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Issue #50 - Recycling Wind Turbine Blades, ExxonMobil shifting blame to consumers, 20 firms account for 55% of single-use plastics, and $8 Billion for Electric Postal Cars

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #50 - Recycling Wind Turbine Blades, ExxonMobil shifting blame to consumers, 20 firms account for 55% of single-use plastics, and $8 Billion for Electric Postal Cars
By Gary Comerford • Issue #50 • View online
Newsletter issue 50. Wow. I can’t believe I’ve come to this point already.
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This Week's Podcast.
The EV Musings Podcast: 89 - The Education Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
Wind Giant Vestas Says It Can Now Fully Recycle Turbine Blades
This always used to be a ding against turbines by people who saw them as a threat: “What happens when they die, you end up with blades in landfill!”. As the size of blades increased this became something of an issue. But now it looks as though science has provided a solution (as we knew it would!)
At the end of April, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and Norwegian offshore wind developer Aker Offshore Wind worked out how to recycle glass-reinforced polymer composites (GRP) used in wind turbine blades. Now Vestas, along with Olin, an epoxy producer, the Danish Technological Institute, and Aarhus University in Denmark claims to have achieved a full recycling cycle of turbine blades by splitting and recycling both fiber and epoxy.
Just 20 Firms Behind More Than Half of Single-Use Plastic Waste - Study
We talk below about ExxonMobil being one of those companies that are trying to push responsibility for climate change out towards customers rather than taking responsibility itself. Seems it’s not alone. Twenty companies produce the plastic and polymers for 55% of the globe’s single-use plastic.
The research - carried out by a consortium including the London School of Economics - looked at which companies are at the base of the plastic supply chain and make polymers, the building blocks of all plastics.
US-based ExxonMobil is the biggest producer of single-use plastic, the report says, followed by: Dow, Sinopec, Indorama Ventures, Saudi Aramco, PetroChina, LyondellBasell, Reliance Industries, Braskem, Alpek SA de CV, Borealis, Lotte Chemical, INEOS, Total, Jiangsu Hailun Petrochemical, Far Eastern New Century, Formosa Plastics Corporation, China Energy Investment Group, PTT and China Resources.
Now I’m not a scientist, politician, or mathematician, but I’ve got to believe that implementing a global solution for single-use plastics would be difficult. However, implementing some sort of system to ‘incentivise’ these companies to change their behaviour would be far easier if we were just targeting 20 businesses. Right?
ExxonMobil Worked to Shift Climate Blame to Individual Consumers
This is another example of “greenwashing” by Big Oil. Taking a page from the Big Tobacco playbook from the 70s, ExxonMobil (The world’s largest supplier of fossil fuels for single-use plastics) is pushing the blame for climate change out to the customers rather than accepting what its internal documents have shown to be the case.
Using computer learning to analyze 40 years of ExxonMobil climate materials, researchers found a “quantitative discrepancy” between the company’s internal documents, which reflected the science, and external communications, which shifted blame for climate change onto individual consumers.
An example of this is the fact that responsibility for recycling plastic bottles falls on the consumer rather than there being some cost or charge to companies like ExxonMobil to ensure they recycle as much as possible.
Nevada Aims to Plug Vehicles Into Renewable Energy
The holy grail of electric vehicles is to have a car that you can either charge using your own renewable energy from solar panels or a wind turbine, or which is charged using public charging where the energy is renewable itself. Obviously in the future energy will be a devolved medium with local communities producing local energy for use in local applications. This is evidenced by the number of local wind turbines being erected as well as people using their own solar panels etc.
But at the state or country level, the investment in renewables has numerous benefits. Nevada has realised this and is focusing on investment in renewable energy and looking to reap the benefits associated with this - which extend far further than just ‘cheap’ electricity.
  • $14.1 Billion in Driver Savings : EVs save families money because driving on electricity is significantly cheaper than driving on gasoline. Furthermore, EVs have fewer moving parts and less required maintenance — no oil changes, no transmissions, no mufflers, no timing belts, etc.
  • $3.6 Billion in Reduced Electric Bills: Nevadans can charge millions of EVs without making significant investments in the electric grid. This is because EVs can be charged when the grid is underutilized and renewable energy is abundant, like overnight, when people are sleeping and wind energy generation in the region often peaks.
  • $2.8 Billion in Societal Benefits from Reduced Pollution: Widespread EV adoption would dramatically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and also cut emissions of NOx, a local pollutant that threatens the health of all Nevadans, especially children and people with respiratory conditions.
US House Lawmakers Support $8 Billion for Electric Postal Cars
We’ve talked before about Biden’s plans to invest in electric vehicles The US Postal service was one big target of that intention. However various factors meant that this couldn’t be mandated. Now the lawmakers in the US have decided to support an $8b bill that would help ensure the USPS can go electric.
The barriers to electric vehicle adoption on a mass scale are coming down.
A cool EV or renewable thing
New EV sales are up) - again - in the UK (and, as a general rule, worldwide).
New figures show that year-to-date EVs are up 108% on 2020 with almost 41,000 being registered. The cut to the plug-in car grant has slowed this slightly and meant hybrids become more popular (they’re up 172%). But the headline figure is an increase of 566% in EVs in April 2021 compared with April 2020. This is, obviously, an artificial boost due to the start of lockdown and the precipitous drop in car sales that month.
The important figure, in my opinion, is the market share percentage. Pure EVs have a market share of 7.2% year to date. Putting that another way one in every fifteen cars sold in the UK has running completely on a battery and - if you include plug-in hybrids - the figure goes to about 1 in 8.
That’s pretty good going!
Something To Think About.
In a Distracted World, Solitude Is a Competitive Advantage
Finally...
Next week on the podcast we chat with Rob Shaw who is the owner of an ID.3. We talk about why he upgraded from his Nissan Leaf 40kWh model, what he likes about the ID.3 and how accurate those software issue rumours have turned out to be. Please subscribe for more.
Mystery box link: Click the photo!
The Mystery Box!
The Mystery Box!
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Gary Comerford

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