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One has to admire the Climate Change Committee. They are not afraid to apply a cattle prod to the posterior of this lackadaisical government

Company news

Drax joins with Bechtel to seek bioenergy CCS projects
Drax has joined with engineering, construction and project management company Bechtel to identify opportunities to construct new ‘bioenergy with carbon capture and storage’ power plants globally.
Bechtel said it will focus its study on “strategically important regions” including North America and Western Europe, as well as reviewing how to optimize the design of a BECCS plant to maximise efficiency, performance and cost.
As well as Drax Power Station, which has been converted to use biomass instead of coal, Drax owns or has interests in 17 pellet mills in the US South and Western Canada which manufacture 4.9Mt of compressed wood pellets (biomass) a year. The mills supply around 20% of the biomass used at Drax.
The companies will also work together to identify how the design of a new-build BECCS plant can be optimised using new technology and best practice in engineering design. (newpower)

Gravitricity raise £2m on Crowdcube
Congratulations to Gravitricity, the Edinburgh based energy storage company. They have raised £2,125,466 on Crowdcube, 283% of their target. The company has designed an innovative gravity driven energy storage system, that will operate in disused mineshafts.
This raise should easily allow them to finish the work on their concept rig working in Leith and to allow them to design the prototype to go in the first mine.

photo: Gravitricity

UK news

UK’s National Infrastructure Bank launches
The NIB was first announced by Sunak at the 2020 Spending Review. It is designed to support major infrastructure projects, replacing the role that the European Investment Bank (EIB) played before Brexit and assisting with the delivery of the National Infrastructure Strategy. That Strategy was updated in November 2020, with the UK’s 2050 net-zero target and impact of Covid-19 on the economy in mind.
Based in Leeds, the NIB is being launched today on an interim basis. It will have £22bn of financial capacity in the first instance; £10bn of government guarantees, £5bn of equity and £7bn of debt. It has a target to help unlock at least £40bn of investment from the private sector.
Green groups have repeatedly been asking for more information on how, exactly, the NIB will support the UK’s net-zero transition and be prevented from supporting projects that are not aligned with this long-term, legally binding climate vision. (edie)

UK in talks to build battery ‘gigafactories’ for electric cars
The UK government has held talks with six manufacturers about building “gigafactory” electric car battery plants as part of its efforts to improve the prospects of the British automotive industry.
The US carmaker Ford and the Korean electronics conglomerates LG and Samsung are among the companies that have had early-stage discussions with the government or local authorities, it is understood.
They add to talks over possible investment by the Japanese carmaker Nissan, as well as two efforts by smaller startups, InoBat and Britishvolt.
Attracting investment has so far proven difficult. Britishvolt is the only company that has made public its plans to open a UK battery factory, in Blyth, Northumberland, but it must still raise enough capital to build the plant as well as finding customers. (guardian)

Council chooses Renault vans for ‘try before you buy’ EV initiative
Kent County Council has taken delivery of 20 Renault Kangoo E-Tech and four Zoe vans for a new scheme in which local businesses can enjoy a free trial of one of the EVs for up two months.
Highways England has provided £1.5 million funding for the two-year Kent Realising Electric Vans Scheme (REVS) initiative, with the eventual aim that there will be a fleet of 48 EVs available for trial.
As part of the funding Commercial Services Kent Ltd (CSKL), who are operating the programme, have installed new charge points at its operating bases in New Hythe and Kings Hill, with a further 10 rapid chargers planned for other publicly accessible locations across the county.
The launch of Kent REVS follows the successful implementation of a similar scheme by Leeds City Council in 2020, which was also funded by Highways England and features 20 Renault Kangoo E-Tech vans. (theenergyst)

photo: REVS

Insects to turn food waste into animal feed
Cambridge-based business Better Origin has developed a product that it claims uses insects to ‘naturally convert’ food waste into animal feed.
Although it claims the conversion to be natural, the technology harnesses the power of AI and is fully autonomous. The product functions by feeding the food waste to insects, which are then used by farmers to feed their livestock.
The human population is forecast to surpass nine billion by 2050, with food production needing to increase by 70% to increase demand. Better Origin argues that its solution to food waste promotes a circular food system; with waste being consumed by insects to then feed animals, increasing the food supply to humans in a sustainable way.
It has also stated its AI tech prevents the need to import animal feed and will help the agriculture sector reach net zero. (energylivenews)

EV of the week

BeachBot aims to keep beaches clean
BeachBot is a garbage-collecting rover that picks up small litter like cigarette butts, single-use cutlery or plastic bottle caps from beaches. Creators Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos sought the help of students at University of Technology Delft in the Netherlands to develop an algorithm which teaches the robot to distinguish between types of trash.
A BeachBot prototype has been deployed in several locations in the Netherlands and the two entrepreneurs say they’re ready to move toward launching the product. The next challenge is to find the right business model to ensure BeachBot doesn’t just clean, but also educates the public and changes behaviours. (gcaptain)


Multi-Turbine Floater Unveiled
A new floating wind system using multiple 1 MW turbines has been unveiled by a Norwegian company which said this floating wind technology could produce electricity at fixed-bottom prices.
Wind Catching Systems, majority owned by Ferd and North Energy, has entered into cooperation with Aibel as the main contractor to commercialise the new floating wind system on whose development the two companies are also working with the Institute for Energy Technology.
According to the developer, the technology – which will have a design life of 50 years – can cut acreage use by more than 80 per cent, significantly increase efficiency in comparison to conventional floating offshore wind farms, and will cost substantially less to maintain than today’s floating offshore wind solutions. (offshorewind)

photo: Wind Catching Systems

Norwegian Arctic Oil Drilling Targeted by Campaigners in New Legal Action
Climate campaigners are again taking Europe’s second largest oil and gas producer to court over the climate impacts of fossil fuel extraction in the Arctic, after a previous attempt failed at the country’s Supreme Court in December.
Six climate activists, alongside Greenpeace Nordic and Young Friends of the Earth Norway, have filed an application at the European Court of Human Rights claiming the Norwegian government’s approval of new licences for offshore oil drilling in the fragile Arctic region violates their human rights.
In 2016, the Norwegian government awarded 10 oil and gas licences in the Barents Sea to companies including US oil majors ConocoPhillips and Chevron. (desmog)

Focus on: CCC Report “Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk”

The 2021 Climate Change Committee report assesses how the UK has progressed since the last report five years ago. The conclusion is that the country is failing to keep pace with the impacts of a warming climate. They give examples that in five years 570,000 homes have been built that are not resilient to future higher temperatures.

Carbon Brief, as usual, have good quick summary:

CCC: Adaptation to climate risks ‘underfunded and ignored’ by UK government
Efforts to manage climate risks in the UK have been “underfunded and ignored” leaving the nation vulnerable to rising temperatures, according to the Climate Change Committee (CCC).
Global warming is already having far-reaching impacts as heatwaves and floods increase in scale and frequency. These are set to worsen, the CCC says, even if emissions are cut dramatically.
This makes adapting to climate change essential, but, according to the government’s official climate advisers, ministers have failed to grasp the importance of measures such as heat-resilient homes.
Not only could adequate adaptation save lives and money, the committee says, it would ensure a resilient electrical grid and healthy forests capable of sucking up carbon dioxide, both of which are essential to achieve the UK’s legally binding goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Due to this, the net-zero goal “will fail” unless the government urgently boosts the nation’s climate resilience, according to the CCC.
In the committee’s new climate “risk assessment”, it outlines a widening gap between the climate risks facing the UK and the government’s plans to shield people from them. It also lays out eight key priority areas to address this “adaptation deficit”.
– Overheating homes and buildings
– Climate impacts overseas
– Power system
– Carbon stores and sequestration
– Food supply
– Terrestrial and freshwater habitats
– Soil health
Download the report HERE

Eco – NYC housing development

Nation’s first triple net-zero housing development to rise in New York
New York City-based Garrison Architects has unveiled designs for The Seventy-Six, a housing development that’s expected to become the first triple net-zero (energy, water and waste) project of its kind in the United States. In recognition of the pioneering project’s low-carbon ambitions, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority recently gave the development a Buildings of Excellence award and a portion of $13 million in funding set aside for low- or zero-carbon multi-family buildings. The $250-million Seventy-Six is being developed as part of a revitalization effort for Albany’s historic South End neighborhood and will provide 242 units across 450,000 square feet. (inhabitat)

photo: Garrison Architects

Global stuff

ChargePoint Launches Comprehensive Global Electric Fleet Charging Portfolio
From concept to scale, ChargePoint’s global fleet solution portfolio includes everything fleets need to electrify and optimize fueling as they grow. Fleet management software combined with ChargePoint’s AC and DC fast charging solutions balance charging costs with operational readiness for light- to heavy-duty vehicles across depot, on-route and at-home charging. Expert design/build services ensure a smooth transition to electrification. Ongoing support and maintenance guarantee maximum uptime for essential fueling. (electriccarsreport)

Satellites gear up to hunt for methane leaks
The threat was invisible to the eye: tons of methane billowing skyward, blown out by natural gas pipelines snaking across Siberia. In the past, those plumes of potent greenhouse gas released by Russian petroleum operations last year might have gone unnoticed. But armed with powerful new imaging technology, a methane-hunting satellite sniffed out the emissions and tracked them to their sources.
Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, a growing fleet of satellites is now aiming to help close the valve on methane by identifying such leaks from space. The mission is critical, with a series of recent reports sounding an increasingly urgent call to cut methane emissions. (yale360)

photo: Carbon Mapper

How returning lands to Native tribes is helping protect nature
In 1908 the U.S. government seized some 18,000 acres of land from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to create the National Bison Range in the heart of their reservation in the mountain-ringed Mission Valley of western Montana.
The tribes have long campaigned for a return of the land, and last December their patience paid off. Donald Trump signed an order starting the process of returning the land.
There is a burgeoning movement these days to repatriate some culturally and ecologically important lands back to their former owners, the Indigenous people and local communities who once lived there, and to otherwise accommodate their perspective and participation in the management of the land and its wildlife and plants.
The use of Indigenous management styles that evolved over many centuries of cultures immersed in nature — formally called Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) — is increasingly seen by conservationists as synergistic with the global campaign to protect biodiversity and to manage nature in a way that hedges against climate change. (grist)

photo: Unsplash

Techie corner

Lignin supercapacitor ‘game changer’ for electric transport
In the study, published in Advanced Science, teams at Imperial College London and used lignin – a bio-based by-product of the paper industry – to create free-standing electrodes with enhanced energy storage capacity.
The researchers believe this could be a game-changer for existing supercapacitor technology and emphasise the importance of reducing the production cost of carbon-based electrodes and the reliance on critical materials if free-standing supercapacitors are to play a major role in decarbonising transport alongside batteries and fuel cells.
With lignin in place of graphene-based carbon, the team produced a freestanding structure which is said to be lighter and smaller than current models without compromising energy storage capacity. This makes them ideal for use in short-distance electric vehicles like buses, taxis and trams where they have the capacity to charge in the time it takes for passengers to exit and enter a vehicle. (theengineer)