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Energy

The electric vehicle market growth is just the tip of the iceberg

Over one century ago, Pedro Salom started a project that is currently turning into a multi-billion industry. His first module, called Electrobat, became the first prototype Tobe developed in this line of products. However, like all the other models, it had its deficiencies, including covering 25 miles in a single charge at about 20 miles per hour.

Currently, the industry needs electric vehicle models that have a mileage range exceeding 500 miles. This demand is what is propelling the profitability of this industry and the massive production of electric vehicles to secure the market share. Some of the highlight performances in this industry include Tesla, which witnessed 740% gains last year. China was also represented in this sector with Nio, which recorded 1110% gains.

Another company that has come as a surprise package in this industry is Facedrive. The company managed to secure various deals and partnerships that will help it achieve its strategy of becoming eco-friendly. Various government agencies, famous people, and tech giants have bought into the company’s ideas which they intend to utilize to profit and expand their business through acquisition programs.

Most of the electric vehicle companies have been getting some action with the visible performance that they have displayed. For example, General Motors decided to widen its coverage by creating an ecosystem called Bright Drop. On the other hand, Apple is diving into this business with potential contracts with automotive companies like Hyundai and Kia. An additional advantage in this business is the Biden administration taking charge of the USA and announcing plans to implement green energy policies and establish a portfolio for electric vehicles’ high performance. The president also declared plans of pumping billions into the electric vehicle projects. The US intends to substitute 645000 government fleet vehicles with the electrified versions to ensure that the country aligns towards clean-energy cars.

The Biden administration will also be investing in the supportive infrastructure for the electric vehicle. This move will involve the development of more than 550000 electric vehicle charging stations countrywide. The momentum shaping the industry will be sustained with such strategies ensuring that electric vehicles become the order of the day. However, Facedrive had predicted such alignments in this industry and strategically capitalized on the benefits that accrue from such developments. The company has a simple model where each time a customer rides a gas-powered vehicle or an electric vehicle, the algorithm deducts a portion of the fare and places it into planting trees to overcome the carbon footprint. This system is efficient in the elimination of carbon emissions and will eventually grow to other markets.

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Space

EchoStar reveals Nanosatellite mistakes and the Jupiter-3 postponement

During a February 23 quarterly results call, EchoStar Corporation announced another setback in the deployment of the Jupiter-3 communications satellite, as well as the malfunction of two nanosatellites to enter their expected orbits. EchoStar executives shared enthusiasm about the launch of Maxar Technologies’ Jupiter-3 satellite, which will improve Ka-band capability in North as well as South America.

The deployment of Jupiter-3 has been pushed back to the second half of the year 2022, ” primarily attributed to COVID-19 constraints that every firm is facing and also in part due to manufacturing problems with some modules,” according to Pradman Kaul, who serves as the president of Hughes Network Systems. “We are working very closely with Maxar to both alleviate these problems and find ways to reclaim the schedule without placing the satellite at risk.”

The launch vehicle for the Jupiter-3 has been chosen by EchoStar, but it has yet to be announced. The large rocket was chosen, according to Kaul, “should restrict the period of time linked to satellite orbit increasing, assisting our in-service plan.” EchoStar also suffered a drawback when the propulsion mechanisms on two nanosatellites it launched into low Earth orbit to utilize spectrum obtained from the internet-of-things company Helios Wire in 2019 malfunctioned.

The two nanosatellites wanted to adjust their altitude as well as inclination after arriving in orbit on different rideshare flights. “The propulsion onboard the spaceship malfunctioned in both cases,” stated Anders Johnson, president of EchoStar Satellite Services. Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems sold EchoStar the two S-band cubesats.

“I can verify that owing to the third-party propulsion platform not working nominally, the vehicles did not exceed the maximum operational altitude,” Marco Villa, president and chief operating officer of Tyvak said via email. In the second or even third quarter of the year, EchoStar aims to deploy another nanosatellite with a unique propulsion system.

In the fourth quarter of the year 2020, EchoStar’s overall financial results, as calculated by Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA), improved by 7% over the fourth quarter of the year 2019.  As a result of the higher operating profits, lower interest costs, increased foreign currency sales, and investment gains, EchoStar posted a $2.6 million net loss from the fourth-quarter continuing operations, relative to a $53.7 million net loss one year ago. Hughes had 1.56 million broadband consumers as of December 31.

Via its Hughes Network Systems as well as EchoStar Satellite Services business divisions, EchoStar Corporation is a multinational provider of the satellite communication as well as Internet services. Just before 2008, it was the parent company of DISH Network, which was spun off as DISH effective from January 1, 2008.

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Energy

Restart Energy to Install in Romania a 45 MW Solar Power Plant

Restart Energy is focusing on creating renewable energy to help the planet deal with climate changes. The company’s first step in the journey to the creation of a renewable energy portfolio of 500MW is under a ready-to-build project. It has acquired this deal and has come public about its intention to invest $30 million. The first venture involves the construction of a 45 MW solar power plant.

Restart Energy is one of the top electricity and gas suppliers. In a recent announcement, the Restart Energy claims that it will build a photovoltaic plant in Romania. Its exact location is northwest of Romania. If things go according to plan, Restart Energy will launch the new product next year-end of March. This venture will create jobs for a lot of people. The company needs one hundred people for the construction phase, requiring fifteen permanent workers in the facility.

The plant’s output is estimated to 55 GWh annually, the exact number of 25,000 households in Romania. From the recent reports, this project will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emission. It will prevent the release of over 1.23 million tons of CO2 in the twenty-five years of its operation. In the company’s announcement, the spokesperson stated that the project is ready to start its building process. The first move will involve developing and integrating the upstream segment with 500 MW renewable energy works by 2025.

 How exactly does Restart Energy plan to achieve this ambitious step? It involves the development of 100 MW annually. Restart Energy has a joint venture alongside the United States’ Interlink Capital Strategies for the endeavor. The company hopes to achieve at least $100 million in the next five years in the investment section. The main targets include wind, solar, biomass, geothermal energy, and biogas.

The company bought the Sarmasag project during its brownfield stage from a team of experts. In a Restart Energy CEO and Founder, Armand Domuta, he expressed his excitement about the new project. He stated that Restart Energy is lucky to have a chance to contribute to the green development energy infrastructure in Romania. Also, the company will balance the grid with the introduction of clean and green energy.

Other than the firm’s funds, the project will receive finances via private banks and equity. The management team is working to boost its economy. Currently, the firm also operates in Serbia and is working on expanding to German and Space. Besides, Restart Energy is interested in joining the European Markets. The company’s move will help create energy that is clean and green from renewable sources. Many people hope to watch this project grow and assist in the planet’s mission to net-zero emission.

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Energy

High Country Conservation Center to roll out strategies to boost EV industry in Summit County, Colorado

High Country Conservation Center is a non-profit organization based in Frisco, Colorado. It provides waste reduction and resource conservation solutions in Summit County. In collaboration with Summit’s administration, the organization has prepared a community-based Electric Vehicle (EV) Readiness Plan. “It is a 10-year plan, and the goal of the plan is to create strategies that will help us expand infrastructure and make it easier for residents and visitors to Summit county to drive an electric vehicle,” said Jess Hoover, Climate Director at High Country Conservation Centre.

Summit County has revealed a couple of plans to boost battery-powered transport in the mountainous region. Municipality leaders and policymakers are pushing for a transition to battery-powered public transport, private cars, and ride-hailing vehicles. By 2030, 30% of all vehicles in Summit County are expected to be electric. Fast forward to 2050, the county government targets to have zero-emissions of greenhouse gases from the transport sector.

According to Michael Wurzel, Sustainability Coordinator for Summit County, there are eight public EV charging stations across the county. Four of them are located at the Summit County Library at Frisco. The other four were installed at the Frisco Transfer Center, and the government plans to add more soon. The county administration is looking to build more charge points at the Courthouse in Breckenridge. The town already has 22 charge points spread across the town hall, recreation center, public works building, as well as the Stephen C. West Ice Arena.

Furthermore, the South Gondola Lot parking center will have about 40 charge stations. The newly constructed structure can accommodate more charging points depending on the demand for EV charging. This information was revealed by Jessie Burkley, Sustainability Coordinator for Breckenridge. In Silverthorne, there are several Tesla charging points serving the public since 2013.

The Summit Community Climate Action Plan (SCCAP) resonates with the initiative by the non-profit organization. Hoover said through creating the plan, they will implement one of the strategies identified to meet the plan’s targets. Summit County, Frisco, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Dillon came together to adopt the SCCAP plan.

Hoover’s organization collaborated with key players in Summit County to draw this plan. These include the local authorities, ski communities, Xcel Energy, Charge Ahead Colorado, as well as Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

“We definitely want to make it more convenient for residents and visitors to drive an electric car in our community, but we also understand that purchasing an electric car is still out of reach for a lot of Summit County residents,” said Hoover. To ensure affordability across the county residents, some communities give discounts on second-hand EVs. Xcel Energy has a dozen programs lined up that will back the organization’s and government’s efforts. Similarly, the Colorado administration has laid out plans to prepare for the transition to battery-powered transport.

Categories
Space

Virgin Orbit looking to expand its services into adjacent markets

Virgin Orbit, a subsidiary of Richard Branson and Nik Powell’s Virgin Group of companies, is looking to expand its services to adjacent markets, such as backing small startups developing satellite systems.

The company’s president and CEO, Dan Hart, gave a detailed presentation during this year’s SmallSat Symposium outlining what Virgin Orbit has been developing. After a successful Launch Demo 2 mission back in January, many potential partners have contacted the British company to inquire about investment opportunities.

Launch Demo 2 placed ten CubeSats in orbit, a project that was funded by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “It went better than anybody could have ever dreamed. Every part of the system came together,” said Hart. “We have a pretty expansive evolution of the company planned. We are evaluating right now, with success, lots of possibilities and, frankly, we’re getting lots of queries,” said Hart.

In 2020, Virgin Orbit came to the rescue of an Australian startup stuck in the development stage due to bankruptcy. The company, Sky and Space Global, develops communication satellites. Virgin Orbit acquired a part of the company, and in return, it would offer launch services and consultations.

“Launch is a cornerstone of space access and the whole space ecosystem. Virgin Orbit is looking to flex into adjacencies like the Sky and Space Global or the SAS deal. There is a plethora of space adjacencies in other aspects of national security or commercial turnkey systems like SAS is going after,” added Hart. Richard Branson echoed Hart’s sentiments. “There will be a lot of people who do approach the company with wonderful ideas to put satellites into space but just can’t afford it,” he said.

Virgin Orbit will help startup smallsat companies to get their projects off the ground. They might acquire some shares in these companies while assisting them to launch their satellites into orbit. “That’s the kind of entrepreneurial thing Virgin Orbit should be doing,” added Branson. Virgin is not another regular Cubesat company. What sets it apart from the rest is its capacity to launch space vehicles from the airport at any inclination. “We want to be able to launch from any part of the world. That includes a launch from Cornwall Airport Newquay, in England in 2022,” noted Branson. The company’s LauncherOne has attracted clients such as the US Air Force to solve their military problems.

“What makes this particularly unique is our capability for the US Air Force, British Air Force, Canadian Air Force, or the French Air Force, all of whom have been encouraging and working with us over the last two or three years,” said Branson. Virgin Orbit ‘could give its clients a powerful deterrent capability in case they were to lose their satellites anywhere globally. The company could ‘replace them incredibly quickly,’ argued Branson. The next launch will occur in a few months and carry payloads for the Dutch air force, United States Air Force and SatRevolution, a satellite manufacturer based in Poland.

Categories
Energy

GM’s Profits from fuel-engine trucks and SUVs to fuel the Electric quest

The GM is one of the biggest car makers of all time. Sources have it that the company earned over $6 billion in 2020, which will be put in their electrifying move. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which left automakers crippled, GM was still able to record high purchases. The profit totals were higher than some account readings in other years despite the tough times.

The automaker recently went public with an ambitious plan to electrify most of their vehicles in fifteen years. Many people have reacted to this pledge and are looking forward to what the company has up its sleeve. From the company’s recent announcement, it is no secret that they will need every penny to stick to this plan.

GM has set a target for a short-term plan to launch thirty new electric vehicles in the next four years. If everything goes as planned, GM hopes to make at least a million sales each year in the USA. In addition to that, the management team hopes to make at least a million sales in China by 2025. This time is crucial since, despite the rising demand for electric cars, their percentage on the road is 4%. Experts have concluded that the move to electric vehicles will happen. However, details on the time it will take are still data that we are missing.

The budget is also tricky and challenging despite how necessary it is to record positive results. GM has a budget of $27 billion to use on electric cars by 2025. As of this year, the price tag is $7 billion. For a successful calculation of such a considerable amount, the company plans to squeeze a lot of profit from sports cars, trucks, and pickups. In conclusion, the gas engine cars present today will finance the future of GM electric cars.

The chief executive of GM, Mary Barra, spoke of its potential in the auto motors business. And the importance of investing in the industry during this critical time. Last year, the company’s profit ran up to $6.4 billion following the crisis brought about by the pandemic almost half of the year.

GM’s first electric vehicles will be launched in the market next week. Experts claim that the future of GM on this path is bright. However, the adoption process of electric vehicles is only beginning. And this fact can lead to the stagnancy of the company for a while. Also, there is a new problem regarding computer chips.

But, GM was quick to respond that the company’s issue of the chip causes problems for the manufacturing process. Also, Ms. Barra confirmed that the country was working hard to get all the necessary chips. Mary expressed her excitement to work with the government to achieve the net zero-emission project.

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Space

A Pioneering NASA Mini weather Satellite completes its mission

CubeSat has become a trending topic in the latest market trends. This detail follows after a pioneering NASA mini weather satellite completed its mission. RainCube’s design specifies the study of storms in space. It has a unique mark in history since it is the first science instrument to lift off on a CubeSat.

The satellite communicated with its Earth’s management team for the last time on 2020, December 24th, after almost two years in the Earth’s orbit. After the communication, the shoebox-size satellite plunged into the Earth’s atmosphere before burning up. RainCube, in other words, Radar in a CubeSat, was a technology designed to prove that minimizing the size of a weather satellite into a low-cost and small satellite would deliver a high-quality result. Its launch and work demonstrated that CubeSat is legit, and their work is equally good to that of a giant satellite.

RainCube lifts off to the Earth’s orbit in 2018, July 13th, from the International Space Station. From the project plan, the primary mission had a time limit of three months. How did the CubeSat instrument work? The weather satellite saw rain and different precipitation by sending radar signals off snowflakes, ice, and raindrops. Later, it would work out the time taken for a signal to bounce back and its strength on arrival. The scientist on the ground was able to monitor storms globally.

Since it has been in space for almost two and a half years, it has taken up all the storm measurements. RainCube’s principal scientist from NASA Jet Propulsion talked about the significant role behind the launch. He spoke of the weather satellite as an eye-opener to various scientists that a small satellite can do the trick instead of a complete satellite that is ten times bigger. Besides, the two satellites resulted in the same results.

After the initial three months target, the satellite remained in space under its recent destruction. In 2020, it worked alongside another CubeSat, TEMPEST-D, to study storms. The two satellites worked adequately. And although the instruments the CubeSats used were various, the methods were complementary. With that, the monitoring team was able to make better reports on the storms happening globally.

In a statement from RainCube Project manager Shannon Statham, the second phase was a discovery. The team learned that you could use two CubeSats to get better results when studying more about the planet.

In general, a CubeSat is a small instrument with a big mission. The current weather satellites can only view activities in space for a while before recovering. However, with the grand discovery, experts can use multiple CubeSats to work on the same mission. With that, studying the planet is easier and more convenient. Besides, it’s almost impossible to miss something when monitoring is 24-hours.

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Coronavirus

Electric car sales shoot despite the late release by manufacturers due to Covid -19

Europe saw a surge in electric and hybrid car sales towards the end of 2020. Car manufacturers had been preparing to change their manufacturing dynamics from ICE (internal combustion engine) cars to hybrid and electric cars, following the governments’ directive to cut the production of carbon-emitting vehicles.

However, the expansion of the EV and hybrid sales was abruptly cut short by the emergence of the global, deadly coronavirus. Car assembly was halted as governments ordered total lockdowns across the globe. This led to delayed production of new cars and distribution of ready ones.

When Covid-19 cases were controlled, governments opened up economies. Manufacturers were in a rush to release their car models, and consumers dashed to procure their favorite emission-free models. The result was a spike in hybrid and EV car sales towards the end of 2020. According to research conducted by Bernstein, 300,000 of 730,000 battery EVs ordered before Covid-19 struck were delivered in the last three months of 2020.

Some carmakers met their yearly target despite the late release. For instance, Daimler hit its target sales through a collective effort to drive its sales right as the year ended. Others like Volkswagen missed their target, but only with a small gap. Jaguar Land Rover faced a couple of problems in 2020. Firstly, when Covid-19 struck, the company’s supply of raw materials was cut short. Towards the end of the year, the carmaker announced it was halting production in Castle Bromwich. Jaguar managed to sell its Jaguar I-Pace EV, which accounted for 69 percent of the company’s car sales in Western Europe for December.

Government rebates for EVs contributed to the late success. For example, in Germany, the government has tripled the subsidies offered when consumers purchase EVs. An electric car buyer will pocket €9000 in a discount when they buy a new car.

According to figures released by Germany’s car market leader, AutoScout24, searches for EVs rose by 80 percent in the second half of 2020. Data also showed that for all the cars sold in 2020, 13.5 percent were electric.

“Incentivisation obviously has played a very important role in 2020 to really push electrification over a kind of tipping point,” said Pieter Nota, sales chief at BMW.

Government rebates alone cannot sustain the high sales. Countries have to expand their charging infrastructure to ensure car users have a reliable supply of power. “The next few months will show whether demand can continue at this high level. The decisive factor here will not be the cost subsidies alone, but also the expansion of the charging infrastructure,” said Jochen Kurz, a director at AutoScout24.

Governments scheduled bans on conventional cars has also driven the high EV sale. After the UK announced its plan to ban petrol car sales by 2030, the search for EVs on online car sales doubled, revealed Autotrader. In 2020, 16 percent of all car sales were either electric or hybrid.

Hyundai sold the highest number of EVs in Europe last year. The company sold 13 percent of the total EVs sold across Europe, courtesy of its well-known EV, Kona model.

 According to Matthias Schmidt of Schmidt Automotive Research, the crown for the most registered electric car model went to Renault’s Zoe model. The French carmaker’s model surpassed Tesla’s Model 3 and Volkswagen’s ID.3, accounting for 95 percent of the total EV sales in Western Europe. Tesla sales across Europe fell by 16 percent. Pandemic lockdown interrupted the distribution of cars from assembly factories to consumers across Europe.

BMW intends to double its electric car sales this year. “We aim to increase the sales of our electrified vehicles by more than half in 2021, and that underlines the importance of electromobility as a major growth driver in the company,” said Nota.

Hybrids use both the combustion engine and battery to power their propulsion. Critics have disregarded hybrid vehicles claiming they solely rely on the ICE and only a small distance is powered by electric power. “I would expect that hybrids will go down rapidly when fiscal stimulus is reduced. When the subsidies end for hybrids, no one buys them because it’s not the real thing,” said Markus Duesmann, Audi CEO.

Categories
Energy

Autoworkers are not sure how things will be in the era of electric vehicles

After General Motors announced that by 2035 it would only specialize in producing electric vehicles only, this clouded the future of 500000 employees whose jobs could come to an end. GM wants a workforce that will help it develop zero-emissions vehicles. Although this won’t happen so quickly, it means that workers who were manufacturing internal combustion vehicles for many years will now perform different tasks or else lose their jobs.

While making internal combustion vehicles, there are skilled workers who specialize in making muffles, fuel injectors, and pistons.  Now, all these jobs will be replaced by lithium-ion battery pack assembly and heavy-duty wiring harness. The majority of these components are imported. The good news President Joe Biden is committed, and one of the ambitious primary plans is the US electric vehicle supply chain that could lead to the creation of over one million jobs in the auto industry.

However, the future of GM workers plus other carmakers could be at risk. The upcoming plants will require fewer workers since electric vehicles have fewer moving parts compared to internal combustion vehicles. There is the likelihood that automakers will start buying the EV components from supply companies or partner with others to create joint ventures to make the parts. More than 100000 people in the United States will be directly affected. These are people who work in plants that produce engines and transmissions for internal combustion and gas vehicles. 

One of the plants that are facing this challenge is the Toledo Transmission Plant in Ohio. One of the employees who work there, known as Stuart Hill, says that he is worried that the plant will be shut down. He is not sure what will happen after the plant closure. Hill is among the 1500 workers who work at the plant and one of the GM employees. He said that if the plant is shut down, he will have no alternative than looking for work at other plants.

Two years ago, Volkswagen and Ford executives said that EVs would decrease labor hours by 30% per vehicle. This means that autoworkers are not guaranteed that they will secure jobs in the new era of EV.  It is expected that many industry jobs will be lost in the EV transition. However, some argue that there will be many other jobs that the greener economy will create.  These include building EV parts, solar and wind power production projects, and installation of charging stations.

Categories
Space

A Documentation of the natural disaster resulting from the Uttarakhand Avalanche from New Satellite Images

One would obviously wonder how a disaster that saw 30 people die and left more than 170 missing may have come about. Thanks to a satellite, there are high-resolution images that tell the whole story. They clearly show how it was before the glacier burst and even more interesting events before the actual ordeal. Therefore, one can tell the strength of this particular avalanche clearly. Going by a picture taken on Feb 6, there is a clear ridgeline. It is covered with snow and ice, which is a part of the Trishala glacier. Interestingly, a huge portion of the ice was no more after the avalanche in reference to a photo taken on Feb 8.

Another affected area, besides where the avalanche occurred, is several kilometers from the spot of focus. Just like the other area, it was also covered by snow before the avalanche. However, that changed on the D-day, and again, a huge chunk of snow and ice also went missing. Another area that registered change was the river not far from the Tapovan hydel plant since it was washed away following the avalanche. Before the incident, on Feb 6, it was a stream quite narrow with green water flowing downstream. However, that was different on Feb 8 since it was broader than the day before and instead of green water flows brown mud. The bottom line is that the whole area fell victim to destruction following the avalanche.

Additionally, the Tapovan hydel plant that existed on Feb 6 is no more. That’s all because the avalanche happened the following day when the landslide’s path and dust were hard to go unnoticed. The day after the disaster, Feb 8, dust was no more, but the field of debris left behind was evident.

From experts, there are high chances that it was ice and a block of rock initially. Upon hitting the valley floor but not before rolling for about two kilometers, the end product was an ice avalanche and a huge rock. They rolled down the glacier at a relatively high speed. In the process, a lot of dust was seen and is evident on the valley side as per the satellite images. Then, the unfortunate Uttarakhand disaster happened. It is important to note that the landslide turned out to be a flow of debris, eventually. According to experts, there are high chances the ice was crushed and melted due to the huge amount of heat that the avalanche generated. As a result, the heat triggered fragmentation, and the ice also melted.