One of the great pioneers of the digital and clean energy age, John Goodenough died this week, aged 100. He won the Nobel Prize in 2019 for his work developing the lithium-ion battery, a transformative technology if ever there was one. He also became the oldest winner of the award and quipped that he was glad he wasn’t made to retire at 65.
Nigeria Sovereign Fund, Vitol Aim to Grow Carbon Credit Program
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, which manages as much as $5 billion in assets, formed a $50 million enterprise with Vitol in April known as CarbonVista. The venture announced an agreement to sell the credits to a unit of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund this month.
The pact effectively sees the sovereign wealth funds of two of the world’s biggest oil producers partnering with one of the largest oil traders to mitigate the climate-warming effects of burning fossil fuels.
The venture plans to get a clean-cooking project, which will use more efficient wood stoves than those currently used to reduce deforestation, underway in the third quarter, according to NSIA CEO Aminu Umar-Sadiq. An agreement is being negotiated with a stove manufacturer that will set up a plant in the northern town of Kano and CarbonVista may take a stake in the company to guarantee offtake, he said, declining to identify the firm. (bloomberg)
Virgin Money funds pioneering Ripple Energy wind farm
Virgin Money has has completed a new £14 million deal to support Ripple Energy in the development of a pioneering new 18.8MW wind farm in Ayrshire that will be part-owned by both individuals and small businesses via a co-operative.
In line with Virgin Money’s goal to at least halve carbon emissions across everything they finance by 2030, this is another major step towards achieving 10 percent of the business loan book being comprised of Sustainability Changemakers by FY27. The bank already supports all established renewable technologies across the UK, but the latest loan brings with it an extra sustainability dimension.
Ripple Energy is leading the way with an innovative co-operative business model for renewable energy deployment. Ripple enables both households and businesses to own their own share of a large-scale wind farm through a co-operative, and have its low cost green energy supplied to their homes via the grid. The new Kirk Hill Wind Farm will be part owned by more than 5,600 households both locally and throughout Great Britain, together with 19 SME businesses and commercial property investor and developer Bruntwood, after it purchased a 42.2 percent share in the co-operative owned site in an industry first. Instead of receiving dividends as a return on their investment, these green stakeholders will benefit from stable power for a greener future. (renewableenergymagazine)
photo: Ripple Energy
UK to develop virtual prototype of nuclear fusion plant
The UK Government has announced plans to develop a virtual prototype of a nuclear fusion power plant that will operate in the 2040s.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the University of Cambridge, and technology giants Dell Technologies and Intel will collaborate on the project. The plant will be developed in a virtual environment known as the “Industrial Metaverse”.
The UKAEA is developing a nuclear fusion power plant in Nottinghamshire in the centre of the UK. The plant, known as Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), will be used to demonstrate stable nuclear fusion.
The digital twin will enable the UKAEA to assess the feasibility of the project before commencing construction. The concept design is due to be completed by 2024. (powertechnology)
Bigger tax breaks, better breakthroughs needed for >2-hour grid storage
Essential storage technologies ranging beyond two-hours in endurance won’t happen on the UK grid without technical innovation & incentives including tax breaks, two consultancy firms argue today.
A new joint study from DLA Piper and Cornwall Insight addresses how adaptations of established techs such as compressed air or pumped hydro can reduce renewables’ intermittency, adding flexible supply to Britain’s increasingly complex grid.
Their paper, Ready and waiting: Opportunities for energy storage, warns that innovations and fresh thinking in both engineering & finance are needed, to overcome inadequacies of current storage, unable to hold power for all but a couple of hours.
Batteries providing 60 or fewer minutes up dominate frequency response (FR) markets at present, authors Dr Matthew Chadwick & Roubayet Choudhry note. Trades in the Balancing Mechanism or in wholesale arbitrage cover periods up to four hours.
Sophisticated trading strategies that stack multiple revenue streams are integral to optimising the business case for electricity storage assets and maximising returns, they observe.
At the FR level, market saturation is expected to erode the value of this component of revenue stacks. The pair foresee a transition towards 2hr+ duration batteries, alongside pumped hydro and more novel technologies such as compressed air energy storage (CAES). (theenergyst)
Download the paper HERE
Funding for waste-to-fuel CO2 capture
Compact Syngas Solutions (CSS) has secured nearly £4 million in funding from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
The funding aims to support CSS’s testing of a carbon capture method within its clean fuel production process.
CSS utilises waste materials, which would have otherwise ended up in landfills, to produce hydrogen gas.
This green fuel has the potential to revolutionise emission-free transportation, the company said.
The funding will enable CSS to construct a complete-scale rig that demonstrates the effectiveness of using water, instead of potentially harmful amines derived from ammonia, for the separation and storage of carbon dioxide. (futurenetzero)
Photo: Compact Syngas Solutions
EV OF THE WEEK
McMurty Spierling PURE prepares to amaze, again at Goodwood
In July Britain goes sports mad, and one perennial event that has a dedicated fan club is the Goodwood Festival of Speed and its famous Hill Climb. The instant power generated by an EV makes them well suited to this event as shown by the record set by the VW ID.R in 2019, which caused a stir, and provided a marker for VW’s ambitions in electric cars.
Last year the VW record over the 1.6mile course was destroyed by a prototype track EV with fan assisted down draught, a technology banned from competitive motorsport since 1978. The McMurty Spierling is a project that has produced a startling supercar for track use only. With 2000kg of instant downforce-on-demand and a sub 1.5 second 0-60mph, the Spéirling with Max Chilton at the wheel achieved a time of 39.08, breaking the previous record set by Romain Dumas in the Volkswagen ID.R in 2019 by 0.82s. Watch it HERE
If you fancy one, the production version will set you back £825,000
Heat pumps: Europe’s buildings avoid more emissions than ever
The latest market report from the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) has found that, with France in the lead, Europe’s buildings sector is displacing more greenhouse gases than ever before, thanks to record growth in heat pump sales in 2022.
The just over 3 million heat pumps added last year bring the total stock of heat pumps to around 20 million. These avoid 52.5 Megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – about the annual total of Greece.
France, which yet again saw strong heat pump growth last year, is leading the way in terms of avoided greenhouse gas emissions through heat pumps, at well over 16 Mt. It is followed some way behind by Germany and Italy at over 5 Mt avoided each.
If things were to stay this way, the buildings sector would be off track to decarbonise heating and cooling by 2050, as the EU climate law requires. This is because the playing field is still tipped massively in favour of fossil fuels, in terms of subsidies and taxation. However, the issue is very likely to be addressed soon by the European Commission in their upcoming EU Heat Pump Action Plan, which should help make the situation fairer for clean solutions. (renewableenergymagazine)
FOCUS ON: CCC Progress Report to Parliament 2023
UK’s progress towards net-zero ‘worryingly slow’ despite deluge of policy promises
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has this week released its annual progress report to the UK Parliament, charting policy preparedness for the UK to deliver its legally binding 2050 emissions goals and its interim carbon budgets.
While the Committee has praised the Government for bringing forward new details of its plans to decarbonise the national economy, it has warned that Ministers risk using transparency “as a substitute for real delivery”. The Committee is actually less confident that the UK will meet its emissions targets than it was this time last year.
As it has done before, the CCC has accused the UK Government of failing to replicate the success of decarbonising electricity in other sectors. The UK’s annual emissions are now 46% lower than they were in 1990, but emissions from some sectors, including buildings and agriculture, remain stubbornly flat.
The CCC has pointed to some “glimmers” of good practice for net-zero policymaking. These include the UK Government’s ban on coal-fired electricity from autumn 2024 and its clear signals on scaling the electric car market.
Yet the report shows far more areas in which policy gaps remain. It accuses Ministers of “placing their reliance on technological solutions that have not been deployed at scale”, failing, instead, to change behaviours and to support the rapid deployment of technologies.
Failures flagged in the report include missed tree planting targets; a lack of a comprehensive plan to improve home energy efficiency; a failure to limit airport expansion; delay in the publication of a land use strategy; and sparse plans to deploy electric heat pumps. Deploying heat pumps this decade will be a “low-regret” option, the CCC concludes. (edie)
Download the report HERE
Solar helps Texas carry energy load as heatwave puts power grid to test
As a deadly, record-breaking heatwave puts Texas’s grid to the test, renewable power sources are helping the state maintain energy reliability, contrary to some of the state’s lawmakers claims that clean energy is less reliable.
Texas has for more than two weeks been blanketed by an oppressive heat dome, and federal forecasters say there is “no end in sight”. The sweltering temperatures have forced people to stay in their homes with their air conditioners cranked, causing energy demand to soar to record levels.
An atypically large number of the state’s ageing, run-down coal and gas-fired power plants have failed amid the spikes. That’s especially troubling because as the only state in the continental US with its own grid – a decision made to avoid federal regulation – Texas can access very little power from other states.
But even amid three-digit temperatures, the state has still managed to avoid rolling blackouts this month. A key reason, energy analysts say, is the state’s supply of solar power, which has doubled since early 2022.
On hot, sunny, summer days, solar performs exceptionally well. During the afternoons, solar has accounted for upwards of 15% of the state’s energy supply. (guardian)
Indonesia, Malaysia Have Cut Deforestation in Half in Last Five Years
“Indonesia and Malaysia have managed to keep rates of primary forest loss near record-low levels,” according to an analysis from the World Resources Institute. Across both countries, average yearly forest loss fell dramatically between the years 2015-2017 and 2020-2022, with Indonesia seeing a 64 percent decline and Malaysia a 57 percent decline.
Indonesia is aiming for its forests to absorb more carbon than they release by 2030 and has taken steps toward that goal, including ramping up efforts to suppress forest fires. Both nations have also moved to curb logging and limit the clearing of land for palm oil plantations. (yale360)
photo: Wikimedia Commons
Toyota to make hydrogen out of waste in Thailand
Toyota Motor announced Monday that it will start producing hydrogen in Thailand from November using biogas, a step forward in its project with Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group to utilize hydrogen to help decarbonize the country’s transport sector.
The Japanese automaker will install equipment that makes hydrogen using biogas at Toyota’s Asia-Pacific headquarters in Samut Prakan province, south of Bangkok.
The biogas will be made from chicken manure provided by Thai poultry farms operated by CP Group and other parties, as well as food waste from the Toyota regional headquarters’ cafeteria.
This will be the first time for Toyota or Thailand to launch a pilot project to make hydrogen using biogas, according to the automaker. (nikkei)
Lunar Energy’s home battery system is designed to make solar easier to use
Lunar Energy, a home battery backup company that came out of stealth last year, is revealing its first product called the Lunar System. It’s an all-in-one hybrid inverter, expandable battery backup system, and energy controller that can smartly manage power from the Sun — using new or existing solar panels — and the grid while giving users control over the whole system in one app. Lunar’s so-called “personal power plant” is also being pitched as an opportunity to earn money by getting paid for any excess power you send back to the grid.
The company offers battery pack, powerful inverters, the Lunar Bridge, that acts as a gateway between the battery and the grid plus an advanced (or simple if you prefer) app interface. Also included is a switch that can turn off power hungry devices like your swimming pool pumps (it is launching in California) and an ability to combine with neighbours’ Lunar systems to create a virtual power plant. (theverge)
photo: Lunar Energy