⚡Fossil fuelled Power Plants are becoming obsolete on their own, Greenpeace calls for review of Biomass, and a new additive mixture threatening LNG

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

  • The dirtiest fossil fuel is on the back foot

  • A generator-level model suggests that most fossil fuel power plants could complete normal lifespans and still close by 2035 because so many facilities are nearing the end of their operational lives

  • In rural New York State, big wind and solar energy projects are running into determined local opposition. What is to be done?

  • China will see more wind capacity installed than the next five largest markets combined during the 2020s

  • Phasing out the use of woody biomass to produce heat and power could help the EU double the amount of carbon dioxide its forests absorb in the next 30 years, according to a study commissioned by Greenpeace

  • US smart city Peachtree Corners, in Georgia, has unveiled a photovoltaic roadway system which produces energy for a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station located at city hall

  • and a new invention — a cleaner additive mixture to convert natural gas into solid form, for easy transportation, in just 15 minutes.

Estimated Total Reading Time: 10 mins

⛽ NEW FUELS

💧 Hydrogen

1️⃣ Marine transporter takes a look at hydrogen — Marine transporter Global Energy Ventures has launched a scoping study to investigate supply chain economics and internal energy requirements to transport hydrogen fuel using its existing compression (C-H2) ships.

2️⃣ Facing uncertain future, gas operators look to hydrogen lifeline — European gas pipeline operators are running trials to blend hydrogen into their networks. Across the U.S., gas utilities are gearing up to feed the fuel into their distribution systems. And in Canada, a new electrolyzer will soon fill trucks bringing hydrogen to filling stations hundreds of miles away. The flurry of projects comes as governments get serious about decarbonizing their economies and investors grow increasingly wary of stranded natural gas assets.

3️⃣ Siemens Gamesa to launch wind-hydrogen pilot — Siemens Gamesa is in the final stages of developing a pilot in Denmark to produce green hydrogen directly from wind. The scheme, near Siemens Gamesa’s Danish headquarters in Brande, will be up and running by January 2021, the turbine maker said. It will serve as a testbed for making “large-scale, cost-efficient” hydrogen production.

4️⃣ Hydrogen Fuel Could Be Texas’ Next Green Energy Bonanza — “Hydrogen has many, many uses,” Tomlinson told Texas Standard. “It can be used in the same turbines that natural gas is used in to generate electricity. Hydrogen can be used to make ammonia and then ammonia can be used as a liquid fuel. That’s what’s so exciting about hydrogen right now, is that there are many different applications in gas form and liquid form in many different technologies.” Texas is already a major producer of hydrogen, but that hydrogen is used for things like manufacturing textiles, fertilizer and rubber. Plus, that type of hydrogen isn’t particularly environmentally friendly.

5️⃣ Big Oil Could Be the Key to the Hydrogen Revolution — What’s a fossil fuel company to do when the world is planning to give up on fossil fuels? Join the revolution, of course. That helps explain the enthusiasm of Equinor ASA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co. about getting in on the switch to a hydrogen economy. For a century, oil companies have spent colossal sums of money delivering volatile liquid fuel to the power and industrial sectors. If hydrogen is supposed to replace petroleum in that equation, no one has better expertise than Big Oil.

❄️ LNG & Natural Gas

1️⃣ CNG carbon footprint less than 50% of LNG, Australian shipowner claims — Global Energy Ventures sees gap in the market for its compressed gas ships after Pavilion’s emissions-measuring deal with Qatar.

2️⃣ Global LNG demand falls as European receipts plunge — LNG receipts fell to 29.7mn t in November from 30.9mn t a year earlier, preliminary figures from analytics firm Vortexa show. The drop was mainly the result of European demand shrinking by nearly 30pc to 5.85mn t. Poland and Lithuania were the only two markets in the region that recorded a slight increase in deliveries last month.

3️⃣ Shell to double LNG bunkering fleet by 2025 — Shell plans to “more than double” its LNG bunkering vessel fleet by 2025, the firm’s executive vice-president Steve Hill said at the virtual CWC World LNG summit. The firm has six LNG bunkering vessels already in operation or about to start service, Hill said.

🚘 Mobility — EVs, Batteries & Fuel Cells

1️⃣ Cell Impact launches Japanese subsidiary — Cell Impact has formed a new Japan-based subsidiary to better serve the rapidly expanding fuel cell and hydrogen market in the region.

🦠 Synthetic Fuels, Ammonia, Methanol & BioFuels

1️⃣ What must be done to use solar and wind in power-to-methanol — According to a research team from Oxford University, solar and wind may be applied in power-to-methanol projects only if the methanol industry will switch from conventional chemical processes, that require a constant energy supply, to more flexible processes that need demand-side management.

2️⃣ Argentinian firm to produce biodiesel from sewage waste — Explora has invested over $5 million (€4.1 million) in new technology to turn sewage waste into biodiesel. The plant in Puerto General San Martín, Santa Fe, Argentina, has already produced 12,000 tonnes of deacidified residual oil that has been exported to the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Bulgaria and Brazil.

3️⃣ Bioenergy Will Continue to be the Largest RES in EU in the Decades to Come — The report highlights the energy system is still largely dependent on imported fossil fuels, and while renewable consumption grew significantly in the last decade, their penetration in the market needs to accelerate. Biomass is by far the main renewable energy source within the EU28 and in 2018 it accounted for more than 10% of the gross final energy consumption. The use of bioenergy has more than doubled since 2000 and contributes to all the final usage forms of energy i.e. heat, transport and electricity due to its storable, dispatchable and locally sourced nature.

4️⃣ NYK to operate two more methanol-fueled chemical tankers — After completion at shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (Korea) in 2022, the vessels will be delivered to Waterfront, a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol. Both vessels will be managed by the NYK Group company NYK Shipmanagement Pte. Ltd


☀️ RENEWABLE GENERATION & SUPPLY

🔋 Energy Storage

1️⃣ New York Power Authority kicks off pilot to trial safe lithium-ion ‘Supercell’ — A 50kW / 250kWh battery storage system has been installed outside NYPA’s White Plains offices, using ’Supercell’ lithium-ion battery technology developed by Cadenza Innovation. The Supercell architecture is designed to solve the issue of thermal runaway that can cause fires when individual cells suffer failures including short circuits.

🔆 Solar Power

1️⃣ US solar giant clears permit hurdle — US renewables developer Hexagon Energy has received approval for a special use permit for a 600MW photovoltaic project in Illinois. The special permit award for the Steward Creek solar project, from the Lee County Board of Supervisors, follows previously received unanimous recommendation for approval from the Lee County Zoning Board of Appeals on 5 November 2020. The project is expected to create 600 jobs during the two-year construction period, beginning in late 2022, and 15 to 20 fulltime operations and maintenance jobs.

2️⃣ European Energy agrees UK solar partnership — Danish green energy company European Energy is partnering with North Yorkshire renewable energy company Norstar to deliver a portfolio of UK solar PV projects. European Energy said the partnership would take the company to a total UK portfolio of around 1.5GW of wind and solar. The new partnership will combine European Energy’s development experience, including the biggest solar farm in Northern Europe, with the local expertise of Norstar.

3️⃣ Solar projects pursuing links to main Texas grid surge past gas and wind — PV looks set to dominate utility-scale build-out in US’ largest state power market aided by large battery projects under construction.

💨 Wind Power

1️⃣ ‘We are all pushing a large wave of projects to 2030 — this will not make it easy for anyone’ — The first year of a new job always has a learning curve. But for Catrin Jung, who in December 2019 took over Swedish utility Vattenfall’s offshore wind business unit, it must have felt at times like mountain-climbing, with the clock ticking down on a final investment decision (FID) on the giant Hollandse Kust South (HKS) development off the Netherlands — the first zero-subsidy project off Europe — and the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting every aspect of normal daily operations.

2️⃣ Lithuania Pours EUR 7.5 Million into Preparation for First Offshore Wind Tender — Lithuanian government has allocated EUR 7.5 million to prepare for its first offshore wind tender and the development of the first 700 MW of offshore wind capacity in its part of the Baltic Sea.

3️⃣ Equinor extends offshore wind ties with Nordic boffins — Equinor and Norwegian research and development agency SINTEF have agreed on a strategic collaboration in four key areas, including offshore wind. Under the agreement, which will run for four years, the two partners will exchange and develop ideas and “radical solutions” in the fields of marine systems, energy systems, modelling studies as well as offshore wind.

4️⃣ TenneT cuts first steel for 900MW DolWin5 — TenneT has cut first steel for its 900MW DolWin5 offshore wind converter platform that is destined for the German North Sea. The transmission system operator said the milestone was reached earlier this week at the Keppel Offshore & Marine yard in Singapore. Once the topside is finished, it will be sent to Aibel in Norway where converters and transformers will be fitted.

5️⃣ UK launches offshore wind integration project — The UK’s Carbon Trust has launched a joint industry programme focused on integrating offshore wind into the power system with industry partners that include Equinor and Vattenfall. The integrator programme aims to maximise the contribution of offshore wind to a low cost, flexible, predictable and low carbon energy future.

6️⃣ Auction for Estonia and Latvia’s 1GW cross-border offshore wind farm to take place in 2026 — The location of the first-of-its kind project will be decided next year, once a feasibility study has been completed, said Timo Tatar, Estonia’s deputy secretary-general for energy, on WindTV at the WindEnergy Hamburg digital event.

7️⃣ Siemens Gamesa to overtake Vestas as world’s largest turbine maker by 2025 — German-Spanish OEM will remain the market leader for the rest of the decade, as the top three players increase their global market share, analyst reports.

8️⃣ Pole position: last turbine in at Poland’s Pomerania wind farm — Ignitis’ 94MW project first for the Lithuanian utility in the country.

9️⃣ Limit to wind turbine size set by ‘social acceptance not technology’ say industry chiefs — Social acceptance rather than technology barriers will dictate the size and power limits of future onshore wind turbines, said senior industry executives.


♻️ CARBON CAPTURE & CIRCULAR TECH

💎 Carbon Capture

1️⃣ Aker Carbon Capture and MAN Energy Solutions to cooperate on carbon-capture technology development — The agreement supports the companies’ joint target to reduce the cost of removing CO2 emissions from industrial plants around the world. The cooperation builds on MAN’s experience in compressor technology, the integration of system components and their design and delivery, as well as Aker Carbon Capture’s proprietary amine technology and efficient carbon-capture process design.

🌳 Nature Based Solutions & Offsets

1️⃣ North American farmers profit as consumers pressure food business to go green — Beer made from rice grown with less water, rye planted in the off-season and the sale of carbon credits to tech firms are just a few of the changes North American farmers are making as the food industry strives to go green.


🏦 POLICY & INVESTMENTS

📜 Policy

1️⃣ Two More California Cities Look to Go All-Electric as Natural Gas Bans Enacted — The city councils in Oakland and San Jose, CA, on Tuesday adopted natural gas bans in new residential and commercial buildings, joining dozens of municipalities in California and elsewhere around the country that have proposed or adopted similar measures.

2️⃣ Poland eyes ‘North-South hydrogen highway’ to transport offshore wind energy — The Eastern European country also plans to build up 2GW in electrolyser capacity to produce green hydrogen from renewable energy, and is planning the development of its offshore wind sector in parallel with the creation of a hydrogen economy.

3️⃣ Oil-rich Alberta seeks ways to go green — Canada’s main fossil-fuel producing province mulls hydrogen and geothermal power.

4️⃣ Trump administration rule would reduce environmental reviews of LNG projects — The Trump administration’s Energy Department on Thursday issued a rule to exclude some licensing of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects from environmental reviews that have been required by U.S. law, in a show of support for the fossil fuel industry. The rule, which the Department of Energy issued in a pre-publication notice in the Federal Register, frees LNG export and import license applications from including environmental reviews that have been required under a bedrock environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act.

5️⃣ UK announces stronger 2030 emissions target, setting the bar for ambition summit — The UK will cut emissions 68% from 1990 to 2030, Boris Johnson announced, urging other leaders to bring new commitments to the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement.


⚙️ OTHERS

🧭 General

1️⃣ London-based IoT startup Infogrid raises £11.5M to make all buildings ‘smart’ — Smart building startups are gaining ground in the commercial real estate sector, since building owners and operators are adopting to technologies like IoT and AI to achieve high operational efficiency, maintain low running costs and make buildings more comfortable to live/work.

2️⃣ The greening of black gold — This isn’t just any business cycle for the oil industry. As its major exporters in Opec plus Russia convene this week to decide how best to sustain the price above 40 US dollars, it’s not just Covid-19 that’s caused the tectonic plates to shift underneath them, and nor will vaccines make the challenge go away. Climate change, and the political and consumer pressure resulting from it, is forcing much of the industry to think hard about its future and to act.

3️⃣ We’re at a turning point on climate change. But most countries are still choosing fossil fuels over clean energy, report says — To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) — which scientists say would avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change — countries need to wind down their fossil fuel production by 6% every year between now and 2030, according to the 2020 Production Gap report. Instead, countries are on track to produce an increase of 2% per year.

4️⃣ Slow Progress on Energy Efficiency Is a Problem for the Climate — Global efforts to reduce wasted energy have faced a major setback in 2020, sidelining a relatively simple way of slashing emissions and hitting climate goals. That’s the conclusion from an International Energy Agency report, which recorded the weakest improvement in efficiency since 2010, as investments into technologies that can cut emissions have slowed amid the economic turmoil brought on by the pandemic.

5️⃣ The Folly of Renewable Energy — If you judge by the images used to illustrate reports about energy, the world now runs mainly on wind and solar power. It comes as a shock to look up the numbers. In 2019 wind and solar between them supplied just 1.5 percent of the world’s energy consumption. Hydro supplied 2.6 percent, nuclear 1.7 percent, and all the rest — 94 percent — came from burning things: coal, oil, gas, wood, and biofuels.

6️⃣ Crown Holdings hits renewable energy milestone — Crown is the first metal packaging manufacturer to hit this milestone, achieved through its 15-year wind power virtual power-purchase agreement with Longroad Energy, the company said last week. The agreement covers 440,000MWh of electricity, preventing 310,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

🏭 Emissions

1️⃣ LafargeHolcim to spend $112 mln to cut CO2 emissions in India — The Swiss company will spend the money on waste heat recovery systems at six plants in India, as it looks to reduce its carbon emissions by 500,000 tons a year.

2️⃣ Vale announces target to reduce client and supplier emissions by 15% by 2035 — During a virtual meeting held with investors, Vale presented its target to reduce net scope 3 emissions from its client and supply chain by 15% by 2035. The reduction target references 2018 as base year, which registered 586 million tons of CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e) from Vale’s value chain. The company expects to reach 496 MTCO2e in 2035, down 90 MTCO2e compared to 2018 levels — which were equal to Chile’s emissions from energy consumption in the same year, according to the International Energy Agency. The target will be reviewed in 2025 and every five years thereafter. Currently, scope 3 emissions account for 98% of Vale’s carbon footprint.

3️⃣ Nestle to invest $3.58bn to cut CO2 emissions — The company said it would work with farmers and suppliers to promote regenerative agriculture, get involved in tree replacement and switch to renewable energy by 2025.

🧩 Tech and R&D

1️⃣ Scientists Create Open Source Technology to Track Plastic Pollution — Using GPS and satellite tags inside plastic bottles, scientists have found that plastic pollution can travel thousands of miles in just a few months. Their project, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE, tracked one bottle over 1,768 miles in 94 days.