You have to trawl pretty deep into the budget announcement to find anything of significance for the green agenda. I hope we won’t be saying the same about the wee conference in Glasgow

Company news

Daimler and BP partner on UK hydrogen refuelling network
Mercedez-Benz’s sister brand, Daimler Truck, has partnered with BP to develop a network of up to 25 hydrogen truck refuelling stations across the UK this decade.
BP has stated that it intends to use only green hydrogen, which is generated by splitting water using processes powered by renewable electricity. This is despite the fact that it is yet to secure planning permission for a green hydrogen facility in the UK. It is exploring the potential of sites in North East England for green hydrogen, after confirming that it is intending to build a 1GW blue hydrogen plant in Teesside.
Daimler Truck, meanwhile, will deliver hydrogen-powered fuel-cell trucks to UK-based business customers from 2025, and encourage them to use the refuelling network. The brand is aiming to switch its entire vehicle portfolio in Europe, Japan and North America to battery-electric and hydrogen-fuelled by 2039. Its first hydrogen truck model, the GenH2 Truck, is being trialled in Germany at present and will be delivered to customers from 2027. (edie)

photo: Daimler Trucks

Al Gore and David Blood to launch new asset manager
The new firm, Just Climate, says its mission is to achieve the limiting of global temperature rise to 1.5°C by “directing and scaling capital towards the most impactful climate solutions”.
Blood told the Financial Times the new investment group would focus on private markets and back companies and projects for periods of up to 15 years.
In a press release he said the company had been founded to “do the hard yards of addressing the most difficult to decarbonise segments of the global economy that investors have ignored till now”.
Blood set up the parent company for Just Climate, Generation Investment Management, with Gore in 2004.
Generation is set to back the new company alongside strategic partners including the Microsoft Climate Innovation fund, Ireland Strategic Investment fund, IKEA’s IMAS foundation, Harvard Management company, Imprint Group of GSAM and Hall Capital Partners. (businessgreen)

UK news

Islay Whisky zero-emission template
Bunnahabhain is on-track to become Islay’s first distillery to have a net zero emission distillation process.  This is following the installation of a biomass energy centre – powered entirely by forest biomass sourced only 15 miles away and spent malt, known as draff which is a by-product of distillation.
The combination of wood chippings from low value timber felled on Islay and spent malt helps to nurture the island’s forests and promote sustainability and biodiversity as existing conifer forests are replanted with mixed hardwood and softwood. Some peat bog that is currently planted will also be restored. Ash from the nutrient rich biomass fuel will then be used as natural fertiliser for the replanted forest, creating a circular model for sustainability.
The £6.5m project has been funded by AMP Clean Energy who will own, manage and operate the biomass system. It is currently being constructed by the contractor and project developer, Dallol Energy Limited, and will be operational by Spring 2022. (futurenetzero)

photo: Bunnahabhain

Heat pumps could cost 40% less by 2030
As the UK readies to significantly cut carbon dioxide emissions through its Heat and Buildings Strategy, new research predicts that the cost of heat pumps could fall by as much as 40% in the next ten years.
The report from the energy research and consulting company Delta-EE suggests nearly 20% of that cost reduction is driven by the competition that will make companies lower their prices.
The cost reduction trajectory highlighted in the research’s optimistic scenario is forecast to reduce the marginal cost of a heat pump compared to a gas boiler to around £4,000. (energylivenews)

New funding mechanism for nuclear loads cost on consumers
A Nuclear Energy Financing bill to be set before Parliament will contain costing measures based on the Regulated Asset Basis (RAB) model, already used in Whitehall to allocate construction costs of critical public infrastructure such as HS2 and major river crossings.
Billed by ministers as a “win-win” solution set to spur more private investment, funding measures announced by D-BEIS confirm big nuclear stations as a key component in the government’s decarbonisation of energy.
Of the UK’s seven nuclear stations now generating, Hunterston B, Hinkley Point B, Heysham I and Hartlepool are all scheduled to retire before April 2024, at a combined loss of 4 GW in capacity. Hunterston and Hinkley Point B will begin stepping down output from next summer.
Over the lifetime of each station, RAB financing would save consumers around £30 billion on bills, and cut £10 per year off the typical bill.
Income generated would allow project developers to finance the project at cheaper rates, which would substantially cut the ultimate cost to consumers, said the lobbyists.
Nuclear provides around 16% of Britain’s electricity. Of the nation’s stations now in operation, only Sizewell B’s 1.2 GW Pressurised Water Reactor is scheduled to be generating after 2030. (theenergyst)

Aker, Ocean Winds promise ‘green revolution’ with Scots floaters
Aker Offshore Wind and Ocean Winds have launched a manifesto to “deliver a green industrial revolution” in Scotland.
The plan sets out how proposals to create more than 5,000 new jobs, a major fabrication yard, and the equivalent of up to £15bn (€17.7bn) investment in floating offshore wind.
At the heart of the plan is the establishment of a major manufacturing plant in Scotland for the fabrication and assembly of giant steel floating structures, which would then be installed in the deep waters of the North Sea.
It would be the largest industrial innovation in Scotland since the dawn of the oil and gas sector, positioning Scotland as a global leader in clean energy, the companies said.
Aker Offshore Wind and Ocean Winds are the majority owners of Principle Power (PPI), which has developed the steel-based floating platforms called ‘WindFloat’ – the world’s most proven floater technology – to harness this energy.
The WindFloat technology is currently deployed in two operational projects, with a total capacity of 75MW, utilising the largest wind turbines seen to date on floating platforms. (renews)

EV of the week

BMW launches the i4 directly targeting the Model 3
Over the weekend BMW has begun production of the i4 electric four-door coupe, opening a new chapter in its electrification strategy at a crucial time for the automaker. Aimed directly at the Tesla Model 3, which has been enjoying some popularity in BMW’s own backyard, the i4 is expected to be one of the most important battery-electric vehicles for the automaker this decade, in a way that the i3 hatch never quite was.
The i4 will be offered in two main flavors at launch: the i4 eDrive40 will be single-motor rear-wheel-drive version, serving up 335 hp, while the i4 M50 will get a second motor for a total of 469 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque, along with all-wheel-drive performance. The latter model is capable of 0-to-60-mph launches of 3.7 seconds, while the former will offer a more relaxed demeanour with 5.5-second sprint times.
Prices sit slightly north of the Model 3 or equivalent Polestar starting from about £51,000 (yahoo)

photo: BMW


Kalk anti-poaching e-bikes join the battle in the African bush
Titbits reported last year on this interesting initiative between Swedish electric motorbike company CAKE and the South African Park Rangers. The first bikes have now been delivered.
The Kalk AP (anti-poaching) project is a collaboration between CAKE, Goal Zero and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) to find a more efficient and Earth-friendly way to track down poachers in Africa’s National Parks. In the past, rangers used gas-powered motorbikes on the job because they were the fastest and most agile option available. This was not an ideal situation since poachers could easily hear the motorcycles as they approached. Plus, the bikes required refueling, which was provided via helicopter or truck. The entire system was damaging to the very animal habitat the team was working to protect.
The new electric bikes were delivered to South Africa and are currently being tested in the bush by rangers who provide feedback to the SAWC research department. They are comparing the bikes to the existing combustion-engine option and evaluating them on durability and practicality of use. (inhabitat)

photos: CAKE

Focus on: Reports delegates at COP26 should read #2

The Energy Transitions Commission. Keeping 1.5°C Alive: Closing the Gap in the 2020s
This excellent report concentrates on what simple and affordable actions might be taken to rev up the decarbonisation agenda such that the goals set out at Paris might be achieved. Current national plans will leave us woefully short of the 1.5oC pathway. The report identifies six actions that could accelerate our progress, and none of these involve heroic leaps in technology.

  1. Significant and rapid reductions in methane emissions
  2. Halting deforestation and beginning reforestation
  3. Decarbonising the power sector and accelerating the phaseout of coal
  4. Accelerating the electrification of road transport
  5. Accelerating supply decarbonisation in buildings, heavy industry and heavy transport
  6. Reinvigorating energy and resource efficiency

This constitutes a simple roadmap. It is not the complete solution but its adoption would show a welcome attempt to catch up with the required pace of decarbonisation
You can download the report HERE

Global stuff

Hertz just made the biggest electric vehicle purchase ever
Hertz announced Monday that it had placed an order for 100,000 Teslas as a first step toward electrifying its fleet of rental cars. The move represents the largest single purchase of electric vehicles ever, and comes just months after Hertz emerged from bankruptcy. In a press statement, Hertz’s interim CEO, Mark Fields, billed it as a major new chapter for the company.
Hertz’s order, comprised entirely of Tesla’s Model 3 sedans, is expected to be delivered over the next 14 months, although customers in some locations will be able to rent a Model 3 as early as November. By the end of 2022, electric vehicles will make up one-fifth of Hertz’s global fleet. (grist)

China is demonstrating a new utility scale energy storage system.
Instead of using increasingly precious and expensive lithium-ion batteries, the plant uses cheap energy to compress air in huge tanks. Its official name is quite long: National Energy Large-Scale Physical Energy Storage Technology Research and Development Center.
When there’s peak demand for electricity, and prices get higher, the unusual energy storage facility uses that air to propel turbines and generate power. The facility can deliver up to 40 MWh of energy per day, enough to power 3,000 houses.
The engineers that have developed it say that they allow solar and wind power plants not to be directly connected to the grid, which helps to stabilize them. According to them, it can be applied on a large scale, with low costs and a long lifespan. Batteries have a limited number of cycles and are in high demand by electric vehicles.
Guo Wenbin, an engineer at the Institute of Engineering Thermophysics, also stressed that they are a safe way to store energy. In his words, there is no risk of sudden explosion because the air pressure remains in the medium-range, with controllable risks. (autoevolution)

Radiant aims to replace diesel generators with small nuclear reactors
California company Radiant has secured funding to develop a compact, portable, “low-cost” one-megawatt nuclear micro-reactor that fits in a shipping container, powers about 1,000 homes and uses a helium coolant instead of water.
Founded by ex-SpaceX engineers, who decided the Mars colony power sources they were researching would make a bigger impact closer to home, Radiant has pulled in US$1.2 million from angel investors to continue work on its reactors, which are specifically designed to be highly portable, quick to deploy and effective wherever they’re deployed; remote communities and disaster areas are early targets. (newatlas)

photo: Radiant Nuclear

Techie corner

Australian engineers patent thermal block to store renewable energy
A team of engineers in Australia has patented a material designed to store thermal energy in the form of a block, which its inventors hope can be used to ease the transition away from coal-fired power.
Known as Miscibility Gaps Alloy (MGA), the bricks, made from aluminium and graphite, store energy generated from renewable sources, with the research predicting they can last about 30 years without any change in reliability.
Co-inventor of the thermal block, Erich Kisi, said his team at Australia’s University of Newcastle were working on thermionic converters, which create power through heat when they had the breakthrough idea to move into energy storage.
“The (most important) ingredients for the bricks are the aluminium particles which provide the latent heat, that melting energy that we’re talking about,” Kisi said.
“So they will melt and solidify many thousands of times during the life of the block, but remain in position. They are held in position by graphite, in this case, we have other systems but graphite is the main body.”
Each brick weighs about six kilograms and contains stored thermal energy of about one kilowatt-hour. Kisi declined to state the projected price of each block.
Kisi is now CEO of MGA Thermal, the company manufacturing these blocks, which is partnering with Switzerland’s E2S Power AG to use them as part of design technology to retrofit and repurpose coal-fired plants in Europe. (independent)