Quick reminder to the Government: Cop26 is only 9 months away. The Budget was an obvious opportunity to bang the drum and show off new carbon abatement strategies, but it hardly demonstrated any strategies at all. Disappointing.

Company news

UBS analyst gives thumbs up to VW ID.3 – compares well with Tesla
A teardown of Volkswagen AG’s first dedicated electric vehicle found it measures up favourably to Tesla Inc. models in several key aspects, sending the German carmaker’s shares to levels last seen before its diesel emissions scandal.
The deep dive into the ID.3 by UBS Group AG analysts found the platform underpinning VW’s EV models will be fully cost competitive with Tesla and boast best-in-class energy density and efficiency. Analysts led by Patrick Hummel called the car “the most credible EV effort by any legacy auto company so far.”
VW common shares climbed as much as 5.6% to 209 euros, the highest intraday since July 2015, the month that eventual Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess joined the company from BMW AG. UBS raised its price target to 300 euros. (bloomberg)

UK news

Fossil fuel cars make ‘hundreds of times’ more waste than electric cars
Fossil fuel cars waste hundreds of times more raw material than their battery electric equivalents, according to a study that adds to evidence that the move away from petrol and diesel cars will bring large net environmental benefits.
Only about 30kg of raw material will be lost over the lifecycle of a lithium ion battery used in electric cars once recycling is taken into account, compared with 17,000 litres of oil, according to analysis by Transport & Environment (T&E) seen by the Guardian. A calculation of the resources used to make cars relative to their weight shows it is at least 300 times greater for oil-fuelled cars.
The campaign group said battery electric vehicles were superior to their petrol and diesel counterparts across raw material demand, energy efficiency or cost – as well as eliminating exhaust emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases.
The accelerating move to electric vehicles will entail environmental costs. Higher battery production will require more mining of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.
However, T&E argued that the cost of oil extraction for fuel represents a much greater environmental toll. The report pointed to a “double standard” used when assessing the relative merits of electric and fossil fuel vehicles, which takes the use of oil for granted. (guardian)

New project launches to ensure more electric machines doesn’t mean more landfill
A new sustainability project is developing circular solutions to ensure the drive for electric machines does not lead to an increase in end-of-life parts ending up in landfill.
The project is being led by the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and is being funded by Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM), with the partners claiming it is the first of its kind.
Its main aim is to create a more sustainable lifecycle for electrical machines, adopting a circular economy approach to keep materials in use and avoid unnecessary pollution.
The AFRC states that currently, most parts needed to create electric machines such as electric vehicles (EVs), do not have processing methods in place for when they are no longer usable and are therefore sent to landfill. (futurenetzero)

Octopus extends reach of Electric Juice Network with Ionity tie-up
Octopus Energy announced this week it has significantly expanded its roaming EV charging service, the Electric Juice Network (EJN), after signing up German charging network IONITY. The addition means the charge network will for the first time offer drivers access to charge points outside of the UK, while also adding a range of 350kW ultra-rapid chargers to the service.
Octopus said high-powered chargers had been requested by customers and would benefit customers travelling long distances. IONITY’s ultra-rapid chargers can charge an EV with a 50kWh battery – such as a standard range Tesla Model 3 – from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, in less than 10 minutes, it explained.
IONITY, which has 13 charging locations in the UK but more than 335 across 24 countries on mainland Europe, follows charge point operators Char.gy, Hubsta, Franklin Energy LiFe, Alfa Power, Plug-N-Go, and Osprey, in joining the EJN, which allows drivers to use charge points from a number of operators, with all costs charged through their Octopus Energy bill. (businessgreen)

Utility Team launches ‘gamechanging’ energy efficiency software
Utility Team has launched new software that helps businesses reduce the energy consumption of chiller cooling systems.
Tests of the Automated Response Command (ARC) energy efficiency technology have shown the software can deliver reductions in electrical energy usage of between 8% and 20%.
The software optimises the compressor operations of chiller cooling systems by monitoring plant output, total energy consumption and common header temperatures.
The installation of ARC at the Ricoh Arena for Wasps Rugby has already delivered a 14% reduction in energy consumption. (energylivenews)

EV of the week

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ completes taxi testing
Rolls-Royce has successfully completed the taxiing of its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft, the latest milestone on its way to becoming the world’s fastest all-electric plane. (Earlier post.) The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL, short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight”. The ACCEL project team includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight.
For the first time, the plane powered along a runway propelled by its 500 hp (400 kW) electric powertrain and the latest energy storage technology developed to set world speed records and enable a new generation of urban air mobility concepts.
The taxiing of the plane is a critical test of the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, ahead of actual flight-testing. The first flight is planned for the Spring and when at full power the combination of electrical powertrain and advanced battery system will power the aircraft to more than 300 mph, setting a new world speed record for electric flight. (greencarcongress)

photo: Rolls Royce

Goldman Sachs lower battery cost estimates
Azeem Azar writes an excellent an excellent newsletter called Exponential View , which explores, well, just about everything; politics, technology, humanities, environment. Thanks to EV (the newsletter) for highlighting that Goldman’s have adjusted down again their forecast for battery prices $75 per kWH for 2030 and $58 per kWh for 2040. These estimates are ten dollars cheaper than previous calculations. (via Reilly Brennan)

photo: Goldman Sachs


Yara looks to take green ammonia a giant step forward
Yara is among the biggest ammonia producers in the world as well as the biggest ammonia shipper in the world, so its move into the green ammonia space will have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of the ammonia industry, with a ripple effect on agriculture and other sectors.
Back in 2017, Yara came up with the idea of a building a ship to run on ammonia fuel. At the time the assumption was that the ammonia would come from conventional sources, but now that the ship is ready to ply the waters, it looks like Yara had green ammonia up its sleeve all along.
Last week, Yara joined with the Norwegian utility Statkraft and the firm Aker Horizons for a plan to produce green ammonia at commercial scale, by deploying hydropower to electrify an existing Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn. (cleantechnica)

photo: Yara

Focus on: The UK’s Green Budget

Budget not very Green at all
There was an unusual consensus amongst the press commentary on the budget, which makes my job easy: From the Guardian to the Sun via the Telegraph, Mail, Politico and Times they all felt that the opportunity to lead a Green recovery was missed. They all criticised a lack of long term strategy and mostly all made the same points: No mention of a strategy for carbon reduction in the housing sector, a feeble attempt at a national infrastructure fund and a retrograde step in maintaining the freeze on fuel duty. In mitigation on the last point, it was suggested that this is the last time that fuel duty is frozen. Here is the Sun’s take…

Ministers blasted for ‘still having no plan’ for how to get UK to zero carbon emissions by 2050
Ministers still have no plan for how to get to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, despite setting the target in law nearly two years ago, MPs said last night.
They were accused of making “big promises full of fine words that won’t stand up”.
It comes as Britain prepares to host the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow later this year.
But MPs said that “at present, there is no coordinated plan” with clear milestones towards achieving the target.
Ministers have promised a series of strategies this year on how it will slash UK emissions to save the planet – with a Net Zero strategy, new plans for building homes and how to make the nation’s transport greener.
But everyday Brits are still in the dark about what the plans mean for them and what they’ll have to do.
Up to two thirds of the slashing of emissions will come from consumer choices – like replacing boilers or buying an eco-friendly electric car.
Labour MP Meg Hillier, chair of the the public accounts committee, said: “Government has set itself a huge test — but there is little sign that it understands how to get there.
“And almost two years later, it still has no plan
“We must see a clear path plotted, with interim goals set and reached. (thesun)

Eco – upcycled container

The Gaia off-grid container house has a custom rooftop wind turbine
Made using an upcycled, discarded shipping container and featuring its own personal wind turbine, three solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system, the Gaia off-grid container house embodies self sufficiency. The architects at Pin-Up Houses, who are responsible for the project, said that they were inspired to find alternative forms of housing with less environmental impact.
Thanks to its off-grid technology, the Gaia is a completely independent housing unit. The prototype requires no external sources of energy or water, so you can live comfortably pretty much anywhere. The home harnesses the power of the wind and sun directly into an external battery that generates the home’s refrigerator, water heater and other appliances. A higher voltage of 110 to 230 can be added with a high voltage inverter. (inhabitat)

photo: Pin-Up Houses

Global stuff

Debt Engineers Tackle Climate Change With Bonds to Rewild Land
For green finance enthusiasts, a new flavor of debt could emerge this year — nature bonds.
Sales of green bonds — which typically raise money for clean energy projects — are expected to grow by a third this year to record levels, as governments and companies look to capitalize on booming demand at the same time as bolstering their image. Yet academics and activists say this alone isn’t enough to save the planet.
They’re lobbying for securities that more explicitly protect the natural world — and are likely to get a hearing from policy makers when the United Nations meets in coming months to discuss biodiversity and climate change. Those issues are climbing up the agenda as governments decide how to spend trillions to recover from the virus. (bloomberg)

Honda, Yamaha, KTM, & Vespa Agree To Universal Electric Motorcycle Battery Standard
The electric car industry did not help itself in the early days by adopting a number of competing charging standards. Noting this cautionary tale it should not be totally surprising to hear that the major motorcycle players have all agreed to a single, shared EV battery standard for their upcoming electric models.
The four majors seem to coming down in favour of a standardised, swappable battery to address a balance of convenience, range and charging times.
The final product is expected to superficially resemble the Gogoro solution currently being rolled out in Taiwan, but will likely be a development on Honda’s own technology, first shown at the 2018 CES trade show. Back then, Honda showed not just a motorcycle being powered by its swappable batteries — an electric version of its PCX scooter line — but an electric side-by-side utility vehicle (UTV) as well. (cleantechnica)

Techie corner

Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates Bet on Electric Motor Startup
As much as half of the world’s electricity is consumed by motors. They power everything from fans to electric cars and pumps to industrial machinery. Making them more efficient could go a long way in reducing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.
That’s the promise of California-based startup Turntide Technologies Inc., which has commercialized a new type of electric motor. The company said on Wednesday it has raised $80 million from investors including a fund led by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr., and co-creator of the iPhone Tony Fadell.
In conventional motors, much of the magnetic field is wasted and doesn’t contribute to turning the rotor. Turntide has found a way to try and maximize that conversion by turning the magnets inside the motor on and off as often as 20,000 times a second. When the process works correctly, the motor can produce the same amount of work with up to 30% less electricity. (bloomberg)

photo: Turntide Technologies Inc.