⚡H2 infra growth in America, Orsted commissions world's 2nd largest Offshore Wind Farm, stars aligning for CCS in Europe, and Biochar from Cocoa shells

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

  • Made in America: New liquid hydrogen plant and extensive pipeline network position Air Products for growing hydrogen demand

  • Orsted completes Borssele 1&2 commissioning — the world’s second-largest offshore wind farm

  • Amongst growing widespread optimism, are the stars finally aligning for CCS in Europe?

  • Volkswagen plans to power car freighters with used oil from restaurants

  • and converting cocoa shells into green energy — utilizing agricultural “left-overs” to create valuable biochar.

Have a great weekend!

Estimated Total Reading Time: 8 mins


💧 Hydrogen

1️⃣ Renewable or ‘low-carbon’? EU countries face off over hydrogen — EU member states are fighting over which type of hydrogen to support, with two opposing camps facing off: those backing green hydrogen produced exclusively from renewable electricity, and those in favour of a broader “low-carbon” definition, which also includes nuclear power and decarbonised gases.

2️⃣ What is the real cost of green hydrogen? — What is the real cost of green hydrogen? Is there a reliable and straightforward way to obtain this cost? What information is needed? Is it valid to compare green hydrogen prices with grey or blue hydrogen prices? Mike Parr and Simon Minett attempt to answer these questions.

3️⃣ Hydrogen Tops Canadian Investors’ Clean Energy List, HSBC Says — Hydrogen is the clean energy investment that appeals the most to Canadian asset managers, while companies prefer solar, according to a survey carried out for HSBC Holdings Plc. “Issuers in particular are cold to hydrogen because of a perceived lack of communications about the technology and investment opportunities,” Dan Leslie, senior vice president and deputy head of commercial banking for HSBC Bank Canada, said in an emailed response to questions.

4️⃣ Econ and env ministries share patronage of Germany’s international hydrogen hub — The German economy ministry (BMWi) will join the environment ministry (BMU) in managing the government’s international power-to-X hub to facilitate the production of hydrogen with renewable energy sources in developing countries. “Green hydrogen is not only a huge benefit for climate action. It also opens a strong industrial policy perspective, both for Germany and for developing and emerging economies,”

❄️ LNG & Natural Gas

1️⃣ Small scale LNG on the brink of breakthrough — Break-bulk LNG infrastructure development looks set to take off in Pakistan following the start-up of a small-scale project in Myanmar earlier this year. This trend is seen picking up pace in emerging economies worldwide, which think they have a national imperative to switch from less cost-competitive oil-based products.

🚘 Mobility — EVs, Batteries & Fuel Cells

1️⃣ 2020 Hyundai Nexo review: This hydrogen fuel-cell SUV deserves your attention — If you live in California and have easy access to hydrogen stations, the Nexo should be on your shopping list.

2️⃣ ABS and DSME to explore use of solid oxide fuel cell technology in VLCCs — ABS and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) have signed a joint development project (JDP) to deploy solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology as a replacement to at least one of three diesel generators typically on-board a very large crude carrier (VLCC).

🦠 Synthetic Fuels, Ammonia, Methanol & BioFuels

1️⃣ Ammonia — a fuel of the future? — Like hydrogen, ammonia can play a key role in decarbonising Europe’s heavy industry and transport. So why isn’t it grabbing the headlines in the same way?

2️⃣ Arla Foods Ingredients cuts CO2 emissions by using biogas — Arla Foods Ingredients has saved around 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and aims to help infant formula manufacturers cut their greenhouse emissions. The ingredients company has achieved the savings by using energy from biogas. Meanwhile, it is investing in its dry blend lactose production capacity, in order to help infant formula manufacturers cut their emissions by as much as 25%.


🔋 Energy Storage

1️⃣ Australia’s government invests AU$125m towards grid infrastructure for Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro — The Australian government-backed Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed AU$125 million (US$92.12 million) to help build grid infrastructure for a 2GW pumped hydro project with 175 hours of storage duration. Utility company Snowy Hydro, one of the top five largest energy retailers in the country, is developing Snowy 2.0, an expansion of its Snowy Scheme network of power stations in New South Wales (NSW) that already includes Australia’s largest pumped hydro plant.

🔆 Solar Power

1️⃣ The solar discs that could beam power from space — Space-based power stations are turning from an idle dream into a serious engineering prospect, as scientists hope they can take renewable energy into orbit.

💨 Wind Power

1️⃣ Vestas wins 328MW Australian double — Vestas has secured a 328MW turbine deal for two wind farms in Victoria, Australia, in partnership with Global Power Generation, a subsidiary of the multinational power company Naturgy Group. The order includes supply and installation of 52 V136–4.2MW machines for the Ryan Corner project, as well as the engineering, procurement and construction of 26 of the same model for the second stage of the Berrybank wind farm.

2️⃣ Doosan forms 2GW Korean offshore pact — Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction has signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea South-East Power Company (KOEN) for the promotion of offshore wind farms in Korea. Under the terms of the deal, the two companies have agreed to cooperate on 2GW of projects being developed by KOEN in Gyeongin and Jeju island, as well as on the development of megawatt-class floating offshore wind power systems and complexes.

3️⃣ New Intertidal Wind Project in the Making in Vietnam — The EPC contract for the 350 MW project, which is the first large-scale intertidal wind power project signed by CGGC in Southeast Asia, includes the design, equipment supply, civil construction, installation and commissioning.

4️⃣ Total Eren finalises £56.11m financing of Brazil wind farms — Total Eren has successfully finalised the financing of its 160MW wind portfolio, which is currently under construction in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte.

5️⃣ ‘Strong will’: Japan enters large-scale offshore wind era with first fixed-bottom auctions — Government starts tender for development at four sites off Akita and Chiba prefectures.

6️⃣ Vestas books 43MW Greek odyssey — Vestas has won a 43MW turbine order from Mytilineos for the Makrynoros wind farm in central Greece. The contract includes the supply and installation of 12 V136–3.45MW wind turbines delivered in 3.6MW operating mode, as well as a 20-year active output management 4000 service agreement.


💎 Carbon Capture

1️⃣ Despite hundreds of millions in tax dollars, ADM’s carbon capture program still hasn’t met promised goals — Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world’s largest agribusiness companies, has received $281 million in federal tax dollars since 2009 for carbon capture and storage projects to combat climate change. Yet the company’s largest project is storing substantially less carbon dioxide from its ethanol plant in Decatur, Illinois, than originally promised, according to a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting review of federal and company documents.

2️⃣ CCUS: Total and its Partners Release Next-Gen CO2 Storage Simulator — Total and its partners have just announced the first version of a high-performance simulator for large-scale geological CO2 storage. The tool puts Total at the forefront of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) research. We met with Philippe Cordier, Head of the Scientific Computing and Artificial Intelligence research program at Total, who gave us an insight into how the Group’s R&D digital programs are ramping up its energy transition and its transformation.

🔄 Recycling, Waste & Circular Tech

1️⃣ New Wind Turbine Blades Could be Recycled Instead of Landfilled — Researchers have developed a wind turbine blade that costs less and appears to be recyclable, two attributes that could accelerate the rapid growth of both onshore and offshore wind around the world. The innovation may also reduce rising transportation costs because blades for taller turbines can now be as long as 262 feet, almost the length of a football field.

2️⃣ Recycled brick promises 90% CO2 reduction — A new recycled brick, made using a tenth of the energy of a standard clay brick, has been named STEM Research Project of the Year at the UK’s Times Higher Education awards. Up to 90% of the the K-Briq’s constituents come from building-site waste, with the unfired production process said to take two to three minutes, as opposed to up to 40 hours for traditional fired bricks. The process has also been shown to reduce C02 emissions by 90%.

3️⃣ Creating energy and valuable products from fruit waste — Waste from the citrus industry can provide biogas and valuable products for a range of industries. This has been shown by Lukitawesa, who recently defended his doctoral thesis at the Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology at the University of Borås.


📜 Policy

1️⃣ Government ‘must hold businesses like Apple and Amazon to account over e-waste’ — Electronics brands and online retailers have been “dodging responsibility” for their e-waste impacts — and new laws could help stop them from producing tech that is hard to repair or recycle. That is the damning conclusion of the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) inquiry into e-waste in the UK — launched in recognition of the fact that e-waste is the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream.

2️⃣ How Canada just might convince Biden to save Keystone with a cross-border carbon deal — A shared work plan can include emissions standards, carbon pricing and trading, rare earth mineral development, electric car mandates and, of course, security of energy supplies. The centrepiece of a proposed climate change partnership should be a cross-border carbon capture, transportation and storage network. It would be modelled on the new Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, which is designed to collect CO2 from multiple sites before transporting it to a final resting place back in the oilfields.

3️⃣ New rules smooth path for renewable energy zones — The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has proposed changes to the rules governing how electricity generators connect to the grid in a bid to help pave the way for the introduction of renewable energy zones (REZs).

4️⃣ The French Government Plans to Renege on Fixed PV Rates to Cut Down on €2 Billion in Yearly Subsidies, but at What Cost? — PV cost has plummeted within the past 10 years due to an increase in equipment installation and improvement in PV technology. Since 2010, PV cost has dropped by 82%. Although this spells good news for consumers and developers alike, the price drop also means the earlier fixed electricity rate (FIT, or feed-in-tariff) has become much more expensive than the rates offered by newly built PV power stations. In light of this discrepancy, the French government has now deemed it appropriate to adjust the earlier fixed rates. Should the proposal pass into law, this will likely have dire ramifications for PV power plants with capacities exceeding 250KW built between 2006 and 2010.

5️⃣ Ontario’s Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy — Ontario’s first Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy is in the works. On November 19, 2020, Jeff Yurek, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, announced a plan to foster an Ontario hydrogen economy. As part of this announcement, the government released the Ontario Low-Carbon Hydrogen Strategy: Discussion Paper (the Discussion Paper). The Discussion Paper will “inform the creation of the province’s first hydrogen strategy.”

6️⃣ Egypt’s Electricity Ministry plans to use renewable energy in desalination projects — In 2010, an African Development Bank report on renewable energy in Egypt disclosed that hydro, wind, and solar power accounted for roughly 12 percent of the country’s electricity generation.

7️⃣ Biden’s plan to rejoin Paris Climate Accord to boost EU and global clean energy innovation — The Paris Climate Agreement is a landmark UN agreement which was adopted by consensus by almost the 200 countries nearly five years ago to this date — its anniversary is only two weeks away. It’s, therefore, an opportune time to reflect on what has happened since, and especially look ahead at what the world could look like if we fully embraced it. Leaving aside the impact COVID-19 has had on our economies in the last year, and on the corresponding reduction of carbon emissions, the last five years have seen continuous progress in line with the Paris agreement as with the growing wind and solar power plant installations, the improvements in electrical storage solutions, and developments of new technologies such as hydrogen fuel, and much more.

📈Pricing & Trading

1️⃣ EU ETS Auctioning Amounts and Revenues for the 3rd Trading Period (2013–2019)


🧭 General

1️⃣ Sony ‘could shift factories out of Japan’ over renewable energy drought — Electronics giant Sony warned Japan’s government it could shift its manufacturing abroad over difficulties sourcing renewable energy for its operations, according to a minister.

2️⃣ BP investing in Middle East oil while pledging a renewables shift — BP said it will invest more money in Middle Eastern oil and natural-gas fields even as it transitions to renewable energy and tries to lower emissions. The company is a major producer in countries such as Iraq, where it operates the world’s third-largest oil field of Rumaila, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. It’s focusing on their low-cost oil, while also boosting output of gas, according to Stephen Willis, BP’s senior vice president for the Middle East.

3️⃣ Are governments able to deliver the energy transition? — This concept of ‘energy transition’ has been invented in Germany in the early 1980s. In a book entitled ‘Energie-Wende, Wachstum und Wohlstand ohne Erdöl und Uran’ published in 1980, researchers from a German environmentalist organisation, the Öko-Institut, proposed to stop using oil and uranium[1]. The simplified term ‘EnergieWende’ was quickly coined to refer to the fight against climate change and the abandonment of nuclear energy. Germany has firmly followed this track since the beginning of the 21st century, aiming at a radical change in its energy policy. The German population has also adhered to this concept because, after 40 years of green nuclear bashing, it has become widely against nuclear energy.

4️⃣ Venezuela resumes direct oil shipments to China despite U.S. sanctions — Venezuela has resumed direct shipments of oil to China after U.S. sanctions sent the trade underground for more than a year, according to Refinitiv Eikon vessel-tracking data and internal documents from state company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

5️⃣ Tasmania surges to 100% renewable energy — Tasmania is now 100 per cent self-sufficient in renewable energy, confirming their status as a world leader in renewable energy generation.

6️⃣ Vietnam jumps 5 places in global ranking of renewable energy attractiveness — Vietnam has risen five places to 34th out of 40 economies in a global ranking of attractiveness in terms of renewable energy investment. China was second, Japan was eighth, South Korea was 13th, and the Philippines was 29th. The U.S. topped the rankings following Covid-19 stimulus packages that have supported renewables in the country.

7️⃣ In Obama’s new memoir, a warning for Biden’s climate plans — President Barack Obama wanted to do something big to combat climate change. He just couldn’t.

8️⃣ Abu Dhabi’s Masdar wants to crack open China’s renewable energy market — “We work with Chinese companies outside China — and we continue discussing with these partners to help us get into the Chinese market,” said Yousif Al Ali, Executive Director of Clean Energy at Masdar. “So far, most of the capacities in China are developed by Chinese companies. Participation of international companies is not yet up to the limit.”

9️⃣ European oil companies lead way in renewable strategy with top six having over 28GW capacity in pipeline — European international oil companies (IOCs) are leading the way in terms of progressing strategies for renewable power growth, ahead of US players that have not, so far, made the same switch. The top six European firms have over 28GW of renewables capacity in the pipeline, with BP, Total and Equinor making up over 70% of this. However, the scale of these companies’ developments still lags behind major power sector incumbents, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Will Scargill, Managing Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “IOCs’ current development portfolios are still significantly smaller in scale than those of incumbents in the power sector. However, long-term targets suggest an ambition to make up this ground — with BP’s 2030 target of 50GW significantly exceeding Orsted’s target of 30GW.

🏭 Emissions

1️⃣ ‘Tip of the iceberg’: Aviation emissions three times larger than current estimates, scientists warn — The analysis published this week by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) analysed the climate impacts of contrails — the line-shaped clouds produced by engine exhaust — in addition to the nitrous oxide (NOx), soot and sulphate particles, and water vapour relased into the atmosphere by jet exhaust alongside the well-documented carbon emissions.

2️⃣ Electric cars shock: Manufacturing green vehicles churns out more CO2 than making fuel models — Manufacturing electric vehicles generates 63 per cent more carbon dioxide than making petrol or diesel models, damning research has found. It means some zero-emission vehicles have to be driven for almost 50,000 miles before they are as ‘green’ as cars powered by fossil fuels.

3️⃣ Manufacturers see no single ‘silver bullet’ to reach aviation’s CO2 reduction target — Airbus chief technology officer Grazia Vittadini has said that the aviation industry’s stated aim of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 had been a “pretty good problem to have” before the air transport sector and most other areas of public life were thrown into disarray by the coronavirus outbreak.