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Weekly Highlights | From the EV supply chain vulnerability to the future of nuclear power
Weekly Highlights | From the EV supply chain vulnerability to the future of nuclear power
illuminem
By illuminem
Feb 21 2022 · 6 min read

Illuminem Voices
Sustainability · Power & Utilities · Mining

1. Booming EV sales challenge critical mineral supply chains

By Energy Monitor

  • “Today, the data shows a looming mismatch between the world’s strengthened climate ambitions and the availability of critical minerals that are essential to releasing those ambitions” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA
  • According to the IEA, more than 60% of passengers car sales must be EVs by 2030 for the world to be on track to net-zero GHGs emissions by 2050
  • A supply chain vulnerability assessment for battery EVs, developed by GlobalData, shows the countries with the biggest EV sales are also the countries with some of the biggest supply chain vulnerabilities, with the exception being China

2. How the Ukraine Conflict Could Reshape Europe’s Reliance on Russia

By The New York Times

  • In 2021, 38% of the natural gas used by the European Union came from Russia, according to Bruegel, a research organization
  • Nevertheless, Russia cut its gas exports by pipeline to Europe by 23% in the last quarter of 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier, and at the same time the imports of liquefied gas have been on the rise, according to the IEA
  • In fact, liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be transported stably from great distances, including from Australia and the United States - offering viable alternatives for local or regional sources like Russia

3. Battery Storage - a global enabler of the Energy Transition

By Baker McKenzie

  • With the share of variable renewable energy booming, energy storage will be crucial to maintain grid reliability. There exist many kinds of storage, from short term balancing of grid supply to providing operating reserve in the middle term.
  • Current technologies include pumped-hydro storage and battery storage; new promising techs are under development. The booming global energy storage market has two main features: decrease in battery cost and uptake concentrated in the US
  • Increase in battery demand will stress critical metals’ supply, such as cobalt or rare earth minerals. Importantly, the report provides three levels of policy and regulations reforms that address selected barriers and challenges

4. There’s an invisible ecosystem in the air — and climate change is disrupting it

By Grist

  • A study published in 2000 by Stephen C. Schuster, director of the Singapore Center for Environmental life, showed that people in Singapore are breathing in between 100,000 and one million species of microorganisms every day
  • By running many tests at different heights and at different times of the day and night, Schuster’s team found that the factor that determines how those microorganisms are distributed and move through the air is temperature
  • The takeaway is alarming: as the planet warms, Schuster’s research suggests that the tropical air microbiome - which has a lot more fungal pathogens - could reach regions where it is currently not seen, with potential implications for humans and food crops

5. The state of net zero, for now

By GreenBiz

  • Under a moderate climate scenario, climate change could have huge financial costs for corporations that don’t act now. Almost 80% of the S&P Global 1200, which includes the world’s largest companies, will be exposed to moderate-to-high physical risks from climate change by 2050, according to S&P Global Trucost data
  • Currently, one year after the United Nations warned that the world is facing a "code red" for humanity, progress by the world’s largest companies in reaching net-zero emissions remains worryingly slow
  • However, in the next years companies will have to factor into their business strategy carbon pricing and the rising climate-related regulations / mandatory disclosures

6. Revisiting Thorium Energy - The Future of Nuclear Power?

By Undecided with Matt Ferrel 

  • Thorium provides a strong alternative to uranium: it is 3 times more plentiful than uranium, thorium waste is less dangerous and reactors can be stopped quicker in case of emergency.
  • Molten-salt reactors are the current technology developed, still at the research stage. They are expected to be cheaper than regular ones. Though thorium is more expensive to mine, thorium reactors are more efficient
  • Some countries like France or the US are researching thorium reactors, while China is further on the way, planning to build its first commercial reactor by the end of the decade. Thorium’s potential needs to be confirmed on a commercial scale

7. EV Charger Reliability Is Critical

By Forbes

  • The starting point is that if drivers cannot depend on charging their EVs quickly and conveniently at your station, they will find alternatives
  • There are a variety of back-office systems involved in the proper management of an EV charger infrastructure. A help desk will manually report outages and track issues across an EV charger network. Some operators have an EV charger monitoring cloud that uses a standards-based protocol like OCPP, others have a remote diagnostic tool that can gather hardware error codes
  • Beyond the EV charger itself, an essential part of the customer charging experience is the facility surroundings. There is asphalt for the parking space, sidewalks, signage, lighting, landscaping and underground electrical conduits, which are part of the ecosystem delivering a safe and great charging experience

8. Engaging the chain: driving speed and scale

By CDP

  • A company’s supply chain is responsible for substantial environmental impacts. Last year, CDP found that GHG emissions in a company’s supply chain are, on average, 11.4 times higher than its operational emissions
  • This year, over 11,000 companies submitted environmental data to CDP. The results show moderate action on measuring and tackling environmental impacts resulting from direct operations. On climate change, 75% of suppliers reported their Scope 1 and 2 emissions and took actions to reduce these emissions by a total of 231 million tons CO2e
  • However, suppliers must think beyond climate change alone. Harm to the environment encompasses deforestation and water scarcity, but this realization is not widely reflected in the reported data across themes. Many suppliers are unable to report any data on their water withdrawals or volumes of production and consumption of forest commodities

9. Europe’s biggest banks provide £24bn to oil and gas firms despite net zero pledges

By The Guardian

  • Banks have acknowledged that they have an important role in the transition away from fossil fuels, and last April many signed up to the United Nations-backed Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA)
  • Despite this, analysis by campaign group ShareAction showed that 25 banks that signed up to reduce emissions have provided $33bn in loans and other financing to 50 companies with large oil and gas expansion plans
  • The International Energy Agency, last May said no new oil and gas fields should be exploited to give the world a chance of reaching net zero by 2050 and avoid global heating of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels

10. Forget your carbon footprint. Let's talk about your climate Shadow.

By MIC

  • Almost 20 years ago, a clever campaign by BP brought us the concept of the carbon footprint, an indicator that takes into account the total amount of GHGs generated by our actions
  • The average American’s carbon footprint is 16 tons per year. To meet our carbon emission goals, we would need to reduce each one to 2 tons per person
  • Susan Joy Hassol, director of the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication said that “the top five personal actions are one fewer child, be car-free, avoid plane travel, use green energy, and eat a plant-based diet”
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