Glad to see the post about the boom in renewables, below. I hope that the UK will join in, although messages are mixed currently. A good example being that we criticise the President of DR Congo for issuing licenses to drill for oil in peatlands and then issue plenty of our own in the North Sea.
A point of admin: I have updated the Titbits entries in the Lancea Partners website. You can now search buy subject across many tags: type in Biomethane or whatever and it will search all post. Access it HERE
Form Energy raises US$450 million for 100-hour iron-air ‘rust’ battery technology
Form Energy has raised US$450 million from investors including ArcellorMittal, bringing the multi-day battery startup’s total investment to date to US$800 million.
The tech company announced the successful Series E funding round, led by TPG Rise Climate, an impact investing platform for alternative asset manager TPG’s TPG Rise fund, which itself closed in April with US$7.3 billion to invest.
Form Energy is developing and commercialising a novel battery technology based on iron and air, with which it is targeting applications that require 100 hours of energy storage, possibly even more.
The basic principle behind it is the reversible oxidation aka rusting, of iron as the battery discharges, while applying electrical current to it as it charges converts the rust back to iron, emitting only oxygen. (energy-storagenews)
photo: Form Energy
RWE eyes-up CCUS and hydrogen retrofit at Pembroke gas power plant
RWE has inked a deal with carbon capture specialist Fluor to explore the potential of transforming its 2.2GW gas-fired power station in Southwest Wales into a power generation, CCUS, and hydrogen production hub, it announced today.
The German energy giant is set to undertake a six-month study alongside Fluor that will look at the feasibility of retrofitting Pembroke Power Station – the largest gas-fired power plant in Europe – with post-combustion carbon capture utilisation and storage technology (CCUS).
The study is expected to inform RWE’s development of potential low carbon solutions for its fossil fuel energy generation assets in support of the company’s commitment to decarbonise its UK business by 2040.
RWE said it was developing options for decarbonising the power plant, including the potential of utilising CCUS technology alongside the production of low carbon hydrogen, arguing the site is ideally located for collaboration opportunities with other heavy industrial firms in the area. (businessgreen)
Notts ex-coal plant picked for fusion trial
EDF’s former fossil-fuelled power station at West Burton in Nottinghamshire is to host a pilot plant for nuclear fusion.
D-BEIS confirmed that the site, close to the Trent between Retford and Gainsborough, will be the development home for bringing nuclear fusion out of Oxfordshire’s Culham research labs, and with a goal to commercialise the technology by 2040.
The government is providing £220 million for the first phase of STEP, the nation’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production project. That sum primes an investment pump, spurring the UK Atomic Energy Authority to produce a concept design for a fusion reactor by 2024.
West Burton was one of 15 sites which in early 2021 bid to host the UK AEA’s STEP project. The Notts facility was chosen from a short list of five, after a process of of detailed technical and socio-economic assessment. (theenergyst)
Arla to pay farmers more for milk if climate targets met
The dairy co-operative Arla Foods has announced it will pay its farmers more money for the milk they produce if they meet new environmental sustainability targets.
Arla is introducing the “sustainability incentive” with the aim of promoting and funding the reduction of emissions on the farms of its 8,900 members, based in the UK and six other European countries including Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
The goal is to help the co-op reach its target of reducing emissions on farms by 30% for each kilo of milk produced by 2030, and of reaching carbon net zero by 2050. (guardian)
Four companies collaborate to build green hydrogen ecosystem in South West of UK
Developer, Tower Group has revealed it has been building a green hydrogen ecosystem by acquiring and operating its own renewable energy sites, as well as assembling a network of green hydrogen offtakers.
Tower Group has said, the region’s geography and “forward thinking policies” saw it become a leader in the rollout of wind, solar and other renewable sources, and is now in the position to be at the forefront of an emerging technology.
As part of the ecosystem’s development, Tower Group has appointed law firm, Foot Anstey as one of its legal advisers to support its green hydrogen supply offering.
Joining Tower Group and Foot Anstey are real estate company, Savills, and financial planner, PKF Francis Clark. (h2-view)
EV OF THE WEEK
Citroen show off their idea of a no-frills EV: the Oli
This is the third week that I look at attempts to offer an EV to a costs conscious client. Citroen have already laid down a marker with the minute Ami city car, and now show a very radical concept they call Oli (pronounced like Wall-e without the W). The objective is to cut out all the clutter that makes EV’s heavy and expensive, whilst retaining the fun and quirkiness associated with the brand (sometimes). The car still has a range of 250 miles off a 40kWh battery. Its panels are kept flat and use innovative cardboard/fibreglass/resin mix designed by BASF. Even the windscreen is kept flat to reduce cost and avoid a greenhouse effect warming the car, to allegedly save 17% on air conditioning in summer.
Oli has been made practical with multiple attachments available for the roof rails and clever compartments. Whilst Oli is not due to go into production the Stellantis/Citroen designers have come up with some interesting ideas with Oli and pose serious questions for the industry.
photo: Citroen (the front is facing the camera)
Danish partnership breaks ground of green ammonia plant
A Danish partnership has revealed the construction of the ‘world’s first dynamic’ green ammonia plant has started, which will use a Nel Hydrogen electrolyser system.
Topsoe, Skovgaard Energy, and Vestas has said the Power-to-X plant in Lemvig, Denmark will demonstrate how renewable power can be coupled with the ammonia plant, making it a cost-effective way of producing green ammonia.
Having received DKK 81m ($10.8m) in funding from the Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP), the plant is expected to produce more than 5,000 tonnes of green ammonia annually, while preventing 8,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The so-called dynamic plant will integrate wind, solar, and electrolysis with an ammonia synthesis loop, to secure the production process from power fluctuations. Additionally, the partners have said, the renewable energy generation will be connected directly to the national grid so any surplus energy can be sold. (h2-view)
Nestlé Launches NESCAFÉ Plan 2030 to Help Drive Regenerative Agriculture
NESCAFÉ, Nestlé’s largest coffee brand, recently outlined its extensive plan to help make coffee farming more sustainable: the NESCAFÉ Plan 2030. The brand is working with coffee farmers to help them transition to regenerative agriculture while accelerating its decade of work under the NESCAFÉ Plan.
The brand is investing over one billion Swiss francs by 2030 in the NESCAFÉ Plan 2030. This investment builds on the existing NESCAFÉ Plan as the brand expands its sustainability work. It is supported by Nestlé’s regenerative agriculture financing following the Group’s commitment to accelerate the transition to a regenerative food system and ambition to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions. (renewableenergymagazine)
EU Is Falling Short of Its Methane-Reduction Pledge
The European Union must do more to achieve a 30% cut in its methane emissions by the end of the decade, highlighting the global scale of the task to mitigate one of the most potent greenhouse gases, according to a report from the bloc’s executive branch.
The bloc is currently on track to reduce methane emissions 23% by 2030 from 2020 levels, but it’s falling behind the Global Methane Pledge commitment undertaken by more than 100 countries at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow last year, said the document sent to member states by the European Commission (Bloomberg)
FOCUS ON: MICROGRIDS
How Microgrids are an Ideal Energy Solution for Rural and Remote Communities
A Toronto, Canada, based company is a microgrid solutions provider. Called Clear Blue Technologies, it offers energy-as-a-service to rural and remote communities. In Nigeria, it is installing microgrids and distributed energy solutions to help rural communities to access energy and telecommunications services. Its service model manages these installations remotely at a low cost delivering clean renewable electricity while giving rural users access to the Internet. For Nigerian remote communities, it brings them into the 21st century. That’s why in March of this year, Clear Blue was awarded a contract covering 120 telecommunications sites across the country with plans in the next five years to grow that number to 1,060. Talk about levelling the playing field for these communities to give them access to clean energy and cellular phone services. (21stcenturytechblog)
Armed Forces Targets 35 Microgrids by 2027
Using examples of bases that have been impacted by natural events such as floods and hurricanes, the United States Air Force released a climate plan to increase resilience and energy efficiency as well as making a target to reach net zero by 2046, while the Army followed that outline with a similar plan.
The Army plan significantly targets energy transitions and improvements on its installations. A primary goal is to complete at least 35 microgrid projects by 2027 and increase microgrid coverage to 50% on most of its operations.
The Army wants to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030 and reduce the carbon intensity of its energy supply by 60% based on 2008 levels by 2027. It targets overall greenhouse gas reductions by 20% based on 2023 levels by 2027. (environmentalleader)
ORNL research to bring more reliable electricity to Puerto Rican microgrids
When Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico in 2017, winds snapped trees and destroyed homes, while heavy rains transformed streets into rivers. But after the storm passed, the human toll continued to grow as residents struggled without electricity for months. Five years later, power outages remain long and frequent.
To provide more affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to underserved communities like these, scientists from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are partnering with local organizations, nonprofits and universities to build resilience into independent microgrids powered by renewable energy. ORNL is developing a technology that will manage groups of small microgrids as a cluster, enhancing their reliability even when damaged.
Microgrids are small networks that generally have their own energy supply from nearby renewable sources like wind and solar. If battery storage is added, microgrids can be isolated and function independently in “island mode” when the broader utility network fails. (eurekalert)
photo:Stefano Paltera/ US Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon
FOCUS ON: THE GREAT CLEANENERGY ACCELERATION
Part 1: After Ukraine – The Great Clean Energy Acceleration
Twenty years ago, sustainability was the only real driver of the transition to clean energy. Around ten years ago there was a major acceleration when it became clear that wind, solar and batteries were going to become really cheap; economics also started to drive the clean energy transition. I believe this hellish year is going to lead to another similar acceleration, as it becomes clear that clean energy, and not fossil fuels, holds the key to energy security.
We have of course known for centuries that coal, oil and gas have driven vast improvements in standards of living, but they have also caused crisis after crisis, war after war and scandal after scandal. We have also known, for decades now, that we needed to transition to clean energy from a climate perspective, but that only got us so far. What is different about this crisis is that, instead of having no choice but to double down on securing fossil fuel supplies, for the first time we can double down on proven, safe and scalable clean solutions. What was once disparagingly called “alternative energy” really does now present an alternative.
From now on all three elements of the energy trilemma – security, affordability and sustainability – are pushing in the same direction. We face some very difficult years, there is no question. But as we get through them, things are going to start moving extremely fast. The Great Energy Price Spike is going to give way to the Great Clean Energy Acceleration.
Part 2: How the Great Clean Energy Acceleration will manifest in Europe
The EU now has in place a range of frameworks designed to drive investment in clean energy and hydrogen. It has the Green Deal, Fit for 55, the Hydrogen Strategy and REPowerE, which the Atlantic Council calculates will drive spending through 2025 equal to around 1.4% of GDP. Member countries are translating these into local policies. Germany’s Chancellor may be talking up hydrogen, but his ministries are beavering away, demolishing planning barriers to renewable energy projects and accelerating the electrification of heat and transport. No new natural gas boilers may be installed after 2024. Heat pump installations across 21 of the 27 EU member states have doubled over the last four years and are now growing by 34% per year. Plug-in vehicles account for around 20% of new car registrations in the EU, up from less than 5% three years ago. Europe is not just going cold turkey on Russian energy for a couple of years – it is looking to go clean for good.
In the UK, the new administration has kicked off a review of the cost-effectiveness of current plans to get to net zero. Whatever it decides, however, and despite the rhetoric of some of its allies, the proportion of renewable power is set to soar. The goal of the previous administration was to reach 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, against a current figure of just 12.7GW. 12GW of Contracts for Difference for new offshore wind projects have already been awarded earlier this year – at a fixed price some three times lower than the output of the Hinkley C nuclear power station currently being built, and nine times lower than the price of power from natural gas this year (as then Prime Minister Boris Johnson cheerfully pointed out). Then there is XLinks, the HVDC cable designed to import 3.6GW of dispatchable renewables from Morocco by 2030 at a price likely to be around half that of the 24GW of nuclear plants currently planned for 2050. (both from the blog by Michael Liebreich for BNEF)
Wave energy on Australian south coast would slash renewable energy costs
Deploying wave energy machines at a handful of locations on Australia’s south coast would make a future clean electricity grid more stable, more reliable and would dramatically cut the costs of buying batteries to store renewable energy, according to a new CSIRO report.
The report was commissioned by Wave Swell Energy, an Australian company that has just finished a 12-month trial of its pilot plant on a beach at King Island, north of Tasmania.
But the company’s chief executive said while there was an impending boom in demand for wave energy plants, his company was looking to Europe and the United States for contracts where policies and markets were more supportive. (guardian)
photo: Wave Swell Energy
First US Cobalt Mining Operation to Begin
Booming demand for batteries powering the world’s shift into electric vehicles is rekindling US cobalt production after a nearly 30-year hiatus.
Jervois Global Ltd. is starting the first US cobalt mine in Idaho on Friday, according to chief executive Bryce Crocker. The mineral sits “at the top of the table” in terms of national security, said Crocker. “There aren’t many new sources of supply, particularly in stable jurisdictions, which is why this mine in the US is very important,” Crocker said. Cobalt hasn’t been produced in the US since at least 1994, according to data from the United States Geological Survey. (Bloomberg)
Catalytic process with lignin could enable 100% sustainable aviation fuel
An underutilized natural resource could be just what the airline industry needs to curb carbon emissions.
Researchers at three institutions — the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Washington State University — report success in using lignin as a path toward a drop-in 100% sustainable aviation fuel. Lignin makes up the rigid parts of the cell walls of plants. Other parts of plants are used for biofuels, but lignin has been largely overlooked because of the difficulties in breaking it down chemically and converting it into useful products.
The newly published research demonstrated a process the researchers developed to remove the oxygen from lignin, such that the resulting hydrocarbons could be used as a jet fuel blendstock. The research, “Continuous Hydrodeoxygenation of Lignin to Jet-Range Aromatic Hydrocarbons,” appears in the journal Joule. (sciencedaily)