Here is a question for you: what do the following companies have in common: Deutsche Telekom, Porsche, Inditex, Currys, WPP?
Answer: They all came in the top ten in this year’s FT’s Climate Leaders list, that compares emissions reductions across a number of metrics. See the whole list HERE
Musk says Tesla will put sales growth ahead of profit
Elon Musk on Wednesday doubled down on the price war he started at the end of last year, saying the electric vehicle (EV) maker would prioritize sales growth ahead of profit in a weak economy.
The company posted its lowest quarterly gross margin in two years, missing market estimates, as it slashed prices aggressively in many markets.
Tesla said in a statement it still believed its operating margin would remain the highest among big carmakers.
The company reported total gross margin of 19.3%, short of market expectations of 22.4%, according to 14 analysts polled by Refinitiv.
The company posted an automotive gross margin of 19% excluding regulatory credits in the first quarter, down from 24% the previous quarter, according to Reuters’ calculation. (yahoofinance)
UK’s new green aviation company takes off
Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Britten-Norman will merge to create what is described as the world’s first fully integrated, zero-emissions sub-regional aircraft.
The move responds to the growing demand for OEM-backed aircraft that enable the shift towards zero-emissions operations.
The companies will invest up to £10 million in the new venture, with certification for passenger-carrying service planned for 2026.
The investment is anchored by HydrogenOne Capital Growth, Safran Corporate Ventures, the UAE-based Strategic Development Fund and existing Cranfield Aerospace shareholders.
The new entity will design and manufacture new zero-carbon technology-powered ‘clean sheet’ aircraft with up to 100 seats. (energylivenews)
photo: Cranfield Aerospace
Ovo slams UK energy market greenwashing
Ovo said it would no longer invest in Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) certificates, which are meant to clarify that power comes from sustainable sources.
Also highlighting supplier tariffs which claim to be 100% renewable, Ovo pointed to systematic greenwashing in the UK’s energy market.
“The energy mix that actually flows into consumers’ homes is the same whatever tariff they choose,” CEO Raman Bhatia warned.
“At best, these tariffs [including REGOs] run the risk of giving customers a good but misleading feeling about being green.”
Ovo itself offers ‘100% green’ tariffs, alongside the likes of British Gas, E.ON and Octopus Energy, which claim to source household energy from renewables or otherwise offset emissions.
Instead of spending on REGOs, Ovo said it would divert investments into domestic solar and wind projects and called on its rivals to do the same, arguing prices were high because the UK is still reliant on fossil fuels sourced from overseas. (proactiveinvestor)
Britain to join forces with EU to build ‘energy islands’ in North Sea
The UK is reportedly set to join forces with several EU nations to boost renewable energy production in the North Sea, as part of its ongoing efforts to repair relations following Brexit.
According to a draft seen by Bloomberg, alongside eight EU nations including Germany and France, the UK will sign a declaration in Ostend, Belgium to accelerate offshore wind projects, including “energy islands”.
The draft declaration, to be signed by energy ministers on 24th April, states that, “in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and attempts of energy blackmail against Europe, we will accelerate our efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption”. (energylivenews)
photo: Danish Energy Agency
Battery gunk recycler scores CAM first
A battery recycling start-up is claiming a UK first, announcing that it has isolated a key component to make new lithium-ion batteries from end-of-life power plant scrap.
At its recycling plant in Devon, Altilium Metals has extracted what battery scientists refer to as Cathode Active Materials from the “black mass” residue in exhausted batteries.
CAM encompasses critical compounds such as nickel, lithium, copper and cobalt. Altilium firm has delivered its first samples to Imperial College, London, to be analysed under a joint research programme partly funded by the UK government’s Automotive Transformation Fund.
Under the programme, Altilium works with Imperial to compare the electrochemical performance of the recycled materials, benchmarking them against newly manufactured cathodes made from virgin materials. (theenergyst)
Ikea to launch hundreds of EV chargers to power last-mile fleet
The retailer will install a total of 196 charging points under the new project, of which 53 will be rapid. Rapid chargers will be able to provide full charge on all of Ikea’s EVs in an hour or less.
The first of the chargers are now in place at the Ikea store in Cardiff. Further installations at stores across the UK and Ireland are planned for the remainder of the UK, as well as at the firm’s new customer distribution centre in Dartford. This is due to open later this spring.
Ikea has partnered with Statkraft subsidiary Mer on the installation of the charging points and on their electricity supply. All electricity supplied to the chargers will be from renewable sources.
In a statement, Ikea said the new investment is “fundamental” to its plans to achieve 100% zero-emission deliveries to customers in the UK and Ireland by 2025. By the end of summer 2023, it is aiming for 60% of deliveries in this market to be zero-emission. (edie)
YLEM launches blockchain based power trading platform
Clean power company YLEM Energy is launching a trading platform, as it branches out from its core business of managing onsite power generation for industrial customers.
The firm says its new bitcoin-enabled YLEM Energy Exchange will help businesses maximise revenues from power made on commercial roofs, by exporting the excess through the National Grid at times of maximum value.
The new YLEM Energy Xchange is designed to maximise businesses’ roof and ground space by installing generation kit such as solar arrays and other forms of energy generation suitable to meet businesses’ needs and produce more power than the site needs.
The excess power generated can be transferred to another site within the company’s portfolio, enabling it to maximise its consumption of renewable energy whilst avoiding certain grid related charges.
Using its blockchain technology the platform provides a full audit of trail of where, when and how the energy was produced, and when it was used, giving businesses full transparency about the renewable energy they are producing and using. (theenergyst)
EV OF THE WEEK
Strangely, Musk’s Model Y prediction might come true
Before Tesla ever brought the Model Y to market in 2020, Musk made some bold predictions about how popular the vehicle will become. Musk said that he anticipated Model Y demand would be about twice as high as demand for Model 3, which was already the best-selling electric car at the time. Back in 2016, the CEO put demand for the Model Y between 500,000 to 1 million units per year. That was four years before releasing the vehicle.
Now after two years on the market, Musk’s predictions are coming true.
At Tesla’s annual shareholder’s meeting this week, Musk made the announcement that the Tesla Model Y is on track to become the world’s best-selling vehicle. More specifically, the electric SUV is going to be the best-selling vehicle in the world by revenue this year, and the company expects that it will be the best-selling vehicle by volume next year once Tesla has ramped up production at Gigafactory Texas and Gigafactory Berlin. (electrek)
Ørsted and Acciona Team Up for Green Floating Wind Foundations
Under the MoU, the two companies’ focus will be on the use of carbon-neutral bio-cement, bio-concrete, and other materials and solutions, with an aim to reduce floating wind levelised cost of electricity (LCoE) and environmental footprint, industrialise the fabrication of concrete foundations, and establish a European supply chain to support Ørsted’s floating wind project pipeline in Europe. (offshorewind)
Europe’s nuclear divide grows as one plant opens and three close
The opening last Sunday of the long-delayed Olkiluoto 3 plant (below), Europe’s largest, means about 40% of Finland’s electricity demand will soon be met by nuclear power, which the government says will boost energy security and help it achieve its carbon neutrality targets.
Across the Baltic Sea and just hours before the Finnish plant came on stream, Germany was finally pulling the plug on its last three nuclear power plants, shutting down the steaming towers of Isar II, Emsland and Neckarwestheim II reactors late on Saturday.
There are few clearer illustrations of Europe’s nuclear divide. One faction, led by Germany, argues that the costs are too high and the risks – from reactor accidents and toxic waste – are, as the Green environment minister, Steffi Lemke, put it, “ultimately unmanageable”.
Another, headed by France, argues equally forcefully that nuclear power is a reliable, low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels for electricity, and that phasing it out as Europe tries to meet vital green targets is ecologically damaging and economically senseless.
According to Eurostat, 25.4% of the EU’s electricity was nuclear generated in 2021, with 100-odd reactors in 13 member states. France, which has 56 operable nuclear reactors, accounting for just over half of that total.
The two camps line up as follows: Against nuclear: Germany, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Austria.
Pro-nuclear are France, UK, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. (guardian)
Photo: Scholla Schwarz / Wikimedia Commons
FOCUS ON: BATTERY TECHNOLOGIES
A step backwards to go forwards
I remember listening to a presentation by Riccardo, the engineering consultants, years ago. They explained that there would be no magic wand that would improve the efficiency of batteries by some quantum amount. Battery performance would improve by a steady 2-4% per year.
That has been the case as can be seen by L-ION battery energy density steadily progressing from c115 watt hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) in the early EV’s to c300 W-h/kg for current best practise. Last year, however the industry started to follow a somewhat different trajectory: They took a step back to a less sophisticated technology, lithium phosphate, which could by then develop c120Wh/kg but had the advantage of being cheaper, has less distasteful ingredients and was safer. BYD was first up with LFP batteries in its much vaunted “Blade” battery, which has been licensed by other manufacturers including Tesla and Toyota. Now it seems that a another jump backwards is about to occur as a number of manufacturers look to Sodium batteries:
Sodium-ion batteries from CATL and BYD to be installed in mass-produced cars by Q4 2023
In an exclusive report, local media 36kr informed that CATL would install sodium-ion batteries into the first EVs in the fourth quarter of the year, while BYD will start mass production of sodium-ion packs in the second half and install them on BYD Seagull and other Ocean series models. 36kr media is something like ‘Chinese TechCrunch.’ CATL’s sodium-ion battery is set to be incorporated into the initial model of Chery’s iCAR brand of new energy vehicles (NEVs). Chery announced this at their conference last week, but the launch in Q4 is further information.
In July 2021, CATL revealed its sodium-ion batteries which possess an energy density of 160Wh/kg, a slightly lower value than LFP batteries. However, these batteries offer certain advantages, such as more cost-effective manufacturing, superior performance in low temperatures, and enhanced safety features. Furthermore, CATL shared that their upcoming sodium-ion batteries, with improved energy density surpassing 200 Wh/kg, will commence mass production by 2023. LFP batteries have an energy density of about 280 – 350 Wh/kg. (carnewschina)
Hina Battery becomes 1st battery maker to put sodium-ion batteries in EVs
An unknown Chinese power battery maker has begun putting sodium-ion batteries in passenger cars, potentially marking the beginning of a big change in the battery industry and in the market for affordable passenger electric vehicles (EVs).
Battery maker Hina Battery today unveiled three sodium-ion battery cell products and announced a partnership with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp (JAC), which has made one of its models the first to carry sodium-ion batteries.
Hina Battery and Sehol — a joint venture brand between JAC and Volkswagen Anhui — have jointly built a test vehicle with sodium-ion batteries based on the latter’s Sehol E10X model.
The test vehicle has a battery pack with a capacity of 25 kWh and an energy density of 120 Wh/kg.
Do not think that this is the end of the story. See Techie Corner, below for what may come next
Indian Railways Awards 1GW Of RTC Renewable Power Projects
Four companies have won the auction to supply 1GW of round-the-clock (RTC) power to Indian Railways for a 25-year period from grid-connected renewable power projects. The companies that won are Sprng Energy, NTPC Renewable Energy, Ayana Power, and O2 Power. The projects will be developed across India.
The minimum bid capacity stipulated by the tender was 250 MW, and any bidder from a nation that borders India on land could participate provided they had registered with the appropriate authority.The projects must have an annual availability of 75% for the first four years and 85% for the remaining contract years. Commissioned projects are excluded from consideration for this procurement, and developers must acquire the land needed for the renewable energy project. (solarquarter)
Pristine Deep-Sea Reef Discovered in the Galápagos
In Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, where ocean warming has decimated shallow-water reefs, scientists have discovered a healthy, sprawling coral reef hidden deep under the sea.More than 1,300 feet underwater, the reef extends for several miles along the ridge of a previously uncharted volcano in the Galápagos Marine Reserve.Prior to the expedition, scientists thought reefs were all but gone from the Galápagos. From 1982 to 1983, a period of ocean warming wiped out more than 95 percent of the corals in the archipelago, leaving behind just a few reefs in shallow waters. The newly discovered reefs, sheltered deep under the sea, would have been protected from the deadly heat. Scientists say these reefs have likely existed for centuries, supporting a rich diversity of marine life. (yale360)
photo: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
New York solar program could change the game of clean energy
New York approved siting permits for 309 megawatts of new solar power. The New York State Office of Renewable Energy gave the siting permits to three new solar projects. The 90-MW Home Solar Energy Center is located in Cortland County, New York. A 119-MW project called Tracy Solar will be built in Jefferson County, New York. And a 100-MW solar project called Riverside Solar will be built in Jefferson County.
Between these three solar installations, the contracts are expected to create nearly $20 million in revenue for the host counties, cities and school districts. That will come in the form of payment instead of taxes, while the host communities agree to invest in infrastructure and resources for the communities hosting the facilities.
Solar power projects aren’t just about clean energy: they provide communities with more revenue. These particular solar projects in New York State are projected to lead to an additional $458 million in capital investment and create 460 long-term and short-term jobs in construction, development and facility operations and maintenance.
With projects like these, solar becomes a major player in the fight against climate change and the quest to find more efficient renewable power for large populations in populous states. If New York can do solar, without the sunshine of California or the infrastructure of Dubai, who can’t make it happen? (inhabitat)
US boosts support for developing countries’ climate action
The US is strengthening support for climate action in developing countries by providing $1 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
This brings the total US contributions to the GCF to $2 billion since 2015.
The GCF has approved over $12 billion for projects across more than 125 developing countries to accelerate clean energy transitions, build resilience in vulnerable countries, and catalyze private investment.
President Biden has encouraged leaders to support a strengthened effort this year to fully leverage the capacity of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) to address global challenges, including climate change. (energylivenews)
CATL Unveils 500 Wh/kw “Condensed Battery”
The Chinese company announced at Auto Shanghai 2023 a new type of battery called “condensed battery.” CATL thinks the battery is safe enough to be used on aircraft and aims to achieve mass production “in a short period of time.”
According to the CATL announcement, the new battery has an energy density of 500 Wh/kg, much higher than existing Li-ion cells. This is almost double the energy density of Tesla’s battery cells, which are considered among the best in the world. CATL uses highly conductive biomimetic condensed-state electrolytes to get to this level, which explains the battery name. The condensed battery features ultra-high energy density cathode materials and new anode materials, separators, and manufacturing processes.
CATL claims the condensed batteries offer an impressive charge and discharge performance as well as increased safety. The Chinese battery manufacturer has not revealed the fast-charging capabilities of the new cells nor how many cycles they can endure. However, the technical description offered by CATL points to faster-charging rates than regular Li-ion batteries achieve today.
The condensed battery is a semi-solid state battery whose condensed electrolyte creates a micron-level self-adaptive net structure that can adjust the interactive forces created among the chains. This improves the conductive performance of the cells and the efficiency of lithium-ion transporting while boosting the stability of the microstructure. CATL thinks this is a significant achievement, pushing the boundaries of Li-ion battery development.
The new batteries are lighter for the same capacity and offer a high level of safety, making them suitable for powering electric aircraft. CATL is already testing the new batteries with unspecified partners under aviation-grade safety and quality requirements. More interestingly, the Chinese manufacturer will launch an automotive-grade version of the condensed battery, with mass production planned by the end of the year. (autoevolution)