.43C, a temperature you would expect in a hot tub.
Meanwhile in an alternate universe our Government is looking at excuses to slow our green investment. ULEZ, the ban on petrol & diesel car sales after 2030 and housing energy efficiency measures may all be reviewed.
Gridserve secures financing to accelerate EV charging rollout
Gridserve has announced it has secured a major £526m financial boost to help accelerate the rollout of its electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the UK.
The financing comprises £326m in committed loan facilities, with a further £200m through an uncommitted accordion facility for future assets, the company revealed yesterday.
Gridserve plans to use the capital to further accelerate the development of its ‘Sun-to-Wheel’ model, which encompasses generating power through hybrid solar farms, operating a national charging network of Electric Forecourts and Electric Hubs, and accelerating the uptake of EVs through the leasing of a wide range of zero emission models. (businessgreen)
Struggling battery producer AMTE Power secures lifeline loan
AMTE Power said the loan facility with Arena Investors would give it more time to secure a new equity investor.
Last week, the Thurso-based company reported that it was just days away from going into administration following a financial crisis.
The loan is expected to keep AMTE going until September, while it completes a deal with the unnamed investor.
The investor has conditionally proposed investing £2.5m in AMTE Power for 80% of the issued share capital of the company.
AMTE, which produces specialist batteries, including power cells for high-performance cars, revealed plans last year to build a large factory at the former Michelin tyre plant in Dundee. (bbc)
photo: AMTE Power
Drax granted approval for £500m pumped storage hydro plant
The Scottish Government has formally approved Drax Group‘s plans to build a £500 million underground pumped storage hydro plant at its existing Cruachan facility in Argyll.
By using reversible turbines to pump water from a lower reservoir to an upper one during periods of excess power generation, the facility will effectively act as a “water battery,” storing renewable electricity and releasing it when demand necessitates. (energylivenews)
Outdated ESO systems favour high carbon assets
Outdated IT systems and manual processes in the National Grid ESO control room result in favouring high carbon assets like fossil fuel gas turbines over cheaper and cleaner low carbon flexibility options, such as electricity storage in batteries.
That’s according to the Electricity Storage Network (ESN), which represents more than 80 organisations in the GB electricity storage sector.
The ESN sent an open letter to Fintan Slye, Executive Director of the ESO, urging swift reforms to the Balancing Mechanism.
ESN’s research indicates that batteries are being neglected over 80% of the time, potentially costing consumers £150 million annually and hindering progress towards net zero. (futurenetzero)
Field gets investment from DIF Capital Partners
Battery energy storage system developer Field has received a £200m investment from DIF Capital Partners.
Field will use the funds provided by the infrastructure equity fund manager to support the development of its 4.5GWh pipeline of grid-scale BESS projects across the UK and Western Europe.
In the UK, Field has a number of BESS projects currently under or near construction, with a combined capacity of 210MWh. These are situated in Newport, South Wales, Blackburn, Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire and Auchteraw in the Scottish Highlands.
Field’s first BESS asset in the UK, a 20MW project situated in Oldham, Greater Manchester, became operational towards the end of last year. (energystoragenews)
EV OF THE WEEK
BMW i5 production starts
I am not sure I follow BMW’s electric strategy. First they started a dedicated electric range, launched with the inimitable i3 and the i8 supercar. However, they seemed to lose faith in this strategy and switched to making electric versions of their combustion engine ranges, launching the iX1, iX3 then the i4 and i7. They did produce one ground up EV in the iX, which, like the old i3, is a showcase of their advanced thinking in electric vehicles, albeit an expensive one and has polarising looks.
Now comes the i5, which will slot in as a luxury mid-size saloon on the same body as the 5 series. It features plenty of clever tech including BMW’s latest bespoke OS software package which allows access to streaming services when the car is stationary, like Tesla does, and advanced automated driving features.
Most reviews suggest that BMW are making a pretty good fist of their EV’s irrespective of whether they are ground up designs. The i4 is considered a worthy competitor to the Tesla Model 3 and the iX3 is a popular choice for a proper electric SUV.
One additional point, and this is my own personal conjecture. I am wondering whether BMW, in this rush of launches has got ahead of demand for EV versions. I notice that there are some good value leasing offers on the iX3, i4 and even the iX, for example at Drive Electric HERE
Marubeni extends cooperation with Skeleton Technologies
Skeleton Technologies makes what it calls a “SuperBattery”, which is a hybrid storage solution combining the benefits of battery and supercapacitor tech. This creates a short duration storage product that charges extremely quickly, and includes Skeleton’s patented ingredient called “curved graphene”.
Skeleton has validated its technology and competitive advantage in real-world applications. The company focuses on the segment of energy storage technologies with high performance and fast charging, filling an important gap in the market. Skeleton is currently building up production of its Supercapacitor product line in a new facility near Leipzig and plans to expand production of its SuperBattery product.
The partnership with Marubeni started in 2021, and the new sales cooperation extends to Asia with the exception of China and India. The Japanese conglomerate will distribute Skeleton’s products in the region, support business development and customer acquisition for Skeleton’s super battery in Asian markets, and leverage its relationships with existing customers to develop new applications for Skeleton’s patented ‘Curved Graphene’ to use. (renewableenergymagazine)
photo: Skeleton Technologies
FOCUS ON: OIL STATES & THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Oman shows how a fossil fuel producer can embrace clean energy
Ahead of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai later this year, the role of oil and gas-producing economies in the clean energy transition is coming into sharp focus.
Oman is a clear example of one such country that is setting a bold energy transition vision at home – in line with its international commitments.
Oman’s oil and gas industries account for around 60 percent of its income from exports. In addition to a heavy reliance on revenues from this trade, oil and gas activities – including power generation and industry – are also responsible for the majority of the country’s emissions. Natural gas alone accounts for over 95 percent of electricity generation while iron, steel, aluminium, petrochemicals and refining also contribute significantly to the national emissions footprint.
Beyond fossil fuels, Oman is endowed with significant natural resources such as solar and wind and to some extent, geothermal and tidal energy.
Expanding renewable power generation can bring many positive impacts. These include opportunities to decarbonise domestic industries, making them more competitive, as international markets are set to have more opportunities for the trade of low-emissions industrial products such as steel.
Oman has already taken steps to lay the groundwork for achieving its ambitions. It has set up an independent entity to oversee its national hydrogen strategy – an important step that demonstrates the country’s commitment and provides the certainty that investment and industry stakeholders will need to support the development of the sector.
If the strategy is implemented in full and on time, renewable hydrogen production could eventually exceed the size of Oman’s current liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
Oman’s position as an exporter of fossil fuels means that some of the foundations for a renewable hydrogen economy are already in place. Existing infrastructure such as transport networks, industrial ports and gas storage can be used directly or repurposed to support a hydrogen enterprise.
In addition, Oman’s workforce has important skills related to chemical, temperature and fluid engineering, the distribution and handling of fuel, as well as related health and safety expertise. These give the country a significant edge to fulfill its renewable hydrogen ambitions.
Oman currently benefits from a first-mover advantage. According to the IEA’s latest global assessment of announced hydrogen projects, it is on track to become the sixth-largest exporter of hydrogen globally by 2030. (Salim Al Aufi and Dr Fatih Birol, Al Jazeera)
ECO: BEAUTY AND SUSTAINABILITY IN BERLIN
The most sustainable building in Germany is a timber beauty
The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) certified the EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin project Germany’s most sustainable building in 2022. Since the summer of 2022, the building has served as the new German headquarters for energy supplier Vattenfall.
EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin is the first project in Germany to be recorded for building construction with a 100% match on the MADASTER material database, with materials that can be reused and recycled. Prefab building panels and modules made construction more efficient with reduced construction waste and time. The hybrid combination of wood and concrete from CREE-Buildings can save up to 50% of CO2 per square meter of floor area compared to a traditional building. Even the roof of the Carre building was designed to be lightweight foil with filigree wood components to ensure better lighting inside and reduced material use while still withstanding wind loads of up to 100 kg.
EDGE Suedkreuz Berlin received the DGNB Platinum certificate with the highest score ever achieved in Germany of 95.4%. The complex was certified with DGNB Diamond for its outstanding design and architectural quality. The project also received a WELL v2 Platinum certification. (inhabitat)
photos: Tchoban Voss Architekten
Fervo Energy proves their enhanced geothermal technology
Fervo successfully completed a 30-day test, considered an industry standard for geothermal, at its commercial pilot plant in northern Nevada, the company said in a statement this week. In the test, Fervo drilled down drilled down to 7,700 feet and then turned to drill another 3,250 feet horizontally, where internal temperatures reached roughly 190C.
The test at its pilot plant achieved conditions that would generate 3.5 megawatts of electricity production, the company said.
Instead of relying on naturally occurring conditions, Fervo is using drilling technology developed by the oil and gas industry with hydraulic fracturing to create reservoirs in rocks deep underground.
When Bill Latimer, Fervo CEO first had the idea to use developments in oil and gas drilling to tap into geothermal energy, he faced a lot resistance. The one place he found an interested ear was at Stanford’s geothermal program, where he went to grad school and in 2017 co-wrote and published a paper on the topic. That paper was the foundation for Fervo Energy, which Latimer launched in 2017.
The company has since raised $200m and backers include Google, with whom they are planning a jv in Nevada. (cnbc)
photo: Fervo Energy
532 MW South Korean Offshore Wind Project Moves Forward
With the final EIA consultation completed, Anma Offshore Wind is expected to participate in the upcoming Renewable Portfolio Standard auction for wind projects scheduled for later this year.
Anma is the first utility-scale offshore wind project to have achieved this milestone in South Korea. The project site is positioned next to Anma Island in Yeonggwang Municipality, South Jeolla Province. The wind farm is expected to be amongst the first utility-scale projects in South Korea to begin construction in the first half of 2024.
The project is planned to start commercial operations by 2027 when it is expected to generate over 1,400 GWh of renewable electricity annually. (offshorewind.biz)
Photo: Anma Wind
New generation of eco-friendly drugs
Scientists have found a way to make paracetamol and ibuprofen from pine trees instead of oil – paving the way for a new generation of environmentally-friendly drugs.
Researchers from the University of Bath have developed a method of creating a range of pharmaceutical ingredients from β-pinene, a component of turpentine.
They converted β-pinene into paracetamol and ibuprofen – 100,000 tonnes of each being sold every year around the world.
Around 350,000 tonnes of turpentine is generated in the world by the paper industry – enough to supply the global demand for paracetamol and ibuprofen.
They also synthesised a range of other “precursor” chemicals from turpentine, including 4-HAP (4-hydroxyacetophenone), a key ingredient of drugs including beta-blockers and the asthma inhaler drug, salbutamol, as well as others widely used for perfumes, in plastics and in cleaning products. (i-news)