Global Wind Day: Clean Energy Council celebrates Australia
Marking the annual event ‘Global Wind Day’, which celebrates wind energy and its development, Clean Energy Council has praised Australia’s progress.
Noting that wind energy is among the cheapest and most feasible renewable energy sources currently available, Kane Thornton, CEO of Clean Energy Council (CEC) stated that the COVID-19 pandemic should represent an acceleration of interest for the country.
Highlighting that significant progress has already been made in the South as the country weans itself off of fossil fuels like coal, Thornton impressed that the energy transition was far from over.
“Wind energy presents an enormous opportunity for Australia as we transition from carbon-emitting fossil fuel
“There’s undoubtedly more that can be done with the right transmission line infrastructure investment. Now, we see Western Australia taking up the challenge and harnessing its clean energy resources with wind,” he said.
With the net contribution of renewable energy sources accounting for 23.5% (33 TWh) of Australia’s power in 2019, CEC estimates that 8.5% was accounted for by wind - double the amount recorded in 2014 - and 35% of renewable generation.
In addition, 2019 represented a particularly fertile year for wind power, which added a further 837 MW of new capacity. Currently, there are 28 new projects either under development or financially-backed.
Thornton stated that the benefits of renewable energy lie not just in its environmental virtues, but also its ability to improve the welfare of communities with cheaper, more reliable power that can grant a measure of independence.
“The growth in wind farm development comes at a critical time for our regional and rural economies, as they’ve been battered by long-term drought and, over the last year, fire,” he continues.
“Not only are there enormous benefits for our environment as we lower our carbon emissions, but renewable energy can solidify communities, improve energy reliability and help save money on electricity.”
Unlocking Tasmania’s energy potential
CEC also simultaneously announced that Marinus Link, an interconnector between the island of Tasmania and the Australian mainland, has been granted approval.
Part of a set of 15 projects (collective value: AU$72bn), Marinus Link will enable Tasmania to harness its vast wind and hydroelectric potential by providing a method of export to the mainland.
Augmenting the already accelerated renewable energy development of Southern Australia, the project could play a significant part in driving energy prices down for consumers and be a harbinger for a net-zero carbon economy by 2035.
A.study conducted prior to planning Marinus Link found that $2.9bn of value could be unlocked under current conditions, but with the potential to unlock an additional $5.7bn through further renewable energy investments.
“There are hundreds of large-scale wind and solar projects that have been identified with planning approval and are well placed to proceed quickly,” concluded Thornton.
“By accelerating approvals, $50bn of investment could be added to our economy, while more than 30,000 MW of capacity and more than 50,000 new jobs in constructing these projects, along with many more indirect jobs, would cement Australia’s position as a clean energy superpower.”
Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries
Sakuu Corporation has announced a new industrial-grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries which it claims will unlock the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.
Offering an industrial scale ‘local’ battery production capability, Sakuu believes the technology will provide increased manufacturer and consumer confidence. Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available in Q4.
Backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier to major OEMs, Musashi Seimitsu, Sakuu is set to enable fast and high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries (SSBs) that, compared with lithium-ion batteries, have the same capacity yet are half the size and almost a third lighter.
The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use around 30%-50% fewer materials – which can be sourced locally – to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu anticipates the 3D printer’s attributes being easily transferable to a host of different applications in other industry sectors.
"For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, Founder, CEO and chairman, Sakuu Corporation. “SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points."
The ability to provide on-demand, localised production will create more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains, he added.
Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market for whom the company’s SSB proposition delivers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, low weight and improved capacity benefits. The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to different battery types and sizes, as necessary, for example to achieve double the energy in the same space or the same energy in half the space.
Beyond energy storage, Sakuu’s development of print capability opens complex end device markets previously closed off to current 3D printing platforms. These include active components like sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.
"As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets," said Bagheri.
Ongoing research and new funding collaborations
Omega Seiki, a part of Anglian Omega Group of companies, has partnered with New York-based company C4V to introduce SSBs for EVs and the renewable sector in India. As part of an MoU, the two companies are also looking at the manufacturing of SSBs in the country, according to reports.
Solid Power, which produces solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future EVs. Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company's pilot production line in early 2022.
"Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that's why we're investing directly," said Ted Miller, Ford's manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. "By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we'll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes."
A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed an MoU with SSB manufacturer ProLogium - which picked up a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards - to accelerate commercialisation of batteries for EVs (click here).
Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is designing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to design a battery "that outperforms internal combustion engines so electrical vehicles accelerate the transition from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewable energy," according to The Harvard Gazette.
The dramatic increase in EV numbers means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey projects that by 2040 battery demand from EVs produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200GWh per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15GWh per year.