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Energy

Electric Cars could soon start undermining what they have been trying to solve

One of the challenges that the transition to clean energy vehicles faces is that traditional cars are the cheaper alternative. That’s why Tesla decided to eliminate the use of cobalt in its electric vehicle batteries. Consequently, the company will be in a position to sell their cars at a price of $25,000 in the next three years. With such a price, electric vehicles will stand a chance in the car market when the customers factor in the price issue.

However, the move would end up doing more harm than good. It would see the transition from conventional cars to electric vehicles become hard in the end. That’s because there will be little in terms of financial incentives for recycling batteries if there is no use of cobalt. As a result, they won’t be disposed of well, leading to another pollution situation. It would be an irony given the fact that the purpose of the transition is to reduce pollution.

With such an inadequate disposal mechanism, where does the rising use of electric vehicles leave the world? It is fair to say that it would lead to zero greenhouse gas emissions, which could combat climate change. The move would also reduce health issues associated with vehicle emissions. That’s probably why there are many policies by various countries in support of electric vehicles. By 2040 if not earlier, most countries, especially those in Europe, will have phased out diesel and gas cars. The target for California is even sooner since its deadline in 2035. General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler, and the likes don’t intend to produce gas and diesel vehicles any more either. So, soon electric cars will be all over.

Nevertheless, electric vehicles also have their vice. Each electric car uses lithium-ion batteries, and they are usually relatively heavy. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz EQC one has a weight of 1400 pounds. Their components include nickel, cobalt, and manganese, and they come from mines and smelting companies. Equally important, they have harmful things that can pollute water and soil if the disposal isn’t right.

One would wonder why not recycle then instead of disposal. It is impossible to recycle them for something good since only half of the opponents can be extracted for reuse. Therefore, the other half will need to be disposed of. Without cobalt, financial incentives that go towards recycling and disposal will reduce. Consequently, the already bad situation will become worse with time, especially since the number will keep increasing, and as time goes by, waste will also go up.

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Space

Sending of Haggis to the Space Edge by a Scottish Butcher

Last Friday, there was a video revealed by the Scottish butcher company. The footage showed a bag of Haggis, which is traditional Scottish food, having a ride to the space edge using a weather balloon. The purpose for this was to boost science and celebrating Scotland’s annual “Burns Night.”  The video was released by butcher Howie Simon and presented the weather balloon launched in Dunning, the company’s headquarters, located 16km Perth southwest. The balloon was seen going up 32.1km into the sky with the haggis bag front and center in a clear sky.

After going up in the sky, the Haggis then landed back on Earth safely using a parachute that was deployed hundreds of meters from the ground. The company wrote on its website that this was planned to boost science and make the general public happy after having a challenging year. Scottish Butcher collaborated with Stratonauts, which is a company specializing in launching educational and promotional projects.

Howie said that after the Covid-19 restrictions are over, the two companies will hold workshops in Scottish primary schools. The workshop’s main objective would be to inspire students and motivate them to study science and technology.

2020 was a year like no other. The pandemic led to the closure of many businesses, and life was never the same again. People were restricted to travel as lockdowns we put in place. Students stayed at home as schools were closed. Some of the companies and learning institutions allowed workers to work from home, and students adopted online learning.

Increasing women’s spending in Scotland crisis program

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said that coronavirus-mandated isolation could expose women at a higher risk of been sexually harassed. For this reason, Nicola announced a $1.8 million appropriation for women’s support against rape and other domestic crisis. On Tuesday, when she was addressing the reporters in the capital, Edinburgh, Nicola said that funds would help cater to support services for women and children who are vulnerable and isolated during this period of crisis.

Nicola noted that it is unfortunate to see women and children suffering during this difficult time, saying this is not good at all. She also warned those who engage in raping women that their days are numbered, and they will face the full force of the law. Nicola promised that the government would provide any kind of support during this challenging time of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Energy

These firms would like you to charge your electric vehicle when shopping

It isn’t just Walmart that is adding chargers for electric cars. Electrify America, a Volkswagen subsidiary, revealed Monday that it is installing electric vehicle chargers at over 100 sites, such as retail giant Target, Brixmor-shopping center developer as well as Sheetz- a fueling outlet. The news follows on the heels of last week’s announcement, which said that Walmart would double the E.V. chargers operating with the Electrify America at its outlets. The new real estate deals from Electrify America, announced this week as well as last week, will offer over 200 charging facilities for electric cars across the United States. 

(Each station will have several charging ports with different capacities.) As part of the very first period of installations, the firm intends to allocate $500 million equipping 484 charging sites (such as the infrastructure for the 2,000 DC fast chargers). The recent collaborations show how, as the cost of electric cars decreases, electric vehicles begin to become more popular and affordable as the availability of electric car batteries expands and as corporations invest in charging facilities to help recharge these vehicles in more ways.

Electrify America, which was formed as part of the settlement after the Volkswagen Company was found cheating on its diesel vehicle pollution standards, aims to invest $2 billion across the U.S. on developing electric vehicle charging facilities. “We have seen such an increase in interested parties in electric car chargers,” Brendan Jones, chief operating officer of Electrify America, informed GreenBiz. “I began adding fast D.C. chargers in the year 2011, as well as the hand-raisers which we see currently are unique than they were 5 or 6 years ago.”

There can be a range of advantages from the standpoint of the retail stores, the real estate companies as well as the fueling sites which add chargers. As the demand has accelerated, the enthusiasm of the businesses participating has been changing. For example, introducing chargers to the retail store in the initial periods of electric vehicles was all about achieving environmental targets, Jones observed. But more recently, corporations are finding that it has been “a chance to attract in different forms of drivers to the areas,” he added. In addition to obtaining new buyers, retailers might theoretically retain customers in shops for a prolonged period if their cars are charged outside.

Additional time spent in stores will increase the sum of money which retail consumers pay. For convenience retailers with gas stations, chargers for electric cars may add substantial time to a customer’s experience. Currently, charging an E.V. takes considerably longer than injecting petrol. A selection of charging times can be offered by the chargers which Electrify America uses from Efacec Electric Mobility, ABB, Signet E.V. and BTC Power suppliers. Some would use 50-kilowatt chargers to be on the faster end, and some might offer ultra-fast charging utilizing 350-kilowatt technology.

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Energy

The signing of the renewable energy agreement by UAE and Israel

On Wednesday, Emirati and Israeli companies’ officials signed a renewable energy agreement, as Israel is looking forward to being the global leader in the energy industry. This is one of the reinforced commercial ties for the United Arab Emirates and Israel since the establishment of ties in September.

The energy agreement’s chief corporate signatories are EDF Renewables Israel, French utility giant EDF’s subsidiary, and Abu Dhabi-based Masdar. The initial investment capital will be $100 million, which is expected to grow yearly as the number of projects launched increases. The Masdar and EDF Renewables’ strategic cooperation consists of Abu Dhabi investment funds to gain entry to the existing projects and upcoming projects through tenders given by Israel.

Masdar head, Mohammed Jamil al-Ramahi, said that this marks a new era of coordination in green energy investment between the two nations. The Israeli Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz, said that the agreement is Abraham accords’ fruits in the energy industry. He added that they hope that this cooperation would make Israel the solar energy’s global leader in the next six years. Bruno Bensasson, EDF Renewables Group Senior Executive President said that the agreement would bring a better collaboration between different EDF Group’s subsidiaries, which operates in both countries.

EDF and Masdar have similar projects in North Africa and the Middle East. One of these projects is in the UAE called the Al Dhafra Project, which will be the biggest solar energy facility in the world with a capacity of 2000MW. These two companies are also working together towards the construction of the Mohamed bin Rashid al Maktoum solar park in Dubai, with a capacity of 800MW. In Saudi Arabia, the companies also have another project known as the Dumat al Jandal wind farm, which is the biggest project in the Middle East with a capacity of 400MW.

EDF Renewables and Masdar collaborate in the installations of eight renewable energy projects in the US. All these projects would impact positively to the two countries’ economies as they expect an economic boom. The construction of these projects would also help create tens of thousands of jobs for the youths and professionals. The most significant thing is delivering clean, renewable energy to millions of homes. These projects will also play a vital role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to enable the countries to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

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Space

Scientists are patching up to 125 years of data to understand the Triple-star system

Scientists are utilizing the advanced spacecraft they developed to observe a 125-year antics triple-star system called HS Hydra and project what will become of it in the future. The first scientists to observe the HS Hydra system did this noble course in 1893. The system looked like a star in space, and the experts think it might offer more details concerning the solar system. Astronomers will discover these intricacies after NASA developing the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). This satellite could unravel more alien features of the cosmos, a feature for which the satellite is renowned. Researchers who met in the recent American Astronomical Society meeting held through a webinar think that the satellite could reveal more binary star systems once it resumes its missions.

James Davenport, one of the astronomers involved in this mission, stated that they were anticipating hearing a report about TESS’s potential when it comes to exploratory missions. He added that the past generation enjoyed studying and collecting details about the binary systems, and it is time to explore further than this into the triple star systems. Initially, TESS recognized exoplanets by identifying small regular indents in the stars they were monitoring. The exoplanet is visible when the strange cosmic world impedes the star’s visibility from the spacecraft’s observatory point. In other cases, these may be two stars rotating each other, and their point of overlap has created a binary star system.

Davenport and his team undertook the objective of studying the binary stars that the amateur astronomers labelled in the past. Davenport explained that TESS was instrumental in differentiating binary star systems and the opposite phenomena. The astronomer has been researching deeply about these stars before they can decide where the previous astronomers were right and those systems that they just speculated. This search for information revealed that the HS Hydra is actually a three-star system following a study conducted in 2012. The third star is a smaller one tagging itself close to the double. The triple system was repositioning, a phenomenon that would have made it difficult to identify them as a trio and not a binary system. Scientists anticipate the ongoing eclipse of these three to fade away next year. Data retrieved by Davenport and his team from TESS explains that the eclipse might not end next year, but any day in the first quarter of this year, allowing the scientists to analyze them intensively.

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Energy

What is Behind the Green Energy Boom in Vietnam?

The total capacity of the non-hydroelectric clean energy (like wind, solar, and biomass gasification) in Vietnam peaked at 109 megawatts (MW) in the year 2014, one-third of the 1% of the total installed capacity of about 34,079 MW in the world. Hydropower (46%), coal (29%) as well as natural gas controlled Vietnam’s energy mix at the moment (22%). At the end of the year 2019, 5,700 MW of installed power was accounted for by solar and wind, around 10 percent of the overall supply. That implies that Vietnam sees wind and solar power go from virtually zero to 10% of its supply in just five years. What’s behind this boom in green energy?

Vietnam’s exponential pace of growth is the main catalyst. Since 2014, Vietnam’s economy has expanded by 6% or more a year, hitting 7% in 2018 and 2019, as per the Asian Development Bank. This exponential growth drives the use of resources at an extraordinary pace. Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the electric utility which is owned by the state, has seen the quantity of energy sold rise from around 128.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) in the year 2014 to around 209.4 TWh in 2019. Electricity consumption has risen or more 11% each year, increasing at a rate far higher than the GDP. This is driving a virtually insatiable desire for further production and investment in energy.

The historical dependency of Vietnam on the hydroelectricity puts it in a vulnerable position here. The viability of river-damming power production is minimal, and the geopolitics of the region’s shared hydropower resources are already complicated. Certainly, Vietnam cannot forever regulate this degree of economic development by hydroelectricity. But what about coal as well as, natural gas the two big sources of power generation? Vietnam is a net coal importer as of 2015, importing 43.7 million tonnes in 2019. Natural gas, as well as crude oil imports, have both been increased sharply since 2014.

In 2017, EVN was approved by Vietnamese authorities to pay a competitive rate of 9.35 cents per kilowatt-hour to buy solar power from independent developers.  This form of feed-in tariffs has been shown to be, under some circumstances, effective inducements for the purpose of jump-starting renewable energy expansion. Usually, a high tariff alone would not get the task done. It must be supported by administrative and political support, particularly from the implementation body, the EVN, which is a state-owned utility, in this case. EVN dominates the transmission as well as the distribution of electricity in Vietnam via its subsidiaries and has traditionally controlled about 60% of the generation industry.

Apart from the possibility that imports of coal, as well as natural gas, are pushing up output costs (that cannot be easily recovered by higher retail prices, as the government carefully regulates Vietnam’s energy demand prices), this is part of a much broader attempt to drive through market changes and make Vietnam increasingly investment-friendly. This includes reducing the state’s position in key industries and showing that Vietnam is a location where healthy yields can be produced by private capital.

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Energy

Schools in Montclair approve vendors of green energy projects

Montclair is one move closer to the schools being able to generate renewable electricity. Two firms, Eznergy, centered in Toms River, as well as Greenskies Renewable Energy headquartered in North Haven, Conn., have been given a solar panel contract by the school district. The award of the deal to those 2 firms was approved by the Board of Education on December 2. The solar panel initiative is the form of Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP) of district, a $11 million set of programs to help schools save money on long-term energy bills.

The deal is recognized as a lease-purchase arrangement. The district will accommodate its buildings with solar panels as well as infrastructure and purchase solar electricity from the two suppliers at a cheaper cost than much of its electricity is currently paying for. But Greenskies, which will be responsible for funding development, will own, run and maintain these panels; Eznergy will do the installation. Three other vendors filed bids: Biostar Renewables, based in Overland Park, Kan., HESP Solar, based in Montvale, as well as Sunvest Solar, based in Pewaukee, Wis. Jeff Hintzke, Greenskies’ vice president of strategy and emerging markets, stated Eznergy and Greenskies have collaborated with other school solar ventures.

Hintzke stated Montclair would pay Greenskies, at a rate cheaper than what the district actually finances for most of its power, for the power that is generated by the panels. The district’s analysts predict that even if they implemented the solar lease-purchase, together with the other ESIP initiatives, Montclair schools might save as much as $12 million in electricity costs. Under the deal, Eznergy, as well as Greenskies, will supply power at a base price of around $0.0049 per kilowatt-hour to a school system. The district has budgeted $1,139,205 in the year 2020-2021 financial plan for utilities.

Usually, solar panels generate between 250 and 500 watts, with average higher wattages for industrial and academic solar panels as well as typical lower wattages for the residential panels. For instance, a 400-watt solar panel that gets five hours of sunshine a day will generate 2,000 watts of solar power a day or two-kilowatt hours. That would mean adding to 730-kilowatt hours annually if the panel got five hours of direct sunshine a day for a year that would cost $3.58 under the negotiated base price. “For schools, that are a lot; schools are indeed stressed due to COVID-19,” stated Jim Brown, Eznergy’s president.

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Energy

In 2 months, Turkey will start mini solar tenders, the energy minister states

In the next two months, Turkey will initiate 74 mini solar energy bids for its Renewable Energy Resource Zones (YEKA), the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources revealed. In a teleconference at the very first Turkish Solar Energy Industry Association (GENSED) Solar Energy Summit, Fatih Dönmez stated that the tenders would include solar power stations with a cumulative capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW) distributed throughout 36 various regions.

The tenders are relevant for inspiring more investment in the nation’s solar energy market, especially for small to the medium-sized enterprises in the energy industry, the minister reiterated. “The tenders will become an essential factor in influencing the investment culture as well as investor profile,” he noted. The YEKA tenders are part of the Turkey’s target of sourcing 65% of its energy requirements by the year 2023 from domestic as well as renewable sources.

In the year 2017, a successful bid price of $6.99 per megawatt-hour (MWh) was approved by Turkey’s 1,000 MW solar tender via the YEKA tenders of the Energy Ministry. At $3.49 for every MWh, an equal capacity wind bid, also offered in 2017, was accomplished. On May 30, 2020, the nation concluded its second YEKA wind bid. Dönmez stated that it had managed to raise its installed solar power from 40 MW in the year 2014 to the current 6,630 MW over the nation’s 10 years of solar energy production.

The share of overall capacity for renewable energy has now crossed 7 percent and 4 percent for electricity generation. “Our total capacity in the solar power doubled in 3 years. Around one hour of everyday energy usage comes from solar,” he added. Dönmez stated that Turkey, in aspects of installed solar power, ranks seventh in Europe as well as 13th in the world. He reiterated the nation’s dedication to the production of renewables and the continuity of its progress over the coming years.

The energy transformation in the world is a component of its economic growth policy; he clarified how to rebuild the global economic downturn and markets. “Renewable sources represented 98 percent of 4,900 MW of total capacity installed that came online in the year 2020. Our clean energy installed capacity hit 49,500 MW as well as the share of the cumulative installed capacity currently stands at 51.7 percent,” Dönmez stated.

Also speaking at the conference, Mustafa Yılmaz, Chair of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK), stated that the nation’s solar power capacity had surpassed 6,500 MW since investments were launched almost 5 years earlier. In order to ensure energy freedom, Yılmaz labeled solar power among the most significant options. “We started the solar investments 5 years earlier. Throughout that time, the solar power capacity in our nation increased to more than 6,500 megawatts. I will say that Turkey has generated more capacity than most of the nations that began their investments in solar power a bit quicker,” Yılmaz added.

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Energy

Year-on-year, the sale of Electric Vehicles doubles as results of fleets

Comparison to the prior year, double as many electric vehicles were recorded in 2020, with new business car tax thresholds leading the absorption. Review of the RAC’s recent sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that since the year 2010, over 200,000 pure Electric cars have already been recorded. 21,914 electric battery vehicles (BEVs) were recorded in the month of December alone, the maximum ever registered in one month, beating the number of 21,903 in the month of September. All in all, 108,205 BEVs were marketed in the year 2020, slightly more than 66,879 registered plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) throughout the year.

As far as non-plug-in mild hybrids are concerned, SMMT data reveals that 110,087 vehicles have been registered. Rod Dennis of the RAC notes that there is indeed a long way to get there, with just a “small fraction” of the sum of 31.2 million vehicles zero-emission on the United Kingdom’s highways. Still, the course is becoming apparent; he stated, “The prospect of more electric cars on our highways, several sporting number plates with latest green flash ‘trademark’ could start making drivers who are thinking about changing their vehicle look at if it makes perfect sense for them all to ‘go electric’.

Aside from charging infrastructure problems, it is the challenging economics of owning or leasing a vehicle that may still push them back with the pure electric vehicles continuing to control a high retail value over their gasoline and diesel counterparts. However, discounts for fleets and business car drivers have pushed the record-breaking the year Electric car registrations, due to new benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rates, that was launched in the last spring.  Majority of the registrations (68 percent) for BEVs as well as PHEVs is from the fleets.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), says that 2020 has been a “tipping point” for EV uptake and demonstrates what can be achieved when Government works closely with fleets to develop a set of powerful grants and tax incentives and invest in a robust public charging network. “The recent BVRLA statistics indicates that the fleet industry continues to dominate the drive towards the zero-emission automobile, with the battery electric vehicles accounting for 21 percent of the company car registrations in the 3 months to October 2020,” he added. With 6.6 percent of all the new cars registered in the year 2020 being zero-emission, an increase from just 1.6 percent in 2019 as well as 0.7 percent in the year 2018, the increase in Electric Vehicle approvals is remarkable. This suggests that a quarter of all vehicles which were registered last year (17.5 percent) were capable of zero emissions, an increase from just 7.4 percent in 2019.