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Energy

Components such as mirrors, brakes, and wheels used in electric vehicles could be different from those of traditional cars

When it comes to plans to do with automotive in years to come, a complete transition to electric vehicles seems inevitable. That’s why Swedish Volvo declared to make a 100% about since it has been making traditional vehicles for quite a long time. Later on, General Motors joined the camp, promising to be manufacturing electric cars exclusively by 2035. Stakeholders saw it as a good thing for the industry. After all, it would pressure the rest of the global carmakers and, in return, put more effort into their transition as well. On the other hand, the fossil fuel industry will be losing a considerable customer hence a need to make products compatible with electric vehicles.

Those are not the only areas that will soon have to shape in or ship out. Others include tire manufactures, garages, designers, and the ones making various car parts. The good thing about EVs is that other than being relatively expensive, almost everything else sounds positive. First of all, they are easy to maintain. They also run quietly and are one of the best ways of reducing the environmental pollution.

Equally important, the design will most likely be different from the current trucks and cars powered by diesel or gasoline. Under such circumstances, the structures of its components will also require some modifications. The recent physical and mechanical attention may also be useless with electric vehicles. Therefore, everybody from the automotive sector may have to relearn even the arts they had mastered over the years. From drivers, mechanics to manufacturers, electric vehicles will be different, and adapting to the change will be indispensable.

According to Ian Coke, Pirelli Tire’s chief technical officer, a pure electric vehicle is different from the traditional ones. However, there will be two categories of electric vehicles. Some will involve finding an existing platform and installing an electric powertrain in it. The other group will be electric vehicle models designed and manufactured from scratch. Distinguishing the two will be crucial in determining how one proceeds. Companies going for the second category include Tesla, Volvo, BIO, Volkswagen, and Lucid. Others include Audi, Rivian, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors.

According to Mark Dahncke, the Audi spokesman in America, the company develops its designs as pure electronics. He added that it is not easy since optimized efficiency is mandatory. Therefore, there is no room for even a previously minor mistake in tires, brakes, and wheels. Above all, despite the relatively strong suspension, strong axels, and strong brakes, the car must be of practical weight and should also withstand the extra weight.

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Energy

Germany’s Workforce in Electric Vehicle Battery Engineering to increase courtesy of Valmet Automotive

When it comes to passengers’ vehicle manufacturers, Valmet Automotive is among the best globally. The same case applies to electric vehicle battery systems since the company is also a Tier 1 system supply. Interestingly, the company plans to expand the above by venturing even more into e-mobility engineering activities. The expansion will lead to creating jobs for professionals such as technicians and engineers in Germany. There will be more jobs for support staff as well.

For a while now, Valmet Automotive has been doing well in the battery systems manufacturing sector. At the moment, it has an ongoing battery factory that has been under construction since January 2020. Its location is Uusikaupunki, Finland, where the company has a car plant site. After its completion, Valmet Automotive will then have two battery factories. Equally important, it plans to commence its operation around mid-2021. It will be producing electric vehicles’ high-voltage systems. Interestingly, it already has a pair of customers for the proposed plant, and they are top-notch manufacturers in Europe for the record.

Its team in charge of battery systems engineering has a firm footing in Germany. That’s not something one would expect because Finland is the company’s stronghold. For instance, Finnish plants in Uusikaupunki usually produce the most battery systems. However, its engineering sites in Bad Friedrichshall are also in the process of upping their game through expansion. In the process, there will be the creation of a lot of jobs. The move comes at a time when the demand for electric vehicles and their accessories is increasing rapidly. One profession that the plans are looking for is engineering. The engineers will design, develop and test cell modules and battery systems. They will also look into the high-voltage sector area.

It is important to note that Valmet Automotive does almost everything in the engineering chain ranging from concept to development, not forgetting prototyping and testing. That’s a lot of tasks, no doubt. On top of that, the electric vehicles sector is proliferating, and that means demand will also increase since the two are directly proportional to each other. To ensure that the company is well-equipped for the rising demand, Valmet Automotive has decided to hire more professions, especially in the engineering sector.

According to Valmet Automotive Vice President Engineering EV Systems Mathias Wurges, all the various development areas are looking for additional staff members. They are also looking for employees who have what it takes to get the job done. Successful applicants will join the team and indulge in what it believes in, driving the ongoing e-mobility transition together.

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Energy

A partnership develops Chips for electric vehicles

If you are among the people who focus on market trends, you must conclude that electric vehicles are a hit this year. With the various Governments working on the Green project and a new phase for the energy industry, electric cars are on the impact. These facts have led to a massive share of the partnership to help in the transit process. The Compound Semiconductor Centre and Newport Water Fab have received a UK Government research partnership in recent times. Not to mention, this partnership will receive innovation funding to work on advanced components to assists in the electric vehicles venture.

The Compound Semiconductor Centre (CSC) is a joint venture including Cardiff University and the IQE Plc. This project is a team-up with Newport Water Fab (NWF) to create new production processes. The process aims to achieve high voltage semiconductor chip tech. It is a unique fabrication process that uses gallium nitride on silicon to leverage over thirty years of experience in the making of silicon chips.

When it comes to dealing with Silicon, Newport Facility is what we call home. It is the foundry of the planet’s first integrated silicon. This process is silicon on a compound semiconductor. Newport Facility aims to supply its products to the automotive industry globally. It is the most extensive semiconductor manufacturing plant in the United Kingdom, with 450 staff.

NWF, in this teamwork, will use the water processes whose credit goes to CSC in conjunction with its parent company IQE. Recently, CSC was on top of the world after receiving full accreditation thanks to its high-quality Internal Management System. This step will take the development world to a volume scale-up.

One of the biggest backers of this project is UKRI, which works hand in hand with the Automotive Transformation Fund. It is also a project whose key role is to help the UK government achieve the UK automotive sector zero emissions’ target. In a statement by NWFs via their Director, they clearly expressed the excitement regarding the new project.

The Director, Sam Evans, went ahead to explain how this move is a step forward to the Company’s goal of becoming the world’s primary manufacturer of semi-conductor-on-silicon products.

Rob Harper added the GaN program manager on the same and how this project aims to help steer the electric vehicle’s transit on the roads. Dr. Wyn Meredith, CSC Director, commented about the partnership claiming that it is a golden opportunity for the two companies. Meredith also stated on issues regarding the automotive industry and the changes taking place this year in the industry. This collaboration is a huge step to make the automotive sector friendlier to promising buyers.

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Energy

The Looming problem of Electric Car’s Recycling

Tesla made an announcement to phase out the use of cobalt in its batteries in the bid to manufacture an electric car costing $25,000. The success of the project will be a significant game-changer in the sector and will help make the pricing of electric vehicles competitive. Though the announcement seems a good move towards affordable electric cars, the shift from cobalt will complicate EVs’ transition. This is because, without the use of cobalt, there will be less financial incentive to recycle the big batteries used to run the cars, which could turn out to be an environmental disaster.

The main reason for advocating for the use of EVs is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the effects of climate change. The shift is also expected to lower the health risks associated with vehicle emissions significantly. With the new trend, every major car manufacturing company has already enrolled one electric car in its production, with even some of the companies hinting at eradicating gas and diesel engines’ production.

Though the change to electric vehicles’ use is seen as a safer and cleaner option, there are issues associated with the program. Each EV, especially the hybrid vehicles, uses huge Li-ion batteries that can weigh up to hundreds of pounds. For instance, the battery for Mercedes Benz EQC weighs around 1,400 pounds. The components used to make the battery include cobalt, nickel, and manganese, making the batteries expensive to manufacture and come with environmental baggage. Improper disposal of these batteries can lead to environmental pollution because of the nature of the components used to manufacture them.

In order to tap and have a share in the new market, motor vehicle manufactures are applying the same techniques which were adopted by the plastic industry. The manufactures, just like those in plastics, are claiming the recycling of used batteries of which none of the Li-ion batteries are recyclable, just like the way paper, glass, and lead car batteries are.

Though research is underway to develop effective recycling technology, a quick resolution to the problem may not be attainable. The battery manufacturers are yet to develop technology that can extract components economically to make new batteries. The thing usually done is the batteries’ processing to extract cobalt and other expensive components, with the remaining skeleton being released as air emissions or used as filler in construction. This explains the small figure in the batteries that are currently being recycled.

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Energy

Orkney developers intend on generating green ammonia

Scotland’s Eneus Energy has procured approval for the development of a green ammonia plant in Orkney, making the region to house the first plant with such technology in the United Kingdom. The Orkney Council Planning Committee authenticated this project’s establishment together with the wind turbine project expected to start construction at Hammars Hill. Eneus Energy reported that the plant utilizes the renewable energy developed by the wind turbines to extract the hydrogen in water, eventually reacting with nitrogen extracted from the separation of air to form ammonia. The wind farm plant will install two 150-meter wind turbines generating 8.4MW of wind energy to meet the ammonia plant’s demands and other consumers requiring wind energy.

Green Cat Renewables brought together Eneus Energy and Hammars Hill Energy by stipulating how these two can partner in the development of this project. Additionally, the company offered expert opinion and project management services to the two partners to ensure that the project that they come up with meets the regulations stipulated by the approving committee. The CEO of Eneus Energy, Chris Bronsdon, explained that this project’s approval initiates the mass development of the green ammonia project in the Orkney Islands that is dependent on green energy. He emphasized that green hydrogen utilization produces ammonia that is manageable from the storage and transportation viewpoint. Furthermore, the project does not create emissions like the other production companies dealing in similar products do.

On the other hand, the director of Hammars Hill Energy, Alistair Gray, stated that they anticipate the cooperation of their partners in this project in the Orkney Islands and demonstrate that commercial production using renewable energy is plausible the nature of the products. The executive expressed his excitement concerning the development of wind turbines by Hammars Hill Energy and joyed over their climaxing of this deal and its approval by the Orkney Council Planning Committee to initiate green ammonia production.

The pandemic might have slowed the achievement of the net-zero carbon emission targets, but the executive is hopeful that they can come back better and stronger in this decade. Orkney is UK’s best option for developing renewable energy. However, the project might take time since the national grid will have to extend to this region. The infrastructure is still developing, and the leadership of this area is unbothered by the existing challenges. Nevertheless, Green Cat’s director Gavin Catto stated that they had made significant progress after overcoming the bureaucratic problem of approval. They look forward to the operationalization of the project by the two parties in the formal agreement.

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Energy

Tesla’s investors should be worried about it losing ground in the Europe

According to recent statistics, Tesla’s Model 3 has been ceding ground in the Europe region. Today, the European market is the largest EV market worldwide following rapid growth in 2020, accompanied by the decrease in China. New electric car registration in Europe is two times that of China as well as five times in the USA. On Wednesday, Peter Garnry, Saxo Bank Head of Equity Strategy said that Tesla’s outpacing by Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Renault in the recent few months should have alerted shareholders. Garnry said that in the near future, Tesla is going to the largest and successful carmaker across the world, though the competition is becoming stiffer.

In the first 2021’s two weeks, Tesla’s stock has increased by over 21%, while in 2020; it soared by over 700%. Garnry said that in November, the European vehicle registration statistics showed that plug-ins, which combines both hybrid vehicles and pure electric, increased by 198% yearly. In the entire continent, the total car registrations fall by 14%. Today in Europe, plug-in vehicles take 10 percent of total market share, while pure Electric Vehicles accounting for about 5.4%. Garnry said that customers had agreed that Tesla’s sales had increased in the last month of the quarter and added that the sales dropped  in the months of October as well as November.

In the recent EV ranking, the Renault Zoe was leading, and VW ID.3 was the second, while Hyundai’s Kona was third, followed by Tesla’s Model 3. This is according to a report released by sales figures from the EV industry database for plug-in vehicles volumes. Garnry said that this report should scare Tesla’s shareholders bearing in mind Model S and X did not appear in the top 20 rankings despite models like the Audi e-Tron being listed. When CNBC contacted Tesla to comment on this issue, Tesla did not give an immediate response.

Luca de Meo, the new CEO of Renault, said on Thursday that the company is moving to a more electric line-up and creating a battery plant with one of the suppliers in France. On Thursday, Wedbush Securities, the US investment firm, increased its price target from $715 to $950 per share with an optimistic plan of $1250. Wedbush said there was a rise in demand for Electric Vehicles and Model 3. They predicted that over 40% of total sales of Tesla would come from China by 2022, while Democrats would control all the three US government branches are expected to offer a greater strength for Electric Vehicles, considering the climate policy of President-elect Joe Biden.

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Energy

Energy Consumption from Renewables could soon beat that of Coal in the United States

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the transition to green energy is headed in the right direction in the U.S. In 2020, there are high chances that energy consumption from renewables was higher than that from Coal. That doesn’t come as a surprise since the decrease in coal carloads was also massive. As a matter of fact, it registered a drop of almost 25%.

Renewables, including biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric power, has contributed significantly to the national power grid in 2020. For instance, in the first nine months, its contribution was 8.73 quadrillion Btu. The contribution of Coal at that particular period was 6.85 quadrillion Btu hence lower than that of the renewables.

That marks the second consecutive year that the energy consumption from renewables has outpaced that from Coal. However, the gap in 2019 was almost negligible, unlike in the case of 2020, when the margin was quite significant. In 2020, renewables and coal contributions were 11.332 quadrillions Btu and 11.326 quadrillions Btu, respectively. However, despite the margin being small, it was a milestone in the U.S. clean energy transition. After all, it is something that hadn’t happened since 1885. In addition to that, it was a significant improvement from 2018 when Coal contributed 15%, and renewables only offered 1%.

The change is a result of policies supporting renewables and others against Coal. Consequently, power generation from renewable sources has improved, whereas that of Coal has declined. Coal carloads keep decreasing each passing year. In 2020, the number stood at 3.07 million, which was a drop of 24.6%, according to AAR. Some particular carloads increased, whereas others dropped. Gainers were iron & sheet scrap, chemical, and grain, rising by 12.9%, 3.7%, and 27.9%, respectively. The numbers for the U.S. carloads and grain carloads were 11.48 million and 1.19 million.

The U.S. intermodal traffic has also been decreasing over time. The highest loss was in the second quarter as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic. Nevertheless, the involved parties may have recovered the loss through gains during the third and fourth quarters. The number of trailers and containers was almost 13.68 million, which was a decrease of 1.8%. The combination of the intermodal units and carloads was a decrease of 7.2% from the previous year. Its actual number was 26.16 million.

By the end of last year, the total increase of U.S. carload and intermodal volume from the same time in 2019 was 4.4%. The total number of intermodal units and carloads was 2.44 million. In December, coal carloads registered a drop of 14.5%. Petroleum and its products decreased by 15.8%, and that of gravel, sand, and crushed stone was 14.8%.

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Energy

The stimulus package of the California governor comprises of $1.5 billion to promote electric as well as hydrogen cars

If California approves Governor Newsom’s planned $4.5 billion 2021 budget for the state’s economic stimulus, Tesla and other electric car manufacturers expect to profit heftily. The 2021 budget, foreseen by Newsom on Tuesday, contains $1.5 billion earmarked to assist individuals and companies in the procurement of hybrid or hydrogen cars and equipment and to support in the development and maintenance of facilities for charging and storage, which will be required to encourage the increased use of these automobiles in the state.

The initiative from Newsom also devotes $300 million to the maintenance as well as “greening” of the state infrastructure. It will allow electric car charging facilities to be built at all state-owned facilities. That may include ChargePoint, Tesla, Electrify America (a component of the Volkswagen Group) as well as Volta Charging facilities. Newsom has stated several times that he sees emissions and climate change as a threat that needs urgent intervention following a year of severe wildfires affecting his residents and the California economy.

To that effect, the governor signed an executive order in September 2020 prohibiting sales in California of modern internal combustion engine cars by the year 2035. The order would also encourage diesel cars to be purchased as well as sold on a used market; however, by rendering these automobiles rarer; it could potentially help mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. Any manufacturer of electric and hydrogen cars offering used or new vehicles in California will benefit from the recently proposed 2021-2022 expenditure, but there will be more than ever in 2021.

Eleven modern North American-built electric cars are set to open the home economy in the next year only, together with a revised Tesla Model S, as per AutoForecast Solutions Vice President of Global Vehicle Forecasting, Sam Fiorani. Foreign-made Electric cars, like in California, are now expected to market stateside. The Volkswagen ID.4, Nissan Ariya as well as others are among these. Fiorani mentioned, “Majority of the next generation of electric cars will be crossovers, but the pickup wave is just starting,” with the pickups eagerly awaited by Rivian, Ford and others, together with Tesla’s potential Cybertruck. Tesla stands to profit from other aspects of the plan from Newsom, too. The governor stated the state should extend “interest-free payment methods for larger companies, particularly for the heavily impacted by significant operational constraints attributable to Covid-19.” He proposed $430 million in incentives as well as grants for companies “located in California to remain, develop and build quality full-time employment in the state,” as well as to “boost job creation and investments in infrastructure.”

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Energy

Renewable energy is commended for surpassing fossil fuels in Germany

Statistics from Agora Energiewende indicate that renewable energy production increased last, surpassing coal, oil, and other fossil fuels. The economic breakdown induced by the coronavirus pandemic plummeted the uptake of fossil fuels and minimized greenhouse gas emissions by 10%. The data indicates that wind energy generated surpassed the electricity generated by the coal plants that have been existing. The source stated that renewables approached 50 percent in their electricity generation because of the reduced consumption of fossil fuels and the pandemic, which pushed coal consumption down. Agora explains that coal power consumption dropped because the utilities generating electricity with low carbon dioxide emissions had favourable prices, which kept them competitive. 

Moreover, the pressure to keep coal and other fossil fuel consumption down is high, and Agora anticipates the price of electricity from these utilities to continue escalating through this year. This expectation is likely to come true since the European Union is pushing its member countries to realize more than half of the climatic regulations that were agreed upon in the previous summit. Agora noted that the greenhouse gas emissions dropped by approximately 80 million tonnes, courtesy of the pandemic. This quantity surpasses the target of 40% that the country had set. Agora noted that the pandemic was instrumental in lowering the emissions and continued to reduce if this situation became the new normal. However, the chief of Agora Energiewende, Patrick Graichen, thinks that a turnaround will return the mega emissions that the country could not witness due to the pandemic. He explained that the remedy to this problem would be rapid climate policy action that renders emissions culpable. 

The minister of Environment, Svenja Schulze, voiced that the emission reduction also pertains to climate policy regulations. She stated that the existing climate action did not emerge from anywhere but resulted from the transition to clean energy systems like electric vehicles and sources like offshore wind energy. Germany must be ready to work its ass off to bring down the emissions to remain within the stated standards. Graichen advised the government to raise the targets set for 2030 to suppress the emissive energy sources’ further growth by involving the stakeholders in all the sectors. 

Another agency that recorded such data is the federal network agency (BnetzA). The company mapped the consumption of renewable energy in the public power grids and found it to be higher than that of fossil fuels. BSW Solar director, Carsten Körnig, stated that there was an increase in solar rooftop installations by a quarter last year alone, exceeding the quantity recorded on an annual basis in the previous years. 

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Energy

Why is green hydrogen, a source of renewable energy to watch in 2021?

Green hydrogen, a clean-energy renewable fuel, is undergoing a global revival and has been described as a renewable energy source that might help the planet reach net-zero emissions in the upcoming years. During the first term of President George W. Bush, when it was dubbed the “freedom fuel.” it was initially hyped in the United States. Today, as part of his renewable energy strategy, Joe Biden, President-elect of the United States is pledging that the United States will be able to obtain green hydrogen at a cost which is similar to that of the traditional hydrogen within ten years. Like Saudi Arabia, Germany, Chile, Japan, and Australia, numerous nations are now investing extensively in it.

In the coming decade, the demand for green hydrogen will expand rapidly; specialists informed ABC News. “It places the focus on [hydrogen] gas for the very first time,” a report which was released in Nature in the month of July said. “And the gas sector is shifting to hydrogen for a fresh start.” However, the drawbacks of green hydrogen could be equivalent to its benefits, Michael Liebreich, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, wrote. Bloomberg NEF predicts that green hydrogen will fulfill a fifth of the global’s energy needs with an $11 trillion capital expenditure in development and storage worldwide by 2050 and much more electricity than the globe consumes today.

Compared with natural gas, it carries one-fourth of the amount of power per unit, can embrittle the metal, and is extremely flammable, Liebreich wrote. Furthermore, there is no forecast that new investment and development can sustain demand. A study released in the month of August by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis argued that effective ventures are only projected to produce 3 million tons per year, relative to a global aim of 8.7 million tons per year. ABC News talked to experts to decide if green hydrogen is good enough to justify the publicity, considering the expense and resources needed to make it.

When seeking to de-carbonize the oil and manufacturing markets, green hydrogen addresses ‘a range of challenges,’ Randy Bell, who serves as the director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Centre, an independent think tank, informed ABC News. What makes cleaner hydrogen relies on how it’s produced. The large bulk of the hydrogen that is utilized today, “gray” hydrogen is generated from fossil fuels, which in the method releases carbon dioxide. “Blue” hydrogen is produced using natural gas as well as carbon dioxide emissions are then detected, making it safer than gray hydrogen.