Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “July, 2021”

Copper Becoming Scarce

Copper prices have surged in 2021. The base metal remains in high demand, much thanks to its need in green energy projects and electric cars. In May 2021, commodities analysts at Goldman Sachs called copper ‘the new oil.’ That’s because electric cars need several times more copper than their gas-powered counterparts. And power grids getting electricity from wind, solar and hydro sources also need copper—much more than the industry is currently producing. Here’s how copper became so important to the world economy and the green energy revolution.

The energy transition is not just about swapping fossil fuel for renewable electricity/hydrogen. As the Club of Rome predicted, several commodities will become scarce in the 21st century. The task ahead of us is not merely to decarbonize the economy, it also means do the same with less… or doing less altogether, using the last trump card we have, which the Club mentioned didn’t foresee: technology.

They never for instance anticipated in 1968-1972 that the world would be interconnected with an information system (“internet”), that enables society to cancel most offices and the corresponding daily commute. The Covid pandemic did the rest, to help change behavior patterns. They would also not have anticipated the possibility of autonomous driving car robots, eliminating the necessity of most private car ownership and outsource supply of public transport to companies, that own and maintain fleets of vans, the numbers of which can be a fraction of the current global fleet of sedans of 1 billion, with vastly smaller embedded and operation energy footprint and resource.

[] – Club of Rome
[] – The Limits to Growth
[] – The world risks ‘running out of copper’
[] – Goldman Sachs: Historic Copper Shortage Loom As Prices Rocket
[deepresource] – “By 2030 You Won’t Own a Car”

Read more…

Lunar Energy – Orbital O2

The Orbital O2 is a floating 2MW tidal turbine that began generating power for the UK grid in July 2021. It is currently the most powerful tidal turbine in the world and is anchored in the Fall of Warness off Eday, Orkney Islands. It consists of a floating platform supporting 2 submersed nacelles rated 1MW each. The turbines are bi-directional, producing on both a rising and falling tide. With a 2MW output, it can produce enough electricity for 2000 homes per year.

[] – The world’s most powerful tidal turbine
[] – Orbital O2
[deepresource] – Orbital O2 – World’s Largest Tidal Turbine Launched

Carbon Farming – Storing CO2 in the Soil as Biomass

Carbon Farming is a new way of farming to sequestrate carbon in the soil. Carbon that otherwise ends up as CO2 in our atmosphere, causing climate change. There are many ways to do this: from small adjustments on farm level – like applying fertilizers rich in carbon, reduced or no-tillage, or planting cover crops – to changes in the entire farming system – like enriched crop rotation or agroforestry.

[] – What is carbon farming?
[] – Carbon farming
[] – EU sets the carbon farming initiative in motion
[] – Carbon farming: koolstofboeren in Zeeland

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Sign of the Times – Olympic Hydrogen Flame

UAE First Green Hydrogen Production Site

Siemens/DEWA project in Dubai, pretty impressive pictures. Formerly useless deserts becoming all of a sudden very interesting, from an energy perspective.

Sheikh Rashid is quoted to have said:

“My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I ride a Mercedes, my son rides a Land Rover, and my grandson is going to ride a Land Rover, but my great-grandson is going to have to ride a camel again.”

Could be too pessimistic.

[] – Dubai inaugurates green hydrogen plant
[] – Green Hydrogen Project: clean fuel from solar power in Dubai

Formation European Offshore Wind Foundation Alliance

Five European offshore wind foundation companies have formed an alliance, named OWFA, in order to streamline coordination with the EU and kindly remind the latter of its ambitious 2050 decarbonization program (and shove in the billions while they are at it).

The objectives in their own words:

  • Advocate for EU policy supporting the ramp-up of offshore wind in line with the Green Deal targets and adding European jobs in line with the Industrial Strategy;
  • Ensure foundation suppliers take the lead in setting standards and certification processes that concern them;
  • Establish a level playing field ensuring the sustainable manufacturing of offshore wind foundations;
  • Make sure EU member states maintain sufficient maritime space for offshore wind projects.


[] – OWFA consortium site

Introduction to ITER

The ITER Talks is a series of lectures on the Science and Technology of ITER and fusion, recorded by experts that are working on the ITER project. The lectures will span the science, technology, engineering, and project management challenges and other aspects of this complex endeavour. New ITER Talks will be posted periodically.

In the first episode meet Laban Coblentz – Head of Communication at ITER Organization. He will introduce the ITER project and explain in clear and simple terms what ITER is all about. What does ITER look like today? How should we understand the energy dilemma – and what is fusion energy? Find out more about ITER and how it can help us overcome some of the world’s biggest challenges. You could not find a better speaker to tell you the story about ITER and what it means for you and the future!

Repsol Embraces Renewable Energy Transition

Another major European fossil fuel energy company changes course. This was from 26 November 2020:

Repsol today unveiled its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan which will transform the company in the following years, accelerating the energy transition… The new strategy outlines a challenging roadmap with more ambitious intermediate emissions cuts targets to successfully achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Repsol will decarbonize its asset portfolio and establish a new operating model. The new strategic plan contemplates investment of €18.3 billion between 2021 and 2025, of which €5.5 billion – 30% – will be spent on low-carbon businesses

[] – Repsol’s new Strategic Plan accelerates the energy transition
[] – Repsol

Repsol S.A. is a Spanish energy and petrochemical company based in Madrid. It is engaged in worldwide upstream and downstream activities. In the 2020 Forbes Global 2000, Repsol was ranked as the 645th-largest public company in the world. It has more than 24,000 employees worldwide. It is vertically integrated and operates in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Harvard Breakthrough Lithium Solid State Battery

Is there anybody who doesn’t work on storage?

“A lithium-metal battery is considered the holy grail for battery chemistry because of its high capacity and energy density,” said Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). “But the stability of these batteries has always been poor.”

Now, Li and his team have designed a stable, lithium-metal, solid-state battery that can be charged and discharged at least 10,000 times — far more cycles than have been previously demonstrated — at a high current density. The researchers paired the new design with a commercial high energy density cathode material.

This battery technology could increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to that of the gasoline cars — 10 to 15 years — without the need to replace the battery. With its high current density, the battery could pave the way for electric vehicles that can fully charge within 10 to 20 minutes.

[] – Dynamic stability design strategy for lithium metal solid state batteries
[] – Harvard researchers design long-lasting, stable, solid-state lithium battery to fix 40-year problem
[] – Solid-state battery

Italian Energy Dome Announces $50-60/MWh CO2-Battery

Italian start-up Energy Dome says it can deliver “CO2-batteries” in a few years, with a storage cost of $50-60/MWh, halving the cost of lithium-ion and that comes with a round-trip efficiency of 75-80%. The first module will come a a scale of 25MW/200MWh.

In Energy Done’s thermodynamic storage system, CO2 oscillates between a state of gas or liquid. CO2 is used to avoid extreme cryogenic temperatures and operates in a closed-system.

Core data: 1 kg CO2 has a volume between 1.3 liter (compressed at 70 bar and ambient temperature) or 550 liters (expanded). Energy density: 66.7 kWh/m3.

A first pilot of 2.5MW/4MWh will be built in Sardinia.

[] – New CO2 battery will make wind and solar dispatchable ‘at an unprecedented low price’
[] – Company site

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