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Issue #78 - Mine e-waste, “super-Hybrid” Wind, Hydro and Hydrogen Project Planned, UK's First Lithium Plant Secures New Investment and Replacing Gas Peakers With Battery Storage

The EV Musings Newsletter
Issue #78 - Mine e-waste, “super-Hybrid” Wind, Hydro and Hydrogen Project Planned, UK's First Lithium Plant Secures New Investment and Replacing Gas Peakers With Battery Storage
By Gary Comerford • Issue #78 • View online
This is the 78th issue of the EV musings newsletter. 
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This Week's Podcast (s).
126 - The Electric Van Episode
127 - The Electric Aviation Episode
Top Five EV/ Renewable Stories.
New York Calls Tender to Replace Gas Peakers With Four Hour Battery Storage
In the move towards renewables and the replacement of fossil fuels one key driver is the ability to reduce or eliminate the number of ‘peaker’ plants we have.
These are power stations which are brought online - usually at a high cost - to fill the gaps that appear between available renewables and required energy during peak times of the day.
New York is taking a major step towards this with a tender for a four-hour battery that will cover the peak needs of the city.
The NYPA says a new study has concluded that its so-called “small clean power plants” – ten gas-fired peaker plants located at six locations in New York City and one on Long Island – could be replaced by bulk-scale battery storage projects.
The ten NY City gas-fired peaker plants have a nameplate rating of 517MW to provide local reliability and grid resiliency, though they operate infrequently – only around 10% of the time, and only when directed to do so to meet increased energy demands
The analysis shows that four-hour energy storage could provide enough energy to fully replace the operations of each individual peaker plant as early as 2030, thanks to the increased levels of renewable energy.
New York State is targeting 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and is investing over $US33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, another $US1.8 billion to scale up solar and is aiming to develop 9GW worth of offshore wind by 2035.
We’ve Never Seen a Carbon-Removal Plan Like This Before
Carbon removal is one of the other key aspects of decarbonisation. As well as capping the carbon going into the environment we should also be looking to remove some of that which is there . This is expensive but necessary.
An alliance of prominent Silicon Valley companies—including Google, Meta, Shopify, and the payment company Stripe—announced that it is purchasing $925 million in carbon removal over the next eight years. In a world awash in overhyped corporate climate commitments, this is actually a big deal.
Carbon removal will not solve climate change by itself. To avoid the most catastrophic effects of warming, we must reduce carbon pollution as fast as possible. That means phasing out fossil fuels, adopting clean energy, and switching to public transit and electric vehicles.
But the technology to actually do any of that on a grand scale remains nebulous. Scientists and engineers are still exploring different ways to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and permanently store it, such as constructing factories that cleanse carbon from the air or cultivating vast undersea farms of kelp, which can then be harvested and buried deep in the ocean
World First “super-Hybrid” Wind, Hydro and Hydrogen Project Planned for Queensland
When people talk ‘renewable’ they generally refer to solar power and wind power. In reality, there are numerous other sources of renewable energy (tidal, hydro, gravity storage etc.) A new project in Australia is planning to combine wind, and pumped hydro, to create the world’s first ‘hybrid’ hydrogen production plant.
The Flavian super hybrid project is being proposed by Sunshine Hydro and Energy Estate and would potentially include 1.8GW of new wind generation and 600MW of pumped hydro with 18 hours of storage.
The Flavian project would be located within the proposed Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the Gladstone-Bundaberg area and could begin generating clean energy and producing green hydrogen by 2028 if it goes ahead.
It is one of three potential super-hybrid projects that the promoters say could generate a minimum of 660MW of firm green energy, equivalent to over half of the current output of the Gladstone coal-fired power station.
Boost to Future of Electric Cars as UK’s First Lithium Plant Secures New Investment
The reliance on foreign raw materials for electric vehicle batteries is a weakness in the supply chain. Being able to source and process minerals such as lithium in Europe will minimise that risk.
The UK’s first lithium factory, which aims to supply European electric car and battery makers, has secured new investment.
The refinery, which is being developed in northern England by Green Lithium, will receive feedstock - a raw material used in processing - from Trafigura, one of the world’s largest metals traders
There is currently no commercial lithium refinery in Europe, leaving the continent’s growing electric vehicle and sustainable energy storage sectors reliant on China’s plants
Mine E-Waste, Not the Earth, Say Scientists
With the huge amount of old electronic devices lying dormant in cupboards and drawers in people’s houses, it is ridiculous that we are constantly mining the earth for the same minerals which are sitting there, unused.
Instead, we should be mining e-waste
One study estimated that the world’s mountain of discarded electronics, in 2021 alone, weighed 57 million tonnes.
Geopolitical unrest, including the war in Ukraine, has caused huge spikes in the price of materials like nickel, a key element in electric vehicle batteries.
This volatility in the market for elements is causing “chaos in supply chains” that enable the production of electronics. Combined with the surge in demand, this caused the price of lithium - another important component in battery technology - to increase by almost 500% between 2021 and 2022.
A cool EV or renewable thing
From Episode 126
Regular podcast listeners will be aware that I have an ID.3 on order. I was interested to learn that VW has attempted to make the manufacture of the ID.3 as carbon neutral as possible.
They’ve done this by implementing three principles:
First: Reduce CO2 effectively and sustainably.
Second: Convert the energy supply to renewable energies.
Third: Compensate for unavoidable emissions.
There are many challenges in doing this - not least the fact that the batteries themselves have a high carbon content.
But by using renewable energy (as well as ensuring suppliers commit to renewable energy) alongside carbon offsets, and carefully sourced material they’ve managed to reduce the carbon footprint to a fraction of what it was.
Unfortunately, they still have to resort to carbon credits (i.e. using a carbon-free source somewhere else on the face of the planet to offset the carbon they’ve emitted) but overall the trend in this particular manufacturing site is heading downwards, which is a good thing.
From Episode 127
In 2019 three friends in a bar had a radical idea: What if the middle of their then car-centric city became essentially car free? Over the next few months, they kept talking about the idea and eventually created a group: Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei, or People’s Decision for Auto-Free Berlin.
They hope to make the area inside the Ringbahn in Berlin totally car-free.
As in other cities, “car-free” doesn’t literally mean that no cars could enter the area, but private car use would dramatically drop. Special permits would be given to emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, taxis, commercial and delivery vehicles (though many deliveries in Berlin already happen on cargo bikes), and residents with limited mobility who depend on cars. Others would be able to use a car, likely through a car-sharing program, up to 12 times a year to run longer errands. But most people, most of the time, would walk, bike, or take public transportation.
Cities like Amsterdam have proven that this is entirely possible so good luck to the group as they gather the signatures and support they need to move this forward.
Something To Think About.
Finally...
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Gary Comerford

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