The whole spctrum of the energy transition in one week: Renewables – storage – smart grids – hydrogen planes – ethical investing – biodiversity & carbon credits – air pollution plus more.
Adaptogen’s battery fund nets £207m, over-subscribed by 18%
Adaptogen Capital said this morning it has attracted £207 million of investors’ pledges to its storage fund, against the £175 million it had envisaged.
The specialist investment firm received commitments from 50 investors, including institutions, family offices and rich individuals. Its own founding directors chipped in.
The cash will fund a pipeline of projects over the next three years. They included two initial projects located on Merseyside, which are set to begin construction this summer.
Since its launch, the investment firm has enjoyed significant fundraising momentum against a challenging backdrop, with backers originating from the UK, Europe and the US.
Adaptogen estimates the UK needs to invest up to £11 billion worth of storage assets by 2035 to deliver on its energy transition ambitions. (theenergyst)
Good Energy acquires solar installer Wessex EcoEnergy
Good Energy Group has acquired solar, battery and electric vehicle charger installation company Wessex EcoEnergy for an initial consideration of £2.5 million.
Good Energy said it had established itself as a solar installer since acquiring Igloo Works in December 2022 and it was now positioned to offer premium solar installs, benefiting from a market it expects to grow by 9.9% annually to 2030.
Wessex will be retained as a brand but will offer a full energy service package including solar, storage, heat and export tariffs for its customers. Services will be marketed to both Good Energy’s existing 270,000 customers and new prospects focused in the South West of England, doubling Wessex’s capacity and targeting 600 panel installations per month within 18 months. (newpower)
photo: Wessex EcoEnergy
Scotland’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Stands Complete
The final turbine has been installed at Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, Seagreen, off the coast of Angus.
The work was carried out by Cadeler’s wind farm installation vessel Wind Orca, which replaced its sister vessel Wind Osprey in April 2022.
Many of the wind turbines are installed in a water depth of more than 55 metres, while the deepest water where a unit was installed has been 59 metres, according to Cadeler.
Once fully operational, the Seagreen project, owned by TotalEnergies and SSE Renewables, will reach almost 1.6 GW.
76 of the 114 Vestas V164-10.0 MW turbines are now energised at the site, which is located 27 kilometres from the Angus coast. (offshorewind)
photo: SSE Renewables
Smart tariff engine for UK homes
Partners, including SMS, Samsung Research UK and Shell Energy, have secured funding to develop the Intelligent Smart Energy Engine (ISEE).
This smart system aims to create optimised time-of-use tariffs for households in the UK by combining tailored tariffs with intelligent control of home appliances.
The ISEE project seeks to empower consumers, promote low carbon technologies and maximise cost savings.
By merging data from smart meters and Energy Smart Appliances, such as battery storage, heat pumps, electric vehicle chargers and white goods, the ISEE will generate optimised tariffs designed to benefit consumers.
The project will be tested against future energy market scenarios, with the findings informing decisions on commercialisation. (energylivenews)
Octopus’ “try before you buy” turbine makes Glasto debut
Communities across the UK are to be offered the chance to ‘try before they buy’ new wind turbines, after Octopus Energy today debuted a temporary wind turbine at the site of the world-famous Glastonbury Festival.
The energy giant confirmed it has successfully erected a 28 metre tall turbine at Worthy Farm, which will provide clean power to food stalls at the Festival site, after completing the project in a little over a month.
The company said it is also offering communities across the UK the chance to host their own temporary turbines on a ‘try before you buy’ basis, as part of its ‘Fan Club’ tariff initiative which is offering discounted power bills to communities that agree to host new onshore wind farms. (businessgreen)
photo: Octopus Energy/Twitter
UK Oil Drilling Challenge Could Be the End of Fossil Fuel Projects
A court case challenging oil drilling projects in the UK has begun today, 21st June 2023, as Sara Finch, a Surrey resident, brings the fight to Surrey County Council. Finch is challenging the legality of four oil wells on the ground of climate change. Her claim is that the development did not consider the climate impacts of burning oil. Should the case prove to be successful, it could have significant impact on fossil fuel projects worldwide.
The underlying argument behind this case is that the oil drills actively go against the government’s lower emissions targets. The UK government has legally committed to lowering all carbon emissions to achieve the net zero target by 2050. This includes no new greenhouse gases to be produced as well. Sara Finch, among other environmental campaigners, claim that these oil drills are in direct contradiction of this target. (renewableenergyinstitute)
Church of England to fully divest from oil and gas
The CofE Pensions Board, meanwhile, added that the investment restriction would cover all oil and gas companies in its portfolio that do not have short-, medium- and long-term emissions reduction targets aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as assessed by the independent Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI). It said will also apply to equity and also debt investments, it added.
The Pensions Board said it had been engaging with the oil and gas sector over the past ten years with a view to bolstering the level of ambition in company strategies to decarbonise in line with the Paris Agreement, and while some companies have come close to achieving alignment as assessed by the TPI, “none have met the threshold to remain investible”. (businessgreen)
EV OF THE WEEK
Nyobolt EV fast-charging sports car concept
Cynics say that an EV is just a big battery with wheels attached. Adding grist to their mill, this is the second Titbits in a row that concentrates on the battery rather than the car. Nybolt are a Cambridge based startup that raised £50m last year to build a battery factory. They are claiming to have produced a battery that can add 155 miles of range in 6 mins off a standard rapid charger, which is nearly twice as fast as Tesla’s fastest charging rate.
Now Nybolt have teamed up with Lotus designer Julian Thompson and Callum Design to install their 35kWh battery into a car that looks very like a Lotus Elise. The resulting car is very light by EV standards, boasts a 250 mile range and the battery is robust, it has been tested through 200,000 cycles. Unfortunately, this is purely a concept, but I suspect we shall hear plenty more from Nybolt. The UK battery industry could do with some good news.
Roadmap on Biodiversity Credits: UK and France launch new initiative
The UK and France have joined forces to launch a new biodiversity credits initiative designed to mobilise increased private sector investment in nature-focused projects that can support the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework, which was agreed at the COP15 Biodiversity Summit last year.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey and her French counterpart Bérangère Couillard announced the launch of the new UK-French Global Biodiversity Credits Roadmap on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Financial Pact in Paris earlier today.
The new roadmap aims to set out how governments can help scale up global efforts to protect nature by expanding the nascent market for biodiversity credits, which allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects that contribute to a richer biodiversity or restore nature.
The UK is pioneering a system of biodiversity credits whereby developers that have impacts on nature are required to invest in projects that can restore and enhance natural habitats. (businessgreen)
Airbus pursues new technology for 100% hydrogen-powered airliner
Airbus is looking towards to a greener aviation future, revealing major projects to build hydrogen jet airliners with not only a complete hydrogen-fueled propulsion system, but also a hydrogen Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to generate electricity onboard.
Working with ArianeGroup, an Airbus–Safran joint venture, Airbus has completed testing a complete system for feeding hydrogen to an aeronautical gas turbine engine. The HyPERION project began in December 2020 and is aimed at producing practical hydrogen commercial airliners by 2035.
In this case, the idea is to combine Airbus’s expertise in aircraft construction with ArianeGroup’s liquid hydrogen systems developed for the Ariane family of space rockets. In the new system, the hydrogen is stored as a supercooled liquid in cryogenic tanks. This is dispensed into the fuel system, which preheats the liquid, turning it back into gas that is delivered to the engines at the optimal temperature and pressure. (newatlas)
FOCUS ON: DOOM LOOPS & TIPPING POINTS
Ecological ‘doom loops’ edging closer
Extreme weather events such as wildfires and droughts will accelerate change in stressed systems leading to quicker tipping points of ecological decline, according to a new study published today in Nature Sustainability.
The research team used computer modelling to look at four ecosystems under threat to work out what factors might lead to tipping points, beyond which collapse was inevitable.
In some systems, the combination of adding new extreme events on top of other ongoing stresses brought the timing of a predicted tipping point closer to the present by as much as 80 per cent.
Ultimately, say the authors, a “perfect storm” of continuous stress from factors such as unsustainable land use, agricultural expansion and climate change, when coupled with disruptive episodes like floods and fires, will act in concert to rapidly imperil natural systems.
The team looked at two lake ecosystems and two forestry examples, including the historic collapse of the Easter Island (Rapa Nui) civilisation, widely thought to have been the result of over-population combined with unsustainable exploitation of tree cover.
The models were run over 70,000 times for each ecosystem, with variables adjusted on each occasion. Up to 15 per cent of collapses occurred as a result of new stresses or extreme events, even while the main stress was kept constant.
In other words, even if ecosystems are managed more sustainably by keeping the main stress levels like deforestation constant, new stresses like global warming and extreme weather events could still bring forward a collapse.
The number of extreme climate events has increased since 1980 and global warming even at 1.5°C will increase those numbers further. Scientists are also concerned about possible knock-on effects as one collapsing ecosystem impacts on neighbouring ecosystems.
Professor John Dearing, a co-author, added: “Previous studies of ecological tipping points suggest significant social and economic costs from the second half of the 21st century onwards. Our findings suggest the potential for these costs to occur much sooner.”
An example is the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate for a tipping point in the Amazon Forest prior to 2100. The new study suggests a breakdown may occur several decades earlier than predicted by the IPCC. (theecologist)
ECO – POLLUTION EXTRACTION
Tackling air pollution in New Delhi through VERTO towers
Estimates show that over 99% of individuals living in urban areas are exposed to extremely poor air quality standards. In fact, most of these exceed the limits set by the World Health Organization. In the long term, excessive exposure to air pollution can give rise to several health problems, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, respiratory issues and cancer.
Given that air pollution is becoming increasingly worse, maintaining healthy respiratory environments is key. As a means to combat poor air quality in cities, Studio Symbiosis designed the VERTO Air Purification Tower. This is a large-scale air-purification system that filters air in outdoor environments. The tower is currently situated in New Delhi’s Sunder Nursery.
VERTO is derived from the Greco-Latin word “vertente,” meaning “to turn.” The system features a 5.5 meter, 360 degrees multi-directional air purifying tower that rotates as it rises. Its design is based on extensive research in aerodynamics for filtration efficiency. By increasing wind speeds, the tower can filter more air efficiently. Each tower features five air filtration cubes stacked within the modern, triangulated shell.
The project works by sucking in air from energy-efficient fans. Next, this air is filtered using fine dust filters, which remove particulate matter and dust. Overall, the system can clean 600,000 m3 of air per day, equivalent to the volume of 273 hot-air balloons! Additionally, it significantly reduces levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter in the air. (inhabitat)
Turkmenistan moves towards plugging massive methane leaks
The president of Turkmenistan has launched two initiatives aimed at cutting the colossal leaks of methane from the country’s oil and gas industry. Success would represent a major achievement in tackling the climate crisis.
A roadmap will pave the way towards the central Asian country joining 150 others that have already signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut global methane emissions by 30% by 2030. An inter-departmental government commission will also focus on reducing emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas.
Turkmenistan was responsible for the highest number of methane “super-emitter” events in the world in 2022. The worst leak caused climate pollution equivalent to the rate of emissions from 67m cars. The US and Russia also had a large number of super-emitter events. (guardian)
The Insanely Important World of Phytoplankton
As sunlight and warmth increase in the spring and summer, the North Sea starts to gain swirls and tendrils of color. Phytoplankton — tiny, plant-like organisms that often float near the ocean surface — become abundant during this time, giving the shallow water the distinctive green sheen..
Phytoplankton turn sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugars and oxygen, and in turn, they become food for the grazing zooplankton, shellfish, and finfish of the sea. They also play an important but not fully understood role in the global carbon cycle, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and sinking it to the bottom of the ocean.
NASA’s future Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite mission will allow researchers to infer more information about the oceans, such as the concentration and size of particles and dissolved organic materials, the diversity of phytoplankton, and rates of phytoplankton growth. (cleantechnica)
photo: Pixabay/Creative Commons
Carbon Offsets Should Start Thinking More Like a Commodity
BloombergNEF’s Long-Term Carbon Offsets Outlook sees demand for carbon offsets reaching 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by the end of this decade and 5.38GtCO2e in 2050 – almost 35 times higher than today. At these levels, over-the-counter trades are an insufficient and inefficient means of transacting credits.
To scale up instantaneous and transparent transactions, the carbon offset market must address three key areas. First, regulators and integrity initiatives need to agree on quality definitions and standards. But the decentralized structure of the market today can nullify the work of such groups thus far, so financial regulators will also need to come to the table to ensure the necessary checks and balances are in place. Meanwhile, if quality and standards are not addressed fast enough, efforts to create standardized contracts and futures products will be moot. (bloombergNEF)
Flywheel mechanical battery with 32 kWh of storage in Australia
New South Wales-based startup Key Energy has installed a 8 kW/32 kWh three-phase flywheel mechanical energy storage system at a property in the Sawyers Valley, just east of Perth.
The installation involved a single flywheel, which stores energy mechanically meaning it has no fire risks, can run around 11,000 cycles without capacity degradation and boasts a 20-year to 30-year lifespan. While these systems have low energy density, they are substantially more durable than lithium-ion based chemical batteries.
This was a major drawcard for the owner of the Sawyers Valley property, who wanted a system that did not pose a fire risk, could power their three-phase loads and provide energy security as blackouts frequently affect the area.
The project marks Key Energy’s fourth installation, with another two expected to be commissioned this year. In total, the company has installed around 16 flywheel systems with over 300 kWh of capacity, including at a boarding school and at gas company APA Group’s commercial off-grid device stations. (pv-magazine)
photo: Key Energy