Issue #66 - Electric Renault courtesy cars, recycled batteries, renewable wind turbine blades, and RE infrastructure has great ROI

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The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #66 - Electric Renault courtesy cars, recycled batteries, renewable wind turbine blades, and RE infrastructure has great ROI
By Gary Comerford • Issue #66 • View online
Welcome to another edition of the EV Musings newsletter. This week we have some interesting development in the courtesy car market space with Renault moving to full EV at all it’s UK locations for loan cars. I see this as an excellent way of introducing people to electric vehicles in a ‘safe’ (i.e. risk free) and limited way.

This Week's Podcast (s).
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
20 Airlines Commit to New Technologies to Minimise Climate Impact
With aviation being one of the main sources of carbon in the atmosphere any effort to reduce that is always welcome.
But - in the same breath - any greenwashing from fossil fuel companies and companies with a vested interest in keeping the status quo - should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Having said this, this article talks about the various different technologies that airlines can use to reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Enel Green Power Partners With a Startup That Makes Wind Turbine Blades With Fabric
One of the ‘dings’ against wind turbines is that when they come to end-of-life there are very few options for the turbines to be recycled and used again - unlike electric vehicle batteries.
With news coming in from Enel that they are now managing to create wind turbine blades using a fabric similar to ship sails, this is one more argument that can be quite easily shot down.
It incorporates textiles that are similar to what boat sails are made of. The costs are lower thanks to other features, such as a structure that is composed of fewer materials in relation to its length, as well as modular production processes that are simpler and more streamlined, leading to expected savings of up to 17%.
The fact that these blades don’t erode and can be recycled is what piqued Enel Green Energy’s interest, because it’s keen on recycling and reusing wind turbine materials and components in a cost-efficient manner.
Recycled Batteries From Northvolt
Battery recycling is key to ensuring we make the best usage of the resources we have in the gorund. Nobody likes depleting the natural resources the way fossil fuel companies do. So anything which will allow already mined resources to be re-used is a good thing.
Northvolt has started this trend by making commercially available batteries completely from recycled batteries with performance equal to those made from freshly mined resources.
Northvolt says it is expanding the capacity of its Revolt battery recycling facility to 125,000 tons of batteries annually. Construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of next year, with operations starting in 2023. It will recycle batteries that have reached the end of their lifecycle as well as scrap from the battery manufacturing process. In addition, the metal and plastic used in those old batteries will be repurposed as well.
Infrastructure for the Future of Renewable Energy
Electric car drivers have known for a long time that the cost savings are huge when looking at electric cars. It now appears that the whole area of renewable energy is much, much, more cost effective than fossil fuels. Figures from Imperial College, London identify returns of anything up to 200% for RE investments vs FF ones.
study by Imperial College found renewables investments in Germany and France yielded returns of 178.2% over a five-year period, compared with -20.7% for fossil fuel investments. In the U.K., also over five years, investment in green energy generated returns of 75.4% compared to just 8.8% for fossil fuels. In the U.S., renewables yielded 200.3% returns versus 97.2% for fossil fuels
These are the sort of numbers that are going to sound the death knell for fossil fuel investments. In a capitalist world where money has to make money for investors, anybody looking at these figures and making the wrong decision will be punished by the market.
Renault Retail Group Switches Its 160+ Courtesy Car Fleet to All-Electric Power
I’m a big fan of walking-the-walk when it comes to electric vehicles and renewables. That’s why it was really great to see that Renault are replacing all their courtesy cars at their main dealer sites (15 sites in total including Dacia) with Renault Zoes. 143 cars in total. This will expose customes to electric vehicle driving and will, I feel, drive the uptake even more.
For many customers it will be the first time that they have driven an electric vehicle and Renault Retail Group and the Zoe E-Tech will make the experience as straightforward as possible. Each Zoe will be provided fully charged – offering a range of up to 245 miles (WLTP) on a single charge – and customers will receive a full introduction on the car’s features and its operation. Should customers need to travel beyond the Zoe’s range, details of charging points can easily be accessed on its Easy Link Multimedia System, while the spacious interior, generous standard specification and fully automatic transmission ensure every journey is comfortable.
A cool EV or renewable thing
From episode 106:
I’m a big van of those Youtube channels where people convert a Mercedes Sprinter into a home and spend months travelling the world sleeping in exotic locations and living completely in about 80 sq ft of living space. Not that I’d do it myself, but I like to see others do it.
But the one thing I always had trouble getting my head around was the fact they invariably used diesel engines to power both the van and - quite often - the batteries being used to run the electrical items inside it such as the fridge.
It’s an electric RV which is equipped with many, many solar panels. These feed the 60Kwh batteries which can move the van up to 370 km on a charge. But what’s more impressive is that, while stationary, the solar panels expand to 180 sq feet. These can also be used to run the van itself if not charging the battery.
Stella Vita completed a trip from Eindhoven in Holland to Spain covering 1200 miles using solar power alone (apart from a glitch at the start where they needed to call a trailer to get them moving)
No word on the price. But it looks good and I can see this being very popular in the US where the RV lifestyle is a little more entrenched than in many other countries.
From episode 107:
The US Air Force is studying the feasibility of a process developed by tech company Twelve that could allow the manufacture of a carbon-neutral aviation fuel called E-Jet anywhere on Earth using only carbon dioxide from the air, water, and renewable energy.
With any military force the main bottleneck (and break point) is fuel. With all the best will in the world you can’t have the biggest, fastest, deadliest weapons on the planet if they can’t actually move because there’s no fuel. Roughly 30% of casualties in Afghanistan were from attacks on fuel supply lines.
So a new process is under development which will extract carbon dioxide from the air and convert it (via several steps) into jet fuel.
The process uses polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis, which is a sort of inverted fuel cell, with a metal catalyst installed on a cathode to break down carbon dioxide and water into their component ions and then convert them into oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide.
Then via the Fischer-Tropsch process, which is a series of reactions developed in Germany in the 1920s that, in steps, turns them into methane and then increasingly complex organic molecules like polyethylene, ethanol, ethylene, methane, polypropylene, and, as of August 2021, jet fuel.
Naturally there are issues to be overcome: the whole process needs renewable energy. In the Middle East solar will work for that as will wind. But can you do that on, say, an aircraft carrier? Also the process will need to be scaled up for mass production, the fuel will still be mixed with regular AV gas and - to me this is the killer - it still ends up with a petroleum product which is burned
Something To Think About.
Finally...
I’m pretty sure the vast majority of readers of this newsletter will have had to have had a car windscreen replaced at some point in the past. For most of you it’s a quick call to a supplier and the insurance sorts it out.
But have you ever stopped to think how much a new windscreen costs? My EV developed a large crack right in my eye-line the other day. I booked with Autoglass to have it repaired but they came back and said they can’t do it under my insurance company because Autoglass isn’t one of their authorised suppliers. If I did go through with the replacement I would have to pay the full price for the new windscreen which would be… £701 (!)
Luckily when I spoke to my insurance company they booked me in at their authorised supplier and covered the cost (less excess) themselves.
Bit of an eye-opener, that.
Click the box. CLICK THE BOX!!
Click the box. CLICK THE BOX!!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Gary Comerford

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