Feb 2, 2021

Automotive sector accelerates down electric vehicle highways

Automotive
fuelcells
Netzero
Dominic Ellis
3 min
Established and upcoming automotive brands are stepping up their electric vehicle strategies and investing in fuel cell technologies
Established and upcoming automotive brands are stepping up their electric vehicle strategies and investing in fuel cell technologies...

It's not only energy companies which are busy pursuing net zero strategies: the automotive sector is accelerating down new electric vehicle commercial highways.

GM, which plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040, has committed to setting science-based targets to achieve carbon neutrality. The company has also signed the Business Ambition Pledge for 1.5⁰C, an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders.

To address emissions from its own operations, GM will source 100 percent renewable energy to power its US sites by 2030 and global sites by 2035.

"General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world," said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. "We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.”

The company worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. 

GM’s focus will be offering zero-emissions vehicles across a range of price points and working with all stakeholders, including EDF, to build out the necessary charging infrastructure and promote consumer acceptance while maintaining high quality jobs, which will all be needed to meet these ambitious goals.

GM is making it "crystal clear" that taking action to eliminate pollution from all new light-duty vehicles by 2035 is an essential element of any automaker’s business plan, added Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. 

"EDF and GM have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America - one where serious collaboration to achieve transportation electrification, science-based climate progress and equitably shared economic opportunity can move our nation forward.” 

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Blue World Technologies has agreed to collaborate with luxury EV carmaker Karma Automotive to explore the viability of a fuel cell system to provide primary propulsion power for a variety of future passenger and light commercial vehicles. Fuel cells enable fast refueling and extremely long driving ranges, and with zero harmful emissions provide a green alternative to the internal combustion engine.

Blue World Technology’s fuel cell system will be integrated with Karma Automotive’s electric vehicle architecture and piloted in GS-6 development vehicles for evaluation purposes. Testing and validation will take place in the US and Denmark over the next few months.

This technology has a methanol-reformer to produce hydrogen on board. Methanol is a hydrogen-carrier commodity fuel already traded worldwide and it can be stored and distributed using the existing infrastructure in many countries around the world. As a green alternative to fossil fuels, methanol can be produced using renewable sources ensuring a CO2 neutral proposition.

“We are investing in these types of powertrain technologies now to prepare for an emission-free world by having various extended-range electrification solutions that include hydrogen, ethanol and methanol fuel cells as a propulsion system,” said Dr. Lance Zhou, Karma’s Chief Executive Officer. “This collaboration brings together Blue World’s strength in fuel cell development and our vast expertise in engineering hybrid propulsion systems and integrating electric vehicle technologies.”

Toyobo Film Solutions has developed a sealant based on its TeonexTM for fuel cells to be equipped in fuel cell vehicles, and the product was adopted in the latest model of the Mirai eco-car, which Toyota Motor Corporation began selling on December 9.

Hyundai is aggressively expanding its hydrogen business to develop not only passenger cars, but also commercial vehicles and fuel cell systems that are globally competitive.

Announcing its own long-term 'Fuel Cell Vision 2030' in December 2018, the automaker aims to produce 700,000 fuel-cell systems annually by 2030, which includes 500,000 FCEV units.

By then, the automaker anticipates global demand for FCEVs would be around 2 million units a year. 

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Jul 29, 2021

Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030

Energy
technology
CCUS
Netzero
Dominic Ellis
4 min
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades says the UK's National Infrastructure Commission

Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission

Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.

The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.

The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture. 

It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.  

The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020. 

Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.

The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.

While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.

Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse. 

"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.

“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.” 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets. 

Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.  

Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."

McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:

  • Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
  • Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
  • Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
  • Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
  • The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere

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