⚡Construction start for Iceland's CO2 Direct-Air-Capture, UK mulls 69% GHG cuts by 2030, and a new material can store + release Solar Energy on-demand

Good evening The Carbon Cut Readers! Today’s highlights include:

  • Direct air carbon capture company Climeworks has started construction of a plant in Iceland that will trap and bury 4,000 mt/year of CO2

  • Boris Johnson is mulling stricter U.K. greenhouse-gas cuts of as much as 69% by 2030, which would make it one of the most ambitious developed nations in the world when it comes to fighting climate change

  • A new three-year project allowing residential solar and batteries to trade electricity and grid services in Victoria, Australia has been launched

  • Germany scraps renewable fee on hydrogen to encourage new technology

  • Living algae facades cover buildings, sucking in CO2 and sun to produce renewable energy

  • and a crystalline material has been discovered which has properties that allow it to capture energy from the sun. The energy can be stored for several months at room temperature, and it can be released on demand — as heat.

Estimated Total Reading Time: 11 mins


💧 Hydrogen

1️⃣ Will Green Hydrogen Save the Planet or Become a Costly Detour? — That’s why there’s both excitement and trepidation around the run of dramatic hydrogen announcements from Europe, Australia and Chile in recent months. The European Union alone envisages spending as much as 470 billion euros ($558 billion) on green hydrogen by 2050. To shift the whole world in the same direction would cost at least twice as much.

2️⃣ Work begins on German-Australian ‘hydrogen bridge’ — Australia and Germany have officially started a joint-feasibility study on green hydrogen production and trade, or what the German Federal Minister of Research has described as a “hydrogen bridge.”

3️⃣ Enel, Eni partner on green hydrogen pilots in Italy — Italian energy giants Enel and Eni are to work together to develop two green hydrogen projects. The partners plan to produce the hydrogen through electrolysers powered by renewable energy near two Eni refineries in Italy. They said that green hydrogen appears to be the best decarbonisation option at the refineries. Each pilot project will feature electrolysers of around 10MW which are expected to start generating green hydrogen by 2022–2023.

4️⃣ Hydrogen boost from North German, Danish plans for 850 MW electrolyzers by 2025 — Five north German states have joined forces to establish a green hydrogen cluster with an interim, 500-MW electrolyzer target set for 2025, the HY-5 initiative said at the Hamburg wind fair Dec. 1. At the same event, the Green Hydrogen Hub Denmark (GHH) project unveiled plans for a 350-MW electrolyzer project in Northern Jytland by 2025.

5️⃣ Scottish Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project Takes Off — UK energy regulator Ofgem and the Scottish government have set aside up to nearly GBP 25 million to finance a project that will use offshore wind power to produce green hydrogen energy for heating homes in Fife, Scotland.

6️⃣ Germany makes near $10 million contribution to Siemens hydrogen plant in Chile — Germany’s economy ministry made an 8.2 million euro ($9.9 million) contribution on Wednesday to Siemens Energy’s planned hydrogen plant in Chile, part of its broader national strategy to support hydrogen technology. The project, which requires total early-stage investments of 35 million euros, entails building and operating a wind power plant, Haru Oni, in southern Chile.

7️⃣ Trafigura to invest $62 mil in hydrogen ecosystem around Europe, partner with H2 Energy — The Geneva-based logistics and trading company will invest $20 million of that fund into H2 Energy, which has a 45% stake in the project known as Hydrospider.

8️⃣ Researchers convert wheat straw into hydrogen fuel — The new approach called photobiorefinery uses solar energy to break down wheat straw and make green hydrogen, a high-value biochemical.

9️⃣ Is Green Hydrogen Viable? With Government Support, It Can Be — Green hydrogen, produced by using renewable energy to split water, can cost several times the standard hydrocarbon version. Even carbon capture and storage — which turns hydrogen made with natural gas into cleaner, so-called blue hydrogen by trapping noxious emissions — is only nascent. The same is true of transport networks, storage, regulation and even demand beyond traditional industrial applications, like oil refining or fertilizer production. Without policy support, there’s a risk countries will miss out on this global energy realignment.

❄️ LNG & Natural Gas

1️⃣ No clear public mandate for multibillion-dollar Saguenay gas project — The controversial liquid natural gas (LNG) project in Saguenay is dividing Quebecers, according to a Léger poll released Wednesday. GNL Quebec, a Quebec-based project development, construction, and operations company, wants to build a natural gas liquefaction terminal on the Saguenay River. Tankers would then transport LNG to European and Asian markets. The project requires the construction of a 780-kilometre natural gas pipeline from Northern Ontario to the Saguenay terminal site.

2️⃣ Use of LNG as marine fuel faces challenges — High construction cost and low oil prices have made LNG-fuelled vessels commercially unviable, while the effect of their reduction in greenhouse gas emissions remains questionable, said a senior shipping executive.

🚘 Mobility — EVs, Batteries & Fuel Cells

1️⃣ Hyundai says it hasn’t given up on hydrogen fuel cells as it unveils new electric car platform — The Hyundai-Kia Group’s dedicated EV platform might be predictable, but 23 new electric models in five years isn’t to be sniffed at.

2️⃣ Northern Ireland set to get 100 zero-emission buses — Twenty of them will be hydrogen powered and the other 80 will be battery operated. These new buses are due to go into service in Belfast and Londonderry when they are ready and will be built by Ballymena-based company Wrightbus.

3️⃣ Free Now teams up with Ohme EV to support smart EV charging — A new partnership between Ohme EV and Free Now aims to slash the cost of smart electric vehicle EV charging technology, enabling London’s black cabs and private hire operators to move forward towards a goal of zero emission, all-electric transport.


🔋 Energy Storage

1️⃣ China’s energy storage deployments for first nine months of 2020 up 157% year-on-year — According to work by the China Energy Storage Alliance’s (CNESA) in-house research group, the country now has around 33.1GW of installed energy storage project capacity in total, with global cumulative capacity now at about 186.1GW. These figures include all forms of energy storage including pumped hydro, which still accounts for more than 90% of installed capacity.

2️⃣ Investor Gresham House raises US$160m for six new UK battery storage projects — London Stock Exchange-listed investor Gresham House Energy Storage Fund has raised £120 million (US$159.86 million) to finance six new energy storage projects. These new near-term acquisitions — totalling 245MW — are part of its c.485MW new pipeline, although small amounts of the funds will go towards existing energy storage projects. Gresham House Energy Storage Fund — listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol GRID — is one of two listed funds in the UK investing in utility-scale energy storage projects focused on batteries, the other being Gore Street Capital.

🔆 Solar Power

1️⃣ Orsted to unleash 430MW solar project in Texas — Orsted has taken final investment decision on a 430MWAC solar development in Texas. The Old 300 Solar Center is located 40 miles from Houston and is expected to come online in Q2 2022. The project, which has secured a long-term PPA, is expected create a dependable income source for family ranches who lease their land for the project.

2️⃣ Cementos Cosmos invests EUR4.4m in PV plant — Cementos Cosmos, part of Votorantim Cimentos, plans to install a 6.2MW photovoltaic facility at its plant in Toral de Vados, Spain. The facility will consist of 14,028 solar panels and will be located on a 10ha plot near the Toral de los Vados industrial estate.

3️⃣ DSD Acquires New York Community Solar Portfolio from Source Renewables — The three projects are slated to proceed with installation this winter, with Utah-based Mill Creek Engineering engaged for engineering, procurement and construction. The portfolio comprises three separate New York properties in Chautauqua, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties. The Oswego County site is bolstered by up to 8,000 kWh of energy storage service (ESS).

💨 Wind Power

1️⃣ DNV GL: Floating Wind in Need of Comprehensive Industry Standards — Floating wind will account for 2 per cent of the world’s power supply by 2050 and its cost will drop some 70 per cent by that time. Still, a more comprehensive industry standards and risk management are required for the technology to scale, according to a new report from DNV GL.

2️⃣ UK offshore wind lease pipeline ‘falls well short’ of 40GW target — British government’s ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’ vision will need to find over 10GW of new fixed and floating projects to bridge gap by 2030, says new report.

3️⃣ Vestas confirms 534MW Brazilian order — Vestas has confirmed Casa dos Ventos has placed a 534MW order for the second stage of the Rio do Vento complex in Brazil — the largest wind project in Latin America to date. The extension will add to the 504MW first phase of the 1GW project in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, which is currently under construction. For the project, Vestas developed a customised solution, featuring V150–4.2MW wind turbines with some delivered in 4.3MW and others in 4.5MW Power Optimised Mode.

4️⃣ Siemens Gamesa lands Swedish and Polish contracts — Siemens Gamesa has signed four contracts with energy company European Energy to install four wind farms in Sweden and Poland. The 37MW Kingebol wind farm in Sweden will see the installation of six SG 5.8–170 turbines from the Siemens Gamesa 5.X platform. These turbines have been enhanced for this project to provide 6.2MW of nominal power and are equipped with the largest rotors in the onshore segment at 170-metres.

5️⃣ Southern Power’s 136MW Washington wind site goes live — Southern Power has announced the 136MW Skookumchuck Wind Facility in Washington state, USA, is now operational. This project is Southern Power’s first wind facility in the state and contributes to the company’s growing renewable fleet of clean generating assets from California to Maine. Southern Power president Bill Grantham said: “Skookumchuck Wind Facility is our first wind project in the state of Washington, and we are pleased to see this project achieve commercial operation.

6️⃣ Nordex receives certification for N149/5.X model — Nordex has received a IEC Type Certificate for one of its N149 turbine models from TÜV SÜD. As part of the type certification process based on international IEC standards, over the past few months TÜV SÜD has been assessing and evaluating the overall concept as well as all the principal components of the N149/5.X turbine.

7️⃣ OREAC Launches 1.4 TW of Offshore Wind by 2050 Roadmap — The Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) is calling on governments to ramp up their offshore renewable energy ambitions to achieve the coalition’s vision of 1,400 GW of offshore wind by 2050.

8️⃣ MHI Vestas bags big Taiwan factory for offshore wind turbine assembly — OEM and developer lease 5,000-square-metre site in major ramp-up of supply chain for projects off island.


💎 Carbon Capture

1️⃣ Global carbon capture and storage capacity grew by 33% in 2020, says new report — Global carbon capture and storage facility capacity increased by 33% in 2020 and 12 new commercial projects were added in the Americas, bringing that total to 38 operating facilities, which is about half the global total, think tank Global CCS Institute said Dec. 1.

2️⃣ Carbon capture can help us win the race against climate change — The sustained lift in activity around CCS and the increased investment in new facilities is exciting and encouraging. But there is so much more work to do.

3️⃣ Oxy lays out net zero plan focused on carbon storage and direct air capture — Occidental Petroleum said Wednesday its plan to get to to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid century would rely heavily on direct air capture and carbon storage sites. In a detailed report, the Houston-based oil company said it would open its first commercial-scale carbon storage site and a facility to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere by 2025. By 2040 Occidental would have expanded those operations to the point it would only use manmade carbon dioxide in its oil operations. CEO Vicki Hollub described Occidental as transforming into a “carbon management company,” in an interview with the energy research firm IHS Markit.

4️⃣ The Future Of Carbon Capture Is In The Air — While renewable energy is now widely accepted as the cheapest form of electricity generation, energy demand growth, government growth requirements and the need for a just transition mean fossil fuels will still have a role. But for that to work with climate goals, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology must be mainstreamed. In Iceland, Climeworks is showing how direct air capture/storage (DAC) could change the game.

🔄 Recycling, Waste & Circular Tech

1️⃣ Carbon dioxide converted to ethylene — the ‘rice of the industry’ — Understanding intermediates of the electrochemical CO2 reduction to ethylene. Encouraging catalyst design-a key component of CO2 utilization using renewable energy.


📜 Policy

1️⃣ Ohio bill would ban new large solar and wind projects for up to three years — The legislation does not appear to have broad support, but it is concerning to critics nonetheless because it reflects some lawmakers’ ongoing hostility to renewable energy, despite its growing economic importance.

2️⃣ Top UK trade official slams ‘silly’ Brexit lockout from key offshore wind group — Richard Burn says cooperation vital over shared objectives but Britain currently excluded from North Seas Energy Cooperation.

3️⃣ U.K. Debates World-Leading Cuts in CO2 Emissions — Boris Johnson is mulling stricter U.K. greenhouse-gas cuts of as much as 69% by 2030, which would make it one of the most ambitious developed nations in the world when it comes to fighting climate change.

4️⃣ California regulators to vote on state’s first renewable natural gas tariff pilot for Sempra utilities — The pilot would allow the utilities to offer their customers a voluntary tariff through which they could purchase renewable natural gas (RNG) — or biomethane, emitted from agricultural and waste products — as part of their gas service. It would aim to accelerate the use of low-carbon RNG and develop supplies of the gas in California and across the country.

💰 Investments & Funding

1️⃣ New innovation challenge focused on offshore renewable energy launched — Innovators are being sought to identify how marine geospatial data can be used to find suitable sites for offshore wind, tidal and wave energy infrastructure projects

2️⃣ Siemens Gamesa secures €300m loan from EIB — Siemens Gamesa has arranged a €300m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to fund its research, development and innovation strategy through 2023. The deal comprises an initial €150m tranche, and a second part for the same amount that may be tapped next year.

📈Pricing & Trading

1️⃣ Ørsted to Fight Danish Taxation of Its UK Offshore Wind Farms — The Danish Tax Agency has decided to tax Ørsted’s Walney Extension and Hornsea One offshore wind farms in the UK and the developer has now announced an appeal to this decision to the Danish Tax Appeals Agency.

2️⃣ German CO2 price must be adapted to social realities — Germany’s new price on carbon in the heating and transport sectors does not always reflect “social realities”, environment minister Svenja Schulze and finance minister Olaf Scholz write in an op-ed for Tagesspiegel. The two Social Democrats (SPD) say that the CO2 price as a market-based instrument had to be accompanied by relief for long-distance commuters and tenants. The government has therefore increased living cost supplements and the allowance for commuters.


🧭 General

1️⃣ Construction, renewable energy buyers join steel producers to push zero carbon steel — The steel consumers signing on to SteelZero have made a public commitment to transition to procuring, specifying or stocking 100% net-zero steel by 2050. The companies include: UK steel construction company BHC, UK constructional steelwork company Bourne Group, international property developer Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, multinational construction company Lendlease, global consultancy and construction firm Mace Group, renewable energy company Orsted and engineering services group WSP UK.

2️⃣ Shell Wants Its Oil Refineries to Make Things You Don’t Burn — Royal Dutch Shell Plc has a plan to reduce its carbon emissions — sell fewer products its customers can burn. The European energy giant is reconfiguring — and shrinking — its refining and petrochemicals business to focus less on fuel that is combusted and emits greenhouse gases, and more on the chemicals, lubricants and bitumen that keep carbon trapped inside them.

3️⃣ ‘Humanity is waging war on nature’, says UN chief, as report slams G20 nations for $233bn of fossil-fuel support — “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal,” the UN secretary-general António Guterres declared on Wednesday, in an angry speech that implicitly criticised world leaders and the fossil-fuel industry for insufficient action against climate change.

🏭 Emissions

1️⃣ Dominican Republic cement industry targets 33% carbon reduction by 2030 — The Dominican Association of Portland Cement Producers (ADOCEM) has published its Cement Roadmap, which presents an action plan to lower the sector’s carbon footprint by 2030.

2️⃣ Siemens cuts CO2 emissions by 54% — Siemens has achieved its declared intermediate target for carbon reduction. The company has reduced the carbon footprint of its own value chain by more than half (54%) since 2014. Siemens has thus exceeded — by four percentage points — its goal of halving its global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2020. Including Siemens Energy, the company has reduced its carbon emissions by around 1.2 million tons of CO2 compared to its 2014 levels. Four levers are being used to reduce carbon emissions: expanding the energy efficiency program, using distributed energy systems, purchasing green power, and reducing emissions in the vehicle fleet. Siemens intends to achieve climate neutrality in its business operations by 2030. The company has recently published these details and other up-to-date information on sustainability.