Titbits is very much in touch with this week’s political zeitgeist: praising Chinese architects and criticising the new coal investments.

UK news

Wrightbus to get £11.2m for hydrogen-fuel technology
The Ballymena-based bus manufacturer, Wrightbus, is to receive £11.2m from the government to develop hydrogen-fuel technology.
It is one of three UK firms to be awarded funding, with the government believing the £54m package will secure 10,000 UK jobs.
Wrightbus had increased its workforce in January, ahead of expected demand for its hydrogen-powered buses.
This public money will be used to manufacture low-cost hydrogen-fuel cell technology for buses at its Ballymena site.
Translink had already ordered zero and low emission vehicles from the manufacturer. (bbc)

photo: Wrightbus

Abundance and NGN launch green bond for hydrogen heating
The funding will support Northern Gas Network’s programme to upgrade its pipelines to make the gas distribution network hydrogen-ready and reduce carbon emissions.
Three quarters of its pipework has already been upgraded from metallic mains to polyethylene and the investment will help replace a further 2,900km by 2026. (futurenetzero)

Hywind Scotland remains UK’s ‘best performing’ offshore wind farm
Hywind Scotland, the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, has reached the “highest average capacity factor” for any wind farm in the UK for the third consecutive year.
Developer Equinor says the floating offshore wind farm set a new record in the UK, with an average capacity factor of 57.1% in the 12 months to March 2020.
During its first two years of operation, Hywind Scotland achieved an average capacity factor of 54%, in comparison to an offshore wind average in the UK of around 40%. (energylivenews)

photo: equinor

EV of the week

Nobe channels retro chic in lightweight package
This is the first oddity for a while. Nobe was conceived and designed in Estonia and then the business moved to the US. The concept is a fun lightweight package in a timeless three wheel package (think Morgan). They have the looks spot on and being so light should help it perform well with talk of 180 mile range.
What I don’t understand is the marketing plan. The video on the website makes it out as a rough and tumble roadster (HERE) but the plan is to sell it initially B2B as a courtesy car for luxury hotels which sounds weird. Also not sure how the manufacture is being funded either but I hope they will be able to answer all the questions because it deserves to succeed on looks alone

photo: Nobe


Vattenfall and Siemens Energy to provide heat pump for Berlin
The Qwark project is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of its 7th Energy Research Program: The aim of the pilot project is to establish robust claims regarding the technical and economic potential of generating heat using large-scale and high-temperature heat pumps.
Since 1997, the cooling plant on Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz has been reliably supplying locally and efficiently generated cooling power to some 12,000 offices, 1,000 housing units, and numerous cultural facilities in the vicinity. This has previously generated unused waste heat, which has been dissipated into the surrounding air via cooling towers. Putting a new high-temperature heat pump into operation, however, will provide a more environmentally friendly way of linking heating, cooling, and electricity in the future.
The new technology turns waste heat into a usable product, improving the energy-efficiency of the cooling power generation process while providing the urban district in Berlin with green heat from renewable electricity. The use of the heat pump will substantially reduce the amount of heat being dissipated into the environment and provide additional heat for the district heating network, amounting to about 55 GWh per year, with an estimated annual saving of about 6,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions and 120,000 m³ of cooling water. (renewableenergymagazine)

photo: Siemens Energy

Denmark unveils Hesselo subsidy regime
The Danish government and the parties to the Climate Agreement for Energy and Industry have reached agreement on the subsidy scheme for the up to 1200MW Hesselo offshore wind farm.
Hesselo will be offered a 20-year period of risk sharing between the Danish State and the concession owner in accordance with the two-way Contract-for-Difference (CfD) model, the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) said.
“The CfD-model gives the concession owner certainty for the investment in the long run, but places more short-term risk by exposing the concession owner to market signals,” DEA said.
The price premium will be calculated as the difference between the offered bid price and a reference price, which consists of the average electricity prices in the previous calendar year. (renews)

Eco: Chinese tourist village

Hangzhou architects introduce “Targeted Poverty Alleviation” Project
In the misty tea terraces of southwest China, Hangzhou-based architecture practice gad · line+ studio has recently completed an eco-sensitive redevelopment project to help a rural village attract tourism revenue. Commissioned by major Chinese property developer Sunac and the Youcheng Foundation of the State Council Poverty Alleviation Office, the “targeted poverty alleviation” project included 2,400 square meters of renovation, new construction and landscape beautification to transform Guizhou’s rural Longtang village into a cultural destination with guesthouses, a new theater and other amenities. Prefabricated construction, locally sourced natural materials and solar panels were used to reduce the project’s environmental footprint. (inhabitat)

photo: Gad Line + Sudio

Global stuff

Moltex receives $50.5m from government of Canada for small modular reactor
Moltex Energy has received $50.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to advance its project to design and commercialise a molten salt reactor and spent fuel recycling facility.
Moltex plans to build the world’s first 300MW Stable Salt Reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W) and WAste To Stable Salt (WATSS) facility at the Point Lepreau Generating Station site in Saint John, New Brunswick and provide carbon-free electricity to the grid by the early 2030s. (theenergyst)

photo: Moltex

China is building large numbers of coal-fired power plants to drive its post-pandemic economy.
The government has promised a CO2 emissions peak by 2030, but the new coal binge jeopardizes both China’s decarbonization plans and global efforts to tackle climate change.
During the National People’s Congress, air pollution returned to Beijing with a vengeance, hitting the highest levels since January 2019, as the economy hummed out of the pandemic. Steel, cement, and heavy manufacturing, predominantly backed by coal power, boosted China’s carbon dioxide emissions 4 percent in the second half of 2020 compared to the same pre-pandemic period the year before. At the same time, the goals in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan on energy intensity, carbon intensity, and renewables were hazy as well, little more than vague commitments to tackle carbon dioxide emissions.
A total of 247 gigawatts of coal power is now in planning or development, nearly six times Germany’s entire coal-fired capacity. China has also proposed additional new coal plants that, if built, would generate 73.5 gigawatts of power, more than five times the 13.9 gigawatts proposed in the rest of the world combined. Last year, Chinese provinces granted construction approval to 47 gigawatts of coal power projects, more than three times the capacity permitted in 2019. (yale360)

Techie corner

Spanish firm pioneers bladeless wind turbines
Created by startup Vortex Bladeless, the 3m-high cylindrical turbines are designed to oscillate within the wind range, generating electricity from the vibration.
The bladeless design recently won the approval of Norway’s state energy company Equinor, which named Vortex on a list of the 10 most exciting startups in the energy sector. It will also offer the firm development support through its tech accelerator programme.
Vortex Bladeless inventor David Yáñez told The Guardian that the firm is “not against traditional windfarms” but its technology “has different characteristics which can help to fill the gaps where traditional windfarms might not be appropriate”.
This could include urban and residential areas where there is limited space to build traditional windfarms and where reduced visual impact would be welcome. According to Yáñez the main benefit of the technology is “in reducing its environmental impact, its visual impact, and the cost of operating and maintaining the turbine”. (newcivilengineer)

photo: Vortex