Company news

Xpeng’s IPO Went Really, Really Well
Chinese electric vehicle maker Xpeng sold more shares for more money than the company planned in its IPO, priced Wednesday evening—then opened up well above that price once trading started Thursday. It’s another sign that demand for EV stocks is still through the roof
Xpeng expected to sell 85 million American depository receipts, or ADRs, for about $12. The company ended up selling 100 million ADRs for $15 each, raising roughly $1.5 billion in the process. Xpeng picked the U.S. and New York Stock Exchange for its listing because the U.S. still offers the most “sophisticated and deepest” capital markets in the world, company President Brian Gu said in an interview.
Xpeng have launched two cars in China on a model roughly similar to Tesla’s. The tech has been built from the ground up and the cars are well specced and have pleased the critics (barrons)

photo: X-Peng

Shell partners with Innowatts for AI-powered demand forecasting
Shell Energy Europe Partners has teamed up with Innowatts to optimise its business with artificial intelligence (AI) enabled forecasting and customer-centric data analytics.
It will use the energy Software as a Service (SaaS) platform to facilitate supply management and provide additional insights into its customers’ carbon footprints to help them meet their sustainability goals.
Innowatts says its platform combines customer-centric energy analytics with insights from managing millions of meters around the world to provide accurate demand forecasts and improve power purchase efficiency. (energylivenews)

Gigafactory startup Northvolt raises US$1.6 billion in debt financing
Northvolt has now raised over US$3 billion to support its plans to become a major player in the European battery manufacturing space, including US$1.6 billion in debt financing which it announced at the end of July.
An initial 60GWh of annual output is planned across two lithium-ion battery cell factories, one in Sweden (40GWh) and another in Germany (20GWh). Northvolt has said that it is targeting the manufacture of the world’s most sustainable batteries, partly through powering factories with low cost renewable energy but also by securing 50% of its raw materials from recycled batteries. It also wants to take a 25% share of the European market by 2030. The Swedish site, Northvolt Ett, is already under construction, with production expected to begin next year, while Northvolt Zwei, in Germany, will begin operations in 2024, built as a joint venture with automaker Volkswagen. (energy-storagenews)

photo: Northvolt

UK news

Green fuel firms launch new trade body
Twelve companies have joined together to form the Renewable Transport Fuel Association (RTFA), a new trade body launched this week for producers and suppliers of greener transport fuels.
The founders include all the UK’s producers of liquid renewable fuels and the majority of those manufacturing green gas that can be used for transport. Its founding members include Associated British Foods, ABSL, Alco, Argent Energy, Calor, CNG Fuels, Ensus UK, Gasrec, Greenergy, Nova Pangea, Olleco, and Velocys.
Transport remains one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise as the UK works to deliver its 2050 net zero target, with road, rail, air travel, and shipping together responsible for around a third of the UK greenhouse gases – the biggest single source.
The RTFA will therefore work to support rapid action to decarbonise transport through the uptake of low carbon fuels such as bioethanol, biomethane, biodiesel and biopropene. (businessgreen)

Warrington Borough Council launches resident-funded green bond
Warrington Borough Council has launched a green bond that will see residents invest in the region’s renewable energy and energy storage sectors, as it works to deliver a carbon-neutral town by 2030.
Developed by Abundance, the aim of the bond is to raise £1m to help finance the region’s growing solar and battery storage sectors. Residents will be encouraged to invest in the bond with a minimum of £5.
Warrington Borough Council is currently developing two industrial-scale solar farms and a 27MW battery storage facility in partnership with Gridserve. The facilities will generate more energy than the Council consumes annually, with any generation surplus to its requirements bring sold on the open market. (edie)

Zeigo, Scottish Power and DLA Piper bid to ‘hack’ aggregated PPAs
Power Purchase Agreement platform Zeigo is launching a PPA hackathon in a bid to find novel ways of aggregating demand and enabling businesses to buy direct from renewable generators.
It wants to hear from coders keen to showcase their talent, plus energy experts, data scientists, entrepreneurs, creatives, lawyers etc.
The Ecohack event takes place 9 October in London, sponsored by Scottish Power and DLA Piper. It’s currently planned to be a physical event. Plan B is to run the hackathon virtually through Zoom with teams able to break out into their own meeting rooms. Judges will go to a physical location for the judging panel.
Those that wish to take part are invited to take part in a virtual briefing on 24 September. (theenergyst)

Hunterston nuclear power station to shut down early after reactor problems
Hunterston nuclear power station, one of the UK’s oldest remaining nuclear plants, is to close down earlier than expected next year after encountering a series of safety-critical problems in its reactors.
Industry sources have told the Guardian that EDF Energy, the state-owned French operator of Hunterston, decided at a board meeting on Thursday afternoon that it would shut the site down in 2021, at least two years earlier than planned.
The energy company had hoped to keep generating electricity from the 44-year old nuclear plant on the Firth of Clyde until 2023, after ploughing more than £200m into repairing the reactor. (guardian)

“Huge change is needed, right now”: Brewdog goes carbon negative
Brewdog has gone carbon negative, double offsetting scope 1, 2 and upstream scope 3 carbon emissions.
The firm has bought 2050 acres in the Scottish Highlands, and by 2022 will plant 1,500 acres of forest, more than a million trees, and create 550 acres of peatlands.
Brewdog is working with Prof. Mike Berners-Lee of Small World Consulting on its carbon programme, dubbed Make Earth Great Again, committing to drastically cut its footprint over the next two years and to become zero waste.
The firm’s UK brewery and broader operations are already powered by renewable energy. It also produces biomethane from malted barley by-product and said an anaerobic digester that turns its wastewater into pure water and biomethane would be operational by 2021.
Brewdog said it plans to fast track its switch to electric vehicles – with a picture of a liveried delivery van (below) that suggests it has struck a deal with UK commercial EV specialist, Arrival. (theenergyst)

photo: Brewdog

EV of the week

Hyundai step up EV efforts
Hyundai and their sister company Kia have been frustrating players in the EV revolution so far. They have developed some of the best performing EV’s as variants of their standard range (Kona Electric, Kia Niro Electric) but then failed to make them in enough volume to satisfy demand.
That seems to be changing. They have stepped up production and announced ambitious plans for a dedicated electric range called “Ionic”. First up will be the Ionic 5, which is said to look very similar to their much admired show car called the 45 (below).

photo: Hyundai


Climeworks ramps up air capture CO2 ambitions
Carbon capture pioneer Climeworks is spearheading a new project to permanently remove 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide directly from the air every year and store it deep beneath the ground in Icelandic basalt. 
The Swiss firm signed a groundbreaking agreement yesterday with carbon storage company Carbfix and geothermal energy provider ON Power that will see the three firms work together on a new plant in Iceland.
Under the agreement with ON Power, Climeworks will build the facility within the Icelandic firm’s Geothermal Park. As such, it will draw on a reliable supply of renewable geothermal energy to power Climeworks’ direct air capture technology, which will remove CO2 from the surrounding air.
The captured CO2 will then be stored by Carbfix through natural underground mineralization processes. The carbon dioxide will be injected into wells that reach down deep into Iceland’s underground basalt rock formations, which provide ideal conditions for the carbon gas to mineralize and solidify, according to the firm, providing permanent storage. (businessgreen)

Black turbine blade ‘can cut bird deaths’
Painting one blade of a wind turbine black could cut bird strikes at wind farms by up to 70%, a study suggests.
Birds colliding with the structures has long been considered to be one of the main negative impacts of onshore wind farms, the authors observed.
The RSPB welcomed the research but said the priority remained avoiding placing wind farms where there was a risk to wildlife, such as birds.
The findings have been published in the Ecology and Evolution journal.
Dr May, a senior researcher from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim, said the team were keen to test whether mitigation measures could reduce the rate of bird strikes.
Dr May said the concept of reducing the motion smear of the rotating blades was based on laboratory experiments carried out in the US at the beginning of the century. (bbc)

Focus on: Hydrogen

Blue Hydrogen

Equinor to build hydrogen plant with carbon capture in Britain
Equinor plans to build in Britain a plant to produce hydrogen from natural gas in combination with carbon capture and storage, the Norwegian oil firm said on Wednesday.
The plant, which Equinor said was the largest of such kind in the world, aims to reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 900,000 tonnes per year by replacing gas with hydrogen at the Saltend Chemicals Park near the city of Hull in north-east England.
“With our partners, we plan to transform the UK’s largest industrial cluster into its greenest cluster,” the company said in a statement.
Equinor and partners expect to make the final investment decision on the project, called H2H Saltend, during 2023 with production starting by 2026. (reuters)

Green Hydrogen

WoodMac: 2020s Will Be the ‘Decade Of Hydrogen’
Falling costs and growing project pipelines will ensure the 2020s are the “decade of hydrogen,” according to new research from Wood Mackenzie.
Over the past 10 months, the global green hydrogen project pipeline has swelled from 3.5 gigawatts to more than 15 gigawatts.
Green hydrogen is considered by many to be a vital component of any credible net-zero carbon plan, and it can be used to decarbonize a number of industrial processes and heavy transport. (Check out GTM’s green hydrogen explainer here.)
As it stands, blue and gray hydrogen derived from fossil fuels are cheaper than using renewable-energy-powered electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen from water. But green hydrogen is drawing increasing interest from oil majors and utilities alike, from Shell to NextEra Energy. And Wood Mackenzie’s research indicates that the cost of green hydrogen will fall by 64 percent by 2040 as the market scales up. (gtm)

Eco Geothermal powered house

Geothermal-powered timber home glows by an Austrian lake
Locally procured materials and energy-efficient building systems make up the Wohnhaus am Eichenberg (Residence on the Eichenberg), a contemporary timber home designed by Austrian architecture firm Berktold Weber Architekten in 2019. Built into the mountainside in the Austrian village of Eichenberg, the home opens up to breathtaking views of Lake Constance. At night, the house’s wraparound full-height glazing glows like a lantern thanks to the atmospheric Nimbus LED luminaires that complement the minimalist natural material palette.
Designed with flexibility in mind, the Wohnhaus am Eichenberg comprises two floors with separate entrances, allowing the home to take on different uses in the future. For example, the lower level can function as a separate apartment or an office. Both levels of the house use locally sourced silver fir cladding, exposed concrete and natural Schwarzachtobler stone. The pared-back material palette gives the home a clean, crisp appearance. This minimalist design ensures that the surrounding mountain landscape remains the main visual focus.
Locally sourced timber accents continue inside the home, with warm-hued wood floors, walls and ceilings creating a seamless indoor/outdoor visual experience. Midcentury modern furnishings punctuate the living spaces, alongside Nimbus’s minimalist LED fixtures. These fixtures, praised for their “discreet appearance, good technical qualities, consistent design and versatility,” provide the home with a warm glow. The interior also features geothermal-powered underfloor heating and ventilation with heat recovery. (inhabitat)

photo: Berktold Weber Architekten

Global stuff

Ellen MacArthur Foundation launches Plastics Pact in US
Mars, Unilever and Kimberly-Clark are among the 60+ organisations to have committed to the new US version of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact, which aims to create a fully circular economy for plastics.
The new Pact builds on similar initiatives in the UK, Chile, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and South Africa
The US offshoot of the Pact launched late on Tuesday (25 August) and is believed to be the only cross-sector commitment of its kind in North America. It has garnered the support of more than 60 organisations, including corporates, trade bodies, NGOs, investors and academic institutions.
As with the other national Plastics Pacts overseen by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the commitment binds signatories to achieve four key commitments by 2025: eliminating all single-use plastics packaging which is problematic or unnecessary; ensuring that all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable; ensuring that 50% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled or composted and reaching 30% recycled or responsibly sourced, bio-based content in packaging. (edie)

Hanwha’s Groundbreaking Power Plant Shows How Hydrogen Can Fuel a ‘Circular Economy’
In 2018, the market for hydrogen-fuel-cell power reached USD 865.1 million. The market is expected to rise sharply and reach USD 49.12 billion by 2026.
With so much potential for growth in the hydrogen power market, Hanwha Energy – a comprehensive-energy-solutions company – is now diversifying its product portfolio by constructing and operating hydrogen-fuel-cell power plants.
Hanwha Energy’s hydrogen-fuel-cell power plant at the Daesan Industrial Complex in Seosan, Korea, came online in July of 2020. The plant contains 114 fuel cells and can generate up to 400,000 MWh of electricity per year, making it the world’s largest industrial hydrogen-fuel-cell power plant. It is also the first to only use hydrogen recycled from chemical manufacturing, with the fuel being provided by the neighboring Hanwha Total Petrochemical production facility.
The synergy between Hanwha Energy’s hydrogen-fuel-cell power plant and Hanwha Total Petrochemical is a prime example of the circular economy in action, wherein the consumption of precious resources is reduced through the reuse and recycling. (fuelcellworks)

Africa’s First Electric Bus Plant Will Industrialize Uganda While Fighting Pollution
The road from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, to Jinja, the site of Africa’s first electric bus factory, was packed with cars on a July morning. The traffic crawled. Breathing hurt your throat. Kampala was the most polluted city in the world that day, according to OpenAQ, a global air pollution tracker, and much of that was due to vehicle fumes. The journey was a lesson in why it’s so necessary—and also so challenging—to move the continent’s vehicles away from gasoline and diesel.
State-owned Kiira Motors Corp. plans to have an initial manufacturing capacity of 5,000 vehicles per year, including buses, starting in July 2021. The company will be selling the buses to private and public companies that operate transport routes in and around Kampala, so its prices will need to be competitive enough to compete with other providers selling fossil fuel vehicles to the same clients. Kiira says it has not signed any contracts yet, but is in talks with several clients. (Bloomberg)

First underwater methane leak discovered near Antarctica
Just below the freezing Antarctic ice shelves, researchers have discovered a gas leak that could change the region’s climate destiny.
For the first time, scientists have detected an active leak of methane gas — a greenhouse gas with 25 times more climate-warming potential than carbon dioxide — in Antarctic waters. While underwater methane leaks have been detected previously all over the world, hungry microbes help keep that leakage in check by gobbling up the gas before too much can escape into the atmosphere. But according to a study published July 22 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, that does not seem to be the case in Antarctica.
The study authors found that methane-eating microbes took roughly five years to respond to the Antarctic leak, and even then they did not consume the gas completely. According to lead study author Andrew Thurber, the underwater leak almost certainly sent methane gas seeping into the atmosphere in those five years — a phenomenon that current climate models do not account for when predicting the extent of future atmospheric warming. (livescience)