Mass EV adoption and other milestones in U.S. markets
As nations around the world strive to reduce carbon emissions, regulators and consumers alike are looking to sectors with the most potential to leverage better-performing technology to achieve this goal. The transportation sector clearly fits the bill.
There has been tremendous market growth and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) around the world, with U.S. sales of EVs increasing by 21 percent in 2017, according to recent media reports. The widespread expansion of EVs is driven by a combination of factors – not only increased regulatory requirements, but also consumer demand for higher-performing yet sustainable and cleaner transportation fuel options. These trends have led automakers to make significant investments in better, longer-range and more aesthetically pleasing EVs. In fact, there are more than 90 individual EVs that have been announced for the U.S. market by 2023, constituting a global investment of more than $80 billion.
However, to sustain mass-market expansion and continue to meet regulatory and consumer demand, the auto and electric power industries will need to continuously invest in technology and charging infrastructure.
This is particularly acute in the U.S., where a lack of adequate infrastructure may hamper adoption of EVs. Even as demand increases for these new EVs, range anxiety remains one of the top reasons Americans continue to purchase internal combustion vehicles. The incorporation of large-scale fast charging systems, much like those being piloted across the Europe and the U.S., will help further the sustainable adoption of EVs across the U.S.
Due in part to the nature of the U.S. electric power system and its state-by-state regulatory structure, there is not a universal approach to building this infrastructure. While California has extremely ambitious carbon reduction goals and some of the most robust EV adoption rates in the country, its neighbor Nevada has seen much lower EV integration even with its significant solar adoption rates. This has also led to fewer auto dealerships selling EVs in these states, which exacerbates the problem.
Even with these hurdles, the U.S., with its more than 200 million vehicles on roads across the nation, represents a huge market. With continuing advances in technology that will further extend range and provide for self-driving ability, it is clear that the EV market is truly in its infancy. It is also clear that automakers are launching new and exciting products and are partnering with local utilities to provide interesting incentives for customers. Recently BMW extended a $10,000 incentive to purchase its i3 in California and New Jersey, in partnership with utilities in those regions.
We’re confident that the barriers to mass-market expansion will continue to break down over the coming years, leading to higher demand for a broader network of charging infrastructure and greater EV adoption across industries. As transportation becomes more electrified, we will see more innovations and new technologies from cross-industry collaborations. We believe that if the EV sector continues to expand much in the way as it has since 2008, we will see between 70 to 90 percent of EV vehicle fueling being done at home or at work by 2050.
But there must be cross-industry collaborations and spaces in which to explore these issues. This August, EPRI will host Electrification 2018 with the express intent of bringing together thought leaders, innovators, researchers and other stakeholders to focus on the underlying factors and motivations driving consumer demand for EVs and emerging electric technologies.
This growth in the U.S. EV market will set the stage for more efficient uses of electrification and cleaner forms of transportation, benefitting a wide variety of industries and especially the general public. There’s no doubt that the future of EV innovation and expansion is bright, and we have good reason to be excited about the advancements to come.
Dan Bowermaster is the program manager for Electric Transportation with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. EPRI will host Electrification 2018, focused on efficient electrification across industries, including transportation, this August in Long Beach, Calif., USA. For more information, please visit www.electrification2018.com.
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
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