Climate Change: Ban All Gas Boilers From 2025 to Reach Net-Zero
The list itself is fairly straightforward and doesn’t contain anything which people didn’t already know about. But knowing about them and doing something about them are completely different things.
Moving everybody off fossil boilers within 4 years is a stretch. But the technology is there. As with a lot of the things on this list it needs political will to make it happen. Governments (at the country, regional and city level) have mandated a ban on new fossil fuel vehicle sales in numerous places. They need to continue this push and make sure things like solar panels, batteries and EV charge points are mandated for new builds, planning permission for wind and solar farms is made a lot easier and obstacles to adoption are removed.
We have the solutions. We need political will.
One Floating Wind Turbine Good, Two Floating Wind Turbines Better
Wind turbines are something of the holy grail when it comes to renewable energy. They can be situated pretty much anywhere there is land - or even right on the water, they work regardless of whether the sun is shining or not, and they produce cheap renewable energy.
Offshore wind is deemed to be the cheapest of the cheap sources of wind and in places such as the North Sea and the Atlantic seaboard of the US these huge turbines are safely ensconced. But out in the much deeper areas of the Pacific Ocean, there are issues with attaching them to the ground. This is where the idea of floating wind turbines has come in.
Hexicon has come up with a solution that allows two turbines to be linked together
on one floating platform without reducing the efficiency of either one (Turbines need to be a certain distance apart to ensure the turbulent air from one doesn’t affect the efficiency of another.)
The stats look quite good. The Hexicon solution allows two turbines to be colocated on a single platform, produce 75% more electricity per given area than single turbines and reduce the cable requirements by 75%
‘Holy Grail’ Battery Breakthrough Sees Scientists Solve 40-Year Problem
The breakthrough involves harnessing the power of lithium-metal batteries
, which are capable of holding substantially more energy and charge in a fraction of the time compared to lithium-ion batteries that are currently used in everything from smartphones to Tesla vehicles. The development, made by a team at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), allows this next-generation battery to be charged and discharge at least 10,000 times, which would increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to that of their gasoline counterparts – while simultaneously increasing their range and reducing their charge time.
As with a lot of battery tech ‘breakthroughs’ this will need to be taken with a pinch of salt. What works at a theoretical level might not work at a practical level. What works at a practical level in the lab might not work when scaled up. What can be scaled up easily might not be scaled up cheaply.
But at first glance, this seems like something to be hopeful about.
Tesla Cofounder JB Straubel: “The Largest Lithium Mine Could Be in the Junk Drawers of America.”
When it comes to batteries, recycling is a must. The raw materials that go into batteries come from all over the world
, and the long supply chain — mining, refining, and transport — is far from green. In fact, the process of obtaining raw materials and transforming them into battery cells is believed to account for the majority of the ecological footprint of manufacturing an electric vehicle. Batteries also represent the largest cost component of an EV, so reducing costs through recycling could be an important factor in bringing EV prices down. The kicker is that supplies of raw materials for battery cells are tight, and could prove to be a major bottleneck over the next few years.
Tesla co-founder and former CTO JB Straubel understands this problem well, and he started Redwood Materials in 2017 to do something about it. The company recycles end-of-life batteries, extracts the raw materials, and supplies them to battery-makers to be made into new cells.
The whole area of battery recycling is one with a great amount of potential. We know that there are literally hundreds of tonnes of old batteries sitting around in the junk drawers of households who haven’t traded in their old phones, Kindles, e-readers, tablets etc.
‘Mining’ these drawers for the elements needed for new EV batteries is something which is rapidly becoming feasible and cost-effective.
Why E-Fuels in Cars Make No Economic or Environmental Sense
With the review of the EU CO₂ emissions standards for cars and vans scheduled for June 2021, some, notably the oil and gas industry and automotive suppliers, are advocating adding CO₂ credits for advanced biofuels and synthetic fuels
into the vehicle standards. T&E’s new analysis shows why this is not credible — neither from an environmental nor from an economic point of view.
There seems to be a faction of society that wants to replace fossil fuels with e-fuels. In reality, fossil fuels and efuels differ only in the source of the energy used to create them. Fossil fuels are mined or dug up. Efuels are hydrocarbons created artificially using renewable energy.
But analysis indicates that they are not quite as good as they were first thought. One of the prime reasons - like hydrogen - is that they use vastly more electricity to produce a mile or km of distance travelled than the associated battery electric vehicle.