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Weekly Highlights | From the E-Bike market boom to the first ammonia-powered ship

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By illuminem

· 5 min read

1. Innovating to Net Zero: An Executive’s Guide to Climate Technology

By McKinsey

  • McKinsey research on Europe’s net-zero pathway suggest that climate technologies that are already mature could, if deployed widely, deliver about 60% of the emissions abatement that will be needed to stabilize the climate
  • McKinsey estimates suggest that next-generation clean technologies could attract $1.5tln to $2tln of capital investment per year by 2025
  • Five considerably promising areas are considered: transport electrification; green revolution in agriculture; power grid remaking; the promise of clean hydrogen; carbon capture, use, and storage

2. How Will Europe Cope if Russia Cuts Off its Gas?

By The Economist

  • Russia today has some $600bn sitting in its central-bank reserves, and could easily handle a shutdown of its piped gas towards Europe - at least in the short term
  • JPMorgan Chase predicts that, even without a Russian gas cut-off, Europe will spend some $1trn on energy this year, up from $500bn in 2019.
  • The good news is that Europe’s energy system is more resilient than it was during the crisis of 2009, due to pro-competition measures that have weakened Gazprom’s grip

3. An Energy Revolution Is Possible – But Only If Leaders Get Imaginative About How to Fund it

By The Conversation

  • Solar power - described as “the most expensive way to reduce carbon emissions” as recently as 2014 - now costs 85% less than it did a decade ago, increasingly making it the cheapest electricity in history
  • When deciding how to make low-carbon transitions, leaders need to look beyond traditional cost-benefit economic approaches
  • Leaders and researchers also need to identify how to create “tipping points” that can trigger cascading changing towards low-carbon economies

4. How the Energy Transition Is Driving Upstream Consolidation

By WoodMac

  • Upstream merger & acquisitions is back; five main themes have been identified. First, a huge rebound in M&A activity (the highest in 3 years) is taking place. Secondly, deals are shifting from mostly North America to the global markets
  • Thirdly, the energy transition is fuelling consolidation: some players want to reduce costs and increase resilience; international oil corporations bigger strategy is to decarbonise, diversify and divest
  • Fourthly, this wave of upstream consolidation is only at its infancy, as this sector is highly fragmented and the energy transition introduces new imperatives. Finally, a wave of upstream IPOs is coming in 2022, as market conditions look favourable

5. Is 1.5°C Possible Without Rich Countries Reaching Net Zero Before 2050?

By Energy Monitor

  • Science is clear: we need to reach net-zero by mid-century to avoid disastrous consequences. The way to reach this is trickier; a new, fairer proposition is that rich countries should double decarbonise far quicker, given historical emissions and their capacities to do so
  • The business sector has growing appetite for climate action; initiatives like Race to Zero, the Climate Pledge and the Science Based Targets Initiative gather thousands of rich-world businesses, including giants like Microsoft or Amazon
  • Governments now need to provide clear and supportive frameworks on how to decarbonise, as most lack such frameworks. They must therefore provide the policies and actions to drive this transition

6. Nordic Consortium to Design the World’s First Ammonia-powered Ship

By Nordic Innovation 

  • Nordic Innovation has now decided to co-fund the Nordic Green Ammonia Powered Ship (NoGAPS) project for an additional 24 months
  • Ammonia-powered shipping is a credible route to contribute to the long-term decarbonization of the shipping sector, as confirmed by analyses from the IRENA, EDF, and others
  • The potential demand for green ammonia as a marine fuel is huge, as there are over 90.000 vessels in the world merchant fleet, who annually consume 250-300 million tonnes of oil, which represents a global market of more than $1tln

7. Wait, So Where Will Urbanites Charge Their EVs?

By Wired

  • The goal is clear: build more chargers. But in dense places, the eternal question is, where? And how to guarantee that they will not only be accessible, but cheap enough for anyone to use them?
  • Installing chargers in under-resourced communities will be especially important because buyers in these areas might be more likely to own used EVs with old batteries that don’t get the optimal range, so they’ll need more consistent charging.
  • Some urban areas are already experimenting with new charging strategies. Big cities like Los Angeles and New York City, are installing chargers next to streetside spots, sometimes even on street lights

8. Team Develops Lithium-Air Battery With an Energy Density Higher Than Current Lithium Ion Batteries

By Tech Xplore

  • NIMS and Softbank Corp. have developed a lithium-air battery with an energy density over 500Wh/kg - significantly higher than that of current lithium ion batteries
  • Despite their very high theoretical energy densities, only a small number of lithium-air batteries have actually been fabricated, due to material limitations
  • The team is currently developing higher-performance battery materials and plans to integrate them into the newly developed lithium-air battery with the aim of greatly increasing the battery’s cycle life

9. America’s Best-Selling Electric Vehicles Ride on Two Wheels

By Bloomberg Green

  • The U.S. electric bike market continues to boom, with an import of nearly 790,000 electric two-wheelers in 2021 according to Light Electric Vehicle Association’s estimate, up from 463,000 in 2020
  • The NPD Group estimated that e-bike sales will continue to rise in 2021, with 368,000 units sold through the first 11 months of the year, compared to 273,000 in all of 2020
  • As the U.S. climbs toward 1 million in annual e-bike sales, it still lags far behind Europe and Asia, where annual sales are about 3 million and 35 million respectively

10. Elon Musk’s Carbon Tech Explained

The VentureX - Future Tech

  • Elon Musk not only wants to reach carbon neutrality, but also carbon negativity. He is particularly looking at techs that work like trees, sucking carbon out of the atmosphere to produce oxygen, which he also plans to use on Mars
  • Other carbon removing methods include direct air capture (CO2 taken from the atmosphere), using kelp (an algae that grows fast) or planktons to store CO2 in the oceans, using rocks and minerals to permanently store CO2 or store it in the ground
  • Musk is organising a world-wide carbon capture competition– Xprize–, which will take place over 4 years and aims to select and develop the best techs according to multiple criteria, including permanence of storage, scalability and cost
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