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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May 13, 2021

All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency

schools
energyefficiency
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
2 min
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only UK regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil

Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.

Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.

According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.

“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."

He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."

North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).

The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.

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