Could these electric pods change transit in the Middle East?
App-based cab booking service Careem is the Middle East’s answer to Uber. Already renowned for innovating in the transport sphere, the startup is keen to diversify into futuristic methods of mass transit.
Enter: the driverless pod. This week, Careem debuted an electric ‘pod’ — created in partnership with Silicon Valley’s NEXT Future Transportation Inc. — at Dubai’s GITEX 2016 tech conference. According to a company press release, the pods are designed to operate as a public transportation system which can pick up and drop off passengers on demand. The pods can also move individually or link up with other pods to form a structure similar to a bus.
Bassel Al Nahloui, Careem’s VP of Business Development and Government Relations, says that the pods are currently in the R&D phase and fully functional prototypes will begin testing within one year.
“As one of the fastest growing tech startups in the MENA region, Careem prides itself on innovation and therefore this strategic partnership with a forward-thinking company such as NEXT is nothing short of incredible,” Nahloui said.
The sneak-peek of Careem’s new transit model comes on the heels of the launch of the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy, an initiative designed to make 25 percent of transit trips in Dubai ‘smart’ and driverless by 2030.
“We have invented the world’s finest autonomous mass transit solution, and as we look to operationalize, we need a partner that will provide operational depth and scale. Careem is a perfect partner from our perspective given their vision, credibility and success in transforming transportation across the MENA region,” said Emmanuele Spera, Founder & CEO, NEXT Future Transportation, Inc.
Read the October 2016 issue of Energy Digital magazine
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.