Dec 17, 2020

EU’s Just Transition Fund stops natural gas project funding

EU
naturalgas
funding
Environment
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Fund will not support any investments linked to fossil fuels, including natural gas, with nuclear energy investments also stopped
Fund will not support any investments linked to fossil fuels, including natural gas, with nuclear energy investments also stopped...

The European Union’s flagship fund to wean regions off fossil fuels will not finance natural gas projects, bringin an end to a debate over whether to make the fuel eligible for support, according to a Reuters report.

Although natural gas emits roughly 50 percent less CO2 than coal when burned in power plants, it is associated with leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Envoys from the EU’s 27 member countries endorsed the deal on December 16, 2020, which was struck between EU governments and the European Parliament last week. Under the terms of the deal the fund cannot be used to support any investments linked to fossil fuels, including natural gas. 

The Just Transition Fund will not back investments in nuclear energy either, the report adds.

Some EU countries and lawmakers have pushed to secure support for gas, with some stating that the final deal is a trade-off, which has secured a gas-free Just Transition Fund in exchange for letting gas projects receive a smaller amount of funding under certain conditions from a separate European Regional Development Fund.

The Just Transition Fund will have £15.7 billion from both a coronavirus recovery fund and the EU’s budget for 2021-27. The money is meant to attract further private sector cash to support green industries and retrain workers from polluting sectors.

The Just Transition Fund will target regions dependent on most-polluting fuels, such as coal and peat, with Poland, Germany and Romania expected to be the biggest beneficiaries.

The fund is the first pillar in the Just Transition Mechanism, which is equipped with £36 million – an amount that corresponds to fresh money made available to support EU countries in their transition, out of which £9 billion should come from budget appropriations, while the remaining additional resources of £36 billion, covering the period from 2021 to 2024, will constitute external assigned revenue stemming from the European Recovery Instrument.

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Jul 26, 2021

Form Energy receives funding power for iron-air batteries

Energy
batteries
grid
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Startup Form Energy receives $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund to further develop iron-air batteries

Form Energy believes it has cracked the conundrum of commercialising grid storage through iron-air batteries - and some of the biggest names in industry are backing its potential.

The startup recently announced the battery chemistry of its first commercial product and a $200 million Series D financing round led by ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. Founded in 2017, Form Energy is backed by investors Eni Next LLC, MIT’s The Engine, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group and Macquarie Capital.

While solar and wind resources are the lowest marginal cost sources of electricity, the grid faces a challenge: how to manage the multi-day variability of renewable energy, even in periods of multi-day weather events, without sacrificing energy reliability or affordability.

Moreover, while Lithium-ion batteries are well suited to fast bursts of energy production, they run out of energy after just a few hours. Iron-air batteries, however, are predicted to have theoretical energy densities of more than 1,200 Wh/kg according to Renaissance of the iron-air battery (phys.org)

The active components of Form Energy's iron-air battery system are some of the cheapest, and most abundant materials: iron, water, and air. Iron-air batteries are the best solution to balance the multi-day variability of renewable energy due to their extremely low cost, safety, durability, and global scalability.

It claims its first commercial product is a rechargeable iron-air battery capable of delivering electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with conventional power plants and at less than 1/10th the cost of lithium-ion and can be optimised to store electricity for 100 hours at system costs competitive with legacy power plants.

"This product is our first step to tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonisation: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather, grid outages, or periods of low renewable generation," it states.

Mateo Jaramillo, CEO and Co-founder of Form Energy, said it conducted a broad review of available technologies and has reinvented the iron-air battery to optimise it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid. "With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages," he said.

Form Energy and ArcelorMittal are working jointly on the development of iron materials which ArcelorMittal would non-exclusively supply for Form’s battery systems. Form Energy intends to source the iron domestically and manufacture the battery systems near where they will be sited. Form Energy’s first project is with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy, located near the heart of the American Iron Range.

Greg Ludkovsky, Global Head of Research and Development at ArcelorMittal, believes Form Energy is at the leading edge of developments in the long-duration, grid-scale battery storage space. "The multi-day energy storage technology they have developed holds exciting potential to overcome the issue of intermittent supply of renewable energy."

Investors in Form Energy's November 2020 round included Energy Impact Partners, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Temasek.

In May 2020, it signed a contract with Minnesota-based utility Great River Energy to jointly deploy a 1MW / 150MWh pilot project to be located in Cambridge, MN. Great River Energy is Minnesota's second-largest electric utility and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the US.

Last week Helena and Energy Vault announced a strategic partnership to identify additional opportunities for Energy Vault’s waste remediation technologies as the company begins deployment of its energy storage system worldwide. It received new investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) in June.

Maoneng has revealed more details of its proposed 240MWp / 480MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in Australia (click here).

The BESS represents hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that will improve electricity grid reliability and network stability by drawing energy from the grid during off-peak periods for battery storage, and dispatching energy to the grid during peak periods. 

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