Mar 29, 2021

Saint-Gobain steps up global renewables profile

Renewables
construction
Netzero
Dominic Ellis
2 min
News of UK and Ireland car fleet moving to electric follows 12-year PPA deal with Invenergy in US and Renov'up program in France
News of UK and Ireland car fleet moving to electric follows 12-year PPA deal with Invenergy in US and Renov'up program in France...

Saint-Gobain is stepping up its renewables profile after taking delivery of 100 Volkswagen 1D.3 all-electric cars in the UK and Ireland, and pledging to move its entire 3,000-car fleet to electric and hybrid by the end of 2023.

Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland, said: "For every business the change required is immense, but we are absolutely committed to being successful in making our own operations net zero, and supporting customers in many different ways with their own sustainability journeys."

Ian Berrill, Transport & Supply Chain Solutions Director, added the agreement with VW is just one step we will be taking on our journey to reduce carbon and will install charging points at colleagues' homes.

Saint-Gobain in the US recently entered into a 12-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Invenergy, a leading privately held global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, for 120MW of the 250MW Blooming Grove Wind Farm capacity in McLean County, Illinois, which recently started operations. 

The agreement is a key milestone in supporting the Group’s target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The associated Renewable Energy Certificate System (RECS) represents 40 percent of the Group’s CO2 emissions from electricity in the US, resulting in a 21 percent reduction of Saint-Gobain's overall carbon footprint (scope 1 and 2) in the US. 

With this agreement and other ongoing projects, the share of renewable electricity within Saint-Gobain’s worldwide electricity consumption will double in 2021, from 18.9% in 2020. 

The company is also developing its Renov'up program in France, to accelerate innovation with energy renovation of buildings. Selected applicants will be able to test their solutions and be given support to develop them in three phases, the first of which is open until May.

Further measures to support its transition include the formation of a Net Zero Carbon Colleague Assembly, made up of more than 40 colleagues who will each engage and challenge the business to meet their commitments and help inform investment decisions made by the business to reduce emissions.

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May 13, 2021

Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries

electricvehicles
SolidStateBatteries
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
4 min
Sakuu is set to enable high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries for electric vehicles as more investment ploughs into SSB production

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.

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