I seem to have run into a lot of sea related news this week, possibly driven by the controversial documentary on Netflix called Seaspiracy. I haven’t seen it yet but it has stirred up strong emotions. George Monbiot and others have praised it for pointing the finger towards the real mass killers of the sea, namely the industrial fishing industry. Others believe the film to be one eyed and to play fast and loose with many facts. Titbits has kept its ocean related features in less contrversial waters.

Company news

Shell invests in US sustainable aviation fuel start-up LanzaJet
The investment comes as the start-up continues its work to develop the first Alcohol-to-Jet (AtJ) facility of its kind, a commercial-scale plant with 10 million gallons per year capacity, in Soperton, Georgia.
The LanzaJet process can use any source of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel production, including ethanol made from recycled pollution, the core application fo LanzaTech’s carbon recycling platform
Its technology is said to be uniquely able to produce up to 90% of its fuels as SAF, with the remaining 10% as renewable diesel.
The AtJ will be blended with conventional fossil jet fuel and be supplied to airports through the existing supply routes. (futurenetzero)

UK news

Centrica begins heat pump project to improve efficiency of social housing stock
The first installs have been completed as part of an ambitious national low carbon heating scheme, being delivered by Centrica for leading social landlord, Sanctuary Housing.
Between now and the end of October, nearly 600 properties across the North, North West, Midlands, East and South West will have their existing heating systems replaced with low carbon alternatives.
Each property will be fitted with an air source heat pump, complete with a smart cylinder, intelligent heating control, new radiators, and pipework. The exact specification will be tailored to suit a variety of one, two, three and four-bedroom homes, with the aim of bringing them all up to an EPC rating of C or above. (futurenetzero)

Cruachan upgrade cuts greenhouse gas leak risk
Siemens and  Drax Group have upgraded 30-year old switchgear at the  Cruachan pumped storage plant, including the UK’s first installation of circuit breakers that do not depend on sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) gas.
SF6 gas has  been used in circuit breakers due to its good insulation capabilities, but is a greenhouse gas Siemens’ breakers use vacuum technology instead, so there is no risk of gas leakages and no need for specialist maintenance. They should allow for up to ten years of maintenance-free operation at Cruachan.
The generator circuit breakers were installed after being transported through a narrow, one-kilometre long tunnel that leads deep into Ben Cruachan mountain. The work had to take place over the course of two years during planned maintenance downtime. (newpower)

photo: Drax

Surfers Against Sewage launches long-term plastic waste clean-up
The public is being urged to clear plastic and litter from their local beaches, rivers and parks as part of a million-mile clean-up to mark the emergence from lockdown.
Surfers Against Sewage, which is launching the scheme, said it wanted to reconnect people with nature and help promote physical and mental wellbeing.
More than half of British people think plastic waste has increased during the coronavirus lockdown, according to research commissioned by the surfers’ environmental charity.
The initiative will last throughout the UN Decade of Ocean Science, delivering a million miles a year – 10m by 2030 – and aligning with SAS’s 10-year ambition of ending plastic pollution on UK beaches by 2030. (guardian)
Learn more HERE

photo: Surfers against sewage

EV of the week

Munro Mark 1 – Scottish no-frills offroad EV for the thrifty farmer
A Scottish startup called All Terrain All Electric (ATAE) believe that they have identified a niche in the market for a no-frills electric workhorse which can replace the venerable Land Rover Defender. Currently farmers and others who use a Defender and want to go electric are faced with the choice of Bollinger B1, Rivian or Hummer EV, plus a few others, all of which will make a major dent in the farm balance sheet.
ATAE have announced that they will launch next year the Munro Mark 1, a chunky electric off roader made from others’ parts bins. The result is a 4×4 with a 52kWh battery pack and a permanent-magnet AC motor with 212bhp and 350Nm of torque which, under normal driving conditions provides a maximum range of 150 miles. The core vehicle is very basic but has a lengthy options list (even six wheels).
Could be a big hit in the Highlands and on the Kings Road.

photo: Munroe Motors


Vattenfall builds underground rock cave for hydrogen storage
Swedish renewable energy company Vattenfall, steel firm SSAB and mining group LKAB have started building an underground rock cavern storage facility for ‘fossil-free’ hydrogen gas in Sweden.
The 100 cubic metre hydrogen storage, which is expected to be operational from next year, is being built in a rock cave approximately 30 metres below ground.
The so-called HYBRIT project aims to decarbonise iron and steel production and create a completely ‘fossil-free’ value chain from mine to finished steel.
Partners expect hydrogen will play an important role in the production of ‘fossil-free’ iron and steel and could replace coal and coke. (energylivenews)

Floating solar project in Albania granted €9.1m loan
A €9.1 million loan has been granted to support the development of a floating solar farm with a total capacity of 12.9MW in Albania and the Western Balkans.
State-owned utility KESH will build the solar farm on the Vau i Dejës hydropower plant reservoir, using Albania’s solar resources while avoiding the use of scarce land.
The company owns and operates three large hydropower plants with a total capacity of 1,350MW that account for around 70% of Albania’s domestic generation.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is providing the loan, believes the new solar plant will contribute to making KESH more resilient to climate-induced risks and has the potential to be replicated in the broader Western Balkans region, which has many hydropower reservoirs. (energylivenews)

Photo: EBRD

In Europe, a Backlash Is Growing Over Incinerating Garbage
For decades, Europe has poured millions of tons of its trash into incinerators each year, often under the green-sounding label “waste to energy.” Now, concerns about incineration’s outsized carbon footprint and fears it may undermine recycling are prompting European Union officials to ease their long-standing embrace of a technology that once seemed like an appealing way to make waste disappear.
The EU is in the process of cutting off funding for new incinerators, but there’s little sign most existing ones —currently consuming 27 percent of the bloc’s municipal waste — will close any time soon. And, even without EU financial support, new plants are in the works, many in southern and eastern European countries that have historically incinerated less than long-standing waste-to-energy proponents such as Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian nations. Meanwhile, across the English Channel, post-Brexit Britain is charging ahead with proposals for dozens of new garbage-burning projects.
Without a more decisive change of course, critics argue, that adds up to an existential threat both to Europe’s promise to slash carbon emissions to net-zero by midcentury and its dreams of a “circular economy” in which reuse and recycling largely take the place of waste disposal. (yale360)

Focus on: Utility scale battery market gets lively

ILI Group announces sale of 50MW utility-scale battery project
ILI Energy have sold a consented 50MW utility scale battery site to Abbey Group and Yoo Energy, a consortium who were early players in energy storage.
The market for storage is very active right now for reasons described by Yoo Energy:
“As the critical roll out of more intermittent renewable generation continues (solar and wind power), volatility in the power markets naturally increases. With an expected year on year increase in volatility in the region of 1-3%, the roll out of the UK’s battery fleet is a critical support to allow the National Grid to keep the lights on and the price of power low.” (yooenergy press release)

Zenobe plots ‘pioneering’ 100MW battery project near Chester
Zenobe Energy has announced plans for a “pioneering” 100MW battery storage project in north-west England, which it claims will be the largest of its kind in Europe once up and running next year.
Situated in Capenhurst near Ellesmere Port, the battery system is sheduled to be operational from April 2022, providing the Merseyside area with a reliable reactive power source while at the same time supplying active power services, the energy storage start-up announced earlier this week.
Zenobe claimed the project would be first in the world to absorb reactive power directly from the grid and could pave the way for other storage plants in the UK critical to balancing an power grid increasingly dominated by intermittent renewables such as wind and solar. (businessgreen)

photo: Zenobe Energy

Global stuff

UPS invests in electric aircraft for zero-emission deliveries
UPS and its Flight Forward subsidiary have confirmed plans to purchase electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft from Beta Technologies (BETA). The aircraft can charge in up to an hour and produce zero operational emissions provided they are charged using renewable electricity.
The aircraft have a 1,400-pound cargo capacity and will enable the delivery of healthcare equipment and items for small and medium-sized businesses that would otherwise fly on small, fixed-wing aircraft.
The BETA models will take off and land at UPS facilities and have a 250-mile range while reaching speeds up to 170 miles per hour. UPS believes the aircraft will enable multiple short routes or one long route to be planned on a single charge.
The first ten BETA aircraft are scheduled to begin arriving in 2024, with an option to purchase up to 150 in total. (edie)

photo: UPS

Scientists warn bitcoin mining poses a threat to China’s climate targets
Published by the journal Nature Communications, the report also suggests Chinese cryptocurrency mining could generate 130.50 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions by 2024.
Analysts from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, Cornell University and the University of Surrey note internationally, this carbon footprint would exceed the total annual greenhouse gas emission output of the Czech Republic and Qatar.
The research suggests as of April last year, China accounted for more than 75% of the global Bitcoin blockchain operation.
Bitcoin miners tend to choose some rural areas in China due to the cheaper electricity prices and undeveloped land to build the servers. (energylivenews)

Techie corner

UK launches world’s largest ocean monitoring system featuring BRUVS
The U.K. government, under the Blue Belt program, has announced its plan to install underwater camera rigs for monitoring ocean wildlife in its overseas territories. The entire project will be funded by the U.K., making it the largest ocean monitoring system in the world. The Blue Belt program covers over 4 million square kilometers of ocean space, which the U.K. government has pledged to protect.
Today, only 7.65% of oceans are categorized as protected areas. Unfortunately, most projects that target ocean wildlife protection only focus on major landmarks. According to Jessica Meeuwig, a professor at the University of Western Australia and co-creator of Blue Abacus, the project shifts attention from major landmarks to other areas of the ocean. Blue Abacus is a project partner and helped develop the technology known as Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS), which will be used to monitor marine life. (inhabitat)